While many people are constipated and know it, many others have “sluggish bowels” and don’t know it. Human physiology is such that eating a substantial meal causes the whole intestine to contract in waves–so a bowel movement would be a natural consequence after eating a meal. Ideally, one would have 2-3 bowel movements a day as long as 3 meals a day are being eaten. Less than that may allow toxins that the body is trying to eliminate through the bowel to be re-absorbed. Grandmothers used to give enemas or castor oil to children to prevent colds–maybe they knew something after all. In general, people feel better when their guts are not sluggish.
The bottom line: be aware and be proactive. Pay attention and allow time to answer the call. If there is no call, get busy assisting gut function. Look to dietary fiber mostly from vegetables and fruits and some whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds (added fiber is not necessary), plenty of liquids including lemon water, and avoid refined grains (white flour or “wheat flour”). Flax tea is very helpful–here’s how to make it. Place 1 Tbsp. of whole flax seed in a cup and pour 12 ounces of boiling water into the cup and stir. To add flavor, put an herb tea bag in there also. Let steep for 30 minutes and strain. Drink the flax tea daily. Finally, a daily practice of 5 minutes of diaphragmatic breathing while lying on the left side (encourages breathing through the right nostril) is a yoga practice helpful for getting the gut moving.