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Friday, January 1, 2010

Stomach Pain n' Tummy Terror


If you ever suffer from digestive pain, you are most likely already aware of how not fun it can be. And for those of us that suffer from this type of pain and discomfort regularly, we intimately know the harrowing toll it can take on both our physical self and the rest of our existence too. Yes, intestinal distress can sneak up on us and ruin something as simple as a trip to the market or even cause us to miss work. And when being home to spend time with the toilet while downing Pepto Bismol becomes more urgent than getting to work, we know we are in trouble...

I got to thinking about intestinal pain this past week, as I picked up the bottle of Pepto Bismol that my Cauldron Boy seems to be using a bit more frequently lately. I suppose my increased concern with his discomfort along with the fact that I have a papaya tree outside my new front door seemed to warrant a post. If that makes no sense to you, just know that papaya is rich in papain which helps with digestion;-).

My Cauldron Boy comes from a long line of people that just don't seem to have the best digestive systems. Even so, a lot of the distress seen in his family is due to poor diet and individuals who are less than keen on admitting such. Hence an array of pharmaceuticals are used in place of lifestyle and bad habit changes. However, there are also folks in his family that eat quite well while exercising regularly who still seem to suffer with almost constant symptoms of pain, abdominal burn, indigestion, bloating, painful gas, nausea, and mixed bouts of constipation and diarrhea. You name it, they got it and regularly too!

If you also feel like you suffer from regular/chronic intestinal distress and don't know why due to either not ever seeing a professional about the issue or seeing one and feeling you were improperly diagnosed, here is a short list of somewhat common intestinal disorders in which you may want to familiarize yourself. Keep in mind that some of these problems are diet related while others are genetic and/or even just down right mysterious.

1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)-a bowel disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, and alteration of bowl habits without detection of any organic cause. Note, Dearies, that some professionals believe that IBS is caused by stress and psychological problems.
2. Celiac Disease-a disease characterized by the inability to process the gluten protein in wheat. Symptoms are abdominal pain, cramping, rectal bleeding, undigested food in stool, and often weight loss. Only 1% of Celiac sufferers worldwide are diagnosed!
3. Crohn's Disease-a quite mysterious inflammation of the intestines that can range from the mouth down to the rectum. Symptoms are all of those listed above to include fever, skin rash, eye swelling, mouth sores, and unintended weight loss.

The three situations above are obviously quite serious not only due to pain, but also due to the possibility of malnutrition. They are all also a real possibility for someone experiencing regular intestinal distress. Before jumping onto the Crohn's bandwagon or any other wagon though, consider everyday diet and habits. Do you feel that you eat a lot of fat, for example? Fat wreaks havoc on our stomachs causing pain, burning, and often diarrhea. Plus, we all know what else it does! Or maybe you don't get enough whole grains and whole foods into your diet. If processed foods, white bread, white rice and the like are your staples, bloating along with pain, gas, and constipation will be a regular part of life.

Often, a simple analysis and plan change in reference to diet and lifestyle can set us in the right direction for curing intestinal pain and problems. Be sure to also include your favorite pro-biotic rich foods (yogurt, tempeh, sauerkraut, etc.) in your diet on a regular basis. These foods keep our digestive bacteria rich and balanced, and are especially important after a round of antibiotics. Oh, and here is a tip right from my doctor's mouth, which I did verify through research 'Eat slowly and properly chew your food. Over 50% of intestinal pain and discomfort can be alleviated by this simple act/good habit'. Amazing...!

Amazing this last bit of information is, indeed, my lovelies. I will have to tell my wolfman Cauldron Boy to slow down a bit and chew while also monitoring his intake and personal habits. I hope any of you out there who suffer the way my Cauldron Boy does will do so also while analyzing food choices in reference to pain in the quest for intestinal comfort. Oh, and don't hesitate to see a professional when all else fails. They can be useful sometimes (smile).
p.s. plain, organic yogurt with papaya and whole grain granola is quite a gut tonic;-), Dearies!


  1. Thank you, Stella. You are an encyclopedia of nutritional knowledge (and amazing recipes.) Is Cauldron Boy a Virgo? I don't place too much weight on astrology, but based on virgos I know, including myself, we seem to suffer from stomach issues. I know mine are brought on because I'm a worrier/over analyzer/perfectionist (not a very balanced package.) :)
    On the plus side, I love papaya! And you've given me another reason to enjoy it. Great tip about eating slowly, my godmother was always telling everyone at the table to slow down and savor the food. It's a good habit to get into.

    What a gorgeous papaya tree you've got! :)

  2. Thank you Stella, that information was priceless. I seem to suffer from the opposite problem most people have - I have a very low acid stomach, so have to be very careful with what I eat, and I do supplement what I eat by at least 1 T. of vinegar. It does help me digest things.

    Chewing, and reducing stress help a ton, though.

  3. I used to have pain all the time. I think it was school that caused a lot of stress, which lead to my discomfort. I remember I used to eat a lot of Activia at the time. I didn't know papaya was also good for digestion. I also have a papaya tree in my front yard : ]

  4. hi dear Stella,

    i love these kinds of posts that you put out once in a while. i learn so much from them. they're great opportunities for me to reflect on the way i eat and use the helpful information you've given me to better my eating habits. thank you for sharing these valuable information with us.

    in my university days i used to have really bad eating habits. eating at different time of the day every day, eating lots of quick and easy processed foods, eating very little fruits, and the list goes on. i would get frequent heart burn, indigestion, and embarrassingly enough, constipation. now that my life is more stable (no crazy exam or school schedules to follow) i'm eating at regular times, and as you can see from my blog, mostly veggies and seafood. ive also adjusted to add more fruits and dairy products into my diet and have found that i rarely have any of the aforementioned problems anymore. it's so important to watch what you put into your body and to remember to have a balance. great post, Stella!

    by the way, i'm so jealous that you have such a beautiful papaya tree out in the front of your new place. i love papayas. i used to eat a lot of them when i was breastfeeding my kids. don't know if this is true or not, but someone told me papayas help with milk production. i'm glad you told us what that bowl of yumminess was. i would've email stalked you for the recipe...teehee.

    not sure if you you have an extra long weekend or not, but hope you have a great rest of the week if not. if so, have a super great long weekend. hope Cauldron Boy's problems don't give him too much pain and that he will be rid of them soon.

  5. This is awesome information! My husband often forgets the step of chewing...I consider it important but he finds it optional. :)

  6. Thanks, Stella, for the lovely post...very informative. It's sure no fun to be down with stomach problem. I always have probiotics ready just in case I eat the wrong food. My mom always cooked us very watery rice porridge if we have stomach upset. In fact we were only allowed to drink the porridge water only and without adding anything! It actually works fast.

  7. I really enjoyed your post; we take everything so much for granted and all of a sudden ...pain. Been there, done that and my poor husband, he gets his share. We do try to eat healthy, but it was very interesting to read all your research; thank you,

  8. Stella-thanks for the reminder to chew! :)

  9. Yes. That is a good reminder for us to chew and eat slowly. I need to get my husband do that! :O

  10. I have always problems with my stomach and digestive function....I am going to get more papayas tomorrow!

  11. Very informative post Stella! I never get anything terrible in terms of stomach issues, although my stomach has a knack for interrupting my life to let me know if I haven't been eating a varied diet of late. For me, kombucha and good quality yogurt usually ails my stomach woes. I've never heard of papaya being good for digestive healthy before, but it's very hard to get good fresh papaya here in the Midwest

  12. Thank you Stella.
    Very informative post.
    I need to get my husband to chew and eat slowly too.
    What a great gut tonic you have posted today ♥

  13. Excellent advice, as always, Stella. My poor boy suffers from stomache pain often, though I suspect it's caused by his sciatica medication. I'll definitely try now to introduce some probiotics (and papaya, yum!) into our diet.

  14. The pretty picture of your papaya and yogurt belied the actual topic! But I do think it's one worth addressing. There are so many stomach ailments out there and people need to realize they don't need to just live with the discomfort!

  15. Great advise. I think I've heard that papaya helps with stomach issues - but its so hard to find a good one...or one that is acceptably priced!

  16. As soon as I saw the Papaya tree I knew :) Excellent post lovely Stella, great information and interesting isn't it how genetically, these things run in families. My own family has a few challenges in this area too, but we've also realized its a bit of wake up call to look at ALL things in our lives as you say. There's so much you can do & so many amazing natural therapists and Dr's now, if you learn to work with your body, mind & spirit its the only way to go.
    (and now Anna will quietly step off the soap box) :) :)

  17. WE all have pretty hearty tummies in my family, so I'd never heard about the magical abilities of papaya! Thanks again, Stella, very enlightening!

  18. Wonderful advice Stella. My sweet husband has a history of stomach issues. I've found that encouraging him to eat slower has made a HUGE difference. Isn't it amazing what a difference something that simple can make? Thank you for sharing...I hope your Friday is full of joy.

  19. One more interesting and informative post from my favourite kitchen witch :-)
    I found great help for digestive disconfort (of course not as serious as the 3 problems/illnesses you mentionned) by taking every morning on empty stomach: one cup of kudzu tea made by slowly bringing to the boil 1 teaspoon of kudzu with one umeboshi plum and 2cm of fresh ginger (grated). A very helpful drink for colds, too.
    Wishing you a great week-end!

  20. IBS is sort of a catch-all diagnosis for otherwise unexplained symptoms. I'll share that I cured mine by cutting out dairy, eating more veggies and whole grains and eliminating sugar. Fats though, I gotta say, the good ones are actually essential for proper digestion. Vegetable oil? Get rid of it. Olive oil and organic butter? Go for it.

  21. Thanks for the information Stella, very well organized with a personal touch as always;) With all the tempting food we see around us it's no wonder that we don't always eat the right food to fuel ourselves. No kidding stress effects the digestive system, have you ever eaten something and then felt it turn heavy in the stomach after hearing some distressing news? On a lighter note, I love your papaya tree and your wonderful bowl of healthy goodness, have a nice weekend:)

  22. New to your blog and this post was SUPER informatative and interesting. THanks for sharing what you know!

  23. Indigestion problems are a growing problem and I think most of them are actually due to stress and other lifestyle-related issues. Slumping in front of the PC all day probably doesn't help either, but of course for some they are purely due to bad eating habits. My partner has gone through these problems and for him it's more because of stress and not getting enough sleep than the food that he eats.
    I guess at the end of the day we're all individuals so what might work for some won't work for others! ;-)

  24. It's amazing how much a changed diet can help alleviate some of these problems. It is not easy to do a this-free and that-free diet but it's certainly better than feeling less than well.

  25. great post once again Stella, we are very fortunate to not have any stomach problems, but a great diet is the key to keep these issues at bay. Hubby really needs to learn to eat slower, and I am glad his diet is making a turn for the better...oh the things this man used to concume..lol
    ps, how is the new job?


Please do comment, Dearies!