Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Bloat Antidote


Uh ... you call that bloated??
My darling, darling Marsi takes on the bloat. When she attacks a subject, you can be sure you're getting every minute detail on how to attack and conquer. Read on, you'll be glad you did. (I really should take up yoga. Are all of you doing it?)

I'm pushing 46 with a very short stick, so suffice it to say that I'm finding myself in the midst of the hormonal insanity that is perimenopause.

When I saw my gynecologist for my annual in December, I quizzed her about menopausal weight gain and waistline disappearance, as those are among my great concerns as I barrel into "the change." She told me weight gain is not inevitable, but avoiding it doesn't happen on its own. It requires effort on my part.

Below are some of my doctor's tips, as well as a couple of my own, for keeping my girlish figure by avoiding short-term weight gain through fluid retention.


Drink Water

Eight to ten of these per day, please.
At the office, I love to fill up a pitcher with filtered water
and add a little ice and a half-dozen cucumber slices. 

Your body fiercely retains water when it's dehydrated. Paradoxically, flooding it forces excess fluids out of the tissues and restores equilibrium. We all know this.


Avoid Wheat, Sugar, and Salt

Here's what puts the "wheat" in "wheat belly."

The older I get, the more I notice an instant reaction in my waistline (and fannyline, if I may be frank) when I overindulge in "the whites": wheat, sugar, and salt.

Wheat is really my downfall and the "white" I most endeavor to keep in check. Rarely will I eat a meal anymore that's heavy on wheat. Much as I love it, it no longer loves me. When I do indulge, I have a moderately sized portion and make sure I'm also eating lots of vegetables and protein along with it.

Drink Diuretic Tea

All of the ingredients in this homemade brew have a mild, gentle, and entirely natural diuretic effect. A day or three of drinking this tea get me past my overindulgences. It's also very helpful for monthly (ok, I'll be honest: semi-monthly!) hormonal bloating. I saw this recipe from Jillian Michaels several years ago, and find it quite effective in combating short-term fluid retention.

As far as I'm concerned,
this is the raison d'etre for those pesky weeds. 
  • 2 c. strongly brewed dandelion root tea (brew 3 teabags in 2 c. hot water for 15 minutes; tea available at health food stores)
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cranberry juice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 5-1/5 c. cool water
This yield 64 ounces of mildly tart tea, which I'll drink all day. When I want to take it to the office, I mix the dandelion tea, cranberry juice, and lemon in a large Mason jar, and then combine the mix with water in a pitcher I keep at work. Calorie-wise, it's almost the same as water: about 40 calories in 64 ounces.


Speed Up Intestinal "Transit Time" 

"Intestinal 'transit time'" is code for the amount of time it takes for food to be digested and waste to be eliminated. Food and waste sitting in our digestive tract equals bloating (among other dreadful things, which we will not discuss). Drinking lots of water, eating fruits and vegetables, and getting 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day keep the "trains on schedule," so to speak.

My favorite fiber and nutritional supplement is the chia seed.

And you thought Chia was just for Pets!
One ounce of chia supplies 42% of your daily fiber requirement, as well as 4 grams of protein, 18% of the calcium RDA, 27% of phosphorus, 30% of manganese, and nearly 5000 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids. All that nutrition for only 137 calories. You can blend two tablespoons (1 ounce) with fruit juice, kombucha, or a smoothie; mix it with yogurt or cereal; or slug it down fast with a glass of water. I've been taking chia daily for about two years, and when I miss a day, I feel like, well, crap.

But because chia seeds hold up to 10 times their weight in water, if you aren't drinking enough fluids throughout the day, the seeds will leach water from your tissues and you'll end up dehydrated and constipated. Water is crucial in so many ways. We all know this.

Do Yoga

No bloating here!

Sweat it out, wring it out, twist it out.

***

That's it for this week. Please check back next week for my final thoughts on drainage.

17 comments:

Veronica said...

Hi Dear Tish!! I am willing to sell these maniac hormones of mine to the highest bidder...or any bidder for that matter. I have become a walking water pitcher and have to say it is a tremendous help for many many ails! Chai seeds? really must give this a try!

I will most certainly check back for the next instalment on matters of all things plumming...

Have a great week

Veronica

josina said...

dear tish,great tips on bloating which i too am starting to suffer from! one further tip which i find most helpful is vine leaves in pills which helps with blaoting infeet and legs.
On exercise i love aquagym.
Love the blog by the way, it encouraged me to start my own blog,
josina

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Great tips...I think I am off to buy the Chia seeds and make the tea!

Tabitha said...

I've had bloat belly since I was a toddler, it's just my shape. God knows what I'll be like when I hit menopause, I'll be 48 in June so no doubt in the next few years I'll know.

Oh I've eaten Chia seeds for years, hubs hates the "tadpole egg" bowl in the fridge!

Kristi said...

Thanks for sharing Marsi with us again, Tish. As usual, she shares a wealth of information in a wonderfully entertaining and well-written way. (I'm buying your book Tish and waiting for Marsi to write a book so I can buy that one as well!)
xoxo

Kadee said...

Good morning, Tish! As usual, reading your posts are the best way to start the day! And this particular one?? So apropos!! As I have not even a hint of a waistline at my age, I was about ready to throw in the towel. Now I am just going to throw OUT the wheat and sugar and give that a go! Give me strength!!!

Duchesse said...

Can't imagine life without bread or pasta, in moderate portions, or a few bites of something sweet. My body has held more or less the same shape for almost 20 years, though I lost my early reediness. (I'm nearly 64.) If you can live with "more or less", life is a smidge more relaxed.

Anne @ The Frump Factor said...

Hee! "Keep the trains on schedule." Love that.

déjà pseu said...

Great tips, but a word of caution: if your body isn't used to a lot of fiber, add to the diet gradually. Or a different kind of "bloat" may result! :-D

Anonymous said...

Note to self. Must drink more water, must drink more water, must ...

Anonymous said...

I went through a 9 month period of bloating in my 51st year. It was very frustrating, as I began to lose any sense of when I was actually hungry, and how on target I was with my weight. I was fine as long as I didn't eat, but as soon as I ate anything, I'd blow up so that I looked 5 months pregnant. I got very good at camouflaging the problem w/ tunics, long scarves, etc., but even so, ended up having to buy a few pairs of slacks a size larger than my regular ones. I even bought the JJill wearever set, wide leg pants with long cardigan, for a trip, because I knew I'd need something comfortable. The problem went away eventually, but it's come and gone a few times since (I'm now 53). What I found helped me most was eventually accepting the problem rather than fighting it, and choosing to finds ways to live with it. It's not easy, however.
Marie

helen tilston said...

Hello Tish and Marsi

I loved reading these tips and shall put some into practice. It is always encouraging to hear some solutions on bloating.

Thank you
Helen xx

Leslie said...

These are wonderful suggestions to help with those annoying female things. I've spent 30 years in the medical industry working with women in various capacities (birthing instructor, Nutritionist, and currently Medical Aesthetics/Dermatology). I find it unfortunate that so many women through in the towel, assuming there is nothing to do but simply age "normally" ~ whatever that is.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog!

leslie

This is Belgium said...

like everything else, eventually also bloating goes away ;)
sunny greetings from brussels
anni

Fashion art and other fancies said...

The evil whites indeed;-)
I'm less fond of pasta, but I adore rice. Both white and brown.
The best advise is: Move. Walk, dance, and so forth.

Gracie O'Tripp said...

Such good advice but so hard to follow. I am not sure I can give up all wheat products. Do you think the dandelion tea would be equally effective with out the juices? I know I sound like a ninny but I cannot tolerate tart tastes.

Marsi said...

Gracie, you don't need to drink the cranberry or lemon juices. The tea itself is a mild diuretic. You can drink it straight (very earthy and a little bitter) or dilute it with as much water as you'd like.

I would never be able to give up wheat products either, so I just make sure that I really love what I'm eating. I can't be mindless about it anymore; I pay the price.

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