Sunday, 10 July 2011

A healthy tummy is a happy tummy...

Due to some setbacks with my health, I have had to postpone some of my fitness goals for this year, look at achieving them a bit later than planned.  These setbacks involved my digestive health, and associated issues, and I discovered how important it is to be aware and listen to your body.  I found the problem with digestive health, is that it can slowly worsen over time, without you even realising what’s going on.  Feeling a bit yuck after meals, I put this down to having eaten too much.  Lactose intolerance graduated to protein intolerance, and general gastric upsets, bloating and stomach cramps.  For someone who follows a very natural diet, limited in processed foods, this is pretty frustrating when you think you’re doing everything right by yourself nutritionally.  I began taking enzymes and other extracts to help process my food, which helped, but this is no way to live! Remembering to take 3 pills before you eat anything isn’t convenient, especially if you want to eat out, or do things unplanned, and I’m not a believer in using pills to fix an issue, not initially anyway.  For me, stress was the trigger, and it was chronic, I never realised it was there.  It turns out that your digestive system is one of the first places to suffer, if you are experiencing any kind of stress.  Of course stress can affect many areas of our health, but our digestive system is one that I believe gets taken for granted, we assume our body will just process the food and we’ll be alright.  I’ll admit I was guilty of that myself, I’ve never been allergic or intolerant to anything in my life, and believed I’d stay that way.  It goes further than your digestion too... I ended up with ‘unexplained’ hormonal and emotional problems, somewhat connected!  If you can’t digest your food properly, you’re not absorbing the necessary nutrients, and your body depends on those nutrients to operate properly – that’s where we tend to recognise a problem, when we suffer in other ways from that, but fail to look back at where it can start.  If we also look at where nutrients start in our body, rather than only where they end up, we might have a better chance at keeping on top of things. 

Something we should all use, regardless of diet, is probiotics, either in a capsule or powder.  Just a daily dose of these friendly bacteria can keep our guts healthy.  If you have a stressful lifestyle, watch what and how you eat.  If you can be stressed, eat lighter foods, and eat slower, chew your food well.  This is much easier on your stomach.  

Happy eating! :)