8 Tips to Reduce Anxiety while Healing Your Gut

Which Came First, The Chicken Or The Egg?

And you might well ask, what does that have to do with Anxiety and Food Intolerances?

A lot actually!  Let me put the question this way.

Which Came First, The Anxiety Or The Food Intolerances?

Well, let’s find out.

We all know that anxiety in any stressful situation can play havoc with our digestive system. Who hasn’t experienced, or seen someone experience, that last minute dash to the bathroom before an exam. The pale sickly smile before a presentation. The gurgly tummy before meeting the new in-laws!

It would be fair to say that this is the emotional affecting the physical.  And what can go one way along a pathway, can also go the other way.

So the physical can affect the emotional.

You’ve just been diagnosed with leaky gut or gluten intolerance or you’ve just finally worked out for yourself that dairy doesn’t agree with you.  You’ve already experienced the diarrhoea, the constipation, the bloated gassy stomach. The foggy brain, the nausea, the reflux. And the list can go on and on and on.

You have an evening presentation coming up with meal provided….set menu, and you’ve been seated up near the front. Can you feel the anxiety creeping in?

You’ve met this wonderful partner and have been asked to your first ‘meet the parents’ meal. You want to make a good impression, but the first thing you’re going to have to do is ‘organise’ the menu that they will be cooking. Anxiety city here we come.

What happens when we feel anxious and how can we quickly ease this.

Your muscles tense, your heart races, and your breath comes faster. We all know what that feels like. The fight/flight response is active. Your hormones have gotten your body ready to either take on the threat or to run from it.  If this happens too often, it’s called chronic anxiety and can start to affect your overall health.

Anxiety is a normal part of being human. But when a person feels anxious continuously, then this is not normal. And when daily life is affected by it, this is not normal. Over time if the hormones that are related to anxiety stay at a high level, they can weaken your whole body. They can weaken your bones and muscles, weaken your immune system, and mess with your sleep.

To help your body focus it may also slow or stop digestion during the fight/flight reaction.  If your digestive system is closed down too often, it can cause diarrhoea or constipation. Or just for fun, it can let you experience both at different times. This will then affect your body’s ability to take in nutrients. You will then start to experience food intolerance symptoms.

The good news is that anxiety is very treatable.

Try these 7 tips to reduce food anxiety and speed healing.

1-Drink water:

How can something so simple be of any help?  Well, in simple language, anxiety is simply your body’s reaction to brain stress. So anything that reduces the blood flow to the brain stresses the body. And one of these stressors is being dehydrated.

So drink water, have less brain/body stress, and therefore have less anxiety. Less anxiety means your digestion will work better. Your digestion working better means better health. Better health means less anxiety.


2-Apple Cider Vinegar:

Think of your stomach as the gatekeeper of your body.  It’s the most important part of making sure you get the nutrients you need to be healthy.

When you have food intolerances, usually your food isn’t being digested properly.  Your body uses stomach acid to extract the nutrients from the food you eat. Good, strong stomach acid makes Vitamin B12 bioavailable.  It’s needed to absorb Zinc. Without the proper stomach acid these nutrients will be depleted over time. This causes your immune system to become inflamed and over reactive.  An over reactive immune system leads to anxiety.

Finding and correcting low stomach acid is very important. It helps calm your anxiety and heal your food intolerances.


3-Exercise and Meditation

Physical movement is a great way to deal with stress.  It doesn’t have to be at marathon level. ANY movement is great to get your lymphatic system working. And having your lymphatic system working allows your body to detox and your stress levels to drop.

Walking is easy. Most of us know how to do it.  Can’t get outside as the weather’s too cold? Put on some nice energetic music and walk up and down your stairs if you have them.  Or fold the washing and put it away…piece by piece by piece.

If you’re more energetic, give your body an energy boost by doing some push ups and sit ups.  This can get rid of anxiety for quite a while. Another of my friends lifts weights. Another one does boxing. Both have said that this has really helped their anxiety.

Not into exercise. Try meditation class. Or just download an app that will guide you… any place, any time. Put words like ‘breathe’ or ‘meditation’ or ‘anxiety app’ into the search engine.

The wonderful benefit of movement each day, is that you sleep better because your body is more tired. The better you sleep, the less anxiety you will experience.  The less anxiety you experience, the better food choices you will make.


4-Love yourself

Remind yourself that you’re loveable.  It’s OK to be yourself. It’s more than OK to be yourself!  You are unique. You are one of a kind. Precious things in the world are often that way because there are very few of them.

Love your body for what it is. So it doesn’t always behave itself like you think it should. So it often ‘misbehaves’ and embarasses you by flushing, farting, belching and gurgling at the wrong time. It’s currently doing the best it can. And the wonderful thing about your body is, it will never give up trying to improve your health.

It will be happy to take some help from you to be healthier. But in the meantime, it will get healthier faster if you give your body lots of love and acceptance.

Dr Seuss said “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

And along with loving yourself, let others love you too.  Talking to family and friends about your anxiety will help you way more than putting on a brave face and pretending everything is fine.  Sometimes kindness and support can come from unexpected places so don’t be afraid to lean on those you trust every now and then!

5-Essential Oils

One of my personal favourites. So easy to use and instantly effective.  Essential oils have aromatic, fragrant molecules that can actually pass right through the blood/brain barrier.  They have a direct effect on the area of your brain that’s in charge of controlling feelings of stress, anxiety, panic and depression.

First, make sure you buy an essential oil that is 100% pure. It should have the proper name of the species mentioned on the label of the bottle. So Bergamot essential oil’s proper name is Citrus Bergamia.  If you see the word ‘fragrance’ it almost always means there are other additives.  Don’t buy it. The ideal is organic with therapeutic grade written on the label.

The easiest way I have found to take it is to just sniff from the bottle.  If I know I’ll be in a situation where I can’t get the bottle out, then I put a couple of drops of the undiluted essential oil on my scarf or on a tissue . It’s easy to hold it near your nose without causing comment.

To reduce your risk of skin irritation, it is generally safer to dilute your essential oil with coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil or jojoba oil. For adults 15 drops of essential oil in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. For children 3 to 6 drops of essential oil in 2 tablespoons  of carrier oil.

The list of oils that can help with anxiety is long.  I let my nose choose for me and bought the oils that worked when I sniffed them in the shop.

Essential oils great for easing anxiety include Bergamot, Cedarwood, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Copaiba, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemongrass, Lime, Orange, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood, Sweet Basil, Tangerine, Valerian, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang.

A mix called ‘Peace and Calming’ is especially helpful. It is easily made by combining 25 drops Tangerine, 25 drops Orange, 15 drops Ylang Ylang, 10 drops Patchouli and 4 drops of either German (Blue) Chamomile OR Roman Chamomile (either can be used).



Sometimes when you’re anxious, giving your mind and hands something to do can help.  For me, counting backwards from 100 is the best road to calm. Sometimes I count backwards by 3’s, sometimes by 7’s, etc.

Other distractions that have helped ease my anxiety? Watching my favourite movie, reading a book, writing my weekly shopping list, writing down how I’m feeling or just colouring in. Check out a Pixel Art app. I just love them.

Bubble wrap is so cathartic. Popping those bubbles is such fun. I’ve been known to carry a small piece in my purse and just leave my hand in my purse while I find every single bubble to pop.

For one of my friends, it’s repeating a little speech to herself that gets her through. It goes something like this.  “I’m feeling anxious. I’m starting to panic. Panic attacks can’t hurt me, they are just my fight/flight system being activated by a false alarm. I won’t lose control, I’m safe. There is no big animal that’s going to eat me. These feelings are normal and will pass. I will be okay and I’m going to (put in favourite activity here) when I finish (put in where you are and what you are doing).”


7-Deep Breathing

When you’re anxious, you can change this state by changing the way you breathe.  The body has two equally powerful and opposite system that keep you balanced. The emergency system is often called the fight/flight response. This is where anxiety is felt. The other system is the relaxation system where the body feels calm and settled. Sometimes these systems get a little out of balance.

When you’re anxious you tend to take rapid, shallow breaths that come directly from the chest. When this happens your blood doesn’t get properly oxygenated and this may signal a stress response. Remember, anything that reduces the blood flow to the brain, stresses the body. And stress leads to anxiety. Anxiety leads to slower digestion…

In contrast, when you’re relaxed, you take even, deep breaths. This is the way newborn babies naturally breathe. It’s also the way you breathe when you’re deeply asleep.

So first put one hand on your upper abdomen near the waist and the other in the middle of your chest. Slowly breathe in through your nose and hold your breath. Now notice which hand goes out the most.  You should see your lower hand further out then your upper hand. If this isn’t what you see, then let your breath completely out. Now concentrate on breathing in so that your lower hand goes further out then your upper hand.

Continue this pattern until you feel calmer.


8-Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)

One of the best things about EFT is that it can be done quickly, anywhere and at any time.

EFT has some things in common with Traditional Chinese Medicine practices. It focuses on energy circuits called meridians that run throughout the body. What makes it special and really effective for me is that it combines the mind and body. It also re-educates the body’s physical response to the mental trigger.

Anxiety has very real physical connections that affect all functions of the body.  Less anxiety means your digestion will work better. Your digestion working better means better health. Better health means less anxiety.

Julie Schiffman shows how simple it is to do EFT for Stress Relief in this video.

Tried these tips and they haven’t worked for you?

Let us find the link between your anxiety and food intolerances. Let us help you heal from the ground up.

You don’t need to be alone. A little help makes a huge difference.

That’s where Peter and I come in. As skilled practitioners, we’ve helped many of these types of cases with wonderful results.

We know you’re working hard to take control of your health because you’re taking action and doing everything you can to reclaim your health.

So we want to invite you to get 1-on-1 help with your anxiety and food intolerances.

We’ve got some time open next week for a free 30-min “root cause troubleshooting session.”

If you’re ready to get this handled in your life and finally understand HOW your food problems and anxiety are linked. And WHY they won’t stop… click the link below to schedule a FREE 30-min time with us and we’ll dive deep into your signs and symptoms to identify the #1 root cause you’ve been missing.

We’ll be honored to serve you.


Click here to book your troubleshooting session

We’re so excited to invite you into our consulting practice, which is like a whole new Functional Medicine family to help you with your health.

If you’ve never worked with a talented and caring functional medicine practitioner, you have no idea how good it can be to get help with your health and just how fast you can feel better.

Thank you for being part of this amazing community.


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