Yes, you heard me right…..I want to talk about poop. Now, I know this is a rather embarrassing and uncomfortable topic, but it’s important to talk about this because what you excrete from your body is just as important as what you put into your body. Your poop can tell you a lot about your health.
I will be brutally honest here. Because I eat a plant based diet, I eat a lot of fiber. Fiber makes you poop — in fact fiber is essential if you want to poop regularly (and who doesn’t?) So, I poop as much as 3-4 times a day — regular sized poops. I can’t imagine my day without that.
I understand that some people only poop every other day or maybe only a few times a week. Say, what?? Are you kidding me? That is not a person eating a healthy diet, in my opinion. They are eating too many animal products (which contain NO fiber) and not enough plants (which is where you get ALL your fiber). If you want to be regular (1-3 times EACH DAY) then you have to eat more plants. That is the bottom line. Of course, water is so important when it comes to being regular. Your body needs water for so many things and pooping is one of them. So drink LOTS of water — your body will thank you.
While doing some research on this topic I came across the “Three and three” rule which states most normal people poop between 3 times a day and 3 times a week. I don’t agree with this. Pooping only 3 times a week would be terribly uncomfortable, in my opinion. Once I eat my food and my body has pulled out the nutrition it needs, it’s time to get rid of the waste. I don’t want that sitting around in my body. Gross! Everyone should shoot for AT LEAST one poop a day. Sometimes I think these “normals” are adopted because of the unhealthy diet we have been lead to believe is healthy — which means eating animal products at almost every meal. Once a plant based diet is adopted, your pooping will increase. CLICK HERE for a great article about how your poop will change when you transition to a plant based diet. It’s nothing to be afraid of, but you should be aware of the changes that might take place.
Not only is the number of poops you have important, but also the consistency. Below is a chart that was devised to help you understand the quality of your poops.
Normal bowel movements are Type 3 and 4. Ideally, this is what you are aiming for. Types 1 and 2 are poops that have been in your body too long. When poop hangs around in your digestive system too long, problems can arise. It gets hard because it loses its moisture as it sits in your digestive tract. This leads to constipation, hemorrhoids, and fissures (when it eventually does come out it can really hurt and do some damage — OUCH!). In addition, poop is filled with toxins that need to be gotten rid of. When they sit in the digestive system too long, the toxins work their way back into your body. Did you know that the odor from poop is actually the toxins leaving your body? So smelly poop is better, believe it or not. If you are a meat eater and are transitioning to a plant based diet, your poop will continue to be smelly at first as your body tries to rid itself of the toxins. However, as your diet changes, so should your stools. The smell will probably diminish because it has less toxins in it due to your better eating habits. This is because foods rich in sulfur like meat, dairy and eggs, will cause more stinky poops. Once you reduce or eliminate those foods from your diet, the smells from your poops should diminish too. Types 6 and 7 mean the poop hasn’t been in your body long enough to form which causes diarrhea. If this is a common occurrence it might be a good idea to look into some probiotics. It’s hard to be healthy if you don’t have good gut bacteria. In fact many believe that your gut is the key to good health or can be the cause of your poor health. It is definitely worth asking your doctor about at your next visit.
Here is an interesting experiment you can try which will help you determine how long it takes for your meal to move completely through your body. First, eat something that can make your poop change color. For example, beets and blueberries are great for your health, but will also change your poop to red or green. Once you eat this food, see how long it takes for the color to appear in your toilet. Ideally, it should only be in your digestive track about 24 hours. If it takes longer than that, you may need more fiber in your diet to help move things along a little more quickly.
Finally, pooping should be effortless. While spending a lot of time in the bathroom might be your way of getting a little alone time, in reality, if you are having a hard time pooping or if you are straining then you need more fiber and water in your diet. Pooping should be effortless and done fairly quickly.
Pooping is nothing to be ashamed of — it can be an indicator of the quality of our health. So, don’t be afraid to turn around and look before you flush. A picture is worth a thousand words. What is your poop telling you?