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“Nobody Has Time for Food Worries on Valentine’s Day”

Food Jonezi

Oh sweet heavens! It’s that time again, when my girlfriends ask me what foods to avoid on Valentine’s Day so they can enjoy snuggling with their sweetheart or “honey-dip” (a pet name that my best friend calls her boyfriend) – (LOL) without worrying about being bloated or gassy.

I have no problems sharing some tips.

It just depends on whether you have some food intolerances such as being lactose intolerant (your body cannot easily digest the natural sugar found in milk) or gluten sensitive (your body has an adverse reaction when you eat foods that contains gluten; but you DO NOT necessarily have celiac disease). Or, whether you just started adding fruits, vegetables or beans to your diet that can cause bloating or flatulence (a better term for passing gas) (Oops).

Being lactose intolerant and gluten sensitive can lead to nutrient deficiency resulting to serious medical problems. If you noticed that your stomach is in turmoil after eating foods with whole milk or milk products such as ice cream, yogurt, cheese, sherbet, whipped cream, pudding, cream sauces and cream fillings, butter milk, sour cream, powdered milk and even evaporated milk; try lactose-free or lower-fat milk such as 2% or fat-free, soy milk, Greek yogurt, sorbet, cottage cheese, hard cheese like cheddar and provolone that can be easily digested. Or you can consider taking Lactaid tablet to predigest dairy foods. Same as being gluten sensitive, avoid foods made with whole wheat flour, barley, bulgur, couscous, semolina, spelt, triticale and rye grains. Try corn, corn flour, quinoa, flaxseed, potato flour or soy flour.

Check out this gluten-free diet slideshow.

Always, consult with your registered dietitian (RD) or your doctor if you generally have gas and other GI discomfort.

Did you know you can be fructose intolerant too? For those of you who are hypersensitive to the natural sugar found in fruits (“fruct” ose—you get it) may find yourself passing gas or bloated after eating certain fruits.

Suggested fruits are easy on your digestive system: strawberries, raspberries, pineapples, grapes and cherries. Fructose is also in honey, sweetened beverages and syrup. Speaking of sugar, many sugar-free beverages, candies and gum contain the sweetener sorbitol which is known to cause bloating and diarrhea. Sorbitol is not well absorbed in the digestive system. So, those diet sodas we gulp down to dodge those extra calories can lead to stomach disturbances.

My advice to you, go easy on the diet refills at dinner.

Please, don’t go out ordering steamed broccoli with your steak or a bowl of lentil soup as an appetizer if you don’t eat vegetables and beans regularly. Vegetables and beans are good for you but can be tough on your digestive system if you do not eat them often. Try green beans, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, beets, squash, sweet or baked potato, and well-cooked carrots. As for beans, try soaking your beans overnight and cooking them softer to dissolve the complex sugar which causes you to break wind. (Oh no!)

Lastly, your body can retain salt and cause bloating. Let me say it again. Your body can retain salt and cause bloating! Since a lot of condiments such as sauces and dressings contain a tremendous amount of salt, you may not want to drench your salad with dressing or fries with ketchup. Instead, you want to order sauces and dressings on the side to control your salt intake.

Salt-free seasonings, olive oil or vinegar based- dressings are always good options! Also, go easy on processed meals and take-out foods. They can be high in salt. It may seem that healthy foods can cause you to literally clear out a room in a matter of seconds. (LOL) However, to get your body used to processing them, gradually add vegetables, fruits, beans into your diet each day and keep a journal of foods that made you feel bloated or gassy.

Try limiting those foods to at least 1 cup a day.

You don’t have to avoid them unless your doctor or RD instructs you otherwise.

Other tips:

- Exercise. Exercising helps improve your digestive system functions by moving your bowels regularly and cutting down on gas.

- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.

- Drink water to flush out the excess salt.

- Try drinking ginger, peppermint or fennel tea.

They can help calm your digestive system.

- Stop stressing.

Stressing out or having anxiety can cause that

“bubbly”

feeling in your gut.

Now, calm your nerves and have a

o

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Jonezi’s

favorite Valentine’s Day food and nutrition websites

:

-

American Heart Association (

www.heart.org

)

has plenty of mouth-watering recipes available on its website.

If you decide to set the mood in your own home with a candle light dinner and yummy desserts, then find heart healthy dishes at the AHA.

-

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (

www.eatright.org

)

-ShopWell (

www.shopwell.com

)

- MyPlate.gov (

www.myplate.gov

)