Gut rot. Bloatado. Food baby. You’ve had it, that somewhat indescribable discomfort after eating the wrong food, too much food, or just crap food.
Our digestive process is pretty important. The food we eat must easily be broken down and absorbed so it can get to the rest of the body and do its’ business. But that will not happen if we have digestive mayhem.
Seven Natural Solutions To Relieve Digestive Distress
The minute we finish chewing and swallowing we should notice, well, nothing. Proper processing of food yields no noticeable response. No fullness, burping, gassiness or any of the other myriad of symptoms that reflect we have consumed out of alignment with our body’s needs. But, behind the conscious curtain, the digestive processes begin their sorting and breakdown activities. and we, none the wiser, go on with our day.
But there is a problem. Several of them actually….
We eat too fast.
We eat too much.
We eat foods to which we are sensitive or allergic.
We eat highly processed food.
We eat foods too high in sugar or unhealthy fats.
We place our food in a digestive tract that is inflamed, leaky or just generally pissed.
So instead of the “nothingness,” we are strongly signaled with the likes of bloating, gas, pain, brain fog, irritation, lack of focus, headaches, cramping and a general sense of gut-WTF.
The long-term fix? Take a much more conscious view of what you are putting in your body. Get to know your food sensitivities, appropriate portion sizes, and eat whole food as much as possible. Skip sugar and crap fat and leave the processed foods on the shelf.
The short-term fix? Let’s calm that gut the heck down. Here are some simple measures you can take to soothe that digestive fire.
HERE ARE SEVEN SOLUTIONS TO YOUR DIGESTIVE DISTRESS
PROBIOTICS: Probiotics are more of a long-term fix. However, there are some probiotics that can make you feel better almost immediately. Keep in mind the intention behind a good probiotic, which all of us should be taking, (Read Why These Supplements Are Most Essential) is to slowly build a healthy balance of good bugs that line the small intestine. It is these “gut-critters” that chomp and break down your food so it can cross the gut lining in teeny tiny molecules instead of big unrecognizable chunks. (Chunks = leaky gut and food sensitivities.)
What do I buy? Bio-K is a product I love. When in gut-distress, I will take a half of a container a day. Work up slowly because Bio-K is a strong probiotic and will make you very “poopy” if you are not careful. Bio-K is also a great product for before and after travel to questionable locations. (Montezuma’s revenge anyone?) It is my recommendation, however, that you consume a daily probiotic. HERE is the one I recommend.
ENZYMES: Chewable enzymes are my favorite quick fix for gut disrupt. Take a couple before your meal and then another two half way through, to give your own enzymatic buddies a hand up. Additional enzymes will help the stomach get a handle on things more quickly so food is not prolonged transitioning to the small intestine. I also carry the enzymes that are not chewable and will take both if stronger enzymatic support is needed.
ESSENTIAL OILS: Essential oils are a serious digestive hack. Did you know that you can take oils internally? You can! Well, some. Be sure to do your own research on oils that are safe to take internally.
Make a cocktail of peppermint, lavender, ginger, or licorice. Blend a few of these oils by combing 1-2 drops of your favorites in eight ounces of water. Using the water as a vehicle to ingest the oils means extra hydration into your system and that is a good thing! Hydration is very important to the motility of our digestive tract. I recommend taking your oils in water 30-minutes before, or 30-minutes after a meal, so that your natural enzymes have a chance to work undiluted.
What do I buy? Not all essential oils are created equal. I stand by DoTerra oils 100%. Use this LINK, or let me put an order together for you for your specific needs.
GLUTAMINE: “Glutamine the godsend.” Glutamine, an amino acid, improves gastrointestinal health. It is one of the key factors in growth and repair of the GI tract. It can help heal ulcers, balance mucus production, and improve bowel movements. This is an excellent immediate treatment for the “food baby” but it also excellent for gut lining repair long term.
What do I buy? I think standards are pretty equal across the board for glutamine products but HERE is the brand I use.
BONE BROTH: You guys are going to start thinking I have market shares in bone broth. I do not. I just happen to love it with my whole being. The first sip to me makes me feel healthier instantaneously. Bone broth is full of healthy collagen that is essential for the proper functioning of our gut tissues. In addition to loads of collagen, a yummy cup of bone broth is immune boosting and full of healthful goodies.
HYDROCHLORIC ACID (HCL): I know. What? Take Acid? Isn’t HCL the problem? (Says the antacid manufacturers.) Actually, yes but the problem might be too little HCL, not too much. HERE is a great article on why we may have had the whole HCL = ACID STOMACH = ULCERS thing a little backward.
Quick Study: Things like stress and poor nutrition can result in acid imbalance in the stomach. Too little acid in the stomach means digestion is considerably slowed, gas, bloating, undigested food in stools, and many other symptoms that don’t only affect the gut. Supplemental HCL with Pepsin can be useful because it adds just enough acid to the stomach to help bring the environment back to optimal. HCL should only be used under the guidance of a naturopathic doctor.
What do I buy? I am a big fan of the Pure Encapsulations brand. They have wonderful pharmaceutical grade products and they have an excellent “bundle” Including L-Glutamine, enzymes, and HCL. Get it HERE. They also sell the HCL with Pepsin on its own.
Fasting: What? Go without food? Yes. Sometimes those gut signals are your body saying, “Take a damn break.” Now, I don’t mean forty days in the desert kind of fasting. I mean 12-16 hours of steering clear of food. This Intermittent fasting has been shown to be very effective for gut health. Too scary? Then perhaps a Kombucha, water, or bone broth liquid fast during a 12-hour period.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – Two tablespoons in Water with meals to aid in digestion, and at night with one ounce of fat to increase metabolism. READ THIS
HOT LEMON WATER – One cup first thing in the morning helps alkalize your small intestine while not affecting stomach acid. Read more HERE
I cannot leave you without addressing three misconceptions about calming a rummy tummy.
MILK: No, just not ever. Dairy products don’t “coat” the stomach and make it feel better, they throw it into a puddle of inflammation, mucus, and anger. Just don’t.
INSTEAD? Bio K or the Lavender essential oil water would be a great alternative here.
TUMS OR OTHER ANTACIDS: Remeber what we said about stomach acid above? Read more HERE.
INSTEAD? Try the enzymes mentioned above. They are effective, cleaner and closer to whole food.
GINGERALE: One word. SUGAR. Although ginger is excellent for digestion, (see essential oil section above,) “Gingerale” is not. Most store-bought Gingerale or ginger sodas don’t actually contain real ginger. SO the benefit of ginger root is lost. Also, there are seven tablespoons of sugar in an 8-ounce glass. This is significant enough to decrease immunity for several hours!
INSTEAD? Try brewing ginger tea with a chunk of ginger and some lemon.
Now that we have talked through some “right now” answers for your gut discomfort, think about looking at the deeper issues. Are you eating too much at one sitting making it hard for your digestion to get around the big food ball? Are you eating heavily processed or hard to digest foods? Are you eating on the run? Are you ignoring your food sensitivities?
This week I challenge you to listen to your body. Watch how it feels after eating. If you feel nothing than great! If you feel bloated, burpy, gassy, foggy, or crampy you should consider the solutions above.
WELLNESS MAMA article on Betain HCL