Not all of us happen to be the type to peep our poop, but for those who are, no shame. In fact, we encourage it. The look, aka texture, shape, and even color of our, ehem, personal waste, can say a lot about our current health. We talked to Sarah Greenfield, RD, CSSD, functional medicine dietitian, and self-proclaimed poo afficionado, to give us the dirty deets on the matter.
“There aren’t many ways that we can get an inside look at what is going on in your body without having to go to the doctor or run tests,” Greenfield starts. “However, your poop is one of the best daily report cards we can get to assess how things are working internally.” We’re going to start calling it the daily report. We like the sound of that better.
Greenfield knows that our poop, er, uh, daily report, is really the window into our health. “It can tell you how you are breaking down and absorbing your food. With this knowledge, you can learn about how your body is able to absorb nutrients. If you are feeling off, taking a quick peek in the toilet may give you more answers than you realized.”
“If your poop floats, this could be a sign you don’t have enough stomach acid and aren’t breaking down fats well. You may benefit from digestive enzymes.” This is probably something most of us don’t even consider, but if we aren’t processing our good fats, we aren’t reaping the benefits.
“Poops should be well-formed, but not too hard.” This means that if mostly loose stool is a thing, time to assess what we may be missing. More starchy binders? Fiber?
“Poops should have minimal cleanup.” OK, so maybe this doesn’t necessarily require a glance in the bowl, per se, but a never-ending cleanup sesh is the tell-tale sign of something slightly awry.
“There should be no visible pieces of food in your poop (except for corn, sesame seeds, and black quinoa—those suckers will not digest!).” This means if we’re seeing majorly recognizable pieces of lettuce or other, we aren’t breaking down our food properly and absorbing the nutritional value of the costly food we are putting into our bodies.
If we see hard little clumps, this is a sign of major constipation. Greenfield deciphers this as severe, and suggests we see a doctor if this persists more than two to three days.
If it’s lumpy and sausage-like, we may need to consume more water or soluble fiber, like oats, barley, legumes, seeds, and some fruits and veggies.
If it’s sausage-shaped with cracks in the surface, congrats! Greenfield says that things are working correctly.
If it’s smooth, soft sausage or snake-like, time to celebrate! These are ideal poops.
If there is a soft blob with clear-cut edges, we need more insoluble fiber in our diet. Think wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains.
If it’s mushy with ragged edges, we may be experiencing malabsorption.
If it’s totally liquid with no solid pieces, this is the sign of illness in some way. See a doctor if it persists for more than a few days.
Greenfield details causes and treatments in her free poop guide, which helps to break down why it’s so essential we get well-acquainted with our poop if we want an idea of what’s going on in our bodies, what our needs are, what we are lacking, and how to get the most out of our nutritional choices.
Up next, shop the newest items from the Poosh Shop here.