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What if I told you that your life could be improved drastically? Better skin, hair, nails, energy, clarity, moods, sleep, sex? Well, it can! This isn’t even a marketing gimmick. I am not trying to sell you shit – wait, actually I am. That’s the secret.

Poop. Poop, poop, poop, pooooop. Oh don’t get squeamish now. Poop! We all do it — even girls! Reality check, poop is one of the most important functions of life!

In all my ladylikeness (ahem) I have never failed to regularly bring up the elephant in the room (or giant turd in the room). My own ongoing battle with optimal digestive health has inspired this literary masterpiece.

OK, let’s start with a quick science lesson – why we poop

We eat, our intestines absorb all the useful nutrients from our food, and then there is a bunch of indigestible stuff left. The trash. And for the sake of metaphors, you know what happens in your kitchen when you don’t get around to taking the trash out for a few days – it becomes a pretty unbearable creature-infested, odor-filled nightmare. So, waste removal is pretty important.

About ¾ of a healthy turd is water. This is the remaining water content of your food that is not needed by the body. In the case of the dreaded D (diarrhea) the intestines don’t get around to absorbing much liquid, so it’s lost through the poop shoot and it can lead to dehydration. The horrid C (constipation) has the opposite effect; the longer that stuff stays in us the more liquid is absorbed but the drier and harder the turd becomes, meaning it doesn’t move through the shoot as easily.

The final quarter of a perfect poop is composed of ⅓ dead bacteria (the super important microorganisms that live in our gut and aid in digestion – may they rest in peace). Another ⅓ is the indigestible qualities of food, such as cellulose (aka fibre), essential for poop traction and thus optimal movement. And lastly ⅓ a mixture of fats like cholesterol, inorganic salts like phosphates, live bacteria, unneeded proteins and dead cells and mucus from the lining of the intestines.

Wow, I feel a lot closer to my poop already –do you?

How often should we be pooping?

There seems to be a big range of answers for this question out there. From as little as once a week to as often as four times a day can be considered normal by Western standards. Generally doctors say that once you are consistent and not having to strain to get it out then there is no cause for worry.

OK, but what if you are pooping regularly enough, yet suffer with constant illness, acne, fatigue, depression etc., you go to see Doc – if he’s a good one you may get the ‘bowel movement’ question, but what you likely won’t get is sent home with a new diet such as a detox plan. You will probably get a prescription instead. A prescription with side effects such as diarrhea, constipation, colon cancer and the list goes on.

Don’t disregard your doctor’s advice, but do stop and take a look at what you are putting in your body, and what you are putting out! Especially if the eight pills you take a day aren’t quite solving your problems.

It’s likely your ‘regular’ bowel movements aren’t your ideal bowel movements.

Each one of us is different and our insides function a little differently; get to know how the process goes for you and when you feel best. For example, I know that when my skin starts breaking out its time for a cleanse, then within a day it clears right up!

How to get the poop-shoot working

  • Drink water. Duh.
  • Consume essential fibre-rich foods (no, not Raisin Bran): fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains – in a non-processed, non-packaged form (i.e. cereal and pasta do not count).
  • Consume foods with good fats. Fat-free diets are a thing of the 80s people, update your info please!
  • Detox. Give your precious gut a little rest once in a while. Lay off the rich and heavy stuff that is generally harder to break down (like meat, sugar, dairy, dun dun dun) – I am not telling you to stop the ‘good’ stuff, just increase your intake of the actual good stuff and cut back every once in a while on the junk.
  • Exercise, moderately. Even a gentle walk does wonders. Yoga is consistently effective. Excessive exercise can sometimes have the opposite effect.
  • Sleep. Regular, high quality sleep is just as important to living as eating and pooping. Balance, my friends.
  • Probiotics. The digestive system has both friendly and ‘bad’ bacteria, and maintaining the correct balance between the two is essential for optimal health. Natural probiotics include yogurt (natural and sugar free), fermented foods, spirillina, chorella and dark chocolate. There are also supplements available at the pharmacy.
  • Belly massage. Lay in bed with knees bent or sit in a chair and simply rub the tums with a light pressure in a clockwise motion (the direction of peristalsis).
  • Pooping position. Apparently we were designed to poop in a squatting position. It’s absolutely primitive – we love our porcelain thrones. Using a low stool to rest your feet on while doing your business puts your colon in an ideal elimination position.
  • Gentle and natural laxatives. Raid your granny’s pantry and take her prunes. Coconut water, aloes or a salt-water flush can do the magic too.
  • Poop when you need to poop. Poop shyness syndrome is a real and crippling disease. Holding it in at work or in the movie theatre may save you embarrassment but it can reap havoc on the system. You are a human being. Get over it. If you are judged by your humanness then really, you are not the problem, the alien doing the judging is the problem.

The perfect poop

Look at your poop. Smell your poop. Be one with your poop. Smooth, soft, easily passed and uniformed texture are some useful indicators of a class A turd.

See the fun chart below for more info.

poop and pee by kimberly synder
Courtesy of: Kimberly Snyder

If poop fascinates you as much as it apparently fascinates me, you can check out some of these links for more in depth stuff.

This has been real guys, happy pooping! What You See in the Toilet Can Give You Valuable Insights into Your Health

MindBodyGreen: Constipation Nation: What You Need to Know About Pooping