Ewww! What’s that smell?!?
I’m guessing if your kitchen garbage is full, you’re going to get it out to the garbage can sooner rather than later, right? No one wants to smell the putrefying old food hanging out any longer than necessary. Nor is it sanitary.
What about your own personal disposal system? Or your kids?
Constipation. No one wants to really think about it, much less talk about it. But, the truth is, it is an increasingly common complaint for both kids and adults. Common maybe, but constipation is still not a normal symptom and certainly not something to ignore.
It is considered constipation if there is not a regular, daily bowel movement. Without a daily bowel movement, the body is in a toxic state. Think of that full garbage bag in the kitchen. We like to assume that once everything is contained in the colon, that is where everything stays until it is eliminated. But, unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
Much like that full garbage can begins to permeate your entire kitchen and then house, the waste in your colon also begins to be reabsorbed into your blood stream and then body. If you don’t eliminate at least 1x per day (ideally 2-3x per day) then you are recycling many of those old hormones, dead cell tissues, undigested food bits, pathogens and toxins back into the blood stream to be dealt with again by the liver and immune system.
You may think, oh well, my liver will cover it until I am able to finally go to the bathroom. But the truth is, all of the waste products are MORE toxic to you the second, third and fourth time they get circulated through the blood stream. And, if your body begins to learn that it doesn’t have a good exit system, then it will begin to STORE the waste products anywhere it deems ‘safe’ until proven otherwise.
What should you do? Turn to Miralax and Laxatives and call it a day? Dr. Elizabeth Lipski says, “Physicians write more than a million prescriptions for constipation relief annually, and we spend $725 million a year on laxatives.”
The challenge with Miralax and laxatives is that they don’t actually stimulate your own body’s natural methods for elimination. Instead they just force a relaxation of the colon to then prompt the elimination. If used chronically, this leads to dependence on the laxatives because your colon will essentially get ‘lazy’.
1st Line of Defense: Diet and Lifestyle
When sitting down to a meal, take time to really taste and enjoy the meal. We digest best when in a parasympathetic state, meaning, not a stressed state. How we finish digesting is often a result of how we start digesting.
Are you getting enough water each day? The rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces each day. If you weigh 150lbs, that means drinking 75 ounces of water each day. If you drink 8 ounces of coffee in the morning, then you need to add an additional 12 ounces of water to your daily needs. If you want (or need!) a reminder try either Plant Nanny or iHydrate, both are free apps you can download.
Are you eating enough fiber each day? Fiber adds bulk and moisture to the stool, allowing it to pass more easily. Check to see how many servings of veggies you are consuming. Can you increase your veggie intake by a cup? What about by two cups? Ground flaxseeds or chia seeds, ground hempseed meal or even psyllium seeds are all easy things to add to a smoothie or mix into a meal to increase fiber.
Probiotics act as little vacuum cleaners in your colon. They go in to clean house and stimulate peristalsis to ship the garbage out. There are many, many options of probiotics on the market today. But, unfortunately, there aren’t many that are actually all that effective. I recommend this brand, this brand and this brand.
These are a couple of simple steps to ensure things are moving along easily, but sometimes eating clean and taking a good probiotic still isn’t enough to get the trains moving again. It can be beyond frustrating. Some reasons for persistent constipation include:
- Food sensitivities
- Lactose intolerance
- Dysbiosis of the gut
- Hormone imbalances (particularly thyroid)
- Anxiety, etc.
If you have persistent constipation, it is worth working with a holistically minded practitioner to find out what is causing the issue. But, even when working with a practitioner, sometimes constipation can be the last symptom to finally resolve. Here are my go-tos to get things moving in the interim:
- Natural Calm – Magnesium deficiency is incredibly common amongst Americans. Magnesium helps stimulate peristalsis by facilitating proper relaxation of the muscles. (Not forced like a laxative). Magnesium Citrate found in Natural Calm is particularly effective at facilitating elimination.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps neutralize the toxins within the colon and also helps soften the stool for easier elimination. I recommend at least 1000 mg of whole food vitamin C (with the bioflavonoids) per meal to try and get things moving. (Some will need more)
- Prune Juice – A natural laxative and not something I recommend taking regularly, but when needed:
Prune Juice Jigglers for Kds
4 Cups Prune Juice
Pour 1 cup of juice into a bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and set aside.
Place remaining juice in a saucepan over medium heat for 10 minutes. Do not boil.
Whisk hot juice into the gelatin until dissolved. Pour into a shallow baking dish. Place in fridge for several hours or overnight.
Cut out 2in squares.
Soak prunes in water overnight and drink the soaked water the next day.
- Psyllium Husks – Sometimes you just need more fiber. Start with 1tsp added to a full glass of water before bed. You can dose up to 1tsp with each meal if needed.
- Rosemary Essential Oil rubbed on the belly in a clockwise rotation.
There are so many ailments that often have a root cause in constipation. Ensuring you are having a daily bowel movement goes a long way in supporting your detoxification mechanisms your immune system and your overall health.
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