From someone who has dealt with digestive issues for a few years now, I've tried EVERYTHING. I've felt the frustration and desperation. I've tried eliminating these foods, those foods, this diet, that diet. You name it, I've done it.
Reading the book "Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life" recently provided me with a whole new outlook on digestion and the body that I've never thought of before. Our bodies are made up of energy (yin and yang) and if that energy is out of balance, your digestion and hormones can be too. I took a few tips on more practices to flow with digestive friendly energy and it's made a big difference in how I've felt.
I also took a few other tips from other places like social media, online research, etc. that have definitely been helpful. Now, I'm not a doctor or health professional and am only speaking from experience and what I have found has worked for me! Every body is different but hopefully these simple things can give you some insight and guidance.
Good luck and enjoy! xoxo
Eating in a rush, while watching T.V, or just not in a present state always makes me feel crappy. I don't focus on chewing my food or putting my brain in it's "digestion" state to send the signals to the body it needs to. When I sit down, without any distractions, making sure I chew my food COMPLETELY and am in a calmer state, my digestion seems to work the way it's supposed to. I am definitely a slower eater now and also find I don't eat as much because my body has time to realize it's full. When you scarf down your food, that can't really happen and you can end up overeating which can exacerbate symptoms. Which leads me to my next point...
EATING SMALLER PORTIONS
My digestion is slowwwww to begin with and I take digestive enzymes 10-15 minutes before meals to help break down my food. With big meals with a lot of protein/fat I'll also take HCL w/ pepsin (if you get heartburn, that's telling you that you have stomach acid issues so look into HCL). But, if I overeat to the point of full or past full, my digestion goes into overload and freaks the F out. I feel bloated and stuffed for HOURS. Eating smaller portions has helped this SO much, I no longer feel uncomfortable or like my food is sitting in my stomach all day.
EATING & DRINKING WARM FOODS
When the weather was warm, I was all about the smoothies and iced drinks. Boy, was I really f*cking myself over. Our digestive system favors warm, comforting foods. I now start my day every morning by drinking a warm glass of water with lemon juice and L-glutamine powder (healing to the gut wall) to support my digestion.
I was also eating a smoothie bowl every day for breakfast which is not only cold but full of raw/hard to digest foods. I'd always feel bloated after and didn't understand why. Swapping out those smoothie bowls for other breakfast items has been life changing. I was also having iced coffee/matcha/tea every morning so now I'll do warm drinks with my breakfast which helps everything go down smoothly. I try to limit my caffeine in general as well, it can aggravate the gut wall since it moves things through so quickly. I took a 30 day break which I definitely think was beneficial.
It's funny, because at restaurants you're often served a glass of ice water with your meal. Drinking cold water before or during your meal is actually one of the WORST things for digestion!!! I'll have a warm drink with my breakfast but don't drink during lunch/dinner. When I drink water throughout the day, I'll throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to reach room temp.
EATING COOKED & EASY TO DIGEST FOODS
Not only are cold foods hard to digest but so are raw foods, especially if you're dealing with digestive issues already. I love a good salad but unfortunately, they don't agree with my system. Now, I'll sauté my veggies and do a big warm buddha bowl if I'm craving a salad. For crunch, I'll throw on some sprouted nuts or seeds (sprouting improves digestibility).
A lot of the healthiest foods, unfortunately, can be a b*tch to digestive system. Cruciferous veggies in like broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower or dark leafy greens like kale are superfood power houses but not the easiest for the digestive system to handle. I generally stick to veggies like zucchini, sweet potatoes, and spinach instead which don't bother me. If I am going to have cauliflower or kale, I'll cook it down a lot or puree it into something like cauliflower mash.
WATCHING MY SUGAR INTAKE
In my case, I have issues with yeast overgrowth so guess what yeast love? SUGAR! Sugar overload only makes my symptoms (and skin) worse so I try to watch my intake on a day to day basis. The less sugar you eat, the less sugar you need. Now, things with a little sugar taste so sweet to me so I don't need a lot to satisfy my sweet tooth. I also have wayyyy less sugar cravings.
This could probably be the most important thing out of all! Your gut is directly connected to your brain, if you're stressed out, it knows. I haven't always had a positive relationship with food and with digestive issues, it's hard to maintain food freedom. BUT, I have found that restricting myself and stressing about what I eat all the time only makes my digestion worse. It's all about balance for me, I eat mainly to feel good. For me, that's sticking to some general guidelines (like warm/cooked foods) and eating paleo-ish. I still indulge when my body is craving it, eat out on the weekends, and enjoy a few alcoholic drinks. And guess what!? I'm still alive!
It's also important to develop some stress reducing practices and something so simple for me has been making a golden milk with dairy free milk, turmeric, ginger, warming spice, and ashwagandha every night after dinner to help me wind down and fall asleep easy. Turmeric and ginger are both anti-inflammatories so they help any inflammation in my gut, making my digestion run smoother. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic mushroom that helps your body deal with stress. Especially on the nights I teach, this combo helps lower my cortisol levels before bed that way they can rise naturally in the morning and I don't wake up lethargic. I've also incorporated CBD oil, reishi & chaga tea (code BASOUSA25 for 25% off!), and magnesium powder to keep my anxiety in check. They also help reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and heal the gut!