Recently one of my digestive health conditions flared up with a vengeance. My daily lifestyle generally keeps my mild gastroparesis in check, but for some reason, things were not well managed and my stomach muscles seized up and would not let my most recent meal empty into my intestines. I began vomiting and was unable to eat solid foods for the good part of a week.
I immediately went into gastroparesis management mode.
I switched over to a liquid diet for a few days, and slowly weaned onto soft foods until I felt ready to eat normally again. I read my old blog posts to remind myself of how I managed my diet and lifestyle shortly after my endoscopy and diagnosis to remind myself how to best manage this condition.
And yep, here we are again.
My daily life pretty much aligns with the “natural way” to manage a mild diagnosis of gastroparesis, so I want to share what works for me in hopes of helping others.
To be transparent, when I was diagnosed, I did take the prescription medicine Reglan, as prescribed by my gastroenterologist. I decided to discontinue the medicine due to the side effects. I started to have involuntary muscle spasms and was unable to lift my arms above my head. So, now I focus solely on listening to my body, watching what I eat, how I eat and taking extra good care of my body.
Here are five quick lifestyle tips for daily gastroparesis management that work for me. Maybe some of them will help you too.
Disclosure: This blog is reader-supported, which means this post contains affiliate links and advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you amazing content. Thank you! ~Angela
Daily Gastroparesis Management: 5 Tips from a Patient Perspective
1. Consume one liquid meal daily.
I usually make this breakfast, because I enjoy smoothies. You can also make a thin oatmeal or soup. I find that if I give my digestive system a little break and offer it something easy to digest, I’m less likely to get that “too full too fast” feeling associated with gastroparesis.
2. Cook your fresh produce.
As a vegetarian, I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Since I also manage gastroparesis, I’ve learned from my doctor that it’s best for me to opt for produce that’s been cooked so the fibers are softened and broken down. So, applesauce is easier for me to digest than apple slices. Or, homemade vegetable soup is easier on the stomach than a crisp vegetable salad.
3. Eat smaller meals, and eat often.
Folks with gastroparesis do much better when they don’t gobble down large meals. I find that If I have a small breakfast (like a smoothie) and then a late morning snack, followed by a small lunch, an afternoon snack, a small dinner and a bedtime snack, my stomach doesn’t get overwhelmed and triggers muscle paralysis. Also, my blood sugars stay better balanced.
4. Exercise after you eat.
When I did my gastric emptying study at a local hospital to see how long it took my stomach to digest and move food down my digestive tract (it was tooooo slow), the doctor talked a lot about motility — and the lack of movement in my system. Exercise can help encourage the body to move food forward through the digestive tract. At my appointment they had me walk laps in the hospital halls. I was also instructed that it’s a good idea to go for a walk or do a few gentle yoga stretches to encourage digestive motility after eating.
5. Drink liquids while you eat.
Having a glass of water with each meal not only turns food into more of a liquid meal, but also helps push the food forward and down through the system. When I was in my gastroparesis flare the other week, I could still get nourishment from liquids, so I put anything I really wanted into the blender and added water, non-dairy milk or juice with it to make it more digestible.
Do you also manage a mild form of gastroparesis? Do you have a daily tip that might be helpful? Comment below. I’m always looking for new ways to better manage this condition, and I’m sure other readers would be interested too! Thank you!
Until next time,
PS: Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!