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Balanced Living, Year-Round Health

The 4 R’s For a Flat Stomach (No Ab Work Required)

Headshot of Mandy King
by Mandy King

You know how when you wake up, your tummy is flat? Then, as the day goes on, it gets to the point where you question if you might be pregnant? Ok, maybe it’s not quite so dramatic, as you eat throughout the day, your tummy is certainly a bit bloated and not quite what it was that morning.

It’s a complaint I’ve received often, and once you know how, it is actually quite easy to fix.

1) Remove

Remove the problem foods. For the majority of us, these are gluten and cow’s dairy. Now, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard people say “I could never do that”, well, I’d be on a beach in Tahiti. 

But seriously, it’s not that hard, you just have to know how (that’s my job, not yours). All of the recipes in the HEAL 30 Day Wellness Challenge are completely gluten and dairy free. If I give you the breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes, you’ll realize it’s not so hard.

Anyway, I recommend removing these two foods for a minimum of 14 days, ideally 30. But it doesn’t stop there…

Picture of veggies in boxes together in a store

2) Replace

Next you need to replace the digestive juices & equipment that are needed to properly digest food, and therefore prevent bloating, gas and indigestion. For most people, this is hydrochloric acid (HCl) and digestive enzymes. Ever get heartburn? It’s a great sign you need more stomach acid. (Sounds counterintuitive, but I’ve written about it here).

What I use with my clients are the St Francis Digestive Bitters and Genestra Bio Enzymes – both are available here. Anything bitter helps to stimulate digestion and the HCl in your stomach, which is what starts the digestion of protein in your stomach. Without sufficient stomach acid, the entire digestive process is slowed, and food is not digested properly, leaving it to ferment and putrefy in your gut, causing gas, bloating and irregular bowel movements.

The digestive enzymes are also not released without insufficient stomach acid, so at first, you may need to supplement with these too. (Note, this is short term only until everything is healed).

3) Reinoculate

Next up is to reinoculate the good bacteria in the gut. You can do this with fermented foods and probiotics. I recommend Genestra HMF Intensive, without FOS. Fermentable fibers, like those in root vegetables, garlic and onion are good to include as well.

4) Repair

Last, and certainly not least, depending on how long you’ve been experiencing gut problems, you may need to actually repair the intestinal tract. The best nutrients for this are Omega 3 fatty acids, the antioxidants (vitamin A, C, E, Zinc & Selenium), and L Glutamine powder.  For vitamin A, C and E, carrots, sweet potatoes and bell peppers are great sources. For zinc and selenium, pumpkin and sesame seeds, along with Brazil nuts are all excellent sources.

For more information on digestion and health check out our St. Francis blog on Gut check

Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.

Canadian Bitters


Globe artichoke


A low-growing, daisy-like annual native to Europe and Asia and known to medicine from classical antiquity, chamomile is commonly found in overgrown fields. Its name is derived from the Greek word that means "earth apple" on account of the scent of its fresh blossoms.


For all the brilliant yellow profusion of its flowers, dandelion is a perennial plant so common and hardy that it is considered a weed throughout the northern hemisphere. Nonetheless, it has impressive healing properties, and there's a good reason why its Latin name means "remedy for disease."


A large tuberous perennial with yellow blossoms and narrow green leaves that stands about a metre high, ginger has its origins in southern Asia, but can now be found in nearly all tropical and subtropical countries.

Globe artichoke

Not to be confused with Jerusalem artichoke, which is a tuber, globe artichoke is a large thistle-like perennial native to the Mediterranean region, and its leaves have been used medicinally from ancient times.

Headshot of Mandy King
Author: Mandy King

Mandy King is a Holistic Nutritionist and the founder of HEAL, a company that provides corporate wellness, 1:1 nutrition coaching and weekly meal planning. Mandy leads workshops for some of Canada's top companies, including Google, Facebook and PwC, regularly appears on CTV Morning Live, has contributed to The Globe and Mail and helps her clients to heal their digestion through healthy, delicious food.


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