Gastrointestinal Health…because everybody poops…

Gastrointestinal HealthPoop. I’ve been thinking about it for months now. A while back I started feeling mild pains in my belly that I could only identify as gaseous pockets because I’d felt similar pains after giving birth to my son. I could even lie prone, relax, and press gently on the tender spot to produce a burp. Definitely gas. I set out to heal what ailed me.

My research led me to ginger, a traditionally and widely accepted treatment for various digestive complaints. Ginger is easy to come by and inexpensive. A cup or two a day of ginger tea for a brief period sent my pains packing and I started keeping it in stock.

Shortly thereafter, I read an article in LLEWELLYN’S 2009 Herbal Almanac (remember this source from my shamPOO FREE post?) on Gastrointestinal Health. Later, I contacted Lisa Byrne (MPH, CHHC) of The Well Grounded Life and she was kind enough to send me her ebook (The Real Food Cleansing Guide) to aid my research. I investigated online. I also started probing my mama for her input. Nurse Betty. My mom is public health/environmental health/no nonsense practicality in an assertive nutshell…she’s tenured as my overriding health authority and she probably always will be (disclosure). Anyway, I’ve been talking shit a lot over the past few months…

Here’s what it comes down to. I don’t think the average eater has it right. I think we are shoveling so much crap down our gullies that our systems are getting backed up and I believe this congestion encourages poor overall health. I think we need to start using our heads and stop eating mindlessly. I haven’t done enough research to give you a remedial prescription (nor do I know your particulars), but I do think I can lay out a few of my own efforts over the past few months and my perception of the experiences as a possible catalyst for improvements to your own diet. So here we go….

  1. I read a convincing argument for TEN servings of fruit & veg per day*. We started drinking V8 juice in the mornings. Yes, it is processed, but I can knock out 2 servings in a cup (without exorbitant sugars…stay away from the V8 Splash!). In practice, I’d hit 6-8 most days. The very act of tracking the consumption made me realize I wasn’t pulling in as much Fruit & Veg as I’d thought…
  2. You really need at least 8-10 8 oz. glasses of water each day. This is one of the most consistent tips you’ll find. Hell, my first grade teacher had eight box frames on the chalkboard for us to fill in as she drank her daily water for weight loss: this is not a new idea. But, if Ms. Shmidt’s obvious authority on the subject doesn’t convince you, poke around a bit…I’m sure you’ll become convinced that water is good…
  3. Have you ever consciously increased your fiber intake? Dude, that’s no placebo. I’ve done it (here comes the poop talk) and when I did my movements were noticeably softer and easier to pass. This is good. Common sense tells me that grunting and straining to produce hard little pellets of poop is not good. NOTE: Common sense also tells me that if I overload my body with fiber it will get used to the help: Keep it moderate, people…we don’t want our bodies to forget how to do their work!
  4. We should chew our food completely…with our mouths closed. It leaves smaller masses of food for the digestive tract to process, it gives the matter more time with saliva so that it might better break down, we are longer able to appreciate the tastes we are experiencing and our friends really don’t want to see what it is we’re about to process anyway.
  5. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it’s likely to be difficult for your body to digest. Duh.
  6. You can’t expect change if you’re not willing to change. The Real Food Cleansing Guide was a great tool for me. Lisa shares interesting and compelling information, approaches the effort holistically ( I buy into this concept more with each passing day) and includes worksheets for you to make your cleanse your own. Owning this challenge can mean creating one that is practical (read: little chance of “failure”). Hubby and I came off our owned, practical challenge talking about incorporating it into our diets on a monthly basis. I buy generally into the “lube job” concept, but it also occurs to me that the regular practice is beneficial. When you measure your intake and make conscious decisions as a practice, those conscious behaviors inevitably spill over into your subconscious and become habit.

So that’s where I am on the subject. I’m interested in learning more. It’s clear to me that I need to be cautious in my exploration, though. There are so many resources for information online…it’s sometimes difficult to be sure what is good information and what is a hyped fad. Mama did say one thing over and over in our conversation, though, that I think quote-worthy: “What I keep going back to is what makes sense?” Moderation makes sense. Whole, natural foods make sense. Monitoring our intake of pesticides and toxins (see The Dirty Dozen…also a free iPhone app, called “Dirty Produce”:)) makes sense. Filling our bodies with water makes sense. Thinking about this makes sense. Taking some time to evaluate our habits and outline practice for improvement is bound to work…there’s certainly room for improvement…

Have you put thought/research to this subject? Do you have anything to contribute to this conversation? How do these ideas strike you? Are you interested in learning more?

The Real Food Cleansing GuideThe most interesting poop comment gets a free copy of Lisa Byrne’s ebook!

A note in review: This ebook facilitates multiple, unique use. You are not paying for information for one cleanse only, but for a myriad of ideas to pull from and a strategic implementation guide…well worth it, in my opinion.

*I don’t necessarily buy into the number “ten”, here…that’s the highest recommendation I’ve seen. The point I’m making is that I was taking in less than I’d thought…and less than common sense tells me I ought to be…


5 responses to “Gastrointestinal Health…because everybody poops…

  1. For the last great while, I have been having oatmeal for breakfast just about every weekday. I believe that helps keep me a regular guy, plus, I like it . I usually add extra cinnamon, as it is supposed to help regulate your sugar levels and has other benefits. I love tomato juice, and will choose that over pop just about anytime. I know it is a crappy subject, butt, getting rid of the bad stuff is what it is designed for, so take care of your colon!

    • Butt seriously…

      How do you eat your oatmeal? It just occurred to me that a good way to enjoy oatmeal without all the preservatives and flavor additives might be honey…I don’t know that I’ve tried it but I’ll bet it would be lovely…must add to next week’s list…

      Lisa will be in touch with your free ebook download! 🙂

  2. I have my oatmeal (porridge) with a teaspoon of honey AND a sprinkle of cinnamon. I also add some seed mix if I remember. Delicious, nutritious, filling and inexpensive 🙂

  3. mmm…seeds and honey…yummy:)

    Hey Pat, what did you think of the ebook?

  4. Thanks for the great article 🙂
    Too bad I missed the ebook giveaway…. 😉

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