At Home Gut Health Tests


MSMonday: At Home Gut Health Tests

To continue our discussion about all things gut health, we’re starting to trend towards testing now. This week we’ll tackle ways you can test your own gut health at home, without any fancy tests or having to spend tons of money (always nice, right?)

First, a slight disclaimer. As always, work with your doc if you think something bigger is going on. These tests only go so far. If you feel like something is not quite right, trust your gut! Lol, #sorrynotsorry. But seriously, a comprehensive stool test can do wonders for showing you what’s up with your gut bugs, and everything else in your inner pipes. More on all of those tests in the coming weeks too.

So, if you’ve never looked at your poop, it’s about time you start. Your poop will tell you SO MUCH about how you’re body is functioning, or not functioning on the day to day. It’s about time you got familiar with your poop norm, so you know when you’re out of the norm. And yes! This is a topic of conversation I discuss with clients! This is a big part of health, and needs to be talked about when discussing health.

Let’s get to it.

 

1. Visual Inspection

Told you we were gonna get down and dirty. As I mentioned above, this should be done often, like daily. The more you know about your gut and how it’s functioning, the better. A few things to be looking out for:

Color

Black/Red- This can be a sign of bleeding. (Black stools would be blood that’s from higher in your GI tract and red stools would be a sign of blood from lower in your GI tract). Either way, this is a sign to head to your doc. Unless, of course, you just ate some beets or took activated charcoal.

Green- Often caused by eating lots of veggies! If you’ve just had a huge spinach salad, then kale for dinner, you might be seeing some green in the bowl later. Usually not something to worry about, unless it is more frequent. It also could mean that you’re having a bit of a hard time digesting and absorbing the nutrients from the spinach, or your transit time could have been increased. If it persists over a few weeks, consider optimizing your gut health.

Yellow- Yellow stools can be caused by diet changes, but often they’re caused by illnesses, disease or inflammation. If it persists for longer than a week, you should be checked out by your doc for sure.

Pale/Greenish/Yellowish– This is usually caused by lack of bile. Bile is what gives our poop it’s normal brown color, and when it’s not there, it becomes pale in color. This can happen for many reasons, change in diet, inflammation, obstruction, etc. If you’ve eaten different foods than normal over the past few days, then I wouldn’t worry too much about it. But, if you notice it persisting for more than a few weeks, especially if it’s accompanied with physical symptoms (pain in your abdomen, excess gas, bloating, etc.), it’s time to see your doc.

Floaters

Floating poop is often caused by diet changes. Many people think floaters are caused by fat malabsorption, or too much fat in the stool, but this is often not the case. Usually floating poop is caused by too much gas that is trapped, usually caused by an increase in fiber. It can also be caused by poor digestion or GI distress/infection. Usually it isn’t an issue, but if you’re also feeling physical symptoms, something could be up.

Food Particles

Having undigested food particles in your poop can be alarming. But sometimes it’s not a big cause for concern. Some foods we eat are very hard for our systems to digest, and will go through our GI tract intact. Especially if we eat quickly, without chewing properly etc. If you’re noticing food particles, that’s the first thing to do. Slow down, chew your food thoroughly and make an effort to make it into small bits before even swallowing. If this is a persistent problem, it can indicate inflammation in the gut, low stomach acid or a need for digestive enzymes.

 

2. Transit Time

In simple terms, this is the time it takes from eating, to pooping. This can be helpful information so you know if you’re trending more on the constipated side (and might need more water/fiber) or more on the quick side (which might indicate inflammation/malabsorption issues).

Jury is out on “optimal” transit time, but anywhere from 24-48 hours is generally thought of as optimal. It’s also worth noting that men and women will probably be different here. Men being faster and women being slower, so take that into consideration too!

This is an easy test to do, pick something that will “show up” in your poop, beets work REALLY well here, so does corn (lol) although, not AIP friendly. Eat said food, then wait and watch. See how long it takes for it to show itself!

 

3. Frequency

This is another one where “optimal” can vary greatly. Some people’s optimal will be 3x per day, and someone else’s will be 3x per week. Those pretty much represent the ends of the spectrum. If you’re having more than 3x per day, especially if it’s loose/watery, that could indicate you’re not absorbing your nutrients like you should be. Having 3x per week (or less) you might need to up your water intake or veggie intake. If that doesn’t help, you might need to look into some testing to see if there is a gut flora imbalance at play as well.

 

4. Bristol Stool Chart

 The Bristol Stool Chart is a chart that helps people decipher where their poop is in terms of transit time. The longer it’s in your body, the harder and more formed it will be, and vice versa. Optimal poopage is around type 4.

However, it all depends on you, your history and what is normal for you, right? I read an interesting line that said “normal stools are not noticeable during defecation”. I think that illustrates everything perfectly. If you’ve had a history of pain and injury, then 5 or 6 might be more normal for you. It all goes back to bio-individuality in the end again, right?

That being said, if you’re seeing type 1/2 often, straining and in pain- that’s probably a sign of a bigger issue. Same with type 6/7, you might not be getting all the nutrients your food is providing.

 

What if you take the time to notice all these things and conclude your gut needs a little attention? Head back a few posts and check out how to get started with gut healing. That will get you started on improving any of these tests that you noticed didn’t quite go so well. And the beauty of at home testing like this, you can always be monitoring your results!

If you want more personalized suggestions, consider booking a Master your MS strategy call. On that free 30 minute call, we’ll tackle one question you bring (might be about gut health!) that you feel is holding you back from feeling your best. Book using the button below!

[otw_shortcode_button href=”https://my.practicebetter.io/#/5b5e24c167c6b9078c61e9e9/bookings?s=5b92c3f3627d791484bb4958″ size=”medium” icon_position=”left” shape=”square” color_class=”otw-greenish”]Master Your MS Strategy Call [/otw_shortcode_button]

I’M ALISSA!

I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.hey there,

follow along on Instagram:

Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”. 

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!

Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”.

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!
...

17 5
:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!

:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!
...

27 22
I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!
...

40 41
Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out. 

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set. 

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS. 

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went. 

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all. 

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for. 

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving. 

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking: 
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it” 
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat

Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out.

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set.

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS.

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went.

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all.

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for.

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving.

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking:
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it”
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat
...

17 4
Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband 
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister 
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day 

This is possible because: 
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure 

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going. 

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!! 

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body, 
Have energy to spend on your friends and family, 
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS. 

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE… 
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!

Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day

This is possible because:
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going.

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!!

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body,
Have energy to spend on your friends and family,
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS.

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE…
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!
...

39 2
If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness. 

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc. 

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors? 
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where. 

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first. 

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others. 

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself. 

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and 
discarded for voicing her needs. 

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent? 

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors. 

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life. 

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how. 

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details

If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness.

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc.

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors?
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where.

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first.

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others.

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself.

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and
discarded for voicing her needs.

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent?

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors.

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life.

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how.

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details
...

52 10
It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life. 

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too. 

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens? 
Being mean and judgemental to yourself. 

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself. 

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action. 
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling. 

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable. 

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right? 

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again. 
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡

It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life.

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too.

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens?
Being mean and judgemental to yourself.

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself.

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action.
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling.

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable.

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right?

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again.
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡
...

12 0
One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression. 

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status 
- Education 
- Health care access
- Your community 
- Economic stability 

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters. 

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!

One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression.

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status
- Education
- Health care access
- Your community
- Economic stability

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters.

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!
...

35 5
Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡

Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡
...

21 2
The food we eat can have a powerful impact on our MS symptoms and how we feel.

It’s not a magic bullet- because nothing is.

But, there is incredible potential for healing and improvement.

If you’re not quite ready to follow a “diet template”, like The Wahls Protocol or Autoimmune Protocol, that’s ok. 

Focus on getting some of these foods on your next trip to the store:

🥗Brightly Colored Fruits & Veggies 
🥬Deep Leafy Greens 
🍤Seafood & Shellfish 
🥜Healthy Fats
🥩Organ Meat

Each of these different types of foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help support cellular functions, immune health and even help with myelin formation.

Not eating any of it? That’s ok!
Start with adding a serving or two here and there.
Ideas: 
✨Have a salad with dinner
✨Toss some veggies in your breakfast egg scramble
✨Have some olives or nuts as a snack instead of chips

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to help improve our MS symptoms & progression with diet & lifestyle interventions.

Each thing you’re doing matters.

It may seem like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you it is.

Keep going!
🧡🧡

The food we eat can have a powerful impact on our MS symptoms and how we feel.

It’s not a magic bullet- because nothing is.

But, there is incredible potential for healing and improvement.

If you’re not quite ready to follow a “diet template”, like The Wahls Protocol or Autoimmune Protocol, that’s ok.

Focus on getting some of these foods on your next trip to the store:

🥗Brightly Colored Fruits & Veggies
🥬Deep Leafy Greens
🍤Seafood & Shellfish
🥜Healthy Fats
🥩Organ Meat

Each of these different types of foods contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help support cellular functions, immune health and even help with myelin formation.

Not eating any of it? That’s ok!
Start with adding a serving or two here and there.
Ideas:
✨Have a salad with dinner
✨Toss some veggies in your breakfast egg scramble
✨Have some olives or nuts as a snack instead of chips

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

There is SO MUCH we can be doing to help improve our MS symptoms & progression with diet & lifestyle interventions.

Each thing you’re doing matters.

It may seem like it’s not worth it sometimes, but I’m here to tell you it is.

Keep going!
🧡🧡
...

19 6
In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.

In case you needed to hear that today.

You’re not a failure.
You didn’t “fail” at healing.
Having MS is hard- do what’s best for you.
...

62 9

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