Let's talk poop. Yuck! No one want to talk about it but it is very important for good digestion.
Paul Chek came up with this clever cartoon as a way of opening up the discussion of healthy bowel movements with his clients. Most people will find that they have met the “criminals” in this line up at one point or another. When you poop, how you poop and what your poop looks like can tell you a lot about how your digestive system is functioning. The following information can also be found in “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy” written by Paul Chek. A link to Paul’s book can be found at the bottom of this article. I also have a copy I don’t mind sharing for anyone who wants to borrow it.
This image is from Paul Chek’s book, “How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy.” *** adapted from: http://www.elitefts.com/documents/shit.htm The Poopie Line-up- From Left to Right Sinker n’ Stinker: This guy is named as he behaves. He is like a smelly piece of black coal that sinks to the bottom of the bowl after an arduous attempt to squeeze him out with tremendous force. His appearance is due to an overexposure to toxins such as processed foods, environmental toxins, and medical drugs. You may recognize this guy after a fun night out on the town. He is the result of of the toxin alcohol. The Swimmer: This guy is light in color and floats. He is a pain to flush. His appearance is due to a high content of undigested fat. This may be a sign that you may not be producing enough HCL to properly digest dietary fats. Consider supplementing with “Now Super Food Enzymes”. Bodybuilder: The Arnold in the poo world! He is typically big and round. He makes you strain to get him out. If you pop a blood vessel in your eyeball when you poop, you’ve probably met this guy. His appearance is due to eating too many processed and dehydrated foods, especially protein bars and shakes. Pellet Man: He looks like rabbit poop. His appearance is due to altered states between peristalsis and dehydration. Ie: your colon is trying to move the poop along, but there is not enough water present to facilitate the process. Think back to when you would play with play dough as a kid, the more you squished it, the drier it became. Same thing is going on here...only its happening in your colon. Diarrhea: “If you’re sliding into first and you feel something burst…” This guy needs no introduction. His appearance is due to your crappy diet and your body’s attempt to purge you of it. Diarrhea= detoxify. Listen to your body...Something went in that your body didn’t want. The Flasher: If you can identify what you’ve eaten by looking at your poop, you are being flashed! Undigested food particles making an appearance in your bowl are a sure sign that you aren’t chewing your food, digesting thats food properly or absorbing nutrients from that food. His appearance may be due to food intolerance/sensitivities and an inflamed gut wall. “Leaky Gut” is almost a definite at this point. Consider removing grains, dairy, any and all sugars from your diet. This is also a good time for the “Now Super Food Enzymes”. The Poopie Policeman: This guy is awesome. He is what all of our poop strive to look like. He is well-shaped (with a consistent contour), passes easily, is light brown in color, and smells earthy, not foul. Yet, he floats…but not too much.
Signs of Healthy Digestion You poop up to 3 times a day, on a regular schedule, roughly 30 minutes after a substantial meal. You poop approximately 12 inches of feces daily Your poop is well formed, easy to pass, and not foul smelling You are well acquainted with the Poopie Policeman If this is you, great job...keep it up. You are probably eating a diet based on whole foods (paleo/ primal), drinking plenty of water, sleeping well, managing your stress levels, and leading a happy life. Now for the other 95% of you reading this and you recognize any of the “criminals” from above, lets move on to the unhealthy signs of digestion.
Signs of Unhealthy Digestion: -Gas -Bloating -Headaches -Burping -Fatigue after eating -Irregular bowel movements (less than 2 movements per day) -Any of the “criminals” in the poopie line-up. -Foul smelling poop
Common Causes of Unhealthy Digestion: Dehydration Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing food requires salvia which contains digestive enzymes. If you are dehydrated, you won’t produce enough saliva/ digestive enzymes to properly break down your foods. If your body is not getting the hydration it requires (1/2 your body weight in ounces), it will search your body and steal water from other organs such as the stomach and large and small intestine. Without adequate water to protect these organs, stomach acid (such as HCL) is left unchecked and ready to help cause ulcers and heartburn. If the colon becomes dehydrated, adequate lubricating mucous cannot be produced to help well formed feces pass. Thus, the colon must excrete any fluid from the feces to help move it along, essentially drying out the feces and making it difficult to pass. Toxic Bowel Toxicity can result from any of the following: food intolerances, processed foods (anything with a self life), sugar, pasteurized dairy products, processed juices, dehydrogenated fats, caffeine, and drug use. Sugar is basically a buffet for bad bacteria in your gut to feed on. Stress Constantly eating on the run, not taking time to properly chew your food disrupts digestion and cause eventual back up in the colon. All 3 of these factors can eventually lead to “Leaky Gut Syndrome”- This topic deserves a post all for itself. Tim Ferris did a great job Here.
How to get that good poo: Make sure you are hydrated! Drink at least 1/2 your body weight in pounds in ounces of water each day. Try and get the majority of your water consumption in before and after meals. Limit your use of dehydrated foods. Avoid foods that you are intolerant/ sensitive to (Grains, Dairy, Artificial sweeteners, Sugar) Chew, chew, chew your food. You should not need water to help you down your food. Do your digestive system a favor and break down your food as much as you can before it travels to your stomach. If you gotta go...GO. Never suppress the urge and create a traffic jam. If you make a habit of holding it in, your body will listen and adapt. Poop left in the colon for too long will become toxic. Consider supplementing with digestive enzymes. Robb wolf has recommended "Now Foods Super Enzymes" to help you properly break down your food. There is a protocol to follow when it comes to supplementing with these enzymes. Start with one capsule mid meal. If you feel a slight warming sensation, that is an indication that you have sufficient HCL production in your digestive system and you should be properly breaking down your foods. However, most people will find that they may need to take as many as 7 tablets/capsules before they feel the warmth. Continue increasing your dosage each meal until you feel the warmth. DO NOT take more than 7 capsules/tablets per meal. If you work your way up to 7 and do not feel the warmth, stay at 7 capsules for an extended period of time (could be as long as a couple of weeks). Be sure to monitor your progress by checking out how you are digesting your foods (sneak a peek in the toilet boil). You may be wondering why we haven’t discussed fiber. It turns out, fiber may actually cause more harm then good when it comes to our digestive health. From Mark’s Daily Apple: “Aim for 6-12 servings of veggies and 1-2 servings of fruit. There is no good reason to overdo fiber. Excessive fiber intake can increase appetite and interfere with healthy digestion, mineral absorption, and elimination. Interestingly, what many folks don’t realize is that increasing fat intake can help with constipation and regular bowels. Try eating more olive oil, fish, avocados, nuts, and flax seeds. Buy DHA-enhanced eggs. And take two or three fish oil pills daily. We promise, it’ll help.” From Dr. Jaminet at “The Perfect Health Diet”: “Most people think that fiber is indigestible, and that it comes out in their stool. This is not true. Fiber is indigestible to humans, but not to bacteria. Fiber is bacterial food that enables gut bacteria to multiply. Bacteria, not undigested food, make up most of the dry weight of stool. Softer soluble fibers from fruits and some vegetables are much more likely to help than wheat bran, but even they may be a good thing only in moderation, or only in a healthy bowel. Fiber feeds pathogenic bacteria as well as probiotic bacteria, and increases the populations of both. When the gut is damaged and leaky, more bacteria mean more bacterial toxins and more pathogens infiltrating the body. A low-fiber diet, leading to reduced bacterial populations in the gut, may be desirable for bowel disease patients.”
A final note for all the Youtube junkies out there- How to Go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLZCoOwn0Jo&feature=channel References/Resources: “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy”- Paul Check (2001) http://shop5.mailordercentral.com/thechekinstitute/How-to-Eat-Move-Be-Healthy/productinfo/3500/ http://www.elitefts.com/documents/shit.htm http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/09/19/paleo-diet-solution/ http://www.marksdailyapple.com/poop-health/ http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=235 http://www.nowfoods.com/Products/M003112.htm