Our bowel movements are an important indicator of our overall health, gut health and our healthy eating plan.
Constipation can be caused by many factors such as change in diet, medication, stress, poor nutrition or lack of exercise.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding is also a period in our lives in which we may suffer from constipation. Why? Our gastro-intestinal tract slows down so as to absorb as much nutrition from our food for our growing babes. This also means that more water is absorbed from our ‘food’ which means that we are prone to constipation. Isn’t our body amazing!
Another key period of bowel changes is when we are trying to lose weight or are on a weight loss plan. This is because we change some of the foods which we are eating. If we do not supplement our diet with the right foods, there can be a change the way in which we use the bathroom, so to speak.
So what to do? Firstly let us look at our food.
Did you know that when you are pregnant or breastfeeding your recommended serving guidelines change (Australian Dietary Guidelines)?
When we are pregnant we still need 5 serves of vegetables each day, but when we are on a breastfeeding diet, that number increases to 7.5 serves!
Wholegrain cereals, grain and seeds normally sit around the 6 servings for a woman. When you are pregnant that increases to 8.5 serves and while you are on a breastfeeding diet that increases to 9 serves.
Why do the guidelines suggest this change? The reason for this increase? FIBRE!
These two food groups are excellent sources of fibre (as is fruit).
If you do not eat grains, that is okay, but you need to make sure you are getting enough fibre from alternate sources. Whether it be seeds or nuts like linseeds, sunflowers seeds, pepita seeds, chia seeds, quinoa to name a few. There are also other gluten free grains like rice (love rice), millet and buckwheat you could supplement your diet with which are high in fibre.
Fibre is key to the regularity of your bowel movements.
Water is also one area of nutrition that people forget. Water is key to soft stools and avoiding constipation. Keep a bottle at your desk or a glass at the kitchen sink and try and get your 8 glasses. Of course you can get water in other ways such as herbal tea too. So drink up.
Exercise is also key to regular bowl movement. Of course with young children and when you have just given birth, exercise can be at the bottom of your to do list. But simple stretching, walking and movement can all help. There are some great options on our site here to get your moving, or even our fabulous DVD which is 15 minutes mini workout!
Here is an amazing Healthy Mummy Smoothie combination which is high in fibre and natural sugars which will help your bowl movements get going.
Fibre Blasting Sticky Date Smoothie
What you need is:
- 2 tbs of vanilla Healthy Mummy Smoothie mix
- 4 dates soaked for a few minutes in just enough orange juice to cover them in a cup.
- ½ a pear pealed
- 2 tbs of rolled oats
- 1 tbs of LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond grinded together)
- 250 ml of reduced fat milk (try almond milk for a flavour change)
What you do is:
Soak the dates for a few minutes and then blend all of the ingredients together for a few minutes and voila. Fibre-tastic and delicious.
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