How To Recover From a Nasty Upset Stomach

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Recently by Mark Sisson: The ‘Asian Paradox’: How Can Asians Eat So Much Rice and Not Gain Weight?

     

Maybe it was a raucous night out with too much to drink or an oddly tasting (now you know why) meat dish at a new restaurant. Perhaps you succumbed to the latest stomach bug – care of your jamhanded preschooler. Or maybe you’re making your way through several weeks of intense morning sickness (nature’s rather cruel joke, isn’t it?). Whatever the case, you’ve been bent over the porcelain throne for the better part of the last few hours – or stuck sitting on it. Alternatively, you’re in agony and wish to any and all forms of Providence that you could simply throw up already to get some relief. When the worst of the drama is over or you realize it’s probably not going to hit a crescendo, so to speak, you realize you feel weak and maybe a little shaky. It’s a sensation, you imagine, akin to having your insides cleaned out with a turbo suction engine. Nothing is left, and it’s starting to feel funky. Especially if it’s been a longer haul than the hours since last night’s questionable dinner, you know you need to eat or at least drink. But what exactly?

I’d venture to say most of us grew up with CW’s rule of thumb. Generally, that meant something like 7Up, saltines, rice, or dry toast. Having gone Primal, however, the massive sugar spike plan doesn’t sound very soothing. (To be honest, there’s something about even writing this list that induces a stomach ache.) That said, you’re not exactly in the mood to chow down on a turkey leg or assemble a raw vegetable salad. Where exactly does that leave us Primal types when down for the count? I’m sure others will offer their own tried and true ideas, but let me offer a few suggestions for what to eat when nausea has taken over your day and is taunting your best laid Primal plans.

A big, fat nothing for the acute phase

This goes without saying perhaps, but our mothers were right on this point. Don’t bother eating if you’re in the throes of losing your lunch – from either end. Wait until things calm themselves. Your body needs the rest. If even a sip of water unleashes another bout, you’re probably doing more harm than good. (The exception here is a case of extended illness, which puts you at risk for dehydration. If you can’t keep a small amount of water down after a full 24-hour period, it might be time to at least call the doctor. It’s definitely the case if you’re taking care of a sick seedling.)

Once the worst is over…. (Keep in mind that you might not be 100% “done” in the bathroom at this point, but the reactions aren’t instantaneous anymore. In other words, fluids and food are retained long enough for your body to garner some nutrients and hydration benefit.

First fluid

This one’s easy of course. Water (preferably filtered). Small sips just like Mom suggested. Subsequent fluids and first foods…

If the coast is generally clear and you’re keeping a tablespoon of regular water down, try moving on to a few more therapeutic, restorative options.

Simple carbonated water (if you’re feeling gassy)

If you’re feeling like you have a lot of air in your stomach (sometimes the case after vomiting illnesses), try a bit at a time. Actual mineral water might be a bit harder on a sensitive stomach than merely carbonated water, but it can begin to replenish your body if you can handle it.

Ginger tea or powdered ginger in water

Pregnant women hear this recommendation for morning sickness, but it works for other brands of nausea as well. While a ginger containing tea might taste better, using the actual ground powder or steeped shavings will likely be more effective. If a hot liquid sounds unpalatable to you, add some ginger to a room temperature glass of regular or carbonated water. (Consider it a much better option than ginger ale soda which generally contains no or next to no actual ginger and will shoot your glucose levels through the roof.)

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