Thursday, January 8, 2009

What to do if the stomach bugs gets you...

That stomach bug is really going around right now!

Even though the "acute" phase seems to be 12 - 24 hours, people are reporting feeling quite lousy for some time afterward. We've put together some ideas of things to help you get over this faster.

  • If you are not pregnant, nursing, or have compromised health issues, taking a day away from food, drinking plenty of water, is a great start to rest your digestive system. You can also take probiotics at this time (see below.)

  • Eat simply, maybe even taking time away from solid foods. You can juice your own fruits and veggies, make smoothies, or have some light soups, like miso.

  • Now is definitely the time to stop eating by 7, or even before. When I had it recently, I found I couldn't eat much after 4 if I wanted to make it comfortably through the night.

  • Now is also the time to look at your food combining. Here are some simple ideas about it:

    • eat fruit on an empty stomach. If eating fruit with a meal, eat it first, and wait a bit (20 minutes) before eating the rest of the meal.

    • do not each starches like rice, potatoes, and bread at the same meal as proteins (meat, eggs, tofu, cheese, beans.) Greens and veggies combine well with either protein or starch, but not together. So no mac and cheese, pizza, fish and rice, etc. You can have a salad with fish, and then the next meal have a salad and pasta (no cheese) etc.

    • Wait until your stomach is empty before eating again. If you are properly combining food, this will be between 2 - 4 hours, depending on what you eat. (Fruit and veggies digest faster than proteins like meat, tofu or cheese.) Poorly combined meals can take 8 hours to digest.

    • You can find more info about food combining online, and a great book is Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond.

  • do not stuff yourself at meals, especially not late in the day

  • Take probiotics, like acidophilis. Especially if you've had diarrhea, the intestinal flora may be wiped out. Another good probiotic can be found at pharmacies, it is OTC, but you may have to ask for it. It is called florastor, and it contains Saccharomyces Boulardii Lyo, which is actually a culture of beneficial yeast found on lychees and mangosteens. This is reportedly very helpful when recovering from this stomach bug.

  • Digestive enzymes may also be helpful to take at meals to help digest.

  • Chinese herbs, like the formula Bao He Wan, are very helpful if you find you are having trouble digesting food. (We do have this available at Birch Center.)

  • Acupuncture can help strengthen the digestive system, calm nausea and help the bowels as well. It can also help with the fatigue that seems to follow this bug.

As always, if you feel like you have something more serious going on, or if vomiting or diarrhea persists, please do not let this advice substitute for medical attention.

Thanks, and be well!
~ Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.

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