Reading material in the bathroom…a red flag.

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

Let’s face it; there are some things that even guys don’t talk about that much. One of those topics is the gory details about our elimination of solid waste. So, whatever we experience ourselves, we naturally assume that is “normal.”

Now occasionally your doctor may ask you a few discrete questions about your stools and may recommend some medication for your occasional or chronic constipation. But, I bet he/she has never told you that a truly “high fiber” diet delivers over 60 grams of fiber a day. And that if your source of that “colon cleansing” fiber was a plethora of whole plants every day, that you would never have even a hint of constipation — EVER AGAIN.

My perception of “normal” began when I first started going to the bathroom by myself. Even as a very young boy, I remember straining mightily to get the job done and frequently seeing blood in my stool. Of course, I never discussed any of that with anyone and since my dad would spend a half hour “doing his business,” I just assumed that I was doing just fine with my mere ten minutes.

In you need reading material in your bathroom; you are definitely not eating at the "4-Leaf" level.

Now that I have been eating a near optimal diet of mostly whole plants that delivers 60 to 100 grams of fiber per day — here is my current description of normal.

  • At least one movement per day; sometimes two or three for a total of 10 to 15 per week.
  • A total of 10 to 20 seconds for the total elimination portion of doing your business…effortlessly.
  • Large stools, consistent color and not that much odor.

In one of Dr. John McDougall’s recent books on this topic, I remember the phrase “Small stools = Big Hospitals ** Large stools = Small Hospitals. I also learned that my experience above is consistent with the “healthy normal” and that there are many people out there who only go once or twice per week.

During the first year of my healthy eating campaign, I did experience some very large and strange, dark and yucky stools from time to time. In my study at the time, I had been reading about the impacted fecal matter that resides in one’s colon for decades — simply because we’ve all been eating the wrong food for our species. After a year of eating the right food, your body will simply take care of business and clean up your system.

Want some facts about stool sizes around the world? This post was updated on 10-10-11 with the addition of this informative video entitled, “Who’s #1 at #2? by Dr. Michael Greger, the creator of, where he is launching a new video every single day this year.

For more on this topic, here is a recent “McDougall Moment” from Dr. John McDougall on the topic of constipation.

Two of my three grandsons, Andrew and Cooper Hicks at Wachusett Mountain -- today -- March13, 2011 at 7:30 AM

As for that reading material, maybe it’s a good idea to keep some of it around for your guests. But, on the other hand, if your guest is a healthy eater, he/she may mistakenly assume that you are still experiencing the “normal” of your earlier years…when you ate meat and dairy three meals a day — every day of your life.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, Board of Directors…

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Colon Health, Health in General, Healthy Eating 101, Video Included. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Reading material in the bathroom…a red flag.

  1. A.A.M.K. says:

    No one in my circle of family or friends , no matter how well intentioned has EVER been as directly and simply spoken regarding these important issues in my 40 plus years on the planet. This is where it stops,I promise you my children will be healthy and informed,thank you AAMK.

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