You know the feeling; painful cramps, unwanted flatulence, uncomfortably full and tight belly. It can be accompanied with constipation, diarrhea, nausea, belching and so much more. It’s a sign that food isn’t being digested properly. It’s uncomfortable and it’s embarrassing. A lot of things cause it from a low fiber diet (not enough veggies!) to flying to something more serious like Crohn’s disease. Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT normal. Did you know gas is meant to be odorless?
This is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. Throughout the last couple years, I’ve learned a lot of things you can do to help ease the pain if not get rid of it all together. I’ve listed quite a few home remedies below. Feel free to implement just a couple or many. Every “body” is different so some of these may not affect you one way or another but may affect the next person profoundly. Let your body tell you what works for it! Personally, I have to follow most of these regularly and meticulously or nothing works. It’s a battle I struggle with daily.
#1: Drink warm lemon with cayenne every morning. Your body cleanses itself while you sleep. By drinking this on an empty stomach, you continue the cleansing process naturally. This gives your body a chance to focus on bowel movements to rid your body of waste instead of digesting food.
#2: Fast every day. Intermittent fasting is making a conscious effort to skip certain meals. The simplest way to do this is to stop eating a minimum of 12 hours from your final meal till you “break” the “fast” with breakfast. Again, your body needs to cleanse and if you never give it time to do it’s job, the food will get backed up in your digestive track and putrefy i.e. uncomfortable bloating and smelly gas. Yuck! The bonus to fasting is that it helps promote fat burning!
#3: Chew your food. Your intestines don’t have teeth. If the bacteria in your body have to spend unnecessary time breaking food down, it’s going to putrefy and cause digestive problems. Also, digestion starts in your mouth with the enzymes in your saliva so let your mouth do the job instead of your belly.
#4: Drink apple cider vinegar with water. Add one tablespoon to a large glass of water once a day or simply sub the vinegar in your salad dressings. This may irritate your stomach in the beginning, so build up to the tablespoon if necessary. Another alternative I’ve heard is to do this a half-hour before each meal. This helps cleanse your system and promote elimination. Be sure your apple cider vinegar is raw and reads “with the mother” on the label.
#5: Drink more water. Your body needs to be fully hydrated in order for your digestive system to function at its fullest. In fact, I’m going to get a glass right now.
#6: Avoid liquid during meals. Avoid drinking anything 30 minutes prior to meals and 45 minutes to an hour afterwards. If you need to drink something with your meals, warm liquids like tea are far friendlier for digestion. Excess liquid interferes with the enzymes in your belly inhibiting them from doing their job properly.
#7: Avoid soft drinks. There are so many reasons why you should avoid soft drinks but for this purpose, they cause you to swallow excess air (carbonation), which gets stored in your stomach and causes the uncomfortable bloating we’re so familiar with.
#8: Don’t chew gum. Like soft drinks, there are a lot of reasons chewing gum is a bad idea. Also like soft drinks, chewing gum causes you to swallow excess air.
#9: Eat your fruits and veggies. It’s well known that fiber helps with constipation as well as diarrhea. Potassium in things like leafy greens and bananas has an essential mineral and electrolyte that aid in digestion. I’m ok with any excuse to eat more bananas!
#10: Avoid over-eating. This puts a lot of stress on your system. The last thing we want is for our body to store undigested food leaving it to putrefy. Studies have shown consistently time and time again that simply eating less prevents many diseases and prolongs our lives considerably. Hands down, this is what I struggle with the most. I love food! I love to eat it, to cook it, to serve it, to smell it… You get the idea.
#11: Avoid the snack attack. When you’re constantly grazing, the food gets backed up in your belly and putrefies. Give your body a chance to digest your food by waiting a minimum of three to four hours between meals and if you’re not hungry, don’t eat. Since your body won’t have to put so much effort into excessive digesting, you’ll have more energy! I know you’ve been told that eating all day long increases your metabolism, etc but that’s an age-old myth. For me, a green smoothie in the morning or a bowl of fruit, two good sized meals throughout the day, and a snack a half hour before each meal is more than enough.
#12: Use ginger and turmeric. I like to add fresh ginger to my salads or make tea. For turmeric, I like to add the spice to many cooked meals. Using a garlic press makes working with these fresh herbs super easy. You can also get turmeric supplements. The healing properties of these two herbs are endless and have been traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines for thousands of years.
#13: Take enzymes and probiotics. Enzymes aid your body in breaking down food and making nutrients more readily available for absorption. There are food enzymes in raw foods but for the lucky ones, taking an enzyme supplement with meals is all their body needs to avoid bloating. Probiotics on the other hand, supply your digestive track with friendly bacteria needed to help break down your food. You can achieve the same or better results by eating fermented food like kimchi; however, fermented foods aren’t very popular in most places and can be hard to find. Visit my Supplement page to view the brands I’ve taken and recommend.
#14: Eat simple meals. For example, eat fruit on an empty stomach, avoid eating starches with proteins and with protein, only combine a minimal amount of fat. Veggies can be eaten with everything. There are three different enzymes in your body that all have different tasks and when one is doing its job, the others are waiting their turn while the food is interacting with the bacteria in your body and putrefying. Above all, listen to your body as certain combinations affect some people far more than others. Think of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. They ate simply. It wasn’t until agriculture and modern technology came along that we suddenly had easy access to such a wide array of foods. Our food supply has changed more in the last 40 years than it has in the last 100,000 and our bodies haven’t evolved to accommodate. Food combining is a challenge I’ve recently taken on. I plan to do a more extensive post on this soon.
there’s nothing beautiful about dairy.
there’s nothing beautiful about dairy.
#16: Get hydrotherapy. This isn’t a home remedy but if you want to take it one step further, consider going to a colon hydrotherapist. This is the fastest most direct way to relief; however, if you don’t take care of your body, it won’t last. I highly recommend these sessions.
This may seem like a lot but if you’re struggling with digestion discomfort, then implementing even just one or two of these remedies might ease your pain considerably. Above all, give it time! Your body isn’t going to heal overnight. Your body is an amazing thing so give it the tools it needs to do its job and in time, it will heal!