Welcome, fellow bloated bellies! I’m not glad you’re here, because that means you probably deal with some level of pain and discomfort, too, but hopefully I can help.
First, a little bit of back story…
Around January 2016, I had been experiencing increasingly worsening symptoms to include, nausea and vomiting, stomach pains after eating, diarrhea and constipation, severe bloating and acid reflux. Finally around May, I was diagnosed with hemorrhoids, H. Pylori (a bacterial infection in your digestive system) and ulcers in my small intestine. I went through triple antibiotic therapy, which totally sucked and caused other issues, but finally began feeling healthy again.
Since then, I’ve dealt with an arise of food intolerances and sensitivities, that also suck, but are manageable 80% of the time! So without further ado, here are the effective changes I’ve made to “beat the bloat”:
- Daily or nightly smoothies. Every morning on the weekends, or every night on the week days, I’ve been having a delicious smoothie packed with all things good for the gut! The base is usually cashew milk + 1 scoop of protein (I use a generic vegan brand from Walmart or Quest Banana Cream). Then, I’ll add in 1 serving of about 2-4 of the following ingredients: Maca powder, Acai powder, Matcha green tea powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, goji berries, turmeric powder, psyllium husk, cinnamon, coconut oil, cocoa nibs.
- More leafy greens, certain vegetables and fruits. Spinach, celery, zucchini, papaya, banana and blueberries have been weekly regular’s due to their density in protein, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
- Kombucha drinks. I know they taste a little nasty to some people, but having 1 serving every day or every other day has been very beneficial. Keep in mind that 1 bottle usually contains 2 servings. In addition to supporting healthy gut bacteria, it provides us with natural, clean energy, and I know I’m not the only one who needs to cut back on caffeine.
- ACV: one tablespoon in the morning. Please note that I don’t think ACV makes a drastic difference or helps with fat loss and all that other fluff, but it does reduce GAS. The vinegar stimulates digestive juices that help your body break down/digest food, so = less gas and less constipation.
- Yogurt, mmm. Yogurt contains probiotics, so instead of buying the pills, just snack on your favorite ogurt, but make sure you check the package for “contains active/live cultures” and avoid the overly processed brands.
- Avoid triggers. This is all trial and error and it’s specific to your own body, but for me triggers are dairy products, carbonated beverages, most artificial sweeteners, potato chips and fatty meats. Obviously, it can be difficult to avoid that stuff because it’s in just about everything normal people eat, so I have to pack my own meals and resist temptation if I want to have success with this one. Yes, it requires planning and work. Yes, it’s worth it. If you don’t know what your triggers are, experiment a little bit: cut out or minimize one item for 2-4 days and see how you feel. If you notice improvement, that might be a trigger. If you don’t, add that back in and try something else. Try researching what some of the common triggers are for most people, or keep a food log (in your notes app) and quickly jot something down after you eat.
- Less snacking + more moderate sized meals. I’ve noticed that eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack has been perfect. When I eat small meals 5-6 times throughout the day, I get bloated, cranky and gassy. I know you here bodybuilders and online coaches talking about how it’s better for your metabolism to eat 4-6 times per day, well I’m here to say that’s BS. Don’t @ me.
- ROUTINE. Waking up around the same time, going to sleep around the same time and eating at around the same times… I honestly don’t know why, but when I follow a routine, I end up pooping (we’re way past TMI at this point so hush) at the same time and more regularly.
- Walking, standing or sitting straight up for 30 minutes or more after eating. This can help digestion, relax your liver and gallbladder, and reduce pressure to your lungs and heart. It’s just a generally good habit.
- Try not to stress… if you can help it. I realize that’s easier said than done, but the thing is, most of us don’t realize how much stress really does negatively impact our bodies. Among many other things, stress increases the acid in your stomach, causes your esophagus to spasm, and worsens pre-existing digestive disorders.
I’m not going to mention any expensive supplements, probiotics, digestive enzymes or other money suckers because those things are already in many of the foods I just mentioned AND I don’t think they’re necessary in most cases. This is just my opinion.
There’s a lot of information out there on this subject, so remember to do your own research and contact a qualified medical professional if you have any concerns. What I’m sharing with you has come from my own research and personal experience.
I hope that this helps!
Good luck on your gut healing journey; this is a lifestyle and not a quick-fix, so be patient with yourself & grateful for your health always.