No, like, really.
#1: For as long as I can remember, I have not been regular. But, what did I know, because, since I was never regular, I thought I *was* regular, and never knew any different, and never felt constipated, and, well, yeah.
#2: (hardy-har-har): When I met my husband, and started spending more and more time with him, I thought something was seriously wrong with him for all the time he spent in the bathroom. (He would go, like, once every day!! Like, oh my gosh, sooooooo gross!!)
#3: At the ripe young age of 24, while consulting with an Ayurvedic Dr about my skin, I needed to check a couple of references, namely my sister and my husband-to-be, because I thought the Dr was mistaken that "people should make bowel movement at least once every day." References confirmed. Reality sets in... ummmm, so once per week is... bad?
#4: Since that time (2006), I have gotten much better at eliminating just from implementing dietary changes. Of course, the process
#5: There is nothing like a perfectly-formed, healthy elimination. Nothing. I'm sorry, your baby is great, and good for you pushing that out of your body. But for those of us who need to rejoice in the little things, or not so little things, this is epic. I have often wanted to send out family newsletters regarding my bowel movements. (P.S. That link above might seem scary... it is not a picture of my poop. I have not gone that far off the deep end. It is a chart of what normal poop should look like, versus not so healthy poop. And, if you went right ahead and clicked on the link before reading this disclaimer... you're kinda gross. I like that.)
#6: Once you have a semblance of normalcy, like I did (once every couple of days at least), it really does stand out to you when you miss a day. And, it really isn't normal. And, you really *don't* feel good. (Knowing what good feels like always makes the bad feel worse by contrast.) So, for the past 6 months or so, I've been on a mission to find the missing link to my daily poops... and I think I've found it.
#7: I introduce to you: Betaine HCl.
Back in early October, I visited a D.O. the next State over, who has a keen interest in nutrition and holistic ways of healing. He ran a set of labs on me called Spetracell. From my limited understanding, the Spectracell tests were not just drawing a serum level of nutrient and vitamin levels, but rather, tested the cumulative effect (over three months) of how much these nutrients and vitamins were being absorbed and utilized by my body.
The results blew me away. Before sharing, let me first tell you what a typical day's meals look like for me:
2 pastured eggs
a cup of homemade chicken or veal/beef broth
About 15 pill-size pieces of frozen grass-fed beef liver
Lamb riblets (or any other meat leftover from dinner - all grass-fed/pastured)
Salmon with coconut creamed spinach
There's a lot of variety in there, but this gives you an idea of what macronutrients I am getting the MOST of each day.
The testing showed that I was deficient (or, not utilizing) many of the B vitamins, namely B12 (which, interestingly, I have always tested as High-out-of-range on standard serum levels), choline, and some other stuff I can't remember at the moment ;)
The Dr knew all about Paleo and said in his opinion, this is an excellent diet and I was clearly not digesting the food well, because, helloooooo, B12 and CHOLINE???? And I eat liver and egg yolks every day?!?!?!
He first started me on his recommended brand of isotonix supplements - a digestive enzyme, along with a B-Complex and personalized supplement to add-in what I was deficient in, for just about a month until I was able to get it from the diet again. The problem, however, was that ALL of these supplements had very questionable ingredients listed... first off, the #1 digestive enzyme was amylase, followed by protease, and so my initial thought was that these supplements were meant to be used by people on the Standard American Diet, needing help to digest their abundance of carbs, not protein. Second, there was sucralose, dextrose, stevia, and all kinds of hard to pronounce junk in the formulation. WHY do I need my supplements to be SWEET???? I took them for a month, and noticed only minimal improvement in the poopage area.
Then, I decided to do my own research. I knew the Dr was on to something, and now I knew that something was getting in the way of my ability to digest these awesome, fully nutritious and healthful foods. But what was it??
I decided to try the Paleologix supplements. And, almost like magic, I noticed a difference... which LASTED. It was so eery, that when I ran out for a few days before the next package arrived, I was bloated and constipated, with NO OTHER changes in my diet!
Paleologix was basically the same idea the Dr had in regards to helping me digest the food on my own, but also, while healing the gut, adding back in those nutrients and vitamins that it needed. Except, these are CLEAN supplements. No crap included! (But pun certainly intended.) And the magic bullet of the bunch? Betaine HCl.
I had tried Betaine HCl once before, after viewing a 9-day Real Food Summit and hearing about low stomach acid. Except, the Betaine HCl I originally purchased and tried for a day had some questionable ingredients, and I didn't end up taking it regularly because I was leery of these ingredients.
The instructions on the bottle say to take 1 pill before each meal, and titrate up by one pill every 2-3 days, until a mild burning sensation is felt. Once the sensation is felt, drop down by one pill and that is the maintenance dose.
Can I just say... I was on 5 pills before every meal, and still felt NO BURNING. I never did go to 6 pills because, I felt pretty well maintained. And, the pooping speaks for itself.
This may be a gross post, and while I realize that (and tried to add in some humor to that end) - I also think it's waaaaaay underestimated how much our regularity and bowel health affects the rest of our health/body. You can be avoiding all types of foods due to various food sensitivity testing (or have several which contradict each other, like I had!) - or eating the most "real" traditional foods you can find, every day... but still be missing something.
It takes a little legwork, but worth looking into - low stomach acid was definitely an issue for me. Is it an issue for you?