What's the scoop on poop - How to fix your bathroom troubles.
Let’s start by saying that, I have 3 boys under 12. Now if you have boys, or have ever been around them, then you will understand me when I say that the topic of Poop is an all day / everyday conversation. Yet despite their extreme fascination with the topic, whenever I try to actually ask them about their BM (bowel movements) they completely shut down and say
“ MOM!! Are you kidding, why are you so weird, what is wrong with you, we are not going to tell you about our poop… seriously mom your embarrassing us”
Why is this? Why is it when it comes to talking about poop we completely shut down and get so embarrassed.
I mean like the kids' book says “Everybody Poops”
Ok, case in point.. As I’m writing this I wanted to check my memory on that book title, so I said
“Hey Siri, Everybody Poops” her reply “That’s Not Nice”. Really?? Even Siri won’t talk about poop.
Listen, I get it, and I have been there, pooping can be embarrassing, especially when something is wrong or not working as it should, which can make it even harder to talk about.
First, let me tell you a bit about my struggles on my journey to pooping freedom. For years I suffered with 2 types of BMs, I either had diarrhea or extreme constipation - that’s it, no in between.
I was suffering from IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) which is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine and can cause a range of symptoms including; abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea and or constipation.
IBS is caused by diet and stress, however, at the time I was completely unaware of this. Not only was I suffering with these unwanted painful symptoms, but what I was doing to treat it was only making matters much worse.
Due to the fact that I was “Emabrassed” to talk about this, I was choosing to suffer silently. It was affecting my social and work life and I would always have to make plans around how I felt, and if I thought I would be sick.
Seriously, just the thought of getting stuck in public with diarrhea was MORTIFYING!!! which stressed me even more.
When it came to work, I began drinking Pepto-Bismol in the mornings to ensure I would get through my shift diarrhea free. This started a dangerous cycle; By taking the Pepto-Bismol I was blocking what needed to get out and constipating myself, sometimes for days and to the point where I was in so much pain I would have to call in sick. Then after a few days off with diarrhea, I would go back to work and start the whole cycle over again.
This went on for a long time, over year until I ended up in the hospital. Now my worst fears were out in the open, but not only that, I now had to have enemas in front of all these doctors and nurses. I knew after leaving the hospital, that I needed to fix this horrible problem. It took me a few years to really fix the problem, but now I can honestly look back and say - I can’t even remember the last time I had diarrhea or was constipated.
So how do you fix this? Well, let’s look at some of the causes.
First off diet - Dairy, refined grains and flours, processed sugar, coffee, alcohol and fatty foods can all cause, and worsen IBS symptoms.
One of the main factors and what’s missing from all the foods above is the FIBER!
Seriously, WTF !! (Where’s the Fiber)
Fiber is the mainstay of a healthy intestinal tract. Fiber gives bulk to your stool and helps pass it along nice and smoothly. Fiber also helps set the stage when it comes to the good guys in your gut, fiber itself is a prebiotic which helps feed and create more good bacteria in the gut that help us to properly digest the foods we eat. Fiber, along with water helps keep things… dare I say “Moist” 😬 and prevents your poop from getting too hard.
Currently the recommendation for daily fiber intake is 38g for men and 25g for women. However, most men and women only get about half that a day and some less than that. If you want to have even better results and prevent and reverse chronic conditions, the recommendations go up to 50+ grams per day.
So if fiber is the be all end all when it comes to healthy poop - then where do you get it?
Well, let me first say where you don’t get it. Fiber is not found in meat, dairy, refined grains, flours and sugars.
So what’s left… You guessed it, PLANTS!
Here are a few examples to get you started.
Pears 5.5 per medium
Raspberries 8g per cup
Blackberries 7.6g per cup
Bananas 3g per medium
Avocado 6.7 per half
Apples 4.5g per medium
Carrots 5g per cup
Broccoli 5.1g per cup
Artichokes 10.3 per medium
Brussels sprouts 4.1g per cup
Potatoes with skin 4g per cup
Yams 4 per cup
Greens 3-4g per cup
Navy beans 19g per cup
Split peas 16g per cup
Lentils 16g per cup
Black beans 15g per cup
Chickpeas 12g per cup
Kidney 11g per cup
Grains (as whole as possible)
Oats 6g per half cup
Quinoa 6g per cup
Whole wheat pasta 5g per cup
Brown rice 3.5g per cup
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds 3.5g per ounce
Chia seeds 10g per ounce
Flax 8g per ounce
Pumpkin seeds 5g per ounce
These are just a few examples, but you can start to see how it can add up over the course of the day.
An easy breakfast swap would be; Instead of a bagel with cream cheese, which only has about 2.5g of fiber - You could have half a cup of oatmeal with a chopped up banana and apple, topped with chia seeds, which would give you about 23.5g of fiber. See the difference.
Some things to keep in mind.
Up your water. Remember fiber adds bulk and one of the ways it does this is by drawing in water. To keep things soft and moving along nicely, you need to make sure you are drinking enough water. On average, that’s about 2 liters of water, herbal teas count, but not coffee.
As I said in the beginning, stress can also have an affect your digestion and poop. When we are in a state of stress our bodies have to prioritize which systems are active to ensure our best chance of survival. And Although running away from loins VS a confrontational meeting with your boss, are not the same. Your mind and body can’t tell the difference in the eyes of stress. That said, your digestion takes a back seat, which causes you to get backed up. Taking time for yourself and trying not to sweat the small stuff can go a long way when it comes to your health.
Just remember change takes time, but little steps in a new direction lead to bigger and better destinations.
Let me know below in the comments, if you too have suffered with digestion problems and how it’s affected you.
Love, and Wellness