Updated: Jan 25
Most people who meet me for the first time are 😳 or slightly embarrassed when I ask about their bowel habits. It’s always weird to me that they don’t come in expecting this question as I am a doctor... BUT sadly this is not something we talk much about in our culture, not even to our doctors (Unless you have a Naturopathic Doc that is). I made it to 14 years old before I realized pooping once every 4-7 days was not normal. Unfortunately, my story is one I hear several times a day from patients who think, “things have always been like this so it’s normal”.
First of all, let’s be clear about what it means to have healthy bowel habits and healthy💩. Notice I do not say normal because normal is whatever normal is for you and that does not always = healthy. You got me.
How to grade your BMs (Bowel Movements):
1. Frequency: You should be having a BM at least once a day. Twice a day is every better. Very healthy colons tend to evacuate twice in the morning. If this sounds crazy to you then you know you are constipated. It doesn’t matter if this is ”how you have always been”. . Because it means you have always been constipated. Even if your mother or brother are also that way it‘s not normal, you are constipated. 👌 okay?. If you are having a BM more than 3 times a day or with urgency, you may also have an issue and I would talk to your Naturopath about it.
2. Consistency: BMs should be long, well-formed “logs”. When I say long I mean a foot or more. Your colon is nearly 5 feet long depending on your size and a BM usually evacuates only part of it. Well-formed means it stays together in the toilet but is not hard or pebble-like Either. If it falls apart in the toilet or you see bits of food like salad or tomato skins you are not digesting well. Try a digestive enzyme. I’ll talk too about dealing with this below. If your stool is hard and thick or small and pebble-like this is a sign of more severe constipation.
3. Color: Brown, duh right. Well not really. A healthy stool is a dark brown, not green, yellow, or very light brown. Now every once and a while you have red/pink stool from beets or green stool from a huge salad or juice fast that is ok. However, on a daily basis, your stool should always be dark brown. if your stool is ever black or if it ever had blood or mucous in it, be sure to talk to your naturopath. These are signs something more serious may be going on.
Top 4 Naturopathic Tips to remedy constipation for good :
Drink MORE WATER 💦! My favorite Chinese Med professor in school would always say, “the ship can not sail without water.” True words of wisdom. I at least 80oz of water a day. You should have clear to light yellow pee all day long if you are well hydrated.
Support HEALTHY BILE production. You especially need to focus here is your consolation is accompanied by a poor reaction to fried food, sour taste in the mouth, or any side sided discomfort. Bile helps us to digest fats but is also what lubricates the digestive tract. If it is sludgy and unhealthy, constipation can be a first sign. A good place to start if you suspect bad bile is to use just 10 drops of digestive bitters on the tongue 👅 just before each meal. Also, drink lots of hibiscus 🌺 tea and eat bitter foods like arugula, asparagus, and beets. For supplements try ox bile and pancreatic enzymes With or after your meal (note you do not take this before a meal like betaine HCL).
Fiber! Soluble and insoluble are important but if you are constipated you want to focus on insoluble. Insoluble means it does not dissolve in water and therefore will draw water into the colon. My favorite ways to add fiber, aside from lots of veggies like cabbage and zucchini, are flaxseed meal and chia seeds. Flaxseed meal is more than 60% insoluble and has added benefits with omegas. Chia seeds are an awesome way to add fiber for constipation coming in at over 90% insoluble fiber. Try adding just 2 TBS a day of flaxseed meal. If you feel good add chia seeds or more flax until you are pooping like a 💫 star.
REMOVE DAIRY, yes I know sad face for cheese but dairy as a class of food is extremely inflammatory. For many women constipation is the main symptom but because they have never stopped it for 2 solid weeks before they would never see the connection. Milk is also extremely mucous forming and not great for acne either. If you are chronically constipated and this it may be food, dairy is the first food to remove.
FASTING and cleansing. This is a no brainer if you have chronic constipation and have never detoxed before, you need to, like yesterday. For me, green juice fasting completely healed my chronic constipation. It is the reason I feel so passionately about fasting and why I created the REBOOT program. Juice fasting is not the only fasting helpful for conscription and healing the gut, intermittent fasting (IF) is another very helpful option. This would mean doing a short daily fast, you could start with just 14hours a day. Basically stop eating at 7 pm and delay breakfast until at least 9 am. During these 14 hours, your digestion has proper time to eliminate before you eat again.
Thanks for reading. Please like and share if you found this helpful!