At FODNIGHT IN, Epicured welcomed four phenomenal luminaries in the GI sphere to share actionable tips for better gut health. These women were so inspiring, we needed to share their wisdom with our entire community! Check out the four tips from our FODNIGHT IN speakers to learn simple, healing behaviors you can add to your daily life for better gut health and a better relationship to your body.
Don’t believe the diet hype! There are so many diet trends in our society and some of them have us avoiding certain macronutrients like carbohydrates. Diet rules can send us mixed signals (and false information!) about food and lead to food confusion and avoidance. The truth is that some carbohydrates can minimize symptoms associated with digestive disorders. Before you remove foods from your diet, remember that what works for one person may not work for you and that’s why you should consult with a professional. This is especially true of high FODMAP foods! Placing the “bad” label on foods leads to feelings of guilt and shame when we eat them. When high FODMAP foods are labeled as “bad,” it creates an additional challenge during the reintroduction phase when these foods are added back to the diet to pinpoint your personal food triggers. Instead, you can refer to low FODMAP foods as “safe during the elimination phase” and high FODMAP foods as “unsafe during the elimination phase” which will remind you that this categorization is only temporary.
Check out this list of resources to learn more about Health at Every Size and the Anti-Diet movement!
- Association for Size Diversity and Health
- Council on Size & Weight Discrimination
- HAES Community
- National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA)
- Goodness Gracious Living Nutrition
- Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD
- Body Respect by Linda Bacon, PhD and Lucy Aphramor, PhD, RD
- Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S and Elysa Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S FAND
- Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD
- Diet Survivor’s Handbook by Judith Matz, LCSW and Ellen Frankel, LCSW
2. Learning to Cook Low FODMAP with Jeanne Petrucci, MS, RDN
Make low FODMAP fun! Following a low FODMAP diet can be frustrating as there are so many foods that need to be eliminated or limited. While the list of foods you need to remove from your diet is long, the list of foods you can include in your diet is longer. Focusing on your “go” foods and those that can be tolerated makes meal planning simple and fun. Low FODMAP kitchen staples: red peppers, carrots, butter lettuce, arugula, strawberries, oranges, grapes, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, quinoa, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, salmon, chicken, turkey.
Check out the recipes we made together at FODNIGHT IN and add some fun to your meal plan this week!
3. Mindful Eating from Dr. Bojana Jankovic Weatherly, MD
Mindful eating has many benefits for digestion and gut health. If you’re new to mindful eating, remember that practice makes perfect! Like with any new skill, it’s best to practice by starting small. Join Dr. Bojana in the Raisin Exercise! You may be surprised at how easy it is to pay attention to your food, to taste each bite, and to engage all of your senses while enjoying each meal. It might feel strange to “put your raisin to your ear and listen to it”, but trust us, it’s worth it!
4. Tools to Calm Your Belly from Dr. Megan Riehl, PsyD
The ability to relax and clear your mind is a helpful coping skill for managing life’s stressors. However, if you have many stressors, such as those that can be associated with having a chronic disease or pain, you may have some difficulties with relaxation. You may even wonder, “where would I begin?” Your breath is a wonderful place to begin when it comes to relaxation. There are many advantages to learning how to diaphragmatic breathing (i.e. belly breathing, deep breathing). Here are just a few:
- Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
- Decreases muscle tension
- Oxygenation of your blood
- Brings warmth to the hands and feet
- Increases energy and motivation
- Improves concentration
- Strengthens the immune system
- Reduces stress hormones
- Activates the relaxation response of the body (reversal of the stress response)
- Can be easily implemented, doesn’t require medication and won’t cost you a thing
The activation of the diaphragm through diaphragmatic breathing, allows for a gentle massage of the internal organs (intestines and stomach). This can aid with abdominal pain, urgency, bloating, and constipation.
For those that experience diarrhea and urgency, use diaphragmatic breathing in those moments of panic (i.e. “I MUST get to the bathroom immediately”) to aid with calming down your digestive tract.
For those with constipation, use diaphragmatic breathing while sitting on the toilet attempting to have a bowel movement. The relaxed breathing can aid with calming and massaging your system, which may lead to a more complete bowel movement. Below is a video demonstration of diaphragmatic breathing.