Let’s talk about poop baby, let’s talk about you and me! That’s right folks, cats, dogs, worms, fish, humans – we ALL poop.
DID YOU KNOW? What we deposit into the toilet isn’t just waste to be flushed away without a second glance. In fact, we should be paying just as much attention as to what comes OUT of our body as to what goes IN. Think of it like a daily test result to see how our body is doing health-wise. It’s also an important indicator of our digestion status.
First of all, what even IS poop?
Poop, more formally known as feces, is primarily composed of the indigestible parts of food, mixed with dead cells and bacteria.
What should poop look like?
Based on the Bristol Stool Chart, our “#2” should really be a #4. If not, something may be awry!
A watery poop (#6 or 7) can mean you’re not absorbing nutrients properly or you’re eating something your body doesn’t like. Alternatively, a rabbit-type poop (#1) can mean you’re not getting enough fibre or water in your diet.
What about the color of poop?
When we look in the toilet to get the scoop on our poop, we shouldn’t just be looking at the texture of our poop, but also the colour. Poop doesn’t quite come in 50 shades, but it can change colour, which is another important indicator of our health status.
Brown, green and a slight pinkish/red tinge are fairly normal due the foods we eat, but yellow, black, pale and bright red poop mean trouble!
How often should we poop?
The recommended transit time from Nutrition professionals is approximately 24 hours. That means if you ate beets for dinner last night, you should be seeing a pinky coloured poop in the toilet by dinner tonight.
Now, if you’re having less than one bowel movement a day, you are considered “constipated.” Time for doody duty!
How can we ensure a first-class turd every time?
There are three main factors:
Now, we’re not going to have optimal poops just by drinking a lot of water or just by exercising every day. All three factors need to intertwine for a healthy !
The average adult female needs at LEAST two litres of water a day. Gentlemen, you require a little more, averaging three litres a day. We need all this fluid not only for optimal pooping, but also because water is the main building block of all the components of our body!
Read more about the importance of water here!
Avoiding foods sensitivities helps keep things moving and grooving, as things that your body doesn’t agree with can really bung you up. It is also important to incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kimchi help keep the intestinal bacteria flourishing. However, the top dietary tip for optimal pooping is all about fibre.
Fibre is the name given to the indigestible parts of food. Fibre also gives shape and texture to our food, like the crunch of an apple or the chewiness of whole grain bread. There are two types of fibre and both are important when it comes to pooping.
1. Soluble Fibre
– Absorbs water
– Slows movement of food through intestine and provides bulk to the stool (so we don’t have diarrhea all the time)
– E.g. oats, barley, legumes, nuts, psyllium, fruits
2. Insoluble Fibre
– Attracts, but does not absorb water
– It is the tough, fibrous structure of fruit, veggies and grains
– Speeds up movement through the intestine and helps with stool elimination (so we are not constipated all the time)
– E.g. wheat bran, whole grains, flaxseed, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, skins of fruits and root vegetables
Be sure to include both types of fibre in your diet daily to help make your trips to the bathroom a breeze! (Read more about fibre here)
One particularly fibrous food is corn. If we remember back to the definition of fibre, it said fibre was the “indigestible parts of our food.” That’s why, as this cute cartoon shows, corn often looks the same coming out as it does going in!
Physical activity not only exercises our external muscles, but also exercises our internal muscles. Our bowel is a muscle, so just like when we don’t exercise our physical body for a period of time, our bowel gets sluggish and doesn’t work as well. Exercise is a win-win for every part of our body!
Now, what if you’re drinking tons of water, exercising daily and eating all the fibre you can stomach and you’re STILL struggling? There may be one additional hurdle that you don’t know about – your position on the porcelain throne.
Confused? Let me explain.
Our anorectal muscle gives our bowel a natural kink to help keep us continent. When we sit on the toilet, we’re generally at a 90 degree angle, which kinks this muscle even more. This is why we often spend more than a few minutes on the john, straining to have even the tiniest poop. Now, if we move to a squatting position, the muscle relaxes and the bowel “flattens” to an almost 180 degree angle, letting the poop flow quickly and easily!
If we think back to our ancestors, this theory totally makes sense because they didn’t have toilets, so popping a squat behind a tree or bush would’ve been their norm.
So, how can we solve this modern problem? Introducing….the Squatty Potty!
Yes, this is a real thing.
Yes, it really works!
This quaint little stool elevates the feet to create the squat our body so desperately desires for pooping ease. You can also use a stack of books or some blocks to prop your feet up, but I love the Squatty Potty because it fits neatly around the toilet.
Don’t knock it until you try it folks; I promise this tidbit of info will change your pooping life!