Do you frequently have Gas, Bloating, Constipation and or Diarrhea, and Abdominal pain or Cramping that keep you from exercising?
Everyone experiences I occasionally but if it interferes with life regularly it’s something more than the occasional upset stomach. Unfortunately, it keeps a lot of women from exercising as much as they’d like to or getting the guidance and leadership they want due to the embarrassing nature of gas or the uncomfortable feeling of bloating. Answer a few more questions:
Do you get sick easily and frequently?
Food sensitivities are another sign. Do you eat anything out of the ordinary – or even after some favorite foods – begin between 90 minutes and 24 hours to feel poorly?
Do you have anxiety or depression? Do you have an autoimmune disease or experience an autoimmune response like joint pain?
Do you experience easy weight gain or common swings or fluctuations in weight?
If you answered yes to any of the above you may indeed have a problem but one that can be solved with a change in your diet. Your gut health impacts both your physical health and your mental function. The immune system that lives in the gut may be sending you signs and symptoms that you’re misinterpreting.
If a gurgling tummy or the risk of embarrassing gas keeps you from exercise and feeling your best here’s a gut check for you. Change what you eat, how you eat (on the run or under stress?) and you can potentially fix the problem. For a deeper fix read all the way to the end.
The Quick Fix
The major culprits are on a short list. The first layer of helping yourself is to change your diet for the better and eliminate those foods that contain ingredients that cause the most problem.
- Eliminate sugar. Both real and artificial sources cause gastro issues. Stevia is potentially the exception. Foods that easily convert to sugar including starchy vegetables should be reduced or eliminated too. Those are potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, and corn and peas. You can reintroduce warmed starchy vegetables later if your symptoms subside.
- Eat less meat. Yes, you still want to include adequate protein. You can increase the amount of fish, seafood, and chicken or turkey as you reduce dark meat.
- Eat more produce. Focus on veggies more than fruit and include steamed at first for easier digestion. The cruciferous vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower, that cause the most gas are handled better by some if cooked.
- Avoid processed foods.
The InDepth Fix
Antibiotics can kill the thing making you sick but can also kill the health gut flora. So following a bout of antibiotics its not uncommon to experience problems with re-entry to a normal food plan. Follow the aforementioned advice. In addition, add pre and probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt if you tolerate dairy (a source of gut problems for many), or add a probiotic supplement for a period of time when you come off medication.
Stress changes the healthy balance that should exist in your gut. Sometimes it’s the only sign. You manage otherwise. You get your job done. There aren’t headaches or other things going on but your gut is sending you signs you might have ignored for a long time.
Alcohol damages gut bacteria. If you have gut health issues, alcohol isn’t your friend. You already know alcohol isn’t a positive way to deal with stress. It also makes matters worse in your gut. Your immune system lives in your gut.
Caffeine whether in the form of soda or coffee can trigger problems in the gut. Soda also has phosphorus and carbonation that can cause problems with nutrient absorption. Coffee increases the acidic environment where the bad bacteria can thrive.
Candida is caused by an overgrowth of yeast. Any of the disturbing symptoms above can be symptoms you have candida. In addition, chronic sinus and allergy issues, a white coat on your tongue, and bad breath are additional signs. At proper levels, candida aids with nutrient absorption. When it gets out of control it can breakdown the lining of the gut and penetrates into the blood stream. This is what’s called leaky gut syndrome.
Checking your pH (simple pH strips at a pharmacy) and doing what you can to increase the pH balance of your body is something I recommend both in You Still Got It, Girl! and The After 50 Fitness Formula For Women online course. Women with candida experience food allergies they’ve never had before to foods most often including dairy, eggs, corn and gluten.
Improve your pH balance (more alkaline) with lemon water or apple cider vinegar. Two tablespoons in the morning is something many experts recommend. Though they are each acidic, they have an alkaline effect on the body.
You can also increase your intake of fermented foods (see below), or instead take a supplement. You might also consider taking digestive enzymes (betaine) to help you break down food at least for a while after you’ve been taking antibiotics. If you’re trying to increase your protein intake for the positives it offers, you might find an enzyme helps you digest easier. Higher carb foods you may have been used to were easier to digest (don’t mistake for better for you), and the shift to a better diet makes your body work a little harder. Some also believe in keeping your meals simple to keep digestion easy. Pair a protein with green leafy vegetables and cooked vegetables. Don’t “complicate” the meal with higher fat and carbs (even healthy ones) at the same meal.
For example, easier to digest options:
Salmon and roasted garlic broccoli with a tossed bed of leafy greens (without a starchy carb)
Vegetarian chili with beans, quinoa, sweet potato with kale, carrots, and zucchini in chili or a green salad (starchy without animal pro/fat)
Cauliflower crust pizza with shrimp, pesto sauce, and spinach (veggies without fat or starch)
If you’ve had a leaky gut or poor digestion for a while it makes sense that you haven’t been absorbing nutrients. Get on a multivitamin – one taken 2x a day for more optimal absorption – and begin taking a good look at your lifestyle habits. Even healthy ones – like exercise – deplete your body of certain micronutrients. On a Paleo or vegan diet you’re depleting others. None of us can eat enough even “healthy food” to get all the micronutrients we need. Good food is a good start but be prepared to learn more about your needs and you may be surprised how good you can feel.
|PREBIOTIC FOODS (feel-good bacteria)||PROBIOTIC FOODS (feed good bacteria)|
|Asparagus||Goat Milk Kefir|
|Garlic||Miso (soy food- seek alternatives above)|