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Beat Summer Bloat

A smiling woman sitting down to eat a healthy green salad.
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Does summer time mean dealing with summer bloat? It’s common. Since we have so little time to truly enjoy nice weather in Canada, we hang up our aprons, spend time on patios, picnicking, barbecuing, and all in all, putting nutrition on the back burner.

It’s no wonder my gut clients complain that summer time makes them feel bloated & uncomfortable with the abundance of food! I thought I would share my top four tips with you to beat summer bloat!

Top 4 Tips to Beat Summer Bloat

  • Get CONSISTENT fibre.

You’re health conscious – and let’s face it – you still gotta work. Chances are, you eat ‘normal’ on week days, and weekends are where things get out of hand. Going from week day eating – getting in enough fruit, veg, and whole grains, to weekends with booze, burgers, and frozen desserts sends your bowels on a fibre rollercoaster. I find when my clients consume huge variations in fibre, they tend to find their bowels getting a bit sluggish. The heat, lack of water, increase in activity, and intake of summer foods tend to contribute to constipation. Monday rolls around and you realize, you haven’t pooped all weekend! Then you load back up on fibre again, to try to fix the problem.

The EASIEST way to help prevent this fibre rollercoaster is to make an effort to get that fibre in. It doesn’t mean you can’t do barbecues, or margaritas. It just means you need to put a bit of thought into how you’re going to get that fibre in.

My personal favourite tips are: keep breakfasts consistent! A sprouted grain toast with peanut butter, and berries on the side is a great way to get fibre in. Or a fruit smoothie, with a handful of spinach, a 1/4 avocado, and a bit of chia or flax is a sneaky way to add some additional fibre in! My Oatmeal Cookie smoothie is SERIOUSLY high in fibre – great for on the go weekends!

Bring fruit and veg with you when you go. I pre-pack fruit and veg bags. Inevitably, on the weekends I’m quite busy. Having an easy high fibre snack in my bag prevents me from grabbing something fast-food-esque, and is a great way to sneak in more fibre when I may be less likely to eat it.

2 words: Bean dip. You need to bring a dish to a barbecue or picnic? Stay tuned – I have a delicious white bean dip coming up on the blog soon – great with veg and tortilla chips – plus a huge fibre booster!

  • Sugar overload

From popsicles, to slurpees, to cocktails – people often over-do sugar to beat the heat. Many of my IBS’ers find that high fructose foods – like many of the sugary drinks and treats you find in the summer, contribute to bloating and discomfort. Swapping those sweet sips out for something equally as refreshing, but lower in sugars can be SUPER helpful.

My current obsession is the mint mojito kombucha from True Buch. It’s bubbly and refreshing, and while it does contain some sugar, it’s not nearly as much as a slurpee or cocktail.

Other go-to’s include soda with a splash of cran, the perrier flavoured waters, or making my own herb & fruit infused soda. I like the bubbles in the summer, but you can TOTALLY sub out ice-cold water too.

  • Alcohol

As soon as it’s patio season here in Calgary, I know my beer intake goes up. Dramatically. I’m pretty sure I don’t even drink beer in the winter… again – I’m seeking that cool, refreshing, bubbly feeling.

Alcohol is not only dehydrating, but it can impact how your bowels move. For some people, it can speed them up, whereas others find it slows them down. It can also impact acid production leaving you with heart burn, not to mention it wreaks havoc on your gut microbiome.

Well, isn’t THAT bleak. I know, I’m not here to be the fun police – you all know I’m a martini-lover – however, I think we can be a bit more mindful of our alcohol consumption.

No one ever says OH MY GOODNESS I’m SO glad I had that last drink – so be mindful of how much you consume. Choose one cocktail that’s really worth it, and sip away. Alternate cocktails with water, or better yet, bring a mocktail option to the party! Missing out is often a big reason why we tend to choose alcohol, so having a fun mocktail can take away some of those feelings.

  • Mono-meals

I get it. It’s hot. You don’t want to cook, and meal prep takes away from your time outside! HOWEVER – beware of ‘mono-meals’. I made this term up. But we’ve ALL done it – it’s when you only eat ONE item for a meal. An entire half of a watermelon. Leftover barbecue chicken breasts. An entire round of brie. (I’m guilty of all the above at one point or another).

The reality is, when you do this, you’re likely overloading your gut (ESPECIALLY if you have IBS) with one type of nutrient (fermentable carbs, or lots of fat can often trigger symptoms of bloat). You’re missing out on one, while mass-consuming another. I’m pretty sure even without IBS, anyone who exclusively eats one food item for a meal will feel crappy from it. Perfect summer example: Cherries. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about – eating a whole bag will leave you running to the bathroom. Whereas eating a whole brick of cheese – the opposite.

Balancing out your meals – the ‘healthy plate’ way – is a good way to go. Even if it’s not a traditional meal! It might be cherries, cheese and crackers, with some leftover chicken breast. And that’s ok – as long as its striving towards balance. (1/2 a plate of fruit or veg, 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate carb – in case you’re wondering).

Do you guys have any awesome tricks to beat summer bloat? I know, it’s a lot of common sense – sometimes it’s just nice to have a reminder.

Have a great summer!

Categorized: Gut Health & IBS, Healthy Eating

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