How To Improve Your Digestion (And Stop Feeling Bloated)

June 20, 2016

Matcha made in heaven @roostercoffee #holisticnutrition #vegan #wholefoods #wellness #matcha #delish

HOLY GUACAMOLE–I haven’t posted since March. In more than two months. That’s the longest I think I’ve ever gone without posting. 

I’ve missed you. 

Where have I been, you might ask? Everywhere. Or at least that’s how it feels. Honestly, after my last blog post, I kind of knew I needed a break. With school, work and moving into our new apartment, I just didn’t have the time to be posting. I felt burnt out and uninspired–and no one wants to read about that. 

So I unplugged. Even my social media use went down, down, down. Instead I studied for my exams (and passed!), started working full time, and got a rescue dog. I’ve also been volunteering at various places–which included preparing the food for George Brown’s awesome Ambition Nutrition Symposium, which was a total blast. I’ve been taking a lot of fitness classes: from pole to dance to running an obstacle course. I went to the Canadian Holistic Nutrition Conference, where not only did I learn so much, but I acquired so many goodies and was able to fangirl a lot as authors signed my books! 

The break was much needed, but I think I’m ready to come back to The Nourished Mind. Again: I’ve missed you. 

I’ll keep today’s post short,  but I thought today we could chat a little bit about bloating, because I feel that when you bloat, it really takes away from your whole day. How often have you gone out with friends to coffee or a movie and felt like you spent the whole time shifting uncomfortably, the waistband of your pants digging into your stomach? Or how many times could you not wear that shirt or dress because it clung just a little too snuggly and highlighted how bloated you feel? Maybe you wake up in the morning, and your stomach is flat and the second  you eat or even have a cup of coffee, it’s bloat city for you. 

It’s not fun. So today, I’m sharing a few tips that will help beat the bloat and have you feeling comfortable in your own skin!

 

  1. Chew your food. Digestion starts in the mouth–when you start chewing your body gets the signal that food is coming and the stomach starts to prepare. Your saliva also contains amylase–an enzyme needed to break down carbohydrates–so if you don’t properly chew your food, it doesn’t get digested optimally, and you find your pants not wanting to button up.
  2. Don’t eat when you’re stressed out. When you’re stressed, all the blood flows away from your digestion and towards your limbs: getting ready to flee at a moments notice. The result? Bad digestion, gas and bloating. 
  3. Go to the bathroom in the morning. Okay, I can not tell you how often I talk to people who suffer constant bloating, only to find out they don’t poop in the morning! You should be taking a bowel movement first thing in the morning–otherwise it just sits in your colon, and midday you find you start to feel gassy, bloated and constipated. Make it a habit and set aside ten to fifteen minutes in the morning to go to the bathroom (no straining, just sitting!) and get your body used to the idea, that in the morning you eliminate! 
  4. Get your probiotics. Eating fermented foods–like sauerkraut, kombuchu or kefir–is a great way to get in good gut bacteria and improve your digestion. If those foods don’t appeal to you, or you struggle to eat enough, look for a high quality probiotic to keep things regular. When looking for a probiotic, you want to start at a low dose, below 10 billion CFU and build up to avoid unwanted digestive upsets. You also want to make sure it has a variety of bacteria, including multiple strains of both lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.  
  5. Drink peppermint tea. This is great if you’re already feeling bloated, or to drink after eating to prevent bloating, because peppermint tea has a relaxant and antispasmodic effect on your digestive tract!  
  6. Take a digestive enzyme. If food is your foe, and everything makes you feel quite literally like crap, I really urge you to get digestive enzymes. I carry them with me all the time, and take them before I eat certain foods (like starchy carbohydrates or desserts) or even after I’ve eaten something that may have had an ingredient I don’t tolerate as well (like dairy, wheat or soy). Look for a multi-enzyme formula that will break down carbs, fat and protein. The one I use contains amylase, lactase, lipase, and protease, as well as bromelain, papain, maltase and sucrase.
  7. Drink lots of water. Right when you get up in the morning, drink a large glass of water to kickstart your digestion and get things flowing. Keeping hydrated is an awesome way to make sure nothing stays stagnant and thus has the opportunity to ferment and cause bloating.
  8. Eliminate food intolerances. It could be that you’re sensitive to certain foods, and that’s what’s causing the bloating, so make sure to rule out food sensitivities. You can get tested for food sensitivities, or you can write a food diary and track what you eat and how you feel after. 
  9. Do some yoga poses. If I feel bloated, I find a great way to alleviate it is to move my body! Cow/Cat pose, Downward Dog and Child’s Pose are all fantastic poses to move that gas and eliminate the bloat!
  10. Work with a nutritionist. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about where to start to get your digestion on track, work with someone who can break it down into bite-size (eh? get it?) pieces for you. You can contact me here if you’d like to work one-on-one to get rid of bloating all together!

Okay, lots of info, I know. I hope these tips helps & if you have any tips of your own that you use to eliminate bloating let me know in the comments below! 

Best of health,

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Wildcraft Skincare & My New Favourite Foundation

March 20, 2016

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According to my horoscope–yes, I read my horoscope–I’m going through a bit of an existential crisis. I’m feeling disillusioned about my personal interests and education. And my views on well, everything are changing. It also says I’m struggling with how the world is perceiving me and I want to be viewed.

To be honest, this is dead on to how I’m feeling. All of it. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s definitely why this blog isn’t getting all the love it used to. Not because I don’t love it–I deeply cherish my little corner of the internet–but because I find my attention is being drawn to so many other things. I’ve been reading more, and exploring Toronto lots. I’ve spent a lot of time just thinking, what exactly do I want? Who do I want to be? 

These are not easy questions, but lately I find there’s this divide between the person I’ve always been (the hippy with hennaed hair and piercings, an enthusiast for the make-believe, a personal-growth junkie with a flare for self-destruction) and the person I’m growing into (???). It’s not an easy space to be in. I feel more serious these days, more reserved, more self-reflective. I’m more interested in listening to the world around me then engaging in it. I’m in the process of listening, I think, which makes it hard to create, and therefore, blog. I’m not really sure what 2016 will hold, but I do know there will be a lot of changes. A lot of simplifying and curating. A lot more breathing. 

Okay, back to your not-so-regularly scheduled program. 

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WILDCRAFT: My Ultimate Obsession

This year for Christmas, Allie picked me up a few Wildcraft skincare items from an arts fair she was at, because she heard the words “chamomile and honey” and instantly thought of moi. When I saw the Calm & Cleanse makeup remover, I was excited, because I just so happen to use honey to clean my face and a chamomile makeup remover to take off my mascara, so this was like two birds, one stone. 

She also picked me a Bergamot Rose Face Cream, to which I instantly hesitated. I hate moisturizers. They break out my face like none other. Especially natural moisturizers. “Not to worry!” exclaimed Allie, already prepared for my reaction. “This moisture is made specifically for dry, acne-prone skin!”

“Why–that’s me!” I said, ever-filled with glee. And we danced around the house, arms linked and drunk on laughter until the sun went down. (Okay, I’m embellishing. But the moisturizer is really made for acne-prone and dry skin). 

And let me tell you: this stuff is pure magic.  I love the cleanser, but I also knew I would. The ingredients are phenomenal, it feels soft on the face, takes off my makeup no problem, doesn’t irritate my skin. The cleanser is a gem, and better than any cleanser I’ve bought at a Sephora.  But it’s the moisturizer–this is what truly shines. Not only does it hydrate my super dry skin, and not only does it not break me out, but it also minimizes blemishes already on my face. As in, when I start to get a zit, instead of putting on a zit cream, I’ll just put this moisturizer on instead–and voila! All gone. Absolutely brilliant. 

I am trying to remember the last time I was so in love with a skincare routine that didn’t come out of my own pantry. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy. So if you’re looking for something for your dry, acne-prone skin, check out their website and fall in love. (Also free shipping over $30 in Canada). 

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I also want to talk about this Vapour Organic foundation–it’s a new discovery, brought to my attention by one of the lovely girls (and fellow holistic nutritionist) at the Detox Market here in Toronto. Again, I wasn’t expecting much of a natural foundation–I often find they cake too easily, wear too fast, don’t blend, are too oily,etc. But thankfully I tried this and oh baby, is it good. 

This is so light and it blends so beautifully. It gives a medium coverage, and it makes your skin look radiant. It also lasts fairly long (like it’s mostly still in tact after a day working over a hot oven) especially if you set it (I use 100% Pure pressed foundation). I have stopped wearing concealer and instead just dab this on my face to even out my complexion. It’s made of completely natural, beautifully nourishing ingredients so that your skin looks  better the longer you wear it. It’s pricey ($75), but a little goes a long way and there aren’t any fillers in this (not even water) so you get what you pay for!

I am just so in love with the Wildcraft + Vapour combo. Such a perfect fit. If you’ve tried other products in either lines, let me know your thoughts! 

Have a lovely day,

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PB & BANANA IRISH OATS

March 4, 2016

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Okay, I love oatmeal.

I think that’s because deep down, I’m just this little 80 year old woman at heart, who prefers to eat my food mushy, soft and usually in the form of some kind of sludge–I’m talking soups, smoothies, puddings, purees and porridges. Don’t ask me why I like all my food to feel pre-chewed, because it’s gross, but I love it. 

Same goes for oatmeal. The great thing about oatmeal is that it’s high in fibre, it offers protein, it is extremely versatile (you can make this savoury with an egg and cheese my friend) and it’s low on the glycemic index which is great for you and your blood sugar levels. 

So what is Irish oats? Oats that enjoy a good stout? Hmm, not quite. Irish oats, or steel cut oats as they’re known in my neck of the woods, are minimally processed toasted oat groats that have been cut up to be the size of sesame seeds. While they do take a chunk of time to cook (25-30 minutes) they offer a really nice nutty flavour and crunchy texture.

Now once upon a time, people thought that steel cut, being minimally processed, were the healthiest oats in all the land. But the truth is, as long as your sticking to just plain oats–like steel cut oats, scottish oats or old-fashioned rolled oats–and away from sugar-laden instant oatmeal packets, the nutrient profile remains basically the same! So if you dislike steel-cut oats, you can stick with old-fashion rolled oats–oat groats that have been steamed and put through rollers to create flakes, and being smaller take only about ten minutes to cook.  To make your oatmeal go further, I recommend adding extra protein–like milk/nut milk, nuts or nut butter, yogurt or an egg to help keep you fueled up. In fact, you can even add an egg into your oatmeal while it cooks–you can’t taste it but you’ll benefit from the added protein!

That being said, if you’ve never eaten steel-cut oats, I urge you to try them! They’re delicious, and super filling! Best of all, you can actually cook up larger batches to last you three or four days, and keep it in the fridge. Then just heat up a single portion every morning with a little bit of water and serve with almond milk and fresh fruit–a quick and easy breakfast in under 10 minutes! 

PB & BANANA IRISH OATS
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
4 Servings of Irish Oats
  1. 1 cup steel-cut oats
  2. 4 1/2 cups water
Toppings per serving
  1. 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  2. 1 banana, sliced and divided in half
  3. 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  4. 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  5. 1 teaspoon hemp seeds (optional)
  6. 1 tsp nuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1. Boil water and stir in steel-cut oats. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes, stir in half of the banana slices and cook until bananas start to soften (I recommending adding the banana right before serving, so if you're making a large batch to save for the week, remove 3/4 of the oatmeal, and only stir the banana into one portion of the oatmeal)
  2. 2. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl. Add on almond milk, the other half of sliced banana, peanut butter, hemp seeds, drizzle of maple syrup and nuts. Enjoy!
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