How I kicked Reflux and GERD after 14 years on and off.

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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 cool

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  • Posted

    Hi Ricardo wow this sounds almost like I wrote it!! Did you take any antibacterials at all? Do you eat honey? Do you struggle keeping your weight up?
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    • Posted

      Anastasia, no on the antibacterials, however the closest thing to that would be probiotics from kombucha drinks i was taking, however you have to be careful some cheap kombucha brands load them with sugar.

      I was also taking some probiotic capsules too, but no longer do that due to expense.

      I have see some weight loss around my waist and have lost about 8lb.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for replying Ricardo. I have lost around 2 stone since starting my diet which sounds like your diet too but I don't want to lose anymore. Although My weight seems to have stabilised but would love to put on some more weight. Yes I am undecided about honey. I have only just recently started trying honey again - making sure it is raw honey of course but I am thinking that maybe it's best to hold off for a bit longer. It's a difficult one.
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    • Posted

      Anastasia, you could try eating more protein instead of carbs. The protein as far as i know doesnt convert to sugar like starches/carbs, so this doesnt spike insulin, mess with your adrenal glands etc like sugar does. As far as i know regardless of carb, protein, sugar, if it's not used it can be stored as fat. Just an idea, like i said i'm no expert and my knowledge is limited but you should be able to gain weight by eating more protein.
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    • Posted

      Thanks Ricardo for you reply. Well I'm already on a low carb scd/gaps diet. Just can't eat too many fruits with a high GI as think I have fructose malabsorption. Some honeys are ok as long as they don't contain more fructose than glucose. Also too much protein from meat is not great as causes more inflammation which I need to try to reduce. Nuts and seeds are difficult to digest too! I'm such a pain!! Haha I've done a lot of research like yourself as have been housebound due to this so I'm constantly learning. A big game changer for me were digestive enzymes and antibacterials but the diet is key - it can either be medicine or poison. I just wondered as we are on the same diet if you were able to put on weight in another way aside from eating avocados (as too many affect me) or olive oil as I probably consume about 6 tablespoons per day at least at the moment. What a palava!
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    • Posted

      Anastasia, i've always been thin so weight has never been an issue for me. I think i've lost about 6-8lb though since the diet change, but i'm stuck at that weight now. I like to run and hit the gym when i can. What kind of antibacterials were you taking?
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    • Posted

      Drinking ACV would put me in the hospital! Almost did once. I tried this remedy and it is crazy for someone with severe heartburn and burnt esophagus. 
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  • Posted

    Hi thanks for this info.btw how do you take your ACV thanks
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    • Posted

      Diamond owl,

      Sometimes i'd just pour some into my water bottle and drink throughout the day. Other times i'd mix with some warm water and chug it down. I also buy braggs apple cider salad dressing for my salads. There are a couple of different flavors.

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  • Posted

    Hi Ricardo,thanks for the great info. I also had HP which when treated got rid of my gastritis symptoms - burning at top of stomach and dreadful indigestion. But I still suffered from acid reflux with heartburn, after meals and at night. Losing weight helped but I didn't really improve until I changed my diet and cut out fatty and fried foods along with acidic foods like tomatoes and oranges. I have tried apple cider vinegar and this helped. I think what really made the difference though was improving my diet. This has cured my acid reflux and I have even lost more weight. I have been able to stop taking omeprazole as well.

    There is a lot of info about diets for acid reflux and GERD on the internet. I found the articles here to be particularly helpful and easy to follow:

    http://www.emedmd.com/content/acid-reflux-disease

    The page with a simple to follow table is very useful for reference:

    http://www.emedmd.com/content/gerd-diet-plan-and-table

    I have not tried the other thing syou suggested like licorice, vegetable enzymes and husk caps. I plan to do some research on these substances and get back to you. Best wishes and good luck. Helen

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  • Posted

    Very interesting indeed Richard. I am on this journey myself. I started taking probiotics a fortnight ago and am 99% reflux free now. I am making a note of anything that sets me off with a view to eliminating those things from my diet. I am keeping your post for future reference. So many people suffering and it is about time it was taken more seriously by the medics. Ever thought of writing a book on the subject? Thank you.
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  • Posted

    I thought fruit sugar feeds the bacteria as well.
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    • Posted

      It does. Anything that converts to sugar will. In my case just cutting back on sugar as much as i have seems to have worked for me, but everyone is different. Maybe i was just overloading on sugar so the bad bacteria took over, by cutting back 90%, it allowed the good to thrive again. I'm no expert, so i can only make guesses. This is just my personal experience. I know people that eat junk and sugar all day and it doesnt affect them, which i why i guess we have to go by trial and error. What works for me maybe different for you. Thanks.
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  • Posted

    Hi Richard,

    Nice to know you've found something to help. My was looking at the GAPS diet myself this weekend. Would you mind giving me an idea of your typical day meal plan please?!

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    • Posted

      Morning smoothie consisting of 1banana, some blueberries, sometimes drop slices almonds in. I use almond milk instead of dairy milk. If i get hungry before lunch I'll grab an apple or eat some sliced almonds.

      Lunch i steam veggies, cauliflower, broccoli, red pepper, onions, garlic, kale. I add braggs dressing and jalapenos. Sometimes I'll drop a tin of tuna in there too.

      If i dont steam veggies i'll have chicken salad, add braggs dressing, jalapenos.

      I know it seems quite limited right now, but i'm still getting used to what i can eat. I can eat veggies all day, so it doesnt get old dor me.

      The GAPS diet was extremely tough at dirst because my diet consisted of alot of sugar and carbs, so when i quit i was getting moody and agitated, i could definitely tell i was addicted to sugar. But GAPS isnt supposed to be long term, people normally go on it long enough to repair their gut issues, then gradually work some carbs etc back in.

      I've read tons of positive reviews on it.

      Hope this helps.

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