My husband is mortified that I’m writing about this. At least he would be if he knew. He already knows about my perfect poops (let’s call them P2s, ok?). I haven’t made him look, but he gets to hear me go, “Wow. That. Is. Bee-YOU-ti-full!” Then I gush about it off and on all day. The topic gives him a pained expression although he does listen patiently. What can I say, I married well.
Learning about P2s was an unexpected bonus of my search for gut health, which is a result of my quest to heal my throat and voice, damaged by a combination of LPR/GERD and the d*mned respirator, so I can sing again.
Oh, and vibrant health. Right, I want that, too, yes. But, honestly? If I could already sing again, I probably wouldn’t be on this journey. Color me grateful.
When I started down the gut health path, I wasn’t looking for P2s. Heck, I thought I already had them…
What is a Perfect Poop (P2)?
According to the Bristol Stool Scale, a P2 is a Type 4, with 5 being a close second. For the last few years, since eating a 90% real food WAPF diet, I’m a consistent 5. Lately, well, I hate to brag, but apparently I’ve attained true perfection in this one area of my life. Not something to brag about at parties, but, hey, I’ll take it.
How Do You Get P2s?
I’m so glad you asked! You will be, too, I can guarantee it. The state of your stool reflects the state of your overall health.
Basically, there are two roads to P2s: the fast track well-traveled road (the least healthful). And the long-term less-traveled road (far more healthful).
Road 1: What is the Fast Track (least healthful) Road?
Fiber, good old fashioned fiber. If you are surprised to hear this is the least healthful path, I’m right there with you. The notion goes against everything we all thought we knew about colon health. But more on this in a moment.
There are basically two ways we add fiber to our diets: eat more fiber-rich foods or use a fiber supplement.
While most doctors do realize that actual foods contain fiber <sarcasm>, they don’t recommend food as a healing protocol. (You don’t want people knowing food heals! Where’s the money in that?) Doctors recommend “medicine” like Metamucil or — heaven help us — Miralax.
Miralax is what my 84 yo mother’s young doctor recommended she take for constipation. I was there and said I was “not happy with Miralax.” I was trying to be diplomatic even though I’m sure my face read, “You are an idiot.”
He assured me that it’s very safe, so safe, in fact, that he regularly gave it to his 7 yo daughter!!! He was sincere, not smug or self-righteous at all (like I was)… I thought I was going to explode, because Miralax is actually dangerous:
I came right home and emailed him that article. To his great credit, he read it, thanked me and said he had NO IDEA there were such negative consequences to Miralax! While I’m pleased to have made a difference with an actual real-life doctor, I’m appalled that the stuff is still for sale.
Fiber supplementation is how I initially came to hit the perfect 4 and got started on this learning curve. It happened quite by accident because of my smoothie.
Psyllium Husk Powder
The main fiber ingredient in most fiber supplements is psyllium husk powder. This is what I use in my smoothie, except mine is organic psyllium husk powder.
The recommended dose is 1 Tbsp. I realize now that’s a LOT and I’ve cut way back. My recommendation now is to start with a little tiny bit, like a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mixed in liquid or yogurt. See how a small amount works for you, then decide whether to add more. Or any at all.
How I Came to Fiber
I was looking for gut health when I stumbled on the resistant starch protocol and its smoothie. The PHP is included to help the resistant starch do its gut-bacteria-factory work more efficiently. It’s not in there to give you P2s. Those were a surprise. Enough of a surprise that I started investigating.
When we discover a chink in the armor, we either put a band-aid on it (treat the symptom) or look for what caused the chink in order to repair it most effectively. Quickie health solutions are often band-aids with consequences down the road.
For example, you take acetominiphen (band-aid) for a headache (chink) not realizing how damaging the drug is to your liver (consequence). Conversely, when you discover the cause of the headache is a food allergy, then you stop eating the food and don’t need acetominiphen. Badda bing.
In this case, fiber is the band-aid. I just went about it backwards: I innocently applied the band-aid first and it showed me where the chink was: that my poops weren’t quite perfect.
The question is: do I continue with the band-aid, getting short-term relief with possible (some say likely*) consequences down the road? Or do I investigate the chink, find the cause and repair that for the long haul?
*For details, see The Fiber Disclaimer below.
Option 2: The Long-Term (most healthful) Road
I’m definitely in for the long haul and already on the path to repair my chink: poor gut health. A healthy gut produces P2s naturally. How to proceed? The basics are pretty simple:
- Sally Fallon and Mary Enig’s excellent article: scroll down to “Lending a Helping Hand”
- No junk food, no GMOs, no processed or prepared food, no sugar (at least cut way back, substitute raw honey (we love this) if you don’t have blood sugar issues, substitute Stevia if you do. I use this Stevia.)
- Eat organic
- Drink bone broth! Here’s how to make it, easy! The more, the better!
- Get as much good fat into your diet as possible: organic olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, eggs, lard
- Eat grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free meats, eggs
- Detox regularly: sauna, coffee enemas, exercise
- Eat nutrient dense foods: Nourishing Traditions is as much primer as cookbook!
- Flood your gut with good bugs. Except for the little bit of PHP, the smoothie fits right in here: a healthy gut has prolific healthy flora. The entire reason for the smoothie is to increase healthy flora.
- In the disclaimer following, you’ll find links to three experts on the topic of fixing digestion.
There are nuances to the protocol, i.e., to take Betaine HCl or not, enzymes or no, to supplement, alkaline or acid. We’ll be exploring those questions as time goes on.
I also realize that, while the list is simple, implementation is not always. I am so there!!! Here’s the thing: the more I do, the better my health becomes. The better my health becomes, the more I’m willing to do.
Not to mention that the better I feel, the better I look. That’s important to me and very motivating.
The Fiber Disclaimer
Most every doctor on the planet recommends fiber as the P2 solution. It appears fiber is another topic — like statins, cholesterol, GMOs and the food pyramid — where doctors have it exactly WRONG.
There are some very smart people who are fiber naysayers. Big time naysayers who make excellent well-documented points that have turned me around on the topic. People like:
- Kathryn Pirtle, scroll down to “The High-Fiber Dictate : Part of the Problem”
- Tom Cowan, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (about more than that)
- Konstantin Monastyrsky, author of Fiber Menace (the book is here)
For the time being, I am continuing with a small amount of fiber in my smoothie most days. Occasionally, I have the smoothie sans PHP. For my particular health challenges, the benefits of the PHP in the smoothie outweigh the risks. Besides, the smoothie is not forever. It’s a part of my current healing process, not a life-time addition.
So… why do doctors think fiber is so great?
Because the FDA tells them so. Hmmm. That right there is cause for concern. Here’s my take on the FDA: if they say a food or drug is safe to ingest, I’m suspect. If they say it’s dangerous, I want some right now. The FDA likes fiber. I’m liking it less and less.
P.S. Coincidentally, my friend and sister blogger Tash wrote this post on home-made poo-pourri. It is just too perfect not to share, right?