The Straight Poop on Stool

toilet

Everybody poos. Are we getting awkward yet? Fantastic. Yes, we each have our own bathroom habits and the information your unique #2 supplies can help you, and your healthcare practitioner, explore gut issues and even food sensitivities.

What is poo made of? Though some females claim it’s all glitter and unicorn smiles, nope; it’s the pretty much the same as our male counterparts. Stool is about 75% water with the remainder being a combination of fiber, live and dead bacteria, body cells, and mucus. Yay! (Bowel) Moving on…

Often times, our BMs (bowel movements) have established themselves in a certain way for most of our lives and we’ve never stopped to examine them. Have you ever wondered what is “normal” in terms of consistency and frequency? 

Next time, before you ‘flush and dash’, take a look….what is the shape, texture, and color? Does it float or sink?  Each of these factors can give insight into hydration, food sensitivities, digestive issues and more.

Oprah has her microphone, plumbers have plungers, fortune tellers have crystal balls, and dietitians..well we have the Bristol Stool Chart! Behold this amazing tool that can help you categorize your BMs and problem-solve to make them into everything you’ve ever dreamed your digestion could produce.

Disclaimer:  these poos are not real. No poo was harmed in the creation of this blog.

bristol stool chart numbers

Poo Types
1: hard, rabbit-like pellets that are hard to expel
2: a contiguous piece but lumpy and still a bit hard
3: a smoother sausage-like poop with cracks
4: sausage or snake-like, smooth and soft
5: soft pieces, clearly separated
6: mushy stool, ragged edges, not well-defined
7: entirely liquid stool

I think mine was a ‘4’ – is that okay? Gold star for you, perfect pooper! In general, the goal is to stay within types 3-5.

Why is poo brown? When red blood cells break down, there’s a pigment called bilirubin which is made. The bacteria in the intestines transforms the combination of bilirubin, iron (from the red blood cells), and waste into a brown poo.

But what if my poo is red/yellow/green/tarry/mucus-y? Oh gosh, pull up a stool…er, chair…okay, bright red can be from a bleeding ulcer, hemorrhoids, or even eating beets. The first two are worth seeing a doctor about, the third is just a reminder of something you ate within the past few days and isn’t serious. Yellowish-green color can be caused by the green bile that combines with the waste products in the gut but move too quickly through the intestines to turn brown before making the exit. This color, which is typically involved in a malabsorption disorder (i.e. celiac disease), is associated with excess fat in the stool. The green color can also be caused by eating lots of leafy greens, food coloring, or iron supplements. Black tarry stools can indicate that there has been blood which, along its route in your intestines, dried up. This can signal internal bleeding and is worth a trip to the doctor.

Mucus can be clear or vary from white to yellow and looks a bit like jelly. Gawd, can this get any more gross? Yes, because even though mucus is normal to have in your gut to help move things along without much friction, sometimes this can get out-of-hand when there are ulcers or inflammation in the intestines. You may want to let your healthcare provider know if this is an issue for you.

How often should I go? Disturbingly enough, a pediatrician once asked a young dietitian-to-be how often she had a BM; the answer of “once every 3-4 days” was met with a response of “that’s normal, everyone is different.” Only later in her studies did the young one find that having 3-4 days worth of toxins in one’s gut is not normal nor healthy. This is why a dietitian worth her sea salt is going to ask you about not only what goes into your mouth, but what comes out the other end. Because we ❤ you and want you to feel amazing. To answer your question though – ‘normal’ will vary from 3x a week to 3x per day. Generally transit time from eating to expelling runs about 18-72 hours. 

Get a handle on what’s going on inside your guts by paying attention and talking with a healthcare professional about your digestive concerns.

Stay tuned! Our next topic will be problem-solving diarrhea and constipation as well as tips on how to have the perfect poo!

How to Reduce Free Radical Exposure

photo source: prixray.com

photo source: prixray.com

Free radicals cause oxidative damage & change DNA structure of the cells in the body. Part of this is due to our daily natural cell functioning; however, quite a bit can come from external toxins.

How to reduce free radicals and cellular oxidation

Avoid smoking and exposure
Reducing exposure to x-rays
Avoid tanning beds or over-exposure to the sun
Wear a protective mask around chemicals & other air pollutants
Reduce grilling of foods
Limit and/or avoid alcohol consumption

It can be difficult to avoid many of these external free radicals, be conscious of avoiding what sources you can and remember the importance of eating a rainbow of antioxidants in your everyday eating habits.

Is your Skin Eating Toxins?

You may be following a healthy diet, eating organic fruits and vegetables, but still harming your body by applying chemicals to your skin. In the quest for a healthy lifestyle, keep in mind that your skin in your largest organ and what is applied becomes rapidly absorbed. People are often are unaware of the variety of preservatives in products and their effects on our health; many have been found to disrupt thyroid function and hormones. Preservatives help make products last longer and prevent mold growth, but they don’t have to cause harm. Next time you are shopping for hair and skin care products, read the ingredient label! Look for products that contain natural ingredients such as neem oil, rosemary, salt, lemon, sugar, honey, vinegar, grapeseed extract, citric acid, alpha tocopherol, and castor oil. What should your stay away from?

The Top 5 Most Popular Preservatives are:
1. Parabens
2. Formaldehyde
3. Acids (including organic)
4. Phenoxyethanol
5. Isolthiazolinones

Spring Cleaning the Body

detox body

When spring comes around we typically engage in the ritual of the big ‘spring cleaning’ where we open our doors, get the dust out, clean out our closets, have garage sales, and organize our living spaces.However, spring can be a time to clean up our whole life, meaning our diet, mind, and overall health. To detoxify our life, we can focus on de-cluttering our bodies, our environment, and our mind.

To start, lets take a look at our bodies. In order to cleanse them, we need to pay attention to what we are putting in them. Make sure to drink ample amounts of water as it will help flush out toxins. Also certain foods like fruits and vegetables can naturally help detoxify the body. Eat foods like Kale, Asparagus, Grapefruit, and Ginger to aid in cleansing.

In addition to what we put in our bodies, we also need to give them enough time to rest and recover. This is where the importance of sleep comes into play. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night and refrain from watching television or using electronics before bed.