Constipation is a dangerous condition that slowly poisons and ages the body with toxin overload. Given that the diet of most Americans is composed primarily of processed foods and that eating these types of foods contributes greatly to the problem, it is no wonder that over the counter constipation remedies are some of the best selling at pharmacies and grocery stores.
As many as 15-20% of Americans suffer from chronic constipation with many millions more having intermittent issues with it.
Some folks have little hope of going to the bathroom on any given day without their morning dose of Metamucil or a bowl of All Bran. This is a very unhealthy situation indeed!
Eating more fiber as suggested in conventional circles as a remedy for constipation is not a wise move, however, as fiber eaten in the quantities recommended damages the colon over the long term.
Konstantin Monastyrsky, author of Fiber Menace, warns that high fiber diets produce large stools that stretch and damage the intestinal tract as well as upset the natural balance of beneficial bacteria. The end result of years of eating a high fiber diet as a band aid approach to constipation is more severe constipation, Crohn’s disease, IBS, hernias, and even hemorrhoids.
Mr. Monastyrsky writes that it is simply unnecessary to consume fiber in order to have normal stools and that many healthy traditional cultures ate diets that included little fiber.
Fiber from grain based foods is the most damaging of all, with the USDA endorsed high fiber diet certain to create long term digestive distress far beyond the annoyance of constipation for those who blindly follow it.
As one gradually transitions from a high fiber to a low fiber, traditional diet, care must be taken to eat plenty of whole animal fats and foods that build the intestinal flora. In addition, any temporary issues with constipation can easily be handled with the no fiber strategies outlined below.
Exercise has long been known to relieve constipation and promote regular bathroom habits. If jogging or being a gym rat is not your thing, however, it is easy to exercise in the comfort of your own living room with a simple rebounder or exercise ball. A rebounder, in particular, stimulates lymphatic activity extremely well and gets things moving very quickly.
Even better, if your kids have a trampoline in the backyard, spend some quality family time with them and tone up your colon at the same time by spending a few minutes bouncing with them each day!
There are many herbs that assist with elimination problems. Triphala and Slippery Elm are probably my two personal favorites, but in lieu of becoming an herbal expert, it is easier to just pick up some detox tea from the healthfood store. These teas have a number of different herbs in them and work brilliantly for that occasional colon sluggishness.
Taking a few detox teabags with you when you travel is also a good way to keep things moving when the stress of travel, changing of time zones, and sitting for long periods on airplanes or in cars can throw bathroom habits off schedule.
A good balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut is essential to a healthy colon that eliminates regularly and without straining. These probiotics are best consumed on a daily basis in frequent, small doses in the form of lactofermented foods and raw, grassfed dairy but when this is not possible, a probiotic supplement can be used instead.
Not all probiotics are created equal, however, so be sure to get a good quality brand. Check out my Resources page for some ideas.
A glass or two of fresh veggie juice can work wonders with softening up the stools and making elimination a breeze. Be aware that V-8 juice or any other type of veggie juice in bottles is not helpful at all.
The juice must be fresh, ideally made no more than 20 minutes before. As a result, juicing and refrigerating to drink later is not a good idea either.
Also use caution when drinking plain veggie juice on an empty stomach particularly if it is heavy on carrot juice which is high in sugars. Stirring in a bit of cream as traditionally done in France will significantly slow down the blood sugar spike from drinking fresh juice on its own and assist with absorption of the wonderful colloidal minerals from the vegetables.
When all else fails to relieve constipation, the tried and true enema works fantastically well. Used since Biblical times and even advocated in the Essene Gospel of Peace (from the Vatican library) to flush the colon of impurities and assist with regularity, the enema has been all but abandoned as a safe home remedy in recent decades in favor of over the counter drugs.
Many alternative cancer treatments make liberal use of the coffee enema to detoxify and cleanse the colon, but plain water enemas are simple, fast, and highly effective at treating an occasional bout with constipation.
Enema bags can be purchased at the drug store for about $10 and are the simple, fast, and easy at-home answer to a series of high priced colonics with a professional hydrotherapist which can cost upwards of $75 per session putting it out of reach of many people’s budgets and/or squeezed schedules.
Nothing illustrates the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” better than the old fashioned enema!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist