Ever since I lived in Kenya in 2010, my digestion has not been the same. I picked up Salmonella and Giardia, did the antibiotic thing and moved on. A year or so later, I started to have stomach aches, gas, and bloating. I would shift from constipation to the other end of the spectrum. A Holistic Kinesiologist in 2013 suggested I go gluten-free and dairy-free. This was a challenge, but over time I got the hang of it. I continued to deal with discomfort, feeling like something was off. Then I started living on a farm in California, eating the most beautiful organic food you can find, but I felt like I stopped assimilating nutrition.
The whole thing seemed to snow-ball. I've been tested for SIBO, H-pylori, ulcers, IBS, etc. I've tried most diets, including the GAPs and Ayurvedic Kitchari diets, and I have taken a lot of different digestive enzymes and probiotics.
I am NO expert, but I want to share my observations from my personal experience. Always remember, everyone is different. What works for me might not work for you. Here are my big take homes:
- Eat at the same time, or close to the same time everyday
- Add fresh ginger to your food to help increase digestion
- Experiment a little. Try to figure out what foods aggravate you and cut them out for awhile, then add them back in and see what happens
- When it is time to eat internally say to yourself, "I intend for this food to nourish my body." (note: if you are going to eat a cookie, can you honestly lie to your body by saying "I intend for this food to nourish my body?" No, you can't. Your behavior will change. Either you stop making that specific intention or you stop eating the cookie. Your choice.)
- Be with your food while you eat. Put the phone or reading material away and try closing your eyes. Taste the food, salivate a little. Enjoy it! You might be surprised to find out that food tastes better when you pay attention to it. You may also find you don't need to eat as much because you paid attention to every bite and feel full.
When I do these last two points, I feel connected to my digestions. I feel more accountable for what I am eating and I feel like I am aiding in the digestion process. Things have been going smoother for me, if you know what I mean... I know it all takes effort, but effort, intent and patients bring shift.
Disclaimer: There are many other tips like drinking lemon water, consuming more fiber, and diets diets diets, but you should go see a doctor before you self-diagnose.