My epic hike a few weeks ago was made possible by strong legs, a good attitude, and a well-functioning digestive system.
We hiked 5 hours into the wilderness and camped by a lake with no facilities. Arguably, squatting in the woods to poop is more pleasant than most pit toilets. Nonetheless, the trip would have been much different (or nonexistent) if I struggled with diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, or constipation.
Digestive issues affect many people but are often overlooked, and we certainly don’t talk about it. And it can make life challenging.
❤️🩹 The fear of social embarrassment due to unpredictable symptoms, anxiety about traveling without suitable restroom facilities, and frustration with dietary restrictions are just a few of the hurdles.
❤️🩹 The uncertainty about trigger foods and constant anxiety about flare-ups can make it challenging to plan our daily activities or commitments.
❤️🩹 Seeking help for digestive issues may lead to an unhelpful IBS diagnosis, or on a bandaid pharmaceutical such as antacids.
❤️🩹 The abundance of conflicting advice from experts on what to do to heal your gut, can also create confusion and hesitancy in taking action. **THIS is why I test, and don’t guess with my clients. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healing your gut, it really depends on what is the culprit of your digestive symptoms.
AND: digestion is not just about bloating; it affects other areas of your body as well. Skin issues, hair loss, thyroid dysfunction, low energy, hormone imbalances, and mineral deficiencies can all be connected to gut imbalances.
While I do recommend testing before doing any specific protocol (for example, the standard advice to take a probiotic can be detrimental to many), there are a few very simple, practical tips to improve digestion:
- Slow down and CHEW your food: Take a moment to pause before meals, practice deep breathing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and chew your food thoroughly to aid digestion.
- Identify and Eliminate Trigger Foods: Keep a food and symptom journal to track what you eat and identify potential trigger foods that worsen your symptoms. Gradually eliminate these foods from your diet and observe improvements in your digestive health.
- Manage Stress and Practice Relaxation: Recognize the connection between stress and digestive health. Incorporate stress-relief practices like meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature to reduce the impact of stress on your digestive system.
- Stay Hydrated and Move Your Body: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to aid digestion and prevent constipation. Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or dancing, to support healthy digestion and overall well-being.
- Get tested for comprehensive gut health (ideally hormones and minerals too). Understanding your body’s unique needs can empower you to make informed decisions about your health.
On this week’s podcast, we do a deep dive into digestion. Press play and take a listen.
My friend, you deserve to live a life free from digestive discomfort. You deserve to feel good.
To living well and having healthy bowel movements 💪