Welcome to Vol. 2 of my new Wellness Wednesday series! I hope you enjoyed last week's post centered around Earth Day and found it helpful! Today I want to talk all about digestion and ways to improve your gut health. As someone who has struggled with IBS and Fructose Malabsorption since 2013 (at least that's when I was diagnosed), I can tell you that I have been through it all when it comes to my stomach. The truth is, I am just very sensitive to certain foods and ingredients. While I do want to share some of my personal experiences with you, these tips can help anyone who wants to learn how to aide in digestion and put that upset tummy to rest!
Disclaimer: I am not perfect. I don't always eat healthy, trust me. And I don't always follow the "rules" I should be following to help my stomach issues. These are just things I have learned and try to do that I want to pass on to you!
Six tips for helping digestion and figuring out your gut:
1. Drink hot tea at night // I have recently started implementing this into my night time routine. I don't drink tea every night, but when I do it really seems to help my digestion if I have had a big dinner. Plus it is super relaxing! My favorite kind of tea is chamomile. I don't add any honey or anything. Just hot water from my coffee maker and a tea bag!
2. Avoid inflammatory foods // This one can be tricky. We tend to enjoy foods that cause inflammation, but not the impact they have on our body. Some examples of inflammatory foods include gluten, processed meats, fried food, dairy, corn, soy, alcohol, refined carbs, white sugar, sweeteners, aspartame, preservatives, syrup and soft drinks. This all sounds super familiar doesn't it? Chick-fil-a isn't going to cut it, and that diet coke especially isn't! (Send me a message if you want to learn about diet coke & dementia)
3. Avoid fast food & prep at home // Constantly filling your body with processed and fried foods is NOT GOOD. You feel sluggish and tired, bloated, and gross. Have you ever noticed how many calories are in a fast food salad? It makes no sense! A salad is healthy, right? Not necessarily. Those portions are huge, and the salads usually include something fried on top or buttered toast on the side. This is an example of why prepping food at home and having things on hand is necessary. Instead of stopping at a drive-thru and picking up an 800 calorie salad, you can make one at home for less than 400 with fresh ingredients that you prep yourself. Even if you're craving a cheeseburger it's better to purchase your own ground beef and grill it yourself than get one filled with sugars, oils, and you don't even want to know what else. We have some allergies in our house so we even make our own pickles straight from cucumbers and can them in the fridge to top our burgers with. And we don't use processed cheeses (Kraft singles, Velveeta). We prefer freshly sliced cheeses from the Deli. Some people may consider simplifying to be easy grab and go foods, but I consider simplifying to be fresh minimal ingredients that I know exactly what they are.
4. Less carbonated drinks // Drink your water. Did you know it is recommended that you drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces every day? That does not include Dr. Pepper and sprite! Never mind the calories and sugar included, but the carbonation is what can mess with you by causing bloating. This is why I leave soft drinks and even my favorite lime Spindrift as a special treat.
5. Eat whole foods // Like I said, I don't always eat healthy. I love Chick-fil-a and Panera, no matter how gross they make me feel. But I can promise you that when I do eat whole foods, I feel a million times better! I have not had any fast food or even restaurant takeout during this quarantine, and have only been cooking at home. I am feeling less tired, bloated, and inflamed. My IBS is essentially gone, and I don't feel like I have a foggy brain anymore. Also, pay attention to ingredients in what you are purchasing at the store. You may be surprised at what you find and would rather make it yourself at home.
6. Test what your body can and can't handle // It has taken me years to come to a pretty solid conclusion about what bothers me and what doesn't. Once I have figured out what those foods are, I may decide which I am willing to cheat on and which I absolutely should not have. It's really up to your body. Not you, me, or some Pinterest board. You have to find out what works for you and your stomach!
I hope you found some of these tips helpful. See you Monday for a new blog post!