How was your Christmas? I hope you had a wonderful time, filled with love and gratitude. You probably did. It was probably filled with Christmas Cookies too, maybe too many? If the holidays put your will power at an all time low, don’t sweat it. I am writing this blog today with two helpful messages:
- Guilt is more toxic than any cookie — so enjoy the heck out of those cookies.
- There are healthy ways to restore balance to the digestive system.
WHAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF BLOATING?
It’s important to understand that bloating is a symptom. When our digestive systems become weak, inflamed and imbalanced we experience what we know as “digestive problems”. Most people’s strategy for ending bloating is highly ineffective in the long run because it only treats the symptom. Even removing offensive foods only treats the symptom of bloating. Therefore, to really “beat the bloat” once and for all, we have to get to the root.
When eating for optimal health, it is essential to ask where the imbalance begins. For each person bloating occurs a bit differently, depending on one’s overall health. Some people experience bloating from simply eating too much while others feel bloated even after taking supplements or simply drinking water, this tells us that the root of the problem might be in the gut itself. In this case, we need to pay special attention to the body’s bacterial balance, the community of “microbes” living in the stomach, small intestine, and colon.
Removing foods that offset a healthy bacterial balance and adding probiotic rich foods which restore balance is then essential for healing the bloating at the root. More on this in a minute!
When we remove foods that irritate the lining of the digestive tract and feed an infection in the gut—the battle is half won, and the bloat goes away. But unless we “re-inoculate” the digestive tract with the good microbes found in probiotic foods, bloat will return soon as we eat the “wrong” food again.
TREATING THE ROOT
The key to treating belly bloat? Restore the body’s bacterial balance with probiotics.
In functional medicine or holistic healthcare, physicians treat the root of a disorder and the symptom at the same time. While western medicine only deals with treating symptoms. This type of treatment is completely ineffective in the long run and even the short term relief is subpar because they do not restore balance, rather mask the symptom.
Most of the time, the problem returns because the root of the disorder was never addressed. The benefit of the steps I am about to share with you is that they will support the body through imbalance and even restore the body to health. A holistic approach will treat both the root and the branch at the same time!
BEATING THE BLOAT
Here a few simple strategies that will remove bloating and work to heal at the source:
- Follow the 80/20 principle & proper food combining for optimal digestion- 80% of your meal should consist of non-starchy vegetables, ocean vegetables, and probiotic veggies. 20% should consist of animal protein, starchy vegetables, or one of the four grain-like seeds [buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, or millet]. Animal protein and grains/starchy vegetables are never eaten together [i.e Meat and Potatoes]
- Always eat fruit on an empty stomach. Fruit ferments easily and quickly in the digestive tract. To ensure that fruit doesn’t sit in one place for too long and moves smoothly through the gut, eat it alone and on an empty stomach.
- Avoid raw foods. According to Chinese medical food therapy, the cold nature of raw foods is an insult to the body’s digestive fire! Our digestive system prefers food and herbs that have a warm nature (think ginger) and are predigested with gentle cooking. The key is in proper cooking techniques; steaming, slow-low cooking, lightly sautéing, baking and fermenting.
- Add ginger and turmeric into your diet. A “power couple” in the world of herbs, ginger and turmeric have enjoyed a long history together and are touted in Ayurvedic medicine as a combination that supports longevity. Ginger is warming, while turmeric is cooling. Both boost immunity and aid in digestion.
- Remove foods that contain:
Gluten- a protein found in wheat and other cereal grains.
Casein- a protein found in cow’s milk.
Sugar- except those sugars found in low-glycemic fruits like lemon, lime, and pomegranate.
- Avoid FODMAP foods- This includes foods that contain short-chain carbohydrates, which are not fully broken down in people who are sensitive to FODMAP foods. FODMAP is an acronym: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. When eaten, FODMAP foods ferment in the small intestine, causing pain, gas, and bloating. For a full list o FODMAP foods go here.
- Take Probiotic Foods with each meal- These foods are more powerful than any pill or supplement for restoring gut health. They contain living bacteria that bypass digestive acids and thrive in the gut; thus healing the root cause. They also are loaded with enzymes which make them great for aiding in he digestion of our food. Eat them with anything and they will eat up the sugars, predigest the proteins and assist in nutritional alchemy; turning precious nutrients into bio-available goodness for muscles, hair, skin, nails, tissues and more.
I hope you find these tips practical and useful in your life! If you’d like to learn more about optimal digestion and how it affects our health and beauty I have created an entire eCourse which guides you to “perfect digestion” in just a few days! I also always recommend The Body Ecology Diet for any questions regarding optimal health. This diet changed my life personally in so any ways and remains the foundation of my teaching!
If you have any questions feel free to leave a love letter below!