I don’t know what it is about the holiday season. There’s such an over abundance of new and interesting foods that neighbors and friends make available, that I find that my usual reluctance (will power?) to politely deny the indulgence of said foods is without inhibition.
“Just one” becomes “just many” and once that line in the gastrointestinal tract has been crossed, everything is fair game. I even contribute to it, and find myself baking and creating a multitude of culinary concoctions while throwing caution to the wind as my body soon becomes a member of the digestive gymnastics team.
“Must have been something I ate.” No kidding.
Digestive problems are something that for many of us is a recurring encounter. They can range from benign stomach gurgling and occasional unexpected noises, to the excruciatingly painful stay in bed or see doctor symptoms. Some problems are quite serious.
When symptoms first appear, we monitor them. Listening to your body is the best form of preventative maintenance and treatment. A minor reaction, such as gas or bloating, may go away fairly quickly. A sudden reaction, such as vomiting, or a sharp debilitating pain is a sign of something more serious. Long term symptoms will eventually begin to affect other parts of the body, especially if the problem consistently denies your body of nutrition.
The 8 common digestive problems many of us face include stomach pain, ulcers, reflux, gallstones, lactose intolerance, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and constipation. Celiac disease is gaining awareness, but in general it affects about 1% of the population. ( http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/09/06/8-common-digestive-problems-and-how-to-end-them )
There are a myriad of old wives tales, prescription drugs and in some cases, surgeries, to address every problem. But I’m of the ilk to be more proactive in how I address them. I know my body pretty well, and I’ve found that if I stay aware and and ingest appropriately, all is balanced. I’m also aware that there are just certain things that may just need the attention of a physician – intestinal diseases, food allergies, and gallstones to name a few. So, I weigh the seriousness of the symptom and duration of the problem very carefully, including what I know about my family history.
Much can be avoided as long as we maintain a healthy lifestyle that works for us. Not smoking or drinking alcohol and getting enough exercise are the golden three of prevention and cure. And just as I’ve opened my palette up to new foods that may cause digestive problems, I’ve also opened up my mind to including new activities and foods in my diet that can help with the symptoms I’m experiencing, or prevent some from occurring again.
Healthy digestion leads to a healthy life. Unhealthy digestion leads to an unhealthy life. Its often that simple. But it’s not always as simple as “something I ate,” and I’ve begun to incorporate practices beyond food consumption to maintain my digestive tract.
Knowledge is power. The following sites contain an abundance of information in identifying and treating digestive problems:
Mixed Berry & Beet Smoothie
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup mixed frozen berries or blueberries
- 2 tablespoons granola
- 1/3 cup diced beet, either raw or roasted (50 grams)
- 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
- 2 or 3 ice cubes
Sliced orange for garnish (optional)
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 full minute. Pour into a glass, garnish with an orange slice and enjoy.
Yield: 1 generous serving.