It's the ber-months again, which means ‘tis the season to be jolly, and with merriment comes extra poundage. Back in the day, when people’s life expectancies averaged at 35 years old, good food was as scarce as clean water. Rich people indulged in food as much as they did everything else, and thus they were as plump as they came.
But these days, we’ve done a complete 180, thanks to so-called “lifestyle diseases” like colon cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, that remind us that overindulgence is indeed a lethal sin.
So now, unlike our indulgent ancestors, people try to watch what they eat and try to live a relatively balanced existence—but only before and after the Christmas season.
Once mall speakers start blaring canned renditions of Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas discography, all bets are off and we are back to the Dark Ages, stuffing our faces with abandon without a care for the coming year.
Until January 1 hits you with a one-two punch in the face and gut, as you stare at your freshly bathed body in your bathroom’s steamy mirror and notice things that weren’t there a few weeks ago.
Regret tastes just as bitter as rejection. Maybe even more.
So here’s how you avoid tasting the bitter pill, and wake up in the first day of 2018 with a gut that’s as flat as it was on Oct. 1, 2017.
We spoke to Arielle Faustino, RND (a licensed Nutritionist-Dietitian and a woman, because women know the secrets to successfully fighting bloat ALL TOO WELL) about what to avoid eating too much of in order to avoid a bloated, bulging belly.
Lest you want to be mistaken for Santa at your office Christmas party
1) Pass (on) the salt
You’re freaking out, because what is a steak without salt?
The best part about having steak
You’re right, how inconsiderate of us. So save the salt for the dishes that absolutely need it, because if the salt shaker’s your tableside BFF then chances are, you’re retaining water and piling on the bloat.
More like Big Trouble in Little Intestine
2) Watch your FODMAPs
Eating food that’s HIGH in FODMAPs (a short acronym for the more technical Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Monosaccharides And Polyols) are essentially short-chained carbohydrates that are so tiny that they go straight to your gut after ingestion (because they can’t be digested), where they are fermented by your gut bacteria, producing a gas by-product that could be filling you up like Pennywise’s red balloon.
Probably too many donuts and coffee, mall cop
Food items that contain FODMAPs are legumes, lentils, cruciferous vegetables, and artificial sweeteners, and they’re being pegged collectively as a group of foods for people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) to avoid.
Faustino says, “Substitute any FODMAP-containing food for other items such as corn, quinoa, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, green beans, kale, lettuce, natural sweeteners (maple syrup, stevia, molasses) and more to help minimize the effects of IBS.”
3) Go zero carb—carbonation, that is
Keep your drinks flat to keep the flatulence at bay.
Soda and beer contain carbon dioxide, which means you’re just gulping gas that will soon come out of your ass.
Like soda, beer is one of the leading causes of bloating in men. The term “beer belly” is so appropriate thanks to the fermentable carbohydrates that are used to make beer (wheat, barley, maize, rye, you name it), Faustino adds.
A handy little drinking guide
That said, there are rumors circulating that you should try tequila for a healthier gut. This stems from the fact that blue agave (that’s used to make tequila) is actually a known probiotic (and from Yakult commercials we have learned to associate the word “probiotic” with “happy tummy”) which would be good, except for this other fact: the distillation process that turns agave into 40-proof tequila also kills the microbes that would’ve made this factoid true. So consider your bubble, burst.
Just skip the bubbles in your drinks, darn it.
4) Ignore the dairy
If you’re lactose intolerant, then—much like people with IBS who can’t digest FODMAPs—your stomach CAN’T digest nor breakdown the lactose found in dairy products.
Just like FODMAPs, the lactose in the dairy you’ve ingested ends up going straight to your gut to be consumed by your gut flora (so never wonder why your post-dairy farts feel creamy and smell gross).
We feel ya, Mugatu, we feel ya
Which is why, Faustino recommends finding alternatives: “If dairy is the culprit for your bloat, look for non-dairy milk sources such as Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, and Rice Milk.”
And because you stuck it out for the last 700 words, here are eating habits that she says you can work on building to supplement the above:
Eat SMALL FREQUENT MEALS
Ideally 5-6x a day—including snacks—instead of 3 square meals. “By dining frequently with smaller portions, you’ll have a well spaced-out eating time throughout the day. This will help you manage your hunger and help avoid binging!”
Practice MOVABA (Moderation, Variety, and Balance)
Moderation: Enjoy any food item given that it is consumed in the right amount.
Variety: There is no such thing as one food item that contains all nutrients that is needed by the body. Wouldn’t that be boring if you had to eat the same thing every day?
Balance: Eating the proper amount in each food group that will provide the nutrients your body needs. Generally, too much of anything is bad. What more can it do to your belly?
Finally, some parting words to make it stick: