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Put Down the Pills! 10 Holistic Digestion Remedies for Your Aching Tummy March 10, 2011

Posted by Melonie Gallegos in Living It.

Food intolerance leads to digestion problemsDigestion is a tricky thing. For those of us who are intolerant to certain foods it is a medical mystery. And, trying to pin point what you ate to cause your tummy troubles in a any given day is a guessing game. To further complicate the issue, if you ate out you would never know every ingredient in your dish unless you stood over the chef watching the preparation. Who does that?! I want to sometimes…


Intolerance is recognized by the medical community but they know little about it. My doctor has sent me to every specialist possible, and a nutritionist, and I found I was much more educated then they were about gluten intolerance. After explaining to the dietitian that I’m lactose intolerant she showed me the four food groups and suggested I eat yogurt to get my calcium. Yeah folks, yogurt is milk, don’t do that. It is very new to their field. The lack of education and information out there is a big reason why I share what I learn with you here on my blog.


This phenomenon of food interolerance in the U.S. is not a mere diet trend. Unlike many countries, Americans drink milk through adulthood. Why? I believe it’s due to a well funded advertising campaign. Not nutritional best practice. Got Milk?

Between 30 million and 50 million people in the United States have lactose intolerance. That means at least 1 out of every 10 Americans. Other countries that do not drink milk into adulthood have populations with up to 100% lactose intolerance (Asian countries to note).

Another common digestion enemy that I am very familiar with is Gluten intolerance. It’s estimated that 3 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with celiac disease, or 1 of every 133 Americans. This is an under estimate because it does not account for those who do not have the disease but simply lack the enzyme to digest wheat or have an allergy.


How do we manage without overmedicating ourselves? I get to a point where my digestion comes to a HALT! I’ve tried Pepto Bismol, Tums and over the counter medicines to find they aren’t very affective in this situation. Nor a good long term solution. Here are holistic tricks that help me. Please consult your doctor for your specific ailments and what is appropriate for you.

  1. Green Tea: is full of antioxidants. Drink a cup after a meal and it’s soothing warmth will help bring harmony to the digestive process. It has to be green, unflavored and if you must have sweetner use a teaspoon of honey. Fresh loose tea is the best but you can get the same benefits from $1.99 box of green tea from the grocery store.
  2. Avoid Soda with Meals: The sugar, caffeine and carbonation is no friend to digestion. A bubbly, sugary stomach is not what you need when your sensitive. I recommend avoiding soda altogether including diet which contains the same bad stuff plus more chemicals.
  3. Drink Water with Lemon: At room temperature. This is good to drink all day and an alternative to soda or sugary drinks with a meal. Something about the lemon and it being room temperature is cleansing and balancing to the digestion track.
  4. Eat More Fiber: A tip from my gastroenterology doctor, and with good reason. I realized my consciousness around gluten resulted in my avoiding foods with fiber (e.g. cereal with fiber etc). Many people, like myself, skip breakfast which is the key meal of the day for fiber consumption (cereal, fruits). I wasn’t getting much at all. I’ve added Metamucil to my daily routine and  this helps digestion slow down so the stomach has time to break down food before it hits the bowel. I also found gluten/lactose free snacks at Trader Joes such as dried fruit fiber bars. Gas = undigested food that your stomach didn’t break down and your intestines are struggling with. More than I ever wanted to know.
  5. Heating Pad: works wonders on a crampy stomach. Not just during your menstrual cycle. It works on stomach aches caused by gas or diarrhea that also experience symptoms of tightness and cramping.
  6. Take a Walk: My family takes after dinner walks and I never understood the benefits of it until adulthood. It gets your blood flowing, your body moving, and in turn your digestion. Even if your having a bad bout, try getting up and taking a walk around the house. It helps, I swear by it!
  7. Processed Foods are the Devil: It’s a hard habit to break. Fast food is delicious, easy, cheap. Boxed macaroni and cheese has warm fuzzies all the way back to childhood. I know. But stop eating it. It will change your life. If the label has more than 5 ingredients and you understand what they are – it’s good. If you see the words high fructose corn syrup, MSG, coloring, and other chemicals that would never show up in your spice cupboard – put it down.
  8. Cut Out Sugar: Eating whole foods will also help you cut down on sugar. I do not mean substituting sugar, stop eating it. Sugar should be a treat, not the fifth food group. This chemical can spin your tummy and your entire body out of balance.
  9. Digestive Enzymes: are a natural way to help break down  proteins, lactose and wheat. I take a daily enzyme with each meal and carry Glutenese as additional defense when I eat out . There are several products out there targeting specific enzymes to food intolerances. They won’t harm your stomach because your system naturally contains them. Opt for this before you grab your next antacid.
  10. Yoga: is more than an exercise routine, it is also therapeutic to your digestive track. Iyengar yoga subscribes an “asana” called Supta Vajrasana. It is a laying pose that should be done with props: bolster/pillow, a blanket, and a belt if available. It looks crazy but I can testify that it is actually very relaxing. Trikonasana is a standing pose that promotes healthy digestion by stretching your side body, organs, and hips. Five minutes of yoga each morning is all you need to feel the benefits.

Nutrition impacts health, disease and our state of being. Stay healthy an take care of your body. It’s important.



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