Sorry parents, your children were right to be obsessed with bowel movements— both making them and discussing them.
Now I’m not saying the conversation about the mechanical and chemical process of breaking food down so it can be absorbed through the intestinal lining (i.e. digestion) should be dinner table discourse. As the popular phrase so eloquently says, there’s a time and place for everything. I am, however, saying it should be entertained during other moments of the day.
Your digestion system is directly linked to constipation, allergies, fatigue, skin problems, mood swings, bad breath, and food intolerance, among other things. And yet, the daily routine we learn and adopt from an extremely young age primarily centers on surface-level maintenance (i.e. things we do to maintain the outside of our body) like brushing our teeth and washing our face. Where is the daily routine and conversation that is centered on maintaining the inside of our bodies?
If we’re being honest, bowel movement conversations make children giggle because they know by saying one word, poop, or passing one puff of air, gas, that they will trigger an instantaneous audible gasp by one or both of their parents.
Newsflash: This is a call to action.
Instead of shushing and hushing and quieting children when they talk about bowel moments…
Instead of jumping on every conversation that may involve the word poop or fart escaping our smirking child’s mischievous face…
Instead of the above reactions, what if the conversation was turned on its head?
What would happen if you used the conversation your child started about bowel movements to talk about how every single one of our cells, tissues, and organs depend on nutrient absorption and healthy digestion, which is why foods and/or supplements that bring probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and fiber to our digestive system are crucial?
- Examples of foods linked to healthy digestion: yogurt, apples, fennel, kefir, chia seeds, kombucha, papaya, whole grains, tempeh, beets, miso, ginger, kimchi, dark green vegetables, natto, sauerkraut, salmon, bone broth, peppermint.
- Example of a supplement linked to healthy digestion: GreenBAC (a blend of bacteria, prebiotics, botanicals, enzymes and ingredients designed to maintain and promote a healthy digestive system).
Many understand the importance of digesting and absorbing food, but the conversation on the importance of eliminating what is put in the mouth is often dodged like an oncoming train. But why is a conversation about a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract and healthy digestion taboo when, according to Boulder Vitality, they are key components of:
- Healthy Weight Loss
- Enhanced Elimination of Toxins
- Heightened Mental Clarity
- Increased Energy & Stamina
- Regular, Consistent and Optimal Bowel Movements
- Improved Absorption of Nutrients
- Increased Immune System & Disease Defenses
- Relief from Mood Disorders
The last one on the list, Relief from Mood Disorders, is one that doesn’t often find the spotlight. According to Dr. Arthur Beyder, gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer at the Mayo Clinic, “In the gut, a special epithelial cell, called enterochromaffin, produces nearly all of the serotonin in our body.” Why is serotine important, you ask? The Mayo Clinic discovered that serotonin plays a pivotal role in controlling depression. When the GI tract is healthy, serotonin is produced, which is credited with attributing to feelings of relaxation, optimism, and an overall sense of well-being.
Speaking of absorbing things, that last point is worth another look. Dr. Beyder is confirming what other researchers have found as well: Your mood starts in your gut.
And in case this conversation hasn’t unearthed your childhood fascination with all things bowel related, I leave you with these fun facts from Healthline.com:
- “The gut-brain axis is the close bond that exists between the digestive system and your brain. Emotions (including stress) and brain disorders affect how your body digests food.”
- “Your body can move your food through the digestive system even while you’re standing on your head. It is not connected to gravity because it works with muscles.”
- “Aerobic exercise is the best type of exercise to keep your digestive tract in shape.”
- “The stomach has the ability to stretch and hold up to 4 pounds of food at one time.”
- “Gastro mechanical distress symptoms can be caused by only slightly more than 1 cup of a carbonated beverage.”
It’s popular to say You are what you eat. But, perhaps, the phrase would be more accurate if it were You are what you absorb and digest.
William Arthur Ward famously said, Happiness is an inside job. And I’d like to add to that quote, and so is your health.
Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach