Constipated? The answer isn’t more fiber!
When things are backed up, we usually reach for the fiber bars, Metamucil or psyllium husk powder. As we have been told by the media and mainstream health practitioners, fiber is the cure-all that will make you sexy, smart and – most importantly – regular.
Here’s the deal. Constipation isn’t a disease. It isn’t a problem in and of itself. It is a symptom! It means that our diet is incorrect and it means that we have slow metabolism and poor digestion (partly because of low stomach acid!).
I really don’t recommend a high fiber diet and I don’t recommend using fiber as a band-aid to constipation. As a matter of fact, I believe this is such an important point to get across that I’ve written a whole post about it here: Is A High Fiber Diet a Health Hazard?
So lasting constipation relief means a good diet and digestion. Here are some important tips that will give you immediate and effective constipation relief without damaging amounts of fiber.
Rock the Squat
First, do the squat! Elevating your feet while on the bathroom throne brings your body into the elimination position nature intended. A squatting position fully relaxes the puborectalis muscle, while the conventional seated posture actually puts a kink in the anorectal angle.
I’m using words like “puborectalis” and “anorectal” because I really don’t want to scare you off with personal details about how squatting rocks. So I’ll just say that proper pooping alignment means no straining.
I use a Squatty Potty and I thoroughly recommend it. You can also use a step stool to elevate your feet, but the Squatty Potty is much less of an eyesore.
Get Things Greased Up
Want to cure constipation? First, start by ignoring this ridiculous claim made in an article on Livestrong.com:
“Saturated fats are difficult for your body to digest and can contribute to hard, difficult-to-pass stools. Your child should eliminate consumption of saturated fats to help alleviate abdominal pain associated with constipation.”
Thankfully, many of us understand that old-fashioned saturated fats play a vital role in health, and should compromise generous part of the diet. Coconut oil can drastically speed up the metabolism, and a faster metabolism means better transit time.
Your body needs saturated fats to prevent constipation. Nourishing fats work to make the entire digestive process effective and efficient. The first step to many healing processes, I believe, is reducing grain consumption and increasing traditional fats.
Try to include at least three tablespoons of healing fats a day, along with pastured egg yolks. I eat 4-5 tablespoons of healing fats along with 2-4 duck eggs every day, as well as full fat, homemade goat milk yogurt and fatty cuts of grassfed beef.
The Magnesium Cure-All
I love magnesium. It makes me sleep better, it gives me energy, and it gives me good poops! Ann Marie wrote a great article on why you need magnesium and how to get it in foods.
I use two different magnesium supplements:
Natural Vitality Natural Magnesium Calm contains a highly absorbable powder form of magnesium which dissolves in warm water. I love the mildly tangy, warm drink before bed. I buy the Vitacost Store brand–same product, but nearly half the price. It may take a period of adjustment to find the proper serving size for you. I take 2 level teaspoons a day.
Balance the Beneficial Bacteria
Healthy gut flora lays the foundation for all areas of health. When these good probiotics get ravaged by processed foods, sugar, and toxins, the whole digestive process deteriorates.
Often, incorporating a fermented food with each meal significantly improves irregularity. Include a tablespoon of lacto-fermented veggies with lunch and dinner. Enjoy a cup of yogurt (homemade or the plain, whole milk type) with breakfast and snacks. As a bonus, these naturally fermented foods will boost your immune system!
Balancing gut flora also means addressing an overgrowth of opportunistic flora by limiting or restricting sugar, grains, and processed foods. In serious cases–like me–it means following the GAPS Diet regimine for a couple years of intensive good bacteria breeding.
Yes, I know. That hole is supposed to be as an exit, not an entrance. And the ick factor of this healing routine sometimes takes a bit of effort to overcome. But if you want a natural constipation cure that works immediately, this is it.
Frequent enemas can deplete potassium and throw electrolytes out of balance. But sometimes it is necessary to prioritize areas of health, and it may be practical to opt for the occasional enema when things are getting really backed up and toxic in the colon.
Before reading about water enemas in the GAPS book, I tried this herbal healing implant enema to stop the intestinal bleeding during an ulcerative colitis flare. I remember laying on my towel-covered bed, tears of distress running down my cheeks, as my mom tried in vain to help me through the process.
It was a mortifying experience.
A year later, when I read the GAPS book, I nearly flushed the book down the toilet when I saw that Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends water enemas for constipation. I had already–unfortunately–decided to go full out with my healing journey and so I would have to try this enema thing again.
After spending an entire day summoning the courage, I set aside a whole hour that evening (an evening when I had the house entirely to myself) to just do it.
Guess what? I lived through it. In fact, the results were so… *desperately searching for discreet adjective*… profound that I now do a water enema once a month. And yes, the process is not pleasant. But it’s not painful, either.
There are a couple tactful and helpful sources on the web to teach you how to do an enema. I like this one.
Follow the instructions in the GAPS book for a plain water enema. You can also use a detoxing coffee enema. Don’t add anything else to the enema, such as sea salt or epsom salt. Don’t even use a coffee enema if you have Crohn’s, colitis, or any kind of bowel/intestinal inflammation or leisons.
That is one long post… my fingers now have the laptop equivalent of writer’s cramp. I hope I didn’t scare you all off with this potty talk! If you are still here, have you done an enema before? Or is just too far-out for you?
Remember, eat well and heal™!
shared at: Fill Those Jars Friday, Freaky Friday, The Morris Tribe, Homestead Barn Hop,Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Healthy 2day, Real Food Wednesday, Small Footprint Friday