Digestive illnesses can often create some inflammation or irritation, as well as disrupt the healthy populations of good bacteria that line your gut. If you’ve needed antibiotic treatment, those too will have killed off large numbers of good gut bacteria together with the bad bugs that were the cause of your illness.
So you don’t want to immediately bombard your gut with foods that are fatty, spicy, time-consuming to digest, or inflammatory or acid-forming like dairy products, proteins and sugary foods or drinks. (Another note on sugar: it’s food for bad gut bacteria so try to avoid at the best of times, but especially after you’ve been ill or had antibiotic therapy when there might still be some of these bad bacteria lurking in your gut, hoping you’ll feed them and aid their growth.)
What should you eat to get your gut well again?
The ‘root vegetables and pumpkin diet’. Served with well cooked brown rice.
What are root vegetables and pumpkins, exactly?
The term encompasses any vegetables which grow under the soil, like potatoes, carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, onions and garlic. Plus, all and any kind of pumpkin including gem squash, butternut, boerpampoen, etc.
For breakfast as well?
Agreed, no one really fancies a plate of veggies for breakfast so here’s where pawpaw makes an ideal stomach-friendly breakfast. Easily digested, easy on the stomach and quick and easy to eat as well!
How do you cook these vegetables?
You can steam, bake or boil them. Do not fry them as you’d most likely need oil or butter for that which would be irritating to your digestive tract.
And to drink?
Water. Lots of filtered, still fresh water at room temperature. Or you can drink warm water with slices of fresh ginger root. Never drink any cold, fridge temperature drinks.
How long would your gut like the root veg and pumpkin?
It depends how ill you’ve been. If you had a mild stomach illness, then three days would be more than sufficient. If you were very ill with gastro or food poisoning and had prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhoea, then ten days to two weeks of these gentle foods would be better.
How should you resume eating other foods?
Once you’re better, you can start introducing other vegetables and fruits, grains, seeds and nuts, animal protein and dairy foods one at a time back into your diet. Keep a careful eye on how your digestion responds to each of these. Loose stool, a little diarrhoea, tummy cramps or indigestion after one of them means they could be aggravating your digestion a little. So leave that particular food type out for a bit longer and move on to something else.
Anything else you should take?
A.Vogel’s Molkosan is an ideal digestive tonic that supports the growth of healthy gut bacteria, reduces inflammation and promotes good digestive function. Simply add 20mls to a glass of room temperature water twice a day before meals, for a month.