The Healthy Celiac Podcast

Is it Gluten Belly or Stress Belly? Ep. 80

October 24, 2022 Belinda Whelan Season 1 Episode 80
The Healthy Celiac Podcast
Is it Gluten Belly or Stress Belly? Ep. 80
Show Notes Transcript

It's easy to blame gluten for many of our health problems, but what if it's something else causing us issues?
Today we talk about the ramifications of stress on our gut and how we can mistake the side effects on gluten.

Previous Episode Mentioned in Today's Episode:
Episode 42 - Self Care for Celiac's (listen here)

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Music Credit 

Speaker 1:

All right, welcome to this week's show. Now, on today's episode, I want to talk to you about gluten belly and stress belly, and where those two sometimes merge together and can cause us to blame gluten when in fact it can often be from stress. When we get this horrible, you know, feeling in our belly where it's, it's bloated and it's uncomfortable, you might have, you know, some gastro issues going on, whether it's diarrhea or just gurgling in the belly, and it's actually not from gluten. Now the problem is so many people blame gluten for everything, okay? It's usually the first thing that we blame when we have issues going on with our body. And unfortunately, gluten can get a bit of a bad rap because obviously we've got celiac disease and it's the first thing that we assume is wrong with us. But stress plays a huge role in the way that your body feels. And if you are under stress, then some of these, I guess, symptoms and feelings that you are getting within your body aren't actually from gluten and they're from stress. So I wanted to chat with you about that today and help you to overcome that so that you can start to feel better, because it's no way to live. We don't need to be feeling this way if it's something as simple as lowering our stress. Now, what happens within our body? So what goes on is we have the gut brain access. So the gut and the brain are constantly talking to each other, okay? They have their own nervous systems. So if you've heard of the central nervous system that controls most of our body, whereas the enteric nervous system is within our gut. So the enteric nervous system works basically as the guts brain. And that has its very own important role because the central nervous system doesn't control your gut. As such, it talks to your gut. So it talks to your inter nervous system, but it doesn't control it. So if you are basically, if you're hungry or bloated or feeling uncomfortable, the enteric nervous system will then send a message up to your brain and will go from there. Now, this also works in vice versa, okay? So let's just say that you are highly, highly stressed, okay? So your body is in fight flight mode. Fight or flight mode is designed to keep you alive, okay? We need fight or flight mode because when we were cavemen, we needed to know how to escape if someone was going to be attacked, okay? So if you were being hunted down by an animal,

Speaker 2:

You needed to survive because of fight or flight mode. Your fight or fly mode kept you safe and alert. And for cavemen, back then that was, you know, that was occasional. That was not something, it was, it wasn't a constant feeling of this fight or flight mode, but it kept them safe. And what happens when you're in fight or flight mode is your body sends messages to stop digesting food, okay? So your body stops digesting food temporarily while you're in this fight or flight mode, so that your body has more energy and adrenaline to put into running away from this tiger or this thing that's about to attack you. Okay? So let's put that into today's terms. And if you are stressed, whether it's, you know, something financial or you are running late, or you're stuck in traffic, or you have a work project that's overdue, or something's happened with your, anything, anything these days can cause stress. There's been so much going on in the last couple of years with stress that most people's stress levels are very heightened. I personally know for myself, probably two years ago was the worst for me. I found that that was such a tough time. I was overcoming, dealing with postnatal depression. I had gone from, you know, a family with two children to three children and having to juggle all of these different things that weren't part of my life previously. So for me, I know that my final flight mood was, it was triggered a lot. I was stressed a lot, and I definitely felt the ramifications for that from that. Sorry. So, so basically, if you think about being in that state, often your body is not digesting its food. Your body is not doing what it needs to do to be able to help your body, I guess, break down that food and do what it needs to do. And hence, that's where the bloating comes in. That's where the pain comes in. That's where all those other issues come in that are very, very similar to what you might have experienced beforehand, before you got diagnosed with celiac disease, or if you accidentally have gluten. So if you think about, um, I guess happiness and happy hormones, 90% of the happy hormones, serotonin are produced in your gut. So if your gut is outta whack because your constantly stressed, then that can lead to further issues that can lead to depression, that can lead to feeling a bit me. Okay? So there's, it's not just feeling bloated and feeling uncomfortable. It has this ongoing, you know, it's, it's like one thing after another. It just causes more and more issues. So the best thing that we could do for ourselves is to lower our stress and work out where that stress is coming from. So I know for myself, I get anxious quite easily and I have to talk myself down out of those anxious, situ anxious situations. Um, just recently we went to a concert. It's something I haven't done for years. I haven't been to a concert, can't even remember the last time I went to a concert. But we went to a concert, it was at the Adelaide Entertainment Center. It was incredible. I had the time of my life, but at the last minute, my husband decided I was gonna be driving. And normally when we go anywhere he drives, I think he'd had a few drinks and he was a bit concerned<laugh> about not driving. Oh, that's right, it was our football grand final day, the same day that the concert was on. So, yes, he'd sat down and watched the football and had a few too many beers, so he didn't want to drive, which is the best choice to not drive. So he, he sprung on me at the last minute that I had to drive, and I was like, Oh, I didn't know where we gonna park. And I was just, I was feeling anxious about the situation, which in real, in reality, it's, it's really not something to stress over. But in that moment, it was sprung upon me, and it, it just, it just made me feel anxious and it made me feel a little bit like stressed and, and worried and, you know, where am I gonna park and how long is it gonna take to get there? And whereas otherwise, I'd left that all up to him. If he'd told me the day before, I would've been prepared for it, I would've worked out what I was doing and all the rest of it. But because it was sprung on me at the last minute, it did make me feel anxious and a little bit stressed. So anyway, on the drive to the Adelaide Entertainment Center, I noticed that my belly ballooned up and it was feeling very tight and very uncomfortable. And I know it was because I was feeling stressed. So I knew in that moment that my body had gone into fight or flight mode and my body had stopped digesting the food that I'd scoffed down before we left the house to get out on time to go to the concert. And I was quite uncomfortable for the rest of the night because my body had just gone boom. Sorry Belinda, we are a little bit busy over here trying to keep you alive cuz you're so stressed out<laugh>, that we're not gonna actually digest the food that you ate for tea. Isn't that interesting? So, well, once I got home, took my jeans off, relaxed, felt comfortable being home, the pain went away, my body went back into doing what it needed to do. But when we do this constantly to our body, we constantly in fight or flight mode, we are constantly stressed

Speaker 3:

Causing that fight or flight mode. Our body is not digesting its food, it's not doing that role. And in turn, that's where things happen as far as our happiness goes. And when we talk about gut health, it affects, it affects numerous areas of our health. So not only does our gut health affect our digestion, it also affects our immunity to things. It also affects our skin health. So people that have a very healthy gut tend to have beautiful skin, beautiful glowing skin. You can look at people with skin issues and you can bet your bottom dollar, there is something going on in their gut. They're not treating it well, whether it's stress, whether it's not eating right, but your gut and your, your skin, it's, it's basically corresponding. It's incredible. And the other thing is your energy levels. So if your gut health is outta whack, your energy levels are outta whack as well. So super important to look after your gut health and to make sure that, you know, you're keeping on top of your stress levels and making sure that you're lowering your stress levels. Now, I do have an episode where I talk about self care. So go back and listen to that and, and check out my tips for self care because it could be as simple as you are not looking after your self enough in, um, you know, giving yourself enough me time. I like to call her self care. Time me time making sure that you are being nurtured, making sure that you are being looked after. You know, many of you would have your little rituals, I guess, in place that you like to do, to look after yourself. And you know, as the years go on, if you're a parent like myself, you tend to put others before you. But your health and, and your wellness, they matter. They matter so much because you look after yourself, then you can look after the others in your life so much better. So for me, having a bath once a week, giving myself a facial, they are non-negotiables. Like that happens no matter what because it makes me feel good going to the gym. That's me time, you know, I put my daughter in the cro, I get to go into the gym for an hour, I get to spend time on my own. I exercise, I'm looking after my body, and that makes me feel on top of the world. So your self care time, your me time could be very, very different to mine. It could be just simply reading a book. But anyway, go and listen to the, the episode where I talk about self care and, and listen to that and see if that helps you with some extra tips. But lowering your stress levels is the key to, to feeling so much better and helping with your digestion. Now, if you can't figure out your triggers, if you can't figure out what is causing you stress, then I highly recommend that you track what you're doing for maybe a month.

Speaker 4:

A month is a good amount of time. So in that time, if you still menstruate, at least in that period of time, you are going to have a period so you can check out whether that's affecting you and where the stress is coming in. So I recommend that you write down what you're eating, what you're doing, you stress levels, your bowel movements, your feelings, all of those types of things for at least a month so that you can keep on top of that. Now, if you haven't gone and checked out my health tracker yet, you can go and have a look at that on Amazon is available in lots of different countries. Just type in Belinda Wheelin and it should show up. So I do have three versions of that available now. So you can, um, if you're a male, there's a male version. If you're a woman, there's a female version. And then I have one for kids as well. So if you have a child with celiac disease and they, you know, getting anxious, going to school, going to birthday parties, things like that, you can do the tracking for them. I don't recommend that you get your child to track their food. That just, no, that's, that's not a good thing for children to be focusing on. I recommend that parents do it for them. Um, but yeah, go and go and check out my health tracker. Um, they're very inexpensive. I've made them as budget friendly as possible, but they are fantastic for keeping an eye on what's going on. Otherwise just write it in your diary, just keep track of it for a little while so that you can see what your triggers are because it might be something very simple that you haven't even thought about and it just a matter of keeping on top of those triggers and, and putting systems in place so that you can lower your stress levels. Okay? So there's lots of things that we could talk about on that subject, but I won't go into that can of worms. But yeah, I hope this episode has helped you and I hope it's inspired you to, to look at your stress levels and to lower your stress levels so that it does help with your digestion and it does help with your health moving forward. So thank you so much for checking out this episode. And yeah, if you've got any feedback, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you and yeah, I'll talk with you really, really soon. Take care. Bye.