Relieve Bloating with these 8 Strategies
Do you consider yourself a sensitive woman with sensitive digestion? Labeling yourself as a “sensitive woman” is a bit redundant, as being a woman makes you sensitive by nature. Whether we like it or not, we feel our feelings deeply.
This is why I am convinced so many women struggle with bloating and digestion issues so much. Being naturally sensitive also means we can be sensitive to the food we ingest as well as the state we ingest it in.
I personally know how distracting and uncomfortable it can be to deal with a bloated, distended belly (I’ve certainly worn my share of “flowy” tops) and am sharing a handful of strategies with you that have proven to be effective for myself and for my clients.
The only rule: Begin anywhere. Tap into what strategy resonates with you most.
#1 Mix oxygen with your food
This, sweet woman, is the mother of all strategies. No matter how much kale you eat, if you are eating quickly (which is typically coupled with stress and shallow breathing,) you digestive power will be compromised. The fire in your belly needs oxygen to burn through your meals. Please do not underestimate the power of breathing.
Strategy: Take 10 deep belly breaths prior to your meals to help shift your body into parasympathetic physiology. Breathe through your nose while you chew (even snacks). Practice breathing techniques throughout the day to keep the body from tensing up. Simple belly breathing is great.
#2 Eat cultured foods like sauerkraut or kim chi
Cultured foods are rich in live enzymes and are a natural source of probiotics. Whether you have a history of anti-biotic use, have had or are having a prolonged period of stress, or have a diet that’s been rich in simple carbohydrates and sugar, cultured foods can support and restore health flora. Including these natural probiotic sources can re-plenish the gut with the bacteria it needs to properly digest.
Strategy: Buy raw sauerkraut or kimchi and enjoy as a small side to your meal, or do as I do and have a spoonful before meals. Note: Raw fermented coconut water is wonderful as well. You can make your own or buy online.
#3 Space meals evenly throughout the day
Eating the majority of your calories for your evening meal (especially later in the evening) on a consistent basis can steal a precious detoxification opportunity for your body overnight as you sleep. Rather than giving your body a chance to detoxify overnight, the body works hard to digest the large evening meal. Once in a while this is alright, but over time you may wake up feeling bloated or constipated.
Strategy: Be kind to your body and feed her regularly throughout the day. This means a consistent breakfast and robust lunch. Evenly spaced and consistent meal times can alleviate bloating in the long run.
#4 Cook with ghee and coconut oil
By now, we all know that our body and brain need fat. Fat allows our bodies to function optimally by regulating our nervous system, hormones, and ability to absorb nutrients. Low-fat diets or diets rich in transfats do not support the body. If your gut has been a little mistreated, consider the power of healthy fats.
Strategy: Cook with ghee and coconut oil. These are both fabulous in healing the intestinal wall. You will most likely find ghee in the international section of your local grocery store.
#5 Watch for sensitivity to raw foods
Raw foods diet are rich in live enzymes readily available for the body. However, the appropriate amount of raw food varies from person to person. Sometimes what our head wants us to eat is different than what works best for our bodies. Ingesting what your body considers to be “too much” raw food can dampen digestive strength and heat and may cause belly boating and distention.
Strategy: Keep seasons and individual body in mind. If your diet is rich in raw foods and you are chronically bloated, scale back and add in cooked or steamed greens, hearty grains, soup, or roots. Then take note of how your body responds.
#6 Eliminate inflammatory foods
There are several allergenic foods that can cause digestive distress, including bloating and indigestion. These include gluten, corn, eggs, dairy, soy, peanuts, and sugar. All have the potential to cause an inflammatory response in the digestive organs.
Strategy: Eliminate inflammatory foods for 7-28 days. You may choose to eliminate all of them or one at a time. That is your choice. My suggestion is to begin one of two ways: 1.) Eliminate all forms of gluten and dairy, 2.) Eliminate the allergen that you consume the most. After your 7-28 days, re-introduce the food(s) and monitor bloating and digestion.
#7 Experiment with food combining
Food combining is basically eating meals comprised of foods that are said to complement one another in the digestive process, rather than compete. I have witnessed some people have amazing success with food combining, whereas others haven’t really noticed a difference at all. Again, every suggestion on this list is just that, a suggestion.
Strategy: At its simplest, experiment with meals comprised of either protein and non-starchy vegetables or carbohydrates and non-starchy vegetables. Note: if you are not following #1. Mixing oxygen with your food, food combining may be ineffective)
#8 Eat in proper alignment
If you practice yoga, lift weights, or participate in a sport, you are well aware that proper alignment keeps our body safe as well as allows it to function optimally (i.e. We can get the most from our bodies) The same goes for digestion. Eating slouched or hunched over has the potential to effect smooth digestion.
Strategy: Notice your posture when you eat. Do you hunch forward? Practice sitting at the table with a nice long spine, take a breathe, and enjoy your food from that position.
Tips in a Nutshell:
#1 Mix oxygen with your food.
#2 Incorporate cultured foods into your diet.
#3 Space meals evenly throughout the day.
#4 Cook with ghee and coconut oil.
#5 Watch for sensitivity to raw foods.
#6 Experiment with eliminating inflammatory foods.
#7 Experiment with food combining.
#8 Eat in proper alignment.