There are many different bloated stomach causes, but could a food intolerance be what's giving you your tummy problems? Nutritionist Monica Grenfell shows you how to beat your cravings, feel great and lose weight with our very own Beat The Bloat Diet Plan!
Do you feel like a bloated, flabby wreck with food cravings, feelings of fullness, tiredness without being able to sleep and constant gnawing hunger? If so, you could have a food intolerance! Most intolerances last a short time and are usually due to eating too much of the same food groups too often. In fact, most people eat the same 10 foods every day. One of the most common intolerances is to wheat, and while I don't advise you stop eating bread, it's amazing how much wheat we can consume in an average day. With my diet plan, you can feel great, lose 2-3lb a week and eventually start eating your favourite foods again.
Bingeing on one food-type can cause a biochemical addiction to it. You'll crave it and, by over-indulging, will become addicted. This can lead to developing a food intolerance. When you eat something that triggers a reaction, the body makes stress hormones. If you do this constantly, you'll feel tired, weak and nervous. Your body allows toxins into the bloodstream, which lead to water retention and you start to feel sluggish and fat - and probably end up bingeing again.
Wonder why you seem to find yourself eating too much bread? It might be that by eating too much you've developed a biochemical addiction to it...
Other causes which might not be wheat:
A poor digestion is one reason for bloating, wind, IBS and lethargy. Check these out:
- Are you busy all the time?
- Do you feel frustrated a lot?
- Are you always anxious?
- Do you eat/chew too quickly?
- Do you have an 'energy crash' after eating?
- Do you crave salt or sugar?
- Are you bloated within 30 minutes of eating a meal?
- After a good night's sleep, are you still tired?
- Do you feel dizzy if you stand up too quickly?
- Do you exercise too much?
All of these raise stress levels and impact on stomach acid. So:
1. Sit down to eat
2. Make sure you chew food well
3. Make times for meals and never eat at your desk or dashboard
4. Never eat on the go
5. Increase your variety of foods - at least 25 different foods a week
Foods to avoid:
Wheat and grain products:
- Anything covered in breadcrumbs or batter
- Beer and lager
- Pizza, pies and quiches
- Wheat cereals
- Crackers and crispbreads
- Biscuits and cakes
- Gravy mixes
- Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, chicken
- Fish: All fish cooked naturally
- Dairy: Milk, cottage cheese, crème fraiche, fromage frais
- Cereals: Oats, Oatibix, Rice Krispies, rye bread, oatcakes, couscous, tapioca, ground rice, rice
- All fruit
- All vegetables
Eating the wheat-free way needs care but it's tasty and very easy.
Pine nut crust:
Miles better than breadcrumbs or batter, and more nutritious. Place a
handful of pine nuts in a plastic bag. Add some sea salt, coriander
seeds and any herbs you like. Hold the bag and beat with a rolling pin
until crushed. Take chicken or fish fillets, dip in melted butter, then
put into the bag and shake until covered. Place on a baking tray and
bake in a moderate to hot oven until crispy. Add lemon zest to make pine
nut and lemon zest crust.
Use any vegetable you fancy, like courgettes, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.
Chop roughly or put into machine with 6 walnuts. It should look like
coleslaw. Add a little oil.
Week 1: Detox week
If you need something sweet after dinner, have a pear for dessert
Follow this medically approved, elimination diet for seven days. You must stick to four meals a day and during this time eat nothing but vegetables (except potatoes), oats and rice. You can add lamb and a few pears if you like, as most people aren't sensitive to these foods.
40g plain oats simmered in water, rice milk, 1 sliced pear
4 tbsp rice topped with grilled, stir-fried or roasted vegetables. If stir-frying or roasting vegetables, use sunflower oil.
Grilled lamb steak, mixed vegetables, 4tbsp rice.
Water, herbal teas.
Add blueberries to your breakfast!
Breakfast 250 calories
1 teacup oats soaked in rice milk, 1 dsp sunflower seeds, 1 dsp pumpkin
seeds, 1 tbsp raspberries, 1 tbsp blueberries, 1 small carton plain
Lunches 300 calories
1. Chopped salad with 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts, almonds or walnuts, ½ avocado, sliced, 1 tbsp vinegar-free dressing
2. 4 tbsp rice with 4 tbsp grilled vegetables and handful of nuts
Dinners 400 calories
1. 1 oven-baked chicken breast with pine nut crust (see right), 90g spinach
2. 1 cod fillet with pine nut and lemon zest crust, 90g broccoli
3. Pork steak marinated in orange zest and juice then grilled, 90g spinach, 2 potatoes, boiled
4. Small portion (210g) lentils, mixed vegetables and tofu stir-fry
Desserts 100 calories
Berries and yogurt
You can indulge in a small portion of chicken curry, so give our fruity chicken curry a go!
Breakfasts 250 calories
Any wheat-free cereal e.g. 2 Oatabix, 30g Rice Krispies, 30g porridge,
30g puffed rice, with skimmed milk, rice milk or soya milk, 1 slice
Lunches 300 calories
1. Salad, 2 slices lean meat, 100g can tuna or 30g cheese, 1tsp potato
salad or 1 medium jacket potato
2. 1 slice rye bread with fillings of 1 sliced tomato and 1 dsp cream
cheese, or 1 tbsp prawns, or 1 tbsp tuna and sweetcorn mixed, or 1 slice
ham and 1 sliced tomato, or 1dsp cream cheese
3. 1 tbsp baked beans or 1 poached egg on 1 slice rye bread, toasted
Dinners 400-500 calories
1. Small portion (210g) chicken curry, 4 tbsp rice
2. Small portion (210g) vegetable curry, 4 tbsp rice
3. Pan-fried breaded chicken breast, salad
4. 2 slices roast chicken, 1 dsp stuffing (chestnuts, onions, rice), 2
vegetables of your choice, 1 tbsp of each, 2 small potatoes, boiled
5. 1 pan-fried salmon or trout fillet, 1 tbsp almonds, 1 tbsp carrot and
swede purée or small portion mashed potato, salad
6. Small portion (210g) moussaka,(use cornflour not wheat flour for
white sauce) salad
7. Small portion (210g) Spanish omelette, salad
8. Small portion (210g) Shepherd's pie using mashed parsnip instead of
1 tbsp cauliflower, 1 tbsp peas
9. Small portion (210g) chilli con carne, 4 tbsp rice
10. 2 poached eggs, 2 slices rye toast
Desserts 150 calories
1. 2 tbsp fruit fool, 1 tbsp cream or scoop fruit sorbet
2. 1 scoop frozen yogurt
3. Baked fresh peach with marzipan in place of stone, yogurt
4. Stewed apple and cinnamon with walnuts and 1 tbsp fresh cream