‘Crap-e’ Diem! 5 Tips for AM Poo

What partially inspired this topic was an experience we had while in our dietetic internship (for those unfamiliar, to be a registered dietitian-nutritionist one has 4 years of medical training and then a year of paying, not paid, internship). Between our collective stress as a cohort and our lifestyle factors, which included adult beverages and dancing at bars on weekends, it’s no wonder that, while walking with a friend to meet with our program director, she had a grimace on her face. When asked what was wrong, she grouchily responded, “I haven’t had my morning poo”. We were flabbergasted. Though we were far from the Bridgerton-era of delicate sensibilities, no one talked about poo. Ever. She helped to change that, as her simple statement helped illustrate how integral a morning routine, with a healthy bowel movement, could be. Lest you ever find yourself grimacing because you too have not had a good morning poo, we’ve got you, boo.

Pooping is a common problem in the United States, affecting all ages and populations. About 16% of adults, and 33% of adults 60 and older have symptoms of constipation.

What are symptoms of constipation?

< 3 bowel movements per week

stools that are hard, small and difficult to pass

a feeling of having incomplete bowel movements

Who could be at risk for Constipation?

Pretty much everyone. But more specifically:

• Pregnant women and those who have recently given birth

• People who are not getting enough fiber

• Those taking certain supplements or medications (including iron supplements or diuretics, calcium channel blockers, depression, and pain medication)

• If you’re stressed you’re probably not going to be pooping very well

• Those with certain health conditions or gastrointestinal disorders (e.g. IBS)

Constipation can be a sign of a medical problem so you’re going to want to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to rule more serious issues out.

5 Tips for a Good Morning Poo

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1. As a general principle, you want to ensure you are drinking enough water. This seems basic and so many people skip over this, but don’t. When the body isn’t properly hydrated, it draws water out of the colon, which results in hard, dry stools.

2. This goes along with #1; get enough fiber into your diet. Plant foods are a great way to achieve this; however, if you increase your fiber intake without getting enough water, you’re going to have more ‘plumbing’ issues. Adults should get at least 25 grams of fiber per day.

3. Move your body and get your bowels moving. Whether it’s a light morning jog, walk, or even jumping jacks, this could help move things along your digestive tract.

4. Hot beverages. The heat from tea, coffee, or hot water and lemon can help stimulate a bowel movement. The high levels of caffeine in coffee are known to stimulate the bowels. A word of caution, you don’t want to have to rely on this.

5. Squat it out. A toilet stool or Squatty Potty can put your body in a position to make elimination easier.

Remember, talk with your friendly registered dietitian-nutritionist to investigate the amounts and types of fiber in your diet as well as to plan more fiber-rich meals.

So try these tips and ‘Crap-e’ Diem everyday!

Dietitian vs. Nutritionist

dietitian vs nutritionist one bite wellness

If you’re confused about the difference between a registered dietitian (R.D.) and a nutritionist, you’re not the only one. After meeting with a doctor last week who asked this question, we figured it was high-time to explore the education, options, and state requirements with you. It’s confusing out there, so let’s clarify this situation.

Whether your goals include losing weight, having a healthy pregnancy, reducing high blood sugars and cholesterol, or improving athletic performance, diet is the place to start. A professional who specializes in nutrition is key, since their advice is based on knowledge, skills, and experience. But why might you want to make an appointment with a registered dietitian and not a nutritionist?

The key difference is in the education and training each has received. Outside of Ohio and a few other states, nutritionists often do not require any formal training, license, nor certification in order to set up a practice. Essentially anyone can call themselves a nutritionist in certain states such as Colorado and California, where there isn’t any requirement to be licensed (or even educated) as a nutritionist.

If you live in Ohio, someone who calls himself/herself a nutritionist is a registered dietitian (or is breaking the law). The person has been licensed by the Ohio Board of Dietetics (now the State Medical Board of Ohio) and may use the terms ‘clinical nutritionist’,’nutrition counselor’ and ‘nutrition consultant.’ A registered dietitian has completed the following:

  1. A minimum of a four-year college degree, with specific study of human nutrition through the life cycles, anatomy and physiology, as well as other sciences
  2. A 1,200-hour minimum, supervised internship
  3. Passed a national credentialing exam, which covers nutrition information from clinical to food service and community aspects
  4. Maintaining at least 75 continuing education credits every 5 years

Dietitians comply with a code of ethics by which to guide their practice and rely on evidence-based nutrition recommendations.

If you’re in a state outside of Ohio (perhaps one that doesn’t require licensing), know that some of the people calling themselves nutritionists can still be helpful and knowledgeable. To seek the advice and expertise of a registered dietitian, you can look for the RD or RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist) initials after their name.