PHOTOS BY Amanda Wolf at Lemon Drops Photography
No matter the season, bloating is unpleasant, uncomfortable, and entirely unnecessary. After just a few short weeks of working with clients, I usually hear the same comment over and over again, “My bloating is gone!” So, here are my favorite tips and tricks for beating that nasty, annoying, unwanted bloat.
1. Briefly eliminate dairy, legumes and gluten.
I always start with the elimination of dairy, legumes and grains for at least three weeks. At that point, start to systematically add them in one at a time and see how your body reacts, and remember that everyone’s body will react in its own way. Often, one or more of these food groups cause inflammation in our body and in turn create a bloated belly, as well as a host of other unpleasant things.
Be sure to give this testing a valiant effort to see if any of the aforementioned groups are an enemy for your body. You may find they sit well with you or you may find they have been causing you pain, suffering and bloating all along. Cutting out these food groups will not leave you deficient in any vitamins or minerals, so long as you are eating a diet high in vegetables, high-quality meats, good fats and some fruit.
2. Eat and supplement with probiotics.
Probiotics are my sidekick when it comes to upping good bacteria in the gut and easing digestion. Sprinkle these foods throughout your week for improved gut health: kimchi, kombucha, raw sauerkraut or grass-fed kefir (as long as you find you tolerate dairy). You can also take a probiotic supplement. Swanson Health Products in Fargo makes a wonderful line of probiotic supplements. Find them downtown and at swansonvitamins.com/probiotics.
3. Drink ginger and/or peppermint tea.
Ginger and peppermint tea are great natural ways to minimize bloating. Ginger is a known gas reliever and wonderful for digestion ease. Peppermint is also digestion friendly. Try sipping on these teas throughout the day to help lower any bloat and relieve gas. Steep Me A Cup of Tea in West Fargo has high-quality teas, as well as a “Happy Belly Tea.” Check them out at steepme.com/product/happy-belly.
4. Slow down and chew your food.
I see this all too often. People are eating the right kind of foods but are still scarfing them down without a moment’s notice of how they taste or a thought of appreciation for how they arrived on their plate. Slow down when you’re eating. Take eight deep breaths before your first bite and then continue to breath deeply during your meal.
Thoroughly chewing your food gives your body a break and doesn’t require it to work so hard when digesting. This is often what causes uncomfortable gas and bloating. Think about how your food got on your plate, where it came from and appreciate it. After all, food is fuel, so let it be just that for your body.
We can say this a million times and it still seems to be a challenge for many. Do whatever you need to do to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces every day. If you’re an athlete or sweat a lot, drink even more. I always have my clients begin their day with a glass of warm lemon water. This kicks off the day with hydrating liquids and helps move toxins out of your system first thing in the morning.
6. Try cooking your veggies.
Often times, raw and/or cruciferous veggies can cause some digestive upset. If you find you’re feeling bloated after consuming raw veggies, try cooking them the next time around and see which variation you tolerate better. Just like taking out specific food groups, you have to test things out to see what works best for YOUR body.
7. Minimize liquids during mealtime.
Avoid drinking too much liquid while enjoying a meal, and also about 30 minutes post-meal. This will dilute digestive juices and interrupt the digestion process. A general rule of thumb is to simply sip on water during and after you eat instead of drinking a whole glass or more.
8. Move your body.
Moving your body strengthens your abdominal muscles, which in turn strengthens your digestive muscles, which in turn makes for easier digestion. It’s a win-win all around. Anything from jogging to walking to weight lifting can offer this benefit. Many yoga moves improve and support digestion. I like to use child’s pose, wind-relieving pose and gentle twists at the end of the day to give my body a digestive boost.