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Motivational Monday's (4/22/19) Topic: Feeling "Bloating"

Happy Easter Monday ladies and gentlemen! 

I truly hope you all had an amazing long weekend and shared some really fun, memorable, loving experiences with friends and family. ❤ And of course, ate some yummy foods! A topic I have been researching a ton lately for professional and personal reasons, is the ever so common term and feeling "BLOATING". What is it? Where does it come from? Is it normal? And of course, how can we limit, avoid or accept it if and we can? 

I get these questions frequently, and I want everyone to know right away that slight bloating or abdominal distension is a part of the digestion process. There are of course factors that may cause an increase in bloating, cases where bloating might not be normal, but in general, let’s break down what bloating is and why it occurs. I also want to mention that this information is important to learn for yourself, but also the next time you’re hanging with friends and someone complains they’re “so bloated”, you can teach them the normal reason behind bloating, how digestion works, and ways to reduce bloating if it’s temporarily uncomfortable.

Depending on the individual, bloating will most likely look or feel different for each person. In general, bloating can feel like your stomach or core area is full, tight, gassy, physically swollen, stomach distended (i.e. “food baby” is often a comment that’s said), and in general uncomfortable around the core area. For some people looking bloated is of more concern than feeling bloated. Also know that it could also be water retention during that time of the month with menstruation (ladies) or eating too many salty foods! 

There are several causes of bloating. Under "normal" conditions, bloating is often a temporary feeling of fullness, usually due to intestinal gas. After you eat, no matter what foods (although you can see from the list below there are foods that cause more bloat than others) your stomach starts to break down the food. That food becomes small tiny digestible pieces, small enough so the food can go through the small intestine and onward. Carbohydrates break down and fiber ferments which produce gas, which gas expands, causing dun dun dun BLOATING. Abdominal distension just means your stomach may physically looks larger temporarily, again this is a NORMAL part of the digestive process and is only shortly after you eat or as food is digested. Typically with bloating, it’s common to feel full, or even gassy — this should pass hours later or within the day and are relieved by having a bowel movement or yes, passing gas. BUT the good news is, guess what, your body is properly digesting food and absorbing nutrients to fuel you! 

On the flip side of that, there are some signs of unusual bloating that I want everyone to be aware of! Bloating can also be caused by certain health conditions such as IBS, food intolerance or sensitivities, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, acid reflux etc. This is why I am ALWAYS talking about listening to your body after meals! Like I have mentioned time and time again, there are some foods that may be deemed "healthy" but are NOT for YOU and your unique body and intestinal tract. Another interesting fact that not many people are privy too is that there are actual healthy, whole foods that just naturally cause more temporary feelings of bloat than that of others due to their starch, sugar, fiber or high-sulfer content.

Here is a helpful list of "some" of the whole foods that are LOADED with positive enzymes, vitamins and minerals that very commonly cause a little natural occurring gas and bloating: 
  • Beans, legumes, lentils
  • Cruciferous vegetables (Broccoli, Broccoli sprouts, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Green cabbage, Red cabbage, Raw Kale (dark leafy greens in general), Turnips, Radishes)
  • Fiber rich foods (chia seeds, flax seeds, oats etc.) 
  • Foods rich in healthy fats (nuts, avocados etc.)
  • Eggs 
  • Salt (in excess)

That being said, there are several ways to help ease the feeling of bloat that I have found work well for me. Warm water with lemon or hot peppermint or ginger tea, which can help soothe digestion and release gas, take a tiny 10 minute walk with some bouts of deep breathing to help your body destress and focus on digestion, try to use the bathroom if you need to go, drink plenty of WATER throughout the day (of course), and last but not certainly least, this is HUGE, make sure at your next meal you chew the food properly! Slow down the eating people! Take time to chew and let you body digest the food properly, your gut will thank you for it! 

Wrapping up. The bottom line is that while our bodies are amazing, adaptive, and can work like clockwork, it’s still not a flawless machine that operates with nothing uncomfortable or weird happening at times. Bloating occasionally or after eating is part of normal digestion. For some reason all of us have made up in our minds that we should never be bloated, should always be feeling “light”, have a flat stomach, and no water retention. Our bodies will change from day to day and sometimes they do they’re own thing, bloating included, and that’s okay! 

The key is to constantly check in with yourself and ask yourself if what you’re experiencing feels or seems odd or out of the norm. Reach out to me or your health care professional if unusual bloating is becoming an everyday day challenge you face, if you find no relief, if it’s painful, or intruding your daily life. By doing so we can experiment with your personal digestion and different activities and foods to see which personally affect YOU. If we find what may be triggering constant bloat, we can try limiting or eliminating those foods. 

Work with your body, if you listen, it will tell you everything. Have a fantastic week everyone! 💪
Coach B



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