I received free product and compensation from Natural Vitality for this post. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for your support of My Healthyish Life!
In the lengthy process of healing my gut, which has included fighting flare-ups, I’ve tested countless products, foods and techniques to help ease my symptoms. It’s been trial and error finding what works for me because, you guessed it, it’s all individual. (That might be my new tagline because I say it so often). Not all have been successful, but I think it’s beneficial to learn about different remedies because you never know a) what will help and b) when/if you’ll need them.
These remedies haven’t necessarily healed my gut, but they have helped me live more comfortably and reduce stress, which definitely plays a role in how I feel. Even though the science fascinates me, I’m obviously not a doctor or medical practitioner so I’m going to stay away from the super technical stuff and diagnosing (for your own good).
All of this to say I hope to give you some suggestions and honest experience for how I reduce inflammation, stress and ease pain. Side note: these are in addition to the holistic supplements and specific recommendations from my doctor.
How I Reduce Stomach Pain & Inflammation
Meditation + Yoga
Gisele Bundchen meditates, so I meditate. End of discussion.
When I started seeing my holistic doctor, one of the first things she recommended was implementing a regular meditation and yoga practice. I had the yoga thing down but meditation was (and still is) new to me. I know that many people hear the word “meditation” and immediately counter with “OMG I’m too busy! I can’t sit still! I hate being quiet!” Blah, blah, blah. Those replies aren’t badges of honor.
My “practice” isn’t much of anything…just sitting for a few minutes in the morning and/or at night, closing my eyes and breathing. So incredibly simple but often overlooked. Sometimes it’s better with a guide (here’s a 7-minute meditation) but if you feel comfortable alone, go for it.
Eating anti-inflammatory (and finding offending foods)
Throughout my healing process food has been the biggest variable. I love to eat and hate the idea of unnecessary restriction, but sometimes things just don’t sit well with you…or me, in this case. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a detailed food sensitivity (blood) test, but those are crazy expensive. Instead, it’s experimenting and evaluating…and re-experimenting and re-evaluating.
I’ve also found that eating nightshade-free and limiting high offending FODMAP’s has helped ease my symptoms. I’d be happy to talk more about nightshades, FODMAP’s and food in a future post (let me know!), but here are two thorough sources that summarize the concepts in the meantime: Nightshades; FODMAP’s.
In addition, two anti-inflammatory spices I use regularly: turmeric and ginger. I use turmeric to season vegetables and eggs and use it to make golden milk. I add ginger to chicken dishes, vegetables, tea and drink it in kombucha.
Earlier this year my mom introduced me to essential oils. She bought me a diffuser, which sits right by my “work space” at the kitchen table, and lavender and lemongrass oils. A little about aromatherapy…aromatherapy uses essential oils made from flowers, seeds, herbs and roots to prompt the brain to initiate different psychological functions. Different oils elicit different responses. It is known to relieve pain, fight depression, improve blood pressure and reduce stress.
Lavender and lemongrass both promote good digestion. Needed.
I’m typically a sleep-anywhere-anytime kind of girl. Airplanes, cars, beds, floors, you name it, I’ll sleep there. However, throughout the last few months I’ve had a harder time decompressing at the end of the day. Whether it’s because of stomach pain, indigestion or just an influx of emotions, falling asleep isn’t the breeze it once was. Earlier this year when I first mentioned my stomach problems, many of you, along with my cousin, suggested taking Natural Calm. Since then it has become a regular fixture in my life/diet/routine, even more-so during a flare-up. So, thank YOU for helping me feel a bit better ;)
What is Natural Calm?
Produced by Natural Vitality, Natural Calm helps restore magnesium levels and balance calcium intake. It’s known as the “anti-stress drink!”
Magnesium? Why does that matter?
“Magnesium helps your muscles and nerves function properly; it keeps your heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system and also assists in keeping your bones strong. This essential mineral helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is required for producing and storing energy.” (source: Natural Calm)
How to use it
It comes in a powder form and you simply dissolve it in 2-3 oz of hot water before drinking (after dissolving you can add more hot or cold water). There are five different flavors, I use the original and Raspberry-Lemon. I’ll admit, it’s not the best taste right off the bat (the flavors help) but you can add honey or lemon to make it go down easier.
Actually, the Natural Calm site suggests adding it to things like smoothies, popsicles and snacks to mask the taste…so I tried that out! I used the raspberry lemon in a berry-banana smoothie and didn’t know it was in there. Next time I’ll probably use the original flavor. However, there is a calming effect, pun intended, with my nightly ritual: hot water with Natural Calm and a lemon.
There you have it…four things that help keep me (and my stomach) sane and happy. Again these remedies aren’t healing my gut directly, but their restorative and stress-relieving properties have been a positive addition to my life.