Tuesday, October 26, 2010
digestion and your complexion; why pooping is good for your face!
As you may have read in a previous post, puppy poop makes me happy. What you may NOT know is that I have equally warm and fuzzy feelings about people poop. SERIOUSLY! We don't talk about it, but pooping is actually a really important part of our day. Our poop can show important indicators of when our health is failing, and pooping is our bodies BEST method of eliminating nasty toxins from our system. The health implications of a malfunctioning digestive system are numerous and epic; if you ever want to read a book that will blow your mind and crack you up, check out "What's your poo telling you?" by Josh Richman and Anish Sheth MD.
Although there are a myriad of health issues I could talk about as they relate to digestion, today I want to talk about the links/similarities between healthy pooping and the clarity of your skin! While your face and butt are, admittedly, located on opposite ends of your body, we (as holistic and health savvy people) know that EVERYTHING in our body is connected. All of our systems interact with one another in a fluid, overlapping, wonderful, beautiful process of living! If one of our internal functions is on the fritz, the rest of our body reacts; usually in an attempt to repair and rebuild the failing system, and compensate for it while it's not working. Sometimes we don't even REALIZE when we're out of whack; things can be wrong for YEARS before we get those valuable physical signs that something is wrong. By the time we understand the damage we've done to our bodies, it may be necessary to take drastic measures to remedy the situation. Which brings me to why poo problems and skin problems are simply awesome!
Our skin is our largest organ; what's fabulous about our skin is that it's also the only organ we can see! (unless we look in a medical book or watch a discovery channel special or something...) Often, what's going on inside our body is reflected on the outside. Although some people are wonderfully blessed with beautiful skin that doesn't break out no matter what they do, their ailments will most likely be expressed in other ways physically. However, the vast majority of people who are exposed to stress (whether it's emotional stress, physical stress, or mental stress) will end up showing it in their skin. In my (unprofessional) opinion, it's not possible to have broken out skin and have a truly healthy system. One or two breakouts every once in a while are understandable, but if we have serious, ongoing skin issues, it's a good indication that something isn't right inside our bodies.
I'm not speaking from inexperience; for years and years I suffered from serious skin problems, and it was really tough to deal with. I remember wishing that I could just hide in my room so no one would look at me. I was so embarrassed to meet new people because I thought they would think I was dirty or gross. I often went running at night so that when my makeup came off from sweating people wouldn't be able to see my face in the dark! I've been on so many medications, put so many lotions and creams on my face, bought so many different types of makeup, washed my face over and over again...and most of it made my skin worse! Looking back on all those years, I WISH the dermatologists and doctors had the knowledge and good conscience to look into what the CAUSES of my skin issues were, rather than treating the symptoms. After doing my own (extensive!) research I've been able to clear up my skin problems naturally, through wonderful, fun, calming, and rejuvenating diet and lifestyle changes, and it (sometimes!) makes me grateful that I did have those external signs telling me that I needed to take charge of my health and well-being.
What does pooping have to do with skin clarity? LOTS! Of course, to be honest, I'm not talking ONLY about pooping, but rather digestive health in general. I know, I know you thought it was just about pooping from the title. It just sounds cooler when I get to use the word "poop" over and over again :P So...both digestion and skin are great indicators that something is wonky with your body. If you're experiencing stomach issues (acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, gas, or just feeling like you need a nap after most meals) AND your skin is red, irritated, broken out, or is yellow-y or grayish in color, it DEFINITELY means your body is having troubles eliminating all the toxins from your system. If your body isn't properly getting rid of all the garbage in your body through sweat or pooping, all that junk ends up STAYING in your body, circulating in around in your blood stream, muffing all your internal processes up. Gross.
There are a bajillion reasons our bodies can have problems eliminating toxins. One of the biggest culprits is dehydration. If we're not hydrated NOTHING works like it should; digestion, sweating, kidney function, joint lubrication, and brain function are all aided when we get enough water! If our system isn't properly hydrated, our skin (which is constantly eliminating toxins through our pores) won't be able to properly excrete all the bad stuff that accumulates in our bodies; it get trapped in our pores because the water didn't lubricate it's pathway and viola! Hellooo breakout! Water is our best friend. Gotta love that water.
My FAVORITE way to clear up my skin, help digestion, and make me a happier person in general is to eat lots of scrumptious fruits and veggies in the place of processed foods! Fruits and veggies are water-rich (and we know all about the importance of water) and they have antioxidants, which help repair our damaged cells and reduce inflammation caused by everyday stress! Antioxidants are like our bodies tiny little security guards (I like to imagine that they look like Chuck Norris), fighting back disease and aging and inflammation, and they totally rock!
On the other hand, the WORST thing we can do for our skin and digestive system is eat lots of processed, icky, sad-face food. Boo for junk food! Junk food has lots of chemicals and foreign substances in it that our body doesn't recognize; it creates free radicals (the arch-enemies of our Chuck Norris antioxidants) which promotes a lot of stress and inflammation in our systems. While our little antioxidant heroes do their best to fight off and neutralize free radicals, they can't effectively undo the damage if we overwhelm our systems with too much refined sugar, processed food, and fried food. Additionally, our body works overtime to reduce the harmful effects of this nasty food, and other processes, such as digestion and skin regeneration, take a backseat to damage control. There are many people high on the medical food chain (such as Dean Ornish and T. Colin Campbell) that have tons of studies showing that eating junk food ages your body faster than eating antioxidant rich foods such as fruits and veggies.
In summary: a healthy digestive system is a good indicator of overall health. The clarity of your skin is also a great indicator of whether everything internally is going well or not. If you find yourself suffering in either of these ares, don't just try to treat the symptoms! Look for an underlying issue; are your hormones out of whack, are you eating food that's causing inflammation in your body, are you stressing out? Seeking a holistic solution to these problems is is a much healthier (and permanent!) avenue to healing yourself, rather than relying on pills or topical solutions. When we starting treating ourselves right and being KIND to our bodies instead of fighting against them, we begin to experience increased quality of life, greater health, and (yay!) more happiness!