How To Unblock Your Plumbing & Relieve Constipation
Poop. Turd Burger. Dookie. Butt truffles. *giggle*
Call it what you will, we all do it.
But sadly some of us don’t visit the loo as regularly or as comfortably as we would like.
If you aren’t dropping the kids off at the pool at least once a day, or if you can read ‘War and Peace’ whilst sitting on the royal throne, then its time to read this article…
What do you do when you are backed up?
The common solution is to run to the chemist to buy a processed form of fibre thinking that it will unblock the plumbing (think Metamucil). Its a quick fix right? Well not necessarily. Its highly possible that lack of fibre is not the true cause of your blockage. Besides not solving your issue, Metamucil contains a bunch of artificial colours and flavours that you really don’t need to be adding to your already compromised digestive state.
Constipation can occur for a range of reasons, of which lack of fibre may not be the cause.
For instance your diet may be too high in refined carbs, you may have improper gut flora, lack of digestive enzymes or have a diet lacking in fat. Sure, if you only eat a diet of processed grains, sugar and carbs then perhaps eating a vegetable for fibre might help alleviate the issue, but it isn’t the only answer.
Remedies For Constipation
Increasing fat (grass-fed butter, coconut oil, grass-fed meat) consumption will increase bile acid production and aid your smooth muscle and nervous system in creating peristaltic waves which will create movement for your digestive system and the stool, greasing the wheels so to speak. I also recommend fish oil as a great way to decrease inflammation through increasing your healthy Omega 3 fat intake.
Essentially fibre is carbohydrate that you can’t digest. The soluble form of fibre (strawberries, apples, root veggies, nuts, celery, carrot) turns your food to a gel like mush, slowing down the digestion process which also increases nutrient absorption. Soluble fibre is food for our good bacteria in the gut and plays an important role in the maintenance of gut barrier integrity whilst nourishing your healthy gut flora.
Then there’s the insoluble form (cabbage, carrots and brussels sprouts) that absorb water, bulking up the matter so it forces everything through in a laxative effect so to speak. Kind of like passing an orange through a hose… everything is going to pop out the other end.
However, its also worth noting that depending on the state of your gut, fibre can actually damage the intestinal lining acting like a wiry brush scraping down the sides of your intestines as it makes its way through your system.
Ferments and Probiotics
Your gut flora – the good bacteria that live in your digestive tract, aid in movement of food through your system.
75% of your stools are actually bacteria.
So the more gut bacteria you have (of which eating more real food and fibre can contribute) the more bulky your poop will be and the more you will need to hit the loo.
To help increase the diversity of your gut flora, eat fermented foods that are loaded with good bacteria such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and even natural (no sugar) yoghurt and don’t forget to step outside and get your hands in the soil occasionally (which is also a great way to increase diversity of your gut bacteria).
I suspect that dehydration is to blame for many causes of lack of movement downstairs. Increase your water intake to increase volume and soften your stools and see if that helps.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar contains pectin (a soluble form of fibre) which is thought to lower the pH in the stomach, meaning it increases stomach acid which helps us to break down food and absorb nutrients. Its quite common for people to have low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) which can be quite a serious condition causing a host of symptoms such as acid reflux, heartburn, bloating and gas. Stomach acid is also needed to help protect us from pathogens by killing any bad bugs that get in to the body.
Try a shot of ACV in a glass of water before meals or just hold your nose and shoot as is.
If you are sitting all day behind a computer desk or in a car, your metabolism will be sluggish and the food you consume will be just hanging around in your system.
The more your move, the more your blood pumps and the more peristaltic waves will pulse through your digestive system to push food through to the poop end.
I take magnesium before bed to help relax the ever churning wheels of my mind and to help relax my overworked muscles, but it is also great for easing the digestion system. It has a laxative effect and also draws in water, so it will really help ease constipation.
I take an orange flavoured magnesium powder that I get from the Health Food shop because its high quality and tastes great.
*What ever magnesium you buy, just be sure to get the magnesium citrate form as opposed to oxide that isn’t as well absorbed.
Foods that relieve constipation:
Onions, garlic, sweet potato, zucchini, celery, avocado, berries, cauliflower, carrots, sauerkraut, brussels sprouts, banana, Apple, nuts, coconut (oil, cream), chia seeds, yoghurt, ferments – sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.
Herbal teas are also fantastic such as green tea, peppermint, chamomile, licorice or ginger tea.
Try this recipe:
1 Cup of full fat greek yoghurt (no added sugar)
1 Tablespoon of chia seeds
1 Tablespoon of cacao powder
1 Tablespoon raw honey (optional)
1 teaspoon almond nut butter
Method: Mix all together and let sit for 5 minutes for the chia seeds to swell. Then eat! Yum!
A side note – if you are having chronic constipation, that lasts longer than a week, you need to consider what else is going on. I suggest booking in with your GP and seek medical advice as toxins can very quickly build up in your system and cause all kinds of serious issues, even death.
How do you go about relieving constipation? Do you have a favourite method?