“Why do I always seem to have digestive issues? How can I improve my digestion?” – Rumbly In My Tumbly
Don’t you just hate it when you’ve eaten something delicious – that massive Chipotle burrito or that delightfully greasy burger from your favorite restaurant – and you wind up with stomach cramps, burps or gas passing, or unpleasant bowel movements? It could be due to a number of things and the solutions could be simpler than you think! Hint: I’ve planted some pro tips for you in my answer, so keep an eye out!
What’s your problem?
Digestive discomfort can be caused by a few different things:
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s or celiac
- Acid reflux
If you have consistent problems that cause you a lot of pain or regularly problematic stools (constipation or diarrhea), be sure to see your doctor to rule out a more serious issue like an autoimmune disease or diverticulitis.
Acid reflux, while typically managed with anything from Tums to prescription medication, is more often caused by too little acid rather than the assumed abundance of acid. Check with your doctor to rule out larger issues that can show acid reflux as a symptom (like ulcers). If you’re in the clear, here’s my first pro tip: Try some orange peel extract pills. This can actually help your stomach (as can removing coffee, soda and other sugary drinks from your diet) – and I will personally vouch for its effectiveness. And for those of you with ulcers, look into aloe vera. Yes, the stuff you put on your sunburns – except in this case, you take a pill or drink a liquid. It helps heal the lining of your stomach massively – you’d be amazed at what it can do!
However, regular unpleasantness relating to foods you eat is often a sign of an intolerance you’re not aware of. Especially if you’ve been eating a certain food your entire life, you may not be as aware of your body trying to tell you it’s hurting.
So now what?
Here are some tips for aiding your digestion and getting rid of those problematic (or foul-smelling) reactions:
- Chew your food. No, really. For most of us, eating means chewing on our food a few times and swallowing it down – while it’s still mostly whole. This is not enough for your body to produce the enzymes and digestive fluids it needs to break down your food – especially not halfway-chewed food. Pro tip: Try chewing each bite 25 times before swallowing. Your food should be a smooth paste before you swallow it.
- Try some ginger after you eat. Ginger has long been known to ease nausea (and it’s great for those of you dealing with morning sickness or motion sickness!). You’ll often see people drinking tea or chewing on ginger candy, but I personally prefer ginger capsules. I think these things are miraculous. They can also help with constipation. Pro tip: Take one after each meal and see how calm your stomach gets!
- Look into digestive enzymes. These can come in pill forms, but if you’re not into that, there are plenty of foods that contain them naturally. These are already produced by your body, but sometimes we just need a helping hand. Pro tip: Nibble on some pineapple after your meal is finished. Check out this great list of other foods that contain digestive enzymes!
- Try an elimination diet. We can get tested for food allergies and sensitivities, but:
- Not everyone has the cash to dole out for those expensive tests.
- Doing the eliminations on your own teaches you to get in touch with the messages your body is sending you about what you’re eating and shows you how it reacts. You get to be a scientist!
An elimination diet is where you eliminate one food known to cause reactions (take dairy, for example). You learn what foods to avoid during the few weeks you eliminate and track how your body feels without it. When your elimination period is done, you reintroduce that food several times a day and again note how your body responds. This can be tricky – figuring out what to avoid, finding ways to cook/eat without those foods and knowing how to listen to your body! But fear not, dear readers: I have something just for you. Hop on over to my Wellness Kit store and check out the Elimination Diet Kit! It’ll walk you through each step and make it super simple for you to figure out what’s bugging your body.
Imagine being able to eat freely without any digestive problems!
And how about those of you who’ve overcome your own digestive issues? Do you have any tips of your own? Let me know in the comments!
Tags: acid reflux, aloe vera, chewing, constipation, diarrhea, digestive enzymes, digestive issues, elimination diet, erika fore, food allergies, food sensitivities, gas, ginger, health coach colorado springs, orange peel extract, upset stomach