By Irina Pravet
Are you ready to have a candid conversation about poop? It’s time. I’ll start by sharing my story with you.
I am 29 years old and I have had loose poop (not quite firm, and most of the time not quite diarrhea) for over 5 years. It’s been stinky, uncomfortable and discouraging. I used to feel hopeless about it as every doctor I saw told me I have a weak stomach, that there’s nothing wrong with me or that I need to Google FODMAP. I’m grateful I eventually chose to look for another way.
At the start of 2017, I made a pact with myself that, no matter the cost, I‘d embark on a healing path, look for alternative solutions and prioritise my health. No matter what. I decided to put my diarrhea or ‘loose stool’ behind me because I’d gotten to the point where I couldn’t even remember what a normal poop felt like.
Then I came across Kelly Brogan, who changed the way I saw depression and mental health , and also the way I saw my poop. I came to understand these simple, but paradigm-shattering, truths:
My body isn’t broken. It’s doing the best it can under the circumstances and it’s doing a pretty damn good job.
Food is not only fuel, but it’s information that tells our genes how to express themselves.
The food we’re used to consuming is made to grow bigger, faster and last longer, so as to be efficient in ways that contradict our evolutionary needs. Our bodies then become overloaded with substances that confuse our genes.
Much of what I would normally eat is, in small amounts, making me sick… because my poop doesn’t lie. As Chinese and eastern doctors have known for much longer, if there’s gut or ‘poop’ problems, something is out of balance. Again, our bodies don’t make mistakes.
We need to follow the scent of what’s going on because the shit we’re so ashamed of is not normal. It’s not a remnant of a broken body, nor an individual crisis but a modern epidemic.
I needed to learn how to make my body feel safe again, distinguish between nurturing and depleting food and dialogue with my cells in an entirely new way.
Amazingly, following my poop, sitting with the discomfort of what was really going on (looking before flushing!) is what led me to another realization: that I wasn’t just suffering physically but mentally as well. My mind had become, for as long as I could remember, clouded with darkness, anxiety and social isolation. It wasn’t that I was completely unaware of this but the extent to which I was barely functioning remained largely misunderstood and I blamed myself. I was struggling, and operating from a seemingly “constant state of crisis,” as my husband described it.
So I started cleaning shit up, inspired by the force of nature that Kelly is. I got her book, A Mind of Your Own , read it cover-to-cover and decided I was actually going to apply what I was reading. So armed with a holistic understanding of how things were impacting one another, among the bigger things I changed are:
My diet drastically, (something I didn’t realistically think I’d ever do) actually lifestyle would be a more accurate description
My attitude toward food from one of passivity to an outright affirmation that I would be doing nothing short of nourishing my body
How I sat down with food, aimed to eat mindfully and continue to uncover hidden facets of my relationship with food: things to be grateful for, to heal and learn.
I did this, and a whole lot more and I’m still on the healing path. My shit isn’t a-ok yet, but my mind is clear. I feel like I’m in control and that I progress has been steady and constant.
My friends still say “I could never do that” when I outline how I eat or ask if I don’t miss the cake and cheese (I was a cheese-aholic.)
“Honestly,” I say “if given the choice between food that tastes good but feels bad or mental clarity so great, it’s transformed how I see the world and operate in it… the choice is a no brainer.”
This is nothing short of transformational shit.
So in the spirit of conversation, I invite you to, next time you’re in the bathroom, turn around and face what your wise body is trying to tell you.
Because the sooner you face your shit, the sooner you’ll step into an unburdened and deeply radiant version of yourself. The one you’ve been yearning for for as long as you can remember… she’s real, and she’s waiting patiently for you. I promise you it’s a path much easier than the one you’re on now.