Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods. These not-so-digested foods feel like they're just sitting around causing discomfort and general feeling of being stuffed and "gassy".
It can happen at any age but if it seems to be more frequent as you're getting older it can very wll be because of your stomach's reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion.
Normally when we eat, cells in our stomach release more acid which is important for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes. As we age this process can become less efficient an the result can feel like it's wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system.
Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effectts on all of our digestion abilities "downstream" and that can result in bloating.
Sometimes our bodies are (or become more as we age) sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies. This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet aas it may take a while for our body to get used to them.
Pro Tip: Try chewing your vegetables more throughly, or lightly cooking or steaming raw ones. If a fruit or veggie seems to be consistently related to bloating try eliminating it for a few weeks and monitor your symptoms.
Decreased stomach acid can reduce the activation of a key protein-digesting enzyme "pepsin". This means that the proteins you eat aren't broken down as much and they can pass through your system somewhat "undigested".
Pro Tip: You may consider reducing the amount of animal-based foods you eat and see if that helps you out.
One thing that can seriously cause blaoting is when your digestive system slows down. then things seem to be a bit stagnant, just hanging around in there a bit (or a lot?) longer than you'd like.
Ginger has been found to help with digestion and reduce nausea for certain people. Pepermint is thought to help your digestive muscles keep pushing food through, so it doesn't stay in one spot for too long.
Pro Tip: Consider drinking a digestive tea like peppermint or ginger. Check out my awesome recipe here.
All this lack of digesting in your stomach and small intestine puts extra stress on the large intestine. The large intestine is the home of all of your wonderful gut microbes that have SO many functions in the body. The problem is when undigested food enters the large intestine it can feed the not-so-great microbes. These "unfriendly" bacteria produce waste material and gas as a part of their natural metabolism. The more of these microbes in you have in your system (they will multiply if they are constantly being fed by undigested food in the large intestine) the more gas that will be produced in the large intestine.
Pro Tip: Try eating more fermented foods. Fermented foods contain probiotics which will feed the good bacteria and microbes in your sytem to keep the bad guys at bay. This includes things like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (as long as these don't cause boating for you!). Make sure they're unpastureurized and contain live cultures. If you cannot tolerate dairy based yogurt and kefir dairy free options are available or you could make your own dairy free versions.
You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement. Just check the label first to make sure it's right for you.
With reduced stomach acid you also have a reduction of the "activation" of several of your digestive enzymes (protein-digesting pepsin being one of them). In order for certain enzymes to go to work digesting your food they need to be activated. This usually happens with the assistance of stomach acid.
Pro Tip: You may consider trying an enzyme supplement to assist your body in digesting food while you work on reestablishing your own production of stomach acid (a healthy diet and lifestyle can do this!). Before you do, make sure to read the labels because some of them interact with other supplements, medicatios, or conditions, and may not be safe to use long-term.
You can try the "pro tips" I've given you. Maybe you'd prefer working with a practioner on an elimination diet to get to the bottom of which foods you may be sensitive to? If bloating is a continued problem for you please set an appointment to see your doctor or licensed health care provider.
One of my personal favs. This is my "go-to" recipe for whenever my tummy isn't feeling quite right or when its feeling just fine. I love ginger.
Pour the water into a saucepan and heat until boiling
Grate the ginger root into the saucepan. Let it come back to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain the tea into a cup using a fine mesh strainer. Add lemon and honey if desired.
Tip: If you don't want to use a grater and strainer then you can peel the ginger and thily slice it into your cup before adding boiling water. The pieces will be big enough so they will sink to the bottom of the cup.
I am so excited I have to rant. I arrived at the farmers market this evening and sent my son a text message saying "they have ramps". His reply was simply "RAMPS!" Even though he is only 13 years old he knows what a treasure ramps are.
Yes, it's that time of year again. We only get roughly 2 weeks every year. What are ramps you ask? Well, they are wild leeks but I know they are mother nature’s gift to the humankind. I cherish these oniony garlicky tasting gifts from GOD.
If you follow me on Facebook you know that the highlight of my week is going to the Cameron Park Farmer's Market that takes place every Friday from 4pm - 8 pm beginning early May and ending late October.
This week I stopped by one of my favorite vendors B & E's Trees. Bree Breckel the "B" in B & E's Trees sells beautiful bourbon aged maple syrup. Turns out growing along with all those syrup producing maple trees they have Ramps...lots and lots of them. This week Bree had several bunches with her. I couldn't resist taking a couple of pounds off of her hands.
My husband has been traveling on business and is going to completely miss this year’s ramp season. Being the awesome wife that I am, I will whip him some treats so he can enjoy them upon his return. I don't always love to cook so I am going to keep it simple. Sometimes when natural food is this good it is best left for simple preparations. I am thinking compound butter and ramp pesto. The butter is going to be a real treat on top of his home baked bread.
For dinner tonight I am going sauté the ramps in a bit of olive oil and finish them off with a pinch of salt. The ramps will be served along side fresh caught wild trout that I picked up at the People's Food Co-Op. I also scored baby purple potatoes.
Bottom line, if you have an opportunity to score some ramps where you live, I recommend you do it.
If you love ramps as much as I do and have a great recipe to preserve them into well after the season has ended, please e sure to share. I think we have a couple more days left of ramp season 2019.
Everything is better when it is in season an sourced locally. This is what we found here in La Crosse, WI.
Spread oil on bottom of pan to keep fish from sticking.
Place trout in pan and sprinkle salt on flesh inside fish. Stuff with lemon and fresh herbs.
Roast fish in the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until fish is cooked through.
Tip: Fish should be fresh, firm and have clear eyes and not smell like anything but fresh water.
Hummus is one of my favorite go-to snacks in the early afternoon. There is something special about it. It's so versitile that you can spread it on a sandwich or drip fresh raw veggies in it. I have a fondness of hummus made with white beans as I feel it give it a smoother texture without adding additonal oil.
Add lemon juice, garlic clove, cannelini beans, tahini, green onion, salt, Aleppo pepper (paprika if substituting), and cumin to a high speed blender or food processor.
Process on high until smooth (add a bit of warm water if it needs to be thinned out)
Refrigerate until chilled (approximately 1 hour)
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and pinch of Aleppo pepper or paprika.
Tip: This is a perfect make-ahead snack. It is much better than the store bought version because you are using fresh ingredients and no preservatives. Store refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Vegetable egg muffins are a great source of protein. These kick the nutritional value up a bit by adding veggies and more fiber.
Okay so eggs are not my favorite. Actually, I don't like them even a little bit. But, I know that many of you love them are are looking to add some protein, more veggies and fiber to your diet. Give them a try and let me know how much you love them.
Makes 12 Servings
Tip: You can make ahead and refrigerate and/or freeze leftovers. Simply wait until fully cooled on a rack and then pop them into freezer safe bags. Microwave for a quick, easy, healthy breakfast.
During menopause many women tend to gain weight. While this isn't great it's pretty common and there are many reasons why.
There are two main reasons why women gain weight during menopause.
Reduced muscle mass. Muscle mass uses energy (aka burns calories) so when we have less of it the body burns less evergy overall, leading to weight gain. Unfortunately, this weight gain may appear as increased belly fat.
During menopause there is an incrase in the hunger hormone "ghrelin". With an increase in this hormone comes the tendency to feel hungrier. Menopause also decreases the "satiety" hormone called leptin that helps us feel full after eating which can lead to overeating.
More ghrelin and less leptin = increased hunger and a decreased feeling of fullness...NOW THAT'S A PROBLEM!
So, you are probably wondering...What does all this have to do with breakfast?
Eating the right type of breakfast has been shown to help us maintain muscle mass, balance levels of leptin and ghrelin, which aids in weight loss and/or helps us maintain that lower weight.
What make a food "optimal" for breakfast in menopause?
Foods that are loaded with nutrients, fill you up and keep you feeling fuller longer. Let's take a look at these "optimal" foods.
Make sure to get protein in the mornings. Eating protein is critical for women in menopause. It helps to slightly increase metabolism and give your muscles the amino acids they need to stay strong. Protein also helps keep you feeling fuller longer which is great to try to offset that hunger hormone known as "ghrelin".
Which foods are good choices and high in protein?
Check out the my breakfast recipe VEGETABLE EGG MUFFINS Give it a try tomorrow morning. It contains eggs which some people may say is the "perfect protein". You can even make these ahead of time to save time in prepping breakfast during those busy mornings.
Fiber is very important to help stabilize your blood sugars to reduce cravings. The reason this is particularly important in menopause is because the risk of diabetes and heart disease increases afer menopause due to an accumulation of that annoying visceral fat in the abdomen. (Yes, I'm talking about the infamous "belly fat"!).
Also, did you know that certain fibers you eat actually feed your frindly gut microbes? Those microbes help you digest food and even make certain nutrients for you!
Which foods are high in fiber? Here are a few that you can add to y ou diet and increase to increase fiber intake:
Plus you get some bonus points if you include some of your daily fiber intake from flax. Flax not only contains fiber but it is also a source of protein and great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax has been shown to help reduce both hot flashes and the risk of breast cancer. So...WIN-WIN!
So bottom line, the most "optimal" foods for breakfast during menopause are ones that give you both proteain and fiber.
Here is a recipe that will help you get both that much needed protein and fiber. Check out my VEGETABLE EGG MUFFINS.