Alright let’s talk about it. With two small children we talk about poo a lot in our home. Perhaps that is one of the many blessings of babies. After all everyone does it, even if no one wants to talk about it. But seriously, it is perhaps one of the best indicators of your health. Upwards of 75% of our immune systems are based on the health of our guts.
If your gut is not healthy you are not healthy.
I recently attended a talk given by the local Weston A Price chapter on this very subject. I have never seen so many people attend one of these meetings. It was packed. Which leads me to believe that many of us are wondering if our digestion and elimination cycles are normal.
So bear with me as I blush and share with you a few things that I learned. Take a deep breath. Here we go…
Most People Are Constipated
Did you know that even if you have one bowel movement every day you are probably still constipated? The majority of Americans can go days. Days! A healthier number is 2-3 times per day. And it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. It should be as easy as urinating.
There is another way to gauge if you are constipated. It is called the Bristol Stool Chart.
Now I know this isn’t pleasant to look at, but it is important. Some recommend hanging this in the bathroom so everyone in the household can evaluate their gut health.
How to read the chart:
- Types 1-3: You are constipated.
- Types 4-5: Depending on who you talk to these are ideal.
- Types 6-7: Too "urgent" to be normal.
The form your stool takes depends on how long it has been in the colon, with 72 hours being ideal. As you move down the chart you go from way too long in the colon (1-3), the normal ~72 hour time period (4-5) and finally under 72 hours (6-7). You can find much more detail about each stool type and what it means here.
(gulp. moving on.)
Why Fiber Won’t Help
Most of what you read regarding digestion and elimination is all about fiber and why it is the answer. The problem is… well… lack of fiber probably isn’t the reason you’re constipated.
Certainly fiber isn’t bad for us. It is found heavily in vegetables and fruits. But if you are constipated you are given a fiber supplement or told to take flax or psyllium. This is like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound.
Dietary fiber transforms colorectal organs and causes a physical dependence similar to drug addiction. ~Konstantin Monastyrsky, author of Fiber Menace
So while you may have some relief because you are actually passing stools, you are simply training your body to need added fiber to do so. Moreover you will never really fix your digestion because you haven’t addressed the root of the problem.
Which I will discuss in the next part of this series.
I know this is a difficult topic to discuss, but feel free to share your insights in the comments.