Do you know what defines a healthy poop?
Considering how essential this function is to our overall health & how much a poo can tell - you'd think that we'd know all about it and we’d certainly be teaching our kids!
But in this culture we flush it out of sight as fast as possible, we use pot-pourri to disguise any potential odor & we certainly never ever talk about it.
I highly recommend you get to know your poo.
In my house, with two little ones, no poop goes unexamined. They want to know what it looks like, how big it is, and particularly love the day after we eat corn or beets. (If you didn’t know, corn often stays practically intact through the digestive tract and beets will make your poo look like you are bleeding out your rectum.)
I’ll tackle several key points about the good poo here: take a deep breath, relax & take a peek next time you have the chance.
Look: Your poop should be light to slightly darker brown, well-formed and about the width of your colon. Like a medium sized zucchini or a long sausage. It should be easy to pass (no straining), take about 12 seconds to complete, & gently slide to the bottom of the bowl.
Consistency: Your poop should be soft enough to pass easily but hard enough to keep a solid shape. It should not float, splash or fall apart in the bowl. There should be no undigested food particles still hanging around, unless its corn, seeds or nuts (these are hard to digest). Oh - and - you shouldn’t have to wipe more than three times!
Odor: Poop should smell like poop but not like something died in there. If you can’t tell or you’re in denial - the noses of the people you live with may come in handy.
Transit time: This is the time it takes for food to get from one end to the other (mouth to rectum). Normal time is 12-24 hours. You can check on this (I highly recommend you do!) by eating some corn, or taking 4 charcoal capsules or eating some beets right after your last bowel movement. (Remember to record the time).
Keep a watch out for those poops over the next 2-3 days. This is the easiest way to measure your transit time and see how you measure up. Why do we care? You do not want poop sitting around in your intestines for too long as it begins to putrefy & decay, attracting lots of unhealthy bacteria and creating undesirable metabolic waste products. And if it comes out too fast you are not properly assimilating all the nutrients you need.
Frequency: I want you to know that if you are actually eating you should be going at least 1-3x per day!
If you’ve got an oil sheen floating on top of the toilet water, or strings of mucus in the bowl, this is not normal. Common issues here would be poor fat absorption, and/or inflammation in the lower gastrointestinal tract.
If your poop looks like rabbit pellets, is hard or splashes on contact, it’s quite likely you’re not getting enough fiber, healthy fat or water in your diet.
Red blood on the toilet paper? This suggests a local bleed either from a hemorrhoid or a minor crack or break in the skin around the rectum. If your whole poop is bloody red - ask yourself if you’ve eaten any beets lately.
Black tarry stools absolutely must be checked by a licensed health care practitioner, as this may mean there is a bleed higher up in your digestive tract.