Food stagnation – The post Christmas/New Year bloated stomach

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Food stagnation – The post Christmas/New Year bloated stomach

At last – the food gluttony season has passed! If you are like many others and feeling it in your tummy ie a bloated abdomen that seems not able to go down, then join the crew. During the Christmas season we tend to eat a-lot more than we are used to, as well as often eating types of food that we are not used to eating. Our poor digestion starts feeling the strain and begins to strain when pushing the food through our system. Waste accumulates in our intestines, our spleens sag under the pressure and before we know it we are feeling tired, gassy, lacking in appetite, bad breath, maybe nauseous and of course bloated. The slightest bit of food that we eat immediately ends up in a distended stomach.

There are ways we can use foods to help with the food stagnation. Begin by avoiding cold and raw foods such as citrus fruits and salads. Cut down on dairy products, and of course cut down or out on the sweet and fatty foods (such as Christmas pudding and brandy butter!). Spread your meals over three to five times a day with smaller portions. Eat most of your food earlier in the day and slow down your eating as the day wears on. Try to chew your food more, don’t leave your digestion to do all the breaking down of the food. Eat with little distractions around such as television as this can block the qi and exacerbate the food stagnation. Never eat when you are emotional, as this disrupts the smooth flow of the food through your system. Allow your emotions to settle first.

Good digestive drinks include aniseed, caraway seeds and ginger. Good foods to eat are barley, carrots, coriander, fennel, vinegar, white cabbage, millet chili and ginger.

Below is a recipe of a soup that I make whenever I have over indulged in heavy fatty meals. You will find the benefits of each of the ingredients at the end of the page.

Soup Recipe for when we have overindulged.

A soup to help relieve food stagnation

1/2 cup barley
2 carrots
1/2 tsp chili (to taste – I have a chili phobic husband, so you may want to use more)
1″ of fresh ginger
6 cups of chicken stock
1 brown onion
3 garlic cloves
1 leek
2 celery sticks (keep leaves aside)
1 parsnip
1 tin of organic crushed tomatoes.
1 zucchini
Olive oil to cook with.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, leek, garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant. Add parsnip, carrots, zucchini and celery sticks. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until veges have just started to soften. Add tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil. Add barley. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes or until barley is tender. Chop reserved celery leaves. Stir into soup. Serve with warm crusty bread.
Ingredient properties
barley: harmonises the stomach, removes digestive obstructions, detoxifies and increases diuresis (forming and secreting urine).
carrots: warms and strengthens the digestive organs. Relieves nausea, digestive stagnation, constipation and diarrhoea.
chili: warms the stomach, dissolves food stagnation and dries damp.
ginger: Strengthens the digestive organs, controls nausea, detoxifies, increases appetite, promotes secretion of digestive juices.
chicken: supports and warms the digestive organs
onion: supplements the stomach and regulates qi. Promotes appetite. Good for when abdomen is taut and appetite lacking.
garlic: warms and strengthens the stomach, disperses stagnation in the abdomen and detoxifies
leek: warms the digestive organs and detoxifies.

celery: cools the stomach and loosens qi stagnation.
parsnip: balances the stomach, intestines and lung.
tomato: cools and cleans the blood and strengthens the stomach.
zucchini: cools stomach and liver heat.
olive oil: moistening.


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