What Your Bowel Movements Reveal about Your Health

Get the Scoop on Your Poop

The Scoop on Your Poop

Unless you’re the parent of a toddler who has just mastered “going potty,” poop is probably not a hot topic in your household. But the composition of what you deposit into the toilet has important implications for health.

Although it’s not a comfortable subject, I have to ask my clients what’s going on with their poop. Many are embarrassed since it’s not usually a topic that is talked about in friendly conversation!

 I got over my embarrassment a long time ago since I knew I was going to be talking about it with my future clients. It’s so important to look (some people don’t!) and actually see what’s going on with what’s coming out.

Did you know the features of fecal matter—such as the size, color, shape, odor, and consistency indicate how well the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is functioning?

Those same features also provide clues about how your body is (or isn’t) faring against threats of infection and more serious diseases like celiac disease, hepatitis, urinary tract infections, malabsorption disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and cancer.

 

To give you an idea of what healthy, normal stool looks like, check out the Bristol Stool Chart.  The healthy range for fecal matter is of a consistency that is not too hard, not too soft, and mostly solid—as opposed to lumpy, pellet-like, or liquid. Normal stool color is in the light-to-medium brown range and is not offensively odorous. Also, bowel movements (BMs) should pass easily from your body to the toilet.

5 BMs that Require Medical Attention

Unless you are aware of dietary changes or a medication that could produce the following types of stool, it’s advisable to seek medical attention if you observe the following changes in BMs.

1. Stool that is hard to pass, requires straining or is accompanied by abdominal pain.
2. Black, tarry stool might indicate infection or GI bleeding, while bright red stool could indicate infection and/or bleeding in the GI tract or anus. Seek immediate medical attention.
3. White, pale, or gray stool could indicate problems with the liver, bile ducts, or pancreas.
4. Yellow stool could indicate serious infection or gallbladder problems.
5. Mucus in the stool can indicate inflammation, infection, or even cancer.

How Often Should You Go?

How frequently you have a BM is important, too. And, what’s typical for you may be different for other people in your family. Three daily BMs are considered the norm. No matter how often you poop, you should not have to strain or experience pain while excreting. Additionally, be aware that the appearance and frequency of BMs will vary based on what’s in your diet, sleep and exercise patterns, hormonal changes, travel, stress, hydration level, medications or supplements you are taking, and exposure to toxins (from nicotine to industrial toxins).

How Low Should You Go?

There’s also evidence that the position you take to evacuate the bowels has health implications for the physical structures of the GI tract. So much so that some scientists indicate sitting to poop is a contributing factor in the development of colon and pelvic diseases. Before potty training, young children squat to poop in their diapers—they don’t sit. Yes, there’s a difference between squatting and sitting. The modern toilet places the thighs at a 90-degree angle to the abdomen, whereas squatting has a much deeper angle that gives more motility to the intestinal muscles and organs. Evacuating the bowels is much easier on the body in the squatting versus seated position. Toilet position should be a consideration for everyone over the age of five, but is especially important for the elderly, the disabled, and individuals with compromised mobility.

You can learn more about proper toilet position in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P8L0r4JVpo

Even though this may be an uncomfortable topic, I hope that this information will help you to pay better attention to what’s coming out (as well as what’s going in!) so you’ll be better informed about the health of your digestive system and body!

If you’re needing help with sorting out what may be going on with your digestive health.  I offer a free 30-minute health discovery call where we can chat and see how I can help you get to the root of the problem so you can finally feel strong, sexy and confident again!  Schedule your free session here

Resources
Mercola, J. “What You See in the Toilet Can Give You Valuable Insights into Your Health.” Accessed February 2015. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/02/14/normal-stool.aspx

Monastyrsky, K. “Gut Sense: What Exactly Are Normal Stools?” Accessed February 2015.
http://www.gutsense.org/constipation/normal_stools.html

Sikirov, D. “Comparison of Straining During Defecation in Three Positions: Results and Implications for Human Health.” Abstract. Digestive Diseases and Sciences 48, no. 7 (July 2003): 1201-5.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12870773

Step and Go. “Step and Go Ergonomically Correct Toilet Position.” Accessed February 2015.
stepandgo.com

Three Must Eat Sugar-Free Breakfast Foods

Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again?

 

Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism, and weight loss. 

This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it. 

So I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” sugar-free and Candida-diet friendly breakfasts.

 

Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

Breakfast Food: Sugar-free, Candida-diet friendly breakfast recipe

Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton.  I mean actual whole “eggs”. 

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

And…nope the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases. 

One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized.  It’s the oxidized cholesterol that’s heart unhealthy.

Tip: Are you buying store brand organic eggs? You’ll be shocked to learn that these are not a healthy choice. Check out Cornucopia.org and specifically this page for an organic egg scorecard to find the healthiest eggs in your area. My favorite are eggs from Vital Farms…the yolks are a beautiful orange color which means healthy eggs and they’re oh so delicious!

 

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

 

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

Don’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butter, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know I’m talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you’re running out the door; you can nosh on them while you’re commuting.

Not to mention how easy it is to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie.

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy. 

Tip: Soak your nuts over night and then dehydrate to make them easier to digest.

 

Breakfast Food #3: Veggies

Breakfast Food: Say Yes to Veggies for Breakfast!

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right? 

Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You can’t go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast! 

And no, you don’t need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don’t want to but you totally can!  You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast.

I’ve included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.

 

Veggie Omelet
Serves 1
A quick and easy sugar-free, Candida-diet friendly breakfast that's healthy and delicious too!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  2. 1 or 2 eggs (how hungry are you?)
  3. ¼ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced spinach and/or diced peppers)
  4. dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric
Instructions
  1. Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).
  2. In the meantime grab a bowl and beat the egg(s) with your vegetables of choice and the spices.
  3. Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil. Pour egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring.
  4. When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny.
  5. Serve & Enjoy!
  6. Tip: Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favorite vegetable. Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli, asparagus or diced tomato.
http://www.naturalhealthanswers.com/

Check out my other sugar-free, Candida-diet friendly breakfast recipes: Turkey Sausage Patties and  Paige’s Protein Smoothie 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

https://authoritynutrition.com/eating-healthy-eggs/

https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/

 

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Genetically Modified Foods: What You Need to Know

What are Genetically Modified Foods?

Genetically Modified (GM) foods are the result of gene technology collaborating with modern agriculture to produce what is perceived as hardier plants. These plants typically have altered DNA that is combined with DNA from viruses, bacteria and other organisms in order to make the plant more disease, drought, and pest resistant. Many producers will argue that gene modification improves food crops. However, several animal studies have linked GM foods to disruption in the immune system, increase in allergies, damage to internal organs, changes in metabolism, and increase in oxidative stress. This type of damage is especially dangerous because it affects so many systems in the body.

Tips to avoid Genetically Modified Foods for better health!

Long-term studies on the safety of human consumption of GM foods have not been conducted. We have been eating GM foods for only about 20 years, and it has only been in the last 10 years that the rate of consumption has increased due to advances in gene technology. There is no way to determine the long-term effect of eating these kinds of foods until it is studied in more depth.

I personally choose to avoid these foods as my gut feeling is nothing good can come of messing with mother nature in this way and I don’t believe our bodies are equipped to process these altered organisms. I’ve come up with these tips to help you if you feel the same way.

To keep your family safe from GM foods, here are some tips:

1. Buy Organic. Any food labels that say organic on them cannot by virtue of being organic contain any GM foods. This is will be true for produce, as well as meats and dairy. Considering that soy is often a GM food crop, make sure to buy organic for tofu, non-dairy alternatives, and other soy-based products.

 

non genetically modified foods label

2. Look for GMO-Free Labels. Look on the food label to see if it says whether its GMO free or not. One organization helping with food labeling is the Non GMO Project (http://nongmoproject.org). They verify individual products from food to health and beauty so that you know it is GMO free. Look for their label.

3. Avoid Common GM Foods. Some common GM food crops are corn, soybean, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. These foods need to be purchased organically. One problem, is that many of these are used as ingredients in other foods, such as the oil used in a bag of pita chips, or the sugar to flavor a chocolate bar. It’s important to read labels and look for both organic and GMO-free labeling.

4. Use a Shoppers Guide. One great shopping guide is the Non GMO Shopping Guide (www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/Non-GMO-Shopping-Guide.pdf). This will give you a list of verified products from condiments and other food items to health, beauty, and hygiene products.

References

20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods. n.d.World Health Organization Website. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

Genetically Modified Foods. n.d. American Academy of Environmental Medicine. http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

Non-GMO Shoppers Guide. n.d. NonGMOProject.org www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/Non-GMO-Shopping-Guide.pdf

5 Tips To Support Your Lymphatic System and Ease Your Candida Cleanse

 

5 Tips To Support Your Lymphatic System | Candida Programs | Natural Health Answers

The key to improving your body’s immune function is to nourish your lymphatic system.

 

Sometimes referred to as the body’s secondary circulatory system, the lymphatic system carries away toxins and metabolic waste from the body’s tissues. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen and the thymus gland, and it helps regulate tissue pressure, immune functions and fat absorption in the intestine. If your lymphatic system is not healthy, toxins can build up and result in lower immune function.

It’s important to understand that the lymphatic system is not like the heart muscle where it pumps automatically.  We have to move, breath and use massage to help improve our lymphatic drainage.

When doing a Candida Cleanse it can be overwhelming for the body to excrete all of the toxins that are stirred up and can cause a Herx reaction where you feel nausea, fatigued, have headaches and experience rashes.  Incorporating these 5 tips into your program along with supporting your liver and kidneys can make a world of difference in how you feel and the speed of recovery.

 

Lymphatic System | Candida | Natural Health Answers

TheEmirr/Wikipedia

 

 

Here are 5 tips to help you care for your lymphatic system.

1. Eat potassium-rich foods. Your lymphatic system thrives on potassium-rich foods. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, yams and sweet potatoes (phase 3)  and seafood, like wild salmon, are some excellent choices to consider.

2. Reduce toxins. Additives and preservatives cause swelling and fluid retention. One such additive, monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG, is often disguised among other ingredients and can have degenerative and deadly effects on the brain and nervous system. Watch out for hydrolyzed anything, autolyzed anything, natural flavor, seasonings and spices, commercial soup or sauce bases, bouillon, broth and stock, gelatin and even aluminum cookware. All these can introduce toxins to your body that cause your lymphatic system to work overtime.The best way to avoid these is to simply get back to the basics and use all natural, unprocessed ingredients in your cooking.

3. Exercise…breathe. It is no secret that exercise is good for you, but did you know that even light exercise can benefit circulation of both your blood and lymph? Your lymphatic system relies on muscle movements to keep lymph moving through its vessels. Even light exercise such as standing calf raises or a walk around the neighborhood will stretch and contract your muscles, triggering the circulatory function within your lymphatic system. Exercising on a Rebounder or mini trampoline for 3-6 minutes with only your heels moving is also a good choice for getting the lymph moving. Moreover, deep breathing, which is often recommended as a technique for stress relief and boosting blood circulation, will also help release toxins and increase lymphatic circulation.

4. Skin brushing. Dry skin brushing increases blood and lymph circulation and boosts organ function by stimulating sweat glands and opening pores. It also softens skin and improves the complexion. On dry skin, before bathing, brush with a natural bristle brush gently over the skin. Start with your extremities and work your way to the center of your body, avoiding your face, always moving in the direction of the heart.  Wikihow has detailed instructions on how to dry skin brush.

5. Lymphatic massage. This therapeutic massage technique, also known as lymphatic drainage, uses gentle kneading motions to stimulate muscles and in effect, lymphatic vessels and flow. Just as with skin brushing, the motion should always be towards the heart (lymph openings). You can do this yourself or  find a massage therapist skilled in this type of  therapy.

Reader Feedback: Were you aware of how important your lymphatic system was to the health of your body?  The ability to help you move through a candida cleanse?  What is your favorite tip that you’re willing to incorporate ASAP?

 

Resources

Support the Lymphatic System – Your Secondary Circulatory System, Gloria Gilbère, N.D.,D.A.Hom., Ph.D. American Holistic Health Association.
http://ahha.org/articles.asp?Id=113.

Lymph flow dynamics in exercising human skeletal muscle as detected by scintography. Journal of Physiology (1997), 504.1, pp.233-239.
http://jp.physoc.org/content/504/Pt_1/233.full.pdf.

Pizzorno, J. E., & Murray, M. T. (1999). Textbook of natural medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Hudson, A. (2001). Lymphatic drainage: Therapy I. Castlecrag, N.S.W: Triam Press.

Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners

 
Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners | Natural Health Answers

When starting a Candida diet or even when a person wants to eat a healthier diet, I always get questions concerning which sweeteners are a good choice:

  • Can I have honey?
  • Okay, I’m giving up sugar but is there something else that I can use as a substitute?
  • Will an artificial sweetener make Candida yeast grow?

The good news is there are some good options but first I will share the sweeteners you’ll want to avoid.  Even if you aren’t on a Candida/Yeast clearing program this information is beneficial for everyone. Sugar in excess in anyone’s diet is a hazard to your health.  

The No No’s

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is at the top of that ‘NO’ list as far as I’m concerned. This means no commercial sodas — which all contain HFCS.

There has been a flurry of interest in a cactus-based sweetener called agave nectar, because of its low glycemic index (which means it does not cause a spike in your blood sugar levels like honey or sugar might.) Unfortunately, agave is a processed food, and it has a higher fructose level than HFCS (57% to 90%). It does have a low glycemic number, but its use can actually create insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes over time.

Artificial sweeteners are also on my “NO” list. Beware of the phrases “Sugar Free” or “No Sugar Added” (commonly seen in baked goods, like pies). This is code that the product is sweetened artificially with products like Sweet ‘n Low (saccharin), Splenda (sucralose), aspartame, etc.). Though you will hear much controversy regarding these products the studies on the ‘positive’ side most likely will be funded by the industry that manufactures the artificial sweetener.  Several interesting studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are counter-productive for weight loss because they actually trigger the desire for sweets — without satisfying it.  That’s the last thing you need!

Makeup of Sugar

The newest studies on regular sugar show that it’s fructose that is the biggest problem. Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of 2 sugars called glucose and fructose in roughly equal parts. Honey is 70% fructose and though it has some healthful properties it should be avoided when on a Candida diet and used in moderation for most people.

If you get most of your sugar from natural sources like fruits and vegetables you are going to be okay, especially if you take a quality probiotic supplement because the sugar from these foods won’t interfere with the action of the probiotic. If you want sweetener in your coffee, tea or lemonade then there are some much healthier choices than those on the ‘no’ list above.

Acceptable Sweeteners on the Candida Diet

Sugar Alcohols

Xylitol and Erythritol are from an interesting family of sweeteners called ‘sugar alcohols’. The body processes them in a completely different way than it does sugar. In fact the body doesn’t really see them as sugars and mostly won’t digest them. In large quantities they can cause diarrhea and/or gas but in small quantities they can make a nice sugar substitute, with the side benefit that they don’t promote tooth decay. In fact, Xylitol is antibacterial and anti-fungal.

There are many different sugar alcohols but Erythritol and Xylitol are my first choice. The others you see (all ending in -itol) are cheaper to make: forms like sorbitol, mannitol, etc. Erythritol and Xylitol (choose sources made from birch instead of corn) can be found in your health food store or online and is close to being as sweet as sugar.

I recommend Xyla brand because it’s made from the purest North American Birch. and non-GMO. I toured their plant in Broomfield, CO and was extremely impressed with the integrity of the company. It was really interesting to see the machines cranking out their tasty little mints and candy. It smelled heavenly in that warehouse!  

*Important note: Sugar alcohols are NOT safe for animals.

SteviaSweeteners to Avoid & To Use on Candida Diet | Stevia | Natural Health Answers

One last and probably the best natural sweetener to use is Stevia. This plant-based sweetener is available at your health food store or online. This is a very good sweetener but it does have a bit of an aftertaste that some don’t like. It will depend on the brand you buy just how much or little of an aftertaste there is. The more pure the processing of the plant (using just the leaves and not stems for instance) the better it will taste. I use SweetLeaf Stevia because to me it has no bitter aftertaste.

The food industries are starting to patent various forms of Stevia which are reduced to just the sweetest compound chemicals of the Stevia plant. Truvia is one you might see; another is PureVia. Although these manufactured sweeteners start with the Stevia plant, they add additional ingredients and processes so they can patent their products. I recommend you avoid these and stick with the natural forms of Stevia.  
 

 

Here’s a handy chart to use for Stevia to Sugar conversions in your recipes:

 

Stevia Conversion Chart | Candida Diet | Natural Health Answers

 

Looking for a sweet treat that’s Candida Diet approved? Check out my delicious Coconut Cupcakes recipe which uses only a candida diet approved sweeteners.

If you have insulin issues, you should avoid sweeteners altogether, including Stevia, as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin (insulin resistance).

I hope this has helped you have at least a fairly sweet life despite having to fight off Candida overgrowth. Don’t be discouraged: the good news is that as you get the Candida under control, your craving for sweets will become much less. Hang in there, steady and focused wins the race.

Keep taking your preventative supplements and eating the recommended foods and stay ahead of the yeast’s attempts to come back. 

 

Reader Feedback:  Have you tried Xylitol, Erythritol or Stevia yet?   If so, how did you like them?