Where does dis-ease begin? What is the gut? Exactly, what is the colon (or large intestine)? How does a healthy colon work? I answered these questions in my first blog. Now, let’s talk about why the colon becomes unhealthy; why it stops working properly. And, as a result, we become constipated.

There are many reasons the colon becomes unhealthy and sluggish. The reasons are different for each person. As a colon hydrotherapist and certified health coach, I ask pertinent questions to get to the bottom of the problem. I am a colon health detective.

Some reasons your colon gets sick are: (1) the Standard American Diet (“SAD”); (2) lack of water; (3) stress; (4) lack of exercise; (5) not enough fiber; and (6) medications.

The Standard American Diet is heavy laden with highly processed and greasy foods, carbohydrates, and lots of meat. Your body does not recognize as “real food” many of the so-called foods you are eating if you consume the SAD diet. When these unfamiliar foods reach your digestive system, your digestive organs cry for mercy. They don’t know what to do, how to process these so-called foods. The situation is further complicated with improper food combining. We’ll talk about proper food combining and the benefits of plant-based nutrition in later blogs.

You are probably dehydrated. The latest research states you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should drink 60 ounces of pure water daily. One serious result of dehydration is constipation. Remember your body is about 70% water. If you’re not drinking enough water, all of your body’s systems suffer, especially your colon.

It’s impossible to avoid stress. Actually, some research says a small amount of stress is good for you. However, too much stress is all bad. Please find healthy ways to manage your stress. Yoga, qigong, meditation, walking, swimming, dancing, and connecting with nature are wonderful stress relievers. Find what works for you and make it part of your daily routine.

Whatever your career path, please make sure you get up and move your body daily. Most of us stay cooped up in air-conditioned offices where we sit all day at computers, breathing recirculated air. Walking still remains the easiest and cheapest way to get your daily exercise. Walking for twenty minutes per day is an excellent start. You owe it to yourself to set aside at least 20 minutes for pure relaxation and movement. It’s self-care and self-care is not selfish. Self-care is self-preservation!

If you eat a high-fiber diet, you are less likely to become constipated; your colon works better. Excellent sources of dietary fiber are vegetables (especially green, leafy vegetables), fruits and certain grains. We’ll discuss soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as daily fiber recommendations and how fiber benefits the colon in an upcoming blog.

Some medications can slow down the entire digestive process. They can make the colon sluggish and, as a result, you become constipated. Please pay close attention to your elimination when you’re taking any kind of medication and, if you become constipated, get help. We’re here to assist you.

Sharon V.B. Roulhac, formerly of National Integrated Health Associates (“NIHA”), is a certified health coach and internationally certified colon hydrotherapist at the advanced level. She joined Relaxing Alternatives in April 2014.

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