I’ve been living a gluten-free lifestyle long enough to know that my diet ebbs and flows. I go for several months totally on point, respectful of my dietary limitations, and then I become careless. It’s like I forget the inevitable symptoms and pain that follow. I eat a food I shouldn’t because I assume it will be o.k., although sometimes it is totally unexpected (always when we eat out, which is another reason to eat in!).
This happened to me on Sunday. Our family went to Whiterock for the afternoon. The tide was out, and the kids had a blast playing and even “swimming” in the tidal pools. By the time the water was too high to play, it was supper time, and we were an hour from home. So fish and chips it was. I figured if I scraped off all of the batter, the fish would be fine. Well, think again. Two days worth of serious system upset, and I realized that it hadn’t been worth the risk.
Here are a few tips I have learned over the years on how to calm my intestinal storms, which thankfully, on a gluten-free diet, are not all that often anymore! (This is based on my personal experience and should not to be confused with a solution to dealing with a chronic diagnosed or undiagnosed condition).
If I feel the beginnings of stomach pain and cramping, I turn to my trusty bottle of liquid chlorophyll. It has an instant soothing effect, and continues to lessen the pain throughout the day, more than if I would not have taken it. Liquid aloe vera juice has also helped me find relief, although the results are not as quick. It seems to be most beneficial when taken over several days.
After I eat a food I should not have (intentionally or not), I want to help my body clean itself out. I find that a really good way to do this is by juicing. I enjoy a simple blend of organic vegetables and fruit: celery, parsley, cucumber (to help to remove toxins and replenish nutrients), pineapple (a natural digestive aid to break down any waste materials left in the intestines), and apple (for added nutrients, and a natural sweetener).
Drinking water also helps to flush out the system by carrying away toxins. Drinking water at times when your body is not actively digesting, such as when you first wake up, or one to two hours after a meal, is important so that the water can go directly through, and not be slowed by the digestive process. While other liquids help to hydrate, they must first be digested, and may not be as beneficial as plain water to help cleanse.
When your body purges toxins, the gut flora may become imbalanced, creating more susceptibility to other conditions caused by an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria. I use either a yogurt supplement with a high dose of active bacterial cultures, or take capsules of acidophilus to ensure that my intestines stay healthy and balanced.
Since nutrients have also been lost in the body’s efforts to purge, it is important that these are replaced. But not all “safe” foods are high in nutrients. I like to consume foods that are nutritionally dense, and which my body can easily digest in order to access those nutrients. Chicken or beef stock, or vegetable broth have high nutritional content. Combine this with lightly steamed vegetables, soothing fats like olive and coconut oil, and eating small portions, ensures that my digestive system is running smoothly and happily.
And last, but not least important, is making sure your body receives the adequate rest it needs. Our bodies repair themselves more during the time we are sleeping than the time we are awake. I find if I do not have at least eight hours of sleep, I have more digestive trouble, along with less patience, and more irritability. Sleep is key to helping the body accomplish the previous five steps.