Oh, the stomach flu! What a nasty bug. And one I got to know quite well in the last few days. Yes, that’s right, after my emotional and material purging over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to physically purge the toxins out of my body. I feel much better today, albeit still a little weak from the torment of vomiting my guts out on Wednesday night and wrestling with fever yesterday.
Having spoke to a few friends and colleagues, I hear I’m not the only one recovering from this aliment, so I thought I’d share some ayurvedic remedies should you also be affected by Viral Gastroenteritis (a.k.a the stomach flu).
First, how do you know the difference between the stomach flu and food poisoning?
Although the stomach flu and food poisoning have similar symptoms (vomiting, headaches, fever, loose stools, etc.) and are both an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, their cause differs. Food poisoning is a bacterial infection resulting from eating something disagreeable, whereas the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is a viral infection contracting by contact with an infected person. Both conditions usually last one to three days, but it may take two weeks or longer for the digestive system to regain its full strength. However, if you are affected by either food poisoning or the stomach flu, your immunity and digestive system was probably weakened to begin with. This is why in the same family, one or two people may get sick and the others not, even if everyone was exposed to the same food or virus.
So, how do you get over it?
- Rest is top priority. Stay warm and cozy in bed and just sleep and/or breathe deeply.
- Avoid dehydration by taking small sips of room temperature water once vomiting has ceased. (Small sips are important, as big gulps with may further aggravate the system.)
- Re-hydrating with electrolytes is important. I used the new Vega Sport Electrolyte blend in water and it helped a lot. But, you can also make your own: 1 c water + 1 tsp agave nectar (or maple syrup) + 2 tbps lemon juice + a pinch of salt
- Rice water is also soothing. To make it, simply boil brown rice (organic is best) with double or triple the usual amount of water. When the rice is ready, strain it and drink the water.
- Clear broths or other clear, non-acidic beverages are beneficial.
- Fennel and coriander tea is good too. Just put about 1/2 tsp of freshly ground fennel and coriander seeds (equal parts) in a cup of hot water and let steep for five minutes before drinking.
- When you are ready to start eating again, I highly recommend plain rice with maybe a little yogurt or ghee + a Kitchari diet for a few days. (“Kitchari” means “mixture” or “stew” and is a staple food in India). Below is a recipe for Kitchari.
- Go see a doctor or health care professional, if you have blood in your stool or if your symptoms get worse after a couple of days.
- There are many wonderful ayurvedic herbs that can also help rebalance the digestive system, but these can only be recommended on an individual basis, as not all herbs are appropriate for all people. I should be up and running in a few days, so if ever you want to set up an ayurvedic appointment you are welcome to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
KITCHARI RECIPE: The best comfort food to get the digestive system back on track…
1 c split mung beans (soak for 1 hr before using)
2 c brown rice
4 1/2 c water
3/4 tsp sea salt & black pepper
1 tbsp freshly ground cumin
1 tbsp freshly ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp freshly ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp turmeric
Small pinch of Hing or asafoetida (It helps prevent gas and can be found at an Indian store.)
About 1/2 – 1 c easily digestible veggies (zucchini, sweet potato, carrot, turnip and/or squash)
Put everything into a pot & bring to a boil. Then cover & let simmer for on Low for ~45mins. Enjoy with 1-2tsp of ghee (clarified butter) or coconut butter or oilve oil. For a little pro-biotic boost, adding a table spoon or two of plain yogurt is good with this dish. (Tip: avoiding adding the veggies, if your digestive system is very weak.)
Don’t know how to make ghee? It’s really simple.
Melt 1 pound of unsalted butter (organic butter is best for therapeutic applications and if you can find grass fed cow butter all the better) on stove and let simmer for 15-20 mins on low heat. Stir continuously. Scrape foam off the top and discard. After about 15-20 mins, it with stop boiling and become clear. At this point, turn off heat. Let cool for 5-10 mins. Then strain (with cheese cloth) into clean, dry container. Cover and store in cool, dry place like pantry.
* Please feel free to also post your own suggestions for stomach flu or food poisoning cures!