May 30, 2012


So how’d you all go with my last post? Not too put off I hope.

If so, well too bad, ‘cause here’s Part 2. I wanted to go a little further into our ‘poo’ topic as I think it’s something that no-one really talks about it (properly) or knows about… a lot of people get squeamish at the mere though of it and whenever I ask people how often they go if it’s relevant when they come to see me at the health food store, I get a non-existent answer. Like I said, no-one wants tot talk about it.

 We need to talk about poo people!!

Maybe it’s a strange area of interest (in some people’s opinions) but in years gone by when I’ve searched for any information on bowel movements, what an ‘ideal’ poo should look like, what every other type of poo means, and so much more… there is such a lack of information out there that I began trying to put the little puzzle pieces together that I found here and there, hoping to see some sort of picture down the track.

I have read varying opinions on this – a perfect bowel movement that is. There doesn’t seem to be a general consensus on what a ‘normal’ bowel movement should be, but there are levels of ‘normal’ you could say.

  We’re all different and so is our poo.

As I’ve made mention before, I’ve had digestive issues from a very young age. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I really began looking into it all and trying everything I could to help myself out. Having also suffered with acne for a very long time, I initially thought that if my digestion and bowels were working perfectly then my skin would heal itself, and get back to being all pretty and flawless like it should be at 26yrs of age. No? I was told that time and time again, and read about it all over the Internet and in text books; that skin issues are essentially a gut issue. There is truth to this as a hell of a lot of skin conditions are infact gut conditions, but I also believe that it’s on an individual basis and depends on the skin condition – I won’t go into it all here. Long story short; not in my case – either that or I’ve still got a hell of a lot (and I mean a hell of a lot!!) of gut work to do.

So, back to that ‘perfect’ poo… in our colon, our body gets it’s last chance at absorbing water and some minerals into the blood, before all the leftovers from whatever we have eaten some hours ago, are combined and packed together tightly, then partially ‘dehydrated’. By this I mean, more and more water keeps leaving the waste matter as it keeps moving along your colon, until it becomes solid. What we have left is indigestible fibre, undigested food, sloughed off dead cells, living and dead bacteria, intestinal secretions and bile – that is, your poo.

But what does yours look like?

Healthy poo should be a medium to light brown colour (unless of course you’re drinking beet juice often, green smoothies daily, or some other food with a deep influential colour; I bought 18kg’s of carrots this week and yep, my poo is a vibrant orange). I have read that if your poo is ‘too much’ a certain colour it could be that your body is not absorbing enough of the nutrients from food… I’m looking more into this.
Your poo should be well formed, cylindrical, fairly bulky, somewhat textured, and easy to pass. And it shouldn’t smell – much. Something’s not quite right if you’ve got a strong pungent odour. You know the one’s.

What if your poo isn’t looking quite like this?

If your poo is a lot darker, it’s likely been in your colon too long (with the exception as above; you’ve been eating beets or the like). If it’s off colour, are you taking medications? This can play a role here. If you ever see blood, go see your doctor. If your poo is really pale and almost like clay-like, it’s likely you’re not digesting fats particularly well. All things to chat to your Naturopath or Nutritionist about. Fun fun! Hopefully they are just as excited about poo talk as I am!

Not for your transit time…

...also known as the length of time it takes for your food to pass from one end to the other. You may have seen or heard the term BTT; Bowel Transit Time. This is something I have heard varying lengths of time for in my studies but in my opinion, there is a general rule of thumb for each person. Trouble is working out yours. A quick and easy way to work it out though – eat something that doesn’t break down so well; sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, even corn. These are the types of foods that no matter how well you chew, you always see them in your poo when you eat them. Don’t you? So go ahead and eat some. Then keep an eye on your poo as to when you see them appear. In less than 8hrs? 8-12hrs? 12-24hrs? More than 24hrs? More than 48hrs? Whatever your number, that’s your (usual) BTT (I say ‘usual’ as it will of course vary).

I don’t want to say what is ‘normal’ as like I said I’ve read such such different opinions. Last I checked my BTT was somewhere between 10 and 14hrs from memory that particular time – last year at college. A friend of mine clocked up near 48hrs! I write that with an exaggeration and firm shocked tone in my voice as I can only imagine what might be going on inside of her. We learnt that anything less than 8hrs was too quick – not enough time for nutrients to be absorbed, 10-16hrs was ‘optimal’ and anything over 24hrs… well my guess is you’re a meat eater. However, in reading another book a while back that I love… a raw foodist herself, Tonya Zavesta says that on a 100% raw foods diet, it should take 24hrs for what you eat now to come out the other end. So all different opinions and I endevour to do more research.

Fruit would generally pass through relatively quickly (not if ingested after a solid steak though). Meat, dairy and a lot of cooked foods take a lot longer to break down and pass through. Your colon has a hard job of trying to push and get this through and out the other end as water and toxins are pulled out of the faecal matter and absorbed through your colon wall, making your poo stiff and hard.

And then getting it out… Evacuate!! 

Again, we're all different so this is a tough one, but one man’s so-so is another man’s perfect, and vice-versa. I'm certain you all know a male who sits on the toilet for a good 15-20 minutes, reading the paper or a book, before venturing out and turning on the exhaust fan behind him, feeling nothing short of a million bux! As a female (and I know other females who will agree with me here), I wonder if we can’t seem to manage to do such a thing due to our inherent nature of doing-doing-doing and go-go-go instead of sitting down and chilling out for a bit… or because men stereotypically eat a heavier percentage of meats in their diets, and are perhaps mildly constipated?? Some feedback here would be great. 
If it’s hard to evacuate, it’s likely you’re constipated. Not a nice feeling. I know. And consistent straining will lead to hemorrhoids, varicose veins and fissures so you don’t wanna go there. I’ve always been told (and do agree) that constipation is quite often due to a lack of water in one’s diet, but have read about raw foodists who drink next to no water (usually a result of water rich fruits being the staple of the diet), and they have no constipation issues. Fruit = fibre = bowel movements… maybe that’s why?  Alternatively, and I spoke more about it here, constipation can be looked at metaphysically as you're holding onto something (bad relationship? A job you hate? You will know what)... or a Bush Flowers remedy for constipation is Bottlebrush which is intrinsicly linked to mother-issues... hitting any chords? I'm running off on a tangent here, and you all know Nutrition is my first and foremost passion, but it's not the be-all and end-all.     Moving on...

Even with all this knowledge and beginning to know what works for you (or keeping up with whatever it may be if you already do), it doesn’t automatically put you in the Perfect-Poo-Everytime-Club. My bowels are often all over the place – oh dear that might come across a little odd… I mean one day I poo 3 times, the next day once, sometimes small poo’s, sometimes nice big bowel-emptying poo’s. There’s no ‘perfect’ poo but we can all aim to get our’s as best as we can so everytime we leave the throne, we’re walking on Cloud 9.

Source: Tonya Zavesta, Raw Food and Hot Yoga, 2009, BR Publishing, USA


  1. Ok this is really a crappy subject (I've been dying to say that) Moving along, I too suffer from erratic bm's. Everything varies: time, duration of time spent sitting, size, shape, color, etc. I've been a vegetarian/vegan for aout seven years now & the past year or so, a high raw foodist. I sometimes get constipated too. However, one thing I've notice is that if I consume a large green smoothie in the am that contains fruit, greens, flax, hemp, chia, green powder, & EFA's I'll generally have a seemingly healthy bm within an hour, virtually every time. Go figure.


  2. Awesome! Thanks so much for your comment! I too find green smoothies good but green juices better! We're all so different. It's just a matter of having enough organic greens to juice everyday on a student's budget! Tough one. Loved your tongue in cheek too ;)