If you have food intolerances or a troublesome tummy, eating out can be tricky at best and a nightmare at worst!
Reading a restaurant menu might feel something like this:
Can’t eat that…
Maybe if they switched this for that, and took off the cheese, plus used a gluten-free bread…
Eating out is a big part of our social lives. And no matter how careful you are when eating outside of your home, chances are that some meals may disagree with you.
For some of us, the consequences of these food ‘slip ups’ might simply mean a temporary bellyache. For others, a food reaction means literally days of feeling bloated, wiped out, drained and “food bombed”. (You’ll understand that term if you’ve ever experienced it before!)
So what can you do and what should you eat to normalize your digestion as quickly as possible? Check out these 9 tips!
1. Pump Up The Probiotics
Many people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and tummy issues find that probiotics relieve their symptoms. If you experience a belly flare-up, try taking a good-quality probiotic to see if that settles things down!
Disclaimer Alert: For a small percentage of people, probiotics can actually worsen symptoms and increase flatulence. This involves a bit of trial and error to gauge for yourself.
2. Fresh Lemon And Grated Ginger Tea (Plus Peppermint!)
Freshly grated ginger and squeezed lemon juice can form a potent elixir to support your digestive system. Simply steep these ingredients in a little hot water to extract ultimate goodness. It’s best to drink this brew at room temperature if you don’t wish to stimulate your bowels.
If your stomach is bloated or cramping, you can also try steeping a bag of peppermint tea in this mix. Peppermint is a natural relaxant for the muscles of your bowels and will relieve ‘gripey’ stomach pains.
3. Veggie Juice (Hold The Fruit Please)
Provided that you don’t suffer from salicylate, glutamate or amine intolerances, a pure vegetable juice can be really nice if your digestion is feeling sluggish from a food reaction or heavy meal.
A word of kind caution; stick to juicing veggies and hold the fruit! Large doses of fructose (the natural sugar in fruit) can be hard to absorb if you have a sensitive digestive system.
4. White Basmati Rice
When you hear ‘white rice’, do you cringe a little bit inside? After all, we usually associate ‘white’ or ‘refined’ foods as being less healthy!
Admittedly, I usually prefer to eat brown rice. However, the roughage of this wholegrain variety can worsen an active digestive complaint.
By all means, please return to eating higher-fiber brown rice once your tummy’s settled down. But while it’s feeling grumpy, stick to white rice which is easy to break down and digest. (Plus, basmati rice has a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike your blood sugar levels!)
5. Banana and Smooth Peanut Butter
Bananas are low in FODMAPs, which means that as far as fruit goes, they are much less likely to cause bloating and digestive discomfort. For a little extra energy and yummy taste, add a little smooth peanut butter.
This combo is particularly helpful if you tend to suffer from diarrhea as a food reaction; both bananas and PB tend to slow down the transit of food through your bowels. It’s probably best to avoid this idea if you constipate easily, though!
6. Bland, Traditional, English Vegetables (Preferably Peeled!)
I know this goes against everything we’re usually taught about veggies. When your tummy is happy, high fiber, varied vegetables are absolutely great for our health!
However, when your tummy is super unsettled, bland, well cooked, peeled and ‘old English’ vegetables (such as potatoes, chokos or chayote, turnips and beans) tend to be more gentle on digestion. This is because such veggies tend to be lower in natural food chemicals, which 1 in 100 people react to. Plus, lower-fiber vegetables are also easier for your digestive system to temporarily cope with.
7. Enjoy A Simple, Nourishing, Pumpkin Soup
Again, the cooked and pureed food can be nice and gentle on your tummy! In soup form, food is easier for your system to break down.
If you’re sensitive to FODMAPs, opt for a Jap Pumpkin – also known as a Kabocha squash/pumpkin. Many people additionally find that onion and garlic can be a little bloating, so try flavoring this soup with some herbs, salt and pepper instead. If you eat meat, an organic bone broth can make a beautiful substitute for stock.
8. Lay Off The Legumes And High-Fat Foods… Just For A Bit
Legumes are naturally high in fermentable sugars, which tend to cause gas even in people who don’t have food intolerances! While this side-effect is not necessarily a bad thing under normal circumstances, this may stir up a sore belly even further during ‘food reaction’ times. So if legumes are part of your normal diet, trial avoiding them temporarily until your symptoms settle, and notice if this speeds up your recovery.
Furthermore, high-fat foods delay gastric emptying, which refers to the rate at which food leaves your stomach and enters your small intestine. In other words, a high intake of fat slows down digestion. So steer clear of fatty foods until your belly is in tip-top form once more!
9. Lighter Proteins
Providing you aren’t vegetarian or have an amine intolerance, poached, grilled or steamed chicken and fish are generally well-digested and nourishing. For an extra digestive bonus, trying adding a squeeze of lemon!
Gut health and digestion are ‘buzz’ topics in natural health. And for good reason, too! Your gut is the epicenter for your total wellbeing. And when things go awry, the side-effects are super uncomfortable.