Let's Talk About Digestion
Everything in the body is connected together, which is one of the biggest concepts that I teach. It’s not just about spot training to reduce belly bloat or help you get healthy! I talk to my moms all the time about the importance of their deep core and how pregnancy can change the body.
I’m going to discuss the importance of digestion for your health, your pregnancy, and your postpartum recovery. You’ll also discover how it relates specifically to bloating, improving your core strength, and optimal absorption of the good, wholesome foods you are eating!
First, what is your deep core?
It includes your abdominal muscles but also includes your pelvic floor, your intestines, your stomach, and your entire body will benefit from focusing on your digestion, especially for moms! In pregnancy, there are huge changes to your body, and the majority of the obvious changes happen to moms core. Although we see the growing belly and think about the reproductive changes, we often forget that our organs and intestines and deeply affected by the changes in this space.
In pregnancy, everything moves up. Including the organs that process food into fuel and waste. This means our bodies attempt to 1) make room for a growing baby, and 2) help us absorb more and waste less. While this is a great tool for ensuring baby and mom are well nourished, it can slow down digestion.
Eating whole foods that are easily digested and full of fiber will speed up the process and make it more efficient. Eating foods that slow us down (gluten, high-processed foods, artificial sugar, chemicals) will do the opposite. Those foods that your body doesn’t recognize as natural stick around much longer, make you bloated, and are counter-intuitive to the energy you’re needing from your food!
What Can We Do To Help Digestion?
About 5 years ago, I started my gluten-free journey. It has really changed my life, my energy level and how I feel physically. We hear about the ‘gluten-free fad’, but calling it a fad really doesn’t do justice to what gluten really does to our bodies. Even if you aren’t severely gluten intolerant, you can try reducing gluten in your diet. Changing your grains to healthier, whole foods can improve nutrient absorption, reduce bloating, and improve your long term energy reserves.
For many moms, I’ve suggested gluten swaps and they see a huge difference in their digestive health! Simple changes like corn tortillas instead of those made from flour will reduce bloating, and speed up your digestion.
A bonus to reducing wheat and gluten? Most moms I’ve worked with have agreed they found a pretty immediate reduction in their sugar cravings!
OK. I'm ready to better absorb my nutrients and fuel my body. Where do I start?
Check with your doctor to ensure you have to health or dietary limitations, and be sure to account for a healthy diet for pregnancy, breastfeeding, and your activity level. Now we can look at the changes I suggest!
First and easiest change I suggest to most moms is reducing or cutting out gluten and processed foods/chemicals. The more veggies, proteins, and fats you get from natural sources, the easier it is to break down. Now your body can take what it requires and discard the rest. Without having to shuffle through simulated food items it doesn’t recognize, it is now more efficient!
Collagen is another big one many moms don’t know about. I love to make bone broth and there are also collagen supplements available. Collagen is imperative to repairing the fascia that holds up your deep core.
I highly recommend keeping a food journal, especially when you’re planning to make changes. This can help you identify what foods trigger you, and which you can tolerate.
It can seem overwhelming to reach the amount of fiber suggested. Fiber is key in healthy digestion. Eating a healthy diet including vegetables, nuts, whole foods, and some fruit, makes it easier to naturally reach your daily intake goal. And yes, I said fats! Don’t forget the fats. (check out the video for more reasons why!)