Our culture has become so obsessed with how our bellies look on the outside, we often forget to pay attention to how they are functioning on the inside.
Many times we take no notice of how we are treating our digestive tract until it becomes a problem that can no longer be ignored. The majority of issues that I see in my Nutritional Blood Analysis clients all relate back to digestion, which then causes a variety of symptoms in the body.
Standard Advice for Digestive Concerns
Sometimes digestive issues can seem like a quick fix and that the same information will benefit all people…
Keep away from any packaged foods.
Take processed sugars out of the diet.
Avoid dyes, preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Maintain a healthy balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Eat your vegetables.
While I do believe that the above advice is good for everyone, it is not always good enough.
If it were, I would not have clients who say “I eat a healthy diet, but I still have digestive complaints” or “I still cannot lose weight.” I had one client who was struggling with her weight tell me, “I don’t eat like a fat person.” This broke my heart.
So why then are people still struggling with the pain and the heartbreak that comes with digestive disorders even when they are avoiding the standard American diet, and trying every single health food trick they know?
… Because sometimes there is something more.
Why Digestive Problems Persist Even When We’re Doing Everything Right
Sometimes there are hidden stressors that contribute to improper digestion. These stressors can lead to abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and unnecessary weight gain or loss.
Over time, our bodies can lose the ability to break down food properly. Many things, including chronic stress, hormone imbalances, and food sensitivities can lead to a decrease in our digestive enzymes and stomach acid. When food is not completely digested not only are we not receiving the nutrients need for a healthy life, we are also creating an unsanitary environment in our guts.
A Metaphor for the Gut
Consider for a moment a running river which is constantly purifying and cleansing itself, this is what a healthy digestive system should resemble.
Now imagine a pool of stagnant water…when nothing is moving, things begin to grow. This is what our guts begin to resemble when we are not breaking down our food properly and it sits in our stomach. Things begin to grow. Our stomachs become breeding grounds for unwanted bacteria, parasites and fungi, which can be the source to a whole list of symptoms including the ones mentioned above.
So What Does One Do?
First off, let’s get as close to the root of the problem as possible. What is causing the digestive issues in the first place?
Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself:
1) How am I managing stress?
Adrenal fatigue creates an imbalance of cortisol and DHEA. It is becoming common knowledge that stress and excessive cortisol can result in belly fat.
2) Is estrogen the dominating sex hormone in my body?
Many women (and men) struggle with hormone imbalances which lead to unnecessary weight gain. An estrogen dominance can cause an array of symptoms in the body.
3) What is growing in my gut?
“Bad” bacteria, fungus, parasites, and a lack of “good” bacteria cause many digestive complaints and make it hard to maintain a healthy weight.
4) Does my body detox properly?
The liver is your body’s powerhouse for filtering toxins. If it is congested, digestive complaints are sure to follow.
5) Could I be eating foods that my body cannot break down, or do I have any food sensitivities?
Our bodies can actually act like they are under attack if we eat foods that are wrong for us. This creates a lack of stomach acid that is needed to sanitize the gut.
Going Deeper with Digestion
If you are ready to look deeper to find these hidden stressors, and committed to do what it takes to feel and look your best, we would love to work with you. We have committed ourselves to learn how to get as close to the root problem as possible, and how to teach you the techniques needed to restore and maintain digestive health.
Let’s change our idea of body image! Let’s learn how to love our bellies and have an appreciation for all the miracles that happen within, just as Candace mentioned in her post Belly Love. Instead of focusing on the outward appearance of our abdomens, let’s start by looking at what is going on inside.
Once we have restored our digestive system to its full potential, we can look at our stomachs in the mirror and know we are seeing a reflection of a happy, healthy belly.