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February 02, 2012

What to Eat on an Upset Stomach

By Mark Sisson
168 Comments

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.)

Water with bitters

Yes, good old bitters. There’s more to them than your father’s traditional cocktail. Certain cultures (including many countries in Europe) use them medicinally to aid digestion and soothe a sour stomach. I’d recommend them if you’re feeling a bit rough from a too heavy/too large meal.

Bone broth

When you’re ready to graduate from water (a milestone that has you singing praises), consider holding off on solids if you have a stock of – well – stock in your freezer or refrigerator. I’m not talking about the sodium and preservative filled canned soups. We always keep a few containers of homemade broth on hand for cooking and the occasional under the weather days. It can help rehydrate you while giving your body a manageable boost of lost minerals and protein. Once you’re ready to try solids, add some shredded meat and a few cooked veggies to make a more hearty soup.

Probiotics

Your digestive system has been put through the wringer. If it’s an illness or food poisoning that has gotten the better of you, your beneficial bacteria could likely use some reinforcements. If you like yogurt and feel you’re up for it, try it. (Just avoid the sugar laden varieties.) If you’re a kombucha fan, you might enjoy the double benefit of carbonation and probiotic. Not everyone enjoys the taste, however, even on their best days. If you’re not a fan, don’t try to force it down when you’re already nauseous. Go with what sounds good to you at the time.

When you’re ready to take the plunge into solid foods again, soft or cooked foods are generally easier on the stomach.

Soft fruits and veggies

Avocado, maybe flavored with a pinch of sea salt, can give you a wallop of healthy fats and other nutrients, but there’s no reason to steer away from other veggies and fruits. After a full day’s worth of shouting groceries, you’ve probably depleted your glycogen stores. Although I wouldn’t suggest anyone hurl themselves over a fructose cliff, there’s little reason to avoid them entirely. If it’s what your body wants to eat, heed its wisdom. Intuitive eating, after all, has its place.

Soft meats and eggs

At some point you’re ready for some real, stick-to-your-bones kind of food to feed your now growling empty stomach. This is the kind of fare that will really get you moving and feeling like yourself again when you’re ready for it. You’ll lose the last of that awful shakiness and enjoy a steady stream of Primal energy. Nonetheless, when you’re trying to get past lingering nausea, the last thing you want to do is gnaw and chew yourself to fatigue. Scrambled eggs or soft, mild tasting fish (like tilapia) are favorites of mine, but moist poultry or tender cuts of meat can do the trick as well. Eat and rejoice your return to the land of the living.

Thanks for reading today, everyone. Be sure to add your own advice and suggestions for what to eat on an upset stomach. Happy Groundhog Day!

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168 Comments on "What to Eat on an Upset Stomach"

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Amit
Amit
4 years 7 months ago
Ok: I am the champion in this subject: having eliminated IBS/IBD after two years of experimentation: Here is the deal: 1) best thing is fresh made buttermilk with some fresh boiled rice in mornings and afternoons, not at night. act as pre and pro biotics. 2) well cooked vegetables in stew or soup or chicken or meat- carrots, green beans, celery, onions, fresh herbs. 3) avoid anything that is gassy or hard to digest: EGGS, raw vegetables, salads, eggplant, okra, nightshades, fried food. etc 4) Dry ginger powder is better than fresh ginger for stomach issues. 5) eat a spoon… Read more »
Reiko
Reiko
4 years 7 months ago

ditto on the dry ginger powder. i also like having a bit of raw honey in my tea so i don’t feel like i’m starving to death.

laura m.
laura m.
4 years 7 months ago

I take probiotics several times a week. For upset stomach, I use ginger w/green tea. Also fresh oranges or peaches, add grapes, berries frozen or fresh, squeeze lemon juice and make a smoothie. Later in the day, I mix barley juice and sprouts, raw spinach and blend it. No meats or fish during this time.

DThalman
DThalman
4 years 7 months ago

legumes make my ibs-afflicted gut unhappy on a good day…FODMAPs.

Melissa
Melissa
4 years 7 months ago

This couldn’t have come at a better time. I was super sick Tuesday night, coming out both ends all night. I think it was a bug from work. I was so weak and dehydrated and water just wasn’t doing it. Finally my dear friend brought me over 3 liters of the unflavored Pedialyte and I’ve been drinking that and feeling better. Finally had a scrambled egg last night.
Bone broth is a good idea. I’ve got some thawed already.

K
K
4 years 7 months ago
I spent all of Sunday and into Monday morning on the toilet with a bucket so I’m fresh from the trenches on this one. If I had any idea it was coming, I wouldn’t have eaten raspberries. They’re all kinds of fun coming out your nose, I tell ya! Add peppermint tea to your list. Calms stomachs. I keep candied ginger on hand all the time. It’s not primal and sugar is not on my SCD diet but it works and that’s all that matters. Nothing is going to stop the actual vomiting when you need to vomit but the… Read more »
The Primalist
4 years 7 months ago

I definitely second the mint tea, especially if your stomach’s just starting to feel a bit “off” – it works wonders.. I always keep some in my cupboards just in case..

Bella
4 years 7 months ago

This is a good topic and very current problem on our part! My dear husband is renovating a house for us so i guess the stress of it all has got the best of him and he has been feeling sick and suffers from stomach pain. These tips are just what we need! Thank you!

Justin
Justin
4 years 7 months ago

Two shots of “Jack” + one shot of 100 proof Hot Damn . . . j/k

The old tsp of baking soda in 4oz of water has always helped me. I think a huge part of that is the “close to Mom” feeling it gives me as she always gave it to me when I had a tummy ache. God, I miss her!

Danielle
Danielle
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve heard good things about this one, but if you’ve never done it, do it cautiously – some people react to baking soda in water with explosive diarrhea! Not exactly good when that’s part of the problem in the first place. 🙂

laura m.
laura m.
4 years 7 months ago

You’re right on with the baking soda; also helps get over a cold faster drink every 4 to 6 hrs until I feel better about 1/3 t. in water.

Meg
Meg
4 years 7 months ago

Your timing is perfect, I was just wondering about this last night when my husband thought he was getting sick. We’ve never had any illness since going primal so the thought of figuring it out on the fly was daunting. Thanks for this.

katie
4 years 7 months ago

Maybe you could write a piece on healing a cold with natural remedies. I’m down with a terrible sore throat etc. right now so I can eat normal foods but am looking for some relief in a more natural way than medications. Anyone have any thoughts?

Amit
Amit
4 years 7 months ago

These things help in sore throat:

1) boil 1 teaspoon of mint leaves, basil, cinnamon. boil till its reduced to half, strain and 1 spoon of raw wild honey. enjoy

2) avoid cold drinks, yogurt, milk products of all kinds

3) bone broth and soups are excellent.

4) mark discussed turmeric tea. that is excellent too.

good luck.

Animanarchy
4 years 7 months ago

Adding lemon to recipe #1 might be good for taste and a little vitamin C (also a very fit gym teacher once told the class I was in a slice of lemon in a bottle water will give you all the electrolytes you need during a workout). Ginseng, ginger, and vitamin C will all boost your immune system.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

You know, I think that gym teacher was right. I’ve been making diluted lemonaide lately – a 12 oz glass of filtered water with just a dash of organic lemon juice concentrate and a sprinkle of stevia. Seems to really hit the spot and work wonders, especially after a fasting workout.

Milemom
Milemom
4 years 7 months ago

@rarebird: now just throw in some chia seeds to the water, lemon juice, and stevia, and you’ll have “chia fresca”

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
@Milemom – that’s a great idea. I love chia seeds but I never thought about putting them in a drink. I just chew them. Do you let them soak or just drink them down right after adding them? Btw, I the lemon juice I use is not a concentrate – I don’t know what I was thinking. Its the BEST lemon juice I’ve ever used and I’m thinking that its probably extra rich in micronutrients. Its Italian Volcano Lemon Juice. !00% organic Sicilian lemons grown in volcanic soil near Mt. Etna. I found it at Costco and hope that its… Read more »
stevie joe
stevie joe
3 years 3 months ago

You know,, powdered ginger is better, I think most of us seem to agree here. But as a side note, if all you have access to is ginger ale, a few notes: [1] when Canada Dry’s ad campaign was “It’s not too sweet, it’s cool refreshing treat” they MEANT IT–good if you are yaking, take small sips.. Schweppes? Big no-no. Ditto for even Vernor’s. But if you’re lucky an think ahead, next time you are shopping, pick up some Red Rock if you can find it.
And be very careful what you eat and drink in Vietnam.

Primal Texas
4 years 7 months ago

I’ll second the idea of avoiding dairy during sore throat/sinus incidents. I didn’t make the connection between the two until a day too late…

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Dairy, especially milk, is mucus producing on a good day. Don’t need any more mucus when we are already producing copious amounts with a cold.

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
4 years 7 months ago

I had a rotten old code last week, and I knocked it down faster than ever with:
– plenty of sleep. Respect the role of sleep.
– Bone broth. It was my first time making it, and I made it right before the illness descended. Lucky timing. I DID feel better immediately after drinking it. It was strikingly soothing.
– AND hugely, hugely helpful. Gargle with salt water. Boil the water, add salt, so that it’s salty like sea water. It does not have to be warm or hot, just very salty. THIS is the cornerstone, honestly.

Joy Beer
Joy Beer
4 years 7 months ago

Hah. I’m a programmer, but I didn’t mean “code”, I meant “cold”.

Harry Mossman
4 years 7 months ago

I thought you were being funny, saying cold with a stuffy nose.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I thought that was funny, too!

Animanarchy
4 years 7 months ago

Sleeping off a cold is really all it takes to get through most of them if you’re eating alright. Since going primal I tend to only get sick if I don’t sleep enough and when I get a decent sleep and maybe nap away an afternoon or evening then my cold is usually gone or there are no symptoms besides maybe a little fatigue unless I lose sleep again or rely too much on coffee. Caffeine suppresses the immune system, as does sugar.

Animanarchy
4 years 7 months ago

Other stimulants would as well since they amp up your sympathetic nervous system and gear down your parasympathetic nervous system, readying your body for immediate quick action and not slowing you down to rest and recover.

Animanarchy
4 years 7 months ago

Avoiding stress helps too. Stress and sleeplessness often go together.

DThalman
DThalman
4 years 7 months ago

YES i’ve noticed the same thing

Kelly
Kelly
4 years 7 months ago

Oregano oil will end your cold symptoms almost immediately. I have three small children and we use it at the first sign of illness. For yourself, take four drops of oil (standardized to 70%)in water three times a day. You’ll be amazed how well it works. Follow with some probiotics when you’re feeling better to restore your flora. http://www.earthclinic.net is a great source for natural remedies.

Geoff
Geoff
4 years 7 months ago

Earth Clinic’s website URL is earthclinic.COM … but, yes, it is a real go-to place for natural remedies.

MusicMama
MusicMama
4 years 7 months ago

At first sign of a cold, I always take an herbal remedy called Yin Chaio. (can find it on vitacost, I use Dr. Shen’s). It can halt a cold before it even gets started. Also take zinc and sodium ascorbate (vit C), vit D. To ease sleep/breathing, I have an essential oil diffuser; eucalyptus and peppermint oils are wonderful for the sinuses (as are many others)! For a sore throat, slippery elm is good – there is a tea called Throat Coat.

PrimalPatti
PrimalPatti
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve suffered from sore throats my entire life and have tried everything I can think of to soothe them. In my experience nothing is better than a teaspoon of salt in a 6-0z mug of very warm water. Stir until dissolved and gargle – slooooowly — head back and opening your throat as much as possible as you gargle. Spit and repeat until the mug is gone.

Do this as many times a day as you wish. Just don’t eat or drink anything for about 15-30 min afterward.

laura m.
laura m.
4 years 7 months ago

I finally had my tonsils out at 22, over 40 years ago; best thing I did, but younger is best. Find a good ENT Dr. Good luck.

Danielle
Danielle
4 years 7 months ago

Zinc!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
I second all the great suggestions so far. Zinc works great for me and if I start it immediately at the first hint of a cold it halts the cold completely. Must add, though – I rarely get colds and when I do I don’t get very sick anyway – so it may not work that well for everyone. One warning, though – stay away from zinc nasal preparations, if they are even still on the market. Seems they can cause a permanent loss of the sense of smell for some people. Stick with lozenges or throat sprays – just… Read more »
LadyParadox
LadyParadox
4 years 7 months ago

I swear by slippery elm for sore throats! Natural Medicinals makes a “throat coat” tea that I drink constantly in dry winters.

Debbie
Debbie
4 years 7 months ago

Try gargling Apple Cider Vinegar (a good brand) with warm water – equal parts.
Apparently the vinegar acts as a sponge to get out all the yucky stuff, so don’t swallow it!
I usually do it at the onset of a sore throat, and it rarely progresses, so it may not “cure” you if you’re too far along, but it should bring some relief!

Cecilia
Cecilia
4 years 7 months ago

my cure is pineapple, soothing & refreshing

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 7 months ago

For colds:
Cayenne pepper and green tea works wonders!!

Mark Cruden
Mark Cruden
4 years 7 months ago

Fasting might work for the cold. I’ve always found gargling with salt water helps the throat. Take care.

Matt B
Matt B
4 years 7 months ago

Lemons or grapefruits are the key for sore throats. Eat a whole one of either at the onset and perhaps on day two if it doesn’t fully cure it on day one…works on me and my kids.

Galina L.
Galina L.
4 years 7 months ago

I fast when I feel a scratchy throat and take Astragalus and Elderberry, a lot of tea with a lemon without a sugar. Some raw lemon. Bone broth cooked with different dry mushrooms with added raw garlic is a good drink for a sick person. Have not being sick since started LC more than 4 years ago besides very rare scratchy throat..

Alison
Alison
4 years 7 months ago

I think a neti pot works wonders.

Kristy
Kristy
4 years 7 months ago

I didn’t see anyone mention this yet, but I always help my sore throat by either gargling or eating hot peppers! My first time I did this to cure my throat, I gargled warm water with about 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. It did the trick to cure my throat. A few treatments a few times a day worked way better than anything I bought at the medicine store! Now, don’t be afraid to also make a cayenne pepper tea. You can look up recipes online. Enjoy and feel better!

W. J. Purifoy
W. J. Purifoy
4 years 7 months ago

Remember to get plenty of vitamin Sunshine (or D3), and magnesium.

Molly Waltimyer
Molly Waltimyer
2 years 11 months ago

It’s hard to get Sunshine – when you live in the “cold” area of the U.S.A.

when you live in the winter – it’s hard to get the Sunshine.

Jane
Jane
3 years 9 months ago
“Throat coat” tea is excellent. contains slippery elm, licorice and other yummy mucilaginous things that just soothe throat and bronchial passages. Great for that end of the cold dry cough that nags at bedtime. Available in most groceries and as an organic tea as well. For sinuses, really love Yogi tea’s “Cold Formula” in addition cardamom, cinnamon, and other usual culprits there are oranges, oregano,lemongrass and other great things. IN 20 MINUTES after a 1/2 cup my head sinuses are clear for hours. Also worked to stop my 90 year old dad’s post meal sinus drip. Cleared up his eyes… Read more »
Tim
Tim
6 months 21 days ago

Try honey and cinnamon, (mixed, don’t do the dry cinnamon thing). 1 tsp of honey, and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. Google it!

Marisa
Marisa
4 years 7 months ago

Yep I needed this after I ate a big romaine salad after the last post on leafy greens. The last few times I’ve eaten romaine, I’ve gotten horrible stomach issues. Allergy? Not sure. Thanks for posting the cure after the post that caused my problem!

Also, I am eating sauerkraut for the probiotics today. Used to drink plain kefir, but I’m not eating dairy currently. Probiotics get my stomach back to normal quicker.

Nicole
Nicole
4 years 7 months ago

Try switching out your greens every 10 days or so and see if that makes a difference. So, eat Romaine for 9-10 days and then switch to spinach, argula, butter lettuce etc. and then switch back. We are a big Romaine family too. So, I try to switch out with more veggies like broccoli or celery.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

That’s good advice. The “rotation diet” is designed to help reduce/prevent food allergies/intolerances/toxicities. If I’m not mindful, I get into food ruts when I’m busy with things outside the kitchen. Have to remind myself sometimes.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

Yes, but if you’re tinkering with rotation, you would have romaine once every four days. It can be enormously helpful.

Marisa
Marisa
4 years 7 months ago

This was the first time I had romaine in many weeks. However, my stomach has not been totally normal all week. The only other thing I introduced was Celestial Seasonings fruit teas, so I am cutting those out for awhile (maybe it was the soy lethicin?)

Danielle
Danielle
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve had trouble with Romaine as well, and some reading suggested that it may have been from excessive nitrates in fertilizers on conventional Romaine. Since switching to organic, I haven’t had a problem. Hope you find a solution too!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I recently read that the same sort of thing happens with spinach making it more toxic if not raised organically.

Gem
Gem
4 years 7 months ago

I have this problem too, except mine tends to be with ALL leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and quite a few other things that seem to make no sense. I’ve had this problem for years now. I suspect IBS, possible ulcers, and something to do with the fact that i no longer have a gallbladder. I just don’t know what to do anymore though. It never fails though anytime i have to spend the day away from the bathroom I have problems and immodium is my best friend 🙁 Does this happen to anyone else or am I just nuts?

Emily
4 years 7 months ago

Could be the insoluble fiber which is hard on an inflamed gut. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables and anything with edible skin is high in insoluble fiber. Not necessarily the source of the problem, but it can be an irritant.

RedYetiDave
4 years 7 months ago
Not to the same extent but I know people that have the same kind of reaction and I did myself. Reading the rest of the thread above here there are others. I’m not sure I’d be too worried about avoiding the leafy greens for a while – sounds like you need to get some gut healing done. Lots of bone broth, really well cooked veggies and meat and lay off uh, we’ll anything that doesn’t agree with you (like eggs and dairy – and grain – of course). Anyhow – wasn’t really chiming in to give you a whole bunch… Read more »
Marisa
Marisa
4 years 6 months ago

I have been having problems with most green vegetables also, even though I am 100% Paleo. I think it is all the insoluble fiber. “Safe” vegetables for IBS seem to be high soluble fiber ones like carrots and winter squashes, so I think I’m going to switch to those for awhile. Rotating things helps a lot too.

Beverly
Beverly
4 years 7 months ago

I am new to the primal lifestyle and have started reading the blogs daily. So far, this one has been the most informative to me. I always have a hard time finding things I want to eat when I’m sick. I can always tell when my body needs something but never know what to give it. This has been a great help!

Erok
Erok
4 years 7 months ago

I always have some sauerkraut or kim chi bubbling along in the kitchen, and a couple sips of the juice when I’m feeling something coming on, or after I’ve eaten something questionable is usually just what the tummy needs.
Oh, and: ‘Shouting Groceries’?! I LOVE me some fresh euphemisms! Great article, Mark!

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

Could you please share your kimchee recipe? I’d love to make some!

Erok
Erok
4 years 7 months ago

It’s different every time, but instead of me typing out the laundry list of ingredients, if you type ‘ultimate kimchi’ into your search engine, it should lead you to treelight (dot) com. the page forms the basis for nearly every batch I’ve ever made. Also mentions some great techniques & philosophies of the process. Be forewarned: making kimchi can be highly addictive (but in a great way!).

Lauren
4 years 7 months ago

I know! I’ve been reading the comments just to see if I was the only one who had to read that twice! Nice one, Mark.
(oh, and I picked up some good tips from the commenters too, but I alsways do 🙂 )

Ingvildr
Ingvildr
4 years 7 months ago

Eggs are about the last thing I want to eat when I am sick. The smell alone is enough to set me off. Peppermint tea is a huge help to the, ‘I ate too much’ icky stomach and helps other nasty tummys. When I do feel good enough to eat something I usually end up eating chicken broth with well cooked root veggies.

Mauricio
Mauricio
4 years 7 months ago

Crazy coincidence – last night started feeling a bit rough and today until a few hours ago I was in the bathroom every 30 minutes.

gilliebean
4 years 7 months ago

Would love to hear how these techniques work for you!

ChocoTaco369
4 years 7 months ago

My friend is ill with a stomach virus and I made her butternut squash soup. That turned out very well. Highly recommended for someone having trouble keeping down solid foods.

Erik
Erik
4 years 7 months ago

What about coconut water?

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Works for me when I am ready to drink something other than water.

DB
DB
4 years 7 months ago

Watch those bitters… 45% alcohol!

Diane
Diane
4 years 7 months ago

Two or three dashes in a glass of water are not a problem unless you can drink NO alcohol. I actually like a dash of bitters in club soda in lieu of a cocktail in the evening.

gilliebean
4 years 7 months ago

Great post! I love the suggestions. It’s basically the same list I go through on my own.

Marianne
Marianne
4 years 7 months ago
I had a bout of the uglies eight months after going primal. When the worst was over in a couple of days, I found that the only things I could tolerate were–unfortunately–the old classics: rice and toast. Don’t know if that was the result of years & years of SAD eating, but other than peppermint tea, just the thought of things like any of Mark’s other suggestions would almost send me back to the throne. I figured it was best to go intuitive in this instance. Happily, though, after a few days on literally just “bread and water” I was… Read more »
matt
4 years 7 months ago

weird but it works if you can’t keep anything down…
a small knob of freshly peeled/chopped ginger in your belly button and secured in place with a shirt or tape will work quite impressively.

Casey
Casey
4 years 7 months ago

That same trick works to absorb any supplements or herbs, and is especially useful for toddlers/children too young or unable to swallow supplements. We just put it in a sock, tie the end, and leave it on the belly for up to 12 hours, then replace the contents with fresh ones and repeat.

Lori
Lori
4 years 7 months ago

How did you know my whole family is in the throes of this nasty stomach bug as we speak.
THANKS!! 😀

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 7 months ago

I have also steeped dill seed into a tea and drank that. Similar to ginger in that it calms the stomach.

I also gave it to my babies when they were just a few months old instead of using gripe water. The gripe water had lots of sugar in it which didn’t help their already upset stomach.

Also, like ginger, dill seed is extremely cheap! 🙂

Lauren
4 years 7 months ago

In Germany the midwives recommend tea from the seeds of fennel, anise and caraway in equal parts for babies and breastfeeding mothers. Crush, steep and drain before drinking. It settles the stomach, acts as a mild expectorant, and is supposed to increase milk production. It tastes fine! (Not at all like licorice, just “herbal”)

Animanarchy
4 years 7 months ago

Ephedrine gives me an upset stomach. I got some at a local health food store sold as a nasal decongestant and took several times the recommended dose. Along with that I combined lots of bee pollen, 1kg of kefir, a bunch of tyrosine and arginine+ornithine pills, and a soupy dinner – it might have been chili. Shortly after dinner I puked and dryheaved at the bottom of an outdoor staircase that goes underground to a locked door and the puke sprayed all three walls. I think it was at least a liter.

Emiliy Mekeel
Emiliy Mekeel
4 years 7 months ago

Ginger tea is my absolute favorite when I have a messed up stomach. Other than that, I find myself craving salty things.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Salt is also helpful for restoring electrolytes and off setting dehydration. When I’m at the stage of recovery of wanting meat stocks, I want them salty.

Animanarchy
4 years 7 months ago

Cannabis is a good anti-emetic. A tea infusion or baked goods might work well.

Animanarchy
4 years 7 months ago

Maybe some cooked in oil.

Sharon
Sharon
4 years 7 months ago

A couple of years ago, I ended up in the ER with gastroenteritis. They did an excellent job of getting me back on my feet but I was appalled at the list they gave me of things to eat when I got home.

Every one of them was just sugar. So, against orders, I started with bone broth and quickly went on to other mild food like chicken.

Kelly
4 years 7 months ago

At the first sign of tummy troubles I grab a couple bottles of GT’s kombucha – always helps. 🙂

DH
DH
4 years 7 months ago

Agree..I like the ginger kombucha.

julie
julie
4 years 7 months ago

I grew up with crackers, jello, popsicles, and gingerale. It’s funny how hard it is to overcome habits from your childhood. I’m happy to be raising my children to crave homemade chicken broth, ginger kombucha, peppermint tea, yogurt, or smoothies when they’re feeling sick.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I can understand why some people would find eggs undesirable during a recovery period from severe stomach distress. However, eggs actually are a very digestible form of protein and are not only recommended for recovery – but also for seniors. The method of cooking is also important, though. Hard boiled, soft boiled, or coddled are easier to digest and also maintain the protein in the best form.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

I agree. In fact, an egg yolk stirred into hot broth is supremely comforting and easy on the tummy.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

That does sound good – for breakfast, lunch, or supper!

Nicky
Nicky
4 years 7 months ago

I recently had a bout of Norovirus–hours of vomiting and diarrhea. I found that coconut water went down great after the worst was over and helped restore some of the lost electrolytes. Ginger/chamomile/peppermint tea is also great on a sore stomach.

Nicky
Nicky
4 years 7 months ago

Also, cold rather than hot foods tend to be more palatable if you’re feeling queasy.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

That’s how it works for me, too. First room temp water. Then when I’m a bit better, cooled beverages. Then warm when I am on the mend. That’s when I go for the meat stocks.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
I have just made what might prove to be an interesting discovery for gastric upset (at least mine anyway) – especially as related to taking supplements. Right now, the only thing that seems to upset my stomach is supplements, especially tablet/caplet form. So, I am overhauling my supplements with an eye towards reducing the distress. I replaced my calcium/magnesium supplements with a liquid pre-acidified calcium, magnesium, D3 supplement – and it was like magic! As long as I take the liquid with my other supplements (with food), there is no distress at all. If I don’t take the liquid, I… Read more »
EmilyJane
4 years 7 months ago

When I was sick when I was younger (which was most of the time) it was buttered toast and strangely enough rusks and milk all the way (anyone else on board with this one?). Nowadays it’s all about the salty chicken stock and butternut squash roasted until almost obliterated. Sooo comforting!

Lady Grok
Lady Grok
4 years 7 months ago

Love the food ideas for recuperation!

I used to battle sore throats a few times a season (pre-primal), and seem to have headed off the last few I have had post-Primal by holding coconut oil (1-2 TB)in my mouth until liquid, swishing, then swallowing it. Worth a shot, anyway!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

That sounds effective to me. Coconut is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and just very soothing – not to mention that it tastes good :-).

Paul Alexander
4 years 7 months ago

I love milk or yoghurt. Also, some fruits, like apples make my tummy feel better if I encounter problems with it.

jen
jen
4 years 7 months ago

Great list! Don’t forget aloe vera juice. It tastes wretched but it calms the guts down incredibly fast – it’s so soothing.

The last time I was ill and delirious my husband made me tea and dry toast. At first I thought “NO GRAINS!” but I was grateful for the fast relief..

great idea to keep broth on hand for times like these…

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Bread is also a good idea to keep on hand for emergency supplies. I’m keeping a loaf of non-gluten bread in the freezer strictly for emergencies. One of our dogs is a real clown when it comes to eating things that she shouldn’t. She loves coconut oil, and any sort of soap or lotion. She once got ahold of a new bar of dove soap and ate most of it before I got it away from her. Poison control said to give her hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting and a slice or two of bread to help protect her stomach.… Read more »
Russell
Russell
4 years 7 months ago

My mother, who is an acupuncturist/herbalist, said that there was a reason why Asian fish dishes were usually served with ginger, either cooked with the fish, or served on the side. It was perhaps to combat or prevent the slight possibilities of food poisoning from fish.

Works with motion-sickness nausea, too. My stepdad was suffering from sea sickness on a small expedition ship. When my mom discovered the galley didn’t have ginger, they went to a market in the next port. She smuggled a small piece of ginger back on board and made him ginger tea, which worked.

Gaby
4 years 7 months ago

Thanks for the list, I’ve had only two episodes of upset stomach in the past year and ate pretty much my regular meals, I think with your advice things recovery will be much better next time.

Jim
Jim
4 years 7 months ago
In my experience most of the time that one has vomiting or diarrhea, the cause is food poisoning. All foods are potential causes of this problem. I think that it is rare to have a flu that causes these symptoms. I can remember having and seeing many cases of the “stomach flu” that I feel certain were actually food poisoning. Here are the most common foods to cause the problem. http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/health/2011/04/28/10-riskiest-pathogen-food-combinations/#slide=1 I have had food poisoning so many times that I spent a lot of time attempting to find a solution. What I found is that if you can kill… Read more »
Sheila
4 years 7 months ago

Grapefruit seed extract is like magic for food poisoning. I picked up a ten-day case of the runs in Italy … lost 15 pounds and felt awful. A friend gave me some GSE and that night I slept through the night and didn’t have any more diarrhea thereafter!

Dutch
Dutch
4 years 4 months ago

Ok Sheila, £10 down but a bottle of GFS extract up I’m keen to try this on day of hugging the thrown! It sure seems strong enough to disinfect a cesspool – “in case of contact with skin rinse for 10minutes”!!

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

In the event of serious digestive problems (such as chronic diarrhea) the best course of action is no solids for a while. When I was diagnosed with Celiac, my sister-in-law gave me nothing but bone broth and very strong homemade ginger tea for two weeks. It gave my gut a chance to heal. After being too ill to look after my children for 6 weeks, I felt amazing after the fourth day.

PhineasGage
PhineasGage
4 years 7 months ago

Ahh! I needed this about three days ago! I was searching everywhere for what do eat when sick and still stay primal (the CW BRAT, bananas, rice, applesauce, toast – just doesn’t fit).

At least I’ll know for next time.

Gem
Gem
4 years 7 months ago

Will certainly be printing this article for reference! Thanks Mark!

While everyone is commenting on natural remedies, I could use some advice. I currently have pneumonia. I have the prescribed antibiotics, inhaler, etc. However it does not seem to be improving as well as I hoped. I see the doc again next week (once the antibiotic course is done) Are the any tips of tricks from a primal standpoint??? Any help is greatly appreciated 🙂

sarah
sarah
4 years 7 months ago

I have asthma and have been through the ringer with respiratory infections. What helps me is extract of Pelargonium Siodides. You can get a bottle of it sold as “Breathe Free” from Amazon. (Just make sure you get the full strength and not the homeopathic.) It’s a kind of African Geranium and it works really well for respiratory infections.

pat
pat
4 years 7 months ago

Any Canadians who have a “Davids Tea” location nearby…their “Bravissimo” tea is AMAZING for a killer sore throat.

I second drinking broth. I make a huge batch of it when I’m sick, add veggies, with lots of garlic, onion, ginger and whole peppercorns. Sip, sip, sip away!

rik
rik
4 years 7 months ago

steeping ginger root shavings to make tea works wonders…

Reiko
Reiko
4 years 7 months ago
If it’s food poisoning or a vomiting flue, there’s not much one can do other than vomit. I’m usually done after 12 hours, which is when I can finally sip some water without it coming back up. Honey ginger tea is my go-to beverage after I know I can hold down my fluids. The ginger helps with the nausea, and the honey provides some energy so I don’t feel like I’m dying of starvation. Also, am I the only one who does this?: When I’m recovering, I watch cartoons! It’s the same routine from my youth (which was not actually… Read more »
Dawn
Dawn
4 years 7 months ago

For me there is something about toast that provides extreme comfort when not feeling well. I bake a loaf of the almond flour “basic bread” from the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook. Stick it in the freezer and it can be pulled out when needed, sliced, toasted, and with a bit of butter it is so good on a sensitive stomach! Yes, it’s a nut flour bread so shouldn’t be overeaten, but thankfully I’m not sick much since going Primal!

Snauzoo
Snauzoo
4 years 7 months ago

My daughter came over last night with a horribly upset GI mess brought on by legumes. Live and learn, I say. We were all eating Mark’s braised cabbage and kielbasa. Not her idea of tummy soothing. I gave her a bottle of kvass a handful of probiotics, some glutamine for later, some raw milk goat cheese and some pickle juice and raw fermented sauerkraut. . And some ginger. My thinking was to repopulate her gut ASAP. Plus sent her home with some fresh roasted beets. She was good as new today.

rabbit_trail
rabbit_trail
4 years 7 months ago

ACTIVATED CHARCOAL. You can get it at Walgreens. It’s what they give you in the ER for food poisoning. We keep it on hand for stomach bugs. Immediately take about ten of them and your stomach will settle. It soaks everything up or something. Not good for morning sickness though, because it keeps you from digesting nutrients.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Have you ever made chicken stock from chicken feet? Its great stuff! If you can’t get feet or don’t like the idea of feet, try chicken wings. Wings also have a lot of connective tissue.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_stock_from_chicken_feet/

Pam Maltzman
Pam Maltzman
4 years 7 months ago
I can vouch for ginger tea, carbonated drinks, etc. What I do for ginger tea is this: I keep fresh ginger root around. I cut off a piece, peel it, and then grate it. I put the grated-up stuff in a mesh tea ball and then pour hot water in. Usually, I make 2 or 3 quarts of ginger tea at a time. I use the small tea balls and fill them with a couple of tablespoons of grated fresh ginger. Pour in hot water (either boiled or from a whistling teakettle), and let steep for 20 to 30 minutes… Read more »
Kristina
Kristina
4 years 7 months ago
My favorite tummy soother of late: GT’s Ginger Kombucha. I love the taste of ginger, and I usually keep a few bottles on hand just in case. Ginger People ginger chews are also a good standby. When I had morning sickness a couple of years ago, I had these ginger/fennel/herbal candies that would dissolve in my mouth that worked well to take the edge off the worst nausea. For stuffy noses we use a Neti pot, with a bit of salt in it. Feels weird, like you’ve just been pounded by a big wave, but helps a lot to flush… Read more »
Pam Maltzman
Pam Maltzman
4 years 7 months ago
Now I have a question for you. I had been on the diet outlined at http://www,naturalhealing by bee.com for close to 2 years; was pretty much fully on the diet. It’s a low-carb, high-fat diet with supplements. I had had several healing reactions. But a week before this past Christmas, I woke up with a recurrent visual disturbance in one eye, plus a mild headache and some nausea. I drove myself to the ER. They CT scanned my head and told me I’d suffered a small stroke. I drove myself home from the hospital 2 days later. They put me… Read more »
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