Mark Sisson did a good post on this a little while ago.
It might have benefits on intestinal health: heamarroids, constipation and apendicitis. These problems are much more common in westernised countries, could they be caused by not squatting rather than diet? Sitting on a modern toilet is quite an unnatural activity. However it is rather a taboo subject in most societies.
What do other people think? Has anyone had experiance of living in countries where squat toilets are still common?
I'm in the "probably true, pragmatically difficult" camp when it comes to this.
It makes anatomical sense that squatting to poop would be the best position. If I'm on a long hike or in the woods and need to crap, I squat. But in normal life, it's kind of hard to pull off, and to be honest the difference between the two doesn't seem to be significant enough to risk falling into the toilet at work or just before you get on a plane or something.
We are using this one and it works like a charm. Scrap wood, build-time 5 minutes. I highly recommend giving it a try. Height is approx 30cm/12". You can turn it around and use it for other toilet shapes as well:
I squat in my vibrams for a no slip position with the seat up. Time saved approximately 20 minutes per day (Used to read the sports page on the throne), due to efficiency and almost no clean up. Hemorrhoid problems eliminated. I've dubbed my routine ; "Feet on the seat, Don't sit to Sh#t". Primal is not just a way of eating anymore.
Probably TMI, but I'll sometimes sit on the toilet with my feet up on the seat in a squat-like position (I blessed to be able to do an asian squat - genetics I suppose) - feels more efficient and comfortable. My husband just thinks I'm weird. :-O
I don't squat to poo, I elevate my feet by putting them on the trash can or a stool or whatever is available. This puts your body in nearly the same alignment. I heard about this a while back and gave it a try, and now I can't poop any other way!
Yep it's better. I live in China and discovered that rather than an IBS attack being a terrifying ordeal when forced to use a squatty potty, it was actually MUCH easier and faster than on a Western toilet.
In other words, IBS is such a terrible thing for westerners because we sit in such a bad, unassisted position for taking a dump.
You can do the squat on a regular toilet without any special equipment or shoes, as long as you're not fat. You just need your knees up by your chest to pressure your gut. Just tuck your heels onto the front edge of the seat and wrap your arms around your legs to hold the position. Everything will go much faster and much less painfully, and with fewer IBS aftershocks. It's really a godsend. IBS episodes can be will-to-live deathmatches, and you can drastically cut the time and intensity. Why wouldn't you??
If your reason for being paleo is to return to a more natural way of living, I would say that squatting would be the preferred "style" of passing a bm. For me it comes down to drawing a line between a natural way of life and enjoying modern conveniences.
I lived in South Korea for a year and spent a little time in Asia after that. Many elderly Asian people think that a Western toilet is not hygienic because it causes you to get more poo on yourself as opposed to being in a squatted position. Most toilets there are of the hole in a floor variety, so squatting is definitely a way of life over there. I'm not sure if the differences in intestinal health in Western and Eastern countries would be completely explained by squatting, but it could be one of many factors to consider. I'm sure you can find an Eastern style toilet if you looked hard enough.
Paleo smaeleo, its the natural way to go period!
I live in Japan, squat toilets are still common in older public toilets and old houses. Newer public toilets usually have choice of both. Almost all new houses have western toilets with bidets/washlets/shower toilets when make cleaning up a breeze and the make toilet paper look barbaric. I always go for the squat toilet if there is an option though, its the most natural way to go without doubt and for public toilets, no part of your body has to touch any part of the toilet. I usually take off one shoe, take off one pant leg, swing the whole trousers to one side put the shoe back on and go. (takes 5 secs or less) I am flexible and have good balance so its very easy. Forever taking your shoes on and off in this country, you wear slip on shoes or loosely tied sneakers which allow a for easy shoes removal.
As for knee's you just have to build up strength and flexibilty. the more you do, the easier it becomes. I had an ACL recon so it took a long time to get the full ROM in my knee to comfortably squat gain.
I've been trying the "squatty potty" "primal pooping"...my husband thinks I have officially lost my marbles. So far it has been pretty uneventful other than the one time one water droplet came all the way up and splashed me in the face. :-O
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