Pooping Is Underrated

Maybe this is not the topic you want to hear about mid-week.

Maybe you think it’s not really related to food-as-medicine.

Maybe you think your poop patterns are normal (or you’ve been told they are, even by a gastroenterologist).

Other cultures celebrate pooping. It’s discussed as if it’s a normal day to day conversation, and definitely is of high relevance when it comes to mothers and fathers and grandparents talking about it with their children.

“Did you go poopoo today?”

I remember some years ago when my kids were little that if my mother-in-law was visiting she was sure to ask me if her grandchild went #2 that morning. And if the child didn’t, or if I shrugged it off, it was quite a concern to her. I blew it off then (I was in conventional GI and we were taught that not going every day or even every other day or 3rd day was “OK”… and this was taught in grad school/med school too).

But fast forward years into understanding root cause and holistic medicine and system-wide nutrition, as well as the innate ways the body heals and detoxifies, it is brainless to me. You must poop daily. Most people gotta poop daily.

Consider that Sarah Gottfried, a well-known functional medicine physician, recently talked on the Huberman podcast about babies that grimace when pooping or constipated. It is not meant to stay in! It is the body’s natural way of excreting many unnecessary compounds (not just toxins but excess hormones, microorganisms and more) and keeping the body innately in balance.

We ought to let the body do its job and keep us in homeostasis. Maintaining a regular bowel movement is one of the ways to improve your health. Of course a deep dive can be necessary if you’re someone dealing with long term constipation, and yes, you might need some medications to help, but in the meantime, work towards the root cause of the problem.

Here are 5 natural ways to help with BMs. If you’ve tried all these to no avail, it’s time to discuss and be evaluated by your medical provider or nutritionist.

  1. Invoke the gastro-colic reflex: have some water or movement or coffee in the morning, right when you get up.  
  2. Hydrate. A lot. 
  3. Try a Squatty Potty.
  4. Try Magnesium Citrate
  5. Eat 34-40 grams of fiber daily (most people I see get in about 10-20 grams a day), but go low and slow if you’re not used to that much fiber already!

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