Sweat, Pee & Poop: The Best Indicators of Health
No, there is no leg-pulling in our office. It is a fact that simply by paying attention to what is excreted from your body you can tell when you are healthy, and when you are out of balance and need to address an issue. That does not always mean anything serious. It could be as simple as your urine has a strong odor and is darker than usual following a night out with friends that included too much beer. The solution: re-hydrate! As you know from our earlier email regarding hydration, it will take 72 hours to restore your hydration to healthy levels, so simply avoid sugars and be sure to drink water for a few days.
Now, this is not the only method of evaluating your health, but how much easier could it get to monitor well-being than paying attention to the aromas coming out of your skin, bladder, and colon? For keeping an eye on things day-to-day, this is an easy, quick, and straightforward method for doing so. If things become out of balance, your first indication is how you feel, and the second is your excretions. Our elimination system does a phenomenal job of telling us when something is wrong.
Sweat is a natural part of our days, especially those of us in the South. It's okay to have a minimal odor that is barely perceptible, especially in our armpits. However, what is not normal is the intense smell that makes you cringe, wrinkle your nose, or run. That odor tells you either you are detoxing, have consumed too much of on food, or something your body doesn’t know what to do with so it has decided to evict the molecules. While beginning any new health transformation, it is normal to smell for the first few weeks.
What does this aroma smell like? How long does it take to go away?
Sweat smells like what you put into your body initially. If you are eliminating processed and refined foods for the first time (or the first time in a while), then the smell can become rancid at times. Complete cleansing of these aromas can take up to 6 months, depending on how long you were practicing unhealthy eating habits.
A few tips to help get you through these times. Maintain a plant-based diet as you should be eating now. You are about to enter Stage 2, where you continue to enjoy lemon-ginger water, which eating strictly clean 5-6 times per day. This will help you speed up the detoxification process, and could eliminate the odors quicker than you anticipate. In preparation for the maintenance phase, start talking with yourself and explaining why you are continuing your current healthier habits. For instance, the reason a plant-based diet is healthy for you, in regards to odors, is that chlorophyll and other phytonutrients cleanse you from the inside out. Dark leafy greens are some of the best foods for cleansing, for example, parsley, cilantro, celery, and all mint species. Additionally, some aromatic herbs are also excellent, including sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
Our urine is comprised mostly of water. It is the concentration of various waste products excreted by the kidneys, eliminated by the body via urine, which causes odor in urine. As with our sweat, transitioning away from processed, refined choices will cause an odor while your body is cleansing itself. Additionally, your multivitamin and some other vitamins will turn your urine bright, neon orange.
When urine contains a minimal amount of waste products, there is little to no odor. When it becomes highly concentrated, meaning a high level of waste products is being eliminated, then your urine can have a strong ammonia smell. Similar to a cat’s urine; however, not typically as potent.
There are some foods, herbs, and prescription medications, such as asparagus, that cause noticeable urine odors, even in low concentrations. If there comes a time when you are emitting a strong odor and have eliminated all reasons for your urine to smell then be sure to contact your practitioner.
We found a graphic to help you identify what colors to look for, and what to do when your urine changes colors - regardless of whether there is an odor. Click here to check it out
Not that anything in this particular message is comfortable, but discussing bowel movements can be quite embarrassing for people. Please know we are not discussing these topics so openly to cause anyone embarrassment or discomfort. We want to provide you the knowledge and tools to feel empowered about your self-care, and feel confident that you can monitor your health. Not to mention, many people wonder if what we do behind the bathroom door is normal, healthy, or if it should be mentioned to your practitioner. Some of us simply do not know the answer to that question, hence this message.
Excrements that leave our body in the form of a bowel movement is the waste product of the food we eat, minus vital nutrients our body uses, or stores in fat cells. There are a few areas we need to address in regards to stool, besides odor. The color and density can be important reactions to pay attention to.
Normal stools will appear anywhere from light to dark brown. They can seem to reflect the same exact color of the food you have just eaten. For instance, beets, licorice, and green leafy vegetables can turn your stool a very dark green to almost black. This is normal and should resolve itself within 36 to 48 hours. Stool that indicates either dysfunction or illness include:
Green - waste has moved too fast through your Gastrointestinal tract and elimination system. Essentially, bile did not have a chance to disintegrate during metabolism.
Yellow - this can indicate an imbalance in gallbladder tissue.
Black, tar-like, maroon, or red stool indicates bleeding within the Gastrointestinal tract. Be Aware: iron supplements will turn stool black as well!
White stool indicates a pancreatic issue or lack of ability to absorb fat.
A clay-colored stool is a sign of liver disease, or that enough bile is not mixing well with the intestinal content.
As we discussed earlier, the odor can be an indicator of detoxification or an indicator of a particular food you’ve consumed. There are several factors behind stool odor, including what was consumed, if your body properly digested and metabolized molecules, or if it took too long to metabolize and move food particles through the digestive and elimination systems.
It is important to note that everyone has some slight odor in their bowel movements. This should be barely perceptible after flushing. When you eat processed, unrefined foods your scents become increasingly offensive. Some people reach the point that they clear hallways. Hopefully, you have never had to encounter this situation. When you reach the point that you can detect a noticeable odor following a clean, healthy transition period (minimum of 16-weeks), it indicates something is out of balance. It could be food that fails to provide the nutrients our body needs; therefore it is being eliminated. The aroma you are smelling is what those molecules smell like collectively. If this is different than what you originally ate, you may want to look into the ingredients and see what your body felt offended by.
Additional Poop Tidbits
You should poop on a regular basis, meaning one to three times per day. Sometimes people feel that three times per week is normal; however, at our core, our natural inclination is to eat, digest, metabolize, and eliminate. This means that we should be pooping what we are not absorbing (this includes fiber, which is not absorbed but used to scrub the intestinal pathway) after each meal. Your poop should pass through the rectum easily, without any discomfort, and sink. This indicates density. IF your poop floats, it means your body is expelling more gas and air or has not absorbed fat consumed. This can happen when one consumes processed or refined foods.
The consistency of your stool can be a great indicator of how healthy your diet is! If your bowel movements are too large, it is a sign of slow travels through the intestines. Conversely, small, hard pellets indicate dehydration and low fiber intake. Narrow stools may indicate gas or bloating. Gas is normal! This is an indicator of a GI tract that is free of obstructions. It is normal for us to have gas approximately 12 to 14 times per day. For the most part, this will be barely perceptible to anyone, including you.
While this isn't included in the title, it is important to at least mention. Bad breath can also be an indicator of dysfunction in the body, specifically the digestive system or in your mouth and nasal cavity. If you are eating a strictly clean, unrefined diet your bad breath will dissipate as your stomach returns to a harmonious, balanced state. Should the odor be associated with gum disease, injured, or ill teeth than a healthy diet can only do so much. At this point, a visit to the dentist would be helpful.
Now that you know what to look for in your excrements take some time to practice. It will help you identify your health indicators.
(c) 2017 Bonni Wildesen Hise