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  • Writer's pictureDr Megan

Gut problems? Think food substitutions, not deprivation

Most of my patients complain about some kind of gut problem - wind, bloating, etc. To be honest, these bodily functions are part of a normal & healthy digestive system (yes, women fart and its OK). But when these digestive issues start to impact on your daily life, preventing you from socialising, causing you regular discomfort, etc, then you may want to try some of my smart food swaps so you can get back to living whilst still enjoy all those yummy meals that you love.

By the time patients reach my clinic, they have usually tried most approaches with varying degrees of success but are now so confused about what they can and cannot eat. And usually this means that they have eliminated so many foods that their diet is very limited and sadly are undernourished (unknowingly), have poor health (pick up colds & flus easily and feel run-down) and are no longer enjoying the pleasure associated with eating.

If you suffer from wind, bloating, fluctuations in diarrhoea and constipation, on a regular basis then the chances are one or more foods (preservatives, food dyes, proteins such as gluten & sugars such as lactose) are irritating your digestive system. Everybody is different so the key is to seek the help from a professional so that you do NOT have to eliminate everything from your diet but only those ingredients that are a problem for you.

My approach with patients is:

Firstly, start with a general #diet clean up, removing things like excessive caffeine, alcohol, sugary drinks & fatty (unsaturated) takeaways. I find that in >50% of my patients this makes a world of difference to alleviating symptoms.

Secondly, boost #vegetable intake. Most (>95%) Australians don't meet the recommended intake of vegetables each day. Vegetables are loaded with fibre which increases stool weight, eases passage, and reduces transit time helping to alleviate or prevent constipation, stimulating the GI tract muscles so they retain their strength. So stop following the latest 'diet' and start relying on #science - the evidence proves that people whom don't eat enough vegetables are heavier, and have far more health problems because they are at an increased risk of developing cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure & heart disease, and depression. No thanks!

Thirdly, if my patients are still having trouble after doing the above, then I suggest eliminating ingredients to find the 'trigger' foods. Most people are scared by this stage because they think this means that meals will be boring and they will have to give up their favourites. So I want to share with you some of my food swaps (below) so you can still enjoy all your favourite meals, whilst restoring your #health and a positive relationship with food. It is best to try one food swap at a time rather than everything otherwise you won't know what foods are problematic.

The above is just a place to start and not an exhaustive list. For example, although I am an advocate for fresh fruit, apples and pears are often trigger foods for some people and thus should be avoiding. Instead stick to berries, bananas, citrus.

If all else fails and you are still confused, consult a professional! Find a local dietitian or speak to your GP. If you would like to know how I can help and find out if I am a could fit for you then, please don't hesitate to contact us on 0438 195 535 or via my email or at one of my clinics.

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