Beat the Christmas Bloat!
Some people have what my Dad would call 'cast iron guts'! They can eat or drink anything they want, and have no nasty side effects. I am not one of those people. I am on the extreme end of the spectrum however; I have a severe gluten allergy that was undiagnosed until my early 30's (like a lot of the people in the health and wellness field I became frustrated when conventional medicine could not help me, and started to do my own research, but thats a story for another day), I'm intolerant to dairy (gluten and dairy sensitivities often go hand in hand), and I caught Typhoid whilst working at a fitness resort in Mexico in my late twenties.
Because of this I am very strict with my diet and avoid gluten, dairy and eggs like the plague. Even so, being out of routine, increased calorie intake and more alcohol and sugar than usual (my mother in law bakes amazing GF and DF treats for me) can result in 'stomach upset' (my polite English terminology), which in my case means bloating, gas, constipation and generally feeling miserable.
Below are my 3 tried and tested ways of helping my gut through the holiday period:
Probiotics are in common use now, and most people understand the benefits of incorporating them into their diets either in the foods they eat or as a supplement. I like to go two-fold on this when I know my digestive system is going to work a little harder than usual: I up my intake of probiotic rich fermented foods (goats milk kefir and sauerkraut are my favorites, you can buy both from Whole Foods), and every evening I take a good quality probiotic supplement from the Poliquin Group.
What is not as well know is that Probiotics need to feed on Prebiotic fiber to be active in the gut. I like to ensure my prebiotic fiber comes from my diet, great sources are fibrous veggies such as artichokes, leeks, dandelion greens and chicory. These are best eaten raw, but you can still get some of the benefits by lightly steaming them. Bananas (the greener the better) are also a great source of prebiotics.
I've also started to bring a bag of " target="_blank">Tiger Nuts with me when I travel - these little guys are not nuts, but tiny little tubers that are an amazing source of prebiotic fiber. You can also cook with Tiger Nut flour, and watch out for some Tiger Nut recipes on the blog in 2016!
Such a simple thing, but I find it makes a huge difference in my digestion and ahem, motility. I've learnt the hard way that I need to move my body everyday for all aspects of my health, and my favorite way to do this on holidays is to go for a walk, and practice some basic yoga poses that aid digestion.
Here is a 5 minute Yoga for Digestion video from ekhartyoga.com that is suitable for everyone:
Green for 'Go'
The fiber from green smoothies (not juices) is a great way to help everything move through the digestive system with a little more ease, and adding pineapple, lemon, parsley and ginger can help with gas and bloating. Below is my favorite 'stomach saving' green smoothie recipe:
I hope these suggestions help you as much as they help me. If you have any questions about this post please comment below, and if you have any 'stomach savers' you would like to share I'd love to hear them.