Paleo Foods to Battle an Upset Stomach

Indigestion? Throw down a little bit of Pepto and you’ll be back to normal in no time flat.

Bloating? Oh, that’s just a normal part of aging.   Just pop into your doctor’s office and he’ll be sure to prescribe something to take the discomfort away.

Hopefully you’ve been reading my blog long enough to see I’m being facetious. Unfortunately, though, both of these scenarios are all too common.

We’re uncomfortable, whether due to bloating, nausea, have a general feeling of being a bit off or any of the other less than enjoyable GI symptoms that many are experiencing regularly these days and the very first step is to medicate.

And it’s not just a few of us; in fact, according to a new survey, 74 percent of Americans are living with digestive symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating and abdominal pain[1]!

Rather than getting right to the bottom of it, far too often, what one is eating and drinking are not addressed until much further along in the path towards healing the gut.

I experienced this myself for years: mysterious GI issues that seemed to stem from nothing apparent, endless visits to specialists and trips to the E/R at the worst, all without ever being encouraged to look into what I was eating as the major causal agent to all of it.

Not surprising, I suppose, when you consider that education in nutrition is simply not perceived as an important part of the medical education offered to most doctors in training at universities across the US.

In the mid-1980s, the National Academy of Sciences published a landmark report highlighting the lack of adequate nutrition education in medical schools; the writers recommended a minimum of 25 hours of nutrition instruction. Now, in a study published this month, it appears that even two and a half decades later a vast majority of medical schools still fail to meet the minimum recommended 25 hours of instruction[2].

This statistic is doubly horrifying when we consider the ramifications the lack of training will also have on the obesity epidemic, in addition to the daily GI discomfort people are feeling needlessly as a result of choosing the wrong foods.

Over one third of doctors aren’t even eating properly themselves; 34 percent reported being overweight and 8 percent, obese, in a survey, which included 31,399 doctors in the United States, representing 25 different specialties[3].

So if the chances are greater than not that your doctor doesn’t have a thorough background in how what you eat can make you feel and that he or she may even be overweight themselves, why are we looking to them to address GI distress as the first step?

This is certainly not to imply that there aren’t serious conditions that do require medical intervention, but if we’re talking about gas, bloating, diarrhea and the like, if you haven’t first done your due diligence and looked hard and close at what you’re eating, you could well be selling yourself short.

In other words, if you don’t assess your eating regime and you simply begin taking a prescription for a guessed diagnosis (mine included IBS, Crohn’s and colitis… all of which completely evaporated once I began following a real Paleo diet, back in 2005), you may feel a little better, but you’re continuing to do the damage.

So when we think about what to take for an upset stomach, let’s first see what the foods we’re eating regularly may be doing to wreak havoc and cause the distress in the first place.

Aside from allergens themselves, the most common of which include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, wheat, soy, egg, fish and shellfish[4], we also need to look into hidden sources of all of the above.

Of course, if you follow a real Paleo diet, all of the above with the exception of the seafood and eggs are already not consumed, making it all the easier to stay allergen free.

Once your body has begun to calm down from the inside out, we can then begin to narrow down what might be triggering the gastric upset by starting with a food log and keeping detailed notes on how we feel when we eat certain foods.

Even when we are dialed into our real Paleo diet, there can still be times when something beyond our control happens, creating stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and so on.   A piece of bad fish served at a restaurant, a spoonful of sauce at a friend’s home that was presented as gluten free which wasn’t… in these cases, having a go-to home remedy can be instrumental in making you feel better fast.

Tune in tomorrow for just what to have on hand for these exact situations!

[1] “Survey Shows 74 Percent of Americans Living with GI Discomfort.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 24 Nov. 201

[2] Chen, Pauline W. “Teaching Doctors About Nutrition and Diet.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Sept. 2010. Web. 02 Aug. 201

[3] Chan, Amanda L. “What You Don’t Know About Your Doctor’s Eating Habits, Vacation Time And More.” The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2015

[4] “Food Allergens – Food Allergy Research & Education.” Food Allergens – Food Allergy Research & Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Aug. 2015