Today I wanted to share some daily habits that have really changed my life. They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, but I read this very interesting article that suggests that the trickier, more time-consuming or harder the habit, the longer it takes to form. (Read it here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/02/how-long-it-takes-to-form-a-new-habit/ )
In all honesty, that kind of bummed me out.
Nevertheless, I’ve put together a bit of a list of things that I am trying to make daily habits – and unfortunately, who knows how long that will take now. The reason I’m bothering though? I’ve found these six strategies have made a huge difference to my digestion and gut health, and have thus reduced my symptoms when paired with the low FODMAP diet.
Here they are:
Taking a daily probiotic
This strategy was recommended to me by my dietician, and she and I are both strictly in the “I will not put things in my body that simply produce expensive urine” camp. She advised that a daily probiotic (such as Inner Health Plus), can help increase the good bacteria in the gut that may otherwise be depleted due to the restrictive nature of the low FODMAP diet.
Personally, I saw a reduction in my bloating.
Lemon water (go ahead and call me extra) and hydration
I know every popular YouTuber and Instagrammer etc etc always says they have a lemon water before they eat anything to “kickstart their digestion”. But I have to agree with them, it does something great to your insides. It might be more the warm water than the lemon, but gosh it gets things flowing. I regularly used to get a mild stomach ache after breakfast, even if I didn’t eat high FODMAP foods. But after trying this, gone, zero, zilch.
Also, just general hydration throughout the day is always something to have as a goal. Water is good for your bo-dayyy.
Paying attention when you eat
This is a tough one. Working a regular 40 hour week, trying to stay fit, meal prep, spend time with family/friends/the boyfie, get 8 hours of sleep and stay sane, the one time I really get to chill is when I’m eating. So naturally, I want to be watching TV or a Youtube video, listening to a podcast or scrolling through my socials when I’m chowing down on a meal.
But half the time I finish my food, and I haven’t even tasted it or enjoyed it, and I feel hungry or get cravings immediately afterwards because I didn’t pay attention to it. So I’m absolutely trying my best to just eat when I’m eating, and not multi-task.
Finding alternatives to foods I crave
When I first started my low FODMAP diet, I would often succumb to my cravings and eat foods I knew were going to leave me bloated and in pain. And only after really getting into the kitchen and experimenting did I realise this was because I was depriving myself. I was missing yummy foods, sweet foods and flavours I thought I couldn’t enjoy any more.
Part of the reason I started this blog was to share delicious recipes with other people on this crazy journey so that they don’t feel those same feelings. Food is there to be enjoyed, and can still be enjoyed on a low FODMAP diet – believe me!
Stop drinking alcohol
The relationship between alcohol and IBS is still being researched and investigated, but there is some evidence to suggest that alcohol intake is related to IBS symptoms1,2.
In all honesty, this one was no great loss to me. I have never been a big drinker. Like most people went through a bit of a drinking phase, but it came and went long before I started my low FODMAP lifestyle. But every now and again I would have a glass of wine with dinner or at a family function, and man, did I begin to notice that it did not agree with me. Give it a try (or at least reduce your intake if you go hard) and see what happens.
Eat more varieties of fibre
This was a piece of advice I received from my nutritionist in our first appointment. The microflora in our gut thrive off a variety of fibre sources, which generally include fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and wholegrains. In the restriction phase, I was finding one problem: because I was restricting my intake of wheat products, I wasn’t consuming many wholegrains.
I found as soon as I started incorporating more low FODMAP wholegrains in my diet (brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats) my digestion improved.
Fill me in on the daily habits you stick to to stay healthy!