Perhaps it was the constant diet of blended salad my mother fed me as a vegetarian child or my many adult years spend in the detox-retox cycle, but my stomach just isn’t equipped to handle the many processed foods, meats and cheeses that makeup the mainstream American diet. After consuming these foods, I habitually find myself in the painful throes of diet induced bloat, constipation and many other admittedly un-sexy gastrointestinal issues.
I’ve had enough.
It’s time to regain control of my intestinal health, which, as it goes, forms the foundation of total body health. Did you know that 70% of the immune system is located in and around the gut? The key to health is to optimize elimination, reduce acidity, build alkalinity and develop intestinal conditions that allow healthy flora to thrive.
I do realize my timing is less than ideal. With a fully planned Thanksgiving feast including au gratin potatoes, an organic turkey, apple pie, fluffy bread rolls and cheesy broccoli casserole, just around the corner and, of course, Christmas cravings coming right up on it’s heels, I certainly could have chosen a more ideal time to start my healthy, whole foods lifestyle diet overhaul. But, as I’ve come to learn in this life, the timing is never going to be right to start a program aimed at kicking a bad habit. You just have to dive in and commit, then slip and fall, then get back up and recommit. It’s a process and there’s a learning curve, so be forgiving with yourself if you’re making a similar lifestyle change.
I’m going to share my road to intestinal health and energetic amplification with you all, aren’t you lucky? I’ll provide you with tips and tricks to reduce cravings, bloat, pain and weight gain that I discover along the way. You have my sincere promise to do my best to keep the really gross parts of my journey under wraps, so as not to scare you guys off the path. Feel free to write in with your requests for specifics. Ready?
Here we go!
Healthy Tummy Tip #1:
Cut the coffee. (Switch to hot lemon water in the morning and tea throughout the day)
Due to it’s acidic nature and caffeine content, coffee can wreak havoc on your stomach by directly stimulating the nerves that control intestinal activity. This can lead to diarrhea, dehydration and can also prevent nutrient absorption. Having your morning cup of coffee can set you up for a full day of not getting the full amount of nutrition or energy out of the food you consume. What a waste. Also, if you are prone to feeling anxious or are experiencing panic attacks, caffeine from coffee can exacerbate your condition. It’s best to avoid it altogether if this is the case with you.
Ugh. You might as well tell me to take a chainsaw to my right arm. Coffee is not only a delicious energy booster during that 3pm mid afternoon slump most of us have come to know so well, but I’ve turned it into a delightful ritual to start to my day. The friendly neighborhood baristas know me by name: “Amber.” (I’ve found it’s much easier to use a coffee pseudonym than to say and spell out Parvati every time I run in for my twice daily java jolts). I’m a serious coffee-holic. This is going to be horrible, but I understand the necessity of creating alkalinity in my intestine for a healthy gut. That means less tummy aches and more happiness. So, I’m going for it.
Even decaf coffee is off limits as it’s even higher in acidity than caffeinated coffee, so, yeah, us coffee freaks are pretty much screwed.
Today is day 1.
Instead of starting the day off with my typical large steaming cup of Joe, I opted for a mug of hot lemon water, which cleanses the liver and stimulates the colon without spazzing it out like coffee does. Honestly, I can’t say the lemon water was nearly as satisfying as my morning coffee, but it is nice and warm and very alkalizing. I’m planning to stay the no coffee course for the next 10 days and then re-evaluate. Feel free to join me and share your journey. I’ve found it’s way easier to do a cleanse when you’ve got a team of mizzos right there beside you.
Tasty Tummy Treat #1:
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Superfood Pudding
In honor of my favorite Thanksgiving dessert and my new goal to enhance my internal beauty, I experimented with some delicious superfoods that provide intestinal balance, fiber, vitamins and serious nutrition. This treat is so healthy it doesn’t need to be limited to dessert; it can be enjoyed as a mid-afternoon snack or even eaten for breakfast.
1 cup pumpkin – (I use canned pumpkin for ease and speed)
1 cup almond milk – (Silk no sugar added vanilla is my preferred brand)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 medjool dates
Blend ingredients in a VitaMix or high power blender. Pour into a bowl and chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Gobble up and relax.
Makes 2 servings.
*feel free to add 1 tbsp honey or stevia to sweeten it up*
My Supercharged ingredient list:
Pumpkin- one cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin is low in calories and contains 200% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin A, which aids in vision. They also are a great source of vitamin C, which prevents colds and they have more potassium than bananas. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, which makes you feel fuller longer and helps with weight control. They’re loaded with the cancer fighting antioxidant, beta-carotene. They also possess powerful free radical neutralizing carotenoids which have been shown to help prevent wrinkles (according to Health magazine).
Almond Milk- great source of calcium, less caloric and lower acidity than cow milk
Chia Seeds- the ancient Aztec warrior superfood. Chia seeds expand in your stomach so they make you feel fuller longer, they have tons of fiber, healthy omega 3′s and antioxidants.
Raw cacao powder- chock full of magnesium, iron and chromium (many people are deficient in these minerals). It also touts mood balancing tryptophan and serotonin.
Cinnamon- a powerful antifungal (candida cannot grow in a cinnamon environment), lowers LDL cholesterol blood sugar stabilizer and reduces chronic inflammation which may lead to certain neurological disorders. Your basic brain food
Medjool Dates- a top source of potassium and fiber and will not spike your blood sugar like refined sugars or agave.