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What Is Your Poop Telling You? By Sarah Steadman

By Sarah Steadman | In Announcements, Nutrition | on December 17, 2015

I have to admit something to you, and it’s going to be strange and weird and so odd, but ever since Zechariah was born I have become obsessed with poop.  As a new mother, it becomes ingrained in you from day one.  The nurses come in and show you how to record the number of dirty and wet diapers, what they should look like and even what they should smell like.  Your poop can tell you so much.  For instance, with Zechariah, I know that when he eats something his body can’t tolerate just yet, I see it in the signs of what his body excretes.  This isn’t useful for just babies though, every person reading this can determine how their bodies are functioning based on the waste that’s coming out.  So let’s take a look!

First and foremost, a little on digestion…  On average it takes anywhere between 6-8 hours for a meal to fully digest in the body.  That’s from beginning, when you eat, to end, when you poop.  Food gets mashed and ground down in the mouth with teeth and pushed through the esophagus down to the stomach where it lands in a pool of gastric acid.  In the stomach is where the food gets broken down even more into smaller pieces.  Your food then begins its journey through the intestinal track that is around 30 feet long.  The small intestine is the track between the stomach and the large intestine.  The small intestine is where nutrients from food is mostly absorbed.  This is where food gets broken down into macro and micro nutrients.  The large intestine is where poop gets formed.  Water is absorbed through the large intestine and waste gets pushed down into the colon ready to be delivered to the porcelain god.  On average, a person should be pooping between 3-8 ounces a day.


Zechariah’s notorious poop face!

Poop, waste, dropping the kids off, a royal flush, whatever you want to call it, there is a normal, and a not so normal.  Normal waste should be like a torpedo; long, brown, pointed at both ends, and easy to pass.  This is achieved through proper diet.  Diets high in fiber and water hydration will make going to the bathroom and much more enjoyable experience. Broccoli also helps. 

However, there are some telling signs in your poop that mean you need to make a change, one of them being hard round pebble like balls.  Every time Zechariah poops like this it makes me feel terrible.  Not only is it hard to pass, but it means his body needs more water.  Think of water being the best lubricant your body could have naturally. When you’re hydrated things just happen to be easier, joints move better, you feel refreshed, and it’s easy to poop. So if you’re pooping hard pebble like balls, increase your water intake.  Remember drinking 8 glasses of water a day is a great start.

If your poop comes out in soft blobs and has a foul odor, there is a good chance that you’re eating more processed foods than your body can tolerate.  Your intestines are not properly absorbing the fats in these foods the way they would with foods bought from around the produce aisle in your local grocery store.  Changing your diet even slightly can help the intestines work at a more normal function.

Sometimes waste also comes out to be different colors.  If this is happening, again, take a look at what you’re eating.  Foods rich in iron or dark leafy green vegetables can come out green.  If you haven’t eaten anything like this, then you are probably ingesting more food dye than necessary.  If you’re delivering black or blood stained poop to your toilet, please see a doctor immediately.  This could mean internal bleeding.  Chalky or white poop can also be a cause for concern.  This usually leads to bile abnormalities in your digestive tract.

Lastly, you may have diarrhea.  This is when the large intestine is having difficulty or cannot absorb any water.  If you are having troubles with feces that is too liquid, or all liquid, ask yourself a number of questions. Is it possible you ate something bad or poorly cooked?  Is it possibly for you to be sick?  If your answer is no, then it might be best to start with an elimination diet.  You may have intolerance to something you eat regularly.  When Zechariah was starting to eat solid foods, the doctor warned me about the possibility of him being allergic or intolerant to certain foods (luckily this has not been the case.  He eats anything and everything.), the best way to find out was to choose one food and feed that to him for a week and evaluate his diapers.  As adults we can do this as well.  When we eliminate certain foods for a while and then add them back into our diets slowly we can determine what we may be intolerant to.  I know that for me, if I eat an overabundance of dairy, then my digestive tract doesn’t absorb water through the large intestine.  Increasing the fiber or the amount of water you intake in your diet can help to solidify your waste.

There are many factors to the way our waste comes out if it is not normal.  However, our bodies are precious things.  If we take care of them, fuel them with proper nutrition, hydrate our tanks, and exercise properly, then things should run normally.  Think of it like oiling and putting gas into your car.  You want that vehicle to last you for as long as possible.  You want the best oil for it to stay lubricated as long as possible without any kind of build-up and the gas in the car determines how well your mileage output will be.  If you take care of your body like you do your car, then you are bound to work and function better.

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