It happens to the best of us… eating something that doesn’t sit well with our stomachs. When that happens, it will either come out from one end or the other. Call it the stomach bug, stomach flu, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, diarrhea, gastroenteritis – call it what you will, but it’s all the same stuff. You know you have been there at some point in your life. It’s just your body telling you that it could not tolerate whatever you just put into it. Some people are quicker at responding to what doesn’t sit well… I am one of those people, with almost lightening reflexes of my body telling me that was a NO NO.
Unfortunately it happened to me this past week, after I attended a friend’s birthday dinner. The meal was delicious but it was oily and greasy. The night before, I met some friends at a Spanish tapas restaurant (again, greasy). To top it all off, I had a few glasses of wine, sangria, and speakeasy-type concoctions. I even had S’mores and an ice cream cone. My body is just not used to putting so many toxins in it two days in a row. And so for the past few days, I had the worst stomach cramps and it was all coming out like a waterfall at one end (sorry for the graphic details!) Needless to say, I think I lost 5 pounds when I wasn’t even trying to. At least I got to sit next to Ty Burrell and Eric Stonestreet while I was eating my S’mores (hopefully you guys know which show I’m talking about ). Little did they know I would be hurling the delicious S’mores right back out later.
My friend Erik came by to make sure I was alive and offered to bring me soup. Common thought: sickness = drink soup = cure all. Sweet thought but not a good thing to eat when you have indigestion. It made me realize that a lot of people are at a loss when it comes to treating their indigestion. You HAVE to eat SOMETHING or else you will not have the energy to drag yourself to the toilet LOL. Hence, my inspiration for this post today: what to eat when you have indigestion.
First off, when you are suffering from the stomach flu, you will often be too AFRAID to touch food for fear of more coming out from either end. But at the same time, you start to see all sorts of food that you wish you could eat but know you shouldn’t. I started watching the Cooking Channel – Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Symon’s Suppers, and Eat Street – shows that I never watched before, all to ogle the food on the television and take notes on what I MUST eat once I was all better. Um, I never eat Indian food but suddenly after watching Eat Street, I felt the urge to find the Biryani street truck on 46th Street and 6th Avenue!
So to make sure that you don’t eat something that makes what you have worse, here are some healthy food options to get you better as soon as possible:
- make sure you hydrate! drink up to compensate for all the fluids you are losing. but only drink hot or cold water (preferably boiled hot water to soothe your stomach) or drink a sports drink to provide you with much-needed electrolytes and vitamins (I chose low-calorie Gatorade).
- BRAT remember this acronym and it will help you choose the right foods to eat when you have that awful stomach ache.
B is for bananas!! I ate SO many bananas the past few days I think I’m turning into a monkey. It helps that I LOVE bananas and eat them regularly anyway. Pectin, a water-soluble fiber, in the bananas will help to reduce diarrhea. Other foods with pectin are applesauce and yogurt (probiotic yogurt, in this case, would serve you the best).
R is for rice. Normally I would eat brown rice or gluten-free pasta. In this case, eating refined grains like white rice or regular pasta would help your cause better. You want to give your digestive tract a break and not eat brown rice.
A is for applesauce. If it’s good for the kids, it’s good for you! Remember, applesauce has the necessary pectin and is better than eating an apple, which would have too much fiber. Again, you want to give your digestive tract a break. I chose unsweetened Mott’s Applesauce.
T is for toast. Eating plain bread or toast is the best in this situation. No butter, no cream cheese, and absolutely no Nutella! Just plain white toast. In my case, I ate a plain, white bagel to soothe my stomach. The caveat about bagels: they equal about 5 slices of bread! But since I couldn’t eat much else, eating a bagel was essentially my dinner.
- eat cooked versus raw vegetables. Some raw vegetables will make your indigestion even worse.
- eat foods with sodium. Usually I would tell you NOT to eat too much sodium but in this situation, you want to retain as much water as possible and salt can definitely help with that. Clear broths, sports drinks, crackers, and pretzels are options you can choose from.
- eat protein to avoid fatigue. All that energy going to and from the toilet and not to mention the cramping, will get you tired! Eat some lean, white chicken breast or very well-cooked eggs or tofu.
- do not eat fruit other than a banana. Raw fruit also can make your indigestion worse.
- do not drink caffeinated, alcoholic, or carbonated beverages. These are items you shouldn’t be drinking anyway but if you are drinking them, this is the best time to avoid them. No coffee, no tea, no soda, no booze.
- do not chew gum or eat cooked cabbage, beans, broccoli or cauliflower. These will all cause gas and irritate your stomach even more!
- do not drink milk or eat dairy products. No milk, no cheese, no butter, no ice cream. Only probiotic yogurt is okay.
So hopefully these tips will help you get through the stomach bug as much as it helped me. Two days wasn’t too bad for me. Now I’m ready to go out and enjoy the beautiful weekend that is here in New York City – and although I was craving the street trucks when I was sick, thank goodness that absurdly weird craving passed. (We ALL know street trucks in NYC are just plain ol’ dirty. You would just be asking for getting the stomach bug!) I was just suffering from food delirium which can often accompany the stomach bug .
Confession time: I did buy some rainbow cookies to treat myself. They are gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, lactose free, and corn free. And it was the first thing I had when I realized I was back to my good ol’ self! :). There IS a rainbow at the end of the dark tunnel. Gosh, it feels GREAT to be healthy!