Digestive issues are a constant topic of conversation in our community here at Jaydancin. Good, robust health begins in the gut. It all happens there! So what are “digestive issues”? Digestive issues can be anything from gas, bloating, discomfort and pain, to malabsorption, inflammation, heartburn and nausea. They can also encompass IBS, Crohn’s Disease and Celiac Disease, to name a few.
To begin, it may be helpful to look upstream and explore some of these fundamental questions:
What are your symptoms?
When do they happen?
Are you aware of any food sensitivities/allergies?
What are your triggers?
What are your stress levels like?
What are you doing to relieve those symptoms now?
What is working?
What is not working?
As we all know, every person’s situation is unique. There is no one size fits all approach to wellness. How do we begin to figure out our own unique digestive puzzle? Beginning a “Food & Mood Diary" can be an effective tool and a great first step in helping to identify the connections between what you are eating, how you are feeling, and what your body is trying to tell you. It doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect, but keeping track of food, mood, and bowel movements can help shed some light on the issue. Here’s a link to our Food & Mood Diary to help you get started.
There are some other tried and true practices we can incorporate into our lives that are known to be helpful in addressing digestive discomfort. Removing offending agents out of your diet and your environment is an important first step. Offending agents are inflammatory foods, additives, preservatives, toxins, artificial ingredients, rancid & denatured oils etc. If inflammatory agents are not removed, any therapies or supplements may be a bandaid solution, temporary at best. Dairy, gluten and processed sugars are known to be top inflammatory agents, as are GMO foods, corn and soy. Removing known inflammatory foods may help get you get back on track, going in the right direction for certain! If you aren’t sure what your triggers are, and would like to know more, you can review your Food & Mood Diary for clues, or contact a Holistic Practitioner about a food sensitivities test to help you find out. Chances are you have some insight already!
Secondly, it’s important to calm and support the digestive system, helping it get back to balance. Supporting it with organic whole foods & clean filtered water is an important start. Removing toxic chemicals from your home and personal care products is also important. Why you might ask? Nothing exists in isolation in our bodies, which are working hard to detoxify and function optimally. Reducing toxic load exposure is vital in helping the whole body function properly, including digestion! Our digestive system works hard for us! It needs some TLC too!
Incorporating gut soothing food into your diet can be extremely helpful. Our grandmothers knew this… bone broths, roasted root veggies, oatmeal, fermented foods, and herbal teas, to name a few. Supplements that can be helpful include L-glutamine, b-Complex, magnesium, and probiotics, as well as digestive enzymes. Again, everyone’s needs are different and there is no one quick-fix approach. A holistic approach is very important.
The health of your digestive system is also dependent on your lifestyle. The foods you eat, the thoughts you think and the life you live… that’s what we say! Societal norms, everyday stressors, and social connections all have an impact on our digestive system. Are you sleeping well? Do you eat late at night? Do you skip meals or eat on the run? The daily practice of sitting down to eat, without distraction in a pleasing environment, allows for a more relaxed setting along with providing time for you to tune into what’s going on with your body and the food you have on your plate. Our digestive system is a wonderful marvel and there are many resources available to learn about how it actually works.
Some lifestyle and dietary adjustments to help with digestion can include:
- Sit down to eat in a pleasing environment and tune in to your meal.
- Chew your food well. Digestion begins in the mouth…and with the eyes & nose :)!
- Eat plenty of dark leafy nutrient & fibre rich greens. Fibre is a prebiotic, keeping those gut bacteria healthy.
- Drink more purified water to aid in hydration of your body and keeping your processes of elimination in good working order.
- Exercise to keep your body moving and all its system working & detoxifying properly.
- Reduce stress. When we experience stress, our digestion shuts down.
- Eat gut soothing warm foods: soups and stews, roasted root vegetables, herbal teas.
- Drink less alcohol - alcohol is a toxin and puts strain on our system, and slows your metabolism.
- Add fermented foods to support your gut microbiome! Best to get as much variety in your diet as possible.
With mindful awareness, and a willingness to learn new things, you will start to be able to decode the messages your body is trying to tell you. Do you have any questions or would you like to explore this further? Let us know how we can help! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 519-657-1333.
Health and beauty begin on the inside! Be well. Stay well!