The 6 Part Vital Health & Natural Medicine Mini Series Part 2

Here is Part 2 of our 6 part mini health series. You can achieve excellent bowel function, and it is important to realise that optimising your digestive health is critical if you want outstanding health in the long term.

Today we focus on your bowel – are you going each and every day?

Your Bowel Function – Part 2

Do you go every day, easily? As a general rule, you should have at least one preferably two motions daily, and not too far away from your meals either. If you not at least have one bowel motion each and every day, or if you have inconsistent motions – in terms of how often (frequency), how they look (texture) then you have constipation.

I have yet to find a case of constipation yet which cannot be corrected with natural methods, and over 90% of constipation will respond to simple adjustments in lifestyle. The doctor’s answer is generally either a laxative, or a fibre supplement like Metamucil® . I’ve got a better idea, let’s find and treat the actual cause of the constipation.

Some practitioners would define constipation as the passage of a hard stool. Whilst a doctor I once knew told a patient that it was perfectly acceptable for her to have a bowel motion every ten days, if that was “normal for her”. In my opinion, it is the frequency and texture of your bowel motions as well as the ability to pass a motion easily (and, feeling like you have “cleaned out” as well) which are all important factors, not the term constipation, which will always remain arbitrary.

The actual frequency of bowel motions (how often you go) is important because it tells me how good your digestive system is functioning, and will eventually dictate your overall state of health.

Did you know that bowel cancer is more prevalent today. From my research, some of the biggest causative factors here are:
• Poor passage of sufficient bowel motions over many years (inconsistent bowel function)
• Poor bowel flora – dysbiosis, or an imbalance of “good” and “dab” bacteria in the digestive system.
• Regular alcohol (wine) consumption.
• Meat eating – simply too much and too often.
• Not enough fresh vegetables and fruits.

Constipation Causes 

Improper chewing of food, not paying attention with eating: watching TV or reading whilst eating. This can be a real problem, is this you? If you are finding it difficult to go and you can relate to the TV watching or reading– just turn the TV off or stop reading while you eat! Chewing food to a fine particle size makes sense – it facilitates digestion and absorption, improves peristalsis and bowel function. A quote from the Bible: “Chew your grains until they are liquid”.
• Dehydration – not enough water. Probably one of the most common of causes. Aim for 30 mls per kg of bodyweight each day when the weather is hot. You may not be having anywhere near that amount, particularly if you have been quite constipated for years.
• Insufficient intake of dietary fiber The diets above may well fall into this category, too much protein and too little fibre. Keep you fluid intake high and make sure you eat ample fibre.
• Long periods of immobility, stress or depression.- Having regular bowel motions to me is a bit like a woman having a regular period. It comes in cycles, and when things go well they tend to stay well – until something happens. If you have recently had problems in going, look what happened just recently. A change in lifestyle? A separation or divorce, change of occupation? Did you start new medication? Stress reduces blood flow to your digestion as well as reducing “peristalsis”, or the actual movement of stool through your bowel.
Medication – Loperamide is an anti-diarrhoea drug which reduces peristalsis and increases intestinal transit time, causing constipation in some. Codeine & morphine are used to control pain but also unfortunately reduce the motility of the stool, and some antidepressants do this as well. Even aspirin can seriously affect the digestive tract, particularly the stomach, liver & small bowel. You may want to get your medications checked out carefully to see if they are a factor in your constipation. So many drugs affect your liver’s function, and can cause congestion here.There will be alternatives to drugs in case there is a constipation connection.
• Gallbladder problems – This is an area that comes up so often in the clinic. The 4 F’s – flatulent, forty, fat and fertile. Is that you? I find that many women aged between about 35 – 45, they may like chocolate, wine & nibbles like cheese & crackers, and this group is often affected with constipation or a sluggish bowel. When the gallbladder becomes sluggish, your bowel slows down. Bile is produced by the liver & stored in the gallbladder & helps to soften the stool and facilites excretion. Gallbladder removed? – then take Digestive Enzymes, e.g., fats & oils are not digested/absorbed well by these folk. Take a digestive enzyme when you take a fish-oil supplement, or Vitamin A. Is your cholesterol levels up? – then try a Lipotropic Factor supplement for several months, it will help metabolise and burn off that fat. Remember the eye-ball test – After you go to the toilet, look! 

Naturopath Domenic Pisanelli Sensible Constipation Tips:

• Eat smaller, more frequent meals and avoid overeating at one sitting. Take time to eat, breathe slowly and chew food thoroughly.
• Try beans as kidney and chick peas, lentils, fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fruits (not too much), If you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber slowly increase your intake as you may initially have increased flatulence, gas. Soaking beans first in water (and freezing them after soaking) and discarding the water you soaked them in, may help to reduce flatulence from this group. A hot tip I picked up in the States: add a few drops of Lugol’s Solution ® or potassium iodide to the water when you soak beans – you will have less gas. It really works! (unless you are allergic to iodine)
• Reduce your caffeine intake as caffeine may promote constipation by causing you to loose fluids. Caffeine is a diuretic and you’d better believe it! You willbe surprised how much better your digestive system works just by cutting back on caffeine.
• Add unprocessed oat bran to hot cereals and yogurt. Eat bran cereals or shredded wheat, foods made with whole grains.
• Eat more foods that lubricate the intestines – beet, okra, kiwi fruit, seaweed spinach, sesame seed & oil, honey, pear, prune, peach, apple, apricot, walnut, pine nut, almond, alfalfa sprouts, carrot, cauliflower
• Eat more foods which promote motions – cabbage, papaya, peas, sesame seeds, coconut, kumara, asparagus, figs, kiwi fruit
• Here are some herbs & foods that soothe the intestines – marshmallow root, flax seeds, fenugreek seeds, psyllium seeds, licorice root, slippery elm bark
• Good bacteria enhancing foods – miso, sauerkraut, yoghurt, kombucha mushroom, kefir, quark
• Decrease intake of saturated (animal) fats (animal and increase essential fatty acids (cold-water fish, nuts, and seeds). A diet igher in fat will be harder on the liver & gallbladder and this can cause constipation.
• It is best to take Omega 3 daily in small amounts which will aid in passing motions and discourage “bad” bugs in your digestive system.
• A top quality probiotic is essential today, we simply like to consume a bit of alcohol, caffeine and have the inevitable sugar here or there. This along with our busy, often hectic and stressed lifestyle will create an imbalance of the bowel flora.
• Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Basic stuff, but often taken for granted.
• Drink more water. Warm lemon water taken before meals stimulates digestion. Try the juice of ½ a lemon in water in the morning before breakfast. Remember to drink plenty of liquids. You need more fluid particularly when you have more fiber for fiber to work effectively.
• Stewed or soaked prunes, 1 to 3 a day, have a slightly laxative effect. Prune tea – 3 prunes in a 250ml cup, add boiling water, leave stand until warm, drink & eat the prunes. Have 1 cup per day.
• Flax meal, 1 heaping tsp. in 8 oz. of apple juice, provides fiber and soothes the digestive tract. Follow with an additional 8 oz. of water. LSA mix is excellent too. Slippery elm bark powder is good, but is a bit pricey lately. We stock this product.
• Colonic hydrotherapy – I have solved very tricky cases of constipation with recommending a course of colonics plus other complementary and alternative methods of healing. There is no question about the huge difference a professional colon therapist can bring to the patient by utilising colon hydrotherapy.
• Liver and bowel detox Come and see us, you will be glad you did. And, you’ll probably loose a fair amount of weight as well.
• We stock several products which can assist you in helping your bowel to move more easily and with regularity.
Next article we focus on your energy levels.f

Domenic Pisanelli

Domenic Pisanelli

Domenic Pisanelli is a qualified Naturopath and has helped hundreds of people regain their health back as an experienced naturopath with over 18 years of clinical experience.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy sets out how we (Vital Health and Natural Medicine) uses and protects any information that you give us when using this website.

Vital Health and Natural Medicine is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

Vital Health and Natural Medicine may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from January 1st 2012.

We may collect the following information:

  • name and job title
  • contact information including email address
  • demographic information such as postcode, preferences and interests
  • other information relevant to customer surveys and/or offers


What we do with the information we gather

We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:

  • Internal record keeping.
  • We may use the information to improve our products and services.
  • We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided.
  • From time to time, we may also use your information to contact you for market research purposes. We may contact you by email, phone, fax or mail. We may use the information to customise the website according to your interests.


We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

Our Policy for Protecting Your Online Privacy

This website uses Google Analytics to help analyse how users use the site. The tool uses “cookies,” which are text files placed on your computer, to collect standard Internet log information and visitor behaviour information in an anonymous form. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including IP address) is transmitted to Google. This information is then used to evaluate visitors of the website and to compile statistical reports on website activity for

We will never (and will not allow any third party to) use the statistical analytics tool to track or to collect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of visitors to our site. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google. Neither we nor Google will link, or seek to link, an IP address with the identity of a computer user. We will not associate any data gathered from this site with any Personally Identifiable Information from any source, unless you explicitly submit that information via a fill-in form on our website.

How we use cookies

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer’s hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used by anybody for direct marketing purposes
  • if you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us at 

We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so (we hate spam as much as you do… probably more). We may use your personal information to send you promotional information about third parties which we think you may find interesting if you tell us that you wish this to happen.

You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please write to

If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible at the above address. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.