Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's a healthy Stool?

As you may or may not be aware, I am currently in the middle of an alkaline body cleanse. In the clinic we have devised a cleanse with aims to clear the gut from toxins and residue. When these exist in our gut, they can substantially knock about your body. We have mucoid plaque which sits in our intestines, trapping harmful substances to protect our bodies, which is all good and well, but when it is left sitting in the intestines and not eliminated, the mucus itself becomes toxic also. So, I have been using alkaline forming foods as well as herbal medicines and shakes which aim to cleanse my body, eliminate mucoid plaque (google it, you will be freaked out that something so foul is more than likely existing in your gut) and alkalise my body for maximum health.
Its very interesting as a Dr of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), I tend to talk to my patients about two main things that turn many people green. Menstruation and Stools. We will leave Menstruation alone in this entry, but I do want to outline what a normal stool should look like.
The presentation of a bowel movement is a very important diagnostic tool in TCM. It allows us to analise the state of the gut, be it the stomach, the spleen, the intestines and bowel. Many TCM Dr's believe that the gut is the pivot point of all health and I tend to agree, because if the digestive system is healthy, the rest of the body generally is.
An ideal bowel movement should look the colour of cardboard. It should leave the body easily, without strain or discomfort and be over and done with in a minute or so. It shouldn't sink too quickly nor should it float. There should also be little gas involved and be a formed piece, not pebble like or runny. Now, Im sure already we may be heading toward the TMI (too much information) line, but this is the waste that YOUR body excretes and you should have a fair idea of how it presents. I am amazed daily on what little knowledge some patients have of the signs and symptoms there body is showing them. The presentation of a bowel movement is one of these indicators. Any variations to what I have described, most likely indicate imbalances present. Very often simple diet changes make the world of difference but sometimes diet alone isn't adequate - this is where cleansing under the guidance of a health care professional or some treatment will be beneficial.
I have a few days left of my cleanse, and now that I am past the initial withdrawals, Im feeling fantastic. In fact, I don't want to finish. I feel clean and healthy and my body is reflecting this also. In a perfect world, our bodies wouldn't need us to cleanse or 'detox,' as it is marketed. The truth is, we do need to in fact rid our bodies of toxins because they are everywhere. In our fruit, our veggies & our soils which means they are passed onto animals also. Toxins are what make us sick, potentially leading to weight gain, gas, bloating and potentially leading to diseases including cancer, irritable bowel, crohn's disease and alike. Immunity, which I recently spoke in another entry, is also impaired from an unhealthy gut for the same reasons.
Winter isn't a good time to cleanse, but there are still a few more weeks of Autumn left, and I encourage anybody who's bowel motions are not as described to explore why - your body will certainly thank you for it and you will feel awesome leading into winter!


  1. Hi Nat,

    I came across your website through Sarah Wilson's blog!

    I have been having very bad diorrhoea over the past 2 months and something is definitely wrong with my gut, ever since I contracted Campylobacter in Thailand this summer at the end of August. It is a bacterial food poisening. I have been on antibiotics for 5 days recently, but they did not work, so I was put on them for another 10 days and have just finished the course yesterday. My stomach has been very gassy, bloated, my bowel movements not normal and I feel generally ill and lethargic and tired all the time. Could this be because of the antibiotics as they seem to have made everything worse, I am SO glad I have finished the course so I can wait and see if my symptoms go away. Do you have any advice?

  2. Often antibiotics can worsen an upset gut as they clear our ALL the bacteria - both good and bad. The balance is necessary for healthy gut function. It sounds like your gut could absolutely do with some supportive treatment. Firstly I would get a pro-biotic to try to restore the bacteria balance in the gut. Secondly I would stick to very clean foods for a period of a few weeks and see how that goes for you. Eliminate foods like breads and pasta which are difficult to digest, as well as processed foods. Add plenty of stews and pickled foods to the diet to attempt to regain better tummy function.
    You will know if this is working as you will begin to feel better quite quickly. If your not seeing changes, I strongly suggest you see a natural therapist who can give you a thorough examination and treat accordingly.
    I hope you are feeling better soon. Thanks for finding Fertile Body, Heart and Soul. I hope you stop by often!


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