par·a·dox: a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.
I want to talk for a moment about what I lovingly call the "fart paradox." Before you stop reading - hear me out - it doesn't involve a whoopie cushion or elementary-school-aged boys.
The fart paradox goes a little something like this:
Situation 1: you binge out on white bread and butter and basically feel fine.
Situation 2: you grab a super healthy veggie-packed salad for lunch and spend the rest of the day looking 6-months pregnant and coughing over your farts.
Seems a little backwards, no?
If you're frustrated that the "healthy choices" often end up causing the whoopie cushion effect... look out for these 5 foods that might secretly be crashing your flat belly party.
1. Beans (and Lentils!)
The musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot!
But really though, legumes are a great source of fibre, plant-based protein, iron, anti-oxidants and more... but they're also a great source of highly fermentable carbohydrates. This can mean serious gas-attack for your guts if you have any intolerance to fermentable foods. That hummus and veggies snack probably isn't doing you any favours in the bloat department.
Some of the fermentable carbohydrates can be broken down if you buy your own dry beans and soak them for 8 hours with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in the water. Once they have soaked, drain and rinse well so none of the soaking water remains. Then, cook them yourself with a 2-inch piece of kombu seaweed in the water (this is optional but helpful), ideally in a pressure cooker. T
his might make a difference in your bloating, but if you're highly sensitive you might find that your gut needs a break from legumes while you address the underlying cause of your gut issues.
2. Sugar-Free Gum
"But Ashley, I get the healthy gum without aspartame in it!"
Hear me out, gum chewers!
Even if you're choosing the "healthy" sugar-free gums from your health food store, they are likely loaded with sugar alcohols which absolutely cannot be digested by the human body. This means they travel UNDIGESTED through your intestines and lead to a heck of a lot of gas, bloating, and even diarrhea if you're super sensitive.
Check the ingredients for: xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, or erythritol.
If you've been chewing a lot of gum lately, go a week without and see how you feel.
3. Cruciferous Veggies
I often hear form people who tried swapping their white rice for cauliflower rice and, despite the best intentions, end up feeling mich worse.
Cruciferous veggies like cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower are some of the healthiest foods on this planet. They protect against cancer, detox excess hormones, reduce the effect of environmental toxins, and seriously love up our livers.
But they can also cause a heck-tonne of gas to build up in the body.... and not just regular gas. Anyone who has ever smelled "broccoli farts" knows what I'm talking about! The sulfur content of these foods causes the kind of gas that will clear a room.
Since these foods are super healthy, I don't suggest eliminating them completely... but maybe steer clear on date night.
4. Goat Dairy
There is an annoying myth out there that dairy from goats will not cause GI upset that dairy from cows causes. The truth is that goat's milk contains almost as much lactose as cow's milk does. If you are lactose intolerant (or sensitive) this is not a solution!
Goat's dairy can be better tolerated by some people due to the different protein structure, but if you have lactose intolerance, you probably won't feel any better. Food sensitivity testing can help uncover if you're lactose or casein sensitive so you know what's actually going on.
If someone tells you to choose goat's dairy for lactose intolerance, turn and run away from them because this is a complete misconception!
5. Carbonated Water
There's been a huge influx of fashionable sparkling waters on the market lately. They're sugar-free, zero-calorie and embraced by everyone from the super- strict Whole30 community to the glam fashionable LA vegans.
Some people even have carbonation machines at home to make their own sparkling drinks. While this is a valid way of receiving hydration, it's not a great strategy if you're trying to beat the bloat.
I view these drinks as a straight-up delivery method of gas into the body. Truly, I cannot think of anything that would cause more bloating than drinking actual air! What goes in must come out and if you're putting a heap of gas in, well... you can fill in the blanks.
Are you eating these foods?
If you're trying to get to the bottom of your bloating, try to cut down on these foods before jumping into an elimination diet - you'd be surprised at how much better you might start to feel!
Grab a copy of my IBS-Friendly Weeknight Dinners recipe book for meal ideas that are guaranteed to prevent bloating, without skimping on nutrient density.