Founder of ‘Super Naturally Healthy’, Kezia Hall is a holistic health coach who, by healing her own body, has become inspired to help others do the same.
We asked her to share some IBS hacks that go beyond the stock standard “cut out processed food” and “remove gluten and dairy” from your diet.
Can you give us a little background on your experience with IBS?
“I got diagnosed with IBS 12 years ago. [Although] I found tons of information about how to naturally ditch the condition, nothing really eased the discomfort and pain. So I fought back, delving head first into the world of nutrition, which led me down a beautiful (but windy) path of learning to use food as medicine and making space for my body to heal. But even after implementing a whole-foods, plant-based diet with lots of green, organic, and minimally processed foods, my tummy still needed some support as I continued to get random bloating and constipation. So I went back to the drawing board and found some things (on the unusual side) that were massively helpful.
Here are five fun and surprising things that Hall found helped ease her stomach and digestive issues:
You may have heard about the wonders of kefir, so if you’ve ever wondered “Is kefir good for IBS sufferers?” This is what Hall has to say:
“Having kefir every day can do wonders for your body. It’s basically a natural homemade probiotic that will help feed your GI system with ‘good’ bacteria while also providing your gut with B vitamins, calcium, and a whole host of amino acids, making kefir ideal for IBS. You can buy kefir from most health food shops or make it yourself from organic/raw cow’s milk or coconut milk mixed with a specific kefir bacteria strain or grains (which I call kefir babies!). Use it in your smoothies, as an alternative to yoghurt, or on its own with raw honey.”
“Most of the time people with digestive issues shy away from spicy foods. And while chilli pepper is a common irritant, there are a whole host of healing spices that will do you so much good! I tend to eat homemade curry about twice a week because it is such a good way of getting the medicinal properties of turmeric, fresh ginger, cayenne, and fennel.”
“Did you know that your gut is highly sensitive due to the enteric nervous system running through it?
There’s a lot of research that supports the idea that stress is a massive factor in IBS, and I have definitely found this to be true. Even being in remission, if I allow myself to get overtired or too stressed out at work, I will have a flare-up. So when it comes to stress, we need to be on the offensive and make it a daily practice to breathe, meditate, or calm our bodies down in whatever way will work. I don’t do anything fancy to accomplish this; I just play calming music and take 10 minutes to breathe deeply, sometimes counting my breath or using an app if I want something more guided. You will be surprised by the results of this simple practice.”
“I know bouncing doesn’t seem like a fun activity to do with an upset or bloated stomach, but the act of jumping on a mini trampoline (known as rebounding) can have a ton of benefits. Many people think that bouncing is good for your lymphatic system, which helps in detoxifying and cleansing the body and can help support your hormone health. A study conducted by NASA even showed it was fabulous for bone remineralising, and another unexpected side effect is that the repetitive movement can help stimulate natural bowel function. So if constipation is an issue for you, bouncing can help alleviate painful trapped wind…best to do it in private, though, if this is your aim.”
“This one is so important! If you are chewing your food four or five times before swallowing, then chances are you’re burdening your digestive system. Plus, you’re probably swallowing a bunch of air, which can lead to painful trapped wind later. Our mouth is a key part of our mechanical and chemical digestion, and as we chew we release a key digestive enzyme through the saliva, which helps get the food ready for digestion in the stomach. Ideally, you want to chew until you have a bit of a liquid in your mouth – realistically about 10 to 20 times depending on the food you’re eating. A great way of doing this is to put down your knife and fork in between bites so you can focus on chewing. Don’t freak out about doing it perfectly; just aim for at least 10 chews!”
Yes, some of these therapies seem unconventional, overly flat-out and straightforward bizarre, but they have genuinely helped Hall and her clients take their IBS management to a new level.
For extra gut support, consider Artigest IBS™, a first-to-market product in South Africa which has been proven to reduce gastric motility symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome and dyspepsia, such as bloating and abdominal pain, gastric fullness, early satiety and nausea. It contains Prodigest®, a patented combination of two standardised ingredients: a lipophilic CO2 extract of ginger roots (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and a unique extract of artichoke leaves (Cynara cardunculus L.) that has shown benefits for improved digestion. Improvements have been remarkable in IBS sufferers, with 86% of the research group reporting a marked reduction in intensity of symptoms.
1. Data on File. Releaf Pharmaceuticals. Oct 2018. 2. Sanjiv Mahadeva and Khean-Lee Goh, Epidemiology of functional dyspepsia: A global perspective, 2006 May 7, World Journal of Gastroenterology, World J Gastroenterol. 2006 May 7; 12(17): 2661–2666. 3. Jaime Herndon & Tricia Kinman, Everything You Want to Know About IBS, Healthline, Medically reviewed by Daniel Murrell, MD,July 24, 2017 4. Natalie Silver, Functional Dyspepsia Causes and Treatment, Healthline Medically reviewed by Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C, September 28, 2018.