Help! I just ate gluten/dairy/soy...what do I do?
In our crazy, on the go culture, it's easy to just grab some food in a restaurant or at the store and eat it as we drive from one event to another (I write this as I am sitting in the parking lot at my daughter's school, just having a chai latte). I'm no guru or master of eating healthy. I do the best I can, and hopefully share the wisdom that I've gained along the way so that you can do the best you can, too.
The downside to having delicious food readily available is that not everyone takes the care you do to avoid contaminating your food. The truth about commercial food service is that unless you are eating at an establishment that does not even allow common food allergens on premises, you're never guaranteed to be eating foods that will agree with you.
Many times, the amount you eat isn't enough to set off a negative reaction, but sometimes, you just know that you're going to have problems.
Sometimes, the temptation of a petite vanilla scone is just too much.
I've tried lots of different solutions for dealing with the discomfort that comes from getting a bit of gluten, dairy, soy, or other problematic foods. Here's my list of ten ideas for you to try. They each have different actions, so read through them and see which one(s) fit your situation the best. Try more than one. Pick a few and keep an emergency kit stashed away for those moments when you're away from home and you have one of those food oops moments.
In some of these items, I've got some affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase using these links, I get a (very!) small payment that helps me continue to bring you great content. The affiliate links do not change the price of the products at all. Up to you. I encourage you to shop at your local stores and keep quality herbal products in your community, but if there isn't a store near you that sells these products, online purchasing is a great alternative.
1. Try digestive bitters. Bitters are an important part of our diet. The Standard American Diet (SAD) has pretty much removed the taste of bitter from our processed, refined, packaged foods. Turns out, bitter is a key flavor in getting your digestion up and moving as you eat. You know that sprig of parsley on your plate? Bitter! Eat it before your meal to start production of bile, digestive enzymes, and stomach acid. That helps you digest your food more thoroughly so you get better nutrition, fewer bouts of indigestion, and smoother passage through the intestines. If you have no parsley, try some digestive bitters.
You can take bitters by putting a dropperful in some water before your meal, or just drop it in your mouth. Strongwater has lots of recipes on their website for mixing with spirits, if that is something you enjoy.
If you discover your dietary indiscretion post meal, it's not too late. Go ahead and enjoy a dropper full whenever you remember. My new favorite brand is a Colorado company called Strongwater. Their native floral flavor is delicious!
2. Take a digestive enzymes capsule. Much like the bitters, digestive enzymes help to jump-start your digestion. If you're feeling like your digestion is needing a stronger boost, take one or two capsules along with your meal, or immediately following. These enzymes are matches to the ones your body makes naturally. I usually carry these around with me as my go-to anytime I think I'm going to need some extra digestive power.
Stomach 36 Accupressure Points
3. Try accupressure! The Stomach 36 point lies on the stomach energy meridian. Stimulating this point helps to boost digestion, increase stamina, and promote general wellness. The Stomach 36 point is found on the front of your shinbone. This point is a great solution if you're feeling tired, feeling like your energy is super low, or feeling generally unwell. You can even use this point if you haven't had any food issues. It's great for those days when you just don't think you can make it through.
It can be tough to find, but I'm pretty sure you can do it. Locate it about 4 finger widths below your kneecap, and 1 finger width to the outside of your shinbone. You'll know you've found it because you can feel the muscle pop out as you flex your foot. To stimulate it, apply downward pressure to this point for about 4-5 seconds. Use your thumb or knuckle. This is a deep point in pretty dense muscle tissue, so feel free to really push hard. Do it on both legs if you like. It's not uncommon to feel a strong sense of energy in your belly after stimulation Stomach 36. It can also create a zing of energy through your leg as you press on it.
Enjoy some hot ginger tea
4. Enjoy a cup of soothing ginger tea! Ginger is well known for soothing upset stomachs. It's also a digestive stimulant, so it will help to speed up your digestion and move the offending food along a bit quicker. Plus, a cup of hot tea is always a good excuse to sit and relax a little. I found this recipe from Martha Stewart, and I have to say it has become one of my favorites! The recipe does make quite a bit of tea, so if you don't drink it right away, you can save it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. My secret tip - make a few batches and freeze in single cup servings for those emergency moments! Then all you have to do is heat and enjoy.
Essential Oil Massage Blend
5. Try essential oils. Essential oils are all the rage these days. If you don't know someone who sells them, you can often find them in your local natural products store. Whole Foods keeps a nice selection in stock. Here's the most important thing to remember about essential oils for digestion. Don't take them internally. Essential oils are far better used topically, and properly diluted. Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts, and their primary value is in creating an olfactory experience, and the experience of gentle touch and massage. Taking essential oils by mouth can have dangerous consequences, like liver damage, ulcers, chemical burns, and digestive upset. Since you're already got an upset stomach, don't take the chances on making it worse. Here's my recipe for a delightful digestive blend.
2 drops ginger essential oil
2 drops cardamom essential oil
2 drops lemongrass essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
1 oz carrier oil, like almond oil, apricot seed oil, jojoba, or coconut oil
Blend all the oils well. Apply several drops to the abdomen and massage gently.
Walking stimulates digestion
6. Go for a walk. Moving around helps to stimulate digestion. Don't choose heavily aerobic exercise, as that will only delay digestion and make you feel worse. A nice walk around the block after a meal is perfect. Bonus points if you take your pet for a walk, too.
Walking is a fabulous social activity, too. Invite a friend or someone you want to get to know better to join you. You may find a partner for regular walks, and that's a great benefit even if you're not feeling icky.
7. Try some goldenrod tea. Goldenrod is a fabulous source of quercetin. You may have heard of the power of quercetin as an antihistamine. A food intolerance is similar to an allergy, in that it is an immune response. Some of my clients report that a cup of goldenrod tea is helpful in calming the immune reaction that's causing their discomfort. It's also a diuretic and supports a healthy urinary system, so if you find that food intolerances often result in bladder infections, goldenrod tea might just be the thing for you.
Let me share a secret - goldenrod does not cause seasonal allergies. The pollen from goldenrod is too large to float in the air, and certainly unlikely to get into your nose - unless, you like to lie on the ground and shake goldenrod flowers over your nose. It gets a bad rap because it's in bloom at the same time as ragweed and other seasonal allergens.
You can purchase goldenrod herb from Mountain Rose Herbs and use 1 tablespoon dried herb per cup of tea.
Drink extra water
8. Stay hydrated. Drink more water than you might usually have. Water is essential for flushing your system and making sure that your body's natural detoxification systems can do their job. You can add flavor to your water with a lemon slice, cucumber slices, watermelon, or any other fruit that seems appealing. Even some sliced ginger makes this a good treat. Sparkling water is ok, too. Just as a note, sparkling water can give you the sensation that your thirst is quenched sooner than still water, so if you opt for bubbles, make sure you try extra hard to get in the water.
Take a Mustard Bath
9. Take a mustard bath. This is one of my favorite remedies for cold weather. Mustard powder in the bath is a warming, diaphoretic (sweat inducing) experience. It's best done before bed, as this bath will warm up your body temperature, and as you cool down, it naturally induces sleep. The release of toxins through sweat helps your body to reset your immune system.
It may seem weird to bathe in mustard, but I promise it will become one of your go-to remedies for when you're feeling icky. Here's my recipe. Feel free to adapt it for your own preferences.
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup epsom salt
- 1/2 cup mustard powder
- 6 drops wintergreen essential oil
- 6 drops eucalyptus or tea tree essential oil - other great options include rosemary, lavender, sage, and chamomile
Put all ingredients in a large glass bowl and mix together until well blended.
Add approximately 1/2 cup of this mixture to your bath and swirl to mix. Soak for 30 minutes or longer.
Rinse off after the bath, as some mustard powder can remain on your skin.
**Important reminder** - rinse out your tub after bathing. Dried on mustard powder is a bear to clean off.
Crab apple flower essence supports purification and cleansing
10. Enjoy some crabapple flower essence. Flower essences are the energetic roadmap that reminds your body how to respond to the world around you. Crabapple is a special essence for cleansing, renewing, and clearing out things that no longer serve you. It's especially useful if you feel like you've let yourself down by indulging in a food that you know is problematic. Not only does it give you the reminder of how to purify and clean out your body, but it supports your emotions as you work through finding acceptance of yourself as not only courageous and strong, but being successful in shifting your diet toward something more nourishing.
What other things have you tried when you accidentally (or on purpose) eat something that makes you feel sick? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you'd like to get some personalized insights on how to respond to your own food intolerances, let's have a call and talk about it. I'd be happy to help you find the best solutions for your unique situation.