If you’ve ever gone more than a few days without using the bathroom (#2), you know how uncomfortable that can be. And sometimes painful. And awkward to talk about it.
“To tell you the truth, I’ve been a little stopped up lately.”
The first step in treating constipation is preventing it in the first place. A good, clean diet is a good place to start.
Avoiding inflammatory foods, eating 5 different colors of vegetables daily, and including fermented foods in your diet are all essential.
Inflammatory foods such as wheat, sugar, excessive dairy (especially from cows treated with antibiotics or hormones), and food chemicals found in processed food products and GMO foods should make up no more than 20% of your overall diet.
The problem with giving dietary information over the computer, is that you can’t intellectualize a concept of doing. You have to experience it for it to work. For example, you may understand about good nutrition and what you should and shouldn’t be eating, but the actual practice of good eating is a whole different ball game. Be open to different flavors. Different flavors and foods will also give you different sensations of fullness. It may not be the same feeling of fullness you get after a hamburger and fries; in fact, it won’t be the same at all. It will feel lighter. This lighter feeling that we all claim to want for our selves (“I want to lose weight!”), when we actually feel it, can feel scary. “Does it mean that I didn’t eat enough?” “What am I going to do with this extra energy?” If you don’t have a good set of answers to those questions, you will start to crave the old foods again. Some people will interpret lightness and movement in their body as anxiety. It’s extra “energy” that has no specific purpose or outlet.
The solution? Get a hobby; or reactivate interest in an old one. Meet new friends; get out and do something you love and believe in and desire. Just don’t be bored and boring.
Drink plenty of water. This is not brain surgery, people. Your body is mostly water. If you fail to hydrate, your body will not thrive. If you don’t like the taste of water, try a different kind of water. Did you know there are actually water sommeliers now? Like sommeliers for wine, but for water. Different waters have different tastes. Try different filter types, different sources, or even adding a squeeze of lime or lemon to your water for flavor.
Exercise. Constipation mainly affects people with a sedentary lifestyle. Walking alone can be enough to stimulate peristalsis (your colon’s natural movement). Park your car at the far end of the parking lot at work, at the mall, and at the grocery store. Take the stairs. Go for a walk after dinner every night or before breakfast every morning. Get up from your desk at work or at school every hour and walk somewhere. I am so lucky that I have a job that requires me to stand and walk at least half of my day. A nice side-effect of walking – a strong perineum. Your perineum is the space between your anus and genitals that you sit on when you sit. When it’s strong, you are less likely to leak urine when you cough or sneeze and you are less likely to have hemorrhoids.
In some situations, even if you have a healthy lifestyle, you may have a bout of constipation. Let’s say you’ve been traveling and out of necessity, living off of Starbucks coffee and scones for a few days. In this type of “emergency” situation, there are some tricks you can use to deal with the resulting constipation.
1. One teaspoonful of honey (real, raw and organic honey, not that corn sugar syrup BS).
2. A big, leafy green salad.
3. A yogurt.
(If you can find a health food store and get all three of those above, I almost can guarantee a BM within 2 hours.)
4. Abdominal massage. When I was suffering with chronic constipation, doing this daily for 30 days is what finally “cured” me. You should do it on an empty stomach and use deep breathing while you push in with your fingertips on your exhale and release on your inhale, moving over your entire lower abdominal area. Afterward, drink a lot of water to flush out the toxins.
5. Soap in the bum. This is not a joke. I had a professor in Chinese Medicine School who swore by this solution. You can try it and let me know how it works for you.
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