Okay, if you know me, you know that I am very open. Very. So DISCLAIMER: if you don't want to hear about my bowel movements and digestive issues, this may not be the post for you. Now since that's out of the way, let's get started!
My entire life, I have dealt with digestive issues. More specifically, chronic constipation. I don't know if it's just me, but when I'm constipated, I turn into an anti-social, sassy monster. This made for many days throughout my life when I'm sure nobody wanted to be around me. When I was 17, I finally got the idea to try going gluten-free, and within ONE MONTH, my digestive issues were COMPLETELY GONE (I know that I'm overdoing it on the caps, but..just wanted to prove my point). Gone after 17 years straight of stomach pain, Miralax (please don't take this), and fiber powders. This gluten-free diet worked for me for two years straight, and it was glorious. But inevitably the bliss of living in a world filled with gluten-free frozen pizza's, muffins, and corn chips eventually came to a squealing halt, and I realized that I was in for another major change. If you have a read my previous posts, you know that I was raw vegan for an entire summer. This was that summer. I went raw vegan, my digestion was back on track and I felt great. Eventually later this summer I also got diagnosed with Crohn's disease (who woulda thunk that 17 years of constipation actually meant something (**sass alert)). Eventually raw vegan stopped working for me and I switched to a plant-based (I'll explain later) auto-immune paleo diet (the diet I am still on to this day). I could go into more detail, but needless to say, I have had PLENTY of time to learn little tips and tricks along the way, and that is what I am here to share with you today!
Before I get into these tips and tricks, I want to point out that this is what works for my body. Somebody who is prone to constipation, bloating that makes me look 6 months pregnant, and a digestive system that seems to reject every nutrient found naturally in food. I'm not saying that I never get bloated or that my digestion is always perfect, but after making these four changes in my everyday life, glitches are rare (and I know how to fix them when they come about). With that being said, listen to YOUR body. Although it's great to get tips and tricks as to what work for other people (shared information is how we all are where we are today), you have to customize everything to fit your own needs. Like you'll see below, I even switch my own regimen up based upon how I feel that day. With that being said and with way enough rambling, let's get right into tip #1!
Tip #1: Trade out that Miralax for Magnesium.
-I had been various brands of magnesium from the drugstore for over a year with absolutely no change. If this sounds like you, stick around. It wasn't until I switched to Magnesium Chelate. From what I understand, the common form of magnesium sold in vitamins is magnesium oxide which is harder to absorb. Magnesium Chelate is highly absorbable and has an effect on softening stool. There are sites that state this much better and in much more detail (https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-difference-in-absorption-between-magnesium-citrate-and-chelated-magnesium) When I realized this, it's like my entire world fell into place. I take 1-2 at night (2 is the serving size on mine. The amount depends on how I feel my digestion is doing), and 1 more with breakfast. If I really need more during the day, like really need them, sometimes I will take even more with that. (You CAN overdose on Magnesium. Only take what is directed by your doctor). The brand I take is Designs for Health and you can find it here.
Tip #2: Kombuchaaaaa.
Okay, the first time I tried this stuff, I thought it was disgusting and vowed I would never try it again despite the health benefits. The second time I tried it, I said the same thing. Third time, hated it. Fourth time, I went in with a mind slightly more open and actually loved it. I drink the GT brand most often since all the ingredients are organic with no added sugar. My favorite flavor is trilogy but I love almost all of them. I never believed people when they claimed the benefits of Kombucha such as great digestion and increased energy, but I was quickly proved wrong. Kombucha has a ton of probiotics and offers a boost in energy without feeling jittery (even a strong black tea makes me shaky). But my favorite health benefit is how much it seriously aids in digestion. Now I said I was gonna get a little gross, but when I drink Kombucha, constipated or not, I will be pooping within the next 30 minutes. Usually less. So I usually save this for my meal of the day where I include meat. The food I'm eating no longer feels like it's stuck in my side (if you've ever experienced this, you know the awful feeling), and I feel like I actually get the benefits of the energy and nutrients that I should be receiving from the meal. Also, after a while, you actually crave Kombucha. Just try it.
Tip #3: A good quality digestive enzyme.
I take this one...
Like what I said before that sounded kind of contradictory...I eat a plant-based auto-immune paleo diet, which means that I follow the auto-immune paleo diet (with the exception of things like nut-butters), but only have meat in a small portion once a day. My focus is tons of fruit and vegetables, but assure adequate protein by eating some meat. This is because after a lot of time experimenting, this is how my body seems to function best. For those of you wondering why I don't just eat completely vegan, it's because this doesn't work for me either. After trying a paleo/vegan diet for a few months, I started having intense stomach pain that didn't let up until I added small amounts of meat back in. Long story short, taking 2 of these enzymes with every meal makes me feel like I'm getting the nutrients needed from my food, as well as not seeing a sweet potato in the toilet (gross, sorry).
Tip #4: And for my last and final tip, and to be completely predictable and basic...drink more water!!!!
The rule of thumb is to have half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. I try to double this. The more water you take in, the easier it is going to be for you body to digest food and detoxify. Yes, you are going to have to pee every 20 minutes, but that is a GREAT excuse to take a break from a college lecture (not necessarily recommended). It may seem like your drowning yourself from the inside out (what one of my 6-year-old gymnastics students told me when she saw my jug the other day, and apparently this can actually happen so..don't overdo it) but eventually you start needing this amount of water which makes it way easier.
If you have any other tips to share, I would love to hear about them in the comments below! I hope you enjoyed and that this will aid in your journey to digestion ;)