December 29, 2010

Fast and Gentle Remedies for the Big "D" - Part 2

Once you've passed the clear liquid stage of fighting the Big "D", you might feel like you can eat a large animal - bovine or equine. Please refrain from anything so drastic and try these instead. These are some great foods that have medicinal properties when it comes to diarrhea. 

What discussion about healthy bowels would be complete without apple? It's really true that an apple a day keeps the doc away. This fruit is amazing because it contains pectin & fiber. So, it basically balances out the bowels, no matter what the problem. Plus it's one of the few things that most kids love to eat - no matter how sick they feel. To quote my Uncle Sam, "How 'bout them apples?" 

I used to avoid dairy completely during bouts of stomach ick. But, last year, I ran across some advice from a wise woman to use it anyway because of the pro-biotic properties. True, you can just buy pro-biotics - but I used yogurt with my girls and it worked fast. They were not sick nearly as long as their friends. So, I'm a convert. Just be sure it's plain yogurt. You can always flavor it yourself with blackberry jam or some raw honey (are you getting that we love raw honey yet?) 

Blueberries are traditionally used to ease diarrhea naturally. They're great thrown into a thin smoothie - with coconut milk or yogurt and a banana.

A good source of the potassium needed to battle dehydration, bananas also provide energy and starch, which can slow things down in the downstairs department, if you know what I mean. If you've ever had a kid with constipation, you know not to give him or her more than one banana a day. Just apply that same philosophy the other direction. Now you're thinking!

Coconut milk
While I usually agree that high fat food should be avoided during a bought of diarrhea, coconut milk is the exception. Coconut milk is like magic food. Its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-microbial properties are perfect for this kind of illness. Additionally, coconut milk will replenish nutrients lost to diarrhea like potassium and electrolytes. Pretty awesome, huh? This week, I made a smoothie of coconut milk, banana, strawberries and a little raw honey. I couldn't drink very much but it really boosted my energy.  I always have a can of this in my pantry.

Brown rice
For some reason, brown rice is mild to eat when one is sick and it stops the big "D" like no other. My friend Christine of The Baker's Daughter says her mom used to make rice pudding with it. Short grain brown rice works best for this. I make the rice according to the proportions on the package and substitute coconut milk for the water. Add a little honey, vanilla or cinnamon to taste for a nourishing and palatable treat. Works great for kids who don't want to eat. You can always blend it if you like smoother textured pudding.

If you don't want to make rice pudding or don't like the texture, you can always just make regular brown rice with or without chicken broth.

Blackberry Jam
Anecdotal information says that blackberry jam might be helpful. Blackberries are nutritious and have some fiber that might slow things down a little. They taste great in yogurt or a smoothie. Just be sure your jam is mostly berries with just a little sugar - and no corn syrup. Ick.

Sourdough toast or water crackers
We are all about whole grains in this house. In fact, we usually eat Ezekiel bread - a sprouted grain toast. However, those choices are far too fibrous for a tummy recovering from ickiness, so we offer thin slices of sourdough or crackers if "real" food sounds good.

Healing smoothies - easy to digest and a great place to hide healthy ingredients that will stop that diarrhea if it's not gone yet.
1 banana
handful of rice (we started doing this recently. It works great!)
handful of frozen blueberries
handful of frozen strawberries
water to desired texture

*Alternately, you can use coconut milk to the texture you desire and throw a bit of applesauce in. In other words, just pick and choose from the food list to make a smoothie you like.

Here are the things to avoid
Caffeine - a diuretic that will wreak havoc on a system that's already taxed. Give your bowels and your adrenals a break and avoid this during illness
Oatmeal - too rough on a sore stomach.
Dairy other than yogurt
Wheat toast - too rough on a tender tummy
Anything acidic like tomato or orange juice.

As usual, I want to clarify that I'm not a doctor or herbalist and this information is not intended to diagnose or cure any diseases. It's meant for informational purposes only and I encourage you to do your research and consult with an herbalist or Naturopathic doctor for more information about herbs - especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or if you are taking any medication. That said, the reason I love herbs is that they are usually far more gentle on our bodies than over the counter prescriptions and remind our bodies how they are supposed to work! 

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