In this article, I’m going to talk about the P-word. No, not that one. The other one!
Yes: poop. When’s the last time you squeezed one out?
If it has been more than a day or two, I have bad news. But you’re not alone! Constipation is an increasing problem among college students today. We get it, it’s not a good night unless you end up at Pizans. There’s something so satisying about a greasy deep dish after a few beers. But Jimmy’s can take you to Zia’s too! Little attention is paid to what happens behind those stinky, sharpie-covered bathroom stall doors, but knowing how to maintain a fiber-packed diet and maintain a regular, toxin-free system could possibly lead to a much happier you, and a much longer life.
I would know. I was mortified when my boyfriend brought up this bathroom business. What was supposed to just be a dirty joke somehow turned into a very serious conversation.
“Wait,” he asked, right before the punch line, “It’s been HOW MANY DAYS?”
I questioned his concern right up until he brought me to his mother. Living with a husband and two sons who are highly allergic to both gluten and dairy, Mrs. Iris Doyle is very knowledgeable about the body and how it works. Now, she doesn’t have a PhD in health, nor are any of her friends nutritionists, but a huge deal of credibility lies in her 24/7 glowing complexion and her impossibly toned, fit figure. Never in a million years would I have guessed I’d be in her kitchen, watching her sip a protein shake out of a pink plastic cup decorated with the words, I’ll outdrink ALL you bitches, talking about excrement. But what Mrs. Doyle told me would change the way I’d treat my body (and talk about the P-word) forever.
“Pooping,” she said, “Is just another way of detoxifying your body. We shouldn’t be embarrassed about it! It’s a healthy, natural process.” Mrs. Doyle is backed up (no pun intended, of course) by countless other studies conducted by universities and institutions such as the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) when she discussed how the regularity of a person’s system plays a huge roll – excuse me, ROLE – in their risk for two main cancers: rectal cancer (i.e. watch out for pencil-thin poops: this type of disease is known to narrow the opening through which stools pass) and breast cancer (the longer feces stay in your body, the greater the chance that some of the matter may be absorbed into the enterohepatic circulation and ultimately get delivered to breast tissue.)
Abnormal bowel movements can also undermine the aging process. Those who have fewer than three poops a week experience more dry wrinkled skin on the face and tend to have a much older appearance. Oh, let’s not forget mood swings! A build up in the system contributes to a major lack in energy and as a result, your general happiness tends to falter. Going to that meeting just doesn’t seem worth it. Your relationships can take a beating. You just can’t get out of bed. You’re on the brink of self-diagnosed depression.
According to everydayhealth.com, another advocate of looking before you flush is Mehmet Oz, MD, host of The Dr. Oz Show, who explained during a now-famous appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show that, “The perfect stool is log-like and S-shaped, not broken up into pieces. Part of getting that log-style shape, compared to poo that comes out more pebbly-looking, comes from eating fiber, which lends bulk to stool and acts as a glue to keep the stool stuck together as it exits your body.” A diet devoid of fiber can also be the culprit in the formation of hemorrhoids, swollen blood vessels in and around the a…*shivers*…a…anus. (Phew! Glad that’s over.) The longer you’re sitting on the bowl ground hogging, the more pressure and stress you’re putting down there. Researchers from Los Angeles claim that most Americans eat 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day while doctors recommend 30 to 35 grams.
Let’s get it together, Towson! This means getting the apple instead of the French baguette at Panera.
This also means holding back on your leftover Easter candy you got from Grandma and nodding your head YES, when your roommate asks if you want to go to the gym. Why? Exercising for an hour a day kick-starts the system. There’s a lot of truth in the saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” A body in motion stays in motion, and that motion helps push the sludge through the pipes.
I’m living proof. Once I took Mrs. Doyle’s advice, I felt great! The results were almost immediate. I replaced sugary drinks and unneccesary carbs with 8 ounces of water doctored up with a tablespoon of flax seed and oatmeal. I take 500mg of magnesium as well as iron and calcium supplements. My energy levels have SHOT UP! It’s led to longer gym sessions, fewer cravings and a much more regular, (sludge-free) system. People have told me I look, “rejuvenated” and am “So much more bubbly!”
So to wipe this all up,
1) Look before you flush
2) Exercise once a day (taking the stairs instead of the elevator counts!)
3) Drink at least 8 glasses of water, one of which has a mixture of oatmeal/flax seed if you feel you need extra fiber (helpful tip: just pretend it’s alcohol and CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!)
4) Magnesium/iron/calcium keep bones healthy and kick-start metabolism
5) Bad diet –> constipation –> faster aging –> depression –> risk of serious illness
It takes three weeks to form a new habit, but adopting this way of thinking is incredibly worth it in the long run. Why deprive your body from being everything it could be?