Yep, I’m going there! (And surely you sometimes wonder anyway right?)
You already know that your poop can reflect your physical, and often even emotional, health.
You may get a bit of constipation or have diarrhoea when you eat something that “doesn’t agree with you,” or sometimes when you’re super-nervous about something.
And what about fibre and waters role in this? If you’re not getting enough, it’s most likely going to show in your poop.
What about the all-important gut microbes we talk about regularly? If they’re not happy, it’ll probably show in your poop too.
Here’s a little trivia question for you:
Did you know there is an “official” standard for poop? A university-created chart just for your poop! One that is used to help diagnose conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Meet the Bristol Stool Scale
The Bristol Stool Scale was created in 1997 at the prestigious University of Bristol in the UK, hence the name.
You can see the chart here.
What the scale does is breaks down type of poop into seven different categories ranging from type 1 which is very constipated, to type 7 which is diarrhoea:
1 – Separate hard lumps (very constipated).
2 – Lumpy and sausage-like (slightly constipated).
3 – Sausage shaped with cracks in the surface (normal)
4 – Smooth, soft sausage (normal).
5 – Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (lacking fibre).
6 – Mushy consistency with ragged edges (inflammation).
7 – Liquid consistency with no solid pieces (inflammation).
Other “poop” factors to consider
As you can probably guess the shapes described in the Bristol Stool Scale are not the only thing to consider when we are talking about poop health. There are multiple things we need to into account.
Think about how often you visit the bathroom. At least once per day, up to 3 times per day is pretty good. Less than one, or more than three can mean there is something going on.
What about how hard you have to try to go? It really should be as effortless as possible.
And the colour? The bile you need to break down the fats you ingest should make in brown in colour.
If it is green in colour after a day where you have eaten a tonne of veggies, or red after consuming a juice jam packed with beetroots, then you are fine.
But if you see an abnormal colour, like red or even black, that can’t be explain by what you ate or drank in the last day or two, you probably want to get that checked out by a health care practitioner.
What do you do when you have “imperfect” poo?
Well, the first thing to consider is how imperfect it is, and how often is it imperfect? Once in a while, things aren’t going to be perfect, and that’s A-OK.
If you know you need to get more fibre or water, then try increasing that.
If you haven’t had enough probiotic foods, then add more of them into your diet.
If you’re feeling super-stressed, then try deep breathing, meditating, or having a warm bath (as well as trying to reduce the stressors in your life).
Oh, and don’t forget the two most basic but important pieces of nutrition advice:
- First, eat a variety of nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods, including a lot of fruits & veggies (and their “fibrous” skins, wherever possible). The fibre in these is not only helpful for pushing food through your gut, but they also feed those millions of amazing helpful gut microbes that live there.
- The second piece of advice is to eat slowly, mindfully and be sure you are chewing thoroughly.
These are good habits for anyone and everyone, even when you have perfect poop!
Of course, long-term issues or soreness might require a more thorough review with a qualified health care practitioner. Don’t suffer from issues with your poop for too long before seeking help.
Recipe (dairy-free probiotic): Super-Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt
2 cans full-fat coconut milk
2 probiotic capsules,
- Open the probiotic capsules and empty contents into the blender. Blend with coconut milk.
- Transfer to a sanitized glass jar (make sure it’s not still hot – you don’t want those probiotics to die).
- Store it in a warm place for 24-48 hours. If it’s not thick enough for you, you can let it ferment for another 24 hours.
- Add your favourite yogurt toppings, and store the rest for up to a week in the fridge.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Fermenting food is not an exact science. If this doesn’t work out as you’d like it to, try different brands of coconut milk and/or probiotics.