“Everybody looks at their poop.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
Everyone Poops is a popular U.S. children’s adaptation of a Japanese book published nearly 40 years ago. Yet it’s still a taboo topic that most of us struggle to talk about. As the book states, everyone poops. We all do it, always have and always will. So why the averseness? It’s a subject that needs more discussion since, while all of us do it, most of us don’t do it well. Whether it’s because of diet, exercise, dehydration or stress, we’re not having the two or three bowel movements daily that we should. It took me about five years in practice of asking “are your bowel movements regular?” to realize that people didn’t know what regular was and, sadly, by no means were most of us regular.
How often should you go? Everyone is different but research shows that we should be moving our bowels one to three times daily. BM’s vary depending on how much you’re eating, how often you eat and the types of food you’re consuming. It’s safe to say if you’re only having a few bowel movements a week you’re constipated.
What is the quality of your poop? Is it easy to go? Are you fully evacuating? Do you feel like your colon isn’t properly emptying? These are all important questions to ask yourself. Do you find yourself straining or need to take a daily fiber supplement? If the plumbing isn’t working properly there’s a few routes to take. Add more fiber into your diet — the real kind; not found in a scoopable container. Eat a variety of vegetables with each meal, increase your water intake during the day and make sure you’re doing some strenuous exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. If you move you’ll notice things start to move!
We often use gut healing protocols that make a world of difference to our clients. As always please consult with your functional medicine physician to determine what recommendations are appropriate for you. There are many medications that can cause constipation as well as specific disease processes that impede healthy bowel movements. My office uses Sovereign Labs colostrum powder as a starting point. Taken twice daily on an empty stomach, this product helps heal the gut. We also recommend NSPAH labeled probiotics — 50 billion to 100 billion taken daily with food. I prefer the powder but we carry it in a capsule, as well. Many of our routine activities destroy our natural gut flora – alcohol, antibiotics, stress, refined sugars, and even heavily cooked meats. In addition to probiotic capsules you can add in fermented foods – kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and the like.
The final piece to the puzzle is a good digestive enzyme. I use Digestive Enzymes Ultra by Pure Encapsulations. As we age our ability to properly digest foods decreases – again due to medications, different disease processes, a less than ideal diet, or even less than ideal food quality. Taking a digestive enzyme will help break down proteins, starches and even fiber in your meals. It may even relieve occasional bloating and gas.
So watch what goes in and watch what comes out to have a free snapshot of your health at any moment.
Jordan Leasure, BA, DC, CCWP, is a licensed chiropractor and a certified chiropractic wellness practitioner from Libertyville, Illinois. Her goal is to educate the public on how to Eat Well – Move Well and Think Well.