Your poop says a lot about you, your diet, hydration and overall health.
A regular, healthy digestion system yields glorious and satisfying poop, while belly aches, gas, and inconsistent bowel movements indicate a system in need of attention. So why don’t we talk about it?
I confess, I’ve suffered from IBS and inconsistency my whole life.
One of my dear childhood friends and I would joke that the whole time away at summer camp I never pooped – and I wasn’t really kidding. She said I looked green when I walked off the bus home. My hesitance and embarrassment to “go” when other people around really plugged me up. Thankfully, it has vastly improved over the years as a result of dietary changes and focus.
Still, although pooping is the most natural of movements (pun intended), women especially don’t talk about it because we’re supposed to be pretty and delicate and smell nice.
Men, on the other hand, are proud of their accomplishments! When I worked in advertising, I would see men stuff a magazine under their arm and proudly prance to the bathroom, waving to their coworkers as they walk by, almost congratulatory! My husband announces when he needs “alone time,” my signal to vacate the area. They are right to be delighted, bless them.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “about 42 million Americans are persistently stopped up, making constipation one of the most common gastrointestinal problems in the United States.”
How do you know? According to one article, doctors use diagnostic criteria for constipation, where patients have to experience two or more of six symptoms:
1. Straining during at least 25 percent of defecations
2. Lumpy or hard stools in at least 25 percent of defecations
3. Sensation of incomplete evacuation in at least 25 percent of defecations
4. Sense of obstruction in at least 25 percent of defecations
5. Manual maneuvers needed to facilitate at least 25 percent of defecations
6. Fewer than three defecations per week
And constipation only gets worse as we age, mostly due to “underlying medical conditions and medications.”
So, people, engage in one or more of the following MOJO Maker™ practices to un-stuff yourself starting today:
- Spend some time on the throne. Be the king or queen of the white porcelain vessel! Some people get frustrated and don’t give themselves adequate time to eliminate. Grab your favorite magazine, book or electronic game and dedicate time on the bowl until something happens. Relax, breath and enjoy the peace. Start with just a minute or two in the morning (just not longer than 15 so you avoid possible hemorrhoids).
- Chew your food completely. Digestion starts in the mouth. Don’t gobble your food in one bite like a golden lab! Break your bites down until the food is small and indistinguishable enough to swallow easily. The better the ingestion, the more likely to experience a satisfying excretion. Plus, you’ll avoid gulping in air (potentially leading to bloating and gas), and absorb nutrients better.
- Eat REAL fiber, not the kind that’s just touted on the boxes of processed food items. Fruits and veggies (straight up and not juiced), beans and whole grains will kick your system into action. If these foods are new to you, integrate them slowly and give your body time to adjust to these life-altering foods.
- Make mealtime sacred. Ever eat so fast, the next thing you knew the food was just gone? Your senses might ask, “Where did it go and what did it taste like?” Well imagine what your digestive system feels like! Instead, put your food on plate, use real silverware, and avoid multitasking while eating at least 3X per week. Engage in mindful eating, as you observe the food, show gratitude for it, chew and taste it, and allow your digestive enzymes to get to work. It will be a more enjoyable experience both going in and coming out.
- Lastly, hydrate. Boring, I know, but when dehydrated you are much more likely to be regular. Water and teas are ideal, and feel free to flavor them with fruits. Set a timer on your phone to drink a glass every hour throughout the day and note how you feel.
So, my kings and queens, the bloom is off the rose as they say. Everybody poops, and it’s about time we talked about it. I encourage you to bring the conversation to the dinner table tonight and start breaking down stigmas attached to the subject. Perhaps over a fiber rich yummy meal?
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™