Ever heard the term “golden poop?” Aka the perfect poop.
Yeah, yeah, I know, nobody wants to talk about poop! I have been trying for years to normalize it in my house because, let's face it, poop is important! But as I write this, I can visualize my kids sinking down, hands over their faces, embarrassed they have a mom that talks about poop all the time.
It really is a topic I discuss a lot with my family and naturally, as a nutritionist, all the time with my clients.
Looking at your stool can tell you a lot about how well your body is doing at absorbing nutrients, eliminating waste and even tale-tale signs of digestive issues on the horizon.
For instance, there are certain colors, smells and consistencies that are normal and others that may be signs of health issues. Additionally, floaters vs. sinkers are important to take note of. You want your stool to sink. If it floats, it could be telling you that you aren't properly absorbing fats.
If you have overwhelmingly smelly stool, you might actually have an infection. Nobody's poop smells good but there are degrees of bad smelling for sure. It's just best to be honest with yourself.
The color of your stool can also be a clue that you need to pay closer attention to your body. I really like this chart from Medical News Today:
As you can see, there are lots of shades and several possible explanations for each. This can make it confusing if you experience unusually colored stool. I recommend eliminating anything that could have contributed to the abnormal color and waiting a couple of days, checking for positive changes along the way. If things normalize then there may be nothing to worry about.
For example, if you experience green stool and you know that you ate cereal with green dye that morning or a cupcake that had green icing, you should see your stool normalize over the next day or so. If you didn't eat anything that would explain the color, or begin a round of antibiotics, you would want to investigate the possibility of a bacterial infection with a gut health specialist, like myself.
You get the idea, right?
Now, let's take a look at what's known as the Bristol Stool Chart below to find out what the perfect poop looks like? Yes, someone made a chart!
Ok, a normal poop looks like #3 or #4, both are great but to be honest, #4 is best. If yours doesn't look like either, then check out the descriptions of the others to see what they mean.
Now, there's more to a golden poop than the way it looks in the toilet. It's the combination of color, shape, consistency, smell, absence of undigested food and super easy to color up after.
If that's you, amazing! If not, read on.
What things increase our likelihood of producing a golden poop?
The amount and type of fiber we eat or just our diet overall. Lots of veggies in your diet can really help digestion and elimination. The best way to get more fiber is increasing your intake of veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds and legumes.
Water and bacteria are the two main components of poop. Staying properly hydrated is essential for the perfect poop. On a side note, if you feel really thirsty, you are well on your way to dehydration so be more diligent about your water intake.
Move your body more. Physical activity isn’t just for weight loss and a strong and happy heart, it actually helps keep us stay regular as well. Even 15-20 minutes of light exercise might be just what you need to produce a golden poop.
The position that we take while sitting on the toilet. Seems we’ve been sitting on the “throne” the wrong way! Try using a small stool or invest in a squatty potty (yes, that’s a thing) so that you position your body in the perfect way to make pooping easier, without having to strain.
Learn how to release stress from the body and reduce stress in areas of your life that you can. Stress slows down the digestive process and can make us more prone to constipation.
You may have heard me say this many times before but if you have digestive issues and you see that you could improve your bowel movements, start journaling! Here is an example of a journal I personally use but you can do what works best for you so long as you write it down and evaluate the findings often.
Try these suggestions out and see if you can produce a golden poop on a regular basis. Who knew there was so much involved in pooping?