The “Bottom” Line: Along with eating fermented foods daily, I highly recommend retrofitting your toilet with a squatting stool like Squatty Potty as part of a holistic way to practice healthy digestion and elimination.*
A few years ago, while camping in a primitive area, I had to do my business, and out of necessity (no bathroom), I reverted to the primal position employed by we bipeds– squatting. This, of course, is the way humans have been “doing their business” for eons before the advent of the Western toilet. (And in many non-Western parts of the world, squatting is still the norm.) One thing I noted was just how good my body felt afterwards. I was chatting with my brother about the experience (who else but with family can you talk about these things?) and he mentioned a new product that simulates a squatting position. I googled it and ordered it within minutes.
Stick with me here, folks. The mission of Fermenters Club is to improve people’s lives by promoting the benefits of living foods and to create communities that are connected through their guts. To me, proper elimination techniques are quite literally, the “natural extension” of a healthy gut. I mean, would you build a super-fast, state-of-the-art waterslide, and then install an awkward, sharp turn at the very last section? Okay, I admit that’s a crude example, but it illustrates my point. 🙂
The basic principle of squatting versus sitting while eliminating is purely physiological. Note the difference:
There are many ways to accommodate this proper position. You could install your own squat toilet (what would the neighbors say?); remove your toilet altogether and replace it with…nothing/a hole in the floor; or you could wear groovy 1970’s platform shoes while you’re on the john (goldfish optional).
But this is the simplest, most elegant, and most economical way I could find (and doesn’t require a plumber!) It’s called Squatty Potty. It’s a stool which elevates your feet allowing you to squat while using the toilet. It was invented by an entrepreneur who wanted to help his own mother with her digestive problems. It fits around your existing toilet and allows you to “assume the position” of squatting.
Is a squatting stool a perfect solution? No, but it’s pretty darn close. And for the money, it’s a complete no-brainer. Here are my (very few) nitpicks:
- There is a small learning curve when you first use it, especially if you haven’t used your legs like that in a while. Your body may need to re-adjust to the squatting position. But it will be worth it, as it will build strength in your glutes and thighs!
- Sometimes your trousers can get bunched up when you’re trying to use it, but you’ll eventually figure this out, too.
- When standing at the toilet (not using a squatting stool), you may have to shift your normal position so your feet don’t touch the device, even when it’s tucked under the bowl.
- You really become dependent on it! When you’re NOT at home, you really start to miss it. I have tried to simulate squatting by standing on my tiptoes e.g. at public restrooms, but it’s just not the same. And I don’t think they make a portable model yet.
Now, in the years since I first wrote this article, I’ve learned a lot more about pooping! But we will save that for another post. Long story short, if you use a compost toilet (to recycle your waste into compost!), you could fashion your own squatting stool, like I did with this prototype:
* I am an affiliate of Squatty Potty and earn a small commission when you purchase the products using the links on this page.