Making the connections between what you’re eating and how you feel is crucial for long term sustainability.
Most of us have never been taught to do this.
Diets will never be the answer. Making the connection between how you feel and what you’re eating is the key to staying motivated and integrating a healthier diet that will stick.
We’re a bit of a band-aid society.
By that I mean, we’re accustomed to squashing or covering up symptoms.
Rarely do we go further upstream and get curious as to why the symptom is showing up in the first place.
A good example are antacids.
Many people have this hate relationship going on with their stomach acid. Stomach acid isn’t the bad guy, it’s actually super essential. More on this some other time…
Antacid use is a perfect example of squashing a symptom, and they can be very bad for you if you’re using them on a regular basis.
If you’ve ever struggled with reflux, bloating or gas, I encourage you to investigate a couple of things before you reach for the Tums or the Gaviscon:
Are you stressed?
The hormones of stress turn off digestion. These hormones are designed to set you up to fight or to run for your life. Digesting your lunch isn’t a priority when you’re being chased by a bear.
You may not be encountering that many bears or tigers over the course of your week, but your body can’t differentiate between our (many, many) modern stressors and being chased by a large, toothy predator.
If you’re rushing, you’re likely not chewing.
It’s estimated that most people chew on average 7 times per bite.
That’s not enough.
When eating meat or raw vegetables, you should aim for 25-35 chews per bite. Chewing is one of the best things you can do for digestion. Test it out for yourself.
Did you overeat?
Our bodies secrete stomach acid and digestive juices to help breakdown our food. We have the capacity to secrete limited amounts of this juice.
Overeating overloads the capacity of those precious digestive juices to do a good job. Aim to stop eating when you’re about 80% full.
Are you carrying a few extra pounds?
For many people, bloating and reflux are the red flags that they’ve reached their critical weight. Bloating often precedes weight gain.
Are you getting your probies?
I train clients to get into the habit of incorporating a little bit of fermented (or probiotic) food every day (or with each meal if they’re weak digesters).
Every traditional culture has its own type of fermented food and there’s a reason why they’re making such a comeback.
These fermented foods go a long way to support the gut and digestion. If you find yourself reaching for antacids, you may want to experiment with these superfoods. A little goes a long way.
What did you eat?
Our bodies don’t do well with highly processed or chemicalized foods. Next time you feel reflux or heartburn or bloating, check out the ingredients.
Are there unpronounceables in the list?
Keep in mind that one artificial flavoring can contain up to 30 different chemicals that were not part of our diet as recently as 40 or 50 years ago.
If you can’t pronounce it, there’s a good chance that your body doesn’t know what to do with it.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we still struggle.
I’ve been trying to make legumes my friend for over 10 years now. Eating them would invariably cause painful bloating and gas despite doing all of the things I just listed.
I recently discovered this ginger drink that allows me to enjoy legumes symptom-free.
Ginger shot recipe:
-2 tbsp of roughly chopped or grated ginger
-1 tbsp of lemon juice
-1 pinch of sea salt
-1 cup of water.
Blend this together, store in a sealed jar for up to 1 month in the fridge.
Try taking 1 ounce of this magic juice before a meal and notice your symptoms.
The flavor will take some getting used to. My taste buds took about 3 or 4 days to adjust to the sharp taste of the ginger.
Give it a try, and let me know how it goes?
Reach out if you’re ready to move away from the diet mindset and move towards sustainable, healthy eating
Share this with a gassy friend.