This past weekend, we celebrated my niece’s 2-year-old birthday. We have this family tradition for birthdays, and it involves two things: 1) A family portrait at Sears; and 2) ice cream cake. Not just any old ice cream cake, it HAS to be ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins. We fulfilled both family traditions, but I became rather “colicky” as a result. When I say, “colicky,” I just mean that my stomach got extremely upset and put on a protest rally. It erupted. Exploded. As in, if I were a baby, I’d probably have been crying uncontrollably and inconsolably.
See, I’m lactose intolerant. What that means for me is that whenever I eat anything with dairy in it – i.e., ice cream cake – my stomach bloats up and gets massively distended with gas, causing me dire pain until it gets let out…which it does, in the form of flatulence. Which I perpetrated, nonstop, the whole way home. This led my poor husband (who was driving the entire 2 hours from Sacramento to Sunnyvale) to make several comments a wife isn’t exactly thrilled to hear:
- “Whoa! That one was a doozy!”
- “Wow, that was a haymaker! It felt like a punch in the face!”
- “Honey, what happens to the guy who shares a cubicle with you all day? I can’t even do 2 hours next to you.”
- “Oh my goodness, you’ve knocked me out.” (Then he feigned being knocked out by rolling his head to the side and sticking his tongue out)
Anyway, you get the picture. Why am I telling the whole world the embarrassing truth that I fart a lot? Well, to be helpful. I am sure there are other people like me, lactose intolerant but determined to continue ingesting ice cream cake (or insert any other dairy items you are fond of – cheeses, cheesecakes, flans, custards, creme brulees, and so on and so forth), and helplessly unable to avoid the consequences. For my fellow gas-emitting compatriots, here is my advice for how to remedy for flatulence: seek out and use carminatives, your best weapon against gaseous disturbances. A carminative is a substance that removes gas from the intestines. My favorite carminatives are: Anise, Fennel, Ginger, Cinnamon, Licorice Root, and Peppermint. Obviously, these come in many forms, so let’s review how we might use carminatives:
- Chew several handfuls of Fennel seeds. (Do you like Indian food? At Indian restaurants, they usually have fennel seeds available by the handful. I pick out the synthetic candy components and then just stuff the fennel seeds in my mouth.)
- Take 1 drop of Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Peppermint (Mentha piperita), or Cinnamon (Cinnamonum zeylanicum) essential oil on the tongue, undiluted. This is where it would be good to make sure the essential oils you are using are organic.
- Take a cup of Licorice Root or Peppermint or Ginger Root tea. Heck, take two or three cups! These herbs are truly delicious. You can get these herbs online, or you can just buy pre-packaged teas for your home tea cabinet. Here are some of my favorite carminative teas, in case (like me) you are too lazy to formulate your own:
- Organic Liquorice Peppermint Tea from Choice Organic Teas
- Organic Ginger Aid from Traditional Medicinals
- Cardamom Cinnamon Full-Leaf Herbal Tea from the Republic of Tea
- LaxaTea by Celestial Seasonings
- Basically, look for any herbal teas with carminative ingredients, and you’ll be good to go!
- Digestive Aid, by Sweet Herb Medicinals. O-M-G, my favorite stuff. Yes, it’s my friend Bridget’s company. Bridget is a fellow Master Herbalist and like-minded Mom, and she is NOT a lazy herbalist. Translation: she makes all her own remedies by hand and then sells them on-line. I can’t say enough about her products, and in particular, her Digestive Aid. I could eat one of these tins every single day, they are so yummy. They contain Fennel Seeds, Purple Dulse, Orange Peel, Crystallized Ginger, and I believe – Cardamom. But Bridget can correct me if I’m wrong. Delicious!
- Tummy Rub: You can make your own tummy rub by adding 5-6 drops of an essential oil to a teaspoon of a carrier oil. You then apply to your palm, rub both hands together, and rub clockwise on your tummy.
In summary: gas happens. Luckily, Mother Nature has given us carminatives that are fragrant and delicious (and they might just have saved my marriage all these years). So what did I do when I got home last night? I ran straight to the essential oil cabinet, took out my trusty Fennel essential oil, put a drop under my tongue, AND made a tummy rub with it. After about an hour, I was toot-free!