If you have ever suffered with chronic bloating, then you can understand the often debilitating frustration and irritation that arises with each meal as you either suffer with hours of discomfort or you find yourself skipping meals to avoid the pain of nausea, bloating and cramps.
Over many years of working with hundreds of clients and students in our natural healing and Ayurveda practice, we have seen that digestive complaints, including bloating, nausea and elimination struggles are one of the main underlying causes and triggers of back pain, headaches, menstrual discomfort and low energy.
Can you imagine that the regular use of 3 everyday spices can affect a lasting change?
When excess gas (Vata) accumulates in the digestive tract we can experience the uncomfortable symptoms of bloating, heaviness and strain in the GI tract. You can image it like a long and skinny balloon from a birthday party clown. Once that air is trapped in the tube, there is only one way it can be released (yup, a fart), and until it is, that gas is not going anywhere else. Add a meal into the mix and the digestive tract becomes overfull with food, waste and gas, causing the debilitating symptoms of bloating to persist.
- How did this happen and what can we do to release the strain?
- Where did the gas come from in the first place?
From an Ayurvedic perspective, we always wish to address the cause, to get to the root of a problem. Pull the root and the weed is no longer an issue….
Let’s look at a few common issues that contribute to the excess accumulation of gas in the digestive tract.
- Not paying attention while you eat. Whether it is excessive talking, watching TV or working away, the lack of attention on the meal, inhibits the digestive process. Eating without awareness results in eating quickly and barely chewing which compromises the natural digestive experience. Experiment the for the next 2 weeks by bringing your full attention to each meal, chewing each bite and soon you will notice the benefits you begin to experience in digestion and elimination.
- Bad food combinations. Though not a popular recommendation for those who love fruit, yogurt and granola in the morning, it’s helpful to have an understanding of how (sour/acidic) fruit and dairy can create a fermenting quagmire within your tummy and contribute to an excess of gas. Imagine the curdling effects of orange juice and milk….. Try reducing combinations of dairy and fruit taken together for a few weeks and you should notice a difference.
It’s also worth the effort to know that there are easy, accessible herbal considerations that can mitigate the effects of excess bloating, once the problem is occurring.
- Try a cup or two of CCF Tea. CCF Tea is an mixture of Cumin, Coriander and Fennel seeds (1 tablespoon of each) boiled in 2 cups of hot water for approximately 5 minutes and then sipped throughout the day.
- These 3 everyday herbs have a special affinity for removing toxins and helping to eliminate excess gas and bloating from the digestive and elimination systems. They work to bring balance by aiding in the downward release of what is not useful in the digestive tract.
- Within a few weeks, not only should you notice a reduction of discomfort, but you may also experience an alleviation of back pain and chronic headaches that can be additional hidden symptoms of such digestive strain.
The suffering we can experience with ongoing digestive complaints can be a never-ending frustration that takes away from our everyday quality of life. By taking the time and effort to explore a few new and simple considerations within your regular daily routine, you can mitigate the underlying cause. And by incorporating some simple herbal remedies into your diet to help alleviate the imbalance, you can begin to notice significant changes within a short amount of time.
Rebecca often suffered from feelings of strain, pressure and discomfort shortly after eating, which would bother her for hours. Sometimes she would experience mild bloating and at other times the cramping and suffering would go on into the night. She would find that she felt better in her digestion if she skipped meals, but then would begin to feel ungrounded or agitated with hunger.
It was an ongoing cycle of one type of struggle or another that never seemed to end. She began to find herself strained in relationships, not wanting to engage in meals and celebrations and her work began to suffer. Additional symptoms such as body aches, insomnia and menstrual discomfort began to add even more anxiety and frustration to the situation….
After many years, unsuccessfully exploring many options with her family doctor, naturopath, chiropractors and homeopathic medicine, she finally reached out to us for an Ayurvedic perspective. We could easily see that the morning fruit and yogurt smoothie, eaten cold and on the go was a significant contributor to her distressing situation.
After exploring the education to understand the subtle qualities of how cold food in the belly affects the “heat” of digestion along with the lack of attention of eating on the run and the gas creating combinations of fruit and dairy, Rebecca agreed to try 4 weeks of a warm breakfast enjoyed in a slow and easy manner. She committed to room temperature avocado on toast or warm oatmeal eaten in a calm and peaceful environment.
She also began to incorporate a cup of CCF Tea each morning and evening to help reduce the accumulation of gas and soothe the pressure her digestion had been suffering with for years. In less than 2 week she began to notice hopeful benefits. Though it wasn’t easy for her to establish the new habits to take the time to sit and eat with attention and mindfulness, she persevered. Soon, the benefits began to speak for themselves and after 5 weeks her suffering was greatly reduced….
Can it work for you….? Remember, Ayurveda as a natural medicine is so profound because it does not inhibit the symptoms, but strives to reduce the cause, affecting real and lasting change. But change takes time! So give yourself at least 3-4 weeks to begin to experience relief and keep eating mindfully with gratitude and awareness to ensure you don’t continue to suffer in the future. With a bit of commitment, dedication and patience it’s amazing what can be accomplished!
What do you think? Do you feel that a more mindful approach to eating, including thoughtful awareness of food combinations and the use of 3 simple everyday spices can make a lasting change for you? POST IN THE COMMENTS and let us know….. we can’t wait to hear what you think!
Shankari Van Acker has been Loving Living Ayurveda along with her husband and son in their Home and AT THE CORE | School of Yoga, Meditation & Ayurveda for over 15 years. You can get practical wisdom and support through her AT THE CORE blog and online courses exploring all aspects of The Well Nourished Life.