We've all been there. You're killing it with your clean eating and workouts. Then, BAM, suddenly you are sidelined by digestive woes. It might just be an upset stomach from eating too much of the wrong foods, or perhaps it's a little more serious than that and is a full blown stomach flu (no pun intended) Regardless of the severity, you are now suffering from an angry digestive system and you aren't happy about it.
There's both good news and bad news about this.
The bad news is, there really isn't anything you can do to make it go away other than let it run it's course. If it's the stomach flu it's probably viral and will go away in 24-48 hours. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to support your body when you have an upset stomach that will allow you to get back to you clean eating and workouts more quickly.
5 Ways to Heal Yourself When You Have an Upset Stomach
1. Skip the BRAT diet: This is especially important if you are used to eating a grain-free or gluten-free diet. Remember that BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples (or applesauce), and Toast. Sure you can eat gluten-free toast, but if you haven't been eating grains, these things will be hard on your digestive system. You can keep the bananas and apples (peel them if you eat the whole apple though), but add things like soups and broth (bone broth is especially good for an angry gut).
2. Hydrate: Vomiting and diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, so it's super important to get in as many fluids and electrolytes as you can without making things worse. Start with small sips of liquid, especially if you are vomiting. Avoid sugary sports drinks and stick with clear fluids like water, broth, or coconut water. There's a whole oral rehydration protocol you could follow, or stick with one sip of clear liquid, then wait 20 minutes, then another. If you can tolerate that schedule for about an hour, you can start taking more than one sip. If you vomit, you go back to the beginning. Once you feel like you are tolerating liquids, you can start adding in some of the solid foods. Once you are tolerating those well, you can add in other foods, but avoid high fiber things like raw vegetables until you are sure that you are tolerating everything else.
3. Rest: As with any illness, rest is important. So many of us are likely to just "power through" a workout when we don't feel great just to get it done, when we really should be resting. Powering through is not going to get us any athletic gains when it comes to recovering from illness, it's better to rest and fully recover before getting back to working out. I know, not what you wanted to hear, but it's the #truth.
4. Probiotics: When you are suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, probiotics can be extremely helpful in rebalancing your gut and making you feel better faster. You want to find a good quality probiotic and start taking it once you can tolerate fluids and a little bit of food. I would recommend taking at least double the dose on the bottle until you start to feel better.
5. Let it go: Seriously, I know most people don't like to talk about bodily functions, but trying to stop diarrhea by taking something like Pepto-Bismol will likely only make things worse in the long run. This is especially true if you are sick because of something you ate. Your body needs to eliminate (again, no pun intended!) whatever is causing the digestive distress, so trying to stop it isn't going to make things better.
And of course, the ever important disclaimer: Most stomach bugs resolve on their own, but be sure to seek medical attention if you have diarrhea or vomiting that lasts more than three days, a fever of 102°F or higher, blood in your stool or vomit, or symptoms of dehydration (decreased urine output, very dry mouth, no tears, or weakness). Those are all signs of something more serious!
Having an upset stomach or stomach but is never fun, but taking care of yourself properly when it does hit can get you back on your feet (and into your running shoes) quickly. So, sip your bone broth and binge on the latest shows on Netflix that you haven't had time to watch and let your body take care of the rest!
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud Thursdays.