Although my main modality is Osteopathy I still incorporate my other modalities into a treatment session. One of those is holistic nutrition which I began studying back..well let’s just say awhile ago. I’d like to think I know something about the bowels and how they should or shouldn’t function. I’m just going to cover, briefly, what should be happening.
Everyone’s bowels should be moving 1-3 times a day….a day..not a week, a day. The stool should be the texture of toothpaste and the size/shape of a banana. Once the bowels have been emptied, there should be a sense of completion..like the bowel is empty.
The bowels, or large intestines, need three things in order to function properly:
1. Adequate hydration (water) – People should drink half their body weight in ounces of water. Plain water, preferably room temperature every day. If the taste of water is not appealing add a splash of lemon or lime juice, some berries or sliced cucumber to it to “enhance” the taste.
2. Adequate lubrication (fat) – So when I say fat, I mean foods like avocado, ground flax, chia seeds, hemp seeds, nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil and possibly small amounts of grass fed butter or gee.
3. Adequate fibre (both soluble and insoluble) – Look at above….ground flax (perfect blend of both), chia seeds and hemp seeds. Also whole grains such as brown rice, buckwheat kasha/groats, oats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Wheat bran, bran buds, wholegrain/multigrain breads are not the best source of fibre as they’re all irritating to the mucus membrane of the large intestine.
Psyllium is commonly used by those with a sluggish bowel however as a soluble fibre it requires a lot of water in order for it to do its job. If there isn’t enough water in the system, it will make the situation worse….not better. Not a great idea to add psyllium to cereals but instead add to water and then follow with another big glass of water. Or better yet use other food sourced fibre such as those mentioned above.
Best to add a variety of fats and fibres for a well rounded diet and also consider adding fermented foods that will help keep the intestinal flora alive and well. Examples would be coconut kefir, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, cultured vegetables, etc.
Think about using a squatty potty or a small stool to rest your feet on while sitting on the toilet. This positions the bowels with a natural angle, helping to minimize undue straining. Keeping the bowels moving contributes to better overall health with possible side effects of clearer skin, better digestion, weight loss and increased energy!
Remember these are general guidelines, so see your health care provider for your specific health concerns/issues.