Self help thoughts for digestive irritations..
Ok, so obviously you want to try and reduce the amount of white wheat based things in your diet as much as possible in the beginning….
Replace with wholewheat as a start.. if no immediate difference, go get a gluten free bread and pasta and see what effect that has, (the bread is not as nice but easier than trying to cut out altogether..)
If this has good effect, as your gut becomes less irritated you may be able to add more wheat again probably, although you may choose not too.
To reduce the irritation in the bowel tissues you could start with things that are mucilaginous, they coat and protect the mucus membranes in the bowel..so slippery elm powder, porridge, soaked whole or crushed linseed.
You want to work on getting your digestive juices going a bit better to digest food well from the actual stomach so bitters are good for this…rocket, grapefruit, coffee, there are lots of different foods that are bitter.. do a google search and find some you like. Bitters From the garden… you want to go get out and get your dandelion leaves (and roots if you can be bothered) Get these in your salads or make tea with them or juice them, add to stews etc. If you want something stronger you can try and get some gentian bitters or wormwood tincture (you would take only very small does of these). Bitters work by stimulating the upper digestive juices and the liver secretions which has the effect of making sure that food is properly broken down before it reaches the lower part of the digestive tract. If poorly digested food reaches the lower digestive tract it causes irritation and allergies. Because of the way bitters works you have to take them a half hr or so before food. Bitters also help constipation as the liver secretions are your natural laxatives.
Then you have the warming aromatics like ginger, cinnamon, anise, clove, cardamon. These help to increase the general activity of the whole digestive tract, they improve circulation and digestive juices and help to improve the digestion of food so that again food is digested better and is therefore less of an irritant. Aromatics help to reduce bloating and gas production. So you can use these in your cooking to have medicine with your foods or make teas and drink throughout day. It depends on your taste buds whether you can cope with these as teas.
Another two which I tend to use more of for people as they are more native to our climate is Peppermint/spearmint, lemonbalm, chamomile and fennel, these are all carminatives so help reduce irritation and gas like the warming aromatics but are less hot remedies.
Get the fresh ginger. You can chop it up into wee bits and then keep in the freezer, take out what you want.. maybe a few cms chopped up,, its taste really. Cover with boiled water and then cover the cup and leave for ten minutes before drinking. I would take between meals.
Think about your friendly bowel bacteria, your flora. Live yoghurt, fermented foods. Again keep it simple and do what is easy for you to change, don’t try and do anything to fancy that will set you up to fail.
So to summerise…. slimy stuff like linseed to bulk out stool and soothe the lining of the bowel, bitters and warming aromatics to get the digestive juices going, carminatives to soothe and relax an irritated bowel. THink about good happy gut bacteria!! Lots of water so that the stool is kept moist, exercise to keep things moving, reduce wheat and keep diet as varied as possible to reduce chance of irritation in the bowel. Grow some Culinary herbs and know that culinary herbs are ALL good for the digestion and digestive tract, that’s why they have ended up culinary herbs. Dandelion is great and is all around usually, go get the leaves and roots and chop them up a wee bit and freeze them so you can use them whenever you want to. xx
Don’t try and do everything at once, try adding or replacing things rather than purely cutting out as you will be bored hungry and likely to give up.
When it comes to digestive stuff there is sooooo much you can do… the gut is the heart of health!!