What can I eat for stomach pain? 4 important tips

Do you feel confused about what to eat and what you should and what not to eat when you have stomach pain? Maybe you read somewhere that you should follow a ketogenic diet, low sugar, high fiber, vegan and raw veggies… But you also heard low fat, cooked foods, carnivore diet and low fiber…

It is such a confusing world out there with many different messages about food! Before you jump on one of these special diets, check if you’ve tried these first important steps! They help you decide what works for YOU…

1: Eat whole foods

If you eat a diet high in processed foods and you have bloating, acid reflux, stomach pain… your first step is to replace those by whole foods. Whole foods are – well… what the are! A chicken is a whole food, a sweet potato is. Oats, rice, nuts, seeds are.

Processed foods often contain a whole list of ingredients: flours, sugar, processed oils, colourings, flavourings… That makes it much harder to recognise which ingredient is causing you issues. Processed foods make up most of the shelves of the supermarket and the messages on the package can suggest they’re a healthy food. So be careful and check the ingredients on the label!

2: Ditch the sugar and the refined grains

Sugar and refined grains (like white flour, most breads, cakes, biscuits, pasta, crackers, cereals etc) feed the wrong bacteria in your gut. They can also create yeast overgrowth. And result in stomach pain, fatigue, bloating, joint pain, cravings… I’ve seen many clients feel much better the instant they stopped eating these refined carbohydrates.

3: Eat when you feel relaxed

Many people eat while they’re driving, working or watching the news. If that’s you – you’re in action mode and your body is not focusing on digesting and absorbing food. The result: bloating, acid reflux, IBS symptoms and much more.

If you’re in a calm state you are in ‘rest and digest’ mode. Your body knows everything is safe, relaxes and focuses on sending more blood to your digestive organs. The solution? Resist the urge to eat on the go. Set the table with a nice plate. Light a candle. Make this a time to connect with your partner or family. And take some deep breaths and appreciate the food in front of you. It doesn’t take more than that to switch to the rest-and-digest mode. Your tummy will thank you for it.

4: Write down what you eat and how you feel

When you write down what you eat and drink and you take some time to connect to how you actually feel, you can start connecting the dots. You might for instance notice that you snack more than you thought, or that you always feel heavy after certain meals. This is how you can find out what works and what doesn’t work for you.

If you find out you are sensitive to certain foods and want to know why, check out this video!

Support your liver with dandelion root

Using herbs – or weeds – from your garden for your health is actually a lot easier than you think! A good example is using dandelion roots to support your liver. Now is the time to make your own herbal remedy and you can totally do this.

We are in autumn and swiftly moving into winter so the growth of plants is slowing down. That means we can shift our focus from using leaves and flowers to harvesting roots, barks and berries. Roots are especially powerful, as that’s where plants like the dandelions store their energy so they can survive winter.

Dandelion roots are great for liver support. Herbalists have used the roots to enhance bile flow. A proper bile flow is so supportive of the liver because it helps preventing the formation of gall stones. Drinking enough water is of course essential as well…

High in minerals and and inulin

Dandelions send their long roots deep into the earth, pulling minerals into the plant. Fresh dandelion roots have a sweet and slightly bitter taste and they make a wonderful nutrient-dense food.

Besides being high in micronutrients and phytonutrients like iron, manganese, carotenes, calcium, and potassium, dandelions are also high in inulin. Inulin is a starchy carbohydrate that can help restore healthy gut flora in an interesting way. It’s a prebiotic, which means it’s food your beneficial gut bacteria love and use to thrive.

Bitters for digestion

The roots also have some bitter properties and bitters stimulate digestion. Using bitters can help when you have bloating, acid reflux or stomach pain. Here’s how it works: when you eat a bitter food or take a bitter tincture, it hits the bitter receptors on your tongue. They alert the brain: something bitter is coming! The brain then sends a signal to your stomach, pancreas and gallbladder to start producing more saliva, stomach acid, pancreatic juices and bile. More of those means better digestion!

Make your own tincture!

Dandelions grow everywhere, so go outside with your spade, fork or trowel and dig up a few. Give them a rinse and a brush. And make them into a tincture!

Here’s how that works. After cleaning the roots, you cut them into small pieces and put them in a clean jam jar. Then you add vodka, enough to completely cover the root peices. Because everything that is not covered in alcohol, can get moldy.

Leave the tincture in the house, away from direct sunlight. Give it a swirl every day for the first week, send it some love and then leave it alone for about four weeks.

It’s now time to separate the roots from the alcohol. I use a sieve and a clean piece of cloth. Old cotton sheets work great for that. I use a glass measuring jug, so I can see what the tincture looks like and how much I have. The procedure is very simple: I just empty the jar in the sieve and see the tincture running! Try to press out as much of the good stuff as possible.

dandelion root tincture for liver support

I then pour the tincture into a clean jar and label it with name and date. And some of it I pour into a dropper bottle so it’s ready to use! Dandelion root is generally considered safe, but be sensible and stop using it when something doesn’t feel right. 10 drops 3 times a day is a good dosage to start with.

Tinctures keep quite well (most of them at least three years) but not forever. I always keep them in a dark place, away from sunlight.

If you feel you have some longer standing issues with your liver, gallbladder or digestion taking a herbal remedy can be supportive but is probably not enough. If you’re ready to get to the bottom of those, let’s talk!

Schedule a free 30 minute call with me here so we can explore how we could work together.

How to get rid of pesky candida?

Oral or vaginal thrush, athlete’s foot, jock itch, fatigue, sinus issues, joint pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue… How to you get rid of candida?

If this is you, an overgrowth of yeast in your gut might be causing these symptoms.

Testing?

How can you be sure it’s candida? I can test for it (I use the Organic Acid Test (OAT)), but it’s a bit pricey and having a look at your symptoms and what happened in your life can be a big clue.

If, for instance, you have had to take antibiotics often in your life, had a diet high in sugar and refined carbs, have a history of binge drinking or have diabetes AND some of the the symptoms, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with yeast overgrowth in your gut.

Candida is what they call an opportunistic organism. Now what does that mean? We all have some yeast in our gut, it’s a normal part of our microbiome. But when you’re taking antibiotics, eat a lot of sugar, have a stressful life or have low immunity, the yeast can take the opportunity and start misbehaving.

Just kill and get rid of candida?

People often ask me what they can use to kill the candida. The idea is: candida is bad so when you kill it, it’s gone and you’re done. Easy! But it doesn’t work like that…

Before you start using antifungals you need to create balance in the gut so it can’t grab the opportunity again. And make sure you’re not feeding the yeast the food that it likes: sugar!

Create a happy gut!

Creating balance in the gut is something that takes some time and attention. It’s not a quick fix! It’s like being a gardener who lovingly looks after the health of the soil, so the plants can thrive.

This is the best – and frankly: the only – way to get lasting results. And get rid of the itching, pain, fatigue, brain fog and thrush.

Did you follow an anti candida diet and/or take supplements and didn’t feel better? I’ve helped many people address the yeast overgrowth in their gut and get better energy, sleep and digestion.

I can do the same for you. Just book an exploratory call with me here

Are cravings making you feel fat, tired and guilty?

Are you someone who wakes up every day promising yourself you will not eat the sugary or fatty foods you crave? Only to break that promise again and again? You’re not alone. Cravings can be very strong. Do you want to stop feeling fat, tired and guilty? Here are some helpful tips for cravings!

First: what can be the cause of your cravings?

There can be several reasons for your cravings. So it’s not all about your lack of willpower! As a practionioner working in functional medicine, I always look for the root cause. Here are some I see a lot with my clients:

  • Blood sugar imbalance: when your blood sugar goes low, your brain will make you eat something rich in easy glucose because your body goes into stress if there’s not enough glucose! I made a video about it here.
  • Toxic hunger: the additives, colourings etc in your food can actually make you hungry…
  • Yeasts in gut – like candida – want to be fed and they like sugar. So they send a strong message to your brain: eat sugar now! Feed me!
  • Hormonal changes: pregnancy is famous for cravings – sometimes really strange ones! When I was pregnant with my daughter I craved extra salty liquorice (it’s a Dutch thing…). Not such a great idea when you don’t want your blood pressure to go up!
  • Emotions… In an attempt to come back to balance when you’re experiencing strong emotions, equally strong cravings can come up.
  • A diet poor in nutrients: your body will start craving specific foods when you’re low in certain nutrients.
  • Lack of sleep: when you don’t get enough sleep your blood sugar can easily become imbalanced. And your hunger hormones are affected too!
So what can you do? Try out these tips for cravings:
  • Drink more water: your body can think it’s hungry when it’s actually dehydrated.
  • Get enough sleep. Make it a priority! Here are some helpful tips
  • Eat more protein, fat and fiber and less carbs so you keep your blood sugar more balanced
  • Get more movement
  • Eat a whole food diet. You will consume less additives and more nutrients and your cravings will lessen considerately
  • Identify when the cravings happen. Is it really food you’re craving? Or something else? Here’s a PDF with an exercise that can help you to connect with the underlying emotions of your cravings.

Do you need support with your cravings? Do you want to address what’s causing them and say goodbye to feeling tired and guilty? Book a free 30 minute call with me so we can explore how I can help.

Recipe: how to deconstruct a falafel

Who likes falafels? I do!

These deconstructed ones are much easier and quicker to make than the original ones and don’t need to be deep fried or oven baked.

Your beneficial gut microbes will love the chickpeas, onion, garlic and cumin – this recipe has lots of fiber!

There’s also a good amount of protein, it’s high in vitamin A and folate and it provides a third of your daily zinc requirement. Good to know in these times…

Oh, and this meal is great when your on a candida diet. What’s not to like about that!

You can use chickpeas from a tin but the tin lining contains BPA (read more about that here).

Using dried chickpeas takes a bit more time but is a lot cheaper and bypasses the whole BPA thing. In this hummus recipe I explain how to do it.

You can download and print this recipe here.

Are you going to give this recipe a try? Let us know in the comments!

BPA free is good, right? No it isn’t…

A couple of years ago I replaced all plastic bottles by BPA-free ones. I had heard that BPA is estrogenic, can disrupt your hormones and make you gain weight – yikes! So I thought BPA free plastic bottles were a safe option. Right? No they’re probably not…

BPA stands for bisphenol-A and is a synthetic compound you will find in many plastics, as well as in the lining of canned food containers.

It exhibits what is called ‘estrogenic activity’ which means that it can disrupt the beautiful and intricate system of your hormones.

When more people became aware of this, the industry had to shift. And voilá: the BPA free plastic was born.

But alas, it turns out that bisphenol-A isn’t the only bisphenol in the family. Many manufacturers simply swapped one bisphenol for another and started using BPS or BPF. So BPA free plastic is not a safe option!

Now even small concentrations of BPS and BPF disrupt the function of your cells in a way similar to BPA. So, BPA-free bottles are not the solution. And not many people are aware of this and that’s tricky… Because when something says it’s ‘free’ we think it’s safe… and it’s not!

On top of that: BPA is still around: in for instance

  • Items packaged in plastic containers
  • Canned foods
  • Personal care products
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Thermal printer receipts
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Household electronics
  • Eyeglass lenses
  • Sports equipment
  • Dental filling sealants
So what can you do?
Glass storage containers are safe than BPA free ones

Although eradicating Bisphenol completely may be impossible, there are some effective ways to reduce your exposure:

  • Avoid packaged foods: Eat mostly fresh, whole foods. Stay away from canned foods or foods packaged in plastic containers labeled with recycling numbers 3 or 7 or the letters “PC.” Make your own hummus from dried chickpeas in stead of a can!
  • Drink from glass or steel bottles: Buy liquids that come in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles or cans, and use glass baby bottles instead of plastic ones. Now all our water bottles AND my water filter are made from steel!
  • Stay away from BPA products: as much as possible, limit your contact with receipts, as these contain high levels of BPA.
  • Be selective with toys: Make sure that plastic toys you buy for your children are made from BPA-free material — especially for toys your little ones are likely to chew or suck on.
  • Don’t heat or microwave plastic: Microwave and store food in glass rather than plastic.
  • Buy powdered infant formula: Some experts recommend powders over liquids from BPA containers, as liquid is likely to absorb more BPA from the container.

A simple crunchy snack: tamari roasted almonds

Today’s recipe is a simple, gluten and dairy free snack with only 2 ingredients!

These tamari roasted almonds are a healthy and delicious snack. They’re crunchy and salty and keep your blood sugar balanced.

They’re also a great addition to your lunch or dinner! Almonds have a good amount of plant based protein, fiber and healthy fats. On top of that they’re high in vitamin E and magnesium. And they’re gluten and dairy free.

You can download and print the recipe here

Tamari is the gluten free version of soya sauce – it’s made with only fermented soya beans, where as most soya sauces are made with soya beans and wheat. So if you like to keep it gluten free it’s important to read the label.

Nuts are nutritious and should be part of your diet – except of course when you’re allergic or sensitive to them. If you are, try tamari coating and roasting pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds!

Because nuts and seeds can be high in calories and some are high in oxalates the advice is to not go crazy on them; keep it to 100 grams a day or less.

Do you eat nuts and seeds every day? Let us know in the comments!

I love compost. I love soil. I love gut bacteria!

I love compost and I love soil. I love growing gut bacteria!

Three years ago I started to make a lot of compost. I now compost food waste for many people plus my own garden waste in my nine hotbins. I also have several normal compost cones.

Many different things go in there. Garden waste, cooked food, leaves, a bit of soil, peelings, the leftovers from Gut Feeling’s kombucha process…

The bacteria love this diversity, eat the food waste and change what once was waste into something very valuable that feeds the soil in my garden. I use the no-dig methode and leave compost as a mulch on top of the soil. Over time the soil grows healthier and healthier and the vegetables thrive!

It’s the same with the gut.

When we compare our health to a tree, the symptoms and diagnosis are the branches. What mainstream medicine mostly does is try to make the branches work again. But when the roots of the tree aren’t healthy and the soil is poor, this is not going to work… So the soil where the roots grow is where we need to focus our attention! And that’s what we do in functional nutrition!

The ‘soil’ life in your gut is created by the bacteria in your intestines, the microbiome. They eat what you eat and when they love the diversity of the things you eat they love they thrive and produce health!

When we compare our health to a tree, the symptoms and diagnosis are the branches.

Let’s compare the population in your gut to a city. There are different nationalities and cultural groups in a city.

If you only feed one group their favourite foods, that population will grow. But other groups will grumble and move away.

A fun challenge: bring in more diversity!

So your gut bacteria want you to eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Now how can you do that? Here’s a fun challenge:

Go to the shop and add two vegetables or fruits to your trolley that you haven’t tried before or in a long time. Find a way to prepare them – raw, cookeed, stirfried, peeled, unpeeled, steamed… Then explore how you like them best. Did you find a way to prepare them that you like? Then add them to your regulars and choose two new ones.

Are you in? Which ones are you going to try? Let me know in the comments!

A lovely coconut white fish dish

White fish, like cod, haddock or hake, is a great protein that is easy to digest for most people.

This looks like a lovely recipe and I’m going to try it out tonight!

I think I’ll replace the orange juice by a few more tomatoes. I don’t like orange in my food!

(worst thing: chocolate with orange 🤢!)

Are you a fish eater? Would you use the orange juice? Let me know in the comments!

You can download the recipe here:

Simple things to try first if you have bloating

Do you experience bloating? Do you feel full and heavy after eating? Have people asked you if you were pregnant (and you weren’t…) ? Would you love to get rid of the bloat?

If you have bloating, don’t immediately jump to medication, testing, supplements or restricting your diet.

There are some simple, obvious and often overlooked things you can do first if you want to get rid of bloating!

Get cooking

Did you know that something simple like cooking your own meals could actually help your digestion?

When your kitchen starts filling up with lovely aromas, your brain starts alerting your digestion that food is coming soon. It will send a message to your salivary glands, stomach, liver and pancreas to start producing all the digestive juices needed for proper break down and absorption.

Do you find cooking too time consuming and overwhelming? Have a look here for some really practical tips!

Sit down for a meal – without Netflix!

If you’re in a calm state your nervous system is in the parasympathetic state. You are in ‘rest and digest’ mode. Your body knows everything is safe, relaxes and focuses on sending more blood to your digestive organs.

However, when you are stressed, your body acts as if there’s danger. You think there’s no danger? It can’t differentiate between what you see on the news on tv and running for a tiger!

So even when you watch the news, play a competitive game or have a difficult conversation when you’re eating: your body immediately turns the switch to the sympathetic state. It sends more blood to your muscles, heart and lungs because you need to be able to jump up and run away. In dangerous situations it doesn’t make sense to focus on digestion.

Chew, chew, chew…

Chew your food

Are you someone who chews a few times and then swallows? Are you a fast eater?

Sadly enough, there are no teeth in your stomach. That means half digested food travels to the intestine – hello bloat!

So taking small bites, not eating in a rush and taking time to chew until liquid will help you to get rid of bloating

Try it out and let me know if it helps!

If it doesn’t help, schedule a free call to see if I can help you. Bloating is not just uncomfortable, it’s a red flag.