Ick, sorry for the visual! But really, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can really be a downer. And I'm not just talking about how you feel - I'm talking about how you live. Have you ever been bloated and felt like everyone in the room noticed your stomach bulging out? Have you ever had the urge to pass gas but were in the middle of a social situation and didn't know how to silently (and odorless-ly) let it out?
Now, as much as I've grossed you out (I'm surprised you're still reading!), what is the true shocker for me is that many women don't do anything about it. Some have gotten so used to feeling discomfort that they think discomfort is normal.
And I used to feel that way, too. I thought that bloating meant that I was full and should stop eating. I thought that a stomach ache after eating ice cream was how everyone feels.
And the worst part is that it's so easy to assume you're fat when you're bloated. I can't tell you how many times I ate something that made me feel weird in my stomach, and my immediate reaction was "oh gosh I gotta lose weight" instead of "oh gosh, my body doesn't agree to that. Better stop eating it."
So, do you even know what it feels like to not have bloating and gas and constipation?
Here are 4 things you can do to proactively get out of feeling uncomfortable:
1) Find out if you have any food intolerances
This is the most important step - finding out if there are specific foods that are irritating your system. If you can, get a blood test instead of guessing what you think it may be. It could cost around $200-$300 USD if not covered by insurance in your area.
If you don't want to do a blood test, you can do an elimination diet where you cut out some common allergens (like dairy and wheat) temporarily and then reintroduce it to your diet to see if you have a reaction.
2) Experiment with less "yang" foods
I'm so happy you've taken Shift Happens and know what I am referring to when I say "yang". The idea is that heavy animal products and cured meats take more time to go through the digestive track.
So if you are dealing with constipation or an irregular flow, taking a break from foods that take a long time to digest will help your digestive system back on track. Then, you can add these heavy foods back in when you're system is strong.
3) Have grains that are moist instead of dry
You've probably already heard that it's good to have whole grains because the fiber content will help with your system, so I'm going to take that one step further and say that you should try to have more moist grains than dry ones.
So instead of toasted bread, have steamed bread. Instead of steamed bread, have rice or oatmeal. And if you're definitely going to have something dry like bread, you can always pair it with a hydrating soup.
Grains that have been cooked in water have more...."lubrication", I guess you can say, and that's going to make transit much easier.
4) Chew your heart out
Again, you want to make sure your body doesn't have to do as much work if you want to have a smooth flow. Actually, digestion begins in the mouth because your saliva starts breaking down nutrients --- so coat your food with good ol' saliva, chew chew chew, and enjoy a bloat-free day.
Alrighty! That's all for this episode of Thongs & IBS.
What has your experience been like?