As you likely know, for the past week, we’ve been collecting data.
Data about ourselves!
I love data. It’s a beautiful thing. And so darn revealing.
We’ve been deep in the realm of a challenge…a Food, Mood, Poop Challenge!
A Food, Mood, Poop Challenge allows you to slow down, pay attention, and most importantly connect the dots – helping you to determine which patterns are serving you and which might be getting in the way of feeling your best.

We’ve been looking from one end to the other.
This week we focused on food. We circled the meals that included fat, fiber and protein. And we pulled out our colored markers and highlighted our food journals noting the rainbow of foods we eat, capturing which color foods we might be missing in our daily diet.
You can see the conversations on the Replenish PDX Facebook page!
(The biggest question was about blue foods! Are you getting yours?)
While we’re continuing on with the Food column this week, our next focus may not be so colorful.
It also may not be too comfortable to discuss, but I’m going there anyway…
I hope you’re coming along.

Are you ready to talk Poop?

Yes, I’m really going to talk to you about poop in your inbox!
(Welcome to Replenish! We like to talk about every aspect of health here.)

I realize this isn’t a pleasant topic.
Yet it’s one that comes up a lot in my practice. For me poop is an indicator of your health and it’s an important focus while we restore your body’s balance.
In fact, as I like to remind people, especially when we get all caught up in the complexities of functional testing, poop may be one of your best diagnostic tools!
What that means is that your poop has something to tell you.
Yet, the kids giggle. (I regularly have the chance to teach 7th graders on the topic of digestion and boy does the topic make them uncomfortable!)
The adults try to hide their unease. Or they worry that it’s “TMI”.
Ultimately we all get over it so we can discuss down and dirty details without discomfort.
The digestive system starts with the thought of food before it’s even consumed. It ends with the elimination of waste.
Top to bottom” as we like to say.
As we move into this next chapter of our Food, Mood Poop Challenge, I’m turning our attention to the role of the large intestine and the signs of our own health that we leave behind in the toilet each day.
In fact, I invite you to develop a new diagnostic appreciation of your poop, which I’ll share with you below…
The large intestine, or colon, is one of your major channels of removal and detoxification. The colon has a significant role in digestion and in your overall ability to thrive. It’s essential function is often grossly overlooked. From the perspective of digestion, the colon is the last place for your body to absorb water and vital minerals and vitamins.
A healthy large intestine is well-populated with friendly bacteria that act as gatekeepers. Those microbes allow the important nutrients to pass into your bloodstream while ushering the toxins and other unneeded rubbish toward excretion.
An unhealthy colon is not so well equipped to do this careful weeding out.

While we tend to focus more keenly on what we put into our body rather than what comes out of it, the elimination of undigested particles and other elements that we take in through our food, water, and environment is just as important as the digestion and assimilation of our meals.
Failure to excavate toxic wastes causes some obvious health challenges as well as some that you might not otherwise connect to the health of your colon.
What are the obvious signs of a colon in need of support or repair?

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • diverticular diseases
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • hemorrhoids
  • colon polyps
  • colon cancer

Less than obvious symptoms of colon imbalances are indicated by anything from eczema to sinus headaches to kidney and adrenal challenges.
Constipation and diarrhea are a cry for help from your colon.
What’s your Poop telling you?

Ready to start tracking?

Let’s look at what’s a healthy bowel movement…
Many people ask me this and you may be wondering yourself.
Here’s the list of what I’ve been looking for in the toilet this week, as I check-in with my release:

  • Stools should be relatively soft and easy to pass.
  • Bowel movements should occur from one to three times a day.
  • Gas, bloating and skin eruptions are indicators that the colon needs some support.
  • Poop should be brown or golden brown (and sometimes green or red if you’ve eaten certain foods).
  • Eliminations should be sausage-shaped, with a smooth nut butter-like consistency ~ there should not be visible food particles, especially if you’ve chewed your food well.

If you change your diet can you see the results in your elimination?
Absolutely!

The first step is awareness. Yup, you’ve gotta start looking in the bowl and getting real about what’s going on down there.
This week you’ve noted your food. Keep doing that. Next week during our Food, Mood, Poop tracking challenge, it’s all about your poop!

YOUR NEXT STEPS

  1. Grab your Food, Mood, Poop Journal.
  2. Head over to the Replenish Facebook page, scroll around, get more instructions and join the conversation!
  3. Continue to track your food and start to track your poop. Just focus on these two columns.

Don’t get grossed out. Just a quick look before you flush is all it takes.
Warmly,
Andrea Nakayama
 
 
P.S. Next week we’ll be talking mood but if you want to get a head start, pre-order my friend Dr. Kelly Brogan’s new book, A Mind of Your Own: The Truth about Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives. I just ordered my copy and can’t wait to read it!