Confronting Digestive Problems

Once upon a time when I was young and active, my digestive system worked like a clock. I used to eat whatever I wanted and I had no ill-effects from my meals. I would run and play right after and I was just fine. I went to sleep after supper and slept the whole night without any discomfort. Those were the days!

How many people have you heard say the above? Of course, it all depends which crowd you hang out with. If the crowd is in its teens, twenties or thirties, the digestive complaints are almost non-existent. It goes without saying that the younger folks still have all their organs in tiptop shape and they would have a hard time understanding your issues. You are no longer wearing the same shoes.

So this article is about the older group, the one that suffers from indigestion, heartburn, constipation, reflux, stomach ache, cramps, flatulence and the likes. We find that when we get older, we start paying more attention to the things we eat that cause us discomfort. We may not be willing to change our eating habits but we are aware that after the big Thanksgiving meal, we are in distress for quite a few hours. We know that binge drinking causes us heartburn and indigestion. Greasy meals are a cause of great concern to us. Slowly, as the years have moved along so did our body.

Many people have not felt the passing of time greatly depending on the lifestyle they have had. Those of you who did not drink, always controlled your portions, limited your fat, sugar and salt intake, led an active lifestyle and so on, the years went by without much impact on your body. Unless you had genetic, congenital or occupational abnormalities, life did not bring you too many surprises as far as your health was concerned.

Confronting digestive problems is to face the fact that the lifestyle we had is no longer beneficial to us. It is the beginning approach of admission to a problem. We now must accept that we are unable to sleep well when we are very full. We recognize that the same cabbage dish that we enjoyed years ago now causes us flatulence. We notice that we are no longer having easy bowel movements. We are now realizing that we are not tolerating quite a few foods such as tomatoes, lemons, oranges, grapefruits, grapes and others. We pay attention to dairy products such as milk and the diarrhea, abdominal distention, flatulence and pain they cause. The coffee that we love has a triggering effect on us: the dreaded heartburn. We therefore know that we must reclaim our health. But how do we do it?

Let us start with the “Know Thyself” concept. We need to understand that what makes us sick does nothing to our friend Diane. When she eats grapefruits, she is just fine but to us grapefruits can be considered a poison. So, it is time for us to handle our medical  issues as per our own knowledge and needs.

The first method we must employ is to start paying attention to the effects of a meal and pinpoint what could have caused the indigestion or heartburn, one at a time. We then start a list and little by little we learn to eliminate those items from our diet. Every once in a while we can enjoy a specially desired food but on a daily basis it is best to avoid it.

Here is a partial list of foods that can cause digestive problems:

  • Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes
  • Garlic and Onion
  • Peppers like jalapeño, cayenne, chili
  • Peppermint
  • Cheese, Nuts, avocados, and red meat
  • Wine, beer, or your favorite cocktail
  • Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, soda, tea and iced tea
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Fatty foods like butter, ice cream and red meat
  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods
  • Artificial sweetener such as sorbitol
  • Excess sugar and excess salt
  • Spoiled foods

Know YOUR body! Know YOUR offenders!

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