Feeling bloated after the holidays? Let's face it, the winter holidays are filled with comfort foods and comfortable lounge chairs; it's no surprise we find ourselves with bloated bellies. But don't worry, here are 10 simple ways to reset and get rid of bloating for good in 2017.
1. Take a salt bath to conquer stress.
Stress affects our system in so many ways. It affects the flora in our gut, weakens our immune system, and can even cause inflammation and skin issues. The first thing you can do for a healthy abdomen is to address your stress. Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are wonderful ways to help calm your nervous system. Epsom salt baths (2 cups Epsom salt and ½ cup baking soda) can do wonders. Essential oils like lavender can also help calm our nerves. Teas like chamomile and lemon balm help soothe our adrenals.
2. Cut out your allergens completely.
Our very long intestinal tract was mostly evolved to process fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. In other words, it's whatever our ancestors could gather in their baskets. We have the long intestinal track that is characteristic of vegetarian animals. Is it any wonder that we feel bloated when we're eating lots of animal protein, processed chips, crackers, and cookies?
Many of my clients have found that cutting out gluten (wheat, oats, barley, rye), dairy (eggs, cheese, butter), and soy (including soy lecithin, tofu, soy milk) can lead to incredible results. Going vegetarian can be very beneficial as well. Give it two to three months, but you will notice differences almost immediately, not just in your bloat but also in your energy levels.
3. Go outside, even if it's a short walk.
We're so used to going from our house to our car to our cubicle during the winter, we can go days without sunlight or stepping outdoors. Yet so many research studies now show that daylight and nature are critical not just for our physical health but also for our mental health and well-being, cutting rates of anxiety and depression.
4. Choose better sweets.
Crave sugar? No problem. After all, our brain needs sugar. Just choose the right kind: Sweeten your tea with raw honey, bake your cookies with maple syrup, and sweeten your desserts with dates. Honestly, you won't be able to tell the difference in taste—but you will notice it in how you feel!
5. Eat more often.
We think that eating more and more often will actually make us more bloated. That's not true, when we eat more frequent, smaller meals, we are actually going to feel better. What's more, because we won't be ravenous, we're less likely to overeat, avoiding more bloat.
6. Eat fruit in the morning on an empty stomach, not after a meal.
Some people think fruit leads to bloating. And it does—if you eat it on top of a large meal. If you eat it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning or between meals, however, it digests fast, tastes delicious, and gives you both energy and a ton of vitamins to keep you going.
7. Soak your nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and legumes.
Eating very dry foods can lead to air bubbles in our stomach. Soak you lentils overnight before cooking them. Soak your pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins, too. You'll notice they are much easier to digest!
8. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
A big reason we bloat is because we are dehydrated! Sounds counterintuitive, but it's not. Our body stores water if it doesn't get enough. So make sure to drink plenty of (quality) water throughout the day.
9. Beat period bloating with the right teas and workout timing.
If bloating mostly happens around your period, drink red raspberry leaf tea (which soothes the uterus) and nettle tea (which restores iron). Also, make sure to eat up on your schedule and workouts during the day. Your time of the month should be a time when you give yourself plenty of opportunity to rest. In some parts of India, women on their period don't even cook during that time—they let their bodies rest and restore.
10. Try this fennel tea recipe.
Fennel seed, anise seed, cumin seed, and cardamom have been used around the world to alleviate bloating. Experiment with teas using these seeds after a meal and before bed. Or have a thermos with those teas with you throughout the day.
Oftentimes, returning to our routines, getting enough sleep, water, eating well, and the other basics will do the trick, too. If you want to reset your lymph, which can also help with bloating, check out my tips. You'll feel better in no time.