Know what’s happening around your waistline…
While I would love to offer some inspiration on Self-Care for the month of February, I have to address one issue I see everyday in my practice, which is the constant bloating in clients that eat well, exercise and have great self-care practices. So, I decided to give you some insight about that little belly of yours. Hopefully, it can shed some light on why you may be struggling with that pooch on your mid-line. Let me know what you think!
As a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, I’m on the front line of health with clients
seeking alternative remedies for their overall wellness. My clients are smart, savvy,
conscious and inspiringly healthy. For the last 12 years, I’ve seen it all, but there’s one
issue that comes up as an everyday complaint from my female clients and it seems that
we need information and encouragement to deal with –our bloated bellies.
Every woman has had the experience of starting the day being ruled by the tightness of
our jeans and the bands around our waist. We will go through several outfits until we
find something comfortable and try to ignore our extended belly. The day before,
everything seemed fine, but today, different story. What is going on and how can we
manage our lower belly bloat that is keeping us miserable and in self-judgment?
It’s important to understand that being bloated is a sign of a foundational problem of
overall digestion and one that will not go away on it’s own unless it is corrected.
So, let’s dive in and talk about the gas and bloating that you may be experiencing.
Knowledge is power and getting to the bottom of what’s going on internally will help
you in your overall health.
First, determine when you are getting bloated and if it can be correlated to food,
emotions, microbial imbalances or hormonal fluctuations. There are a number of
factors that play a role in your belly expanding at any given time. In most cases, gas
occurring in the lower intestine has to do with the WAY we are eating as well as WHAT
we are eating. In an ideal world, we would eat like zoo animals; basically eat the same
thing every day, from our region of the world, specific to our DNA and at regular
intervals of the day. We would rest each night until sunlight, have a good breakfast, a
hearty lunch and a light supper. We would eat our meals with no stress and eat slowly
enough that the macronutrients would break down to be eliminated fully by the
digestive system in the early morning each day.
Obviously, in contrast to this ideal, our lifestyle today plays a factor in our overall health.
We eat at random times of the day, have an enormous amount of stress, and many
times making food choices based on convenience, the need for stimulants or emotional
triggers. That’s not going to change anytime soon so let’s do the best we can to support
our body’s health.
Ask yourself when you notice bloating discomfort in your lower belly?
After a meal: If you expand after eating, be clear about your mental state as you were
eating your meal. If you were under any kind of stress, understand that the body views
having stress as an emergency and puts your system in “fight or flight” which stops HCL
production in the stomach and pulls all blood from the digestive system to the muscles
and bones for a potential quick reaction to the stress factor. This is called a Sympathetic
nervous system response and most of us are in this state continuously through the day
which leads to sleep issues, indigestion, hormone fluctuations and general imbalances
that will show up as a larger issue at some point down the road.
The remedy: Sit down with your food, take a few deep breaths before eating to bring
down cortisol levels, try to avoid phone calls or electronics, chew your food well and
possibly try supplementing with high-grade enzymes in order to assist the pancreas if
bloating is regularly experienced after eating. Do not drink liquids with meals as it
dilutes the hydrochloric acid in your stomach. Eat your largest meal in the middle of the
day (11AM-2PM) when pancreas function is at it’s highest and if you can, eat simple,
uncomplicated meals in order to give a needed break to an overtaxed digestive tract.
With this simple solution, you will notice dramatic results for your overall digestion and
bloating will not be a factor after meals.
If you’re passing smelly gas- this can be food composting and creating methane
internally, as opposed to hormonal, bacterial and food allergy indigestion experienced
when the belly hardens and expands outward with out air exiting the body.
If stress is not a factor: Your bloating could indicate that the food was not properly
broken down by the mouth (Chewing releases enzymes in the mouth), the stomach
(protein does not break down in low HCL) or the small intestine (Pancreatic enzymes are
released for protein, fat and carbohydrates). Also, Liver function must be optimal for
breaking Fats into smaller molecules.
Another possibility is poor food combining. Proteins and carbohydrates break down at
different rates. The air you’re experiencing in the middle of your belly is literally the
composting of undigested food trying to make it through the delicate digestive process.
There may also be a lack of good probiotics (bacteria) that assist in the break down of
nutrients in both the small and large intestine. Lastly there could be the presence of
foreign microbes creating hydrogen from yeast, fungi or parasites that are restricting
digestive function. These can be eliminated through an herbal protocol. Work with a
Holistic Health Practitioner to determine what the correct course of action is right for you
if you determine this is a core issue. As a general rule, if you are experiencing chronic
skin conditions, consistent bloat, digestive disorders and fatigue, an underlying digestive
pathogen is possibly creating systemic issues throughout the body and need to be
If your belly is hard and extended consistently: This is an uncomfortable and
embarrassing state of the lower intestine extended constantly without relief. Believe it
or not, this is what I see in my practice the most. Holistically, cleansing the intestinal
tract and repopulating with good bacteria through high-grade probiotics, cultured foods,
kefirs, kombucha, fermented vegetables, etc. can help de-bloat a sluggish intestinal
tract. This process should be done in stages, first cleansing all the trapped gas out,
determining a course of action based on symptoms (Parasites, yeast overgrowth, stress,
etc.) and then repopulating with good microbes with a maintenance plan should be
The bloating we are discussing here is not constant but fluctuates during different times
of the month, the pre-menstrual period or anytime during a hormonal surge. When this
kind of bloating is noticed, it’s because the body is swollen with fluid as more estrogen is
produced to thicken the uterine lining. Because the female cycle is based on the phases
of the moon, we can also swell during a full moon. It’s ideally the time when a woman has her menses, being in harmony with the cycle of the Solar system. Notice if the bloating fluctuates from the ovulation point of your cycle and through your menses. This is normal and will lessen as estrogen levels fall after bleeding. Constipation can also be an issue at this time because with a rise in estrogen, bile flow from the gallbladder slows, adding to the already annoying belly expansion.
Considerations for overall bloating:
- Get Colonics to help move trapped air!
- Reduce intake of salt, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. Drink extra water to reduce
- fluid retention. Sweat/move daily for circulation.
- Best Foods: Green, leafy vegetables, Watermelon, Oranges, Lemons, Aloe Vera,
- peppermint, chamomile, ginger, Primrose oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, lemon balm,
- fennel, dandelion, parsley and Grapes.
- Avoid the cruciferous vegetables, fats and red meat to reduce consistent
- 500ml of Magnesium, 440 ml of zinc, 25mg Vitamin B6 and 800 mg of Calcium.
- Other Remedies:
- 560 mg of charcoal or a ½ tsp. of fennel seeds if gas is uncomfortably extending
- the lower abdomen on an as needed basis. Swallow whole seeds with water.
- Direct heat on the abdomen through a heating pad or a hot water bottle.
- Castor Oil Packs on the lower intestinal area.
- Magnesium spray or Epsom salt bath.
- Belly rub right to left with room temp coconut oil.
It may seem like a lot of information, but good digestion is truly simple. There’s one
tube down the body from your mouth to the anus and it needs to transform a foreign,
outside object of food to become eventually what makes up your hair, skin, eyes, teeth and every other part of the human body. Your system is unique to you and if you feel something is “off” learn the steps in correcting this for yourself. Understanding digestion is a part of our responsibility to owning this human form.
Experiment a bit with healing your belly blues. In no time, you will notice positive changes and YOU will have done it all by yourself! Time to take back your inherent wisdom and intuitively learn to heal yourself! In the meantime, I’m here for you every step of the way!
The best in health and spirit!