Constipation is a shitty situation (I’m sorry, I had to).
How do I know? I’ve been there, many times. And many times I was told that it was “totally normal.” Yes, there are definitely times when things can become a bit jammed, maybe you have a big presentation or public speaking event and are tense even thinking about it, maybe you’re traveling, or maybe you’re spending a weekend away in a small hotel room with a new significant other. What I’m getting at is the power of our thoughts and the digestive functions (and also that it is totally normal and okay to be off schedule once and a while!).
Trust Your Gut
Your digestive tract, or gut, has now been officially recognized as your second brain. There are 100 Million nerve cells lining your gut from head to toe (butt) Source. So, it should come as no surprise that when anxious, stressed, sad, and, yes, even happy, your digestive tract might react. Basically, what I am trying to tell you is there is scientific evidence behind the saying “I laughed so hard I pooped my pants!” All silliness aside, constipation is still a frustrating uphill battle for many. And while going three times a week may still be considered normal, I, personally, feel best when I go AT LEAST twice a day.
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep you day nice and shitty:
Start your morning with a few deep breaths and some warm lemon water. The deep breaths center yourself and keep you in a parasympathetic state for optimal digestion. The lemon h2o helps to stimulate the liver and gallbladder to release bile and get things moving.
Eat some beets! Not only do these help you get a handle on, ahem, transit time in the GI (AKA you’ll know when you’ve pooped out the beets you ate), they’re also great for thinning bile and allowing for it to do its job more efficiently. Bile is the unsung hero of the GI tract, it helps emulsify and digest fats, regulates intestinal flora, helps rid body of waste and acts as a defense against certain organisms that may end up in your digestive tract. Beets and beet greens (their leafy tops) are a superb bile thinner.
Fermented Foods! Not only are they chock full of fiber and fuel for your gut microbes, but they bring in reinforcements. This can help get things back on an even keel.
Grab a pineapple. Yes, you heard me, a pineapple. Pineapples contain the enzyme, bromelain, which helps digest proteins. If I’ve had an particularly meaty (?) meal, I’ll grab some pineapple an hour or so later to help keep things chugging along.
It seems like a no-brainer, but stay hydrated! Not only does this help keep your blood flowing, but it delivers essential minerals to your system that can help relax your GI muscles and get things back on a positive flow.
Cut down on your Omega 6 fatty acids and processed foods/sugar. All of these add to your inflammatory response and could be hindering normal GI function because your body is stressed about the inflammation load. We have a an overabundance of Omega 6 fatty acids in our modern, more processed diets, so it is wise to intentionally cut down on them—you’ll be surprised by how many foods have omega 6 in them.*
*Note: this is not me villainizing omega 6 fatty acids—they’re an essential part of our diet and aid in proper inflammation response and hormone production. My argument is that we already get more than enough in our diet, so it would be wise to cut back, not eliminate. We should be consuming a 1:1 ratio of omega 3’s and omega 6’s. The current ratio in the western diet is 15:1. (Source)
A great litmus test to see where you fall on this pooping dilemma is the Bristol Stool Chart. It’s very visual, so you should have no problems classifying where you stand.
If you’re brave….comment below your Bristol number….I’m a 2 :)
The information on this website is intended as educational advice only and should not be used in place of a medical provider to diagnose or treat any illness.