Everyone toots. We can’t help it, it’s part of being human. We digest food, extract the nutrients and excrete the waste. Sometimes that waste is gas. Sometimes its comfortably hilarious, at other times its horrifyingly toxic smelling. I have girlfriends who claim not to fart and those who hold it in all day and only release it at night at home, but they still cut the cheese on a daily basis.
We all fart at least 14 times/ day and a total of about two pints of gas. Most of the time the gas doesn’t smell at all, but some bacteria in our large intestines process our food release gas that contains sulfur, resulting in a “she who smelled it dealt it” situation.
We all know gas can also be uncomfortable for the person who is experiencing it: nobody likes bloating, abdominal cramps, and embarrassing, loud, smelly flatulence. So what can we do to embrace our bodies and make our back-door-breeze more bearable?
1. Change our diet. This is a mid- to long-term strategy. In the beginning if you move from unhealthy eating to a clean diet, your farts will get worse. Trust me. Or rather trust my fiance who had to deal with my night-time toot-a-thons. However, this phase passes –– pun intended –– as your body becomes healthier and cleaner and adjusts to the new fuel you are giving it. Think about changing the oil in your car: first you have to flush out the nasty buildup and refill the system with clean oil before the car runs smoothly. The same thing goes for your body, so dealing with gas in the long run means cleaning out the nastiness from your diet and replacing it with clean, fresh food.
Some foods/meals that cause gas: Fizzy, carbonated drinks –– these will also acidify your body and fatty, processed foods like McDonalds, Taco Bell and other garbage.
Overdoing it with the fiber ––fiber is good for you, but don’t go overboard. Everyone has a difference tolerance for fibre, experiment to find yours.
Sweetners that include sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol –– typically found in “low-fat” and “fat-free” food-like-substances sold in grocery stores these guys will also screw with your blood sugar; Carby vegetables like brocolli (a particularly bad gas inducer for me), cabbage, radishes etc., other vegetables are fine.
Some legumes like beans. Now as a vegetarian, I eat beans every day, the trick is the rinse them very well. Have you ever opened a can of chickpeas and noted the slimy, water-solid that fills the spaces in the can? Liquid Farts. Rise that off thoroughly. Same goes for dried beans –– soaking overnight and rinsing thoroughly will help reduce the fart factor.
Every body is different, and we all react to foods in different ways. Test out what works for you by eliminating certain foods from your diet then reintroducing them slowly and watching the effects.
2. Exercise. This is both a short and long-term strategy for gas relief. Yoga offers a large number of exercises to help move things along in our digestive system. The first and most effective? Wind-relieving pose. Yep, it’s an actual pose. Others include double leg twist, childs pose, thread the needle pose, happy baby pose and eagle pose. The compression and release in these poses mimics in the movement of the intestines which aids in digestion. As a leader of yoga classes I can tell you that people fart all the time in these poses.
3. Accept the toot. Gas is of the body, suffering from gas is of the mind. Yes, toots can be smelly. It may not be appropriate to do in a shared office space or at dinner with your in-laws, but passing gas helps keep us alive. It’s a side effect of the process that gives us energy, sustenance and ultimately…life. I’m grateful that my digestive system is healthy enough to process food and produce gas. It’s a miracle of engineering. So I say: to make the pants-puff more bearable, we simply have to give up the idea of “bearing” it and embrace it as a healthy and hilarious part of life. Stop being embarrassed about it and own the fart. On the yoga mat or in everyday life, don’t hold it in.
Accept the toot.
Edited by Lindsay Friedman
Jenny Foster is the Head Yogini at Prema Yoga, located in Toronto Ontario. Yoga is Jenny’s passion. Designing and teaching yoga programs in community spaces and private locations across the GTA, Jenny aims to make the benefits of yoga accessible to people from every walk of life and with every body type. “Everyone can do yoga!” is the Prema motto and one that Jenny lives in her daily life with compassion and acceptance. Visit her website at www.premayogatoronto.com Twitter: PremaYogaTO, Facebook: Prema Yoga Toronto.