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How Many Bowel Movements Should You Have?

Constipation is a major problem that can be easily fixed with diet.

Dr. Padma Garvey/The Plant Based Doctor Mom

How Many Bowel Movements Should You Have?

Most patients are uncomfortable talking about this subject.  But the number of people suffering from constipation, bloating, and irregular bowel habits is staggering.  Walk down the aisle in your grocery store dedicated to this problem.  There are countless remedies from fiber supplements, to enemas, to stool softeners, to outrageously expensive probiotic pills.  Clearly, a lot of Americans have issues with constipation.  Many people spend a great deal of money on quick fixes but ultimately they either don’t work or have short-term effects.  Of course, there are also expensive pharmaceuticals available for this problem.  Pain from constipation can get so bad that people are forced to go to the emergency room sometimes where little can be done.

(low fiber, constipation promoting diet)

One way of thinking about the issue is to realize that most of us eat food every day, usually three times a day. A breastfed newborn baby usually has a bowel movement while nursing or immediately after nursing.  That is a sign of a healthy digestive tract that is dealing with an ideal food.  Food is going in and waste is going out.  No blockage.  If you are eating every day and not having a large bowel movement every day then something is off.  What do I mean by a large bowel movement?  Let us say that if you weighed yourself before and after a healthy bowel movement, you might see a difference of about a pound.


(miso soup, loaded with probiotics)

If you are interested in getting to the root cause of your constipation and want to avoid expensive remedies and procedures, there are a number of things you can do.  First eliminate dairy.  Dairy is baby food, not adult food.  Next decrease meat consumption as much as possible.  You are not a lion.  Nature meant for you to eat mostly plants.  Meat is anything from an animal, so it includes chicken, fish, and pork.  Increase your consumption of some healthy fermented foods and probiotic foods.  Such foods include miso soup, cabbage, sauerkraut, kimchi, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, soy yogurt, sprouted breads, oatmeal, lentils, beans, and green leafy vegetables of any kind.  Lastly eliminate processed foods that are usually loaded with pesticides, chemicals, and lack fiber.  This is the advice that I gave recently  to a patient, KS,  who had been suffering from chronic constipation.  She would sometimes go for a whole week without a bowel movement.  She was beginning to experience worrisome pelvic pressure and pain which is why she saw me.  She took my advice and went completely unprocessed, plant-based.  I spoke to her a few days later.  She stated that after just two days of changing her diet, she started having regular bowel movements and feels significantly better.

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