This post is for all of those on the slow digestion team. As many of you know I have very slow digestion and my gut is sensitive to certain foods and stressors. During the winter months I also find my digestion and gut health need some extra love and attention. Over the past few years of really paying attention to my triggers and how I can assist my sluggish bowels, I’ve come up with a few tricks that keep me feeling good and helps the food move along smoothly through my body while giving the rest of my body the proper nutrients it needs.
Drink warm/hot water. This is my absolute number one suggestion. Drinking more water in general will aid in proper digestion. Drinking warm water is key especially during the colder months because it too helps with digestion. Our insides are warmer then room temperature and when we consume anything cold it can shock the bowels and slow down digestion. Think of what happens when a river starts to freeze, it slows right down but when it warms up in the spring it melts and it flows beautifully.
Eat heated/cooked foods. Again as mentioned with the water, consuming warm things will aid in proper digestion and help those bowels to move things along. I love a good salad but during the winter I switch to more stir-frys so the food is heated and cooked. Eating raw vegetables does provide more natural digestive enzymes so often I’ll add a few pieces of raw spinach or kale to the top of the stir fry.
Avoid over eating. Give your gut a break and consume less foods during the winter. Obviously I’m not saying not to eat enough nutrients, however I try to avoid eating too many snacks and I stop eating just before I get full. It’s a lot of work for our bodies to process food and often in the winter we’re not as active so we don’t need to give our bodies extra stress with too much food.
Drink Herbal teas. Many herbal teas are known for decreasing bloating and aid in digestion. You can find teas that have a combination of great digestive spices but some of my favourite include peppermint, ginger, chamomile, hibiscus and I often add a sprinkle of cinnamon too. My girl Taylor just recently launched her loose leaf tea company www.cupofte.com and she has many of these great options and so many more. Stay tuned for a collaboration we might be working on.
Limit liquids when eating. Our bowels have a powerful digestive acid which breaks down the food we consume. When we dilute it with other liquids, it’s not going to be as affective and it may cause for less food to be broken down. Drink your water and teas 20 minutes before or after your meals rather than when you’re actually consuming the food.
Take your time. With our busy schedules these days, sitting down and taking your time to eat a meal can be easily pushed aside. It’s important to take the time to chew each bite properly as well as enjoying food in a comfortable low stress environment. Stress of any kind causes less digestion so find a nice cozy spot, sit back, relax and enjoy the nutrients you’re consuming.
Get active. Get outside or head to the treadmill and get a 20 minute walk or workout post meals. I find movement the best way to help things move along. I’ve been known to dance and jump around (even in a restaurant bathroom stall) to help move along a meal.
So there you have it, my 7 favourite digestion tips I use during the winter months. Many I also use all year round but I definitely incorporate these more while it’s cold. I can honestly tell you that it’s been helping me soo much and I feel much less bloating, and no pain or other IBS symptoms compared to previous winters. Cheers to happy healthy digestion!