Abdominal Distention. Enemas and Beyond
I have been raw consistently now, for over 18 months (on and off for 4 plus years) and one of the first things I noticed was that my lower abdomen became distended. I assumed this would go away after a few weeks/months, but it has not.
I am looking for advice, suggestions, recipes etc that might help.
Currently I am embarking on a regimen of fermented foods, probitiotics, aloe, and enemas... (can't afford colonics right now). To see if I can heal these issues.
Does any one have any good enema recipes, for healing? Enema advice?
I am wondering if some of this distention is due to not having enough gut flora and not really paying attention to that - when I had my son 5 years ago I was on massive doses of broad spectrum anti-biotics for 4 days and I never conntected this with a huge die off of beneficial gut flora which I have never worked to replace. Though I have always had 'iffy' digestion and been somewhat bloaty in my lower abdomen even when eating cooked I assumed that was the way my body was built.
I think its time to challenge that and look into ways to help my body adjust, heal and digest. So all and every scrap of input from y'all is welcome.
I also welcome advice on the possible emotional/psychological connects and aspects too.
Hi Sarah! I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. I hope I can help you with this, but if you feel you need more specialized advice, I suggest seeing a naturopath, another alternative health professional or you can contact me and we can discuss this further.
Stomach bloating and distention is a common complaint among people new to raw diets. Raw fruits and vegetables contain lots of fiber, which is not digestible by the human body. Instead, it has to be excreted via bowel movements. Without enough water, fiber can get 'stuck' in the colon and become hard to pass through the bowels, causing constipation, gas, bloating, etc. Changing to a high raw or totally raw diet can be a shock on anyone's digestive system; doubling or tripling the fiber content in one's diet over night will often produce undesirable symptoms. Over time, the body will adjust to all this new fiber and symptoms should disappear. If the symptoms do not improve within a few weeks, then there is likely something more serious impairing digestion. It could be anything - food allergy, hormone imbalance, parasites, imbalanced intestinal flora, or even something very serious like a tumour.
Anti-biotics disrupt the natural balance of intestinal flora, contributing to bloating, gas, diarrhea, yeast infections, and other digestive problems. Over-use of anti-biotics can lead to a chronic deficiency of 'good' intestinal bacteria; if the 'good' bacteria is never fully restored (via probiotics or fermented foods), then each subsequent round of anti-biotics will reduce the remaining 'good' bacteria even more, and put the body at more of a disadvantage. Hence, multiple courses of anti-biotics taken in close succession can impact the body for years after being administered. Drinking chlorinated water, drinking alcohol, taking drugs/medication (especially birth control pills), and eating non-organic foods can also contribute to reduced intestinal flora.
If the body is chronically deficient in intestinal flora, 'bad' bacteria can flourish in the intestines and promote many health conditions such as pms, anxiety, candida over growth, skin problems, food allergies, and much more. Many of these 'bad' bacteria feed on sugar and yeasts; the more sugar you eat (fruit), the more sugar they eat, and the more they multiply and affect your digestion. Thus, reducing dietary sugars can be helpful in reducing symptoms of bloating and gas.
Probiotics and fermented foods (taken 1-2x/day for at least a few months) are necessary to efficiently restore intestinal flora. I would not suggest enemas at this point, unless you are chronically constipated.
This next part is not specifically directed at you Sarah - but it's worth being said.
There is a big misconception in the raw community that a raw foods diet can cure, reverse, or address ALL health conditions. Unfortunately, this is untrue. Living foods provide to the body optimum nutrition in the most easily assimilated form; but many living foods can also contain mould, excess sugar, and very little essential fats (ESSENTIAL to life, health, and strong digestion). In addition to this, raw foods require more digestive energy than cooked foods, which can put a strain on digestion, especially if the body is already overwhelmed with other health conditions or symptoms. Sometimes supplements or alternative forms of healing therapies are necessary to allow the body to heal.
It is just as important to listen to your body on a raw diet as it is on a SAD diet. I find it ironic that so many people switch to a raw diet because of digestive problems, and yet few of them will question a raw diet when they continue to experience digestive difficulty. RAW DIETS ARE NOT PERFECT FOR ALL PEOPLE, ALL THE TIME. Each of us has individualized dietary needs based on our past experiences and our health history, and there is not one answer for everyone. It often takes a lot of investigating, trial and error, and in some cases professional help to address health issues.
I had a bloated belly and all kinds of stomach problems until I started doing the 811 diet. Now even after a huge meal my stomach looks pretty flat and normal. I'm pretty thankful about that.
Sarah, Unfortunately I can't add anything from personal experience on this. I've been blessed with a pretty hardy digestive tract. (unless I over indulge in coffee, then I get some upset). I wish you well.
I've never had trouble when following 80/10/10 diet either. But, like I said, not much bothers my digetive system.
I'm not trying to hijack your thread, but you may benefit from my question anyways?
Fortune, I was wondering if as a holistic nutritionalist you had a "laypersons" book that you would recommend for holistic nutrition. I'm sure Amazon has tons of books on the subject. But, I was wondering how reputable they may be?
Sisterbecky - There are so many great books on the market, it's hard to recommend just one. Holistic nutrition has a lot of sub-topics, and it's important to be well educated on each one in order to appreciate the holistic view. Knowing the basics of digestion and general anatomy and physiology of the body is a good place to start - it's impossible to understand health without first understanding the body itself. 'Eating Alive' by John Matsen, ND is a great book for that. 'Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing' is a good reference book and explains many conditions and their appropriate nutritional approach, though it relies heavily on supplements to address many issues. Also, there are a number of books by author Patrick Holford such as 'Optimum Nutrition for the Mind' and 'Optimum Nutrition During Pregnancy', etc. He addresses many issues and his advice is very good but it can be a bit technical and scientific, and the information is not always raw or vegan. Brendan Brazier wrote 'Thrive Diet' and 'Thrive Fitness' and both are amazing resources for vegan sports nutrition. 'Allergies: Disease in Disguise' is another fantastic book for explaining food allergies and how they affect the entire body, and also how to heal yourself of them. Anything by Lorna Vanderhaeghe is worth reading - she is THE leading authority on women's health. And lastly, for psycho-spiritual issues, Caroline Myss is the best.
Find yourself a comfy chair and settle in for some serious reading! :D
Thank you Fortune for the recommends. Off to my Amazon account to update my wish list...
Fortune-I was just wondering where I could find a Registered Holistic Nutritionist in my area? I just feel like I need help on this path I am taking. So much confusing info and advice. I feel overwhelmed.
Yes, part of my journey with raw is to understand that the path is individual and there is not a 'one size fits all'. Just like life right?!
I will add your information into the mix Fortune and keep walking...