If you are constipated (even after adopting this lifestyle), you may find this article helpful.
Here are some suggestions:
Avoid over the counter remedies as they can be deleterious to your health.
Eat raw, red cabbage.
Chew, chew, chew all food to a cream before swallowing. It may be helpful to chop your raw food in a food processor in order to decrease the amount of chewing.
I like to use this to chop my food.
Add (unground) chia seeds to your smoothie or make into a Chia Drink. Chia seeds are a natural laxative. Chia seeds hold water in the digestive tract and make the stool softer.
Eat 2 kiwis’ a day (with skin) and chew thoroughly. If you do not like the texture of the skin, you can cut off the tough ends and blend the kiwis in a high speed blender to drink.
Another option is eating dried kiwi like this one.
When including dried fruit, popcorn, bread, crackers, any processed food, any food made with flour, etc. in your diet, remember to drink more water to compensate for the lack of water in the dry food. Imagine a bowl of flour. If you added some water to it, you would eventually make dough. Walk away from the dough and it turns to glue, eventually hardening. Add more water and the hardened mass becomes soft. Think about what is sitting in your intestines. Do you drink enough water throughout the day to help evacuate easily? A prune will essentially turn into a rock without enough water consumed. It may also be a good idea to drink more water in general as it helps to swell the stool, making it heavier and easier to pass.
According to Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, author of Fiber Fueled
people underestimate the amount of water they need each day. Drinking water can be helpful. Dr. Bulsiewicz says “You want to float the rock down the river, we don’t want the log to get dried up on the rocks.”. Dr. B says to consider replacing drinks containing caffeine and alcohol with water. He also recommends, under your doctors’ supervision, to add magnesium before bedtime. Dr. Bulsiewicz says that magnesium can also beneficial for sleep, mood and headaches.
There can be a vicious cycle with lack of sufficient water consumption. Some people who struggle with urinary incontinence or even have mild issues with leakage during a sneeze or a cough, may intentionally limit their water intake. The limiting of water intake can cause drying of the stools which can lead to constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic, the rectum is located near the bladder and shares many of the same nerves. Hard, compacted stool in your rectum causes these nerves to be overactive and increase urinary frequency.
Have your vitamin D levels checked. Most people are low and some are even deficient in Vitamin D. The reason vitamin D may help relieve constipation is that it may increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut.
Add flax seed (unground) to your meals. Begin with 1 teaspoon of each per day and add an additional teaspoon each day as needed.
Eating oatmeal can also be effective.
Look at the graphic of your digestive system (above).
Before you get out of bed, gently massage mid section of front of body over intestines starting from top right side of rib cage closing inwards in a spiral circle. Imagine, pushing and guiding the waste in along the way in you intestines. Do not massage in opposite direction. It can also be helpful to massage in the same direction, behind this area, on your back.
Next, perform a happy baby yoga pose:
- While lying on your back in bed, (or on the floor if it is comfortable) bend your knees, hug them in toward your chest.
- Next, widen your knees toward your armpits and take the outer edges of your feet in your hands.
- It you can’t reach your feet, try hugging your knees towards your chest.
- Keep your whole back on the bed (or floor) and rock softly from left to right, if that feels good.
- Breathe here for at least five deep breaths. In through nose and out through the mouth.
We are meant to squat when eliminating (think living in caves and being outdoors). With the invention of toilets, we do not perform the correct, optimal squatting position for evacuation. A Squatty Potty can be helpful – the Squatty Potty’s inventors say squatting moves your colon into the ideal position to go without straining. This posture-changing devices can help you go more easily and avoid constipation. Evidence suggests they do work. Here is the graphic that compares sitting on a toilet without and with the Squatty Potty, showing how the puborectalis muscle is blocked with poor posture.
Use this and look behind you, as you do a seated spinal twist, left and right.
Seated, Spinal Twist:
Sit upright on the toilet with your feet on the floor or resting on a Squatty Potty.
Imagine your digestive system.
- Place both hands on the side of the toilet seat near your hips, gripping the side of the seat if comfortable. Align the feet as well as the knees (if you have a yoga block, place it between the knees, to help you to see the alignment in both of your legs as you proceed).
- Reach your right arm across your body and place your right hand on your left hand or if you can reach, grip the left side of the toilet seat.
- On the inhale (through the nose if comfortable) lift up through the spine towards the ceiling. As you turn to face the wall behind you.
- Exhale through the mouth.
- Again, inhale as you lengthen the spine and on the exhale twist to the left.
- Now observe the knees- has the left one moved back ? Align the right hip with the left one, knees firmly together and start the twist again, keeping the hips and knees squarely aligned.
- Roll the shoulders back and down, lift the sternum and relax the abdomen.
- Lengthen the sides of the trunk as you move your back ribs in and up, in a circular motion towards the upper front ribs.
- Breathe 4-6 breaths continuing to extend the spine on the inhales and to twist deeper into the posture on the exhales.
- Come back and change sides, shifting the right hip to the chair back.
- Repeat on the other side.
One reason for constipation may be the exclusion of coffee. While some may use coffee to aid in going, this should not be an excuse to drink coffee. Coffee is a diarrhetic which can deplete water from our body What About Coffee and Wine?
Of course, if you have prolonged symptoms, seek the advice of your physician. You can use the Bristol Stool Chart to help describe which type of stool you are experiencing.
Are you having challenges with this lifestyle?
If so, what are / were they and how do / did you deal with them?
I would love to provide you with more help. Please contact me for a Zoom cooking class or a coaching session.
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Amy holds a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell
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Hi I’m Amy. My husband Rick & I adopted a Whole Plant lifestyle in 2012. We have had fantastic health results. Together, we’ve lost over 130 pounds! We offer private, lifestyle coaching and Zoom cooking lessons.
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