Maybe you’ve had your gallbladder removed. Or maybe your stomach just gets a little unsettled when you eat fatty foods. Perhaps you’re pregnant, and the very thought of higher fat foods starts a wave of nausea you have to fight to resist.
Whatever the reason, you’re a person who finds digesting fats hard.
So when you hear me raving about ways to get more fat in your diet, you think, “Well, that’s nice for you, but I just can’t do that.” Then maybe a small part of you feels angsty because you’re missing out. You’d love to eat more fat. It’s tasty! It’s full of important fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E & K-2. It keeps your skin blemish free, your moods serene, your hormones well-regulated.
But… you just can’t.
Good news! Maybe you really CAN, thanks to a little known traditional remedy for people like you.
Ox Bile and Bitters: Aiding Fat Digestion Since … Forever!
Traditional Medicine on every continent has acknowledged the import of these two supplements for many hundreds, if not thousands of years. What are they? How can they help you?
This is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the bile from oxen.
Bile is what your body produces to help you digest the fats you eat. Your liver excretes the bile, then stores it in your gallbladder for later use. Ultimately, the bile helps breakdown the fats you eat and aids your body in the absorption of the ultra-important fat soluble vitamins.
If, for any reason, you’re running deficient in bile, you’ll have trouble digesting fats. You may get gallstones, have big swings in your blood cholesterol and lipid levels, or suffer from constipation.
Ox bile is chemically similar to our own bile, and our bodies have no trouble using it alongside our own bile for the exact same purpose.
How to Take Ox Bile
If you’ve got issues digesting fats, try taking a single 500mg pill shortly before you eat meals or take any fatty supplements (like cod liver oil) or other fat-soluble vitamins. If you’re still uncomfortable, take more. Your goal ought to be to completely eliminate your symptoms of digestive distress.
If you take too much, your digestive symptoms will likely swing the other way — towards diarrhea. If that happens, just reduce your dosage back down.
Bitters are herbal infusions made from bitter herbs. They stimulate your liver to produce more bile and work more efficiently.
They have a long history in traditional medicine and an equally long history in traditional cuisine. Many cultures around the world begin meals with a quick burst of bitters.
The French will drink an apéritif. Many cultures will drink a tea made from bitter herbs like dandelion or milk thistle. Others will simply chow down on a small salad filled with bitter herbs like chicory, arugula, radicchio, or even peppermint (yes, peppermint is considered a bitter).
These bitters stimulate your body to release the hormone gastrin, which in turn increases your gastric acid levels, bile production, and many other important secretions along your digestive tract. This not only aids in the digestion of fats, but it also helps your body breakdown proteins, stimulates the the self-repair mechanisms in your intestinal wall, and eases the passing of stool.
How to Get More Bitters in Your Diet
Traditionally, people consume these small doses of bitters about 15 minutes or so before eating meals.
You can try out a homemade apéritif made with homemade bitters like those found in the book Natural Cocktails.
Or, you could try beginning your meals with a small salad with crisp, bitter herbs.
If neither of these is practical, you could simply take a dropper full of an herbal bitter tincture just before meals. (Hint: Be sure to mix this in a bit of water first, otherwise the bitter flavor may be too overpowering and unpleasant.)
(photo by lisbokt)