Slap the back of my hand if I’m being too over-familiar, but sometimes, when I’m in the shower and I look down, I see… a puffy belly!
This, my friends, is what’s commonly referred to as bloating. Or, The Bloat as I affectionately refer it it. Or ‘Bel’ as my husband calls it, as he annoyingly squeezes it like Play Doh and assures me it’s cute. Cute, I’ll show you cute!
Bloating is often caused by food intolerances (lactose and gluten, I’m talking to you) as well as excessive gas, hormones, and a lazy small intestine that has swapped muscle contractions pushing the gas down the passage for late nights and party pies.
Another common cause is the sugar found in many foods, especially fruits, which is one of the reasons I only eat fruit on an empty stomach. Basically, fruits take minimal time to digest, so if you have it on top of another food group, like say, animal protein (AKA a steak) that needs a lot more time to digest, the fruit will have to wait its turn in the intestines, giving all that fructose time to ferment. Thus, causing excessive bloating and gas. Welcome to Pleasantville!
Bloating leaves your stomach feeling full and tight. It can also be caused by eating too much, or surprisingly, too much of the same foods. Legumes and cruciferous vegetables are common culprits; after all, they did create a saying along of the lines of ‘beans means farts’ – or is that just something my family said? Awkward.
Either way, here are 5 simple ways to tackle bloating and put your belly back in its place:
1. Soak your legumes and grains and cook them with kombu
Grains and legumes contain phytic acid that can interfere with the absorption of essential minerals. The good news? It’s water soluble and by simply soaking your grains and legumes overnight, that problem is sorted. However, by adding a sea vegetable like kombu to the pot, you’re able to make your grains alkaline, as well as infuse them with minerals that reduce gas, improve digestibility, and DECREASE the BLOAT. Yessss!
2. Eat fruit on an empty stomach
For the reasons listed above. Seriously, if you find eating sugar or fruits makes your Bel suddenly grow, try this simple trick.
3. Find out what causes your bloating and eliminate it, or alter how you currently eat it
Many different things cause many different people to bloat. Even stress can contribute. So, play a game of trial and error and see what’s making your tummy unhappy. My triggers are too many cruciferous vegetables in one sitting, barley (I can’t eat it it’s that bad) and fruits.
5. Consider a colonic
BUT only go to a place that has a Diploma from the College of Applied Natural Sciences. In Sydney, I go to Colon Hydrotherapy Centre, but have heard great things about The Last Resort as well.
5. Chew! Chew! Now, chew again!
This one’s pretty self-explanatory: the more you chew, the slower you eat. The slower you eat, the more time you give your digestive enzymes to secrete and as a result of this, the more nutrients you absorb, which then allows your body to eliminate far easier and reduces the incidence of trapped gas and, well, I hate to say it, shit. Sorry!
What are your ways to ease bloating?
Do you suffer from it too?