Feeling puffy? And I’m not talking about
Puff Daddy, Diddy, Sean Coombs, P.Diddy. If a notorious B.I.G tummy is ruining your swagger, read on for ways to beat the bloat and find a flatter and healthier tum.
During the festive season, we tend to consume a whole lot more, with the average person munching through three times their usual food intake on Christmas day alone.
We create more meals during the holidays so it’s not surprising we slip into January still feeling like we are suffering the dreaded Boxing Day bloat.
Because of all dat ‘flava’ and the additional foods we consume, indulging on sweets, desserts, alcohol, rich, salty and fatty foods, this causes bad bacteria to multiply in our gut, producing the gas that makes us look and feel like Biggie Smalls.
If you’ve ever arisen with a flat stomach, only to find it distended a few hours later, it can be very hard to channel your inner fly girl when you have to undo your jeans mid-morning and look like you’re expecting by the time you go to bed. That’s so wack!
But back up, now that the festive season is over and your relaxed food intake is being tightened up, I’m gonna break it down and give you some tips from my Heal Your Gut program, on how can you work off all of the roast potatoes and chocolate truffles sensibly.
‘We about that action down here at Supercharged Food yall’.
I have no idea what i just wrote 🙂
One of the best ways to settle down your over worked digestive system is to give it a well-earned rest so that you can reset the balance. This is not just rest from food but also environmental and physical factors.
KEEP STRESSORS AND NEGATIVE EMOTIONS AT BAY
Your gut is extremely sensitive to what is going on in your life mentally and emotionally. Negative emotions and stress are two big triggers for an upset tummy. Generally, when we find ourselves in a specific stressful situation (a work deadline, an argument with our partner) we’re aware of the tension, physically and mentally.
But sometimes, the stress or negativity goes unnoticed or is unconsciously buried deep into our subconscious to protect us from the pain and discomfort. When this happens, your bloating becomes a way for your body to communicate with you.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you holding on to emotions, such as fear and anger, and accumulating them instead of digesting them?
Take some time to honestly look at what is going on in your life on a deeper level than just what sort of food you’re eating. There might be a very powerful message behind your bloating that you're unaware of. Run it back and press rewind in your mind. You know where it’s at!
Word up! Some other simple ways to reduce bloating are;
CONNECT WITH YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM WHILE EATING
When you’re feeling stressed, upset or rushed, your nervous system goes into fight-or-flight mode. Stress hormones are high and blood flow to your gut is reduced, which makes your digestive fire weaker and your digestion slower. As food is not properly digested, fermentation and bloating often occur. To avoid this from happening, always eat in a quiet environment. Sit down and take a few deep belly breaths. Never eat standing, at your desk or while checking your phone. You know it!
To give your digestive system all the support it needs to optimally digest the food, be mindful of the food you’re eating and the amazing process happening in your body.
Start by thoroughly chewing your food. We’ve all heard that digestion starts in the mouth, yet very few of us chew their food properly. This advice alone could greatly reduce your bloating. No half steppin’.
Eat slowly and put your fork down after each bite. Eating quickly causes more air to be sucked into your stomach, resulting in gas and bloating.
Avoid these common – yet very often overlooked, off the chain culprits;
DON'T DRINK TOO MUCH WATER WHILE EATING
I’m a fierce advocate of listening to your body cues so I’d never advise not drinking if you’re thirsty. However, try and avoid gulping down large amounts of water whilst eating, as it will dilute your digestive enzymes, making your digestion weaker and bloating more likely to occur.
STOP CHEWING GUM
Chewing gum leads to swallowing air, which can cause bloating, it’s as simple as that. Plus, sugar-free gums are usually packed with sugar alcohol, like maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol, which are no-no-notorious for causing gas.
QUIT DRINKING THROUGH A STRAW
Again, this causes excess air to be swallowed. Gulp!
SOAK YOUR NUTS, SEEDS, GRAINS AND PULSES
Raw nuts, seeds, grains and pulses all contain enzyme inhibitors, which impair digestion and block the absorption of many nutrients (such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc).
Soaking your nuts, seeds, legumes and grains overnight in some water with either apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and Sea Salt will make them easier to digest and less gas-producing.
Store your soaked nuts and seeds in your freezer in an airtight container and eat your grains and pulses in the next couple of days, as they will mold quickly otherwise.
STOP EATING FRUIT AT THE END OF A MEAL
Fruit is digested very quickly, much faster than anything else that we eat, especially animal protein, dairy and grains. So, if you eat an apple after chicken and/or rice for example, it will be digested before the protein and grain, which means that the digested apple will sit on top of everything else and ferments while your body is busy digesting the rest of your meal, creating, you guessed it, gas and bloating.
So try and have your fruit on an empty stomach instead: first thing in the morning or as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack
WAVE GOODBYE TO PROCESSED FOODS
Processed and packaged foods, also known as frankenfoods, are full of chemicals, preservatives, dyes and other ingredients that our digestive systems aren’t used to and don’t know how to process.
Gums and thickeners (Carageenan, xantham gum and guar gum), in particular, are hidden everywhere and can cause GI distress because they alter the balance of gut flora and are highly fermentable. Too much salt can also cause bloating.
STEP AWAY FROM THE CHEESE
Foods that are difficult to digest can lead to bloating, and ultimately weight gain, especially around your middle. Dairy is a top allergenic food and very difficult for many to digest, due to its lactose and high levels of casein (proteins) an alternative such as Goat’s cheese is easier to digest.
ENJOY THESE EVERY DAY DE-BLOATING FOODS AND DRINKS
To get your digestive system back on track, try drinking Peppermint Tea. If you’re in summer mode right now, make a large iced jug to keep in the fridge over the hot summer months. If you're feelin' the chill, drink warming peppermint tea, it calms abdominal pain and helps food move through the intestines quicker too.
PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS
To balance good bacteria in your gut add probiotic rich foods to your daily diet. You can do this quite simply by including yoghurt at breakfast, over a bowl of fruit, muesli, or make a delicious smoothie in the blender with your choice of full fat no sugar added yoghurt. Probiotics help bring some balance back to your digestive system after all the excesses. Some foods to try are Jerusalem artichoke, chicory root, garlic, leek, onions, sauerkraut, asparagus, banana, oats, apples and barley. Taking a good quality probiotic will also help to maintain the numbers of good bacteria in the bowel.
SHOW VEGGIES SOME LOVE
To reduce bloating quickly and bring your blood sugar back down to an even, steady level, focus on including as many fibre rich veggies into your diet as possible. There are some great recipes in my new book Eat Clean Green and Vegetarian. Whole grains like brown rice and oats are excellent choices too.
All herbs and spices are wonderful, but one of the best in terms of detoxing and rebalancing the body is ginger. As well as soothing the digestive tract and settling an overactive stomach, it also increases circulation, helping your body to rid itself of any toxins. Why not try adding a few slices to a cup of hot water, lemon first thing in the morning.
It’s rich in potassium, which helps regulate the fluid balance in your body, keeping the bloat at bay. High-potassium foods include bananas, cantaloupe, mangoes, spinach, tomatoes and nuts, but asparagus also contains an amino acid called asparagine that acts as a diuretic to flush excess liquid out of your system.
Alcohol is also a bloating trigger so if you’re a regular drinker, try two alcohol-free days a week. The caffeine in tea and coffee encourage body cells to hang on to water. Erk.
COMMON BLOAT FOODS
- Sugar and hidden sugars
- Malted products, found in drinks and breakfast cereals
- Yeast and anything containing it: bread, beer, wine, Vegemite
- Moulds, such as mushrooms, hard and blue cheese.
- Alcohol, vinegar, balsamic vinegar, pickled onions and gherkins, soy sauce.
- All fruits, except green apples, berries and fruit juices.
There are many other potential causes for your bloating, such as food intolerances, candida, SIBO (Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth) and parasites. But before you spend your time and money on blood, stool, breath and urine tests, I invite you to try the simple tips above and look at your bloating from a different perspective.
I believe our bodies are wonderful machines, continuously trying to get back into balance and able to heal themselves, as long as we give them the space and time to do so and closely listen to what they have to say.
By slowing down, avoiding stress, processing negative emotions and choosing foods in their closest state to nature, you will dramatically improve not only your bloating but also your overall well-being. Your body and mind will thank you for it.