I Can’t Poop!…and Other Tales from the Toilet

Now, don’t lie to yourself here…We’ve all done that embarrassing Google search, “Why is my poop black/green,” “I can’t poop,” etc.

Wondering if it means something scary…

Of course, it usually isn’t much of a danger sign. If you’re not A) eating enough fat; B) eating enough fibrous veggies; or C) drinking enough water; you can get weird poop colors/consistencies/frequencies.

You may be familiar with the “Bristol stool chart,” or at least the idea of it…According to this chart, your poop should be medium-dark brown and smooth (i.e., not too cracked) — and you should also have a bowel movement every day. Green poop and black poop? Obviously bad!

The reason I wanted to write this article is not to gross you all out…It’s because I actually disagree with this chart, the commonly accepted guideline!!

First off, if your poop is green but you’ve been eating a lot of spinach and kale, then it’s just because of the chlorophyll. Totally normal! But if you haven’t been eating leafy greens, then it’s probably because your poop is passing through your system too fast. Because, fun fact: poop starts out green and then as it travels through your intestines, that pigment breaks down. It’s replaced with a pigment called bilirubin, which is actually just a fancy name for red blood cells. And that’s why poop is brown in color!!

(I said fun fact, not “fact to read when you’re trying to eat.”)

So, that means, if your poop is consistently green and you know it’s not because of all the “chloro-filled” veggies you’re eating, see a doctor. It could be something like salmonella. Or, the waste passing through you too quickly could be a symptom of a more serious condition.

But again, the main reason I’m writing this today is because of the general misconception that not pooping every day, or every other day, is BAD.

When you look up, “I can’t poop,” “how often should I poop,” etc., you tend to get the result that you need to “eat high fiber foods like bread, cereal, oats, rice, fruits…”

No, no, NO! 

The thing is, for people on a low carb diet, pooping only once or twice a week is perfectly normal!

I wanted to clarify this after someone asked me if HFLC was having a bad effect on them, because of this #2 reason. I know it isn’t a subject we all like to talk about around the dinner table, but since it’s something many of you might secretly be worried about, I want to ease your anxiety: if you’re saying, I can’t poop, but you’re on a high fat low carb diet…It’s HEALTHIER than pooping all the time!!

How does this work? Well, a high carb diet moves quickly through your system because the body digests carbs more quickly than proteins/fats. (That also explains why eating a lot of fat keeps you fuller, longer, because the digestion is a little slower.) So, people on a high carb diet may poop a lot, but that doesn’t mean that a high carb diet is good.

They may be getting rid of waste, but they’re certainly not getting rid of stored fat!!

To quote Dr. Bernard Aserkoff (a GI specialist), “There is no normal when it comes to frequency of bowel movements.”

So if you’re just pooping less, but there’s no associated pain, then that’s just a natural, harmless byproduct of your high fat diet. There’s a difference between “I can’t poop” and “I just have no poop in me!” and the second category is from a HFLC diet. Obviously, if you ARE experiencing pain and difficulty, then you should eat more fiber, but you can easily do that in the form of veggies and low carb fruits. You should get about 30 g of fiber a day, and you get 8 g of those with just a cup of raspberries/blackberries (blueberries have 4 g, so still pretty good). There’s also 8 g in a cup of most green veggies. Last but not least, the fatty acids in coconut oil (MCFAs) stimulate bowel movements.

And think of it this way. If you’re not pooping as much, you’ll save money on toilet paper, right??

Comment below…if you dare…!



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