Fresh out of university, I quickly landed my first job and entered corporate life.
It was supposed to be a time of celebration and new beginnings.
But instead, I felt only dread as I swiped myself in each morning.
My otherwise dream job was marred by one thing.
Embarrassing belly bloat and gas. At first, I put it down to nerves. But in reality, I’d suffered from digestive problems all my life.
Working in a closely confined office simply highlighted the problem.
Visits to my doctor’s office didn’t help. Nor did turning to holistic approaches or using supplements.
Was Eliminating Foods the Answer?
Perhaps a better solution was to give up certain foods.
So, I eliminated gluten and dairy.
At first, I was hopeful but months later, nothing had changed.
Every time I ate, I got digestive pains and my stomach was a bloated mess.
As a result, I was constantly tired and looked dreadful.
Then, following a blood test that revealed low calcium and vitamin D insufficiency, I began eating dairy again.
I monitored the situation carefully, and while these foods didn’t make my belly bloat any worse, my stomach cramps certainly didn’t get any better.
Was my Belly Bloat Caused by Something I Wasn’t Eating?
I began keeping a food diary and it wasn’t long before I noticed a pattern emerging.
Most of my meals centered around high protein foods. And while this is broadly a sound eating plan, I noticed one thing that was lacking.
I therefore resolved to make a change and see what would happen.
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What Finally Made the Difference?
First, I added LOTS more vegetables and fruit and I clearly began to feel the difference. For example, I kept my high protein breakfast of eggs but added spinach, tomatoes and avocado.
Next, I experimented with whole grains, nuts and seeds. This meant adding milled flaxseeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds to my overnight oats and using nuts as a handy, portable work-time snack.
Lastly, I introduced beans into main meals, another high protein food but also one high in fiber.
So, have you made the link?
That’s right, it seems that the cure…was fiber.
Due to my high protein diet, I wasn’t getting nearly enough of my daily recommended amount of fiber.
Therefore, I focussed on getting around 30 grams of fiber a day, which breaks down to around 8 grams per meal and 3 grams for my snacks.
How do I Feel Now?
To begin with, I finally managed to shake off the constant tiredness.
In addition, I now look healthy.
But most of all, I’ve lost the debilitating belly bloat which was my constant companion, leading to a life of misery.
Not only did I lose the belly bloat, giving me a flatter stomach, but I also lost weight without trying!
Because eating more fiber made me feel full, so I naturally ate less. Talk about a win-win situation.
In conclusion: I now feel lighter, brighter, more energized, look healthy and feel great.
Why Fibre Helps?
Feasting on fiber-rich foods can push gut-clogging residue out of the body.
Fibre moves food through the gastrointestinal tract quickly for better digestion.
So what else could be behind your fluctuating waistband and bloated feeling…and what can you do about it?
Bonus Tips for Belly Bloat.
Besides embracing a high fiber diet, there are a few other secrets to get a flatter stomach.
1. Reduce or cut down your alcohol intake
Most of us could stand to cut down on our alcohol intake. And in doing so, it can do wonders for your waistline.
Firstly, gram per gram, alcohol has the same amount of calories as fat.
But most notably, alcohol can cause conditions such as gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining.
As a result, this incredibly painful sensation can lead to bloating and gas.
2. Re-heating Food
For some people, bloating strikes only when they eat out and they experience tummy troubles after eating pasta, rice or potatoes in a restaurant.
This is often because these foods have been re-heated.
It seems re-heating starchy food alters its molecular structure, turning it into ‘resistant starch’.
This substance can’t be digested in the small intestine and so passes into the large intestine.
Once there, the bacteria that break it down produces gas and consequently bloating.
Some of us simply find it harder to digest resistant starch than others.
If you suspect you’re one of those people, you don’t need to avoid these foods – just ensure they’re freshly cooked.
Processed foods such as ready meals also tend to contain more resistant starch.
3. Eating too quickly
This often affects the 9-5ers and is the reason why bloating strikes all too often in the workplace.
Far too many of us inhale our food on the hoof, squeezing it in around meeting deadlines, taking phone calls, replying to emails and running errands for the boss.
Instead, give your food more mouth time.
In addition, a recent study found that chewing not only helped beat stomach bloat but also helped quell cravings.
In what the authors called “oral-sensory stimulation” – chewing tricked the brain into thinking you’re eating, making you feel fuller.
4. Drink Up
Steadily sipping water through the day helps keeps your system flushed and aids digestion.
But don’t overdo it!
Too much water can dilute your potassium levels, an essential mineral for healthy digestion.
It’s all too easy to forego your fiber. Most processed foods are incredibly lacking in fiber. Even many wholefoods are a lot lower in fiber than most of us realize.
Therefore, if you suspect that you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet, try adding the following, but do so gradually:
- Vegetables – If your goal is also weight loss, you may want to consider going easy on root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips.
- Fruit – Consider starting out with low fructose choices in case you have an intolerance.
- Soups – add plenty of vegetables and lentils.
- Salads – basically green water so you can really pile it on your plate!
- Nuts – They’re all good, you really can’t miss.
- Seeds – Same as nuts plus very versatile so you can discreetly add them to most recipes and smoothies.
- Lentils and Beans – also high in protein.
Note: Beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts and cabbage contain sugars that some find difficult to digest.
But according to Leslie Bonci, R.D., author of the American Dietetic Association Guide to Better Digestion, you don’t have to give them up:
“Once your body adjusts to them, you can gradually increase the serving size over the course of a few weeks.”
If you need more inspiration, check out these posts:
- Secret Detox Drink to Lose Weight: Unique Revolutionary Formula
- 18 Low Carb Meals
- Do You Know the Proven Secret Powers of these 12 Top Health Foods?
See how you go…perhaps you don’t have to ditch the diary after all.
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