Beating The Bloat

That feeling like you are going to burst out of your waist band is never fun. Bloating is normally caused by excess gas or a disturbance in your digestive system. Bloating can happen for a myriad of reasons and is very common. If you are looking to get to the bottom of why you are often feeling bloated after you eat, here is a great place to start.

1) Pay attention to what you are eating. Sounds basic, but it’s where you need to start if you want to know what is bugging you internally. Start to write down what you are eating. Download my 3-day food log at the bottom of this article. I use this with my clients. Seeing what you are eating visually will be very informative and may surprise you! It's a great way to track not only your food but also how you feel in regards to the food. More on gut-brain connection here.

2) Listen to your body. Pay special attention to what you ate before you felt bloated. Mark it on your food log.

3) Now that you have an idea of what could be irritating you eliminate it for one week (look back at your log for reference). Track again how you feel. For example, if you ate kale and noticed that each time you ate it you felt bloated afterwards, eliminate kale. If that helps make you feel better after a week, then you can decide if you would like to continue eating kale. If so, try cooking it, steaming it or blending it to make it easier on your digestive tract. This goes for all foods. Most often it's plant foods like beans, veggies and fruits that give us trouble for their high fibre content and their high enzymatic activity. If you are switching to a new way of eating that contain a lot of plant foods, it's totally normal to feel more gassy in the beginning while the bacteria in your gut acclimatizes.

4) Know that a little bloating sometimes is just a part of life and accepting that can make things a lot easier. I used to get upset with myself if I ate something I knew would make me feel bloated and blah after, like cheese (back in my teens as a vegetarian and lactose intolerant). I knew it wasn’t good for my body, gave me all sorts of negative feedback. Now instead, if I eat a food I know I am making the conscious decision to eat it and if I know it won’t make me feel so good, I accept that and either make the choice to eat it or not. Food should not change how we view ourselves.

5) Slow down and c-h-e-w your food. This is huge. Bring awareness to your mouth when you are eating. You are eating to feed your body, help your body by chewing your food and allowing the enzymes in your mouth time to get allll over that food!

6) Don’t eat tooooo much all at once. This goes hand in hand with slowing down. Sometimes the food is just so good that you just need to eat all of it. I get it. That is okay, no shame. For all those other times though, try to spread out your food so you aren’t overloading your system. This will relieve a lot of pain or discomfort after eating, if you are prone to it. Spreading meals into smaller snack sizes may feel better or reducing the size of plate so you don't load it with too much.

7) Incorporate digestive enzymes and probiotics into your routine. Enzymes help your body breakdown food that your body may find hard to digest. Probiotics help increase the good bacteria in your gut, improving the amount of gas and bloating your experience. Food sources of probiotics would be anything fermented such as: kombucha, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, miso, etc.

8) Lastly, there unfortunately is no one-size-fits-all to getting rid of the bloat, like most things. Remember, you are worth the effort and if something is bothering you, it’s up to YOU to get to the bottom of it. Symptoms are your bodies way of telling you something isn’t functioning optimally – it’s up to you to listen.

Looking for a digestive break? Check out my 7-Day Plant Based Reset not only will it help to ease your digestive system, it helps to foster a connection between the body and mind, create lasting habits and offers powerful educational tools to help you learn a lot about your body! (Recipes, grocery list and wellness activities included)

Here is the food log right click and save to your computer.

Need guidance? Find out anything new about yourself? Let me know! :)

 FREE Vegan Intuitive Eating Starter Guide 

Emily Manuel, B.A, RHN, CYT

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