Wellness | Bitters Have Seriously Changed My Life, Here's How
The past few years for me have been a gut health roller coaster. After being diagnosed with gastritis, I’ve spent much time shifting my diet and lifestyle to accomodate for all that is going on in my tummy. Let me tell you, this is no easy task. There are so many factors that play into gut health and even with visiting numerous doctors, it is challenging to get to the root of the issue. Many of the doctors I’ve seen have had conflicting opinions, and the war between Eastern and Western medicine has become quite familiar to me. The trick is finding someone who can do both. I often go to my conventional physician for check ups, but supplement the information I receive with that of my trusted functional doctor. I believe there is a time and place for both of these, the trick is finding the perfect balance, the yin and yang, to discover the most benefits.
I’ve experimented with going vegetarian, cutting out gluten and dairy, and incorporating various herbs throughout my diet. For the most part I do avoid meat, mainly for environmental reasons, and I now stick to a strictly gluten free diet. When it comes to dairy and gluten, however, I find that the nutritional value and sensitivity factor vary given geographic location. For example, plain wheat bread and dairy from the US generally hurt my stomach, but in Morocco and Italy (naturally sourced and unprocessed goods) I don’t get the same reaction. I wish I could give you all the answers when it comes to bread and dairy and who should or shouldn’t be consuming them, but it is something that I am still trying to figure out myself.
On the other hand, I have discovered something that seems to soothe my stomach, no matter which diet I am sticking to. This natural solution to digestive stagnance is one that has been around for centuries, and if you like to drink (which I actually do not, thanks to my troubled gut) then you’ve probably heard of it. Recently, my homeopathic doctor suggested taking bitters before every meal. Yes, bitters like those they use in your favourite cocktail. You can find, needless to say, this bitter-tasting mix of alcohol and herbs on just about any bar shelf you encounter. Although they are traditionally used to flavour cocktails and/or aid in your digestion after a big meal, they have also made their mark in the world of alternative medicine.
Many factors contribute to a troubled digestion, one being stress. Signs that your digestive system isn’t working properly are bloating/gas, nausea, heartburn indigestion and irregular bowel movements. When we are stressed, our bodies go into fight or flight mode, moving blood away from our digestive system leading to a reduction in digestive juices. Bitters work by stimulating bitter receptors on the tongue, stomach, gallbladder and pancreas. This promotes digestive juices, like stomach acid and enzymes, to help breakdown food and aid in the absorption of nutrients.
It’s fairly simple, you can buy various types of bitters at your local natural health food shop. At least for me, those working there usually have some knowledge on this topic so don’t be afraid to ask for help. I was instructed to drop 20-30 drops into water and drink fifteen minutes before every meal. So far, I have seen a tremendous difference in the way my body is able to digest my food. I suggest trying out this easy solution, and eventually you can experiment with making your own tinctures to aid in digestion. More on this to come!
Much love & light!
CCT Partnership & Wellness Curator
CCT is a righteous group of women who are on a mission to promote purposeful travel. Our monthly women-only retreats in Morocco hold a space for self-discovery and a deeper connection to oneself. Our retreats are more than a fitness or yoga retreat, they are a way to reconnect the mind, body and soul by connecting to Mother Earth and all she has to offer us. Check out our upcoming retreats.