I think it’s time we had the “poop-talk.” No one wants to admit that their stomach pains are because they haven’t had a bowel movement in a week, but if you aren’t pooping at least once per day, it might be time to bring in the big guns. Here are 7 ways to finally get your number two moving.
1. Chia Seeds
My friends know that I’m a bit of a health freak, so when they have poop problems, they always ask me for help. The first thing I usually recommend to them is one tablespoon of chia seeds in a glass of water. When you let the chia sit in the water for 1-2 hours, they turn into little balls of gel, almost like tapioca. This gel-like fiber is a master at pushing stool through the digestive tract and can even pick up toxins and debris on the way. Consuming 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (whole) every day is a great way to get your bowels moving again. (Hint: try chia pudding, and it will taste like dessert, not medicine!)
Yes, water is boring, but it’s CRUCIAL to avoiding constipation. One of the main reasons why you’re constipated in the first place is because you are dehydrated -- and it’s more common than you think. Your organs need water to do their jobs, and I’m not talking about regular old tap water: I’m talking about living water in the form of fresh juices, spring water or coconut water. Getting at least 64 ounces per day of quality water will at least give your digestive tract a fighting chance.
Did you know that in countries like India and Thailand, they actually have foot holders beside their toilets in case you need to squat? When we sit upright like kings, we actually end up squishing the bottom half of our colon, making it more difficult to push waste out. The next time you’re feeling constipated, place a garbage can or stool beneath your feet while you sit on the toilet and hold the position for 5-10 minutes. You will soon feel the release you were waiting for.
When it comes to a healthy poop schedule, fiber is king, but not all fiber is created equal. Grain fibers like oats, psyllium husk and flax are great, but fruits and vegetables are even better. With fruits and veggies, you get the added benefits of hydration as well as a “cleansing effect” on your digestive tract. If you are feeling backed up, blend up a whole whack of fruit in a blender and then drink it down. All of that watery fiber is like a tidal wave going through your colon. This is a great thing to do every morning until you feel more regular.
There’s a bit of controversy surrounding “Senna,” especially since it’s used in “skinny-tea detox” programs. Senna should only be used in an emergency situation or once in a while. If you use this tea too much, it can cause chronic dehydration because of the laxative effect. When you release your bowels, you also release all the water in them too, so be cautious with this one. It really does work like magic and is a great one-stop poop-dropper. Steep one tea bag of senna in boiling water and drink before bed and get ready to run to the toilet the second you get up in the morning.
6. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Deep-belly or “diaphragmatic” breathing helps to push things along by relaxing the vagus nerve and turning off our “fight or flight” response. When we are stressed, our digestion and sex organs actually slow down in order to get our body ready for battle. When we take the time to calm ourselves down, our bodies can return to homeostasis and do the job they were always meant to do. Breathe in deeply through your nose and focus on expanding your belly (not your chest), hold for a few seconds and then breathe out completely through your mouth. Taking the time to actually breathe like you are safe will change your health dramatically in the long term.