In today’s episode we are joined by Nisa. Nisa is in her medical school residency and talks Her journey with constipation “since she was born”. I am so excited to be able to help give her some actionable and easy tips to navigate her constipation despite her busy schedule. I know you guys are going to love hearing her story because it’s super relatable!

A few topics we discuss in this episode:

  1. How ginger tea throughout the day can help with digestion
  2. Morning bowel routine
  3. Neuroplasticity

In this Episode You’ll Learn:

 [10:24] Cutting of food and its relation to constipation 

[14:21] Whole meal spacing concept and whole energy equation

[28:00] Morning recommendations to aid with digestion issues

[34:45] Ginger and gut motility 

[40:44] Routine hydration

[41:03] Stress management

[45:33] What Nisa is going to implement first and takeaway 

Quotes:

  • Even in medical school, there would be days where I would, I would take, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t move my bowels for maybe five days, despite trying all the dietary things. [07:30] 
  • “But I just found myself isolating because of my symptoms, I started feeling nauseated because I wasn’t eating,” [11:30]
  • “But PMS is common, not normal. And that’s typically a sign that your estrogen and progesterone are at work.” [17:20]
  • “Gut is a muscle, so just like any other muscle in your body, it can’t work if it doesn’t have fuel, and unfortunately, and fortunately, your gut is not necessarily an essential organ.,” [19:18]
  • “I feel like if you can win the morning, you can win the day.,” [28:01]

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 Transcription:

Hey, welcome to the love your gut podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Heather Finley, I know what you’re thinking, how am I supposed to love my gut when all it does is hold me back. I thought the same thing before I found relief from my own gut health issues. I dedicated my life to getting into the bottom of my own gut issues, so I can help women just like you transform theirs. Now, I’m here to guide you through your own gut health journey. We do this through identifying your root causes and making sustainable and transformative changes. As a result, you can unleash your true potential. My goal is to empower you with the information and tools you need to love your gut so it loves you back right here on this podcast. Thank you so much for tuning into today’s episode. Today’s episode is a bit different than the others I will actually be joined on air buy a love your gut podcast listener for some free on air coaching. The goal of these sessions is to give back to the love your gut podcast community and also inspire you as a listener to know that you are not alone. The listeners who participate in these sessions are not clients of mine, but today I am joined by Misa who is a medical school resident she states that she has been constipated since she was born. And she is really looking for guidance on how she can navigate her constipation amidst her super busy life. Okay, welcome to this next episode. I have Nisa here with me, and I’m so excited to talk to her. Today we are going to talk about her struggles with her digestive issues. And I know that you guys are going to find so much value from this, I know that the things that she struggles with are very similar to the things that you all struggle with as well. So let’s get started. Lisa, thanks so much for joining me.

Thanks so much, Dr. Finley for having me. You’re welcome.

Well, I’d love it. If you would just tell our listeners a bit about you however much information you would like to give, and a little bit just about your history with digestive issues, the symptoms that you’re having, kind of the journey that you’ve been on, and kind of where you’re at today and what you’re struggling with.

Okay, sure. So I’m actually in my first year of an internal medicine residency, I graduated from med school, I am a primary care physician right now working in Pennsylvania. And I am interested in the route of going into gastroenterology down the line partially because of lifelong digestive issues that I have dealt with. I think I was born constipated. It runs in my family. And I just have like memories of being very young and having to drink eight ounces of orange juice first thing in the morning, like it was just part of my habit kind of grew up doing that. And I it worked for a little bit. And then as I got older, it stopped working and lived with it kind of for a while. And then my my digestive issues, everything seemed to really slow down when I got into college, and then and beyond. And I think stress is all of us have very stressful lives these days. And I think stress played a big role. But I’ve just like tried so many different things. And you know, none of it has been very successful, including the the strong, like pharmaceutical options out there now for constipation. So I was fortunate to come upon Dr. Dr. Finley and so here we are.

Well, thank you for sharing. I know sometimes it’s not easy to share about your personal health. I think, for me, at least, for a lot of my life, I felt really embarrassed by it or just really ashamed like, Okay, does anyone else struggle with this, but I tell people the same thing. I was born constipated too. And so I think I appreciate you sharing this with us because it helps people to feel less alone. Because there’s a lot of people that struggle with constipation, to the severity that that you’re describing. So you mentioned you’re born you were born constipated. You tried prune juice in the past and it worked for a while. At what point or how about how old were you when it stopped working? And and anything else that you’ve tried in between that that has or hasn’t worked?

Sure. So I think that probably through most of elementary school, I just had that routine like my mom, you know, first thing in the morning I’d get up I’d have my passengers go go to school. I don’t have I have some memories of straining, but I don’t have very good memories of feeling constantly did it all the time during that that period of time? And then it’s funny because I was thinking back in preparation for this interview, what period did like things stop working? I don’t have strong memories of my bowel habits in middle school in high school, believe it or not. And in the past in those, in those times, I did deal with restrictive eating. And I think that that probably contributed to slowing down my digestion overall. But I do remember having conversations with my cousins also constipated, where they recommend to try near relaxed. I think this was probably in college now. So obviously, things had to have gotten worse because I was talking to my cousin’s about what they were using. And so I did try MiraLAX. I did not find relief from it. I tried it very, very rigorously. So I wouldn’t do the cat full. I tried the two cat foals and not a ton of benefit, and from my understanding of Maalox, it just draws water into the colon. And it’s one of the safer laxatives that I was aware of. So it was one of the reasons why I wanted to try it, because I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of taking laxatives, but did not work. So I moved on to I did all the fiber, I did all the dietary things, and then just myself, I started taking stimulant laxatives, like the Dulcolax pills over the counter. And then there were there, there going to be times where those wouldn’t even work. Um, I know, there’s a lot of theories about whether you can become dependent on stimulant laxatives or not. But, you know, fast forwarding some I recall, you know, even in medical school, there would be days where I would, I would take, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t move my bowels for for maybe five days, despite trying all the dietary things. And I tried the toggle x and I would take like nine pills a day, and it would do nothing for me. And at that point, I did see a gastroenterologist and they they put me on a different I went through all the gamut of prescription meds that are out there now like the MIT’s mo Tegrity, a bunch of different ones now. tried them all religiously, and none of them worked either. So that’s that’s kind of what, you know what I’ve gotten to this thus far.

So you’re at this point where you’ve tried like, all the recommended medications, you’ve done your due diligence, like going to the doctor, getting all the tests, doing all the medications, doing all the things that you’re supposed to do, quote unquote, but yeah, you’re still really struggling with constipation. Would you say that, like, your constipation is as as worse as it’s ever been? Or is it like, have there been times when it’s been worse than it is now? Or do you feel like it’s just steadily kind of been the same for the last couple years?

So that’s a great question. A few years ago, it got to a point where I really wasn’t eating very much because it was painful. Like I just I couldn’t move my bowels and so that was a contributing factor and work was very school was stressful. Med School was very stressful. I was studying all the time. I wasn’t eating a lot of foods because it hurt to eat wasn’t moving my bowels at all. And I think that’s probably the worst it’s ever been, was a few years ago, I did the colonoscopy, colonoscopy, it was completely normal. The endoscopy endoscopy was normal. I just had what’s called a torturous colon. So happens a lot with a lot of women. And a lot of women who struggle with constipation, there’s just like our colons twist and turn a lot but other than that, everything was normal. And I realized that I was I had lost a lot of weight. I really was sacrificing a lot of other elements of my health, so I started adding in more food. It was hard because constipation was still pretty bad. Um, but the more food that I added in, I was drinking a lot of water. Interestingly enough, although my constipation didn’t significantly improve, I did start to feel better. Um, and these days I have a regimen. That is it’s not great. But I’ve found that if I can use it as depository. Every couple of days that, that gives me a little bit of relief. Though, it’s still, you know, it’s still a huge struggle, and it’s still painful at times, but I’ve learned that you’re like, the other components of my health were, and my psychological health were just like, trying to avoid all the foods was really, really challenging.

So yeah, tell me more about that. Because I think so many people can relate to that as well, like you think, Okay, well, the problem must be food, like I’m constipated because of something that I’m eating. And so therefore, I should not eat, you know, X, Y, and Z. And I know for a lot of our clients, they end up like kind of going down that trail, and then all of a sudden, they’re left with three or four foods that they’re eating, yet, they are still constipated. So tell me kind of like, what it took for you to overcome that mindset of, okay, I’ve tried everything, nothing’s really working. So food is likely not the only problem here. And so cutting out food is not necessarily helping, and therefore, I should add food back in to increase variety, like what helped you to transform that mindset that you had in that process.

So I, I did have a lot of psychological help in the process. Because you get yourself almost in a rabbit hole. And you begin or at least I did, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t speak of you in the in the broader sense, but I just found myself isolating because of my symptoms, I started feeling nauseated because I wasn’t eating, I had limited myself to like yogurt, because I thought that was an easier to digest food. But I was just extremely fatigued, and tired of trying to avoid everything. And for fear of making my constipation my, my irritable bowel syndrome, that’s another component of this, too, is that I was diagnosed with IBS, which is kind of like a catch all these days. Like, if you have functional, you know, the disorders of brain gut interaction, or, or I think is something that is called these days, but I was afraid of whatever I would even make it worse. And then what I had to do was change my thought process around it and realize that, okay, you know, if sometimes, if you’re not putting enough food in the Constitution, like things aren’t going to move at all. So I was doing myself a disservice, really, by not wanting to eat, because the GI system is like a tube. So if you’re not putting anything in the top of the tube, like in your mouth and down into your esophagus and stomach, you’re not going to get anything out of the bottom of the tube. So that is starting to think about that. And I think my medical background was helpful in really thinking about that, that anatomically and physiologically what has to happen. So instead of started focusing on okay, I’ve got to get up and I’ve got to have something to eat for breakfast, because that’ll start my digestive process moving. I would slowly expand so I integrated it a little bit more fiber. And so I would have you know, chia and yogurt and fruit, and then try to get in a snack, which for me works. One of the things that I am I’m working on right now, is that having that timeframe, you know, enough time between breakfast and snack to let the digestive process happen. Because the other thing I did was I would graze I would raise throughout the day, which I think is not uncommon that you stand.

Yeah, it’s not uncommon at all, because you think, okay, if I eat less, but more frequently, like that shouldn’t be easier on my stomach, but you bring up a really good point in that whole meal spacing concept, but something that I want to mention too, is the whole energy equation that you just talked about is if your gut is a muscle, so just like any other muscle in your body, it can’t work if it doesn’t have fuel, and unfortunately, and fortunately, your gut is not necessarily an essential organs. So your heart, your lungs, your brain are going to get that that nutrition and that energy before your gut does. So if you’re restricting calories restricting food Then the gut is not a priority, as much as the other things that I mentioned are so like, that’s kind of priority number one, which you’ve already nailed, which is awesome. Priority number two, like very secondary to that would be that whole meal spacing concept where, in between meals, you have this amazing cleanup crew in your gut called the migrating motor complex, and it comes through, it’s like the after office hours cleanup crew, and it sweeps out your intestines and takes out the trash and everything else. But I always tell our clients, if you’re not eating enough calories that comes first because your body needs energy, everything else, like fall secondary to that. So you’ve given us a really good background on you know, what you’ve tried kind of what has or hasn’t worked, and just kind of the the mindset shifts that you’ve had to go through in this process, which is really honestly, I think the hardest part is like getting on the same team with your body versus working against your body or feeling like okay, I have to control this more.

So here you are today, you’re in residency, you probably are, I’m assuming pretty stressed, you can weigh on in on that. But you’re still having some digestive symptoms. So if you were to kind of rank your symptoms like, you know, worst to like, less, less severe. How would you how would you rank the symptoms that you’re having? Constipation? I know you mentioned, I think, earlier, you mentioned bloating as well. Do you have pain, fatigue, etc? Like kind of what’s the order of these symptoms that you’re struggling with?

Number one, by far, far above the others is constipation. The the issue does that I have right now is that the constipation does lead to abdominal pain. Specifically, like in the descending colon, sigmoid colon, left sided down there, I will get pain pretty frequently. But I do rank constipation is number one, because I believe that that is what a full heart like I wholeheartedly believe that that is what is driving the sensation of the pain. I do occasionally still get the bloating. But it’s not it’s not as bad. Actually, I do not have celiac disease. But to talk, I know that on your page, you talk a lot about food intolerances and food sensitivities. So while of course, gluten was one of the things I cut out, and then I was adding everything back in, and now I believe that I don’t actually have any restrictions. I am very happy to go out and you don’t have a meal with friends. That’s not a problem whatsoever. But when I tried adding in gluten, it did actually mess with my stomach, whether it was psychosomatic or not, I’m not for because I’ve tried adding it back in a couple of different times. And my celiac tests are negative. But when I did did stop the gluten, the bloating improved. So So I think by for constipation, and then the belly pain, and then the fatigue and whatnot. I mean, I’m not going to win that battle and residency. So no, and you know, we could we could talk about the constipation.

Yeah. So you bring up a really good point about gluten because I think you know, especially just in today’s world, it’s like, okay, you want to feel better. Digestive wise, cut out gluten and dairy, and you’ll be fine. And unfortunately for a lot of the clients that we see they’ve done that they don’t feel better. But we do have clients that do notice sensitivity to it when they eat it. And oftentimes, it’s actually not the gluten, it’s the fact tannins that are in wheat. And so for those of you listening, if you’re not familiar with what that is, FODMAPs are foods that can trigger digestive symptoms and freq tans is one of the categories which wheat is in that category. So when you eat a food that includes wheat or gluten, it might not actually be the gluten it might be the first tannins and that actually makes sense with some of the symptoms that you’re having. Because you know, FODMAPs can definitely trigger IBS related symptoms. So whether it’s the fructans or the gluten we might not know for sure. Have you tried the difference between like a sourdough bread a sprouted bread and like a white piece of bread. Is there any difference there? or

Yeah, I have not made I have not tried that I have not tried them each side to side right now i i have been buying the gluten free, whether it’s gluten free. I love Trader Joe’s I think that store single handedly keeps me alive. But like I just love that grocery store. But they have like a gluten free white bread, they have a gluten free wheat bread. And then I actually found a gluten free sourdough. So I could very easily try that with the gluten free. But I think that what you were talking about was trying it with gluten in it correct?

Yeah, it could be something to try at some point, you know, do something that you want to do today or tomorrow but to help you differentiate, okay, is it just is it a digestive issue where like, I’m having trouble digesting gluten, because if you’re consuming a sourdough bread, it’s gonna have significantly less gluten than like a regular piece of white bread. So a lot of our clients find that they might do really well with sourdough bread, they do okay, with sprouted bread, like the Ezekiel bread, those types of products. And then like, if they have a regular piece of bread, that’s when their symptoms flare. For some people, that’s not a thing. But for a lot, you know, that might be something that you could try to just see, okay, does this work. And like, it just gives you a little bit more flexibility and freedom. When you’re out. You could order a piece of sourdough avocado toast or something. And it might work for you. But let’s kind of like tune back to the constipation because I think this is obviously the main reason that you reached out it’s the main reason that you know, you’ve been miserable for most of your life is like trying to tackle this constipation, and you’ve tried so many different things.

So tell me a bit just kind of about your daily routine. Like how much water do you drink? Do you know about how much fiber you eat throughout the day? It’s okay, if you don’t, you know, kind of like, what does your normal routine look like movement wise, sleep wise, etc? And, yeah, we’ll kind of go from there.

Hey, I know you’re absolutely loving this episode, I have to interrupt real quick to ask you a huge favor. My mission is to empower as many women as possible to find relief from their digestive symptoms, and you are a part of that mission. And the best way that you can help me to pursue this mission is by going over to iTunes, and giving us a five star rating and review so that more people can find this podcast. Now back to the episode.

I guess we’ll start with the sleep thing. Um, I tend to retry to get, you know, at least seven hours of sleep, sometimes it’s not possible. One thing that is tough you you mentioned, you know, routine and schedule. One of the hardest things that I am finding, as I’m going down this digestive journey now at this point, after I’ve added everything I restricted for so long back in, one of the hardest things is that where I am in my life, like routine is a very challenging thing. Because schedule changes a lot. And I think a lot of people have jobs were scheduled changes. But if I’m, for example, on a, quote unquote, normal day, I tend to wake up maybe around 6am. I will I’ve now started trying to have something in the morning, even if I’m not too hungry, because you know, I have to go into the hospital and it’s going to be hours before I can eat necessarily. So I will try to eat something like a perfect bar, something that’ll give me some energy and some fats. In addition to the carbs. I tend to eat it standing up while I’m waiting for the coffee to brew, which I already know is not great. But that’s you know the reality right now and then sometimes I have time to grab a snack or and that’s probably 630 ish in the morning. Sometimes I have a chance to grab a snack around 1030 Not always. At lunch I’ve made it a habit now that regardless, I need to sit down to eat something for lunch. Um, if I don’t have a perfect bar in the morning, I try to have a packet of oatmeal. I’ve started adding a tablespoon of chia seeds to my oatmeal. Um, for lunch I will either have some kind of vegetarian chili. I’m not vegetarian all the time, but I do You know, I don’t eat meat itself. So my protein usually comes from like a tofu source. Sometimes I’ll do lean turkey, or lean chicken breast. But I try to integrate either a quinoa or lentil chips or something that has some sort of fiber. And then I really like fruit and peanut butter on the side of that for something sweet. In the afternoon first snack or have either a protein bar usually it’s running around the hospital, and then dinner. You know, when I get home, I’m often really tired. And there’s a lot to do. So I’m not, I’m not great at sitting and eating. And I think that that is a major barrier right now. But I will try to at least prepare something that’s it’s balanced, I’ll have the veggies I’ll have either sweet potato, and then some source of protein, I have a sweet tooth. So I like having a little bit of ice cream or some dark chocolate after dinner. Sometimes I’m not home until eight o’clock at night. So I tend to eat what would be maybe my nighttime snack, oftentimes gets blended together with dinner. And that’s pretty much my food for the day, I have a 24 ounce water bottle that people make fun of me kindly at the hospital for carrying around everywhere with me. And it happens to be bright pink. So all the nurses on all the floors know that if I leave it there that I will be back to get it.

And so I think I’ll probably fill my water bottle three or four times during the day, pretty regularly. Water has been something that was a ran cross country in high school. And that was like very drilled into me that I had to drink my water. So I tried very carefully to drink a lot of water. Regarding your question about fiber, I would estimate at one point I counted it up for like a week. I think I get between 20 and 25 grams. I think that in synopsises answers your questions.

 

That’s all really helpful. And I think like a lot of people can relate to the crazy schedule, right? Like whether you are in residency, whether you have a really busy job, whether you have kids at home, like everyone has like some level of busy that, you know, potentially prevents them from having like the perfect quote unquote, routine. And just to make you feel better about your water bottle, I’ll show you no one can see it besides you. But this is my 40 ounce water bottle that I take everywhere.

So there’s a couple of things here that I think could really simplify your routine, but not necessarily add more stress.

So I always like to start with our clients with the morning because I feel like if you can win the morning, you can win the day.

And you know, really like whatever comes your way throughout that day. If you’ve won the morning, then that’s amazing. And even if you don’t like there’s ways that you can win the day, later on, but starting with the morning, I think is great.

And so there’s a couple of things that really come to mind. You know, you’re you have a really busy schedule, you have a really busy job, we know that like rest and digest is really important for constipation and gut health in general. And I do think that there’s ways even in your busy schedule to bring in rest and digest to help improve your constipation. So I’m thinking like along the lines of creating some kind of bowel routine in the morning. That’s not time consuming. I think a lot of times people hear routine and they think, oh my gosh, it’s gonna take seven hours and I don’t have time for that. And I’m busy. And the goal is for this to actually take away stress. So it could look something like this, like you wake up at 6am. And while you’re brewing your coffee, you get some overnight oats from the fridge that you’ve made the night before and you eat those while you’re brewing your coffee so that you’re getting a little bit more fiber throughout your day. So the overnight oats can be something like oats and whatever type of milk you like and one to two tablespoons of chia seeds and then you can start playing with it like maybe you add a scoop of collagen protein in there if you don’t want to change the flavor if you have like a vanilla protein powder order that you really like. You could add that in there, add some fruit, add some nuts, and you could make a full balanced meal in that overnight oats once you start adding your protein fat fiber color, which is the formula that I teach my clients. So protein can be from the form of some kind of protein powder added in. Fat could be in the form of nuts, or nut butter, the fiber is the oats, and the color could be some kind of fruit. Or if you’re making like a savory oats, it could even be a vegetable. If you were doing like a chickpea and spinach type of overnight oats, which I do have a recipe for that in my book. But data so stay tuned for that. But um, but yeah, so I love overnight oats for busy people. I also love chia pudding for really busy people, because you can make it the night before you don’t have to worry about it, you just throw it in the fridge. And you can even make three or four servings of it and have it for the week. But then you’re eating that as you’re making your coffee. One other thing that we encourage our clients to do is to try to drink at least 16 ounces of water before they drink their coffee. So you’re you’re eating your oats, you’re drinking your water before you drink your coffee. And we also like to encourage our clients to actually add salt or electrolytes to their water because for the most part when our clients are really constipated, it’s a dehydration issue as well. That’s probably not the only thing that’s going on. But a lot of times people are really dehydrated. If you’re comfortable sharing on the Bristol stool scale, are you familiar with the Bristol stool scale? Yeah, would you would you say your one two or three or a perfect four or a runny 567?

No, I am 99% of the time a one which is like the pebbly like cannot go to the bathroom.

Yeah, so your real dehydrated. So I would definitely put like a quarter teaspoon of salt in your water in the morning. I know that sounds disgusting. But it really really works and likely the salt is going to taste good. Which shows you’re probably pretty dehydrated. So drink your 16 ounces of water in the morning with your quarter teaspoon of salt if you want to put some lemon in it or something to make it taste a bit better. Or you could even put orange or some kind of citrus lime, that tends to kind of make it taste more like a Gatorade. So you’re drinking your salt water, you’re brewing your coffee, you’re eating your overnight oats, then what I would encourage you to do is block out like five to 10 minutes if you can, even if that requires waking up earlier to sit on the toilet with your feet elevated, um, with the expectation that you might not go to the bathroom. But honestly, sometimes the reason that people don’t go to the bathroom is because they’re not taking time to go to the bathroom. So if you can carve out five minutes of your day to sit on the toilet with your knees above your hips, so using like a stool or books or whatever you want, and just breathe. The you want to breathe like you’re blowing through a straw. So you’re taking really deep inhales and you’re blowing to try to relax your pelvic floor. We’ve had clients do this and sometimes it takes them a week, two weeks to actually like fully induce a bowel movement with doing this, but the repetition is kind of like queuing a baby to go to sleep. So if you’ve ever babysat a newborn before, you’ve likely done the routine of like, you give them a bath, you give them a bottle and they go to bed. When you start queuing your body with these things have I drink my water I sit on the toilet, I go to the bathroom, you can incorporate that regardless of what your schedule looks like. So whether you’re waking up at 6am or whether you have a rotation where you’re working nights, if you can have those like cues for your body to be able to go to the bathroom, and just some of those relaxation techniques. Another thing that you can look up on YouTube is called mood breathing. It’s like a humming breathing the type of breathing that you would do like during labor that can actually relax the pelvic floor as well and is a great thing to practice also. So that would be my recommendation for like what to do in the morning or just in general to create some type of routine so the the bowel routine adding in a more complete breakfast that might actually give you a bit more energy and be more satisfying to and then the electrolyte pieces. Well like I said a lot of our clients are extremely dehydrated. Um, and then to add on top of that one thing that I’m thinking of for you like During the day is we know that ginger is really really powerful for gut motility. Have you ever tried ginger before?

So a couple Yes, I have. I have. Yeah, I bought, I bought ginger tea.

Okay,so in that water bottle, you can cold brew ginger tea. So maybe the water bottle that you bring to the hospital has two ginger tea bags in it and is like steeping while you’re driving there. And you sip on that throughout the day to help encourage gut motility you’ll still be hydrated, but you’ll also be getting that boost of ginger and help potentially move your bowels a bit. Sometimes that’s not strong enough to induce a bowel movement. Sometimes people do need to take like ginger capsules or other motility agents in addition, which could definitely be something that you would potentially want to try as well. But I always encourage people to start with the ginger tea because it’s great, you can take it on the go. And it’s not another pill that you have to take. And a lot of times people actually enjoy drinking ginger. But that might be something to try as well. So how does that feel? Or how does that sound? Or any reflections? Based on what we’ve talked about so far?

Yeah, no, that sounds that sounds great. I’m actually drinking some lemon ginger tea right now. Which is what I just what I bought, I do think that incorporating that during the day will help. Um, one of the things I forgot to mention is that I I really like sparkling water. So I tend to drink a lot of sparkling water throughout the day. And I don’t know if that is I’m happy to switch to ginger tea. I don’t know if sparkling water actually does anything like to slow down like gesturing or not.

Um, I don’t know if you know, if that has any impact. It won’t necessarily slow down digestion for the most part. If it has, like, if it’s just like Lacroix or something, it’s probably fine. I mean, it might increase bloat just because it is sparkling. So it’s kind of the trade off of like you low sparkling water, you might feel a little bit more bloated and a lot of our clients are like, yeah, it’s okay like the sparkling water, I’m okay with a little bit more bloat. Or some of our clients choose to not drink it.

Um, if it’s one of the sparkling water drinks that also has flavor and like stevia added that will disrupt the migrating motor complex. So drinking something that has like calories or stevia in it is going to kind of stimulate your gut to move or your your gut is thinking it’s being fed kind of like the grazing investing, not it. So if it’s like your Lacroix, then you can still have that like meal spacing and have that migrating motor complex show up. If it’s you’re drinking, you know, something that has stevia or sweeteners or whatever it is in it, then that’s going to stimulate as if you were snacking all day.

That’s really interesting to know. It’s just, it’s just the it’s unflavored. It’s like unflavored Lacroix. But I do think that incorporating the ginger is something that I’m going to try to do, I hadn’t thought of using that. The cold brew concept. I like that a lot. The morning routine is definitely I took notes, because the morning routine is definitely something that I need to start and that sounds it sounds like something that that could be very helpful for me.

And it doesn’t have to be complicated. You know, like I was saying, I think a lot of people get overwhelmed with like, oh, I don’t have time for a routine. But if you’re not necessarily adding besides the five to 10 minutes to sit on the toilet. And even if you don’t have time for that, like I think starting with one of those things each week, like maybe this week, you’re like okay, I’m going to do the overnight oats the next week, I’m going to start with the water in the salt or, and then after that I’m going to add on you know, sitting on the toilet and doing the breathing. You don’t have to do all these things at once. When you slowly kind of start to implement them, then they just become natural and normal. And it doesn’t have to be rigid either because if you skip it one day, it’s not going to make or break your digestive health. But it’s nice because you know that you can go to that if you’re traveling or if you’re out of your routine, you know, okay, I always have, you know, usually would have access to water and so I can I can do that or you if you have access to a toilet you know, you can do that if you don’t necessarily have a choice of like what you’re eating, it’s okay because you have other resources that you can use and other tools you can incorporate where you don’t feel like it has to be the super strict routine. If you you know, can’t incorporate one piece of it.

Do most of your clients Who started routine like this? Do you find that they drink their electrolyte water while they eat breakfast? And then they use the restroom? Or does it you know, is that an important component of having the breakfast with the water and then you trying to the toileting, it’s up to you.

So I would say it’s probably 5050, it kind of depends on what your routine is, we have some clients that like wake up, go to the bathroom immediately. A lot of people do need a meal to stimulate a bowel movements and gastric colic reflux. And so a lot of times you do need to eat something to actually get your bowels to move, which is where I think the frustration can lie, because not everyone has time to eat breakfast, and then wait. And so then there’s the whole concept of like, being Okay, going to the bathroom in public. And you know, that’s a topic for another time. But that’s kind of why I was mentioning, you know, even if you sit on the toilet, and you do the breathing, but you don’t have a bowel movement, it’s okay, because it might have gotten things moving enough, or maybe you will later. And so it’s mostly just getting, you’re just implementing that time throughout the day to allow your bowels to actually relax a bit.
Perfect, very helpful.

So we’re talking about a routine hydration, you know, starting your day with lots of fiber, lots of protein, a balanced breakfast, really, the ginger tea throughout the day. The last thing that I want to leave you with is some stress management.

So we all know that a lot of people are really stressed. Stress is probably the top reason why people struggle with constipation stress of many kinds, right? Like stress from being busy stress from under eating stress from stressing about your digestive issues, stress from work, relationships, etc, the list could go on. So on the topic of routines, I think oftentimes people get really overwhelmed with the thought of stress management. So what comes up for you, when you hear stress management,

a lot of things I’ve tried and haven’t stuck to,

such as such as what.

So I I actually was very big into meditation in college. And I worked in a meditation lab that studied the effects of meditation and mindfulness based stress reduction. And part of that was practicing meditation. So I was very good about meditating in college, and it helps me feel better. I don’t recall the how it made my constipation feel. And I was still struggling at that time. But just in general, I felt better meditating. After college, I just have since then not been great about incorporating a meditation routine. I try I have, like, ingrained in myself to deep breathe at certain parts of the day. But sitting and meditating is something that probably can be beneficial that I haven’t gotten to do, or just cannot get myself to program into my day. I also have loved yoga in the past, but these days, I don’t, I don’t get time. So that’s been a source of trying to manage stress, and other kinds of physical activity. And these days, though, most of my physical activity comes from running around the hospital. Um, but otherwise, those are the three main things that I’ve done for for stress management apothem.

And I think a lot of people are really intimidated by meditation. So I think it’s really great that you’ve tried that and that you know that it works for you. But one thing I want you to think about is if you feel like okay, I’m not ready to pick back up my meditation practice, or I feel like I don’t have the time, or I’m just not as motivated to do that. One shift that I want you to think about is okay, how can I incorporate stress management in the day to day without it being a thing. And what I mean by that is, instead of saying, I have to meditate for 10 minutes a day, or I have to like do yoga for 30 minutes a day, or I have to do X, Y and Z. I like what you said, if I try to incorporate deep breathing. One kind of cue is anytime you find yourself getting anxious, trying to just train your body to take a deep breath. Or anytime you think of it throughout the day, think, Okay, I’m going to take a deep breath or starting to kind of associate things so every time I get my car, I’m going to take a deep breath or every time I’m at a stoplight. I’m going to take a deep breath or just trying to make these associations because they can be really, really powerful, but thinking about ways that you can incorporate it just throughout the day. Maybe it means going and standing in the sun. For five minutes at the hospital after you ate lunch, or while you’re sitting on the toilet, just list out three things that you’re grateful for that day. You know, calling a friend trying to listen to a comedy show on the way to work so that you laugh and release those endorphins, trying to make it fun and approachable and not overwhelming. Because everyone needs a little bit of stress management in their day. But it doesn’t have to be something that’s like scheduled in necessarily it just kind of like exercise should be for a lot of people like, what sounds good to me today. What does my body feel like doing today, et cetera. So how does that sound?

That sounds wonderful. I like the idea of the comedy show on the way to work.

You’ll be in such a good mood. By the time you get to the hospital, everyone will be like, This is awesome.

Yeah, exactly.

What I would love to hear from you is just one like lightbulb moment or takeaway that you’ve had, and what is the thing that you are going to implement first.

So the morning, the morning routine 100% is going to be tomorrow morning, is what it’s like 915 right now, or 920, I guess PM. So what I’m gonna do is after we get off this call, I’m gonna go make overnight notes. Because I really do. I am a person that loves routine. And I just feel like in the midst of everything that has been going on with work, you know, it’s very easy to fall out of a routine and feel overwhelmed with how to even start a routine when you don’t know what’s best. So I’m definitely going to start that. That habit of drinking the electrolyte water in the morning, sitting on the on the toilet, deep breathing, I’m definitely going to going to do those tomorrow morning.

Awesome.

Well, thank you so much for sharing your time with me, as well as everyone who is listening, I know that it’s going to be so valuable for people to hear that they’re not alone. And that there is hope and that we’re all in this together truly. So thank you again. And I hope you guys all enjoyed. Thank you.

Please note that this episode is not a substitute for medical advice. And you should always consult your health care provider prior to making any changes.

I’m giving your gut a thumbs up because you just finished another episode of the love your gut podcast. Thanks so much for listening in to this episode. I hope it was helpful. I know you feel like you’ve tried absolutely everything to get to the root cause of your gut symptoms. And if you ask me, I think it’s about time we find a long term solution.

My gut Together program is a life changing program that will help you finally understand what’s going on in your gut and the steps you need to take to find relief. Visit Dr. Heather finley.co backslash gut together for more information so that you can start transforming your gut today. And as always, remember to love your gut so it will love you back

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