Yep, I took it there.

You can tell a lot about the state of your health just by looking at your waste. And the truth is, most people are just not eliminating waste from their body in a healthy fashion. The worst part? They don’t even know it!

So let’s get down to business and talk about all the things your mom should have told you about your bowel movements: what are they supposed to look like, how often should you be pooping, and of course, how a vegan diet can benefit your movements.

DISCLAIMER: This article should NOT be viewed as medical or nutritional advice. I am not a doctor of medicine or a licensed nutritionist. This article includes my personal experience, my collected research, and my personal, non-professional advice. 


What is a bowel movement?

Digestion begins in your mouth, moves through your stomach and ends in your bowels — the lower parts of your digestive tract. The movement of the digested food through the bowels is called a bowel movement. Having a bowel movement is a necessary and important part of a healthy and functioning body. Yes, it’s just another fancy word for pooping or the great #2.   


How often should you have a bowel movement?

 Most doctors agree that normal frequency for bowel movements can be anywhere from once per day to once every three days. This difference in frequency may vary person to person as a result of their diet and how many times they eat in the day. 


What should your poop look like?


Healthy poop should have an S shape and have the diameter of a banana. Just think of it this way, if your stool passes through your intestines and your intestines look like a long snake with the diameter of a banana, then the stool that is eliminated should also look like a snake with a diameter of a banana.


The color of your poop can be a great indicator to a malfunctioning body. Change in the color of poop may also be caused by the foods that you eat. Healthy poop should be a medium to light brown. Poop that is black is likely the result of internal bleeding. Poop that is a white or gray color could signify a lack of bile. It is important that you see a doctor for medical attention if your poop is not a healthy color. 


Poop that is loose and watery can mean that you have diarrhea, while poop that is hard and dry can mean you are constipated. Your poop should have a nice, solid consistency. There are varying opinions on whether it should sink or float. 

For an awesome visual stool chart – click here.


How does a vegan diet change your bowel movements?

Research has found that it takes between 31 and 96 hours for bowel transit in non-vegetarians, in comparison to the 27 to 54 hours, it takes for bowel transit in vegetarians. The research further concluded that the vegetarian bowel transit time averaged nearly 24 hours faster than non-vegetarian bowel transit time.

Yep, you may have guessed it. Faster transit times means going to the bathroom much more often. As far as I know, similar research has not been conducted and published on the bowel transit times of vegans in comparison to vegetarians or non-vegetarians, but most vegans report that since starting a vegan diet, they find themselves pooping 2-4 times a day. This amount can vary depending on the amount of whole, unprocessed foods the vegan is consuming.

This has also been true for me. When I started a vegan diet, I noticed that my bathroom schedule became much more frequent, usually 2-3 time a day. At this time, I had just introduced a lot of fruits and vegetables to my diet that included lots of fiber. You can read more about this in my post, “How A Vegan Diet Changed My Body.”


How are these changes beneficial?

Simply said, waste should not sit inside your body for extended periods of time. It is toxic and should be eliminated from the body at a healthy speed. These sitting toxins have the ability to seriously damage your health, causing diseases such as cancer. Since plant foods are easier for the human body to digest and ultimately pass through the body more quickly, your health risks decrease without the “sitting toxins.”

Eating a vegan diet for a faster bowel transit time can also provide benefits that you can actually feel and see. Vegans have reported a boost in energy when switching to a plant-based diet. This results from the extra energy that is not being used to help digest animal-based foods.

Moving waste out of your body may also result in a slight weight loss. The number one weight loss secret that nobody talks about is the fact that the extra poop sitting around in your body is a major cause of your excess weight.


To sum it up

  1. Implementing a plant-based diet can speed up your bowel transit time, allowing your toxic waste to be quickly eliminated instead of sitting in your gut.
  2. Healthy poop frequency, size, shape, and color may vary, but ideal poop is S-shaped, light to medium brown, with a nice, solid consistency.
  3. Increased bowel movements from a plant-based diet can create a boost of energy levels and faster weight loss.

In the comments below:

Has a plant-based diet changed your bowel movement pattern in any way? (TMI?)