In this section of the Workbook we look at useful ways in which you can get help for digestion and eating challenges. The section is covered under the following headings.

Getting help with eating healthily?

As we have seen in the BLUE pages, it is very difficult to rely on magazine and newspaper information in choosing a healthy diet. So it can be helpful to have access to a health care practitioner who can give you a personal assessment and help you make diet choices to suit you.

However you should choose your dietary advice carefully: it is a jungle out there! How can you choose your advisor?

If you have a medical problem that seems to linked to your eating or digestion, you must start with your family doctor. Although they do not usually have the time to work through your diet with you doctors are essential to check off problems that need medical treatment or further tests.

It is best to find someone well educated and qualified in this area who has a balanced view, and is not selling a ‘one size fits all’ approach or diet product. Unfortunately there are many in the nutritional area who promote a single treatment or diet plan. For example some practitioners blame a Candida infection of the bowel for most digestive difficulties. In such cases an element of truth gets easily exaggerated and becomes the basis of another industry.

Other practitioners may use diagnostic tools that have not proven to be reliable, to deliver dietary advice that may not be useful. This can be especially damaging if it leads to increased cutting out of foods: humans were meant to have a varied diet and making it more narrow can actually be harmful.

Food for recovery

There are times when the role of foods as building blocks becomes especially important. If you are

  • run down with low energies, or tired all the time
  • frequently getting ill or prone to infections and viruses
  • feeling down or depressed over long periods

it may be that you need to build yourself up.

Over many centuries people have learnt that recovery from illness or wounds best involved planned or ‘convalescent’ care. This included choosing foods that were good at feeding you up and did not cause the body unnecessary work. Time and again people agreed on the following, in order of priority:

  1. Vegetables, especially root vegetables
  2. Cereals, notably oats, and pulses like beans and dal
  3. Fish, mostly white with some oily
  4. Egg (a complete food eater by any creature)
  5. Meat (free range or wild) especially fowl (eg chicken stock)

Convalescent food is best well-cooked. Particularly good examples are in Indian cuisine.

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For much more information on using foods to build strength check out our Lifting Energy Workbook

Remedies you can try for digestive problems

Humans have always had digestive remedies to hand – in the kitchen! These plants were chosen not only to flavour foods but also to help them go down better. We now know that they have a range of effects on the digestive system, tending to reduce gas, colic and irritability in the gut (such as IBS).

Herbs and spices

Humans have always had digestive remedies to hand – in the kitchen! These plants were chosen not only to flavour foods but also to help them go down better. We now know that they have a range of effects on the digestive system, tending to reduce gas, colic and irritability in the gut (such as IBS).

They have tended to be classified into two groups, the ‘warming’ aromatic digestives and the calming digestives. In practice this means that you will often get more benefit from one group rather than the other. The best way to find out which is which is to try them yourself and see which you prefer. Either add one or other to your cooking or better make a strong herbal tea and sip just before or after eating.

 

To make a tea use a good teaspoonful of the herbs or spices in the table below, in a small cup of hot water, stir and strain before sipping slowly. When you find one that seems to help, stay with that one, and even increase the dose if you need to. All the herbs and spices below are very safe, although very occasionally they can cause temporary discomfort if they do not agree with you. In that case stop and try something else, probably from the other column.

 

 

In the table below the herbs and spices are listed in decreasing order of strength, start from the bottom if you are feeling cautious, go from the top if you are feeling confident.

Warming aromatic digestives

Calming digestives

  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamon
  • Fennel
  • Aniseed
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Chilli
  • Garlic
  • Horseradish

 

Some warming spices feature in cooking rather than for making teas and they can be quite strong. If you find meals with the ingredients on the left helpful in reducing your digestive symptoms then be encouraged to use them!

  • Spearmint
  • Chamomile
  • Lemon balm
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Thyme

Soothing remedies

Another useful traditional technique was to use the soothing mucilaginous properties of some plants to reduce irritation in the upper digestive tract – the gullet and stomach especially. Two plant remedies, slippery elm powder and aloe vera are safe to buy and use yourself. They contain mucilage that turns into nutritious carbohydrates, but in passing through coat the digestive linings and act as a gentle antacid. You can buy slippery elm as a powder or in tablets or capsules. Aloe vera is usually sold as juice.

Almost done. The following RED section takes us back to the Journal to pull everything together for your Eating Plan.