6 Ways to Improve Your Digestion
Guest blog by Tanya Fraser, RHN.
Welcome Tanya! I’m so glad to have you on the blog. You are known in the wellness industry as a non-nonsense truth-talker with loads of expertise. Can you share briefly what led to your wellness passion and business?
Wow, that’s an awesome introduction! Well, there were many things actually and when I add them all together I knew I wanted to work in the wellness business. First, I’ve always been active, when I was younger I was a competitive swimmer and was also a ski instructor. I loved sports and still do. Right now I’m into triathlons. Anyway, because I was so active I had to watch what I ate in order to perform at my best. Second, I’ve always been fascinated by the power of food and how it can be use to heal us. And third, I’ve had some health scares and my father died of a heart attack at the age of 46. All this helped me decided my purpose in life is to help others help themselves, better their health and live a life that is full of health and happiness.
You talk a lot about optimal digestion. Can you share why having proper digestion is imperative for women’s (and hormonal) health?
Absolutely. Everything begins with digestion. Everything. Think about it. You could be eating all the health food in the world but if your body is not breaking it down, and utilizing it correctly then that health food is of no use to you. Every disease and imbalance in the body comes from poor digestion. When I work with clients, I always begin with improving digestion no matter what issue they may be dealing with. Once we get digestion in balance again and working optimally, it’s amazing how it affects the rest of their body. Skin problems have disappeared, joint pain is gone and hormones are balanced. The connection between hormones and digestion is huge and to be honest it’s not something that gets fixed overnight. It’s also a bit of a catch 22, when your hormones are out of balance, digestion is out of balance and vice versa.
If a woman’s digestion isn’t working properly, what symptoms might she experience?
I like to think of our digestive system like our fingerprints, no two are the same. And because we are so different from each other, we experience different symptoms when it comes to poor digestion. But here are some of the more common issues. Heartburn, bloating, constipation or diarrhea or switching between the two, as well as belching and farting. Stomach pain when you eat a certain food, itchy skin, hives or acne, low energy or fatigue after eating. Food allergies, feeling full even if you’ve eaten something small. There are many others and I like said it can be different for each of us. But if you are experiencing any health issue that is a sign that digestion is not working as it should.
What are 3 lifestyle changes she can make to improve digestion?
- STRESS!!! This is what kills our digestion. When we are in a stressed stated we tend to binge eat or eat foods that are nutritionally void of all things good. Cake, chips, soda, alcohol, fast food, sugar. We may crave these food. If you know you are stressed the best thing you can do is not eat. It’s very difficult for our system to digest food when our body and mind is stress. The first change I would recommend is get control of your stress.
- Next, I would recommend exercise, some sort of movement. For clients that have never worked out I get them to start walking after each meal if they can. At least lunch and dinner. Movement helps with digestion because it increases blood flow and gives our metabolism a boost. It also provides energy so you don’t feel so sluggish after a meal.
- And third I recommend good quality sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity. Sleep loss can increase your hunger and increase those cravings for sugary, high fat foods.
What are 3 foods she could include in a nourishing diet for gut health?
- The most important is water. Stay hydrated. I can’t stress this enough. As we age we produce less stomach acid and don’t feel as thirsty, which can be dangerous. Water is so important for digestion and overall health. It helps keep the digestive juices flowing.
- Fermented foods are amazing for improving gut health and balancing good gut flora (bacteria), they help with elimination (pooping!) and can help reduce bloating.
- Fibre rich foods. We need two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Think of soluble fibre like a sponge soaking up all the toxins and waste, insoluble acts like a brush sweeping it all out. I love foods like leafy greens, the skins on fruits and veggies, flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia!
Is there anything else you feel is important for women to know when it comes to having vibrant health, Happy Hormones and a happy gut?
Laugh more. Honestly, laughing is so beneficial for our health. It releases those feel good chemicals in the brain, it creates positive thoughts and feelings, it gives you a great core workout, and increases circulation of the blood. And who doesn’t feel good after a good laugh!
Here’re the professional facts, I’m a holistic nutritionist and personal trainer. I studied nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and became a personal trainer with Can-Fit-Pro. In my day to day work, I do such things as cooking classes and demos, I hold lectures and education classes on nutrition, fitness and living a life that doesn’t suck! I love working with individuals one-on-one either in nutrition and/or personal training. And in a past life, I owned a health food store. That was cool! Here’s the more juicy stuff. I eat meat and chocolate and ice cream and burgers and I also enjoy a glass of ice wine from time to time. Yes, you read all that right. I personally follow the 80/20 rule. I live a healthy life day to day, I drink green smoothies, eat raw food, meditate, exercise, breathe, stretch, sometimes I’m gluten free and vegan and I even detox from time to time. But I also LIVE life and enjoy myself. I know and understand that I am solely responsible for my own health, it’s up to me and only me to make the best of what this life has to offer, so I grab it with both hands and make life happen. You can find out more and connect with Tanya at www.tanyafraser.ca