Let’s be adults for a few minutes, put aside the poop jokes, and talk about a very serious issue: explosive irritable bowel syndrome.
I used to have a cast-iron constitution. Could eat anything I wanted and be unaffected.
Then I took a trip to Thailand and my stomach has been a wuss ever since. That was 2 years ago. And since then it seemed like anything I ate would send my stomach growling and cramping in pain. To say I got fed up with it is a massive understatement.
But after some fine-tuning and trying a whole bunch of different things, I found 7 wonderful hacks that completely eliminated all stomach discomfort.
If your stomach is driving you crazy, implement these 7 hacks and you’re sure to feel so much better. This isn’t medical advice by the way (I can’t give that) and if you have a serious diagnosed reason for your issue, this might not work. But I think it will at least help!
1. Switch from bread to rice
This is the MOST IMPORTANT hack on this list. That’s why it’s number 1. This hack cut my stomach problems down by ~80% all by itself.
You would be amazed how magical this one tip is.
You know us humans aren’t designed to eat grains, right? Most of us have allergies to it. Hence the gluten-free craze. Bread is pigeon food. When we eat it, our intestines cry out in pain, inflammation shoots up, brain fog increases, and we basically just feel crappy.
But rice on the other hand… Specifically Japanese sticky white rice. That does our bodies a world of good. If you need any further convincing as to the benefits of white rice, look to one of the healthiest, longest-living populations in the world (case in point: the Okinawa diet).
You might think it’s too much hassle to keep making rice all the time (and you certainly wanna avoid the microwaved stuff) but I have the solution:
Get a rice cooker.
I discovered rice cookers when I first came to Japan and I still can’t understand why they’re not more popular in the West.
Rice cookers keep your rice warm and ready to eat all day long. You just pop the lid when you’re hungry, scoop some out, and add it to a dish. It’s crazy good for lazy people like me.
I HIGHLY recommend you get this Japanese rice cooker by Zojirushi. One reviewer called it the Mercedes Benz of rice cookers. It’s true. Some might think the price is too high at $138 but I think it’s spot on and wouldn’t want to get a cheaper model that will just break after the warranty. Although if you’re on a budget this rice cooker by Tiger Corporation is half the price and looks like it’ll get the job done.
Stop eating sandwiches! Eat this instead….
The main concern people have when I tell them to stop eating bread is that it’s not convenient. Westerners are a real bread-based culture. Sandwiches are one of the easiest ways to take our food with us.
But the Japanese have their own version of the sandwich with rice instead of bread.
It’s called onigiri – which basically means rice ball.
It is probably my favourite food of all time. You make a ball of rice with whatever filling you like in the middle (my favourite is tuna, mayo, and ketchup), then you wrap it up in seaweed. Seriously, don’t pull that face! It’s delicious!
I was gonna shoot a video of how to make onigiri buuuuut…….
I found a video that does a much better job of explaining it than I ever could. So I’ll just link it here:
Another great Japanese rice-based meal you can make is called Omurice…. Omelette + rice.
Pretty self-explanatory but here’s another great video detailing how to make it if you wanna get fancy (I like mine with beef and chopped vegetables). I actually did make my own video for this and will update this post with it shortly.
2. Follow the Wim Hof Method
I’ve already written about this. But I gotta hammer this home. Not enough people know about Wim’s course (although the number definitely is growing). It is the best course I have ever followed.
It’s a combination of breathing techniques, cold water therapy, and stretches that will sort your mind and your immune system out. One of the biggest physical impacts the Wim Hof Method had on me was that it helped to stop my stomach problems. You can read my full thoughts here.
If you’ve already tried everything to heal your stomach and nothing has worked, you’ll probably be super suspicious about a breathing course’s ability to heal you. But, hey, I can only say what worked for me and we all know that our mental state has a lot to do with our stomach’s condition. Wim’s course will make you free of anxiety and negative feelings, which is why I think it helped my stomach (also there’s science backing the course to say it does great things for your immune system).
3. Cut caffeine down (and have it with food)
Coffee is one of the biggest triggers for stomach issues. If you’re a chronic caffeine addict (like myself), you might wanna consider cutting it down. At the very least, have your morning coffee with some food. The acid in the coffee is very harsh (even worse if you have energy drinks) and it can really tax your empty stomach. Even if it’s just a protein shake and some fruit, having some food with your caffeine can really sort out any stomach issues.
4. Vegetable juice
This is another top hack. When I regularly drink vegetable juice, my stomach problems are non-existent. But if I go a couple of days without green juice, they start to return.
I wrote about this in my ‘how to stop a cold in one day’ article.
We just aren’t getting enough vegetables in our diet (and probably couldn’t even if we tried). So the simplest solution is to blend a bunch of them up and drink them down.
Benefits of drinking vegetable juice (that I’ve personally experienced) include:
- No brain fog
- Feeling cleaner
- Feeling more awake
- Better joints, less inflammation, less aches
- Clearer skin (vegetable juice is a million times better than a moisturiser)
5. More (and better quality) sleep
Don’t be a hero.
Personally, there is a huge difference in stomach quality when I get 8 hours sleep as opposed to 5 hours sleep.
90% of people who say they can’t afford to sleep more than 5 hours are just painfully inefficient. It’s like when someone complains that they’re soooooo busy. I used to buy it. Now I just know they’re disorganised.
Anyways, if you’re gonna insist on operating at less-than-optimal amounts of sleep, I HIGHLY recommend you get this app:
I have used this app for years now and I will never go back to traditional alarm clocks.
Normal alarms wake you up at a certain time but don’t take into account that you might be in deep sleep, thus making it more startling to wake up. You wake up with a jolt of adrenaline and cortisol and spend the rest of the day feeling fatigued.
Most people don’t even realise they live this way.
But this app wakes you up in your lightest stage of sleep (by analysing your movements with your phone’s accelerometer).
This means you wake up feeling refreshed rather than defeated.
In addition to this app, I’ve found the best way to get a great night’s sleep is by doing the following:
- Wim Hof breathing and cold therapy every day
- Drink vegetable juice every day (or as much as possible)
- No caffeine after 2pm (if you wanna be asleep before midnight)
- Exercise everyday (weights 4 times a week, cardio every day in the form of walking or jogging)
Another tip for getting a good night’s sleep is to have some carbs right before bed. They typically slow you down during the day but you can get a real benefit from a sugar crash and elevated serotonin levels (from tryptophan) by eating your carbs before hitting the pillow.
6. Eliminate Dairy
Man, I love dairy.
I love ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate milk and a glorious Japanese winter snack called Yukimidaifuku.
But dairy is the bane of my existence.
Every time I indulge and eat stuff like this:
I know my stomach’s in for a trip to cramp city.
So it’s a simple solution: stop eating the crap you know your body can’t handle (dairy being one of the most common offenders).
If you need some other options, here are two options I have found work just as well:
- Unsweetened almond milk to make protein shakes
- Coconut milk to make your own ice cream or treats
It’s painful when you’re doing it but it’s sooooo worth it.
Also I love using the foam roller on my thighs. Seriously, you’d be amazed how many knots we carry in our thigh muscles and how amazing it feels to unravel them.
I also recommend following Erin Motz on YouTube. She has a great yoga channel called Bad Yogi. It’s my personal favourite and highly recommended for people who don’t see themselves as “yoga people” but still want all the health benefits.
Now go wage war on your stomach problems
Those are the 7 hacks I used to get my stomach to a healthy and stable condition.
I tried TONS of stuff but these are the only things where I actually saw massive results.
Go ahead and try them out and let me know if they worked for you too (I’m sure they will).
– Ben 🙂
P.S. Seriously, try this stuff out. Don’t just read about it. Reading does nothing to soothe stomach issues. But improving your diet and lifestyle totally does.