Digestive complaints are commonplace in our society today. This could be attributed to a diet of processes foods laden with preservatives, hormones, artificial coloring etc. Stress and sedentary lifestyles also contribute to digestive problems. Scientific research shows that 80% of your immune system can be attributed to your digestive tract. I am one of the many suffers of digestive problems. This tends to get really annoying when as a family, we are trying to decide on a restaurant to eat at, or on a meal to prepare at home.
I am gluten intolerant, have soy sensitivities, dairy issues, and any red meat also upsets my stomach. All of these limitations make meal time a challenge. Raw foods tend to be what I can eat without any issue. I substitute milk with coconut milk, almond milk, eat goats cheese (of all things!) rice, lots of fruits and veggies, nuts, and fish. I didn’t always eat like this, because I didn’t know I had any allergies to food at all. I just knew that I didn’t feel well after eating.
Over 100 million Americans also suffer from some form of digestive complaint. I see an amazing acupuncturist who helps with this issue, as well as a great nutritionist. The truly wonderful part of all of this is I now don’t have daily stomach upset. I may not be able to eat everything I would like to (I really miss pasta and French bread) but I also don’t feel terrible. I had gotten so used to feeling a certain way that it seemed normal until the pain was finally gone. Digestive issues frequently go unnoticed because they aren’t considered serious. These symptoms might be bloating, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. This can eventually lead to more serious health issues if left unchecked (remember 80% of your immune system is digestive).
A few things that I have found helpful in my own digestive journey are: the help of the nutritionist and acupuncturists that I see, my fabulous friend who kicks me off the couch to exercise weekly, Reiki for stress relief, and good books on the subject. One such book was Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger.
This book has a program to follow for up to 21 days. The purpose of this program is to give your digestive track a chance to rest , thus allowing your body the energy to repair and restore its other systems. We managed to get through 15 days of this program. It was difficult at first. This program begins with an elimination diet where you can not eat dairy, most meats, soy products, coffee, alcohol, peanuts, and the list goes on. You can have either a smoothie or juice for breakfast and one for dinner. They also have some great cold soup recipes that you can do for dinner if you prefer. Lunch is the largest meal consisting of things like salmon with a spinach salad and lemon for dressing. The book also recommends that if you are hungry, you may have a small mid-morning snack and late afternoon snack.The snacks are things like a handful of nuts or an organic apple. Lots of filtered water is consumed throughout the day. Supplements that help your body to detoxify are also suggested, as well as probiotics, and herbal teas. Again it wasn’t easy at first, but it has definitely made all of us more aware of our day to day food choices. We all felt better having done it and lost a few unwanted pounds too. Not everyone has to go through such an extreme diet to feel better. You could start with simple changes like drinking more water and eliminating soda, or eating more fruits and vegetables daily. If you suspect that you do have food allergies or sensitivities, stop eating that food for a few days and see if you notice any improvements. Then reintroduce the food and see how you feel.
If you are among the millions of people who suffer from digestive issues maybe these things can be helpful to you.
Here is to all of us experiencing healthy and happy eating this Memorial Day weekend. Remember to give thanks to those who have served and who continue to serve!
Charles Raymond is the acupuncturist I see:
And Jenny Calla is the NTP
Kerrie Bernauer Wood- personal trainer who will whip you into shape http://physiquefitness.homestead.com/index.html