HOME REMEDIES FOR CONSTIPATION
1. Get a gravity colonic.
Get the waste out quickly and effectively via a gravity colonic. Make sure it’s a gravity method colonic, which is the most gentle, natural method available. And if you’re not shy about sticking things up your rear, you may also want to try administering an enema at home to loosen things up. I have my own opinions on what type of enema to purchase, so make sure to read my blog!
2. Take a probiotic everyday.
Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a New York Times Best-Selling author, gastroenterologist and founder of the Digestive Center for Women, recommends the medical grade, high-powered probiotic called VSL#3 as well as eating plenty of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir to counter dysbiosis and create harmony in the body with regards to the ratio of good vs bad bacteria. While VSL#3 does not contain dairy in the final product, dairy was used to create the strains, so I would not consider VSL#3 a vegan probiotic. A good vegan probiotic is Metagenics UltraFlora Balance and UltraFlora Acute Care.
3. Eliminate cow dairy and wheat from your diet for one week.
Blue cheese with toffee fudge on a French baguette served at Jersey City’s Third and Vine is delicious. Trust me, I get it. I’m not asking that you eliminate anything forever, but playing around with elimination will help you to understand your body and its limits better. I know I cannot eat wheat and dairy every single day for a week and expect a killer bowel movement that week. Cow dairy specifically contains an undigestible protein called casein. If you cannot live without cheese for even one week, replace your cow dairy with goat or sheep dairy. Think Manchego or Feta cheese. I’ve also discovered a delicious nut-based cheese called Miyoko’s Kitchen. Wheat, on the other hand, would be well and good if we lived in a GMO free nation. We’ve become a greedy nation trying to replicate and capitalize on wheat at such an exponential rate, that our health is suffering the consequences. The quality of our wheat is completely degraded and potentially toxic. Try eliminating wheat for a week and see what happens. Replace with a cleaner grain such as millet, quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat. If you’re a baker, one of my favorite gluten-free friendly companies to purchase alternative flours from is Bob’s Red Mill.
4. Take digestive enzymes in between meals.
Digestive enzymes basically help digest our meals for us. I don’t find it as beneficial to eat them with the first bite of a meal as commonly recommended in the directions, but rather 20 minutes before a meal and/or in between meals as suggested by a client of mine. Metagenics makes a vegan digestive enzyme designed to break down gluten. They also have an excellent non-animal-derived digestive enzyme that breaks down everything else (carbs, fats, and lactose), but does contain dairy, so is not technically vegan.
5. Drink psyllium husk.
My clients always ask me about Metamucil and other over-the-counter fiber supplements. Many of these commercial brands contain psyllium husk as the active ingredient accompanied by coloring agents and other chemicals. My advice is to take plain psyllium husk, which can be found in your local health market. Psyllium husk is a natural soluble plant fiber that sweeps the intestinal tract. It is important to drink plenty of water when taking psyllium husk as it can have a constipating effect when not expelled in a timely fashion. One of my client’s mothers hypothesized that too much psyllium husk could potentially cause diverticulosis, a condition where pouches form in the colon due to pressure placed on the weaker walls of the colon. This is why I normally recommend getting colonics regularly while ingesting psyllium husk to ascertain that the fiber is not just absorbing waste matter in the intestinal tract and floating around your system potentially finding a permanent home there and creating a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. It leaves you feeling full, which makes it a great snack replacement especially if you’re trying to lose weight while taking a shit. As recommended by Dr. Robynne Chutkan, drink 1 teaspoon of finely ground psyllium husk once a day in the morning, mixed with at least 8 ounces of liquid and followed by an additional 8-ounce glass of water.
6. Eat stewed prunes.
I was always prune averse growing up because my grandmother once had me try her prune juice and it almost made me vomit. I must admit I was also food averse, earning myself the nickname “Junkfood Jenny” at a young age, so perhaps you would enjoy prune juice, but I definitely did not. I remember giving prunes (in dried form) another shot when I got older and thinking they were actually kind of good. Bonus: they make you shit. The best way to eat them to reap the laxative effects is stewed. Here’s an easy recipe for stewed prunes:
1 cup pitted dried plums (aka prunes)
1 cup water
In a saucepan, combine dried plums and water; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
7. Take a magnesium supplement.
Many of my clients benefit tremendously from taking a magnesium supplement in the evening. Much of our food is depleted of this muscle-relaxing, stool-softening mineral. I love Metagenics MetaRelax, a citrus powder that mixes with water and tastes delicious. Many of my clients also have success with MagO7, an oxygenated magnesium supplement that helps with bowel movement, but does not deliver enough magnesium to the bowels, so I recommend taking it in addition to MetaRelax. Another excellent way to receive the benefits of magnesium is to take a warm Epsom salt bath before going to sleep. I also recommend a topical magnesium spray called Ease for sore muscles. It works better than BenGay minus the chemicals!
8. Ingest peppermint oils.
I always keep a bottle of peppermint essential oil with me. It not only keeps my breath fresh, but it’s also antimicrobial and proven to move gas, bloating, crap, and encompasses a host of other digestive benefits. Place a few drops under your tongue and try to keep it in your mouth as long as possible. It will tingle a bit. There are also peppermint oil pills on the market such as Pepogest by Nature’s Way.
9. Stop eating tomatoes! Drink slippery elm tea and American saffron tea.
Someone whose practice I highly respect is Dr. John Pagano, who wrote the world renowned book, Healing Psoriasis. Dr. Pagano has cured countless patients of psoriasis through diet and bowel cleansing alone. He connects all skin disorders to bowel impaction and leaky gut syndrome or gut permeability. Not only does he recommend gravity colonics as a crucial first step to healing, but he recommends that one’s diet revolve around two kinds of foods, those that repair the gut lining and those that do not destroy it. I highly recommend that you pick up this truly insightful read. I learned some tips I’d never even heard of before like foregoing tomatoes (and all nightshade vegetables) at all costs! Apparently, tomatoes contain an enzyme that deteriorate the intestinal lining. The only two edibles Dr. Pagano believes protects the intestinal wall are slippery elm (powder) tea and American saffron tea.
10. Chew your drink.
The process of mastication kicks off your digestion. Technically, enzymes in your saliva are breaking down the starch in your food and your entire system reacts via gastrocolic reflex, which in short, is the urge to take a dump. This includes beverages. Ever wonder why you get gassy after ingesting one of those fresh veggie juices? You probably chugged the juice down and didn’t take a moment to taste it, allowing your salivary enzymes to break it down.
11. Take Vitamin C.
Vitamin C not only strengthens your immune system, but can be used to flush out your bowels. Emergen-C is great to take when you’re sick or getting on an airplane, especially if you cannot get your hands on C Salt (a new favorite). It has fewer additives, is non-acidic and GMO free. Make sure you do not refrigerate the bottle and that you only use a dry spoon to scoop it out. Drink at least one cup a day, working up to 4,000 mg/day. Your body will tell you when its reached its limit via diarrhea signal. Do not attempt this Vitamin C flush if you are pregnant. Another favorite Vitamin C product of mine is called Counter Attack by The Rainbow Light. I usually take this when I feel one of those pesky colds coming on and it usually helps stop the cold in its tracks.
12. Eat/drink lots and lots of olive oil!
Olive oil won’t make you fat, it will make you crap! To me, there is almost nothing better than a good quality Spanish or Italian olive oil [and a good crap]. Hopefully, you love it as much as I do because olive oil is one of the best ways to grease your engines. Drench your salad and veggies in this healthy oil and even drink a teaspoon before bed along with your magnesium supplement if you’re especially feeling backed up.
13. Stay hydrated.
You should be drinking filtered tap water, not bottled water. The amount of pharmaceuticals and chemicals running through our tap water may be constipating you and you simply cannot trust the source of bottled water or the BPA plastic bottles it is encased in. I am the proud owner of a Berkey Water Filter System. When I’m on the run, I try my best to purchase water sold in glass bottles. It’s a pain in the ass, but so is BPA poisoning.
14. Prepare flax seed tea and drink throughout the day.
If you drink two to three cups of flax seed tea a day, you will have great hair, smooth skin and golden poops. The slippery gelatinous texture of linseed (flax) tea allows the water to soften the stool in your system and encourage a movement. You basically boil 1 tablespoons of flax seeds in 2 1/2 cups of water then simmer for about 7 minutes. Strain the seeds and enjoy hot or cold.
15. Only eat when you’re hungry.
Why create a traffic jam? You don’t need to be hungry at breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. Trust your gut, not your mother on this one.
Humans designed the toilet. God designed the woods. Our bodies were designed to squat (not sit) when we poop. The muscles surrounding your rectum squeeze your rectum to prevent you from crapping your pants. Thanks be to God! Squatting releases these muscles and allows more room for your load to drop. This also calls for less straining and as a result, less susceptibility to hemorrhoids. You can either put your feet up on your garbage or for a more comfortable squatting position, you can purchase a Step and Go toilet stool. And for the more advanced squatters, I recommend Nature’s Platform.
17. Take a chlorophyll supplement to mask any sort of body odor.
I always keep a stock of Nature’s Way Chlorofresh Chlorophyll Concentrate (Internal Deodorant) at home and when traveling. A client of mine told me she always eats two of these if she knows she is going to have a meal with a lot of garlic the night before her Soul Cycle class. Another client told me this stuff really helped her pubescent son with his tremendous body odor. I can attest that this helps with foul breath and fart odor after an Indian meal when taken right before the meal. Only use as needed and prepare for Jolly Green turds.
18. Stop taking painkillers and/or antibiotics in excess.
It is without a doubt that painkillers and antibiotics make you bloated and constipated. Antibiotics Work with your doctor to get you on the smallest dosage possible.
19. Quit chewing gum and sucking candies. Start chewing black licorice, fennel seeds and slippery elm lozenges.
Chewing gum tricks your body into thinking its about to ingest something. Your body contains a finite amount of enzymes and chewing gum stimulates the production of enzymes, which are essentially being wasted when you chew gum. This is in turn, creates gas, which contributes to constipation. I recommend replacing your chewing gum with an all natural soft black licorice like Panda’s. Licorice has many anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and has been used to treat ulcers and to alleviate stomach aches. While chewing on licorice candy won’t guarantee 100% of the benefits (it is candy after all), it’s an excellent substitute to chewing gum, which is mostly made of synthetic plastic. Another food to chew on are fennel seeds. I learned this from one of my idols, the Food Babe. She recommends chewing on 1/2 teaspoon after meals to freshen breath and then swallowing them. This isn’t for everyone, but give it a shot. Bonus: fennel seeds make you shit.
A healthy alternative to sucking candy is Thayer’s Slippery Elm Lozenges. When you feel your oral fixation getting the best of you, pop one or five of these in your mouth. I loooove the maple flavor. You will get a good amount of slippery elm root powder to coat your intestinal walls too!
Nothing gets rid of gas faster than an activity that uses your core muscles. If you’re regularly feeling bloated and/or constipated, address your level of inactivity. Are you walking enough each day? Just a 30 minute fast-paced walk and/or 20 minute Pilates session should help get things moving. A personal favorite abdominal workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home and only lasts 20 minutes is Winsor Pilates Ab Sculpting video on YouTube. There is also my favorite Pilates studio down the hallway, Power-House Pilates. They have a great beginner special: 3 private reformer sessions for $99!
It is scientifically proven that stress and anxiety/depression affect your bowels negatively. Sometimes, constipation has more to do with some level of emotional constipation, not necessarily what you’re eating. Find a professional therapist or someone you trust to discuss your problems with.