Basic Digestion Advice

Written by: SphynxCatVP
Link to original: http://sphynxcatvp.nocturna.org/health/sc-gentips.html

If you are having digestion troubles, don't forget that quite often it can be simply a matter of what you're eating, and when you're eating it. Some digestion issues can be resolved with simple modifications to your diet, or by having a better understanding of the reasons food can impact your digestion.

Help for occasional problems

Beano (digestive enzyme pills)

The old standby for gas problems due to beans (hence the name), it may also help you digest whatever it is that normally disagrees with you.

Yogurts with active yogurt cultures

If you have, or think you have, a milk/lactose intolerance problem, try some of this. Not everyone who's been told they're lactose intolerant really IS - it may simply be a lack of proper digestive bacteria. Quite often this happens if a person's been taking a lot of antibiotics; they're known for pretty much demolishing your gut bacteria if you take them long enough. (The idea is to kill the bad bacteria, but they're not terribly discriminating about which bacteria they kill.)

Hot tea

Preferrably a regular black tea with cream (REAL cream!) and sugar or honey. This may help settle an upset stomach (between the hot/warm water and the proteins in the cream) but you may have to experiment with brands to see which one, if any, work for you. Absolutely NO fake cream / fake sugar crap for this.

Peppermints

An old old old herbal remedy for an upset stomach. Buy boxes of Peppermint Altoids (the regular, NOT sugar free) or a similar type of product. You want the mints to have real peppermint OIL, not peppermint flavor, and you want to AVOID artificial sweeteners (list is below) for safety reasons.

Tracking down chronic digestive issues

Keep a log of what you eat! This is often referred to as keeping a "food diary".

Also record the quantities (even if they're notations such as "meal" or "snack" for relative sizes) - sometimes issues can be with how much of something you eat or drink. This will incidentally keep a record of what you're eating in combination with other things (sometimes things are better alone than in combination with certain other things.)

If the food is prepackaged/frozen/canned, note the brand as well - different brands have different ingredients, and you may react to the set of ingredients used by one brand of a product, and not to a different brand. If you are able to isolate problems down to this level, then start comparing ingredient lists on packages to see what's different for the ones you do react to.

This is basic procedure for determining what your food allergies REALLY might be. On the flip side, if the sheer number of foods that disagree with you are that many, then keep track of what DOES agree with you. Either way, you're bound to get some idea of what you can and cannot eat, and that will make a difference in the long run. :)

If you find you're having constant troubles with anything that has gluten (such as typical breads and pastas), you might find you have celiac disease, and should have it investigated properly by a medical professional.

If you find you're having constant trouble with fiberous things (some salad greens, carrots, etc.) you may have Chron's disease (one form of an irritable bowel problem), and should have that investigated properly by a medical professional.

General advice

Clean up your diet! Skip the junk food / fast food / "McFood" options. Avoid things like artificial sweeteners (aspartame/Equal, sucralose/Splenda, acesulfame-k/Acesulfame, Saccharin, Neotame, etc.) because artificial sweeteners can cause a lot of bad reactions in a LOT of people - reactions that you might not even be AWARE are from the artificial sweeteners because they resemble reactions from other things, or may not be recognizable as a reaction.

Yes, that means skipping the sodas, burgers, chips, diet food/drinks and other things. Why?

Because less chemicals in the body, means the body isn't as overwhelmed by trying to filter out what is essentially garbage - things the body cannot use - and doesn't need to work as hard to clean it out.

I'm not saying cold-turkey quit junk food altogether - I do enjoy the occasional chocolate bar - but I'm much more aware of the contents of what I eat. My chocolate bars have real sugar, not "high fructose corn syrup" or any kind of artificial sweeteners, for example. Keep the junk food stuff in both small amounts, and only have them rarely. I never EVER eat or drink anything with artificial sweeteners, though, and honestly you shouldn't either - some I react to, some I don't....but it's just safer to avoid them altogether.

What is the benefit?

Well, especially for vampires, simply having less garbage in your body means that your body isn't going to drive you as crazy looking for missing nutrients. This means you're more in control of yourself when around others - and that can only be a good thing, right?