In a perfectly primal world where our bodies thrive in pristine health, this is something that comes as naturally as breathing, and we wouldn’t ever have to think about it. But today, millions of people develop disease which often starts from not doing this incredibly important daily ritual: pooping.
Why must we poop every single day?
We often say, “You are what you eat.” But I’d like to contend that we actually are not so much what we eat, as what we hold on to. On one hand, this can refer to emotional baggage that we hold onto which creates physical illness. On the other hand, this means that it’s not only the food that determines your health, it’s what your body does with the food. When your system is running smoothly, it digests the food completely, absorbing (holding on to) all the nutrients and eliminating the leftover waste. However, when your system is malfunctioning, it not only doesn’t hold on to all the nutrients, it doesn’t eliminate the waste.
What happens if you don’t take out the trash? It rots! It continues to decay, making your house a toxic dump. And it’s exactly the same in your guts. If your body doesn’t ‘take out the trash’ by expelling waste every day, your guts become a toxic dump of decaying waste matter, inviting fungus and parasites to come feast on all the ‘crap’. Yes, it’s digusting and yes, it’s deadly!
What causes constipation?
Infrequent pooping is called constipation. I have read definitions of constipation as pooping less than 3 times a week, but since I’ve just told you that you must poop at least once a DAY, let’s forget about definitions and start listening to our body if it’s not pooping every day. Ok? So, if constipation is a symptom of a sluggish bowel, what is the cause? There are many, including but not limited to:
– Poor diet
– Poor sleep
– Poor breathing
As with addressing all symptoms, this means you must look at how you are attending to your Primal 6. In addition, here are some quick and effective ways to get those bowels moving again!
10 Ways to Ensure You Poop Every Day
1/ Don’t rush through your morning.
Morning is the body’s favourite time to eliminate waste, usually right after waking up or right after breakfast. However, if you spend your morning rushing around and out of the house, your body won’t have time to take out the trash!
So wake up earlier, schedule things later, prepare clothes and breakfast the night before…whatever it takes to have a more relaxing morning for your bowels.
2/ Drink a glass of water right when you wake up. Then all day long.
One of the most common causes of constipation is dehydration, and it only takes one day of low water intake to have a dehydrated colon.
So drink plenty of water all day, starting right when you wake up to signal your bowels of new things entering, so it will get old things exiting! More stubborn bowels may need warmer water, and a squeeze of lemon in the water can help too.
3/ Do belly breathing first thing in the morning.
Lie on a foam roller or just sit quietly for 5 minutes and breathe deeply through your nose, expanding your belly with each breath. This will send more oxygen into your system to get things working better, and also stimulate flow in your digestive area.
You can do this anytime during the day, but upon waking works best as it stimulates that perfect morning poo.
4/ Do holding squats and/or breathing squats. Get moving!
Get down into a full squat (if you can), holding onto furniture if you need to keep from falling backward, and stay there for several minutes or as long as you can.
You can also try breathing squats, breathing out through your nose as you squat down and breathing in through your nose and you stand up. Continue to stand and squat in rhythm with your breathing rate.
Keep moving your body in any way throughout the day. A good brisk walk is often enough to get your bowels moving. Here are ways to get more movement into your day without making time for it.
5/ Squat at the toilet
Get a squatty potty, or simply put a wide stool under your feet when you are sitting on the toilet. This puts you in a squat position, opening up the bend in the lower part of your colon so the waste can easily slide right out. Until you have a stool, lean forward, rest your elbows on your knees and lift up onto your tiptoes.
6/ Eat a big ass breakfast
This is especially crucial for people who tend to poop after breakfast instead of upon wake-up (though good for everyone!). Sit down while you eat and don’t rush out the door too soon after – give your body time to digest, relax and let go of yesterday’s waste.
Don’t forget that processed grains like instant oats, commercial breads and breakfast cereal are not a healthy meal, but rather are often a cause of the constipation in the first place. If you need more convincing, read my article on breakfast cereal.
7/ Eat a balance of animal and plant food all day
If you’ve heard anything about constipation, it’s fiber, fiber, fiber. Let me set this straight. Yes, a diet rich in fiber is an important part of maintaining healthy bowel movements. However, there are two caveats.
One, there is far more fiber in fruits and vegetables than in grains, and far less digestive issues resulting from the fruits and veg. Two, if you are already constipated, adding more fiber is likely to plug you up more, as shown in this study on fibre and constipation.
So, avoid processed grains and fiber supplements. Get your fiber from vegetables and fruits, and balance that with good quality protein and fat.
8/ Manage your stress
Assess your emotions, schedule, personal needs, finances, relationships, beliefs and health obsessions. Stress is a leading cause of constipation and other digestive issues and diseases.
9/ Take magnesium before bed
Magnesium relaxes the bowel muscles and also attracts water to the bowels, softening the poo for easier elimination. Therefore, magnesium supplements have a great reputation for relieving constipation. Just ensure you choose a high quality supplement with little to no fillers. Take your magnesium right before bed, so you can have a nice poo in the morning.
10/ Swallow some slippery elm
If you are still having constipation issues, there are a couple natural supplements that you can take for a short time to unblock your bowel. One tablespoon of slippery elm in water before bed can be very effective. For severe or prolonged constipation, Cascara Sagrada has a laxative effect. Both can be purchased over the counter at most health food/vitamin stores, and are for short term use only, while you get busy with your Primal 6 so you don’t get constipated again.
Do you have another natural remedy for constipation? Share it with us in the comments!
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