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Thursday, November 17, 2016

None of us wants to deal with that uncomfortable post-feast belly. Jeet Dalvi tells you what to do about your food baby

It’s hard to be health conscious at this time of the year. Once the feasts of the season are laid out in front of you, you will have trouble deciding what to gobble down first! In the heat of the moment and all the excitement, you may end up eating a little too much of everything, and be left dealing with a pot belly. It may look like you’re pregnant, but what you’re dealing with is actually a food baby.

The food baby, a slang term that’s becoming increasingly popular with the advent of social media, includes protruding bellies and visible bloats that could make your stomach resemble that of a pregnant woman. Your tummy can hold 50 millilitres of fluid when it’s empty and 4 litres when it’s full. However, it usually reaches its saturation point at 1.5 litres. Once you exceed this limit, the walls of your stomach begin to stretch, leading to discomfort and distension for the rest of the day. What you need to know is that once the walls are stretched they can easily digest all the food you like, but they don’t snap back as easily. As the walls stretch, your appetite increases and eventually, you could be left with a protruding stomach instead of a temporary food belly. Are you worried that you may have over-indulged? Well, you needn’t! We’ve got the right ways to deal with your food baby. 

Add sea salt
Yes, we’re talking about unrefined salt. It contains chloride, which controls the production of hydrochloric acids in your stomach. Sprinkle some salt on your next big meal to relieve yourself from the day-long misery.

Get used to the bitter
There’s a reason why children dislike bitter tastes. And, that logic is apparently applicable to your food baby too. But, don’t chew down on too many bitter or spicy things, as that could lead to another gastro problem — acidity! Use lots of coriander, parsley, watercress and a few palatable bitter leafy vegetables. Your tongue indentifies the bitter taste and sends signals to your brain, allowing it to release a digestive hormone called gastrin, which will ease the discomfort you feel after a heavy meal.

Just walk around
This may sound easy to do, but we understand the difficulty people face when they’re carrying a food baby! However, it’s not like you have any other option, right? Take a twenty minute break after you have stuffed yourself (watch episodes of your favourite TV show to help pass the time) and set out for a gentle 30-minute walk. This sends a signal to your digestive track, so it knows it should allow the excess food to flow through your stomach quickly. However, if you start feeling slightly better and decide to jog, don’t! It can invoke the “fight or flight” response. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

Play with your acupuncture points
If you think that a belly rub will help to ease your bloat, you need to try harder. Have you tried pressing your acupuncture points instead? Here are two points that may help:

  • Press your thumb and forefinger together. There’s a crease on your hand. Follow the crease down to the end of your palm. This is one acupressure point. Press down on it with your other hand.
  • Another useful point is at the end of the creases in your elbow. Cross your arms and press down on both elbows at the same time. Hold each acupressure point for around one or two minutes.

Tea Perhaps? No cookies please!
Tea plays a vital role in dealing with your food baby! Make yourself a cup of warm tea and mix in some ginger and honey, making sure to stir it well. Tea helps to nourish your digestive lining, which is often affected by the excess food you eat. It also relaxes the muscles of your digestive tract, which in turn makes the process of digestion quicker and easier.

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