How Do You Really Feel?
How do you really feel? Believe it or not, you may not be able to objectively answer that question. It’s not meant to be a trick question, yet it is tricky because many people are not aware of symptoms/effects that they are feeling and often think that what they notice is “normal”. Before I continue, let me clarify the term “normal” which by clinical definition means a healthy norm. Unfortunately today the term normal and what occurs frequently or is “common” are interchanged. For example it is not normal to have cramps during your menstrual cycle, but it is common. Just because a symptom occurs frequently in a given population of people, does not mean that it is normal or healthy.
Here is a sample of questions I ask every client:
- Are you bloated?
- Do you notice a bloated feeling after eating grains, particularly gluten or dairy?
- Do you have brain fog?
- Do you have good/even energy throughout the day (without using coffee or other stimulants)
- Do you fully eliminate?
Let’s take question #1… Many people that I see have distention of the abdominals. This does not necessarily mean that someone needs to lose weight. Some are aware of this, some think they need to lose body fat and many think that bloat is normal. If you are already bloated and you eat foods that bloat you, you will not know it because you only know what the bloat feels like. So when you are no longer bloated and you know what it feels like to have normal abdominals that are not distended, then you will notice what food does to you when you eat it.
Often people will comment that when they eliminate certain foods and then eat it that they have become sensitized to those foods. The reality is that they never knew what those foods were doing to them, because they felt a certain way all the time. This is why when deciding to make certain dietary/lifestyle changes you need to do it for a minimum of 6 weeks so that body can make healthy adaptations.
Many people have compromised digestion and elimination and are not aware of it. In order to improve digestion it is important to restore normal balance of the gut bacteria and avoid foods that cause inflammation and feed the bad bacteria. This can take a while to do. Eliminating foods that are hard to digest and inflammatory foods will help. Specific digestive enzymes and probiotics are also beneficial. Addressing this will improve elimination, brain fog and energy levels.
There are many healthy nutrient dense vegetables. However, if you are bloated and have sub optimal digestion, than you will likely not be able to absorb the nutrients from those vegetables. Many people also have too low levels of Vitamin D3. While exposure to the sun is the best way to absorb D3, poor gut health will affect the body’s ability to absorb and synthesize D3. Adequate levels of D3 is critical for your immune system function.
Certain foods that contain higher levels of undigestible plant cellulose (fiber) are harder to digest. The following foods can cause inflammation if someone has poor digestion and elimination:
Leafy greens that are raw like lettuces
Cooking vegetables makes them easier to digest. Lacto fermenting vegetables improves digestion and also contains good bacteria. Increasing the surface area of foods by chopping or pureeing will optimize digestion and absorption.
Thyroid, auto immune and adrenal issues are influenced by the food you consume and are often improved by following the recommendations below.
Here are my key recommendations:
- Avoid gluten
- Eliminate all grains when possible (organic white rice and organic corn may be acceptable depending on your circumstances)
- Once the bloating is gone, see how your body responds when eating high fiber vegetables and grains. See if they cause bloating and/or make you tired.
- Add fermented foods to your diet
- Take 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar in the morning
- Minimize alcohol consumption
- Minimize or eliminate dairy. Only consume organic dairy.
- Minimize or eliminate all added sugar
- Avoid all processed foods
- Take a high quality probiotic and a digestive enzyme may be helpful
- Reduce your stress levels
- Get regular aerobic exercise and strength training
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