Naturally Frugal Help for Indigestion – A Guest post

It has been one of those days today. You know, one of those where you have everything planned out but you realize by 9:30am that you might as well throw it all out of the window. The reason, you may be wondering, is my 10 month old daughter’s teeth, or lack thereof. Here I am once again embarking on a possible two year battle with a baby’s gums. I don’t remember it being this bad when my son was teething but maybe I’ll look back on this one day and think the same thing.
The only way that my beautiful, yet screaming daughter, can be comforted is if I hold her, hence the lack of anything else getting accomplished. I have given her some natural teething drops and rubbed clove oil on her gums to help numb them (crush several cloves into olive oil and rub oil onto baby’s gums) but of course this doesn’t last for very long so she is requiring more of my attention than usual.
I have to say though that this is a very small price to pay. Sure, I could give her infant Tylenol. The pain would be gone for hours, she would sleep well, and my life would go on undeterred and uninterrupted. But at what cost?
Infant Tylenol has been linked to liver failure in infants and while the studies only site overdose as the culprit, I have to ask the obvious question; if an overdose can cause liver failure, what are regular doses causing? Logically, the answer would be some sort of effect on the digestive system (of which the liver is a vital component). Side effects, according to eMedTv include; sweating, diarrhea, irritability, nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, abdominal pain especially near the liver, yellow eyes or skin, liver failure, kidney failure, heart problems, coma and ulcers or bleeding in the digestive tract. I’d rather opt for the crying baby and a few interrupted nights!
While these may be justified as being rare, the phenomenal increase in digestive disorders in the US over the last decade prompts me to wonder where it all begins and where it is going to end. Studies conducted by the Methodist Hospital of Houston, Texas* revealed the following information:
· 60 – 70 million people are affected by digestive disorders annually
· 13% of all hospitalizations are for digestive disorders
· Digestive disorders account for 50 million physician office visits per year.
· Digestive disorders cost $107 billion in direct medical costs and indirect costs each year
I am fully convinced that one of the best ways that we can take care of our health and to avoid visits to the doctor is by taking care of our digestive system. I believe that digestive disorders are the root cause of most health problems.
Here are some things you can do:
· Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables; the enzymes in fresh food help your body digest food well
· Avoid drinking liquids with your meals (especially iced drinks) – they dilute the acid needed to digest the food. Drink 20 minutes before or after a meal.
· Listen to your body – stop eating when you are full so that your body is not overwhelmed trying to digest too much food at once.
· Don’t eat in the evening – eat your biggest meal in the morning and reduce quantities as the day goes on. You’ll be amazed how much more energy you have.
And finally, if you do suffer from indigestion or heart burn, the absolute worst thing you can do is take an antacid. Yeah, I know you think I’m crazy but just hear me out for a minute. The reason your body is producing so much extra acid is that it doesn’t have enough in the first place to effectively digest all the food you’re eating (our bodies naturally produce less stomach acid around the age of 30 as we don’t require as much food). To overcome the problem that you have all this food to digest but not enough enzymes or acid to do it, your body overproduces hydrochloric acid so that you don’t end up with rotting, decaying food in your stomach. When you take an antacid to neutralize that acid, you may get temporary relief, but your body’s natural response is to produce even more acid. It sounds like a vicious cycle doesn’t it? Well, ask anyone who takes an antacid and you probably won’t find anyone who found a long term solution but is stuck taking them with just about every meal.
To find relief from indigestion take a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar. Don’t believe me? Just try it. Hey, if I’m wrong, at least you won’t go into a coma! Seriously though, I’ve done it and it works instantaneously. It’s pretty strong so if you don’t like the taste, just mix it with a little honey and it will be easier to swallow.
I like to think that the momentary struggles I face raising my kids will serve them well in the future by helping them avoid these common sicknesses. We’ve probably saved ourselves hundreds if not thousands of dollars so far by taking care of them naturally.

*Sources:
1. 1. Adams PF, Hendershot GE, Marano MA. Current estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 1996. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat. 1999;10(200).

Esther Hawkins is a fellow Brit whom I met through a dear friend. She’s a Naturopathic Doctor and stay-at-home Mom to two young children. She teaches natural health classes and blogs about natural health as well as her life as a Mom. She says, “I love to write, I love talking about natural health and I love being at home with my kids. I blog so I can do everything I love at the same time.” For more about Esther, or to learn about natural health, visit her blog www.hawkinshealth.com

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