I have another Mexico vacation this week for my best friend's wedding (super exciting). Some of you may remember, I was in Tulum just a year ago for another friends’ wedding. I’m thinking Vegas is out, and Mexico is in for weddings, and I’m not mad about that. Enjoying the Mexican sun and beautiful beaches should be all one has to worry about on vacay right?! That’s what I thought until I started becoming severely bloated on a regular basis this past month. It was really bothering me because I thought,“I eat healthy, I exercise regularly, and practice stress management, what the heck is going on?!" I knew I needed to nip this issue in the booty (or rather the stomach) because being bloated while in a swim suit is the LAST thing I want to have to worry about while on a tropical vacay.
Bloating can happen to anyone, it’s usually from poor eating habits, but it can also be related to stress or PMS, weak digestion, or other medical conditions (some serious). I started evaluating any recent dietary and lifestyle changes I had made, and pinpointed the issue down to a few possible causes:
1) Having a daily protein shake with a new vegan protein powder I had gotten (Before this, I’d have them maybe 1-2 times a week, not daily). I did some research and it turns out some ingredients commonly found in plant-based protein powders can be hard for our bodies to break down.
2) Multi-tasking while eating (known as unmindful eating)…I know not good right?!
3) Having hummus daily- While chickpeas are healthy, they can be hard for the body to digest and have enzyme inhibitors that slow down digestion. So consuming them on the regular was possibly too much for my digestive system to handle.
Since recognizing that one or all of these habits could be contributing to my recent bloat, I’ve made a few changes to make sure I won’t be bloated for my trip: I’ve ditched the protein powder, opting to add hemp seeds, chlorella, and spirulina for protein in my smoothies instead. It’s been 2 weeks and already it has helped dramatically. I’ve also been practicing mindful eating by setting down my phone and eating lunch outside, away from my computer. I have ditched my beloved hummus for now and am going to start sprouting my garbanzo beans when I do start eating it again, which will increase digestibility.
Additionally, I’ve been practicing some of these go-to no-bloat tips. I thought with potential vacays coming up and summer right around the corner I’d share them with you because being bloated isn’t fun for anyone, and can especially be a bummer when you work so hard to feed your body right and work up a sweat on the regular.
Go-to No-bloat TIPS-
1) Start your day with warm, lemon water- This wakes up your digestive system and helps your body to flush toxins out and absorb nutrients from your food. I’ve noticed that this alone has really helped me.
2) Eat whole, unrefined foods- Try eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables (if having cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower make sure they are cooked, as they can cause bloat), clean protein (wild salmon is great because it has omega 3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation in the body which can decrease bloat), whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats and oils, and less processed foods that have things like preservatives and chemicals in them that can cause bloat. Even check those protein powders- While I have an organic, vegan one I realized that this was part of the reason for my recent bloating problems. The lesson here? Always stick to whole foods when possible!
3) Practice mindful eating- This also means paying attention to how you feel after eating certain foods and meals. Feel bloated after a big meal? Try eating smaller portions and chewing your food more thoroughly. Feel bloated after a protein shake? Buy an easier to digest, quality protein or skip out on them for a while. Does fiber make you bloated? Try having smaller portions of it. Not hungry? Don’t mindlessly eat. The more you are aware of HOW you feel after eating certain foods, the easier it is to pinpoint what foods your body may not agree with. (For more on mindful eating, check my recent Guest Blog Post from Sarah Colette)
4) Watch your food-combining- Some people’s digestive systems are more vulnerable to proper food combining, so if you are finding you are bloated often after meals, follow these rules and see if your bloat issue improves:
·Avoid eating protein with starches or fruit
·Eat fruit on an empty stomach, or with greens (eat melon separately always)- This one is huge, so often people have fruit for dessert and add them to their oats without realizing this may be the culprit causing stomach pain and bloat
·Don’t combine different proteins together
·Don’t combine different starches together
·Don’t combine fats with starches
5) Allow yourself 3 hours between meals- This allows your body time to properly digest your meals without being over-worked.
6) Add digestive enzymes and probiotics to your diet- Digestive enzymes are special proteins made by the body and used to break down various foods. However, if your body is not producing enough of these enzymes it could be contributing to bloat. Try taking one digestive enzyme before each meal to see if this helps control bloating. I recently got the Garden of Life Chewable Digestive Enzymes and have been loving them. Probiotics found in coconut kefir, Kombucha, sauerkraut and tempeh are also great for feeding your gut good bacteria and help it be able to do its job optimally.
7) Don’t drink water while eating, but do stay hydrated- When you drink water with your food it can dilute your body’s digestive juices enabling them to do their job properly. Water is important though, so make sure you are drinking 10-12 cups a day (depending on your activity level). By staying hydrated your body is able to release fluids which can help with bloat.
8) Add anti-bloat foods to your diet- This includes ginger, cucumber, berries, parsley, lemon, pineapple, avocado, spinach, papaya, celery, mint tea, and flax seeds.
9) Avoid Dairy- Dairy can cause bloating in a lot people because many cannot breakdown the dairy sugar lactose. If lactose isn’t broken down it will travel to your large intestine undigested and cause bloat.
10) Check those prescriptions- The top causes of bloat that may be coming from your medicine cabinet include: Antibiotics, which not only kill the bad bacteria, but your good bacteria also, NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), birth control pills, codeine, and steroids. If you are taking any of these add digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics to your diet, and you may want to speak to your doctor about alternatives that will help ease symptoms of bloat.
10) Add Apple Cider Vinegar to your routine- Have a shot of this (about 1 tbsp.) 1-3 times a day 15 minutes before eating a meal. The fermented apples help to relieve bloating, gas, and aid in digestion.
11) Add the right teas to your life- Peppermint tea is great for soothing your digestive system and relieving bloat. Make sure to buy an organic tea brand and have in the evening or when you start to feel bloated. Ginger and chamomile are also great teas for bloat.
If you are experiencing bloat, try these tips to see if they help to relieve it. You may also want to keep a food journal and write down how you feel after eating each meal/snack. This may help you pinpoint the culprit(s) to your bloat. Having a food intolerance or sensitivity can also contribute to bloating. If the bloating persists, you may want to visit your medical doctor for an evaluation, as bloating can be a contributor to more serious medical conditions.
Share your favorite go-to no-bloat tip below! xx
Who doesn't love the taste of curry? Curry spices can bring any dish to life and that's why I am obsessed with this Curry Quinoa Recipe inspired by my favorite store-bought quinoa called "Kinky Quinoa". This makes a great snack, side dish or meal paired with your favorite vegetables and garbanzo beans. But first, let's talk some health-benefits!
Rich in anti-cancer properties
Helps relieve inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis
Helps prevent Alzheimer's disease
Improves digestion and bone health
Helps to prevent cardiovascular disease
One of the few plant-foods that has all of the essential amino acids (AKA a complete protein)
High fiber, which helps digestion and keeps you full
Full of vitamins and minerals like Magnesium, which many people don't get enough of
Recipe (Serves 8-12, buy organic for all ingredients possible):
4 cups cooked quinoa
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1-2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 package frozen peas, cooked
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Seasonings to taste: Curry powder, cayenne powder, sea salt, and black pepper
Put the cooked quinoa in a medium-large bowl, and add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix well. Next add the rest of the listed ingredients in order. Lastly, add the seasonings and season until you get the spice/flavor you want to achieve. Stir to evenly distribute the ingredients and keep in the fridge (Keeps 4-5 days).
I love making this dish on Sundays to have on hand throughout my busy week. My favorite way to eat it is in a bowl topped with curry-spiced oven roasted vegetables like cauliflower and butternut squash, cilantro, garbanzo beans and drizzled with a coconut milk based curry sauce and a sprinkle of Salba chia seeds. YEUM!
It's always fun connecting with other healthy-minded people, but it's even more fun getting to connect with fellow Bauman College students going through the same Holistic Nutrition program as me. It can get lonely going to school virtually, so I am thankful to have connected with Lindsay and that she lives in LA. This babe is full of awesome recipes and even has videos that easily display how to make some of her yummy (and healthy) recipes she shares. She is a natural in the kitchen and has an awesome perspective on nutrition! When I interviewed Lindsay, I was anxious to hear all about her own experience at Bauman College, what she's learned this far, and how her studies have influenced her approach to healthy eating. This interview is full of insight and as a bonus, Lindsay shares her Coconut Vanilla Chia Pudding Parfait recipe below.
What were you doing before you enrolled in Bauman College's Holistic Nutrition program and how long have you been in the program?
I have been working in the insurance industry for the last 5 years. I started as an underwriter and now I work in client service management. About 3 years ago, I was really in need of a creative outlet, so I started my healthy cooking blog, Weeknight Bite. I really love the process of coming up with healthy recipes, learning to take food photos, editing recipe videos, and writing blog posts. When I hear that someone has tried my recipes and it made them realize how easy it is to be healthy, it absolutely makes my day. I’ve always been really passionate about nutrition and wellness and decided that it’s finally time to take the leap from my stable corporate job to go through the Bauman program and become a nutritionist. I’m about 3 months into the program and am really loving it! I’m so interested in all of the topics and it’s so applicable to our daily lives that I just can’t wait to keep learning and eventually help people become their healthiest, happiest selves.
What about Bauman College’s Holistic Nutrition program intrigued you and made you want to study Holistic Nutrition there?
Once I decided that I wanted to go to school for nutrition, I spent hours upon hours researching programs, reaching out to students and alumni of different schools, and talking with Holistic Nutritionists, Registered Dietitians, and Health Coaches to hear about the paths they took. It amazed me how willing people were to help, share their experiences, and provide their advice. It just shows how passionate people are in this industry! After all of the research, Bauman was really the best fit for me. I wasn’t looking for a quick certification program – I really wanted to be challenged and learn all of the science behind nutrition. I also love that Bauman has a Business Institute that is included in the program to provide their students with many of the tools they need to be successful.
What are you currently learning about in the program?
I just finished Digestive Physiology which was so interesting and now I’m onto Nutritional Biochemistry. It really makes you think about using food as medicine and the toll that processed, unhealthy foods can take on your body.
What’s been the most interesting (or eye-opening) thing you have learned from Bauman’s program thus far?
Throughout the Digestive Physiology section, there was a lot of discussion about medicine and treatment of certain ailments. For example, when someone goes to the doctor for acid reflux or heartburn, most of the time, they’re immediately told to take an antacid like Prilosec. What’s ironic (and scary!) is how these antacids will really do a number on your digestive system. It is prescribed to treat heartburn, meanwhile it kills the acid in your stomach, and your body needs that acid for healthy digestion of proteins. So maybe it will temporarily fix your heartburn, but it’s creating bigger problems by adding stress to your digestive system. The Bauman program really gets you to think about natural ways to heal your body before resorting to over-the-counter medicines.
Have your eating habits changed in any way since being in school for Holistic Nutrition? And if so, how?
I’ve always been a healthy eater and I like to think I’m a pretty informed consumer when it comes to reading food labels and making healthy choices, but this program has definitely made me even more aware of what I’m putting into my body. Being in school for holistic nutrition, I really feel I need to “walk the walk” if I want to inspire others to be healthy. I have become more thoughtful about my meals and snacks, making an effort to pack a giant healthy salad for lunch rather than going out every day, and taking steps to eat extra healthy and clean when I know I have an event coming up where I may be more indulgent.
What’s your own philosophy on food and health?
I honestly believe it’s all about balance. I focus on eating a diet full of whole, healthy foods – that includes TONS of greens & veggies, healthy fats, fruit, organic, lean protein and wild fish – and I enjoy every single healthy and delicious bite. I also have a major sweet tooth and never want to deprive myself, so I’m all about having my favorite indulgence every once in a while and balancing it with a clean, unprocessed diet. I love creating healthy substitutions for my favorite sweets so there’s never any guilt associated with treating myself. That’s why you’ll find plenty of dessert recipes on my blog – most of them are gluten free and I make easy swaps in my recipes like almond meal instead of white flour, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, coconut sugar instead of white sugar. When you’re making healthy choices and eating whole, real foods, you’ll never need to think about counting calories or feel guilty about the occasional indulgence. I’m all about enjoying life and delicious food is one of the greatest joys!
What’s your go-to daily health habit and why do you find it important?
Every day I make sure I’m eating a balance of healthy fats, fiber, lean protein, and greens. When I focus on these simple things, having a healthy diet is super simple! The easiest and quickest way for me to do this is to start my day with a smoothie. Depending what I’m craving, I’ll change up the ingredients, but my go-to is half a banana, a giant handful of spinach, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, a tbsp. of coconut butter, my favorite plant-based superfood protein from Beaming (SO good), and almond milk. This is an amazing way to start the day because it sets the tone for me to make great choices the rest of the day.
Any herbs and/or spices you regularly include in your diet (and why)?
I have cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric pretty much every day. Cinnamon is amazing because it can lower blood sugar, is full of antioxidants, improves insulin sensitivity and boosts metabolism. I put it in my smoothies, oatmeal, chia pudding, and in literally everything I bake. Ginger is incredible for digestion, immunity, and inflammation. I mix it into smoothies or put a piece in warm water with lemon first thing in the morning. Turmeric is an herb that has been used for medicinal purposes for years. It’s a great anti-inflammatory compound and research shows that it can help fight chronic diseases, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. I love to mix cauliflower with olive oil, garlic, and ground turmeric and then roast it until crispy – so yummy. I also drink a ginger turmeric tea every night after dinner to help improve my digestion.
Favorite quote/motto you relate to nutrition and fitness and that you live by?
I love this quote – “When everything feels like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.” It’s not always going to be easy, but if you fight for your goals, it’s always going to be worth it.
What do you love about nutrition?
I love the way simple choices can change your life. Choosing to eat healthy foods and real ingredients will improve your life in so many ways – your energy level, happiness, and longevity depend on what you feed yourself, so we’re really in control of how amazing we can feel.
What’s your dream career in the nutrition world?
I would love to have my own practice and work directly with clients to improve their health and happiness. I’d also love to have a cookbook full of clean and delicious recipes one day! This is such a rewarding career path and I’m so excited to be on this journey.
I LOVE Lindsay's straight to the point, clean approach to nutrition! And did you hear that?..She still eats dessert- Whoever said healthy was boring or depriving?! Now check out this beauty's sinful-sounding chia pudding recipe...
Lindsay's Coconut Vanilla Chia Pudding Parfait Recipe
Ingredients (Makes 3 medium-sized mason jar parfaits):
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup light coconut milk (it comes in a can)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
2 tbsp shredded coconut
A drizzle of raw honey
About 1.5 cups of your favorite organic berries
Mix all listed ingredients (except berries, coconut, and honey) together in a bowl or glass. Stir well until everything is evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours (or overnight!). Assemble your mason jars with berries on the bottom, then a few spoonfuls of pudding, more berries, then more pudding . . . and so on until the glass is filled. Garnish with berries on top, coconut shreds, and a drizzle of honey and serve.
Lindsay Surowitz is a Southern California foodie who has a passion for nutrition and wellness, loves to create healthy recipes, and lives for a great meal. She is a USC graduate and is currently working towards her certification as a Holistic Nutritionist through Bauman College. She started her blog Weeknight Bite in 2012, where she shares cooking tips and nutritious recipes that are quick and effortless- Perfect for any night of the week. She believes that by making some simple, nutrient-rich substitutions, we can still enjoy our favorite foods and never feel deprived. She looks forward to working directly with clients to help them become the healthiest, brightest, and happiest version of themselves.
For healthy recipe ideas and inspiration, follow Lindsay here:
Instagram: @weeknightbite (https://www.instagram.com/weeknightbite/)