Authentic. Vibrant. Unapologetic.

live your age podcast ep 014

Episode 014: The Poop Show

The Down and Dirty on What’s in Your (Toilet) Bowl

The Ayurvedic Approach to Elimination

Have you ever had a moment where you glance into the toilet bowl after rising and say out loud, “Well dadgum, that there’s some fancy sh*t!” 

No? Well then this blog’s for you, Babe.
Let’s talk information on the Ayurvedic approach to elimination, the facts on feces, the perspective on poop.

Let’s talk sh*t.

Ayurveda, Poo, and You

Ayurveda identifies three malas (called trimala) and these aren’t the malas you wear around your wrist, or the 108 beaded prayer beads, or a garland made of marigold blossoms. No, this is mala with a short a, pronounced uh as in muh-luh, as opposed to mala with a long a

Now we know there aren’t an abundance of Sanskrit scholars lurking around every corner here in the states, but this pronunciation is an important distinction, particularly when you think of the differences in the definitions of mala with a short a versus mala with a long a. More on that in a minute. Sanskrit is a beautiful language and we hope that a genuine attempt at proper pronunciation leads to more appreciation and less appropriation. 
Mala–with a short a–is defined as a waste product. Ayurveda identifies three waste products with regards to the human body. 

The Three Malas

  • Sveda – sweat, the elimination of wastes through our pores
  • Mutra  – urine, the elimination of wastes through our kidneys, bladder, and urethra
  • Purisha  – feces, the elimination of wastes through our large bowel/colon

Taking out the trash is vital to the health of our body-temple. These three channels are three of the primary pathways of elimination and detoxification of said trash. If you aren’t sweating, urinating, or dropping number twos on the daily, then Whitney, we have a problem. 

Feeling Backlogged? 

Constipation is medically defined as passing stool less than three times per week or in low quantity. Ayurvedic medicine, on the other hand, says “Oh hell no, hard stop!” If you’re not having a bowel movement daily, you qualify as constipated. You’ve got to be sitting on the Squatty Potty at least once a day, and for most of us twice a day is even better. A proper bowel movement requires attention to transit time and regularity. 

Transit time is the time it takes for a meal in the mouth to come out the other end; thirty hours is average, 18-24 is ideal. 

We know what you’re thinking: “How might we assess our transit time?”

Our answer is simple: eat beets. 

🙂

You know that saying, “You are what you eat”?

We must respectfully disagree. 

We aren’t what we eat, rather, we are what we don’t eliminate. 

Estrogens, Poo, and You

Our liver uses the nighttime hours between 10 pm and 2 am to do the majority of its natural detoxifying. As part of its janitorial duties, your liver is also responsible for maintaining and regulating your hormones. AND, when it takes out the trash–which it does every night–it also takes excess estrogens out with it. This waste removal happens through the colon. However, if we’re not having a bowel movement every morning or at least every day, what do you think is going to happen? 

To put it bluntly … A backup of the fecal funk. #eeeew 

And get this, Loves, if your bowels aren’t functioning daily and properly, those excess estrogens get stored in fat cells which are even more difficult to remove (amiright?), instead of being eliminated into the toilet where they belong. And it’s not just the excess hormones, but any food and chemical waste product that isn’t making its way out is being recirculated into your bod and assimilated into your precious tissues and organs. While that topic isn’t very becoming, it becomes you. Hence the idea that we aren’t what we eat, we are what we don’t eliminate. 

The Perfect Poo

There are two truth tellers of the body–your tongue and your stool. You can justify your way around a multitude of concerns and you can convince yourself you feel fine when in reality your check engine light has been on for months, but you can’t avoid the hard (or soft) facts when you take a good, long look at your sh*t. And I mean that figuratively as well as literally. 
In a perfect world, we are eliminating daily, within forty-five minutes of waking. Vata types, who tend to be fickle and erratic in their habits, y’all can take up to ninety minutes for your first shizzle of the dizzle. 

In a perfect scenario, that first BM …

  • is bulky and well-formed
  • passes with ease and comfort
  • is light brown and shaped like a ripe banana
  • floats midway in the bowl
  • neither sinks, stinks, nor sticks (read that again, we’ll wait)

If you can check all these boxes, hats off to you! You are eliminating beautifully!
But there’s one more line item that truly makes your #2 a #1 on the charts: A clean wipe. 

Doshas, Poo, & A “Sh*t Map”

Having an understanding of the doshas–vata, pitta, and kapha–is helpful, as doshic imbalances will often show up in our stool. 

  • Vata imbalances will show up as hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass. The elimination will be scanty, light, and irregular. Vata people are typically light and irregular so this comes as no surprise. 
  • Pitta imbalance is the result of too much heat in the GI tract and this stool will often be loose, it may burn a bit, and lean towards diarrhea. Too much heat might result in a BM three to five times per day, which is frankly too much. There may be undigested food in the stool.
  • Kapha people take their time with everything and their bowels are no exception. One bowel movement a day is totally normal for a strong kapha individual and it is generally generous and smooth sailing. An imbalance of kapha will show up as mucous in the stool or the poo might be sticky and oily. 

Identifying imbalances is one thing, it’s another thing altogether to address them. Developing strategies to treat a colon crisis depends on the severity and duration of the imbalance.

But there is no time like the present to get started. Our colon is critical to good health and nothing to take lightly. If you have been dealing with a long-term shituation (lol), get with your doctor or an Ayurvedic Practitioner (*cough, we know a good one, cough*) for evaluation. Until then, here are a few simple suggestions to get you started. 

FUN FECAL FACTS

The Ayurvedic approach to elimination is practical and straightforward (or, “the straight poop,” if you will). But here’s some other cool facts!

Did you know that 95% of our microbiota resides in our gut and the majority of that actually lives in our colon? 

The microbial cells in our colon outnumber the total cells in the rest of the entire human body. 

  • Vata stool type: consider adding triphala to your daily supplement routine, more fiber, (2 TBS of ground flaxseed daily), and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
  • Pitta stool type: consider CCF tea or taking amalaki. Amalaki is one of the three ingredients in triphala and it targets excess pitta specifically. Drink two ounces of aloe vera  juice or gel with a bit of pomegranate juice to cool the intestinal lining.
  • Kapha stool type: watch your consumption of heavy, sticky, fatty and processed foods. Trikatu is one of my favorite herbal combinations for addressing heavy stools. You can sprinkle the powder directly onto your meals or stir ¼ tsp into warm water and sip it as a tea. 

Finally, I suggest downloading a copy of the Bristol Stool Chart to assess the quality of your stool. Hang a copy in the breakroom at the office. Let your people know you’re passionate about poop!

ayurvedic approach to elimination

Like this post? Sign up for our newsletter to get notified of new episodes and more!

You may also like