Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Are you regular?
Other than clinical settings, breaking the ice with a question on digestive health might earn you an odd look. Yet I find it such an important way to truly know what’s going on with someone. Much more so than the unconscious response that often follows “How are you?”
As a health counselor, I’ve learned that digestion is linked to so many of the areas in life that influence one’s health and well-being, including food/diet, stress level, and exercise.
I often ask my clients regularly about their digestion. I’m often surprised by the responses. “Oh yeah, I’m regular.” Is a common one. Only to learn they are having a bowel movement every three or four days! To me that is a sign of imbalance.
If you were to benchmark yourself versus others, this would seem fine. (We are a constipated nation!) Yet, we are all meant to have one bowel movement a day. When this is not the case it can lead to toxins accumulating in our bodies that lead to unpleasant things like colon cancer. Not to mention make one rather unpleasant to be around (irritability, short-temper are common signs of constipation).
But what causes this imbalance? Often it can be the foods we are eating. It might be allergies to common culprits: dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, corn. Or perhaps it is our diet (too much meat, not enough vegetables). Even the temperature of our food can have an effect (hot/cold, raw, cooked)! It also very much linked to our lifestyle. When we are stressed, our bodies often shut down normal digestive function. And we are sedentary, our bodies have a hard time moving the food through our systems.
Even the best of us digestive artists can go awry now and then. Including myself. So today I made it a point to take a yoga class (all this blogging has its consequences) and also order some delicious cooked food prepared by my friend Ella, The Regal Vegan, which is easier for my body to digest.
We’ll figure this thing out. In the meantime, if you see me on the street, you know what to ask…