Monday, April 18, 2011


This post is going to be on a topic that will make some people squirm. Others of you may decide not to read it altogether. Why? Because we're going to talk about our toilets, or more specifically, the typical American hygiene habits associated with what one does on a good old American toilet.

There's really nothing about the American's use of toilets that is right. We sit, ever so "properly" and politely while the majority of the world (approximately 2/3rds) squats to do their business. This sitting vs. squatting can contribute to a host of complaints such as constipation and hemorrhoids. Sitting to evacuate has also been determined in studies to increase pelvic floor prolapse, inflammatory bowel disease, hernia, and more. This is because in the sitting position the anal canal becomes pinched and it is then necessary to exert pressure to evacuate the bowels. This can also desensitize nerves, increasing uterine, bladder, and prostate problems.

Historically, humans have always used the squatting position, rather than sitting.  Have you ever noticed how most babies instinctively squat to eliminate, until we train them out of it? There are also hygiene problems with the way we do our business. If only we could find another way to deal with this problem, think of all the time, trouble, and lives that could be saved by avoiding e. coli breakouts in restaurants and food packaging facilities when employees go to the bathroom, wipe themselves "clean" and don't thoroughly wash their hands!

I don't know about you, but with the continually rising costs of groceries my mind is constantly on budget-related issues and how we can cut costs further without decreasing our nutrient intake. Food and personal care products are some of the most important purchases we make, after all, and making the right decisions in those areas is often the difference between simply surviving and living vibrantly.

Toilet paper has always been something I bought with great loathing. As I'd pick out another new package, trying so hard to find the best deals, I always saw in my minds eye dollar bills getting flushed down the toilet with each purchase. You're literally flushing your purchase down the toilet! How horrid. Not only do you spend a lot of money over your lifetime on something you flush away, but as far as the environment is concerned, imagine all the trees that have to be cut down each year to supply America with toilet paper. 15 million annually. That's 41 thousand trees daily. In an increasingly toxic world, can we really afford to unthinkingly do away with so many natural air purifiers?

So what if there was something you could do to affect positive change in the bathroom? I'm not about to suggest one of those toilet platforms so you can squat (but if you want to you'll be better off than the rest of us, even if you do look like a total weirdo to all of your house guests!), but what if there was an easy, inexpensive way to reduce your toilet paper use, as well as make positive hygienic change? Well I'm glad to be able to tell you that there is! It's called a bidet and most of you are probably only vaguely (if at all) familiar with them unless you've traveled outside of the US. They're used extensively in foreign countries but are still quite rare here in the States. Used to be if you wanted to use a bidet you had to have a separate unit installed (traditional European style bidets are not made to handle solid waste so you have to use a regular toilet and then get up and move to the bidet to clean yourself -- extremely impractical!), which costs hundreds of dollars. In the long run you'd still save money, but who really wants to spend $300+ on such a thing? And that's not including the cost of having a bidet installed (which would have to be done by a professional plumber since you can't just switch out a regular toilet for a bidet; you'd have to have both) Well now you can get a small attachment for your preexisting toilet which does the same thing! It cleans you using gently pressurized water, nearly eliminating toilet paper usage (some people still prefer to dry themselves with a little toilet paper afterwards). Bidets reduce toilet paper usage by 75% on average. Can you imagine spending 75% less on toilet paper annually? Can you imagine all the trees that would be saved if we all reduced our toilet paper usage by 75%? That would be less than 4 million trees cut down and pulped for toilet paper annually. And of course that says nothing of all the electricity it takes to turn 15 million trees into toilet paper annually!

 I recently purchased a bidet attachment to try it out for myself. My husband installed it yesterday in spite of a killer sinus infection he's fighting and we are both pleased with the purchase and would recommend it to others.


  1. I've heard Dr. Mercola praise bidets before, and wanted to try them. But I don't think it would go over with the whole family.

    How much did yours cost? Can you still wipe & flush or are you only able to use the bidet on that toilet then? How are you liking it?

  2. I got mine from Dr. Mercola's site and with a free shipping code I found it was $59 or so, but I've since discovered others on like the one I linked to in this post for $35 and it has very good reviews! You can still use the toilet normally, so it's no problem if some family members aren't willing to try it out! I'm still really liking it. Definitely worth the small investment, I think.

  3. Thanks for mentioning this, Meg! We're going to give it a try.

  4. That's great! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  5. Well this attachment option seems like a WAY better deal than installing separate plumbing! Question: where does the water come from? How safe is it for the skin vs. wiping my butt with a bleached bunch of TP?

  6. The water comes from the same place as the water for your toilet; these types of bidets come with the necessary hoses and adapters to install it with nothing more than a screw-driver and a few minutes of your time! My husband attached ours in less than 20 minutes and that was with a severe sinus infection! They do make attachments that you somehow (don't ask me how!) attach to your hot water as well, so that the water isn't cold.

    I don't have any actual statistics on the safety of bidet vs. toilet paper for the skin, but I know that it IS supposed to be safer! Also, since writing this post, we've added reusable clothes to our arsenal, so after using the bidet you use a washable cloth instead of TP, which is saving us even more money! We still keep toilet paper around for guests and clients that are in our home, but even with that, we're spending very, very little on toilet paper anymore. A cheap ($1) pack of 4 rolls tends to last us around a month now.