Did you know that in an ideal world you should have two to three bowel movements a day, one for each main meal, and that they should be inoffensive in odour?
So if you aren’t visiting the toilet regularly, straining or simply leaving a nasty odour behind you, then something’s not right.
The large intestine alone is approximately 5 feet long and 2 ½ inches in diameter. So you’re probably wondering how long should it take between eating a meal and passing a stool? An adequate transit time is 12-24 hours.
If you want to test your transit time eat some sweetcorn and record the time it takes before it appears in your stool. Is your transit time too long? Are you passing stools that are hard and difficult to pass or long thin mucousy stools?
Chronic constipation can lead to
- Coated tongue
- Bad Breath
- Headaches/ Migraines
- Bloatedness/ Gas
- Lack of energy/ fatigue
- Indigestion/ Acid Reflux
- Skin Conditions
- Sinus Problems/ Excess Mucous
While these symptoms may seem to be harmless, although annoying, frustrating and uncomfortable for you, the real problem is that if left untreated you could end up with more serious conditions.
- Diverticulosis/ Diverticulitis
- Bowel Cancer
Laxatives are not the solution!
Worldwide, laxatives are the second largest selling pharmaceuticals, ahead of antacids. You are probably unaware of the dangers because laxatives are so widely available at chemists and supermarkets. Yet their effects are temporary and the dangers and side effects of laxative abuse can include:
- Inflamed Colon
- Haemorrhoids/ Bleeding
- Inadequate Bowel Flora
- Kidney Disease
- Electrolyte Imbalances
- Lazy Bowel
- Mineral Deficiencies
- Worsening Constipation
Here are some tips to relieve constipation
Drink 2 litres of water everyday 30 minutes away from food. Eating and drinking at the same time will make you bloated as your digestive enzymes get diluted at a time they need to be working hard to breakdown your food. I suggest refilling a 2 litre bottle or jug of water every day and make sure you have finished it by the end of the day. Herbal Teas also count as your water intake if you have 6 – 8 mugs a day.
- Camomile, Peppermint, Fennel, Nettle tea’s; great for aiding digestion, eliminating gas and I.B.S
- Rooibos: naturally caffeine and tannin free
- Liquorice: good for sugar cravings
If you don’t fancy a herbal tea, make your own infusions of hot water with lemon or lime (wakes up the digestive system), ginger (warming and improves circulation), fresh mint leaves (refreshing and digestive aid), cinnamon sticks (reduces blood sugar) or tumeric (anti inflammatory and cancer prevention).
Avoid or limit dehydrating beverages such as coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and alcohol.
If drinking alcohol, have a glass of water after every alcoholic drink.
Re-educate Your Bowels
Do you prioritise answering the phone, finishing an email, an extra 5 minutes in bed or watching your favourite program over ‘going to the toilet’? Savour the moment!!
Allocate 5-10 minutes every morning to sit on the toilet and pop your feet up on a footstool so that your knees are higher than your hips. The modern toilet is simply too high and putting your feet up recreates a squatting position.
Squatting may not sound very sophisticated but it what our ancestors did it and how people still do it in “undeveloped” countries where constipation is rare.
Make sure you practise this exercise everyday so that you include ‘toilet time’ back into your busy life. While the urge to “go” may occur at other times during the day, what is important is to “Never ignore the call of nature”. Once you have missed that opportunity you may not be able to get it back later. So don’t miss it!
Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds
Soak 2 tablespoons of Chia/ Flax Seeds in water, coconut milk, rice milk or goat’s milk overnight in the fridge
In the morning they will have formed a thick gel. Eat/ drink this first thing in the morning.
This seed gel/ drink (depending on how thick or runny you like it) works as an broom for your intestines. You can also soak them together with organic oats overnight for a delicious muesli base and add fresh chopped berries and nuts and seeds in the morning.
These superfoods are going to do more than just get your bowels going, it’s other benefits include:
- The richest vegetarian source of Omega 3 fatty acids, great for your brain and skin.
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain
- Supports weight loss/balance
- High in calcium
- Helps with thyroid conditions
- Keeps blood sugar levels balanced
- Beneficial if you have diabetes or it runs in the family
Vegetables & Salads
Your plate at both lunch and dinner should include approximately 70% fresh vegetables or salad. So if you usually have a sandwich, sushi or pasta dish by itself then that won’t really do the trick. Whatever you choose to eat, have it with a large portion of vegetables or salad.
Raw vegetables have all the nutrients intact. However if you don’t usually eat raw, your digestive system may need a helping hand so you may wish to start with lightly steamed vegetables or lightly stir fried with raw coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. You can later move to eating 50% raw and 50% lightly cooked.
Always include plenty of Greens e.g. Kale, Chard, Asparagus, Fennel, Celery, Cucumber, Courgettes, Rocket, Chicory, Avocado, Bok Choi, Spinach, Brocolli, Green peppers, French runner beans…
Season with 2-4 tablespoons of cold pressed oils onto each meal e.g. extra virgin olive oil, hemp seed oil, pumpkin seed oil or avocado oil.
Be aware that unsprouted beans and lentils, onions and vegetables from the cruciferous family such as brocolli, cabbage and cauliflower can cause a lot of gas and bloating, particularly if you eat them in large portions and don’t take the time to chew.
Good bacteria should be living happily in your gut, taking care of your immune system and bulking out your stools to ensure regular and complete bowel movements
Good Bacteria may been wiped out or reduced from one of the following factors:
- Antibiotics/ Roaccutane for acne
- Steroids/ Pain Killers
- Contraceptive pill, implant or injection
- Eating Disorders/ Laxative Abuse
- Mercury fillings
- Drug Abuse
- Gastrointestinal Bugs…
Stress causes disbiosis (imbalance of good bacteria) so never eat while arguing or in a hurry. Make sure you are sitting down to eat and concentrating on what you are eating and making sure to chew thoroughly by putting your fork down between every few mouthfuls and chewing 20-30 times, well as much as you can!!
Practice yoga/ meditation to help you to relax.
See a mercury free dentist to make sure that none of your mercury fillings are leaking and consider getting them replaced safely.
Take probiotics with a human strain of good bacteria, so that they are able to implant in your gut, for at least 3 months or ongoing depending on your diet and lifestyle.
Probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods and eating them regularly is another way to boost your good bacteria.
- Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage.
- Natto is a fermented soya.
- Natto & Tempeh are fermented soya. Tempeh is one of the best sources of vegetarian protein and vitamin B12.
- Miso is a fermented Japanese paste produced from soy beans, barley or rice.
- Kefir is made from a mixture of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains.
Your constipation may be the result of a food intolerance. Common food intolerances include wheat, gluten, dairy and milk and eggs and yeast.
Perhaps you suffer with I.B.S and alternate between constipation and diarrhoea. This is often an indication of dairy intolerance.
For other suspected food intolerances, avoid eating the suspect food group for 10 days after which it may be possible for you to reintroduce that food eating it only every 3rd or 4th day, but listen to your body!!
Everything in moderation is the key. You’ve heard it before; variety is the spice of life.
Green algae are the highest sources of chlorophyll in the world and of all the green algae studied chlorella has the highest, often ranging from 3-5% of natural chlorophyll. This high chlorophyll content will restore the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
OTHER BENEFITS OF CHLORELLA INCLUDE
- Eliminating bad breath and foul smelling stools
- Treating anaemia
- Alkalising your body to restore a healthy P.H.
- Reducing high blood pressure to prevent heart attacks and strokes
- Removing free radicals
You can take chlorella in tablets or add a spoon of powdered chlorella to a green juice or green smoothie.
Juice: cucumber, celery, fennel, kale, spinach, apple + chlorella
Smoothie: avocado, kale, spinach, rice milk, coconut or hemp milk + chlorella
Movement will get you moving! Here are a few easy ideas:
- Abdominal exercises on a slanted board are also helpful as they counteract the negative effect that gravity may have on proper bowel functioning.
- Brisk walking, squatting and running all help with the bowel movements.
- Stretching, particularly of the back, abdominal and waist is also helpful. You may also find yoga beneficial
- Constipation is not just an annoying; it is an indication of your health problems to come.
So let’s resolve constipation, without the use of damaging laxatives, by exercising your bowels with Colon hydrotherapy to restore healthy peristalsis, implanting good bacteria back into your gut and making those diet and lifestyle changes.