So beautifully put by Dr Karl and Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics Clare Collins – like the eyes are the windows to your soul, the toilet bowl is the window to your gut health – so get looking!
What am I looking for?
I recently completed a project which involved creating a chart (see below) for preschool kids to teach them what healthy bowel habits should look like. When I showed this to my friends and family I was shocked to hear that most took no notice of their bowel habits (unless they had a gastro bug). The fact is – 75% of our waste is actually dead bacteria from our gut and says a lot about how we are absorbing essential nutrients, if we are drinking enough water and eating enough fibre as well as being an indicator of more serious conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, crohns disease and some cancers.
Got rabbit pellets, big logs or bumpy sausages?
What it means: You need more FIBRE and FLUIDS.
The recommended amount of fibre per day is 25g for women and 30g for men.
Here are some delicious and nutritious high fibre FODMAP friendly* foods and serve sizes:
- A quarter cup of oats = 4 g
- A quarter cup of Carmen’s Original Fruit Free Muesli = 4 g
- Two tablespoons of chia seeds = 8 g
- A small handful almonds (no more than 10) = 4 g
- A medium potato boiled with skin on = 3.5g
- Two passionfruits = 5g
- A half cup of canned lentils = 8 g
- An orange = 3 g
- A quarter of an avocado = 3 g
- Brumby’s Bakery Quinoa and Linseed Low FODMAP bread (2 slices) = 5 g
- A punnet of raspberries = 8 g
* Certified low FODMAP by Monash University.
To help the fibre work properly in your gut you must drink plenty of water. You should be aiming for 2L a day – this will give you more energy and make your skin glow
What it means: You could have a virus, a food intolerance or allergy, a gastrointestinal condition (colitis, crohns disease or IBD), side effects from medications like antibiotics or you may be drinking too many diet soft drinks or foods with artificial sweeteners.
Diarrhoea that persists for longer than a few days is definitely a reason to visit the doctor. As the fluids and food are travelling so fast through the body there is no time for it to absorb nutrients or electrolytes. This means dehydration and weight loss can occur very quickly. As someone who contracted a very bad gastro bug whilst travelling through Central America, I know how terrible diarrhoea can leave you feeling both mentally and physically. To get back on track here are a few strategies:
- Fluids with hydralytes – small sips throughout the day to replace electrolytes and prevent dehydration.
- The BRAT diet – Stands for bananas, rice, apple sauce, toast. These foods help to harden stools however be aware that may of them are high FODMAP. For a low FODMAP spin try unripe bananas, sourdough bread and avoid the apple sauce!
- Probiotics – Diarrhoea, especially following antibiotics can really affect your gut bacteria so getting a good quality probiotic yoghurt or taking a probiotic supplement is a great way to help rebuild the gut bacteria which is essential to good gut health.
If you do suffer from constipation or diarrhoea quite regularly or suspect you have an intolerance or allergy or IBD definitely see a doctor for diagnosis and a dietitian to help manage your symptoms. The FODMAP Challenge is a fantastic online course developed by some incredible specialist dietitians that can help you take control of your gut health.
Keep an eye out for my upcoming posts which will delve deeper into causes and management of all types of not so great bowel habits!
By: Sarah Gulliver
Image sourced from pinterest.