Constipation & Food Sensitivity

Constipation & Food Sensitivity – Abdominal Distension & Bloating

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Your waitress comes along, happy and cheerful. She smiles, welcomes you and asks what she could get you to drink. As she is about the leave the table you ask her, “How far along are you?” She gives you a blank look and states, “I’m not pregnant” and walks away.

This happened to a girl I know and the one upside she said that came of this was that the customer left her a generous tip. Why do we have these somewhat awkward encounters? Why are we sometimes bloated? Or all the time?

Please note, while reading this, please stay calm. Getting stressed and irritated with yourself, or over your body or the food you eat is not going to help the situation.

Backed up Bowels – The Battle with Constipation

How many times do you go to the washroom? Can you answer this question for a day, a week or a month? I dislike when people say “I go regularly” (It’s even worse when a professional confirms with them that (for example) going twice a week or every three days is regular for them). That’s not right, it’s not regular, you’re just constipated. In fact, the same can be said if you are going way too frequently throughout the day (five, ten times a day, and your stool is loose, watery – something like diarrhea or it’s popping out like rabbit pellets – painful and irritating).

Think of your body as a machine – which it is, a very intricate machine – you put food in and waste comes out. Now if you put foodinthree times a day (let’s not get into snacks) and no waste comes out that day, perhaps not the next or even the following day, now your body is filled with a day, two or three’s worth of food. This food is slowly rotting, releasing gas and decomposing in your body, pushing on your abdomen causing distention, discomfort and flatulence. Normal transit time is between 12-18 hours, this is calculated from the time you throw food into your mouth to the time you release stool. Some foods may take less time than others, fruit, for instance, will leave the body far quicker than a steak.

Now, remember, we are not freaking out!!!

Think about what you have eaten in the past few days that may have contributed to this stand still. Moreover, think about those great washroom days and what you ate at that time.

Some great tips for having a pleasant bowel movement.

  • Drink water – slowly, and not so much that you feel sick. Pace yourself. Water should be your #1 go to drink.
  • Fibre – beans, greens, and pectin fruit (blueberries, berries, black currants, apples, pears). Fibre will help to move your waste out. ***
  • Reduce Stress – If you are stressed you are in ‘Fight or Flight’ mode. AKA – your body has cut off power to your digestive system and it’s focusing its attention elsewhere. Be calm when you eat, and afterwards try to keep your stress at a minimum. Look at my blog post for stress reduction HERE
  • When you have to go – GO – don’t be self-conscious, everyone goes poop. Literally everyone – human and animal (a hummingbird may be an exception, but we can let that go). So when you get that feeling, go!! It’s not good to keep holding it in. The more you hold it in, the more pressure is placed on the nerves that are connected between your bowels and your brain. Eventually, they will get exhausted and the signal will begin to fade or stop completely (it can be powered up again – though it takes a lot of work).
  • Get off your butt and move a little – walk (get Pokemon Go and go find yourself some Pokemon). Join a gym and take some classes, if you don’t like going to the gym (I know I don’t) gets some friends together, make a team and join a sporting club (I was on a Volleyball team once). Swimming is a great way to get your body into motion. Don’t like that … jump some rope, ride a horse, ride a bike, climb a mountain. Just move your body!!


*** Be careful with fibre supplements. If you are straining on your white throne to push out the smallest, hard pellet, throwing more fibre into your diet will not help as much as it will hinder. Instead look at foods that will coat the intestines, such as aloe vera or goldenseal (as a tea or tincture).

Food Sensitivity & Food Intolerance

Food Sensitivity: happens when IgA, IgG and IgM antibodies are prompted to a negative response by food, chemicals or bacterial toxins. The response is often delayed – by hours or days – symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract include – Nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, bloating, passing gas, stomach pain, cramping, heartburn, GERD, ulcers (to name a few – these symptoms can be attributed to something else).

Food Intolerance: Lack of enzymes to digest a specific food (Lactose Intolerance, Gluten Intolerance, and Fructose Intolerance are examples of not having enough enzymes in the body to digest a specific particle of food). Symptoms include; “loose stools, diarrhea, constipation, alternating between constipation and diarrhea, gas, bloating, cramping, indigestion, depression, sometimes belching, nausea and occasional vomiting” (page, 156).

I will get into doing a home food intolerance/sensitivity test, for now, pay close attention to what you eat and how you feel immediately, a few hours later and a few days later. Keeping a journal of what you consume and how you feel emotionally and physically is a great way to close in on what foods may not agree with you.

 

 

The Journey into the digestive system will continue in Heartburn & Acid Reflux and Small Intestinal Distress – SIBO and Why We Bloat! If you have any questions I’d love to hear from you!!

 

References

Arranga, T., Underwood, L., & Viadro, C.I. (Eds). (2013). Bugs, Bowels, and Behavior. The Groundbreaking Story of The Gut-Brain Connection. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing.

Croxton, S., & Brooks, K. (2015). What Causes GERD, Constipation, and Reflux…And Natural Remedies that Work! Retrieved August 9, 2016, from The Digestive Sessions, http://digestionsessions.com/presenter/keri-brooks/

Cutler, E. W., & Kaslow, J. E. (2005). Micromiracles: Discover the healing power of enzymes. United States: St. Martin’s Press.

Enders, G. (2015). Gut: The inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ. Australia: Scribe Publications.

Haas, E. M., & Levin, B. (2006). Staying healthy with nutrition: The complete guide to diet and nutritional medicine – Twenty-First century edition (21st ed.). Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

Holford, P. (2004). The optimum nutrition bible: The book you have to read if your care about your health. London: Piatkus Books.

Lipski, E. (2011). Digestive wellness: Strengthen the immune system and prevent disease through healthy digestion, fourth edition (4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.

Amanda Filipowicz
Amanda Filipowicz

Amanda Filipowicz is a certified nutritional practitioner (CNP) with a bachelor in environmental studies (BES) from York University. She also has certification in clinical detoxification, prenatal and postnatal care as well as nutrition for mental health. She has a decade of experience in nutritional health and is a lifelong proponent of eating healthy.

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