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The Scoop on Poop & Great Skin. {Post number 2.}

December 21, 2012

Disclaimer: This is about poop. Yes, poop.  Why? Because it’s important to your health and your skin and NOBODY likes to talk about it! Hence, we NEED to talk about it!

If you suffer from many common skin ailments, it isn’t your medicine cabinet or vanity you should be looking at; it’s your toilet. Not everyone will want to discuss this, but if you’re done with congested skin, princess, then I strongly urge you to become well acquainted with your throne. No, it isn’t a miracle in a pretty pot, and there aren’t any celebrity endorsements, but healthy poop and great skin are so intertwined that it’s a shame nobody ever really talks about it.

If you’re still with me on this, it’s time we discuss the art of the poo. Yes, the whole scoop on the poop.

So, after Part 1, we’ve loosened up a little and can discuss crap now, right? Right. We don’t need to be all serious about it either, right? This isn’t a clinic or an exam. We still get to laugh about poop if we want to, ok? (Well, I will. I take that business seriously, but it’s still pretty funny, you have to admit.)  So, let’s get down to business and squeeze this one out! I hope you’ll enjoy this post… and find it relieving, in fact.

Human Engine

A simplistic way to look at the human body is that it’s basically an engine. It consumes energy in order to create energy, and in the process creates waste matter. This waste comes in all shapes and forms and is processed by different toxic-waste management centres in your body: the liver, the kidneys, the lungs, the lymphatic system, the colon and the blood. Then there’s my personal favourite; SKIN! (Alas, today we’re not talking about my fave organ.)

When your skin does not perform optimally, that is it has trouble eliminating waste from your system, it calls to the other waste-eliminating organs for back-up. This would be the case for very congested skin that can no longer bear the duty of filtering out impurities. However, the opposite is also true: if another organ is slow and sluggish, it could overtax your skin’s function, resulting in a poor complexion. When this whole system is out of whack, not only does it result in an increase in acne and wrinkles, but augments the overall toxicity of the body, which can lead to a whole host of problems. But since I am not a doctor, we won’t go there.

Let’s start with the obvious. You don’t need to be a Buddhist to know that everything in your body is connected. Chances are if all our waste-management systems are in tip-top shape, you’re not having breakouts. However, go on a 5 day sugar and cheese binge because you’re super stressed out at work and tell me you’re not going to see or feel the effects somewhere else. Go on, tell me that, and I’ll call you a liar. Li-arrrr! I’ll tell you what happens; you overtax your system, resulting in fatigue, sluggishness, more gas than usual, infrequent poops that make you say “OMG, what the heck WAS that!?” and your skin, if it hasn’t broken out in angry red pustules, will look sallow, greyish and a little corpse-like. Perhaps even bloated. Yummy.

Give Your System a Hand!

Some of these waste-management organs I mentioned are pretty much on auto-pilot. Take for example the lungs and the kidneys. As long as you’re not trying to overly challenge them by smoking like a fiend or never, ever drinking water or eating tons of sugar (shame on you!…although my sweet tooth has been out of control throughout my pregnancy. Shame on me.), these 2 will function relatively well all on their own (save for any chronic diseases….again, not a doctor so we’re just talking about most-case scenarios here, ‘k?). I’m not saying that these organs are immune to abuse (they’re not), and that they don’t respond to our lifestyle (they do), I’m just saying that… well, I’m saying that we’re not really talking about those today. Moving on.

However, some of these organs can really use a little help….and there are measures you can easily take to ensure their smooth functioning. It’s like taking an engine in for an oil change, or whatever cars need (pfft, never owned a car in my life!).  The lymphatic system, for one, which I should post about soon, benefits from specialized massage. Skin benefits from not slathering Vaseline all over it. And your sweet, sweet colon benefits from healthy bowel movements, and there’s LOTS of fun ways to get that happening! Such as:

  • Drink more water! It’s like flushing the big, beautiful toilet that is your body (really, the MOST beautiful toilet!). Flush away the toxins, baby, fluuuush!
  • Try a juice cleanse. Research this first, and choose the right one for you. Just start with a mini, one-day cleanse to get started and see how you feel. (Don’t do this if you’re pregnant! But DO drink fresh juices! My bebe boy especially loves anything pineapple or citrus….aw!)
  • Get some detox tea. I friggin’ LOVE this stuff, dandelion especially. Go to your health food store, and ask for some recommendations, and try out a few. Some have some pretty funky flavours, so you might need to try a few if you’re picky about stuff like taste (personally, I love me some good, weedy tea….bring it!)
  • Eat clean! Raw fruits & veggies should be a big part of your diet. Smoothies are very helpful in this department.
  • Fiber and water. This may be redundant, but if you’re just not going to eat enough veg and fruit, then get some other form of fibre, and plenty of water. Otherwise, you will suffer from constipation, and possibly hemorrhoids.
  • Quit it with the fast food! Seriously. Just stop. It’s meant to be an occasional (OCCASIONAL!) treat, not a lifestyle.
  • Try an elimination diet. Go without gluten, sugar and dairy and see if your bowels AND skin clear up! Milk is thought to be a particularly bad food choice for both your digestion and your skin.
  • Exercise. Not only does it help eliminate toxins through sweat, but it also improves circulation which helps with regularity. I find the inversions in yoga to be particularly effective.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re constantly sluggish, wake up feeling like ass, constipated and your skin looks awful, your body is trying to tell you something. Listen!

Does all of this sound familiar? Well, it should. It should also come to no surprise that a healthy lifestyle leads to healthy pooping.

So What is Healthy Poop?

Colour: My dad used to tell me that the healthiest colour for poop is the exact colour of my eyes (if that’s not what every teenage girl wants to hear, than I don’t know what is!). That is, a light to medium brown with just a hint of gold. Not too dark, not too light. So yeah, you should take a look and make sure that the colour is looking right, as it’s an important indication of what’s going on in your bowels (ie. At worse there could be traces of blood, or it could be black, which means bleeding further up in the digestion tract, or you could see some things you’re not digesting very well, or some mucus. It could be important to take note, and in the case of blood, get to a doctor!)

Texture: Loose and runny is not optimal. It doesn’t mean your sick necessarily, but it is telling you that your body is having one hell of a time digesting your food. Hard pellets are also not the best (dehydration!). What you want are nice, S shaped poops that didn’t hurt coming out (too hard!) but that keep their consistency in the water. The poop itself should slide into the water without “plopping” loudly, too. However, the size is all relevant to what’s normal for you.

Gas Meter: Stop holding it in! Seriously, everyone farts. The average person MUST pass gas about a  dozen times a day to help keep the colon working well. I’m not saying to let one rip at a board meeting, but take the opportunity  when you can (and need to) to go for a short walk outside or excuse yourself for some quiet time in a stairwell with low traffic. Also, if you get caught in the act, just have a great sense of humour about it! Yes, it can be embarrassing, but it’s perfectly normal, and handling it like you just don’t give a shit (pun intended) is the best way to deal. We’ve ALL got gas! Picture the Queen of England farting while out on a stroll with her corgies. See? Humorous, and oh so normal.

How Often?: You might remember from my first post, about my highschool experience with the once-a-week pooper, and my sheer horror. Well, it turns out that when it comes to frequency, there’s no true standard. Most people need to go once or twice a day, but it can be as infrequent as a couple time a week. The key is listening to your body, and going when you need to go. If you’re cramped, uncomfortable and holding it in, then you are damaging your body. If you don’t need to go and you’re straining on the toilet, then you’re doing the same. The key is to listen to your rhythms and go when nature calls.

Smell: There’s nothing wrong with smelly poo. Your intestines are full of bacteria, and this is what helps you digest food, and as a result, your poo is actually full of dead bacteria, which smells. Bad. Yes, smelly is healthy.

Well, on that note, I think this is all I can really say about poop. I really hope that if nothing else, this inspires you to slow down and listen to your body and know that everything is connected. Bowel issues, like skin issues, do not exist in a vacuum. The whole body relies on interdependent processes.

So, how would you describe your poo? OMG just kidding!!! Really, you didn’t think I would go THAT far, would you? HA!

No but really, tell me how you’ve noticed different functions of your body and how they correspond to one another. Did it make you appreciate your body in a  new way?