Digestive trouble is something that I’m sadly quite familiar with. When I was in the throes of my hypothyroid symptoms, I wasn’t moving a whole lot…which meant that everything (and I mean everything) slowed down.
As I worked with doctors, my exhaustion lifted a bit, but my digestion didn’t get any better…until I made the transition to a truly healthier lifestyle. When I was preparing for my Whole30, I remember reading Melissa’s introduction and laughing to myself when she warned that you may not want to be too far from the bathroom.
Y’all. She was not kidding. Thankfully I work from home. After drastically cleaning up my diet, I went through reintroduction, and then I just got sloppy. It was okay to have some added sugar here and there when the boys wanted to make cookies…and suddenly everything stopped again.
That is when I realized that the digestive tract is a very sensitive and very crucial part of the body-not to be ignored or treated poorly.
So I did what I do best-I started searching for things that were known to help improve digestion. Wouldn’t you?
What I found surprised me, but looking back, I suppose it was no more surprising than realizing that after 5ish days of clean eating you stop craving junk all the time-it’s still there, but it’s not going to drive you crazy.
The first thing I did was to add bone broth to my morning routine. Unfortunately, by itself the bone broth didn’t do much (but it was tasty). So I went back to the drawing board while I kept sipping my broth. The naturally high gelatin content in bone broth is very soothing to the lining of the intestines, and helps improve nutrient absorption. Plus it’s delicious. I like to sip my broth from a large mug in lieu of coffee in the morning.
But, as I said, I was still struggling with regularity. I found some interesting items that have really helped me.
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body. It’s vitally important, as it is necessary in over 300 reactions within the body:
Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency. Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body include the brain and the heart—two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.” source
If you’re like me, you’ll notice an immediate digestive difference. You can also add epsom salts to your baths. If you notice that you have loose stools, back off your dosage and work up slowly.
Improve Your Bathroom Posture
There is growing research (and anecdotal evidence) that show squatting is not only more efficient, but more natural when you are eliminating.
I started using the boy’s Ikea step stools, but soon discovered that they weren’t always in the bathroom when I needed them. I’m sure you’ve heard (or seen) about something called the Squatty Potty, and it’s amazing. We now have one in each bathroom so that we can all achieve a more natural posture.
This may go against what you have grown up hearing. I was always told that if I wasn’t regular, I needed to increase my fiber intake. Turns out some of us (myself included) can’t handle a large amount of fiber. It may actually be hurting our digestion.
Not good! Turns out, my body needs more healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, lard, and olive oil. These healthy fats help to lubricate the digestive tract, which makes them perfect for those of us who have issues with things not moving the way they should.
It’s no secret that exercise is good for your muscles…including your digestive tract. When you move your body, it gets things moving through your digestive tract.
I recently invested in a Fit Desk so that I can get some gentle exercise while I work. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my digestion with this minor change. I also use my DanceBody workouts 3-4 times a week for low impact toning.
When you’re struggling with poor digestion, it’s vitally important that you bolster the good bacteria in your gut that is naturally occurring. To ensure this, I recommend that you invest in a quality probiotic and take it regularly.
You can also increase your consumption of raw, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and pickled vegetables. Fermented foods are an excellent source of probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes. Plus, they help nutrient absorption.
Have you struggled with digestion issues? What helped you?