People are fascinated by poop when it comes to babies. They examine, "How much did baby poop? What does it look like? What made it smell like that? How long has it been since her last poop?" It seems that poop is an engaging topic - as long as it belongs to somebody else. People don't like talking about their own poop. They want to get rid of it quickly, to hide it, to flush it down - much the same way a dog wants to cover up his droppings with grass clippings.
However, poop is one of the few substances that comes out of your body regularly, along with breath and urine. That makes poop a dependable, valuable diagnostic tool. In the 18-24 hours poop spends inside your body, the quantity and quality of your poop is affected by your body's mental and physical condition. By examining your poop, you'll know what is happening on the inside.
Was last night's steak and potatoes a good choice? If your poop is smelly, a weird color, or if it has a gnarly shape - you can get a sense of how your body reacted to the steak and potatoes. If every time you eat french fries you have diarrhea, you'll deduce that your body doesn't fare well when you feed it french fries. With some basic knowledge, you'll also discover why your body has trouble digesting them. Poop problems after french fries may also be a sign that your liver, gallbladder, and/or pancreas needs support since those organs are responsible for digesting fats.
Your poop also reveals your "umph," or metabolic strength. Digestion takes up to 60% of your daily metabolism. So if your metabolism is weak, you won't be able to digest your food well. This happens in many people who have conditions like hypothyroid or anemia. Weak digestion leads to gas and bloating and often times your poop will become stinky. If you frequently have gas and stinky poops it means that your digestion and metabolism may be weak.
Looking at your poop says something about blood hydration. If you are dehydrated, your body will absorb more water from your stools. Your poop will become dry, hard, and difficult to pass. If you are dehydrated, you won't be able to produce enzymes to digest your food. Your digestion will become sluggish and you'll end up with stagnant, rotten poop in your digestive tract. Your mood may be fowl with all those toxins sitting around in your body!
The color of your stool tells you about bowel transit time. Ideally, you want your poop to be a healthy, cinnamon brown color. If your poop is yellow or green, it is normally because you eliminated your stool so fast that bacteria haven't had enough time to break down your bile. Or, green poop can be a sign that you recently ate a lot of green, leafy vegetables like kale or a spring salad mix. Light gray or brown stools, on the other hand, may be a sign of bile deficiency, an indicator you may have trouble digesting fats.
Even looking at the quantity of your poop offers a clue. The average human poops about one pound of feces per day. South Asians pass about 3 times more stool than Americans because of their high fiber diet. One of the ways South Asians get more fiber is by eating more beans and lentils. Softer stools, or excreting an extremely long log can feel satisfying, but likely means your body is not getting as much nourishment out of your food as it should.
Did you ever observe your poop after a late night out with friends, when you are sick, or even stressed out? In each of these circumstances, you'll notice your poop looks different. It may be stinkier, slimier, and downright rotten, depending on the person. This can be a sign of strain on the body, either due to toxicity or an imbalanced lifestyle. As you become more observant, you'll start to see how your poop reflects your overall health, and responds not only to dietary but also lifestyle choices.
There are lots of different types of poop - each with its own special meaning. And ideally you get a special delivery of poop daily - otherwise rotting food is sitting in your gut at 98.6 degrees. This is harmful because your intestines are like sponges - regardless of what's in them. If rotten food has taken up residence, your body is soaking up that toxicity.
Observing your ordure allows you to see patterns and correlate symptoms with your lifestyle and diet. If you are digesting food well and making good life choices, your poop will be ideal - a floating, earthy smelling stool in the size, shape and consistency of a banana with a cinnamon brown color. If you are stressed out and/or stretched too thin, your poop will reflect that by showing up in less than ideal form.
Sometimes changes in your stool can be serious and life threatening. For example, thin stools, increased bowel movement frequency unrelated to diet change, and / or blood in the stool could be warning signs of Cancer.
Ayurveda recommends examining your poop on a daily basis so you know what to eat and how to live. That's going to be very valuable for your health and happiness. Every time you mess up and your digestive tract becomes a churning storm, you have an opportunity to adapt your diet and lifestyle. When your floating banana returns, you'll know you're on the right track.
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BROWSE SIMILAR ARTICLES BY TOPIC
CONSTIPATIVEAn herb that binds stools / stops diarrhea. When used in excess, these herbs and foods can cause constipation.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
HIGH-FIBER-LAXATIVEA class of laxative that adds bulk and water to stools. The size of a stool stimulates peristalsis and the stool passes more easily through the colon. It is important to drink plenty of water when using high fiber laxatives, as they can be dehydrating.
STIMULANT-LAXATIVEStimulant laxatives induce bowel movements by stimulating peristaltic movement (the contraction of smooth muscle in the intestines). They are effective when used on a short-term basis. On a long-term basis, they can create dependency.
STOOL-SOFTENERAn herb that softens stool that is hard and difficult to pass. They are the safest and most gentle type of laxative. Some foods are even stool softeners, such as warm milk with ghee.
DOWNWARDDownward-moving (Adho Gati Marga) substances move food downward in the GI tract, settle the nervous system, and relax muscles.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.