I am not exaggerating one bit, up until a few months ago I was bloated 24/7, 100% of the time. It wasn't anything small either, it was the kind of bloating that made me look 4 months pregnant. And the worst thing was, I didn't know I was bloated I thought I was just born with a big inflated stomach and/or was just fat. Even worse, I didn't know that a healthy person should have bowel movements everyday so if anyone ever mentioned it I wouldn't believe it. Why? Because since I could remember I would only have a bowel movement about twice a week!! Sorry for the gory info but this was my life until 2/3 months ago! Since I have incorporated changes into my diet I've happily bid farewell to a constantly hard, bulging, round stomach and an unhappy digestive system -- my stomach is now happy, regular and almost flat (the reduced bloating didn't get rid of the fat unfortunately lol).
The following are the implications I feel helped me most to kill off my bloating and get my digestive system on track, all in order of how important I feel they were. If you also have the same problem I had, try these out to see if they help :)
|Steamed broccoli with mushroom 'pizzas' - portobello|
mushrooms stuffed with hummus, chicken and spinach. No gluten, 3 serves of veg and a very filling meal!
- Cutting out gluten - Gluten is awful for me. It takes me days to recover from a single serving of gluten and I have no regrets in cutting it out of my regular diet. I still have it sometimes when I go out but I intend on cutting back on that as well, since the recovery time just isn't worth it. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye; so basically foods such as bread, pasta, tortillas, cakes etc. Yes that is a lot of 'staple' foods and cutting them out may make you think 'OMG what am I supposed to eat now!?' but it is NOT that bad I've gone through that stage and I have a flatter stomach to show for it! There are plenty of substitutes :) my banana bread from the previous post is a great example of this. If you do suffer from bloating/constipation/IBS definitely try cutting gluten out for 2 weeks to see if you feel better.
- Water - My water intake was poor to say the least at about 1 liter daily. My water intake is now a minimum of 5 liters daily which I often surpass! I know this may sound like a lot for many but the more you drink water, the more often you get thirsty! So even whilst drinking that much water, I still get thirsty quite often!
- Increasing vegetable intake - I think this one is a basic. I aim to have 3/5 servings of veg daily and my most common source is broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber and spinach. Vegetables are a rich source of fiber, a good amount of which is essential to get things moving in your bowels! Green veg are also well-known for their detoxing nature, so stock up! When I'm getting at last 4 daily serves of vegetables, I don't have to worry about my fiber intake since I know I'll be getting enough
My essentials and favourites
The day isn't done till I've had at least 3 of these babies!
- Teas, in particular Peppermint and Lemon+Ginger. I can not stress how effective these have been for me as a 'quick-fix' and I seriously recommend them for both chronic-bloat sufferers and for a one-off occurrence. Whenever I drink Lemon+Ginger tea first thing in the morning my stomach instantly feels cleansed and tight and if I drink it to give my digestive system a helping hand I can I always notice an immediate difference in how flat my stomach looks. If I have time I use 1/2 a lemon and a finger-sized chunk of ginger for the lemon+ginger tea, otherwise I have tea bags for all my teas. Peppermint tea is often recommended for IBS sufferers and I totally agree - it has the biggest laxative effect on me! Other teas I drink include green tea daily, roobius tea and chamomile tea which are also great and have some fantastic benefits but I personally find them not as helpful for bloating.
Also bear in mind all these extra things I need to do are a lifestyle for me now, I can't go back to my old eating ways and expect no bloating NOPE if I slack for 2/3 days my stomach goes back to being as inflated as it was before and my constipation returns! There is no point in working out 5 days a week if I'm not going to eat well and have a pot-belly!
It is estimated that between 20-25% of people in the UK have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), of which bloating and constipation is a very common symptom. I have been diagnosed with IBS but do not take medication for it because I believe I can help my body through diet alone and I have done so! All you need to do is listen to your body and eat well there is no substitute that makes up for a bad diet! A good diet is the only prescription you need and only way you can believe this is by seeing the effect it has on your body!
If you do suffer from these symptoms aswell as other digestive/gastric issues please go to the doctor to rule our any food intolerances, IBS or any other illnesses. You don't want to be harming your body!
Do you have any tips you use to cure bloating/constipation? I would love to hear them so please comment and share! :)