Hey hey lovely peeps! Yesterday I tweeted a photo of my current favourite breakfast: the holy ?grapefruit soup?! And while it’s an overly simple thing to prepare, it still has a miraculous effect on my body, especially during that time of the month when I struggle quite a lot to zip up those skinny jeans.

So today inspired by the zillion questions raised by my ‘grapefruit soup’, I decided to share with you a few of my bloating remedies as well as tips for how to beat bloating. As the main reason behind bloating is that your body retains fluids it doesn’t need and/or has excess gas caused by something you ate, today we’re talking some lifestyle changes and foods you might consider adding/removing from your diet in order to ensure that at all times your tummy stays toned and healthy.

1. Sodium:
Yes, one of the main reason why your body keeps retaining water is your regular SALT INTAKE. Thankfully, I have a sweet tooth, which means that I’d rarely, if ever, add salt to anything I eat. Probably, that’s the reason why I’ve never managed to grow fond of any type of fast or high-processed foods, which are excessively salty. If, however, you’re more of a savoury person and would always reach for the salt on the table, then, here’s a cheeky tip for you.

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Actually, in many cases people’s salt addiction comes is a result of them not finding the dishes they eat tasty enough. By sprinkling salt on your food, you trick your mind into thinking that what you eat has a better flavour. But does it? I don’t think so. So rather than lying to your yourself, why not find a healthy alternative to the salt? 
Go online and do some research to find out which herbs go well with which foods. Then experiment!
Also, rather than going for the refined salt, why not get its Himalayan salt, which is the only salt I’d ever use when I cook at home (more about it here). You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll grow out of eating and enjoying salty dishes. A whole new and tastier world will open up to you and your senses once you start adding a bouquet of herbs to what your dishes. And that’s the thing –  the more flavoured your dish is ? the less salt you’ll need to enjoy it. Plus, once you get used to eating ?salt-less? food, your body will also begin responding differently to salt. Your mouth will start drying out with your tongue acting quite weird every time it touches anything excessively salty. In other words, your body will reject being fed with need-less amounts of salt. Aw, and when you go shopping why not get into reading the labels? If you still struggle to completely eliminate from your diet all high-processed  foods, then at least opt for foods that contain no more than 500 gr of sodium per serving.

2. My main secret to staying fit & keeping my belly flat: Proper food combining
For a few years now I?ve been combining everything I eat in a specific way so as to ensure that my metabolism runs in its highest possible speed and that my stomach can properly digest everything that goes into it. I?ve previously done a couple of detailed posts on that principle if you wanna read more about it (Part 1Part 2). And of course, feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding the way I combine what I eat.

3. Breakfast:
When I was younger, I used to start my day with a bowl of cereal/granula. Little did I know back than that a) cereal is rich in refined sugar and b) has way too much salt in it too. I’d also add cow milk in  , ending up completely oblivious to why my belly bloats.
If you’ve ever experienced the same: my advice?
Go for the vegan option and swap the cow milk with almond/soy. 
Also, rather than having unhealthy sugary cereals, opt for oats or any other whole-grain, all-bran option. In this way you?re a) ensuring that milk doesn’t cause bloating b) providing your system with fibres.
Actually, constipation isn’t solely a result of your lack of movement, but also of your failure to provide your body with enough FLUIDS AND FIBRES.  Yes, FIBRES (girls – 25 gr/day, boys – 38 gr). Supplying your system with rich in fibres foods is a great way to prevent bloating, especially if you’re having them early in the morning. Apart from the whole grains, you can also turn to other sources of fibres such as fruits (strawberries, blueberries, dried apricots and plums), vegetables (lentils, brussels sprouts, broccoli), legumes, nuts, and seeds. However, beware, that if you’re currently on a low-fibre diet, you need to ensure that you introduce your body to them gradually, engaging in at least 30 minutes physical activity/day & having enough fluids (here). Aw, and the fact that you’re working full-time at an office is not a legit excuse for your lack of movement. You can always volunteer to go to the shop when your boss asks you to, or take the stairs (more tips for how to stay fit at the office – here).

Recently, I’ve shared with you that I’m currently trying to cleanse my body. So, today, I’ve swapped the filling breakfast options with seasonal fruits. Especially with me going to pilates just after breakfast, I find my body responding much better when I have mainly vitamins in the morning and  eat something more filling after my workout. Over the last couple of days I’ve been having mainly ?grapefruit soup? ? a pieces of grapefruits with honey and lemon juice squeezed in it. Why? Well, through hydrating your body, fruits rich in water – grapefruit, watermelon, oranges give thumbs up to your body that it’s okay to release the fluids it has previously retained.
letters_to_antoinetteHowever, if you prefer having a filling breakfast, why not drink a cup of green tea and a glass of water with lemons and cucumber (celery) in it before eating? These beverages work as natural laxatives and will flush out any extra water and salt that your body might have stocked. Having said that ? when you feel bloated ? don?t, DO NOT stop drinking water! I?ve noticed that many of my friends would forget about the water as soon as they start feeling bloated, worried that they might bloat even more! Well, in reality: the more you hydrate your body ? the quicker it will get back into its normal shape.

4. Foods rich in Potassium: 
Well I’m in PMS (tips for how to deal with it here), rather than fruits rich in water, I’d normally opt for the ?supposedly? fattening bananas. That?s actually another myth worth debunking – No, you will NOT gain weight by eating bananasFoods rich in potassium (bananas, mangoes) both speed up the metabolism, help the body flush out the toxins, and also prevent fluids retention in the future. Aw, and by the way, quinoa and asparagus fall into that category, with the latter also containing as a bonus the miraculous element: the amino acid – asparagine which acts as a natural diuretic too

5. Probiotic Foods: 
Even thought I?m slowly converting to a vegan diet, as I?ve mentioned before ? Greek yoghurt is one of the very few dairy products I haven?t eliminated from my diet. Greek yoghurt contains very beneficial bacteria that gives your body a nudge to immediately release the gas that your stomach has accumulated over time. Why not than have as a snack some greek yoghurt with strawberries (rich in fibres) in it?
6. Have your veggies cooked: 
Well, I’d normally have spinach, kale, lettuce at least 5 times a week as they naturally prevent bloating. However, when it comes to all the other veggies – it’s much more sensible to have them cook if you want your belly toned. So, what I’d normally do is used kale/spinach as a salad base and then add some roasted veggies in it (onion, carrots, broccoli, etc).

7. Tea:
I’ve spoken quite a lot about the benefits of tea and the wonders it does to your skin and body (here). When it comes to bloating, however, it’s green, mint and ginger tea you should be going for. What I’d normally do is add some minced ginger to my green tea. This magical beverage is a great bloating remedy that will also boost your metabolic rate and flush the toxins out of your body.

8. Garlic 
Well, I do like garlic and the thing is ? it?s time for you to start loving it too. Garlic is the veggie that increases the fat loss in your liver and hence its capacity to detoxify your body. And the more detoxified your body is ? the less bloating might occur.

9. Sugar 
Have you noticed that every time you’ve had a wild night out – the next day your belly feels twice as big? It’s that alcohol baby and all the sugar it contains.
And with me, being almost vegan, I have to be very careful with my sugar intake. Actually that’s the primary issue that vegans face: the possibility of becoming addicted to sugar. So, to ensure that  I don?t end up falling into the trap of having too much sugary foods to compensate for the foods I’ve excluded from my diet, I opt for more filling options like quinoa, oats, bulgur, brown rice. In this way I ensure that I don’t end up craving carbs like sweets, rice, pasta.
Also, rather than adding refined sugar to my tea or desserts, I?d always go for its healthier alternatives: agave, stevia, maple syrup and honey. And that’s the thing –  you’d never really see me indulging in pre-packed desserts or any other sort of candies. I’d always go for the home-made options, created with organic ingredients and natural sweeteners that protect me from the bloating that comes with everything rich in processed sugar.

10. Eat slower, chew thoroughly, often, and never on a whim! 
Have you noticed that when you?re on a diet, the moment you put something in your mouth ? your belly ends up being bloated? To avoid that, make sure you eat smaller dishes more regularly, chew your food, and never eat on a whim. Just take your time, okay?

11. Carbs and salty dishes in the evening  Lighter meals in the evening
One of my all time favourite foods is sushi… which means that quite often the girls and I would go out to have a meal at a Japanese restaurant. Next morning – surprise surprise! My face would become so puffy and my belly so bloated that the only thing I’d wanna do is hide under the duvet. And it took me so long to finally realise that the combination of carbs (rice) and salt (soy sauce) is the reason
why my body was acting so weird. So, if you ask me – leave the carbs for lunch, so that your body has more time to digest it, and opt for something lighter in the evening.

12. Chewing gum, drinking from straws

When you chew gum and drink from straw you swallow air which gets trapped in your stomach which results in excessive bloating. You know what you have to do, right? 
13. Pilates 
Since I started regularly going to pilates, I’ve noticed that my metabolism has certainly improved, with my belly toning up and almost never being bloated. If you have no time to join a class, why not try some of the zillion pilates workout that are available to access online? Start with the basics as I’m pretty sure in no time you’ll be trying to find a class to join.
(P.S. I’ll be doing a post on Pilates quite soon, if you’re interested to learn more about my latest obsession with it.)
I hope you find my tips useful and feel free to share any other tips you might have.
Lots of love,

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