There is a picture circulating on social media of a man covered in a blanket while sitting on a toilet. It is a joke highlighting the fact that we are experiencing a bitterly cold weather, and as mentioned in the previous blog, our eating habits tend to change due to the weather, and so do your bowel movements… 

Let’s go back to the trending picture on social media, how often do you actually visit the toilet? Not to pee, but to poop? Are you aware that good health starts with a poop? If you are not pooping enough, every aspect of your life will be affected. You may experience unnecessary stress, and this may even lead to significant mental health issues. 

Feels like I have literally gone for the jugular there without preparing you for the poop conversation we’re about to have… but stay with me please.

I caught up with Integrative Medical Practitioner, Dr Hema Kalan and she shared pivotal information about the rarely spoken issue of pooping, and what leads to constipation. ‘’Going to the toilet, twice a day at the same time every day is considered normal. Our gut has its own circadian rhythm, and that’s why if you’re on time each day, then you know your gut is in tune with your body’s circadian rhythm,’’ Dr Kalan elaborated.

She expresses what constitutes normal pooping, is when it happens at least twice a day. ‘’You can look at the Bristol chart and compare your poop. The absence of regular pooping is defined as constipation,’’ said Dr Kalan.

If you are constipated, Dr Kalan gives these helpful tips:

  • Drink enough water
  • Drink ginger and peppermint tea
  • Walk regularly and practice Yoga postures
  • Adopt a high fibre diet and
  • Decrease processed food.

It is also advisable to consult an integrative doctor about herbal and homeopathic medication. Constipation can be caused by a number of factors which include; 

  • Stress
  • Antibiotics
  • Lack of water intake
  • Lack of movement/exercise, lack of sleep and certain gut disorders. 

‘’In Ayurveda (the medical system from the Indian subcontinent), sitting for long periods decreases your digestive fire, making your gut sluggish. Hence constipation can be the end result,’’ shared Dr Kalan.

In order to have a normal poop routine or healthy bowel movements, Dr Kalan advised on the following diet considerations;

  • Seasonal veggies 
  • Soups, curries and stews made with sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut, root vegetables, and 
  • Drinking herbal teas, especially peppermint, ginger.

She explained the benefits of using warming spices. “These include nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, and turmeric.  Garlic, ginger and chilli not only boosts immunity but helps with digestion as well. Healthier versions of comfort foods like pies, baked goods, pastas are fine as well,” she added.

What you should try to stay away from in order to avoid abnormal bowel movements are rich foods – fried, processed, or high in animal fat, comfort foods such as sugary desserts, muffins, cakes, rusks, doughnuts, etc. as well as sugary hot drinks – hot chocolate, coffees, etc…

I know it seems to be a bit too much of a job to try and eat food with intention because all we’re trying to do this Winter is just to keep warm. Nevertheless, in order to feel good while being warm, our pooping routine must be normal. 

Do you monitor your pooping routine? Do share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.