Do you ever experience brain fog, bloat, or sleepiness after meals? You may wonder what causes these annoyances, and even more importantly, how to get rid of them. In today’s blog post, I’ll try to shed some light on one possible culprit for these symptoms, and how to help resolve them.
Brain fog, bloat, lethargy… it’s kind of similar to how you feel when you come down with a cold or flu, isn’t it? That’s because in both instances, it’s your immune system firing up to take on an invader. When all is working properly, your immune system stimulates well-timed attacks against viruses, bacteria, or dysfunctional cells. But it can also get confused.
In this day and age, so much of our food is processed (or downright unrecognizable to the body) that it makes it hard to digest. When all is working properly, your body breaks food down into the teeniest, tiniest units. Picture it like a pearl necklace. Your body takes what you eat (the pearl necklace) and breaks it into the individual building blocks (the pearls). But when you’re stressed, low on stomach acid, or eating processed foods, your body struggles to break them down, and you’re left with a string of pearls too big for your system to handle.
If this happens too often, those strings of pearls start to add up, and can even bust through your digestive tract. (What you may have heard lovingly referred to as Leaky Gut.) Before you know it, you’ve got long strings of molecules floating around in your bloodstream, when they really shouldn’t leave your digestive system until they’re broken down further. Because they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you’re body mounts an immune response, trying to protect you.
Even if you’re a fan of gluten, or dairy, or corn, your immune system (and memory cells) then categorize them as invaders and memorize them as substances to always protect against. Now, you’ve got a repeat immune response. Now, you’ve got repeat inflammation. Now, you’ve got repeat signs of inflammation, like brain fog, bloating, and low energy.
Let’s say gluten is one of those sneaky substances for you. And if you eat cereal for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and fettuccini alfredo for dinner, you’re now firing up that immune response multiple times per day. After a while, you no longer remember what it feels like to have energy all day long. To have a day without brain fog. To eat without feeling swollen or bloated after. It just becomes how you suspect your body has to feel.
Except, it’s not. And it’s nothing you’re doing wrong, persay, it’s just that knowledge is power. And when you know better, you can do better. The more you understand how inflammation works, and that every symptom is a clue, the more you can feed your body foods and products that avoid an immune response leading to inflammation, bloat, and brain fog.
Now, foods aren’t the only thing to blame for these symptoms. What you put on and around your body is also absorbed and processed by your body, so it has almost as much (or as much) of an effect as food.
What you want to watch for are symptoms. You are meant to feel good after a meal. To feel sustained energy, a clear head, more productivity, and fuel to be the badass boss lady or boss mama you are. Any time you experience anything less than that, it’s a clue from your body that there is something to look at there — something to experiment removing or swapping for a cleaner version. It can be helpful to keep a detox journal of the things you eat, put on, and do to recognize patterns and repeat offenders.
I include a pretty detox journal in my self-paced online program The Detoxinista, all about how to get started with cleaner living, understand what’s really going on in down-to-earth language, get a step-by-step process for gradual and sustainable change, and access my clean brand lists for everything from food to skincare to beauty to water filters.