Bloating and smelly farts are not fun. Maybe they were once when you were 10, but now they’re just downright embarrassing..
Most people think that gas is just a normal, everyday occurrence, something that we have to accept as a normal function of the human body.
But Gas is anything but normal. It’s a clear indicator of gut dysbiosis – a problem of digestion – that can lead to a whole host of health problems starting with nutrient malabsorption issues and leading all the way to autoimmune diseases and cancer, to name just a few.
When you go raw or introduce many more raw foods to your diet you might notice that your digestive discomfort actually increases for a while.
Raw foods are highly cleansing and detoxifying, drawing out impurities from the cells and throwing them back into your circulatory and elimination systems for them to be cleaned out.
In the process you might experience temporary symptoms of gas and bloating, but these should settle down within the first week of spring cleaning. If not, then you’re doing something wrong…
So what can we do to make digestion an easy process, preventing the fermentation and putrefaction of foods, which cause gas in the first place? Here are my best tips for a happy tummy…
#1 – Fruits should be eaten ALONE
Fruit is the goddess. The Gaia. The mother, who should be worshipped and kept sacred.
Fruit should always be eaten on an empty stomach and alone. Eat fruits alone in the morning, middle of the day, and even before your evening meal. The only exception is tender leafy greens, like spinach, lettuce and celery, which can be eaten very happily with fruit.
Eating fruit after your dinner meal, or any meal of cooked starches or protein, is a recipe for digestive disaster (corny pun intended).
If you’re wanting something sweet after your meal, it means you haven’t eaten enough fruit prior to your meal.
#2 – Don’t mix it up
Harvey & Marylin Diamond in their groundbreaking 1980’s book Fit For Life said it best: “THE HUMAN BODY IS NOT DESIGNED TO DIGEST MORE THAN ONE CONCENTRATED FOOD IN THE STOMACH AT THE SAME TIME” (Their capitalization).
They go on to say that “any food that is not a fruit and is not a vegetable is concentrated”.
So if you’re going to eat rice or any other complex starch combine it only with vegetables.
If you’re going to eat a high protein food like legumes, it’s best to eat it only with vegetables.
Meat, Milk, Dairy? Do I need to even go there? If you’re seeking optimal health, or trying to heal yourself of chronic disease stay away from these foods.
If you have to, then make sure you combine them only with vegetables, not starchy foods.
Here’s an example of a well combined day of food…
Breakfast: Watermelon, then about 30 mins later a green smoothie with banana and celery
Lunch: A green salad with mango, tomato and corn salsa (enough mango to get your lunchtime calorie fix)
Afternoon: Apples, dates and cucumbers
Dinner: A starter of Mango tomato soup, then about 30 mins later..
A baked potato topped with some avocado, chopped tomatoes & lemon juice, steamed broccoli and a side salad of tender greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes.
This is a very simple meal plan for an average weekday when you’re working or have lots on your plate. Obviously I haven’t included quantities here because this will depend entirely on your personal calorie needs for the day.
#3 – Keep your fats low
We all need some fats in our diet since they do help in nutrient assimilation, but we certainly don’t need fats, particularly refined fats, in the quantities that most of the western world consumes.
Fats slow down our digestion leading to fermentation and putrefaction if the fats are combined with the wrong foods, basically anything other than vegetables.
Mostly I try to keep my fats around 10% of my total calories. Some days it might go to 15-20% but then that will balanced with a lower than 10% day, so it all evens out in the wash.
I find my skin is an excellent barometer of my fat intake. If I’ve had too much I start to break out. If not, I’m blessed with a clear complexion.
#4 – The puff and peristaltic action
You know this already, but it’s always worth a reminder – Our bodies need to move every day in order to promote good digestion.
If we don’t then your next meal will likely sit on top of your last. A good dose of exercise boosts your metabolism and the transfer of nutrients into your cells.
Better circulation will mean that nutrients including oxygen are being carried around the body at a much more rapid pace.
Movement promotes proper peristaltic action in the bowel. If we’re backed up with meals from yesterday or the day before, it’s going to cause some digestive discomfort. We need to get that stuff out and get it out fast. Exercise is your gut’s best friend.
#5 – Hydration – the missing link
Just as movement is essential for proper digestion, so is hydration. This is particularly important if you eat a cooked food diet.
You simply cannot digest your food properly if you are dehydrated. Full stop. So get that water into you.
I find smoothies a wonderful way to drink more water. If I have two smoothies a day, with 500ml of water in each, then that’s 1L of water taken care of.
If I have the other litre in the morning then I have pretty much taken care of my water needs for the day. A few more cups in the afternoon and early evening and I’m right on target!
#6 – Chillax!
Stress is one of the worst offenders of poor digestion. Our bodies are designed for autonomic flight or fight responses to stressful situations.
When faced with a a typical modern day stressor, your body can’t distinguish between you having to give a presentation at work or being faced with a saber-toothed tiger, it responds in exactly the same way, by pumping your body full of adrenaline and suppressing digestion until you’re away from ‘danger’, so to speak.
Problem is our bodies are often on high alert right through our day and therefore our digestion is constantly compromised.
When I recognized this fact I began to understand how crucial it was for me to learn how to relax. I began to learn strategies, like yoga, deep breathing and meditation, to that I could retrain my body and mind, and it paid off immensely.
If you’re not sure whether you’re actually meditating the right way you can hire or purchase a biofeedback machine, which will let you know how you’re progressing in your practice.
Conclusion – If you’re suffering from bloating and gas don’t put off treating it. Too many people put up with these symptoms only to find that they lead to worse health crises down the track. Read the warning signs. Do the suggested things and experience superior digestion…
Anthea Frances is an author, raw food health coach and host of the Raw Life Summit series. Grab a copy of her free Balanced Raw Vegan Nutrition Checklist and start improving your health today!