What is Healthy Poop?
Do you have healthy poop? And what does “healthy poop” look like anyhow?!
Use the following charts and at-home assessments to determine what healthy poop IS (and what healthy poop is NOT)!
HEALTHY POOP DEFINED
When our poop is “off,” it indicates something else is “off.”
For most of my childhood, teens and early 20’s, I thought my poop patterns were normal—after all, all I had known for those 20+ years was:
Going #2 every other day
Switching between mushy, loose and watery and hard (as a rock)—constantly
Never having ONE time to “go”
And occasionally popping a Colace stool softener or drinking Miralax
Newsflash: I did NOT have healthy poop, and my poo patterns were NOT normal.
When I first discovered what healthy poop SHOULD look like (the “golden poo” or “golden nugget”) AND that we should actually go 1-2 times per day, my mind was blown!
How can I get healthy poop—and actually go #2….most days?! I wondered.
Answer: Understand HOW to get healthy poop through your lifestyle FIRST, such as:
- Getting ENOUGH sleep (7-9 hours)
- Drinking plenty of (clean) water (1/2 your bodyweight in ounces most days)
- Sautee, puree, cook and steam veggies to make them easier to digest
- Avoid constipating foods
- Chew your food (well) and try not to eat too fast or on the go
—Just to name a few.
DO YOU HAVE HEALTHY POOP?
Track your poo for the next 3 days, simply monitoring and logging the time you go and what your poo looks like, as well as any symptoms around your squatty potty time (i.e. bloating, cramping, stress, etc.). Use the following descriptions and the Gut Reset Poo Chart for guidance in assessing and achieving the “golden poo.”
GUT RESET POO CHART
The Golden Nugget: Medium brown. Solidly formed in the shape of an S or C. Passing 1-3 times per day.
The following poo patterns are not ideal, and while ok on occasion, if these are regularly occuring, something is off with your poo, gut health and/or food.
Can you see those Brussels sprouts, sweet potato or mushrooms you ate—and still not completely broken down? This is not ideal. Shows it did not pass through the entire process of digestion. Consider your food chewing practices.
Slip & Slide.
Watery and loose. Often times, you can see the foods you ate in this one too—semi-broken down. Watery stools usually mean you ate something that your body yells, “May day, May day! I don’t like this.” A hire incidence of increased “bad” bacteria is indicated and/or food intolerances.
Green poo often with queasy feelings. May indicate your gallbladder is not thoroughly breaking down bile salts to move your poop to that brown color. Green poop is often provoked when we eat fattier foods, since bile helps break down fats too—like vegetable oils (canola, Crisco, processed olive oil) from restaurants, processed; greasy foods (Chinese takeout, a fast food burger or greasy slice of pizza); and even “healthy” fats (like coconut oil, butter, etc.).
If your stools are pale or clay-colored, you may have a problem with the drainage of your biliary system, which is comprised of your gallbladder, liver, and pancreas (similar to the Green Quease). Bile salts are released into your stools by your liver, giving the stools brown color.
Dark, foul, sometimes greasy and/or stinky. Something’s toxic (i.e. not right). Common toxin triggers include: Processed and refined foods. High amounts of non-organic, non-fresh foods and triggers. General toxicity overload. Additives and chemicals. Poor lifestyle habits (smoking, sedentary, fast food). Use of plastics.
The Big Dump.
After a day or two (or 3) of not going, you finally go…all at once. You wonder: How was that in there?! You struggle with constipation and moving bowels through, until it finally decides to come and dump, leaving you feeling cleansed. May indicate low stomach acid, sluggish motility and/or bacterial overgrowth.
Like a Rock.
Difficult to pass or rock like. You still get it out—but a little straining was included. Drink more water. And make sure you’re eating your veggies—and the kinds your body likes (you may be eating lots of raw veggies for instance—which are harder to break down, or sensitive to FODMAPS—like broccoli and Brussels. Leafy greens—cooked down and sauteed—can be good for hard stools).
In addition, assess the quality of your proteins and other foods (have you been eating processed meats or packaged food items—even “paleo” bars and crackers and breads?), as well as your fat intake—are you eating fats with your meals to help lubricate your digestive tract? Sometimes your body just needs some good ol’ meat, veggies and healthy fats—and plenty of water—along with time to breathe, chew and enjoy your meals (not on the go).
Like acorns or little rocks, these come out in bits and pieces—in one setting, or throughout the day. Hard to pass and generally darker in color. Stress, low water intake, eating on the go, low fiber intake, low stomach acid and bacteria imbalance (low “good bacteria”) all play leading roles in pellet poop.
If you’ve experienced this, you’re often thankful for whatever the poop gods will give you—but look to lifestyle factors to dig deeper and bring things up to speed with: apple cider vinegar in water before meals, pre-biotic and pro-biotic foods, some starchy veggies and plenty of greens, chewing your food and slowing down to breathe at meals, yoga and meditation—just to name a few.
How Healthy is Your Poop Part 2: Transit Time
In addition to tracking to your stool for 3 days, you are ALSO encouraged to track your transit time.
How efficient is your digestion?
For this test, measure the “transit time” (i.e. time it takes for food to pass from one end to the other). An optimal transit time is considered to be 12 to 48 hours. Longer than 72 hours indicates constipation and the possibility of other gut pathologies.
Choose one of the following foods:
- Sesame seeds (1 teaspoon to a tablespoon, mixed into a glass of water and swallowed whole)
- Corn kernels (a cup of cooked kernels eaten alone, at least an hour apart from other foods)
- Red beets (a cup of cooked, or raw and shredded, and eaten alone)
Whichever you choose, simply note the time we eat it, and then watch and wait for when it “re-appears” in a bowel movement! Sesame seeds or corn are easy to spot, and beets give your stool a distinct purple-red color.
Keep a Food & Poo log for at least three days to assess how you currently feel, as well as your current bowel habits. You have the option to keep an ongoing food log throughout your own Gut Reset as your health transforms, but figuring out what current lifestyle patterns and foods may be wreaking havoc on your health is essential prior to getting started.
Three Day Food Log 101
Your mindful Food Log will include:
Before each meal, rate your level of hunger (Scale 1-10, 1=famished, 10=stuffed)
Note what you ate
Note how you felt after meal (physical, mental, emotional)
Rate your level of fullness (Scale 1-10)
Also record your water intake, bowel movements, movement/exercise, and sleep—all factors which play a role in the gut conundrum
No calorie counting or macronutrient counting necessary. Simply note how you feel.
Three Day Poo Log 101
What does your poo say about you? When our poop is “off,” it indicates something else is “off.”
Track your poo for three days, simply monitoring and logging the time you go and what your poo looks like, as well as any symptoms around your squatty potty time (i.e. bloating, cramping, stress, etc.). Use the above descriptions and/or the Bristol Stool Chart for guidance in assessing and achieving the “golden poo.”