I hope you’re settling into the cozy fall season nicely. I also hope you’ve set your date, or have already started, the gentle detox I shared with you last month! Here it is again in case you missed it.
Ben and Elise are doing really well. They started smiling and kicking last week and have me laughing a lot. Ben especially likes to ham it up – sometimes he looks like he’s riding a bike with one leg as fast as he can when he’s on his back. After changing 16 diapers a day (yes, 16!) for the last 5 weeks, it’s no surprise I decided to cover a topic on digestion.
Constipation isn’t a topic that anyone talks about. But, the reality is that it is incredibly common, and getting rid of what your body doesn’t need each day is critical for your overall health.
Overall, if you’re not having at least 1 bowel movement each day, you’re constipated.
How To Have A Healthy Daily BM
1. DRINK WATER – To Soften Stools
This is the absolute most important ingredient. We’ve all heard about needing 8 cups a day, but what does this really mean?
To find out EXACTLY how much water YOU need:
Take your weight (lbs) and divide it by half to get the amount of fluids ounces each day. e.g. 140 lbs/2 = 70 ounces of water/herbal tea per day. This is almost 9 glasses of water per day, or 4.5 starbuck’s grande sized cups.
For caffeinated coffee and/or alcohol, each drink counts as -1 glass of water. In other words, you need to drink ONE EXTRA glass of water for each cup of coffee or alcoholic drink.
2. EAT FIBER FOODS – To Move Things Along
Eat plenty of the following high fiber foods:
- Split peas
- Brown rice
- Black beans
- Baked beans
3. ADD EXTRA FIBER – To Really Move Things Along
For most people, simply adding in high fiber foods just isn’t enough. Soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into a squishy sponge. This helps lubricate your intestines and move stool along easily.
Add 1-2 tbsp chia seeds or ground flax seeds per day onto your cereal, oatmeal, smoothie or even onto your salad. This simple trick will also benefit you in many other ways, including:
- Helping your body dump out cholesterol
- Slowing down the absorption of your meal regulate blood sugar
- Helping balance estrogen levels (flax seeds only)
* Always combine fiber with drinking 8oz water to help it turn into the soft sponge to do all it’s great work. Also, grind flax seeds at home so they are fresh. As soon as flax seeds are ground the precious therapeutic omega 3 oils start breaking down.
4. TAKE PROBIOTICS – To Support Overall Digestion
If things still aren’t moving and you’ve got fluids and fiber in place EVERYDAY, the next step is to bring in a good quality probiotic. These can work wonders for constipation.
Make sure that:
- You’re getting at least 10-15 billion live organisms a day (the label will let you know how many are in each capsule or serving) and
- Your probiotic supplement is made up of a mix of bacteria, including lactobacillus acidophilus, bifido bacterium and others.
5. SKIP THE LAXATIVE HERBS – To Avoid Becoming Dependent
The herbs senna, cascara, aloe, and rhubarb all work by stimulating the muscles lining your intestines to contract. This is perfect for helping solve acute or occasional constipation but these herbs should never be used for longer than 10 days. Using them longer than this leads to dependence.
6. SUPPORT YOUR GALL BLADDER – If All of the Above Haven’t Resolved It
If you’re still struggling after adding in enough fluid, fiber, veggies and probiotics, the next place to address is your gall bladder. Your liver makes bile and stores it in your gallbladder, which is a tiny sac that squishes out the bile when fatty food comes along. Bile helps break down fatty food but it’s also a fantastic lubricant. If you have any mild liver or gallbladder issues, having these addressed is key.
The trick is to do these simple tricks EVERY DAY to get the results you’re looking for.
Take Action Now:
The best place to start is by making sure you’re well hydrated. Then, once you’re meeting your body’s needs daily, move onto the next tips one by one.
All my best,