The Importance of Your Poop

Even though it feels a bit embarrassing to post about poop, there’s no denying that our bowel movements are extremely important. If you want to know what’s going on with your body and your health, then start by looking at your poop.

Let’s begin with the gut. The gut is the body’s second brain. In fact, it actually sends messages directly to our brain up top. It impacts mood, digestion, the immune system, and even how you think. While thought processes like writing or math are up to the big brain, the Enteric Nervous System (ENS), which runs down from our esophagus to our stomach, small intestine and anus, is comprised of 100’s of millions of neurotransmitters that affect mental state and contribute to certain diseases in the body (source: John Hopkins). This network of neurons is similar to those found in the brain and act as a complex circuitry allowing the gut to think independently, learn, remember, and even experience gut feelings. 80% of cells from the immune system are located in this digestive tract, so it makes sense that the colon can dictate your overall health.

Because of the impact your gut health has on mood and overall health, many gastrointestinal disorders like Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome stem from issues in the gut. When you poop, you eliminate toxins, and when you don’t poop those toxins build up and can contribute to disease and illness. Constipation can be caused by a disease, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or from something like stress or poor diet.

Are you pooping enough?

Your poop can tell you whether your body is properly absorbing the nutrients that you consume. Ideally, you should poop between 1-3 times every day, but no more than 5. If you’re pooping five or more times daily, this is likely diarrhea and can be dehydrating. Many people refer to having regular bowel function as being “regular,” but regular really means easily passing soft yet well-formed bowel movements anywhere between 1-3 times a day to 3 times a week (source: continence.org).

The type of poop you make is quite important. Thankfully, there is this handy dandy poop chart to help you identify your stool category according to research by the University of Bristol:

If your poop most closely resembles types 1-3, this indicates constipation. Types 3-4 are ideal; 5-7 indicate diarrhea.

What can you do to become a “regular” and healthy pooper?

If you’re not a category 3-4 pooper, then I have some tips for you!

If you really want to give your colon a good cleanse, try a colonic. Colonics cleanse your colon by flushing the large intestine out with warm water via the rectum in order to remove waste and exercise and hydrate the colon (source: SF Colonics). Some places that do colonics will even sell add-ons with the colonics, like coffee enemas or vitamin B implants.

Diet can play a huge role on gut health. Try adding more fiber to your diet since fiber gets waste to move through the intestines. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber, and I highly recommend my Daily Green Smoothie for a powerful dose of fiber and vitamins needed to cleanse the body of toxins. I also suggest taking a daily probiotic and digestive enzymes. Probiotics can come in the form of food or supplements, but basically, probiotics are good bacteria that are essential to proper gut function and good health. Digestive enzymes will help you get the most from the nutrients in your food by breaking the food down into more digestible components. Even if you’re someone who eats well all the time, if you don’t have enough digestive enzymes you will not absorb all the good nutrition from your food (source: Whole9). Stress, low stomach acid, aging, and inflammation all are very common occurrences that can deplete levels of digestive enzymes.

Because of the direct link between the gut and colon, constipation or diarrhea can signal something stressful going on, whether it’s something emotional buried deep or something going on presently, like a big presentation at work (source: Harvard). To reduce stress, I can recommend a number of therapies which I’ve tried. These include health coaching, acupuncture, massage, psychotherapy, emotional freedom technique, or yoga. There are many ways to reduce stress on your own too, like breathing exercises, regular physical activity (but tailored to fit your body’s needs), essential oils, or a good ole’ warm bath.

I have worked with many women who suffer from chronic constipation. In fact, chronic constipation is a large, somewhat unspoken epidemic. I work with these clients to improve diet and lifestyle and to identify areas of stress or emotional trauma in their lives. If you’re someone suffering from gut problems, or if you would just like to improve your overall health, please set up a complimentary consultation with me so we can review your health history and discuss how health coaching can best help you.

I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I learned about more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. Drawing on this knowledge, I will help you create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals.

 

 

Essential Oils for Dogs

Essential oils have amazing benefits not just for humans, but for animals too. Anxiety, relaxation, joint pain, breathing, digestion, insect repellant, antiseptic, healthy skin and tissue are just some of the issues essential oils can help animals with.  It’s amazing to see what happens when I let my puppy sniff lavender essential oil.  The crazy pup lays down and actually drifts off to sleep!smokey

Quality essential oils should be therapeutic grade and 100% pure.  I personally use doTerra essential oils, because they are the purest oils- Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade- and work really well for me and my family.  On my dogs I use lavender to relax them, OnGuard to keep away ticks and fleas (mixed with some coconut oil along their spines), and Serenity when we leave the dogs or take them in the car (one dog gets anxious in the car).

Below are my top picks for essential oils for dogs (and even for myself!):

AromaTouch: Circulatory Issues, Overworked Muscles

Balance: Promotes Relaxation and Supports Healthy Joints (Add in Deep Blue and Lemongrass)

Breathe: Supports Healthy Breathing, Reduces Inflammation

Deep Blue: Muscle Cramps and Pain Reducer, Wound Care

DigestZen: Supports a Healthy Digestive System

Frankincense: Promotes Relaxation, Helps Promote Healthy, New Cells in the Body, Insect/Snake Bites, Scarring, Supports Healthy Skin and Tissue

Helichrysum: Supports a Healthy Liver and Nervous System, Wound Care

Immortelle: Supports Skin and Tissue Health, Calms the Nervous System, Wound Care, Reduces Scarring

Lavender: Calms the Nervous System, Helpful for Skin Conditions and Wound Care

Lemon:  Promotes Relaxation, Electrolyte Balance, Maintains a Healthy Immune Response in the Body, Supports the Lymphatic System, Claw Strength

Melissa: Stress Reducer, Immune Support

OnGuard:  Immune Support, Improves Oral Health, Spider Bites

Oregano: Supports Respiratory Health and Maintains a Healthy Immune Response in the Body

Peppermint: Supports Healthy Breathing, Maintains The Health of the Digestive System, Inflammation, Muscle Pain

Serenity: Stress reducer, Burns, Inflammation, Nerve Pain, Scarring, Wound Care

Zendocrine: Kidney and Bladder Support, Liver Support

Essential oils can be pretty potent for animals, so you can mix a few drops of oil with about a tablespoon of coconut oil to put on topically, sprinkle some drops of oil in your hands and let the dog sniff, or use a diffuser.  Use caution with puppies under 10 weeks of age, very old dogs, or pregnant dogs.  Talk to you vet about essential oils and please make sure you are using top quality oils!  If you have questions about how to use the products, which oils to use, or specific questions about doTerra, please email me at jessicakhealth@gmail.com.

To learn more about what I do as an integrative nutrition health coach, please visit me at jkhealthcoach.com.