For many people, the term “detox” might not sit too well in the stomach. The notion that many of our favourite and often enjoyed things in life might actually be bad for us, can be quite challenging to accept. (Until we find balance from those things, start to feel better and then learn to love replacing bad foods with foods that make us feel great!)
But I don’t mean struggling to stomach a detox metaphorically speaking. I mean literally.
Adding extra vegetables and legumes to your diet can often create some rather interesting and often unpleasant (sound and smell) effects!
When food that has only been partially digested reaches your intestine, the bacteria in your gut cause it to ferment and produce gas, which can cause additional discomfort such as bloating.
Vegetables and high-fibre foods are actually more difficult to break down in your mouth and stomach than a slice of bread, for example.
Your gut does acclimate to having more fibre over time, but you obviously want to minimise any discomfort, and thankfully, there are ways to do this.
Chewing your food thoroughly will help your stomach acids do their job more effectively and can dramatically reduce bacterial gas. It is more important to chew plant foods throughly than processed foods, so this is something to get used to!
Also, try to take smaller bites, which can help ensure that large pieces of food don’t reach your intestine undigested.
When we start eating more raw vegetables than we may have before, our system may take longer to digest them. But there are ways to pre-digest them;
- Blend them into smoothies – blending breaks the vegetables down. Also, make sure you chew your smoothie in your mouth a little instead of gulping it, to initiate your stomach to produce acid for digestion as it would with solid foods.
- Cook them for longer – cooking pre-digests food, making it easier for your body to tolerate larger amounts. Vegetables in the cruciferous family (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choi, Brussel sprouts), can cause stomach discomfort for some people when they are cooked “al dente”. So cooking them for longer can help prevent that. But bear in mind this does reduce their micronutrient and antioxidant content, so if you decide to cook your vegetables until they are soft, make sure you are eating plenty to make up for that!
One thing I have personally found amazing at easing IBS symptoms is Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, as it can aid digestion. I’ve found taking a tablespoon in a glass of water before a meal helps prevent a lot of gastrointestinal discomfort. I frequently drink this before my evening meal. If a tablespoon is too much on the palate, try a teaspoon at first and see if you feel any benefit.
Have you noticed any gastrointestinal changes from eating more vegetables you’d be brave enough to share? Or any other methods you’ve found helpful at reducing potential discomfort? Comment below!