Is Your Poop Normal?
So, as you can see from the title this week, I am covering a messy subject. LITERALLY!
This topic may be uncomfortable, but it’s so important for you to know what makes a healthy “poop” because it can tell you a lot about your digestion.
And if your digestion is off, this could be an indication that something else is going on that you need to address.
I know you are either dying to dive into this post or feeling like you want to close this and forget I ever mentioned it.
Which one will it be?
I hope you are still with me! This is important for your health.
Yes, I'm serious! (And don't you sometimes wonder anyway?)
You already know that your poop can reflect your physical, and sometimes even emotional, health.
You may get constipation or have diarrhea when you eat something that "doesn't agree with you," or when you're super-nervous about something.
And what about fiber and water? If you’re not getting enough, it’ll probably show in your poop.
What about the all-important gut microbes? If they're not happy, it'll probably show in your poop.
Here’s a trivia question for you:
Did you know there is an “official” standard for poop? I mean a university-created chart! One that is used to help diagnose conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Meet the Bristol Stool Scale
The Bristol Stool Scale was created at the prestigious University of Bristol in the UK back in 1997.
You can click the link below to check it out.
The scale breaks down the type of poop into seven different categories ranging from type 1 which is very constipated, to type 7 which is diarrhea:
1 - Separate hard lumps (very constipated).
2 - Lumpy and sausage-like (slightly constipated).
3 - Sausage shaped with cracks in the surface (normal)
4 - Smooth, soft sausage (normal).
5 - Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (lacking fiber).
6 - Mushy consistency with ragged edges (inflammation).
7 - Liquid consistency with no solid pieces (inflammation).
Other “poop” factors to consider
You probably guessed that the shapes described in the Bristol Stool Scale are not the only thing to consider for poop health.
Think about how often you go. At least once per day, up to 3 times per day is pretty good. Less than one, or more than three can mean there is something going on.
What about how hard you have to try to go? You want it to be as effortless as possible.
And the color? It should be brown from the bile that you need to break down the fats you ingest.
And if it’s green after a day of massive veggies, or red after that large glass of beet juice, you’re just fine.
But if you see an abnormal color, like red or even black, that you can't explain based on what you ate or drank in the last day or two, you probably want to get that checked out.
What do you do when you have "imperfect" poo?
Well, the first thing to consider is how imperfect it is, and how often it is like that? Occasionally, things aren't going to be perfect, and that's A-OK.
If you know you need to get more fiber or water, then try increasing that. Ground flax seeds are awesome when added to smoothies for bakes recipes.
If you haven’t had enough probiotic foods, then try getting more of them. I always take an extra probiotic myself every day because I don't eat dairy or enough fermented foods.
If you’re super-stressed, then try deep breathing, meditating, or having a warm bath. Speak to your doctor or health coach about adding a magnesium supplement for possible relief.
Oh, and don’t forget the two most basic pieces of nutrition advice:
First, eat a variety of nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods, including a lot of fruits & veggies (and their “fibrous” skins, wherever possible). The fiber in these is not only helpful for pushing food through your gut, but they also feed those millions of amazing helpful critters that live there (your friendly gut microbes.)
The second piece of advice is to eat slowly, and mindfully, chewing thoroughly.
These are good habits for anyone and everyone, even when you have perfect poop!
Of course, long-term issues might require a more thorough review with a qualified health care practitioner. Don't suffer from poop issues for too long before seeking help. Also, GO GET YOUR COLONOSCOPY AFTER 50 YEARS OF AGE!
Your gut is your second brain and in order for you to continue to live a long and healthy life, you need a healthy gut. As I have talked about in previous posts, poor gut health can lead to depression, anxiety, and a variety of other health issues. Your health is worth a little bit of uncomfortable subject matter.
I hope that you all have a beautiful and blessed week. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about your health or how to follow a protocol given to you by your doctor. My job as a Health Coach is to empower you, encourage you and support you in your wellness journey. It's not just about losing weight. I want you to live your best life in every aspect.
Check out this tasty and gut-friendly recipe.
Recipe (dairy-free probiotic): Super-Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt
2 cans full-fat coconut milk
2 probiotic capsules,
Open the probiotic capsules and empty contents into the blender. Blend with coconut milk.
Transfer to a sanitized glass jar (make sure it’s not still hot - you don’t want those probiotics to die).
Store it in a warm place for 24-48 hours. If it's not thick enough for you, you can let it ferment for another 24 hours.
Add your favorite yogurt toppings, and store the rest for up to a week in the fridge.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Fermenting food is not an exact science. If this doesn’t work out as you’d like it to, try different brands of coconut milk and/or probiotics.
Here are a few additional links for your reading enjoyment.