A common digestive issue and 7 ways to improve it
You eat all the right healthy foods.
You get your lunch from a healthy food chain that seems pretty balanced.
You track your calories, steps and workouts on a cool watch or app on your phone.
You always eat a variety of foods and would consider yourself to have a "healthy" diet.
You avoid fast foods, sugars, sweet snacks and treats and never eat those office doughnuts.
You have the occasional alcoholic drink, but you drink in moderation and make up for it by going to that extra spin class.
You always have a lack of energy or struggle to put on muscle or lose weight. You train hard, read health mags and blogs, work with a personal trainer who kicks your arse on a daily basis, but nothing changes.
You feel like saying "Why do I bother!"
It's frustrating as you see other colleagues and friends, eating what they want, doing very little to help themselves, yet they have bags of energy, look good and don't have half your complaints.
This form of nutrition torture plays havoc on your wellbeing. It's not only time-consuming, but you waste valuable energy on this area of your life that just leaves you feeling stressed out over food when food should be something enjoyable and easy.
I know how this feels as I was exactly the same. I considered myself “super fit” I could train hard, lift weights, run for miles, but everything I tried never seemed to work or never seemed enough. I was careful about the food I eat, considered myself to be very mindful of alcohol, sugar and all the other bad stuff that you should avoid, but nothing changed – if anything I just felt more tired, struggled to get up in the morning and felt like I was stuck in my own health groundhog day.
Sounds like you?
You are what you eat? WRONG..YOU ARE WHAT YOU DIGEST
This is a common problem with many busy business professionals I work with and can generally get worse the older we get and the more stress we have in our lives. One of the many hidden reasons behind this problem is that you are not absorbing the nutrients in your food. It doesn’t matter how much organic food, green smoothies or high protein shakes you drink your body simply will not break down these nutrients and all you end up with expensive number 2’s!
A consistent lack of nutrients in your body can lead to even more series problems such as:
Malnutrition – your body becomes catabolic and you start breaking down your body rather than building up. Not great if you are trying to pack on muscle and spending hours at the gym.
IBS Symptoms - IBS is a tough one and symptoms can vary from wind, belly ache, to being bloated. Holding in wind during work or in a public place is extremely uncomfortable. IBS seems to be an easy go to option diagnosed by GP's to anyone that has gut issues. I have found that with a number of my clients IBS symptoms are down to much deeper problems that can often be resolved once the relevant lab tests are run and the problem is understood.
Glycemic control – Your sugars go up and down during the day so you always feel like you need something sweet to keep you going. This leads to those sneaky chocolate breaks or reaching for that stale cake from your colleagues birthday that is 2 days old (We have all been there!)
Very regular movements – you may find you eat and within an hour or so you are desperate to go to the toilet. When you are trying to focus, in a meeting, working on a project the last thing you want is to keep having to make a run for the loo!
Leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability)– your digestive system passes undigested foods directly into your bloodstream causing your body to believe it is being attacked as it would if you had unwanted bacteria. This leads to being bloated as your body decides to kick into attack mode causing inflammation of your gut wall. Leaky gut can also cause fat deposits around your waistline, water retention, painful stomach after eating or even poor complexion/rashes and spots.
Hydration issues – you may find you always feel dehydrated - always struggling to quench thirst.
Mood swings– you may struggle to control your mood as it swings from happy, sad, to even angry as your body struggles to regulate neurotransmitters (think of them like a brain messaging system). Great when you are in a meeting trying to keep your cool!
OK, I get it - some of these things sound like me, so what can I do?
EAT SLOWLY AND CHEW – This is a difficult one I know when you're in a busy office environment eating at your desk it's often hard to eat slowly, but this is a great first point of call as I often find has a huge impact on some of the symptoms people complain about.
PROBIOTICS - You may find taking a good plant-based probiotic in the morning could be a good start. These will help setup your digestive system first thing so that your body has what it needs to help break down and start absorbing the nutrients in your food you eat during the day.
DIGESTIVE ENZYMES – take a good digestive enzyme before each meal. Digestive enzymes help break down the food even more, so your body has less work to do.
EAT YOUR MEALS IN INTERVALS – if you have the time especially if you are eating a big meal try eating a few mouth fulls every 5 minutes or so. This will give your body time to start breaking things down before another load comes along.
DRINK WATER – If you are dehydrated you need lots of water to keep your body running smoothly. Adding lemon juice can help aid your digestion and assist your body with electrolyte balance to keep you more hydrated. Coconut water is fantastic for this, but just don’t overdo it as it can have a laxative effect on some.
HCL – HYDROCHLORIC ACID – this is what your stomach uses to break down your food. Some people have low HCL – common sign of this is if you suffer from acid reflux (yes, most people think they have high HCL, but that’s a common mistake). You can also have low HCL if you take antacids regularly. Taking an HCL tablet once or twice a day before each meal for a short period may help top up your HCL balance and restore your digestive balance.
REDUCE COFFEE INTAKE – coffee has a unique property that can force you to evacuate your bowels! Some of you may have experienced this when you have a morning cup of coffee. It was believed that this was due to the caffeine, but that is not the case as decaff also has the same response. If you want to give your body a chance to break down food slowly you don’t want anything to force your digestive system before it is ready.
All of the above methods could make a huge difference. I work with clients that have these types of issues and often find by following a holistic lifestyle programme we can reduce these symptoms within a matter of months and actually start to heal the digestive system. By also incorporating laboratory testing we can also get to the cause of the problem by looking into:
FOOD SENSITIVITIES – Specific food groups are creating havoc in your gut.
PANCREATIC INEFFICIENCIES – low trypsin and chymotrypsin (enzymes needed for the breakdown of protein.
PARASITES – living within your intestines you can have parasites that create digestive problems and rob you of energy.
DYSBIOSIS – you could have an imbalance of good bacteria to bad bacteria (either direction isn’t good for your body they need to be in balance)
HYPERMOTILITY – people who are parasympathetic dominant – in other words the rest and digest part of their nervous system is overactive this can lead to digestive tract having excessive movement.
AND MUCH MORE……
If you believe you have some of the symptoms discussed and would like to move away from the stress and pain of gut dysfunction and start reaping the benefits of high energy proper food digestion why not PM me and we can talk about my 12-week transformation program https://www.bperformance.co.uk/12-week-health-optimisation
Holistic Health Coach and Bulletproof Performance Coach
Disclaimer: *This content is strictly the opinion of the bperformance blog/Mark Wignarajah, and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither bperformance/Mark Wignarajah takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program