"I feel sexiest when I'm bloated." Said no one, EVER!
It's one of the top reasons women come to see me in my practice. You know the feeling...swollen abdomen, tummy gurgles, painful gas cramps and an overall heavy feeling. Some people fondly refer to it as a "food baby."
I personally don't care how cute that sounds -
there's nothing cute about a food baby.
Bloating is absolutely NOT sexy and it downright sucks. I can say that because I've been there. Heck, we've all been there before (at least a handful of times) but for some, unfortunately, bloating can be an ongoing experience.
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There's a number of reasons why you may be experiencing bloating. Here are just a few:
- Overeating. This is incredibly taxing on our digestive system - even eating the good stuff. So I recommend eating slowly and until you feel satiated. Leave a little room. You'll feel so much better!
- Possible food allergy/sensitivity. Dairy and gluten being some of the most common. If you suspect a food allergy/sensitivity, I suggest getting tested.
- Poor food combining. The topic of food combining could be a post in and of itself, so I'll keep it simple. Avoid eating protein with starches such as meat and potatoes, for example. Consuming a concentrated protein (like steak) and a concentrated starch (like potatoes) is not ideal for effective digestion. Consider veggies neutral, they go with everything! For effective digestion, combine your protein with veggies or your starches with veggies.
- Faulty eating habits. This can include drinking too much liquid with your meals and consuming ice cold beverages. Both of which will diminish digestive fire. You can still take small sips of water with your meal but the idea is not to consume too much liquid. Ideally, consume your beverage 30 minutes before or after a meal.
- Eating when rushed or hurried. Digestion is most effective when you can calmly sit down to a meal, stress-free. Remember to slow down, chew your food to a paste and breathe between bites.
- Ineffective elimination. That's a fancy way of saying constipated. You should be eliminating at least 2-3 times daily. If you're not, I would strongly suggest ensuring that you're consuming enough fibre, water and healthy fats each day which will support healthy bowels.
Here are my top 5 tips that will help relieve bloating:
1. Probiotics. I'm sure by now you've heard lots about probiotics. But in case you haven't, let's recap. Probiotics are live, good bacteria that support your overall health. I suggest including both a high quality probiotic supplement (one that requires refrigeration) as well as fermented foods into your routine. Both are essential for proper digestion. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, kefir, apple cider vinegar and miso - all containing that beneficial bacteria.
2. Lemon water. It's a fantastic way to gently detox the body as it stimulates liver function and flushes out toxins. Not a fan of lemon water? No biggie! Just drink plain water. Hydration is key to all stages of the digestive process.
3. Shots! The healing kind, not the alcoholic variety :P Ok, let's talk apple cider vinegar for a moment. Like coconut oil, ACV is one of those natural remedies that is incredible for a myriad of health issues. From your skin to digestion to immunity - this stuff is so beneficial. I like to combine 1 TBSP with a little water in a shot glass before meals to help stimulate digestion and break down food. Look for organic, raw, unfiltered ACV. I'm partial to Bragg's apple cider vinegar, myself.
4. Digestive enzymes help us to break down and absorb the nutrients in our food more easily. This in turn helps reduce bloating. Look for plant enzyme capsules or try one of St. Francis digestive bitters such as Hepato DR or Canadian Bitters which help stimulate and tone the digestive system.
5. Herbal teas. Is there anything more soothing for an upset tummy? Look for teas with herbs that have an affinity for digestive upset such as peppermint, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom catnip, fenugreek, lemongrass and ginger.
I personally use tips 1 through 5 on a daily basis for overall optimal health but especially to help with digestion and I know you'll find that these tips help restore your digestion too. They're simple and easy to incorporate into your routine.
There's no better season to beat the bloat than Summer, I think we can all agree on that - right ladies?! If you need a little more one-on-one support, let's work together to help get you back on track.