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“Blessed are You, Hashem our God, King of the universe, Who formed man with wisdom and created within him many openings and many hollows. It is obvious and known before Your Throne of Glory that if even one of them ruptures, or if even one of them becomes blocked, it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You (even for a short period). Blessed are You, Hashem, Who heals all flesh and acts wondrously.”
-Asher yatzar, Jewish Prayer said after pooping
Did you know that orthodox community there is offered a prayer after going to the bathroom?
I heard this somewhere or another and it kind of blew my mind. I liked it. I liked the idea that there’s such a respect for the body and the soul that a prayer of gratitude is prayed after every successful poop.
Business In Ancient Times
In the 12th and 13th century, pooping as well as bathing in general was a communal act. There were bath houses and public toilets in villages and cities. Even in ancient Rome, people were known to have lengthy conversations with one another while on the pot. Bath houses were places where multiple toilet seats would be lined up, side by side, perhaps up to 10 or 12 in one room!
It came to be known where business was done.
Can you imagine?
After watching a documentary about the history of the bathroom in England, I started to wonder, Did people struggle with fear of pooping in public? Did people have issues with constipation? If so, how did that play out in a public bath house?
The reason I find this so incredibly fascinating is because I’m one of those people who has historically struggled to go in public or even while visiting others homes.
It’s always been a difficult subject for me to talk about. But it wasn’t until I began to write my upcoming ebook about living healthy inside and out, that I learned I wasn’t the only one who had a troubled past with pooping.
Turns out that friends, co-workers, and clients have all struggled with this. Not all mind you, but enough that I started to notice a trend. And though I’m not thrilled that a lot of my work has started to center around poop, I am really happy that I’m able to actually help people with this, often times, debilitating problem.
But now, we look around our western culture and pooping has become a taboo topic. It’s very hush, hush.
It’s so taboo that even when we see health professionals, they’ll rarely ask the state of our elimination. Yet poop is an essential aspect of determining what’s actually going on in the body. It’s the primary of, many ways, our body removes waste. And by examining our output we can get clues about how our organs are functioning. In fact, physicians actually used to taste the urine of patients to “see” what imbalances there were.
However, many preventable and reversible health problems go untreated in their early stages because western medicine fails to see the profound connection between our digestive health and our overall health.
I find this heartbreaking because for so many Americans constipation is part of life. And they go on living life as if being constipated several days were totally normal. All the while they struggle with allergies, weight gain, stomach pain, hormonal imbalances and even more series problems like cancer. If we were more open about this I think we would see fewer chronic and serious digestive health problems.
So as we dive in, I ask that whether you’re as regular as the day is long or whether your as constipated as can be, that you to listen because this is life saving info.
Why is digestion so important?
Our digestive health is so important that I could actually say our digestive is our health.
There is no much ground breaking research going on right now about the universe of microorganisms living in and on our body, that many scientists believe this new data will change the way we practice modern medicine.
To simplify what is a very complicated issue, let me put something in perspective for you. Your beautiful body is comprised of over 10 trillion human cells with human DNA. But that’s not all that you are. In addition to 10 trillion human cells, you’re also made up of 100 trillion bacterial cells. That’s 10x’s the number of human cells.
All of this bacteria, which actually is more of a collection of bacteria, yeast, and micro organisms, live on and throughout the body. There are various “breeds”, if you will, which are distinctly unique and serve specific functions.
But what I find most fascinating is that of that 100 trillion cells, 80% are located in your gut, your tummy, your intestines. 80%!
That’s a huge population. And some experts estimate that if you were to weigh that collection of helpful bacteria, it would weigh close to 5 pounds.
This is so important.
It’s revolutionary actually.
Because these microorganisms are responsible for our immune health. Your immune system has more to do with your gut health than anything else. And strangely enough, your brain health, which we will get into a little later.
So, if you feel like you can’t lose weight no matter what you do, or that you struggle with constipation, depression, or anxiety it’s time to take a very close look at your digestive health.
How much should I be going?
Bare minimum, you really need to be going at least once a day and no less.
Going less than once a day is a sign that your digestion is slow and out of balance. This can lead to discomfort and pain in the short term. Over the long term, chronic constipation can lead to serious health problems and even colon cancer.
Going twice a day is ideal. Sometimes, even 3 times a day is possible. More than that means that you have a very active bowel and need to slow it down a bit. If you move your bowels too fast, you’re likely missing out on the proper amount of time needed to absorb essential nutrients.
Keep in mind that everyone has a different constitution, metabolism, age, gender, lifestyle, and health history. You’ll need to find what works for you, however, not pooping is a sure sign that something needs to be addressed; especially if you’re experiencing constipation on a weekly or monthly basis.
Here’s a quick test to see how fast or slow your digestion really is. Prepare some organic corn on the cob. Eat only corn for dinner one evening. See how long it takes for you to see corn in your poop. If you see it the next morning, your digestion is fast. If you see it the next afternoon, your digestion is on track. If you see it the follow morning, your digestion is slow. If you don’t see it, you didn’t eat the corn like I told you to.
Why aren’t I pooping?
- Lack of movement, sitting too much
- Not enough water
- Magnesium and mineral deficiency
- Too many cold foods and beverages (especially in the morning)
- Not enough food; too much food
- Too much processed food
- Eating too late in the evening
- Stress and worry; shame or fear
- Not enough vegetation, raw foods and fiber
- Poor gut bacteria and depleted micro-biome
- Over medicated, side effects from medication (especially antibiotics)
- Not pooping in the right position
- Not listening to the body; turning off the urge
How do I fix it?
1.) Move your body
To “move your bowels” you may need to get moving. Did you know that Americans now officially spend more hours sitting than they do sleeping?
Physical activity will definitely shake things up, and get you pooping. Do two rounds of 100 jumping jacks. That aught to do it.
2.) Get a standing desk!
I work from home part-time and use my dresser or the bar in my kitchen as a work station.
Whatever it takes to get you off your cheeks and on your feet, do it. A recent study deemed sitting the new smoking. So if you’re against smoking and think it’s a bad habit then you need to adopt this attitude towards too much sitting.
3.) Do deep stretches in the morning
Flexibility can increase at any age and at any time. Keep the body flexible, keep the mind flexible. Bend over and touch your hands to floor while keeping your legs straight. This may take practice to build up to but you can get to this level easily.
Another great stretch is to assume Child’s pose. Sit on the floor and place your legs under your butt, and fold your torso over your knees like a child or baby.
Rub your tummy. From your perspective, looking at your belly button, massage your large intestine gently, moving from below your belly button (12 o’clock), up and to the right in a clockwise direction. Think Winnie the Poo rubbing his belly. This follows the directional path of digestion.
4.) Drink plenty of purified water
Tap water is a luxury, no doubt. However, there are harsh chemicals like fluoride and chlorine that are used to kill bacteria and pathogens in the water. These also kill friendly bacteria in the gut.
I drink ultra purified water. It has a high pH and undergoes a process called reverse osmosis. It’s .39 cents a gallon at my local co-op. You can get it at Whole Foods at the re-fill station. If you don’t know what this is, ask a friendly team member to show you how to use it.
5.) Take a magnesium oxide supplement before bed
Most Americans are deficient in key minerals due to a lack of quality soil. Minerals, especially magnesium, are what help our entire bodies function properly.
If you feel super amped, stressed, wired, or get muscle cramps then you’re probably magnesium deficient.
I take a magnesium oxide supplement every night before bed. It puts me right to sleep, and it helps me go in the morning. This is non-habit forming.
6.) Eat a warm breakfast
When it’s cold outside, water freezes. If you step out into severely cold weather, you can feel your muscles kind of tensing because the body is trying to conserve heat.
Eating too many cold foods in the morning like a frozen smoothie, cereal, or yogurt and berries sounds like it aught to be healthy. This is my experience: save those things for an afternoon snack or for dinner. And try to eat cold foods during the summer months.
First thing in the morning, you’ll need to be gentle to your digestive system by eating warming, grounding, and mineral rich foods like eggs, steamed root veggies and greens, porridge, oatmeal, and even soup or broth.
7.) Find ways to reduce stress
Remember those 100 trillion passengers you have? Well they respond incredibly well to our hormones. Stress triggers a hormonal reaction in the body. Our bacteria respond almost instantaneously.
You actually 90% of your total serotonin (mood, happiness, sleep, appetite regulating neurotransmitter) is produced in your gut!
Have you ever had the urge to go, then something stresses you out like your kid banging on the door, or husband asking you a question from the other room, and now you can’t go? That’s what that is.
Soothe yourself and be kind to yourself. Be relaxed as much as you can and set boundaries around bathroom time if you have to! After all it is sacred.
Stress affects you in two very important ways.
- Lowers your serotonin production
- Increases your cortisol levels (stress hormone, aka, the fat storing hormone)
8.) Look at your root chakra
Following along with the idea of stress affecting your digestion, shame and anxiety equally get associated with poo problems.
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, our Root Chakra is associated with family and belonging.
Sometimes there are underlying issues of shame and the fear of being exposed. Perfectionism and a family history of drug or alcohol abuse may be a factor in why you might have excess worry.
I haven’t done any major research on this, but what I’ve found is that a lot of the women I’ve worked with or spoken with who struggle with this issue have one or more family members with an addiction. I personally think that family issues can affect us in such a deep way, we’re not even aware of it. Healing old wounds and finding a way to become more connected with family members and feel more accepted by them can only result in feeling more free. Maybe even more free to poop.
9.) Foods to eat
The #1 missing food in the American diet is greens.
Greens are rich in chlorophyll, minerals, and vitamins. They’re an amazing source of fiber and the little friendly guys that live in your gut love this kind of fiber.
Eat lots of greens, legumes, chia seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin which are all loaded with fiber.
Again, from an Ayurvedic standpoint, the root chakra is associated with the color red. Try easting seasonal red foods like apples, raspberries, beets, red bell peppers, strawberries, cranberries, red radishes, pomegranates, and other red fruits or vegetables.
Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha tea, or kevass and/or take a probiotic supplement.
10.) Pooping in the right position
In nature you, you will hardly see an animal or a tribal human that doesn’t squat to pee or poo. Use a squatty potty, basket, or trash can to get the right form for your descending colon. Squatting to poo provides the perfect angle for our colon to move the stool without any blockage.
I use a small basket where I keep extra toilet paper and stuff. Every time I go, I pull the basket out, set my feet on top and go. Another friend of mine uses her bathroom trashcan. Try it and I can bet you’ll poop with less strain.
In closing, I’d like to say how important it is to listen to your body and give yourself plenty of time to take care of business in the morning. Really allow yourself the time you need to care for your basic human needs. We all go poop and it’s my hope that people can find healing. If you know someone who struggles with this problem, please share this post with them. It could save their life and make their days so much easier.
This has been an excerpt from my up-coming ebook which is now available for pre-order here. I’m offering 2 bonuses if you pre-order today. A Facebook Live Q&A + a printable Healthy Morning Routine PDF.
Pop over here and to pre-order yours. These bonuses go away next week.