Eat for Your Poop: A Nutrition Lesson from the Bottom Up

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When most of us choose what we want to eat for dinner, we think about how the food will taste and if we want that oral experience. Food connoisseurs, who are also called foodies, dive deep into the texture, aroma, chewiness, moistness, color, and flavor of food, and the subtleties of how it feels when the food goes down their throats. For most people, this is what eating is all about. Sure, it’s also about nutrition. But the major pleasure and focus of eating is on the oral and olfactory sensations created by the food, as well as the appealing presentation of the dish.

This emphasis on food appeal leads people to eat all sorts of things that look, smell, and taste good, but which makes them feel sick. We eat for pleasure and not for nourishment or health. This leads us to putting substances in our mouths to eat which appeal to our senses, but which offend our bodies.

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As a result, people suffer from stomach upset and heartburn, intestinal bubbling and gas, and, ultimately, disconcerting poop, the kind that you hear being produced in airport bathrooms.

As a rule, we don’t like to touch the subject of poop. Our culture is into clean and antiseptic. Poop is the antithesis of that. So we flush away this foul reminder that we are all, indeed, animals, and that, like other animals, we need to regularly poop. However, with that flush, we also eliminate the most apparent indicator of our digestive health. 

When a chef serves up a feast, you can see all the work that went into that creation. When an anus serves up a turd, you can see the workings of the body that went into that creation.  

By careful and educated examination of your droppings, you can tell if you are eating the right foods for your personal digestion. Keep in mind that there is more to poop than meets the eye. It is teaming with bacteria, which colonize your colon. These bacteria are part of your digestive process, since they eat what food you give them and break that down for you to absorb. This means we consume their waste products, which, when you think about it, is their poop.  

Clearly, you would want healthy bacteria to produce the kind of bacterial waste products that are good for you, and which don’t poison you. That’s why it’s important to eat for your bacteria, as well as for yourself. Some foods may taste good for you, but may make your bacteria sick. 

This all begs the question, what is the ideal poop? Surely, there is some room for personal preference, but it is reasonable to suggest some criteria with which we could all agree. For example, poop should hold together. This keeps it moving with your movement, and fully exiting the anus. It should be a shade of brown, smooth, moist but not wet, dry but not too caky, solid but not too dense, and moderately buoyant in the bowl. It should have an aroma that should not be too pungent or sulfurous, and just mostly smelling like shit. 

If we agree on this ideal poop, then we need to ask how to get there. What kind of food would we need to eat to produce the ideal poop? If we could figure this out for ourselves, then we can choose a diet that makes the best poop, which means it is the healthiest diet for us, personally.

So let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s say we want to start from scratch and design a turd from the bottom up. What would you start with to make a perfect turd?  Well, you need a substrate or matrix which can serve as a skeleton for the turd. Turds need support. And the best way to support a turd is with fiber.  This is why fiber is so important in your diet. It provides the skeleton for your turds to form. This is because fiber contains cellulose, which we cannot digest, and the cellulose fibers form a net which collects the other digestive material, like pieces of partially chewed meat and corn. If you don’t have cellulose, turds will stay small and marbly. 

Working up from the cellulose, we need to add some body to the turd, which calls for carbohydrates and proteins. These will also hold water, giving moisture. Some fat will help it all slide down the tubes better, so try a dollop of butter or mayonnaise on top of that. 

Hopefully, as we make this turd, we can leave out contaminants, such as pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and antibiotics, all of which will not only affect us directly, but will also affect our bacteria. We don’t want to give the bacteria the equivalent of diarrhea, which will cause the same in us. So we need to make this turd bacteria-friendly.

For aroma, you add certain spices to your diet. Garlic is a familiar spice used, but experiment with basil and cumin if you are curious. Be careful with spices that can harm your bacteria, though. And apply the spices to the food, not anally to the turd. This is a bottom up model, but not in that way.

Finally, there is size. While we generally have a culture of bigger is better, except when it comes to electronics, turds can get too big to pass, especially if studded with corn. Turds are not really a one-size-fits-all thing. And if the colon is too packed with turds waiting to leave, the congestion can cause constipation. So to limit colon crowding you need to limit food immigration into your mouth.

At this point, you should have the makings of a great turd. Now is the time for your personal experiment with your poop planning. Try eating a diet that you consider adequate in fiber, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Don’t eat too much, but enough to feel satisfied. Then, over the next 24-48 hours, check your turds. Are they ideal? Do they smell okay? Is it a poop you are proud of creating? If not, your poop is telling you that you need to change your diet.

The point is to use your poop as a guide. Turds will tell. And maybe someday, as the science of poopology advances, people will wisely eat for turd health, as well as for oral pleasure. The food will still taste good. But it will not just excite the eyes, ears, and nose. It will also excite the bacteria who feast on it all, giving us healthy, happy turds which we can flush with pride.

Remember, it’s not just what goes into your mouth that counts. It’s also what comes out of your ass.

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