If you are someone who is currently suffering from frequent gas, uncomfortable bloating or painful indigestion, then this is an important article for you.
I have no problem talking about “embarrassing” topics…like GAS and bloating…because I know how uncomfortable and potentially humiliating both can be.
I get a lot of questions from my readers like…
“Isabel, I am eating all of the right foods recommended in my Beyond Diet program, but my stomach is a mess! Is it just my body getting used to the change, or is there something else I can do to help?”
There are a few reasons why your stomach and digestive system may be a little out of sorts, even when you’re eating all the “right” foods.
First, you may be increasing your fiber content, which is a great thing, but may take your body a few weeks or months to become accustomed to (patience is key here).
Second, you may not be drinking enough water to help your bowels move properly. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and if your someone who loves her coffee, you need even more hydration.
And third, you may not be digesting your food properly. This may be a result of not chewing your food well or your body is not making the right amount of digestive enzymes. This is something I know A LOT about because I have spent the past 4 years, studying and testing the effectiveness of digestive enzymes.
My first real encounter with serious digestive problems was in college, during the exact time I started changing my eating habits to where they are today. I had heard from several health professionals that my body needed time to adjust, and they were right. After months of slowly changing my eating habits, I began to see some real positive changes in my digestion…I felt less bloated, my stomach was not as “pooched,” and I didn’t automatically feel gassy after every meal. It wasn’t quite 100%, but definitely a marked improvement.
My digestive health continued to get better and better as my eating habits got better and better and as I continued to lose weight…awesome!
Now let’s fast forward almost 10 years later. I’m now married and pregnant with my first son. My stomach was starting to feel that same gas and indigestion that I remembered so well from my college days. Oh well, no big deal. I was pregnant and I expected to be a bit out of sorts.
Here was the issue…AFTER my son was born, my stomach was still a mess…. HMMM… What was the problem?
After much research, much trial and error, I discovered that regardless of how extremely clean and healthy I was eating, my body was just not producing a sufficient amount of digestive enzymes. Without digestive enzymes, your body cannot assimilate the food you eat, and this results in gas pains, bloating and constipation.
I soon found out…
You are NOT what you eat, you ARE what you DIGEST.
and I was not digesting!
Regardless of how well you are eating, if your body does not have the ability to digest those foods, you will continue to experience uncomfortable gas and bloating.
Below are 3 very important TIPS to get your body digesting your healthy food and get rid of any uncomfortable Gas, Bloating or Indigestion:
- Raw foods . I am not a proponent of an entirely raw diet. That is just unrealistic for me and may be for you too. But it is essential that you include a lot of raw foods into your eating plan every day. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have 1 raw food item in every single one of your meals. This could be a raw fruit with breakfast, raw vegetables and nuts as your snack, and raw veggies in your lunch and dinner salad. Whenever I make any of my meals (including snacks) I ask myself “Where is the raw food item in this meal?” and most times it is an apple, almonds, cucumbers, carrots or whichever fruit and veggie is abundant in our house at that time.
- Chew, chew and then chew some more. Once my first son was born, what I didn’t realize was each meal became a race against time. Instead of sitting at the table and chewing my food thoroughly, I was standing at the kitchen counter, “inhaling” every bite I could fit in while the baby slept (new moms, you know what I’m talking about here). Parents have much less time for themselves, and unfortunately my digestion was suffering because of it. Whenever possible, sit down to have your meals and CHEW your food thoroughly. A good trick is to put your fork down several times during the meal which will naturally slow you down.
- Take a quality digestive enzyme with every meal. This was a suggestion given to me by my then Chiropractor who is also a board certified physician. He said that even with the right foods, my own digestive enzymes may need some assistance. What I didn’t know then is that everyone’s digestive enzymes naturally decline with age and that my digestion problems was primarily the result of lack of enzymes in my body to properly assimilate the food I was eating.
Since that day, I have been using digestive enzymes every day with each meal. But, I should tell you, finding the right one was no easy feat. Some were good, some were bad (and a waste of money), and I never found one that was right where I needed it to be…an effective combination that would take care of digesting proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
If bloating, gas or indigestion is a frustrating issue for you, I strongly recommend using the 3 tips I shared with you and making digestive enzymes an integral part of your healthy routine. These tips will help you put an end to uncomfortable bloating once and for all.
Now what about with all these holiday parties where you don’t control what’s being offered?
Last month I got a call from my sister…
“Isabel, okay, okay, this time I’m really doing this. I’m going to clear my body of all the nasty stuff I ate during the past few weeks and get back on my clean eating plan.”
It happens to the best of us…even my family members. You do your best to eat healthy, but “life” seems to get in the way.
Just to give you a little background, my sister has struggled with her weight her entire life. As I’ve shared with you in the past, the battle with weight runs in our family, and my sister is no exception.
My sister went on…
“Can I come to your house for Thanksgiving? I can’t imagine any other place where I would be ‘safe’ when it comes down to food during the holiday.”
I realized she’s right: There aren’t that many “safe zones” when it comes to Thanksgiving…and all the holidays that come on its heels.
So, I thought to myself…
How can I help you create your own SAFE ZONE this holiday season?
Here are more tips from my own personal holiday strategy that ensures I don’t end up eating foods that don’t support my healthy lifestyle, and I don’t end up feeling lousy and bloated at the end of the meal.
1. I mentally prepare myself for the meal. I know this may sound a little wacky (but I’m a little wacky, so that’s okay), but if I put myself in the mindset of “my meal is going to consist of turkey, 2 veggies, and a salad followed by one piece of dessert of my choice,” there is no room for adjustments or error. I’ve already decided what I will be eating and I don’t deviate from the plan. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well, it relates to everything in your life…including holiday eating. If you don’t know what’s going to be served, make the guidelines a bit more general (one protein, one carb, lots of veggies) and then stick to your plan .
2. I serve myself one plate of food, finish what’s on my plate, and I eat SLOWLY. If you eat mindfully and engage in conversation with your family, you will just naturally eat less. You may even want to put the fork down between bites (crazy idea, I know!). Just take your time. Remember, there will be tons of leftovers. And if there aren’t, you are more than welcome at my house. South Carolina, anyone?
3. Give yourself a treat food. I love clean and healthy food, but I do enjoy desserts and maybe “not so good for me” pies and cakes. Too much of these foods will definitely wreak havoc on your system, but one piece is not going to destroy all of your healthy eating efforts. Choose one dessert, have one piece, ENJOY it and then move on with life. No guilt, no afterthought. Continue on with your health goals as if nothing ever happened (pie, what pie? I didn’t see any pie…hehehe).
If you’re not already using a digestive enzyme, the holidays are a great time to start. At the same time, I don’t want you to use these enzymes as a “magic pill” to give you free reign to eat unhealthy foods, but instead use them as a way to ensure your body is digesting properly.
I eat clean, healthy foods 99% of the time, and I continue to use a digestive enzyme every single day, 3 times a day. Personally, I find that my digestion has improved incredibly by the added natural enzymes, and I know I’m benefiting more from every food I eat.