26 Apr 2011
Recently, I stepped out from behind my computer to visit with friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. After we caught up on what was going on with our kids, spouses and work, the conversation quickly turned to our health.
Several of my girlfriends have been battling chronic health conditions for years. Another has undergone several invasive tests for something new that was bothering her. Yet another thinks she needs to see her doctor soon because she’s not feeling so great.
What did all these ladies have in common, besides being in their early to mid-40s and moms? Their tummies hurt and they didn’t exactly know why.
Several had tests for celiac disease, which came back negative. (So did mine.) Several of them had or were about to undergo colonoscopies even though they hadn’t reached 50 yet. Another had completely eliminated gluten and dairy products from her diet, just like I did at the beginning of the year. Another friend was researching anti-inflammatory diets and was considering eliminating gluten products in her diet.
Two others hadn’t a clue to what was making them feel ill. One of them told me that she couldn’t eat anything – anything – without having pain or stomach upset.
USA = Upset Stomach Annoyances
We’re a nation with a tummy problem. Just watch a few hours of TV and count how many ads you see for heartburn, stomach upset, painful gas, or diarrhea medicine.
Why is that? Again, let’s turn the TV back on. Notice all the ads for fast food and over-processed junk? Face it, much of the food we eat is laden with too much salt, sugar, fat and calories. No wonder we feel crappy! Our stomachs are telling us loud and clearly that it’s time to eat more sensibly, slow down our eating, and not overstuff ourselves with bad food every chance we get.
So what can you do?
The easiest thing is to use common sense and eat more healthfully. Avoid fast food. Cut back your portions. Eat lean meats, whole grains, and add more fruits and veggies to your diet. Avoid overly processed food. This may mean cooking from scratch, but try it for a few weeks and notice how much better you feel.
What if you’re already doing that and your tummy is still acting up? Start a food diary and try an elimination diet. If you think maybe milk products upset your stomach, avoid them for a week or two and try using soy, rice or coconut “milks” instead. Slowly introduce cow’s milk back into your diet and see how you feel. Write it down and keep track of your “triggers.”
Other things you can do are take probiotics (Attune bars are a fun way to do that) and digestive enzymes. If you can’t figure it out on your own, find a doctor who does food allergy and sensitivity testing. You may have an allergy or food sensitivity and not know it.
Pain is serious business and it’s not all in your head. Instead, it just may be in your tummy.Check out my latest posts here