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My first run in with reflux was many years ago. I grew up on home cooked meals, but it wasn’t long before I started college and made the mistake of eating at McDonalds on the odd occasion during my lunch. That odd occasion is all it took for me to end up in hospital to have an endoscopy/biopsy because I was having severe pain under my rib cage. It turned out I had H Pylori Bacteria, the Dr said it was through eating undercooked meat. At the time, McDonalds was the only meat I had been eating, so I was pretty certain that is where I picked it up. A swift dose of antibiotics seemed to clear it up. But then I noticed after it cleared, that I started to get reflux on the odd occasion.
I didn’t think anything, and just dealt with it for many years after. I then started noticing it more and more. This is when I started researching about food, nutrition and this was the start of one of many changes in my diet. It has been a long 14 years, but I have finally kicked it.
I started by dropping pop, this was the first and biggest move I made. After years of research I started to realize that the diet I was eating was not good, it was lacking nutrition, was processed heavily with most nutrients being stripped. I started making gradual changes, over the years, but still noticed that the reflux would get bad. At one point I was popping acid reducers daily to ease the pain. Some nights I would literally stick my fingers down my throat to make myself vomit, as I couldn’t stand the pain, and just wanted to empty my stomach content.
I then jumped on the healthy buzz word bandwagon like many do. I wanted my junk food, but I started buying organic this and that, all natural, non-GMO, gluten free, added sea salt etc. After more years I realized that just because a food had these fancy buzz words the foods I was eating were still loaded with salt and refined sugars, I was also still eating highly processed foods, like out of a tin or microwaved etc.
In between this I went to hospital again for x-rays of my esophagus to determine if I had scarring, it came back all clear.
I took a great step and started juicing, after a while that switched to smoothies, because I was losing a lot of nutrition from the pulp. My next stage was buying a vegetable steamer.
It was at this time I started noticing the biggest changes. There were whole weeks I would go by without reflux, and then I would get it bad again. I didn’t understand as I was eating fruit, and veg regularly.
I came to the conclusion, that if I was going to beat this I had to go full 100% or it will not work. I started making notes of which foods triggered the reflux. After about a year I finally got it down to what I could eat and not get reflux. It was basically vegetables, fruits and fish and chicken, some nuts and seeds.
For some reason anything sugary, starchy or grainy was causing me to have reflux. I cut many more things out of my diet. Every now and then I’d slip and grab an organic, chocolate bar made with raw cane sugar, but I noticed every time I had a big dose of sugar, I was getting this lump in my throat. After a few days it would be gone again. Then I noticed if I ate a bag of pop-chips, the same. I came to the conclusion that sugar/starch was causing this. I quit my fruit smoothies for a short time to test this theory and low and behold the lump in my throat was gone, the reflux was completely gone.
According to a friend of mine who suffers with Crohns he thinks that my gut still had bad bacteria and that the bacteria is what was triggering the reflux and other issues. He mentioned that I could possibly have had a mild leaky gut syndrome, mainly because I also had chronic sinusitis along with my reflux. He also noted that the bad bacterium feeds off of sugar and starches. So I basically dropped myself on the GAPS diet and limited my sugar and starch intake by 99%. It is at this point that my reflux is now 100% gone. The lump in my throat is gone.
For the last 3 months I have only ate, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some meat, and it’s completely cleared up. My sinuses are still come and go. But considering it has felt like I have had a cold for the past 14-15 years, it feels the best it has ever been.
Even though I am over joyed by my progress in the reflux department, I am even more pleased with the changes I feel since quitting eating sugar. This doesn’t include obviously my smoothies, any carbs or starch that convert to sugar. Just bread, rice and potatoes. I’m not saying I will never eat these again, but just until I feel comfortable that my body is healed. I basically have cut the sugar, starch and carbs by I would guess 90%. When the refined sugar/starches stopped, I found I could think more clearly, my brain fog (another symptom I never mentioned) was gone. Better focus and mental clarity. I also noticed there are days when my sinuses clear up. At one point Dr’s wanted me to have surgery where they laser your turbinate’s, to reduce the inflammation. I also noticed I don’t get tired in the middle of the day or after my meal lunchtime. I have way more energy.
Anyway sorry this was a long post, I just hope this helps at least one person who is suffering this crippling disease. It takes baby steps, but you can do it. But in all honesty if you stick to what nature has provided, i.e fruits, veg, some meats, nuts, seeds etc, you will find it goes. When you start eating the processed foods, the refined sugars, which have had all the fiber stripped, when you try to find that organic junk snack, you start getting problems. It’s just very sad that it has taken 14 years to get over this. Not one single Dr, I have ever visited was ever able to help me, other than push me onto more drugs.
Some things along the way that helped me with reflux are Apple cider vinegar, Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL). Vegetable Enzymes, Psyllium Husk Caps (fiber).
Thanks, I wish you all the best
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