why you’re bloated after every meal (it’s not your fault)

You know the drill: you wake up with a flat stomach, have your morning coffee and put on a cute curve hugging shirt. You feel confident, energized and motivated. You’re having a good hair day and your eyelashes are on fleek. You’re officially ready to take on the day- but not without eating something first.

So you walk into the kitchen to have a few bites of your breakfast while scrolling through your Instagram feed, thinking about how lovely life is. But as you finish up the last few mouthfuls and put your dirty dishes in the sink, you begin to feel a sharp pain in your side. And then another. And then you wonder if someone has blown up a helium balloon in your stomach. You look down in disappointment, only to see that the food baby has emerged, yet again.

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Before you know it, the curve hugging shirt is tossed on your bed and replaced with a baggy sweater. And the confidence, motivation and energy you had only a few moments ago has been tossed away with it. Instead you’re left feeling drained, icky, heavy, and in desperate need of a nap. But you know you must carry on with your day (in digestive agony), so you head out the door, regretting that you even ate breakfast. Why, oh why is this happening to you!?

It’s not your fault you’re bloated after every meal. And here’s why:

Let me preface the following paragraph by noting that each person’s digestive system is different. The reason why you’re bloated may be very different from the next gal. But there are several common reasons for bloating (that you may be completely unaware of) that can act as a starting point to begin addressing your symptoms right away, and explain how to get rid of bloating naturally.

1. You’re distracted when you eat.

Believe it or not, this is one of the most common yet overlooked reasons for ending up with an obnoxious food baby after you eat. When you’re distracted and focusing your energy elsewhere (such as reading, scrolling through your emails, social media, talking on the phone, driving – basically all of the things we try to multitask with each day), your body has less energy to use towards digestion.

Furthermore, when you’re distracted, you’re less likely to chew your food properly. And if you don’t chew your food properly, who will? Your digestive system then has to use extra energy to break down the food, which can result in bloating.

The solution: Set aside 15 minutes to eat, and only eat. I know how tempting it is to pick up a magazine, the newspaper or your phone. But if you REALLY don’t want to leave the house feeling icky and uncomfortable, give it a try. It could make all the difference.

Also, don’t forget to chew your food. How well chewed, you ask? Chew until whatever you ate would be unrecognizable should you spit it out (sounds gross, I know, but that’s the form it should be in before it’s swallowed).

2. You have a lack of friendly bacteria in your digestive system.

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Friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics, are the little guys that do the happy dance in your intestines to help you digest the food you eat. They also keep your intestinal tract clean by helping you eliminate waste.

We need a balance of both good and bad bacteria in our intestines, but it’s very common to have an overgrowth of the bad guys and not enough of the good guys. Too many of the bad guys can actually impair your body’s ability to properly digest the food you eat, leading to “back up” and bloating.

Several factors can encourage an overgrowth of bad bacteria, especially taking antibiotics frequently and eating a diet high in refined flour, sugar and alcohol, and a lack of fibre from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

The solution: Adding probiotics and fibre into your diet can help restore the good bacteria in your intestines, which will help reduce bloating. I recommend getting probiotics from food sources such as coconut kefir, fermented milk (I like the brand Bio K) and sauerkraut. A high quality probiotic supplement in addition to these foods can provide a more concentrated dose.

3. You have food sensitivities you’re unaware of.

Bloating is a common symptom of food sensitivities. And it’s worth mentioning that food sensitivities often result from a lack of friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract.

The most common food sensitivities that are linked to bloating include: wheat, dairy, white sugar and beans/lentils. Cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and kale are also known to be culprits to the bloat, so pay attention to how you feel after eating those too.

4. You’re not sleeping enough.

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Have you ever noticed when pulling an all-nighter that something just feels “icky” in your digestive system afterwards? You may be bloated, but you might also experience acid reflux and other forms of digestive discomfort, too.

When you’re sleeping or resting, you’re in a state known as “rest and digest”. It’s the opposite state of fight or flight, where you’re handling several tasks or your energy is focused on doing activities such as working, exercising or driving. When you’re in rest and digest, your body can focus its energy on digesting the foods you eat. This is one reason that can explain why may not wake up feeling bloated after a good night’s sleep.

Simply put, if you’re not getting enough rest, your body isn’t able to utilize the rest and digest state to properly digest your food. Without your food being properly digested, it moves through your intestinal tract at a slower rate and can create the “back up” in your digestive system that leads to bloating.

5. Your meals aren’t combined properly.

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If you haven’t heard of food combining before, it’s the (rather effective) theory that states specific foods digest best together, while others do not, based on their biochemical makeup and speed of digestion in the body.

For example, fruit likes to digest very quickly- much quicker than proteins, fats and starches. Therefore, fruit is best eaten alone on an empty stomach. When fruits are mixed with fats or proteins (for example, a chicken and avocado salad with strawberries), the fruit will try to digest quickly while the avocado and chicken are digesting very slowly. This can create an “intestinal traffic jam”, so to speak which = bloating.

Now, that may sound confusing, especially if you’ve never heard of food combining before- not to mention it’s a process that requires explaining in much more detail in order to make sense (and inspire many “AHA!” moments). That’s why I created my signature (100% FREE) 5 Day Meal Plan, From Bloated to Blissful: The 5 Day Anti-Bloating Solution. {DOWNLOAD IT HERE}

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If you feel totally lost about this concept (or want to give it a try), From Bloated to Blissful is based entirely on food combining principals. The guide explains how food combining works (and why) in detail. The meal plan also comes with a recipe book, meal prep schedule and grocery list. It’s a great 5 day reset for your digestive system to help get rid of bloating naturally. In fact, here’s some feedback I just received the other day:

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Are you ready to give it a try? Here’s the link again: Download From Bloated to Blissful: The Free 5 Day Anti-Bloating Solution 

Wishing you digestive bliss,

Brandi

FREE MEAL PLAN

From Bloated to Blissful: 
The 5 Day Anti-Bloating Solution 

Say goodbye to sucking in your tummy and get ready to pull out the form fitting shirts (and poop like a champ!)
My signature 5 Day Meal Plan will take you from sluggish and drab to blissful and fab. 

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