Last weekend I flew down to LA for my sister in-law's baby shower. She's almost 8 months and we can't wait until our little niece arrives! The shower was an explosion of pink. Pink poofy things hanging from every window, pink tablecloths, napkins and plates. Pink baby booties, rattles and pacifiers. Then there was the dessert table...red velvet cake, pink cupcakes with pink flowers, pink butterfly cookies, all paired with sparkling rosé. With all the sugar, my belly blew up making me look pregnant right beside her!
The bloated belly. You wake up in the morning with a beautiful flat belly and then by the end of the day you have a built-in floatation device. What happens in there?
Bad flora, mucus and inflammation. Our gastro-intestinal tract has a bevy of bacteria milling around waiting to attack everything which comes through its corridor. This is good flora or bacteria which breaks down the food into nutrients and waste. In with the good, out with the bad. The GI tract also emits mucus which helps to lubricate the system and coat toxins which prevent them from affecting the body. However, after years of a diet with processed foods, alcohol, sugar and other toxins, the GI tract becomes inflamed, more eroded and the good flora diminishes.
How do we get back to healthy digestive function? Here are a few simple steps you can do to jumpstart healthy digestion and reduce the bloat.
1. Cut out all the usual suspects: Eliminating gluten, excess sugar, dairy, alcohol, soy and corn products will help free your body of anything it might be sensitive or allergic to.
2. Probiotics: Probiotics are a great way to introduce healthy flora back into the body. If you are chronically bloated, then you might want to try a 50 billion strain. I really love the one-a-day Jarrow products:
Also eating fermented foods such as a tablespoon of sauerkraut with lunch and dinner are great. There are some wonderful fresh, raw sauerkrauts on the market now like Wildbrine with wonderful flavors like kimchi, dill, ginger and even red beet in the produce section of places like Whole Foods & Mollie Stone's
3. Cut back on food intake. Give your body a rest of processing and begin eating lighter, more easily digested foods. Cutting back on grains, more cooked veggies, and lighter proteins.
4. Eat fresh pineapple. Pineapple contains the beneficial digestive enzyme of bromelain which aids in breaking down food as it passes through the stomach. Also great for upset tummies!
There is obviously much more to belly bloat, than eating right, but this is a great start. For more resources on educating yourself on your digestive system, I highly recommend Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D. which provides a very detailed explanation of gut inflammation along with cleansing recipes. Also Chris Kresser M.S. L.Ac has a great blog with a comprehensive archive of articles regarding digestion.
Tell me what you think of the Detox Juice recipe in the comments below!