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Nutrition is not just about what you’re putting in your body – what you’re putting out is equally important. The Ultimate Nutrition Bible, by Matt Gallant and Wade Lightheart, offers practical advice on getting regular with healthy bowel movements that support your nutritional goals.
Are you regular? Many of us – nearly 40% of adults – have to deal with the impacts of a functional gastrointestinal disorder that makes it difficult to clear our bowels. You don’t have to be a skatologist to figure out if you have a pooping problem: the signs of poor digestion are as easy to sniff out as diarrhea and as hard to overcome as constipation.
Anything from excessive farting to skin problems can be warning signs of suboptimal digestive health. These digestive problems can get in the way of your fitness goals, whether you seek to lose or gain weight. They can also result in cramps, heartburn, and other pains. Bowel-clearing troubles can even damper your routine and daily life: 40% of Americans canceled plans in 2022 when faced with uncomfortable bowel symptoms.
When the news dropped that fitness and nutrition experts Matt Gallant and Wade Lightheart – Co-Founders of BIOptimizers – were releasing The Ultimate Nutrition Bible, an unbiased and universal book for anyone trying to accomplish their nutrition goals, we were hoping the authors would include a comprehensive guide on turning food into healthy poop. They’ve delivered, teaching readers about the five stages of digestion and how to optimize them.
If you have a gut feeling that your bowel movements are not where they should be, this book can help you get regular. It’s not all poop advice, though: The Ultimate Nutrition Bible’s 36 chapters are a comprehensive look at the world of nutrition. Instead of focusing on one approach to eating and living clean, Gallant and Lightheart take the principles that make every diet work and show readers how to optimize a plan that’s specific to their goals, psychology, and genetics.
“There’s two key questions that everybody needs to ask themselves,” Gallant says, “which is the right diet for me right now? And am I doing it the best way? We wrote this book to answer those questions and more.”
Included in that “and more” are practices to help aid your digestive health and promote regular and healthy bowel movements. Digestion plays a key role in the book’s exploration of nutrition – and Gallant and Lightheart draw from industry-leading research in addition to their own experiences through the nutrition world as personal trainers and high-performing athletes.
“In my own journey,” says Lightheart, who is a national champion bodybuilder, “I ran into digestive health problems trying to take a meat eater’s approach to a vegetarian high-performance diet. It took Matt and I about four years to completely resolve the digestive health components.”
Our bodies may turn food to poop without us asking – but doing it regularly and in good health requires us to optimize a complicated multi-step process. Gallant and Lightheart break down these digestive stages for readers – and show what approach we should be taking to them.
It all starts before our food even reaches our gut – and the authors remind us to come to mealtime in a relaxed state. Your nervous system is closely integrated with your gut, so even something as simple as chewing slowly clues your body into the fact that it should start producing the right enzymes for digestion.
The next stage is secretion, in which enzymes such as hydrochloric acid (HCI, or stomach acid in layman’s terms) and bile break down the food you’ve consumed. While we can take a back seat approach and hope that these enzymes will do their job on their own, Gallant and Lightheart recommend ways to help stimulate the production and flow of HCI and bile in the book.
Then comes breakdown, as these enzymes complete their work. The problem is that our enzyme reserves drop with age – and many of the cooked, processed, and modified foods in our diets don’t have the natural enzymes typically found in the raw and unprocessed versions of those foods. This is where many of our stomach issues begin, as a lack of enzymes puts extra strain on the gut to digest food on its own. For those in this spot, it’s useful to take supplements that add enzymes to your body. The Ultimate Nutrition Bible provides advice on tailoring your enzyme formulas to your goals, diet, and genetics, so that you can get the best results.
Absorption is when the nutrients left over are absorbed, passing through your gut barrier. This barrier is only one cell layer thick – and it has to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff to make sure your body’s getting all the nutrients it needs while passing on pathogens and food allergens.
Taking probiotics and eliminating inflammatory foods are a couple of ways you can strengthen your gut barrier, with Gallant and Lightheart sharing more practices in the book.
The final stage we all know quite well: elimination. We’ll spare you the details here, but yes, the book has tips for optimizing that process, too.
Bowel movement is an essential part of human life – and doing it well is a foundational piece to upping your nutrition game and meeting your goals. The Ultimate Nutrition Bible doesn’t take the topic lightly. Neither should you!
M&F and editorial staff were not involved in the creation of this content.