What’s your poo telling you?
Are you a fast mover?
Or do you hold things in?
Or maybe you’ve done your work and now you go with the flow – smooth and easy.
Am I talking about your personality or your poo? Both! If I were a betting gal, I’d wager that your answer to one closely relates to that of the other.
One of my favorite things to talk about with clients is their poo.
(Is that weird?)
I love poo talk because it tells me so much about my client: about their health and about how they show up in the world. Like it or not, the two are often linked. Intimately.
Have you heard of the Bristol Stool Chart? It’s a great way to know how you’re doing poo-wise (thanks, Wikipedia, for the image):
You see: your poo is a key window into your overall health.
Is your poo shiny or greasy? If so, you’re probably not digesting your fats properly. And if you’re not digesting fats properly, what does that say about all the important roles fat plays in your body? How compromised are they?
Do you see bits of undigested food in there? Maybe you’re not chewing properly or you’re eating too quickly. Or maybe you’re low on stomach acid and/or digestive enzymes.
Is your poo clay-colored? That’s an indication your liver isn’t producing enough bile, and bile is really important for both your fat digestion and your body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Low bile production is usually caused either by a diet high in refined, low-quality oils or very low in fat overall.
Do you have the runs? That’s your body in “evacuation” mode. What’s it trying to get rid of in such a hurry? Or maybe you were a little too ambitious with your magnesium or vitamin C supplements.
Is your poo made up of hard, little pellets? This means you’re constipated, even if you go every day. This can be a sign of dehydration, insufficient fiber in your diet, inadequate fat in your diet (or the inability to digest it), a magnesium deficiency, or a number of other things. If you’re constipated, here are some things to try.
Is there blood in your poo? This can actually be serious, so you want to pay attention if this is the case. It might be a sign of hemorrhoids or over-aggressive wiping. Or it might be something more serious. I’d recommend talking to a practitioner if you see blood in your poo on a regular basis.
Is there mucus in your poo? If so, you might have some irritation in your digestive tract either due to food sensitivities, undigested food passing through, or excessive straining. This can also be an indication of colitis or other inflammatory bowel issues.
Does your poo have corners or edges? Or is it flat or “ribbon-shaped”? This can be an indication of something more serious such as an obstruction or spastic bowel, so I’d recommend seeing a practitioner who specializes in colon abnormalities if this is the case.
Did you know there’s actually a holy grail of poo?
In the world of natural health, there’s a gold standard poo, which we rarely see. Here’s what we’re looking for:
- Consistency of a soft-serve ice cream: smooth and easy. Not lumpy-bumpy and not watery.
- No undigested food visible.
- No effort or straining required.
- No magic “poo formula” required. In other words, no “if I have a coffee and stay on top of my fiber intake and take these three supplements, then I have a perfect poo”. If you’ve got to do stuff – whatever that “stuff” might be – to keep yourself regular above and beyond just eating a whole foods diet and staying healthy, then you’ve not achieved the holy grail of poo yet. And by all means – keep using your poo formula to keep it beautiful! But remember some poo formulas are better than others: coffee and a smoke might do the trick, but let’s be smart about this.
- Relatively odorless. Some odor is natural, but your partner shouldn’t gag when they walk into the bathroom after you.
- Only one wipe required.
- Chocolate brown. Not taupe; not black; not purple (even if you’ve eaten beets).
- It feels “complete.”
- It happens daily. Bonus points for three times daily, shortly after each meal.
Understand your poo personality to have better poos
We all have poo personalities. Here’s mine: I’m an Impatient Pooper.
I’m a busy person and often annoyed that I have to interrupt my day with something as banal as pooping. I’m usually rushing and definitely not in the optimal parasympathetic (relaxed) mode that’s required for a great poo experience. If I’m not careful, I’ll wrap things up before I’m truly finished, and will then have that feeling of an incomplete poo and need to go again in the next couple of hours. No bueno.
Knowing this about myself, and also knowing the importance of a good poo, I’ve created a strategy for myself to have the optimal poo experience. I lovingly refer to it as the “Sh*t Shrine.”
My Sh*t Shrine has:
- A squatty-potty for optimal poo posture. Honestly, I don’t know how much of a difference these things make, but it’s definitely more comfortable to be “in position” like this.
- A Tushy bidet system that fits right onto any toilet. If you’re like me and fastidious about the cleanliness of your backside, this is the next best thing to taking a shower after you’ve done your business. Best $60 I’ve spent in a long time.
- A bit of reading material. This is mostly to distract my impatient self. I never get to read much, but at least then I’m not just sitting there feeling annoyed and hurried.
- A nice view. This sounds silly but a good-looking bathroom can help you relax and relaxing is key to a good poo.
I’ve also learned that if I take some nice big breaths right before I go, I have a much better and faster experience than if I rush in all breathless. I learned this when I started meditating regularly and noticed I was having gorgeous poops on those days I meditated. Digestion – all of it! – is a parasympathetic process.
Now that you’re familiar with the holy grail of poo and you know what it can say about you and your health, what’s your poo telling you?
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