Of all the gastrointestinal ails I have experienced in the course of my life, food poisoning was not one of them…until recently! After a lovely dinner out with both Roy’s and my parents at our favorite Farm to Table Restaurant, three of us ended up with a long night ahead of us. The culprit, we believe, was wild morel mushrooms.
I have never gotten so sick—so quickly and so violently—in my whole life. As unpleasant as that experience was (and as strange as this may sound) I was also completely filled with gratitude, even as my insides were being forced back out. Food poisoning feels very “primal” because it is quite literally your body trying to save you from harm by expelling the poisonous substance as quickly as it possibly can.
Despite feeling immense gratitude towards my body, food poisoning is certainly something I hope to never experience EVER again! But in the event that you or a loved one consumes something tainted, here is what I did to treat myself. Thankfully, I recovered amazingly well and relatively quickly.
Let It Out!
As I said above, vomiting and/or diarrhea are your body’s attempts to quickly remove the harmful or contaminated food from your system. As unpleasant as vomiting and diarrhea are, you do not want to stop this process. For most people, this acute phase should only last a couple of hours.
The biggest risk of food poisoning is dehydration resulting from vomiting and diarrhea. Ingesting too much liquid at once can trigger your gastrointestinal tract to expel it again, so the trick is to take small sips of fluids every 10-15 minutes.
This is similar to how we recommend treating someone with a stomach virus and in this post Roy covers what fluids to drink. My personal favorite is water with mineral rich sea salt.
Baby Your Belly
If you’ve seen me over the years for any GI problems, you know that my mantra is “soft, warm, & mushy”. When your stomach and intestines are feeling irritated and inflamed, you want to eat easy to digest, soft, cooked foods such as pureed soups and well cooked rice, meats, & vegetables (think: crock pot stews) for a few days.
Teas like peppermint, chamomile and ginger can be soothing. For some people, simple fruit smoothies (banana, mango, berries, and plant-based milk) may also be ok.
Liquid meals and cooked food are easier on the digestive system than raw foods (such as salads) or dry and crunchy foods (such as granola or nuts).
Bind Up the Toxins
Adsorption (not absorption) is the ability of clay or charcoal to attract and soak up toxins on their exterior wall and then pull them into their interior center, where they are held and then ultimately excreted. Both bentonite clay and activated charcoal prevent the poison from being absorbed from the stomach into the body which is why they work so well as food poisoning remedies.
Liquid clay actually has a relatively benign taste and you want to be sure that you drink ample water so as to remain adequately hydrated and give the “held” toxins a means out of your body through your stool.
In a pinch, look for brands such as Sonnes #7 and Great Plains that are sold at many heath food stores. You can take 1 Tbsp. between meals, 3 or 4 times per day for 2-3 days to help “mop up” the toxin. Get in your first dose as soon as the nausea/vomiting passes.
If you want more information about Bentonite Clay, my friend Jini Patel Thompson has written a great article.
My preference, however, is to take is a gentle full spectrum binder that helps cleanse the bowel and support microbiome balance. The binder I use combines clay, charcoal, aloe, apple pectin and more. Because this comes in convenient capsules, I always keep some in my purse and take a bottle along with us when we travel!
For acute GI infection, you can take 2 caps between meals, 2 or 3 times per day for 2-3 days to help “mop up” the toxin. Get in your first dose as soon as the nausea/vomiting passes. Again, always be sure to remain adequately hydrated.
Rebalance Your Flora
Even acute illnesses like food poisoning can throw off your gastrointestinal flora temporarily. Although I was mostly well two days after getting food poisoning, it took me another week to feel 100% back to myself digestive-wise and able to eat totally normally and without any discomfort.
Most of my clients already take a high quality probiotic and/or regularly consume probiotic rich foods. If you don’t do so, after a bout of food poisoning I would recommend getting on a probiotic once daily, for at least 30 days.
Additionally, I am a huge fan of saccharomyces boullardii, which is a beneficial yeast, and I personally will add in a bottle for about a month (1 capsule, twice daily) after an encounter with food poisoning or the tummy bug. Roy also discusses saccharomyces in his Tummy Bug Video (at 3 minutes, 35 seconds).
These three supplements (binder, probiotic, saccharomyces) taken together provide quick relief for acute GI infection. As I said, I always have them on hand for when I need them— at home or when our family travels.
You can use this link below if you would like to purchase them through our online store.
If you ever get food poisoning, I hope these recommendations will help you to recover as quickly and painlessly as possible.