Why Your Belly Hurts and What to Do About It

Why Your Belly Hurts and What to Do About It

February 19, 2019

Why Your Belly Hurts and What to Do About It

There is seriously nothing worse than an upset stomach at the wrong time to ruin your fun. It can take an intimate dinner straight to the depths of cramping belly hell and is really stressful for those who experience this regularly, especially if you are having trouble identifying the root cause. Fear not, Ayurveda is once again here to save the day! From food combining to how we eat, get ready for a journey that will forever change the way you view (and feel about) eating food.

Digestion is King

Ever hear that saying, “you are what you eat”? Cue wrong buzzer sound. Nope. Not True.While seemingly subtle, this is the first myth that needs to be dispelled.

You are what you DIGEST. And what you don’t. Period.

What does that mean? Yes, eating high quality, fresh foods appropriately cooked and spiced according to your constitution is critical your health. But even more so is having the ability to absorb the nutrients from what you consume.

What happens when we don’t digest our food well?

All kinds of things, and none of them good.

First off, if you aren’t digesting your food well, you are much less likely to get nutrients critical to being healthy.

This can leave you feeling sluggish and fatigued, even if you’re eating all the “right foods”.

Secondly, this can lead to the formation of āma, or toxins within the body.

And this shit can seriously mess you up. My story is a great example.

I had chronic back pain for years, which was attributed to a number of things according to which doctor I was working with. “Slipped disc”, “scoliosis”, and “I don’t know  but here is a prescription for vicodin” were some of the answers I was given. My back would “go out” for up to a week at a time from doing something completely innocuous like bending over the sink to wash my face. No joke. This went on for well over a decade and led to me having to quit my band and studying martial arts. I was miserable, in pain, and pissed off.

Fast forward to India,  a 104-degree fever, and my subsequent stay in an Āyurvedic hospital.

There I learned that my back pain was caused by toxins or āma from my colon that had moved into the space of my spinal nerves, causing pain and inflammation. I went on a protocol of herbs and changed my diet and BOOM. Problem solved.

Following good food combining principles was a total game changer that improved my life one thousand-fold, and  can do the same for you.

How did poor food combining cause back pain?

The colon is a semipermeable membrane as its job is to remove water from your stool. This means other stuff can move with it. Hence the am moving into the space of my nerves. I was also incredibly active which created a very strong centrifugal force in my body thus moving toxins out at a greater rater.

Many athletes wrongly think they have injured themselves when in fact they are just eating bad food combos, creating toxins, and essentially pushing them into the deep tissues with their physical activity resulting in pain and inflammation

It’s true! Even rheumatoid arthritis is at its root an issue of toxins moving into the body from the GI tract.

90% of our health problems are caused by things we are doing on a daily basis. 

This is the good news. The bad news (for some)- you can no longer blame your state of health on anyone but yourself. Yup. That’s right. You are the architect of your own destiny, and this includes your physical health. So shape up and get healthy for reals! The quality of your life and possibly of those around you depends on it.

Back to food.

So what are these terrible food combinations and ways of eating that are to be avoided?

Don’t combine

With

shortcut

Beans

Cheese, fruit, eggs, milk yogurt

bean burritos are bad news bears

Eggs

Chees, fruit, beans, milk, yogurt, other meat

standard American breakfast= epic fail

Grains

Fruit

Granola with fruit- nope

Lemon

Yogurt, milk, tomatoes, yogurt

Just say no

Melons

anything

Always eat fruit esp. melons alone

Milk

Bananas, fish, kitchari, yeasted breads, cherries, melons

Pizza brings painnnnn

Nightshades like potato and tomato

Cucumber, dairy

Potatoes au gratin can make you feel rotten

Yogurt

Fruit, cheese, meat, milk, nightshades

Fruit and yogurt is a no

(ain't that a real bummer tho)

 

At this point you are probably wondering, “What the f__ am I supposed to eat?!”.

Well, not the above combinations, that’s for sure.

Don’t despair! It’s okay to occasionally have a bad food combo, just don’t make it a habit.

What makes food combinations incompatible?

Great question! Short answer-

When 2 or more foods have different tastes, energy, and post-digestive effects, your digestive fire (called agni in Sanskrit) gets overwhelmed and is no longer able to do its job well. It’s like excessive multitasking- you might get more things done, but the quality greatly diminishes.

Overloading your stomach with bad food combos can inhibit the production of adequate enzymes to digest each type of food, leading to the production of toxins.

The same foods, if eaten separately, might actually stimulate agni and can even help to burn up accumulated toxins!

What are some of the physical effects of poor food combining?

Indigestion, gas, fermentation of foods within the gut (melon alone!), and even disease, of which my back pain is an example. For example, eating bananas with milk decreases agni, produces toxins, and can even cause sinus congestion, colds, and allergies. Damn, son! No more banana milkshakes!

What are some easy ways to improve digestion and mitigate the effects of poor food combining?

  • Eat fruit alone. This is a great first step!
  • Cook your foods well and spice them- spices are great for helping us to kindle our digestion and can mitigate the ill effects of less desirable combinations.
  • Antidotes. Cilantro is great to help mitigate excess spice, salt is a very powerful digestive, and so is ginger root. Cardamom to coffee is another wonderful example, as it helps reduce the negative effects of this powerful beverage. Gone is the Wind is my go to and lives in my bag when I travel. Total life saver and takes away my stomach pain every time, which is why I now produce and sell it. 
  • Chew your food properly. Seriously! So many people don’t chew their food well enough, which is just leaving more work for your internal organs. So be kind to your belly and be thoughtful in your consumption of meals.
  • Drink 8 oz of warm water with meals. Not ice water. WARM WATER. Ice water is terrible for your digestion and actually impedes it! It’s like throwing ice cubes into a frying pan right before cooking. Avoid too much water with your food as this dilutes your digestive enzymes thus impeding digestion.
  • Eat a moderate amount of food. Don’t stuff yourself, but don’t starve yourself either! If you are tired after you eat, this means you have eaten too much. Eat enough that your tummy feels happy and to keep you going, but not so much that you need to lie down.

These are incredibly helpful tips and will change your flora for the better if employed properly.

What should I eat?

If you asked yourself this question after reading the food combining list, don’t despair. You are probably overly reliant on fast foods if pizza and bean burritos are a staple, and now that you know why they are bad, seize the opportunity to investigate healthier ways of eating. While eating right is done according to constitution type and is not something I am covering here today, there are some blanket truths that everyone can follow 

  • Eat fresh, local, and organic. Support your local farmers market and stay in tune with what’s in season. Always a great choice.
  • Favor a plant-based diet. SOS- this does not mean you should go raw! Very few people have constitutions that are suited to a raw diet, and it not usually the people following them that have it. Meat production and the associated inputs are very damaging to our environment and consume massive resources. Be mindful as we can no longer pretend like our actions don’t impact others- they do, and greatly so! There are plenty of sources of protein besides red meat, and if you do eat meat, choose local, organic, and thoughtfully sourced.
  • Cook your food. I know, I know, cooking can be a real pain in the ass. But your health and wellbeing are worth it. Take turns with your roommate, or so if you can create or join a cooking collective so that you only have to cook once a week or so but can still retain the benefits of cooked food every day.
  • Eat mindfully and without distraction. Digestion begins with your eyes. There are visual cues that help our bodies know what enzymes to release so that we can digest our food properly. Avoid watching tv or reading, and instead focus on savoring the gift of life that sustains you. Your body will thank you.

 

This is a lot to ‘digest’, I know, but fear not! You can totally do this.

Start small and work your way down the food combining list one day at a time.

I still love pizza as much as the next person, I just happen to know what herbs I can use to help mitigate it's ill effects (hint Gone is the Wind).

Thanks for listening- Now get out there and get awesome with your new food combining super skills!

 With love,

Sarah

  



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