Did you know that we are what we don’t poop? I know, I know. What are we doing talking about this topic? Well, it seems odd that we spend all of our time talking about what goes into our bodies and no time talking about what comes out, or doesn’t. This is such an important topic that you will just have to get over the subject matter for a few minutes. As uncomfortable as my clients are about discussing the matter of waste disposal, it quickly becomes a favorite topic-well kind of!
Human beings are mammals and should defecate three times a day, or once after every meal. No? That’s not how your body functions? Twice a day? No? Okay, then, once a day? What? No? Not even once a day? How about once every other day? Once every three days? Well, to my astonishment my typical beginning weight loss clients report having a bowel movement two or three times in a good week, and think that is perfectly normal. Well, it’s not. Not only is that not normal, it is very dangerous to your health! Our stools tell a story of their own: a story that most don’t want to know anything about, but one that in some odd way kind of fascinates us, no? You don’t have to admit it or even discuss it with anyone, but please read on.
There is so much information to share with you that I could not possibly cover it in one edition of this e-zine, so, today I am going to focus on hemorrhoids. Yes, hemorrhoids, and how to avoid them. A bowl movement should be painless and easy, meaning there should be no need to push, and you should hardly notice any odor! They should be well formed, in a long continuous “S” shape, not loose and not too hard. Your stools should be a medium brown in color, and they should float. You should not see any blood in your stools, nor should they be mucousy or gassy. Bowel movements should occur, at the very least, once a day. A lot to ask? Maybe so, since most people’s bowels are in very bad shape.
It is said that all disease begins in the intestines, and is it any wonder? The average American diet is so low in fiber that forming a healthy stool is impossible. Indeed, most diets that are low in fiber are high in animal proteins, mostly meats. Meats are full of bacteria; in fact, most meat-based diets can register bacterial levels as high as 75%! When we couple a meat-based diet with a low fiber diet, we run into problems because a healthy stool takes much longer to form. Therefore, the bacteria-laden meat passes through the colon so slowly that it begins to dry up. This creates the need to push it out of the body with great effort. The result: constipation and hemorrhoids, to name just a few problems. Not to mention the increase of bacteria that is created from the slow process of meat decomposing within your intestines, creating a slew of health issues.
The body needs three things to be able to create a healthy bowl movement in the 14 hours it should take food to go from your mouth to your, well… you know. It needs, hydration (water), fiber (fruits and veggies) and lubrication (omega 3’s). So, what to do if you are one of the many who do not pass the poop test? Well, I guess you might think of laxatives, and they work, but they can make things worse by irritating your bowel walls. You can also try an enema. I happen to know a few people who admit to being addicted to this form of elimination. The problem with enemas is that they only help you achieve partial elimination. The real answer will, I’m sure, come as no surprise: high fiber and low saturated fats! The better you eat, the easier your body will produce large, soft, moist, well-formed stools that slip and slide right out!
A few fun facts about what happens when your stools have dried up and you are sitting there pushing away. When you try to push a stool out, you increase the pressure of blood in the veins of the rectum and legs. After a long time this leads to hemorrhoids and varicose veins of the legs! Actually, hemorrhoids are varicose veins of the rectum. The pressure created by straining can cause the stomach and the esophagus slide up into the chest through the hiatus, resulting in a hiatal hernia. Additionally, you might experience chest pain, indigestion and belching. I knew a woman who lost her father, husband and boyfriend to straining on the toilet! They all died of a heart attack while relieving themselves. This is a true and sad story for her, but it leaves us with something to think about.
Another major health issue on the rise is diverticulitis. This condition develops when the continual presence of old, dry stools in the intestines have pushed the colon out of shape, and caused the formation of little pockets called diverculum. Diverticulitis occurs when these pockets rupture and become infected. This problem is virtually unheard of in a person with a high fiber, low saturated fat diet, but here in the good old U.S.A., it is virtually an epidemic. In the U.S.A. more than 75% of people over the age of 75 suffer from diverticulitis. These people suffer from repeated attacks of inflammation and bleeding in the colon that causes severe pain. If not diagnosed in a timely fashion, removal of the affected portion of the colon is necessitated. The good news is that switching to a diet high in fiber and low in saturated fats often successfully treats this problem.
So, the next time you are passing you morning with a good read (this e-zine, perhaps) sitting on your royal thrown, why don’t you take a peak and see if you pass the poop test? If you don’t, please try to take it very seriously. The way you are eliminating your bowel can not only tell you how well you’re eating, but it can also indicate the state of your general health and the condition of your digestive system. Your attention could very possibly save your life.