As we grow older, our bodies fail us. The immortality of our youth is replaced by the recognition of decay and decline all around us. Where once we could see, we now need brighter lights and more magnification. Where once we could run, we now stumble down the block and shuffle up the stairs. Where once our recall was immediate, we now ponder a moment before replying.

Some of us hide these indices of aging, while others of us must publicly deal with the aftereffects of the laughing Gods — for our lot is one of the fallible human being and we earn our deaths proving that divine notion. I used to be able to eat anything.

My metabolism was high. I could race the wind and win on a full stomach and never feel a consequence. Now my once cast-iron stomach has turned to a rusting tenderness. I can no longer eat everything and anything.

I must be selective or pay the price later with discomfort and burning. Some friends tell me to confront my rotting gut with super spicy foods. “You need your stomach to react to the spicy heat and fire up to fight whatever’s bothering you.” Other friends say just the opposite.

“Your stomach is on fire. You need to cool it down. Drink some chamomile tea to calm everything.” Others good friends proclaim, “Stomachs come and go. You have a bad one now. You’ll get a better one soon.” I’m pinning my divinity on the last philosophical effort — and hope to overcome the will of The Gods — with the renewal and redemption of my cast-iron stomach.

59 Comments

  1. David, I would suggest you to eat what suits you, at least when you are not well. Extra spices might give you more trouble if you are not used to it. I think trying to identify the cause might help you. Do you know what kind of food is bothering you of late?

  2. Hi Katha!
    I appreciate your help! My stomach is just feeling generally nauseous but for a longer period of time than something just disagreeing with me that I ate. If I bend over too far I feel like I’m going to urp. I have to slap my arm to stop the inevitable from happening.

  3. A trip to your medical care provider would surely tell, but I am assuming from it from your symptom.
    You can try one thing, you can shorten the gap between two meals or religiously eat something (may be some thin wheat-creakers) every 2 hrs, as long as you are up. You might not like it but don’t keep your stomach empty, don’t make it over full either. Cut down all soft drink or hot drink (except green tea) for 7 days. If it helps then it is hyper acidity, if not then you have to go for a check up.
    Stomach upset might be a symptom of a different underlying problem.
    My 2 cents…! 😀

  4. It should help.
    If possible maintain a regular eating schedule in every 2 hrs for 7 days atleast and try not to have a heavy meal when you eat lunch or dinner. Eat 2/3rd of what you normally do.
    Good luck and get well soon!

  5. If you are already suffering from hyper-acidity which I am assuming then the regular acid secretion has increased and it is burning the empty stomach – eating something very light every 2 hrs or so should reduce the effect of nausea.
    Eat light…

  6. Spice will aggravate your problem.
    First, you are not used to it, second – you don’t like it, and third your stomach needs a minimum work out now, making it work like a bulldozer won’t help.
    Even we avoid “spicy restaurant food” when our stomach is upset. Home made food is different than what you eat in an eatery.
    Avoid deep fried food too, for next few days.

  7. Nicola!
    Stress is actually minimal right now. Things are going swimmingly well.
    I’m pretty good at managing that kind of pressure because in my line of work it is always there and if you don’t deal with it you will be eaten alive by it.
    Things will begin to condense in the next month or so, but nothing too out of mainstream normal.

  8. I think this idea of eating something you are not used to when you are unwell is prevalent everywhere.
    The staple food of our region is rice and fish; so when we have flu or something similar – people used to advise us to eat bread/naan and less animal protein etc.
    Same goes for the other region too.
    I think you are used to bland, cold food and that’s why the idea of “soothing stomach by having spicy food” emerged here. I am not quite sure if it works – Indian spices normally have a warming effect and can make your tender stomach worse.
    It’s opposite in India. If you have a stomach upset you eat homemade, cold, bland food.
    I go by whatever I like when I don’t feel well. My system naturally refuses spicy food – I don’t even want to look at it – let alone eating!

  9. A strong peppermint tea helps my stomach a bit – and I have a pretty sensitive stomach, especially when I’m stressed or haven’t been sleeping enough.
    I love spicy food to much to stop eating it though!

  10. Nicola —
    Stress can definitely conquer you if you don’t learn to delegate and manage your daily burdens.
    In my line of work you can quickly become “on” 24/7 without ever disconnecting from the stress. That’s one reason I like this blog. It is a refreshing and enjoyable break from the regular pressures of the day.

  11. Yes, I generally do use spices when I cook but not when I am not feeling well. I do not like bland food when I am ok. Touch wood, I have a very high metabolism…! My regular food is medium spicy for any Indian but tremendously hot for any other nationality.

  12. Well, I don’t have a specific brand, but I do use two bags for a cup of tea. There is a brand of tea called Yogi that I’ve bought, but thats for herbal blends. They have a good sleepy time tea that I drink occasionally.
    Well, when my stomach was really bad – I actually went to the doctor – it was more of an irregular sleeping schedule. Like, staying up til five, sleeping til eight or nine, going to class, taking a nap between classes. Then staying up again. Part of it is that your body really does need like 7 to 8 hrs of strait sleep to really rejuvenate. Also, if you go to bed right after eating its bad for digestion. The doctor said to take zantac for it, but it was a friend who told me to sleep like a normal person. The sleep helped. Which is good, because most kinds of actual pharmaceuticals for stomachs make mine worse or make me throw up. My roommate had a worse sleep schedule than I did and she gets horrible migraines that I think are a result of it. Sleep is important.
    I like my food pretty spicy, but I prefer spicy spice – not stuff that is just hot. I like food with lots of flavor otherwise I get bored. My roommates mom is from Jamaica and my roommate could make the best food in the world – and she’d use habanero peppers. Mmmm… jerk chicken and bbq beef ribs. And I recently found out that I love Indian food. And I like Tex-mex. So, I guess I like food spicy but I still want it to taste like something and not just be burning.

  13. Hi Katha!
    Why do Indians like their food so hot?!! 😀 Is it a cultural necessity or an edible delight?
    What’s the best way to cool down an Indian dish that’s been served to you with too many spices? Can you add something to take down the heat or are you stuck because once the heat is cooked in you’re stuck?

  14. You’re right, Stacy, the body needs “down time” to digest and then clean your body and the best time for that to happen is during sleep.
    I, too, find medication for stomach upset to not work very well.
    I do have a strange metabolism where medication tends to have the opposite effect on me than what is prescribed. It sort of throws my doctors off a bit.
    Why do you use two teabags instead of one?

  15. It makes the tea stronger – most peppermint teas seem to have only a very light peppermint flavor. I like it strong and it seems to help with stomach troubles more. I also really like peppermint – my favorite candy is a York Peppermint Patty.

  16. David,
    I am assuming you are exposed to the regular northern Indian food which is widely known as Indian Cuisine in the world. Northern Indian recipe have a very strong Central Asian and Islamic influence. One of the key point of Islamic Empire was their delicacy about food and wine. The spices they used had immense herbal value as well as it enhanced the taste of food.
    http://www.library.yale.edu/neareast/food/index.htm
    Try finding a South Indian restaurant and ask for ‘plain Idli and Dosa’ – these are probably the blandest food in the world – but very healthy and I think you will like it.
    http://www.angelfire.com/country/fauziaspakistan/idli.html
    http://www.tarladalal.com/RecipeDetail.asp?rec=1&id=13
    I guess you ask for the mildest food in Indian restaurant, but even if you find it hot I am afraid you can’t do anything about it.
    It’s not only the use of spices, it’s the way of cooking that make it “spicy” too.
    There are lot of Indian dishes those are non spicy.

  17. Thanks for those great links, Katha!
    I always ask for “not spicy” in Spanish and Mexican and Indian restaurants. The Spanish and Mexican places are much more accommodating taking the heat out than the Indian places.
    I am perfectly happy eating just a boiled potato. That’s it. Only that. Nothing else. Maybe a dash of olive oil but nothing else. Ever.
    I love lentils, potatoes, chickpeas and any other kind of vegetable. Not a lot of oil.
    I purchased a few “boil in the bag” Indian dishes — they are quite delicious but WAY TOO HOT for me to eat on a daily basis.
    Many of the Indian restaurants around here are going to the “All Buffet All The Time” format so if the food is too spicy, there’s no way to cool it down.
    How does cooking something make it spicy without using spices?

  18. “All buffet all time format”? That’s interesting! Then I am afraid you won’t have much chance to adjust it. But how come they are running a “all buffet all time format?” Are their customers all Indian?
    I understand your liking; I love boiled potato too – but with lots of butter/ghee, salt/pepper and steaming hot Basmati/ Dehradoon rice! I might add a dash of raw onion too! 😀
    Apart from Idli and Dosa (remember, plain!), Dhokla is another West Indian dish which is very healthy, tasty and bland.
    http://saffrontrail.blogspot.com/2006/09/instant-khaman-dhokla-steamed-gram.html
    Are you sure you don’t have any other restaurant in your area other than the Northern style one?
    Do they have Kebabs and Tikka?
    Most Indian recipes asks for the ingredients to be marinated in spices for at least 4/5 hrs. if not more before cooking – after that it either sautéed or lightly fried or steamed or baked – it’s the marinating that does the damage.
    I am sad that you never tasted Idli/Dosa – what is the name of the area that you live?

  19. I guess buffets offer the least amount of work for the biggest financial gain. There is one restaurant I like a lot and a lot of Indians eat there — but so, too, does everyone else in the area.
    Potatoes are wonderful. They saved the world!
    I haven’t seen or heard of a lot of these dishes you’re recommending, Katha. I should make up a spreadsheet or something. 😀
    I don’t think we have any kebab or Tikka places around here.
    I can understand how marinating can embed heat. Now I got it, thanks!
    Here’s the “Little India” near us — the quality of the stores is varied. There are lots of restaurants but really only one that is reliably good and popular with everyone. The others tend to vary a lot of quality across the board.
    http://www.getnj.com/jerseycity/jclittleindia.shtml
    I don’t see the restaurant I like listed there. I can’t remember the name of it. The place is relatively new.

  20. I hate to be a robble rouser but I’d like to suggest something totally different.
    How about a completely raw vegan diet?
    There have been studies that have had it completely reverse some pretty rough stuff – diabetes, asthma….

  21. Hi David,
    Yogurt is one “vector” for the good bacteria. There is also acidophilus milk that has the good bacteria added. Also, you can always buy supplements.
    The University of Nebraska – Lincoln has a link about acidophilus that explains everything in more detail than you’d probably ever wish to know. 😉

  22. Hi Chris!
    I wish I knew why Akismet ate you! I have no idea what it found offensive.
    Thanks for that UNL link! The fellow’s site you linked is quite a genius — you have to be to get that kind of subdomain URL at a university made of your initials –and he’s an INTJ and he shares my initials. I know him well! 😀
    http://dwb.unl.edu
    I think Dannon are getting on the “good bacteria” bandwagon with their new “DanActive” product:
    http://www.danactive.com/
    http://www.dannonprobioticscenter.com/

  23. You have me down.
    I’m not sure either. The woman being interviewed by a raw vegan advocate said that after a month of being on the diet all of the phlegm in her son’s system came out like flushing a toilet and suddenly he didn’t need the inhaler.
    They took insulin dependent diabetic people to a ranch for 30 days and after 30 days of nothing but the diet they were all insulin free.
    I think it has something to do with the way processed foods exhaust our bodies, so to speak – but raw vegan foods – vegetables and the like – give us the energy without tiring us. It’s pretty evident if you ever get a straight wheatgrass shot at Jamba Juice.
    It’s something I think the academic community has been avoiding – believe me, I wish I could just summon up a study to be done on it. I would imagine it’s going to happen at some point.
    What scholarly articles brought you to veganism? From your writing it seems that you arrived at it not through scholarly articles but more intuitively.