By Mary-Ann Shearer
Bloating, gas, flatulence and spastic colon are basically all the same thing; excess gas trapped in some part of the digestive tract, usually the small or large intestine resulting in distension, discomfort and sometimes even pain.
This can be caused by:
- Eating too fast; especially foods high in concentrated carbohydrates. Chewing well allows sufficient excretion of the starch digesting enzyme. If starches do not receive enough of this enzyme they are prone to fermentation and this results in gas, alcohol, ammonia and acetic acid. All of which can contribute to bloating and flatulence.
- Eating too much. This can results in insufficient enzymes being made available to digest certain foods, especially fats, where the body only secrets a certain amount of fat digesting enzymes in a day.
- Eating under stress. This can result in insufficient excretion of any of the digestive enzymes, but especially of Hydrochloric acid which is secreted by the Parietal cells in the stomach. These cells form part of the endocrine system, which is the system which controls our response to stress (among many things)
- Lactose intolerance can cause excessive gas. Lactose is the sugar in cow’s milk, yoghurt and cheese. Lactase is the enzyme needed to digest this sugar. Many people today do not secret the enzyme lactase, especially people of African decent, which can lead to severe bloating and cramping. (Much like Meg Ryan did in the movie “French Kiss”) Replacing cow’s milk with soy may not ease the problem as many people with this problem find difficulty in digesting legumes like soy.
- Consumption of legumes. Eating beans on a regular basis has led to the joke that vegetarians are destroying the ozone layer, due to all the gas they make!
Legumes are difficult to digest due to a variety of things. They are quite high in protein and starch, but the main reason is they contain a form of carbohydrate that is difficult to digest known as “Tri-saccarides” also known by names such as staccyose and raffinose.
The easiest and least gas forming of the legumes tends to be lentils and chickpeas, but soaking legumes overnight before you cook them, then pouring that water off and cooking in fresh water tends to reduce the gas forming properties
- Changing your diet to one that contains a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables can initially cause some bloating as the digestive system adjusts to more water soluble fibre. The average person who has followed a Westernized diet has somewhere between 1-10khg of old fecal matter lining the intestines. Natural water soluble fibre in fresh fruit and veg. helps remove this. This can cause considerable gas. Taking a product like Herbal Fibreblend can help remove this old fecal matter a lot faster.
- Any substances that are in themselves fermented can cause gas, such as alcohol, cheese, yoghurt and some soy products.
- Carbonated drinks can contribute to gas
- Eating foods that contain mustard oil also contributes to gas problems. These are; garlic, onions, leeks, spring onion, and any of the cabbage family (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower)
- The onion and garlic family also contain natural antibiotic properties, these are known to upset the friendly bacteria and this can also result in overgrowth of Candida Albicans and gas.
- Incorrect Food Combining, See Chapter 3 in Perfect Health: The Natural Way I found this to be the single most helpful change in my lifestyle when it came to my spastic colon
- Insufficient digestive enzyme production, a history of pancreatitis or any condition that upsets the pancreas such as uncontrolled hypoglycemia or diabetes; taking a good digestive enzyme such as Prepzymes would help with this.
- Wheat or gluten intolerance, sometimes just the combination of wheat and yeast as in bread can cause problems, other times it is all wheat and then again it could be gluten (the protein in the grain of wheat, oats, rye and barley)
- Vitamins supplements: Vitamins and minerals in supplement form can cause tremendous strain on the digestive tract and are best left out. Rather take in the juice of organic vegetables and fruit if you feel you need extra nutrients, I find the dried juice of the barley leaf (Barleylife), carrots (Just Carrots) and beetroot juice (Redibeets) the most convenient and best to use as they are also guaranteed to be organic
- Old Fecal matter: It is estimated that the average person following a Westernized diet has somewhere between 1-10KG of old fecal matter lining the intestines. This fecal matter can encourage a faulty digestion which can cause a variety of problems including gas. I have found that a strict period – about 6 weeks – 3 months can help with this, but have actually found Herbal Fibreblend to be a lot more effective in a shorter space of time. (Also from Aim)
What to do
- Remove all the offending foods and then introduce one at a time and see how you react.
- Very often good Food Combining sorts out most of these problems, without you even having to remove any foods.
- You can also take a digestive enzyme like Aim’s Prepzymes with every meal if there is a known deficiency.
- Regular exercise helps regulate your digestive tract and aids digestion. Exercising before a meal is better that directly after.
- Reflexology can help some; check out the charts to see what area of the foot corresponds to the digestive tract.
- Drinking a glass of hot water slowly also helps alleviate gas.
- Taking Intestinal Flora like Aim’s Florafood
Spastic Colon can sometimes also include IBS or Irritable Bowel syndrome
Symptoms include cramping, swollen abdomen, alternating phases of diarrhea and constipation often accompanied by gas.
Some people think it is caused by improper functions of the muscular contractions of the large intestine. Stress is thought to contribute to the severity of the illness. Composure from Aim is made from plant extracts and has a very calming effect on the whole body including the digestive tract.
Muscular contraction of the colon and movement of food through the body is controlled by the endocrine system, so that anything that upsets this system can contribute to this problem. (See Happy Hormones in Perfect Weight.) Essential Fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6 are essential for a healthy hormonal system and taking flax oil or a blend which includes flax like Aim’s Aimega provides you with both
What to do
Follow all of the above suggestions to get rid of gas and strict adherence to food combining principles with the removal of wheat and possibly gluten.
The addition of fresh fruit and vegetables by following the basic Natural Way principles will also alleviate this condition.
Removing any and all substances that upset the endocrine system see “Happy hormones” chapter in Perfect Weight.
Including regular exercise to manage stress levels is essential.
If you wish to obtain any of the products mentioned here from AIM directly at the wholesale price as a member, read more here…
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