Poop. Yes, I said it. Poop. Going to the bathroom is also something we don’t talk about too much. Let me tell you why we should start talking more about how we go to the bathroom.
In India, I used to take a bucket, fill it up with some water, take it to the potty room, and use a pail to take some water and wipe my bum. Growing up, I often spent summers in India. During those summers I learned the art of squatting. I also didn’t use toilet paper. Rather, I used my hands and water.
In the United States, we have little white rolls hung next to our toilets. We also sit on a seat-like structure with a hole in it. My dad has been trying to boycot these structures for the past couple of years. He constructed a home-made Squatty Potty. He even installed bum sprays to most of the toilets in our house to prevent the rest of the family from using as much toilet paper.
In India and other countries like Thailand and Vietnam I had the honor of using the famous “bum gun”.
It wasn’t until I came back from India this time around that I actually started to use the bum spray my dad had installed years ago. It all started when I began questioning the environmental effects of using toilet paper. The questioning spiraled a bit out of control and I ended up finding out that the inception of the toilet paper was actually a big business scheme.
Toilet paper was “popularized” by the Scott brothers. Yup, you guessed it. The famous Scotts’ brand was invented here in the United States. Just 150 years ago, the United States birthed toilet paper and was the nation responsible for spreading the global use of toilet paper. In the beginning, toilet was just a medicinal item. The first product like a toilet paper was actually an aloe-infused sheet invented to prevent hemorrhoids.
Through time they began marketing it differently and toilet paper stopped being such a taboo. The Charmin brand figured out how to successfully brand toilet paper through using a feminine logo and using beautiful women to market it. This was in 1932 and less than 100 years later, toilet paper had gone global!
I’m not trying to disrupt the $30 billion toilet paper industry (actually, maybe I am….) or tell you to stop using toilet paper. I know that the health effects of regular toilet paper as well as recycled toilet paper aren’t so great. Using a toilet seat to go to the bathroom isn’t so good for our bodies either. There was a reason our ancestors decided to pop a squat when they had to go to the bathroom.
Research, other sources, and personal experiences have shown me that:
1) Body position does make a difference when going to the bathroom. With a sitting toilet, there tends to be more abdominal pressure. This has been proven to result in hemorrhoids. Squatting can reduce the risk.
2) The toilet paper we commonly use tends to be bleached. To bleach the toilet paper, chlorine and chlorine dioxide are used. As a result, dioxins and furans are released and although they do not have any immediate effects, the chemicals can build up with harmful effects over time.
So what do we do?
If you have knee problems, it might be a little hard for you to squat. However, there are some nifty modern day gadgets you can use. If you find yourself on a regular toilet seat without other options, no sweat. For now, sitting up straight as you do your business can even make a difference! As for toilet paper, I’m always a bit wary of using alternative recyclables. I would just go the old school way and use water. Like I said in my previous post, this is based on my own experience, others I have spoken to, and the research I have done. This information is for your knowledge, but is not a substitute for professional advice.
Given the high volume of feedback from my last post, I thought I would keep writing about various lifestyle and health alternatives. If there are any topics that interest you, feel free to drop me a line and let me know!