Some questions for those following a low acid/alkaline diet

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I am following the low acid diet based on the book of Dr Koufman and it is working very well. I still have some questions though and I would love to have other people's opinion on some foods and natural complements.

I read different things about cucumber. I seem to be ok with it but I am a bit afraid to eat it or make a juice with it as sometimes it can be irritating for some people (it does not seem to irritate me). What is your experience?

I know that onion and garlic are trigger food, however some people seem to be doing ok with cooked onion. I was wondering if you eat cooked onion or even cooked garlic.

I was wondering also which herbs and spices one can safely add to the diet. I seem to be ok with parsley and bay leaf in my stew. Dr Koufman wrote on her blog that cumin is ok with two other spices but I forgot which (paprika and curcuma maybe?). Which spices do you use safely?

And finally I am very conflicted about milk. I love milk but it seems to trigger my symptoms even if it is lactose-free and skim. I am not lactose intolerant though and the Ph of milk is 7 which is great. So I wonder why I can't tolerate it. I read on the internet that the Calcium in milk might provoke the production of acid by the stomach but Dr Koufman wrote in her blog that this is not true. I do feel that my stomach is producing excess acid after I drink it though, or maybe the pain is because of something else, I don't know. What is your experience with milk? Do you think I will be able to drink it or yoghourt when I get better or should I avoid it forever?

Regarding natural supplements, I heard a lot of good things about Manuka honey so I tried it and it hurts my stomach very much. I tried a supplement from gaia as well called "reflux relief" but it did not do anything and it contains spearmint, which is not good. PPI and after I stopped, DGL licorice, are the two things that worked well for me. I drink alkaline water Ph 8.8 as well, I think it helps but I am not sure. What works well for you in addition to the diet?

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  • Posted

    One last thing I would like to know is how long it took you to recover. I have been sick since the Fall last year, started to get better with the PPI a month ago, I just got off the PPI and managing my symptoms with DGL licorice and the diet for a few days.
  • Posted

    Hi ines,

    I'm following a low acid/low histamine diet. I have been trialling around 10 foods for the last 3 weeks. I just added two more this week. I will try to answer your questions.

    1. I have been eating cucumber and have been fine. I steam it (easier to get more seeds out and seeds cause gas which makes reflux worse)

    2. I avoid onion and garlic because they are a no on both of my lists (acid and histamine) and onions cause gas and gas causes pressure on my organs which leads to bloating guessed it...reflux. I had such a bad experience when I tried to add broccoli back in last week that forget it. No gas foods.

    3. I use only fresh basil, parsley, oregano and thyme. Fresh is low histamine.

    4. I'm lactose intolerant so I can't help you with the dairy question. It produces increased congestion in me and I am already having throat spasms and tremendous congestion and Post nasal drip from well, we don't know what it's from. I usually did dairy in moderation and was fine but gave up dairy and grains and gluten to go minimal with foods. Like I said, I'm now reintroducing a little at a time. You might have a dairy sensitivity or may be having a reaction to the casein, milk protein and not the lactose.

    5. I take a tsp of Manuka honey every day but I order mine from New Zealand and it is UMF certified. I order from two different places there. It's expensive but it kills bacteria and viruses and it's not processed (so not acidic). I used a brand of Manuka honey from the US but it did nothing good for me at all. The idea is that the Manuka plant is only in NZ and the honey doesn't have the same healing properties unless it's from that plant. I was like, yeah, ok. Right. All I can say is, big difference for me. I get it with a rating of 16+. The higher the number, the more potent.

    6. I take PH water, DGL did nothing good for me, enzymes did nothing good for me, I drink distilled (so it tastes like nothing) aloe juice twice a day (about 4 oz total) and try to balance my acidic chicken, eggs, fish (all organic) with green veggies. I do a kale and apple juice (organic no added citric acid) smoothie every morning and have greens and veggies every meal. Like I said, I'm on a very small diet. It works though! I added pears and celery in this week.

    7. When I eat high fat (almond butter and sunflower seed butter) in high amounts, I feel it sitting there and it makes my throat spasms start (so probably triggering reflux). I get indigestion too. So, I'm reading portion sizes on them and sticking to that.

    8. Deep breathing apparently strengthens the LES muscle, so that's a good thing too. I keep a food journal and sleep on a wedge partially raised and on my left side (better for reflux).

  • Posted

    I just started eating healthy and I use all spices. I don't drink any milk, so I can't say one way or another. All I know is medicines sometimes cause other problems. Unless absolutely necessary I will take something. I have an appointment with the doctor this month, so I'll see if the scope shows any improvement. If not, I still won't go on a long term med again. I'll take a Zantac or Tums as needed.
  • Posted

    Hi Musicchick and Celia,

    Thank you for answering to my post!

    Musicchick, I never tried cucumber steamed, is that good? I wanted to try it in juices. I regularly make juices with carrots, fennel, ginger, and celeri. I fear that apples are too acidic for me and I stay away from all vegetables from the cabbage family (kale, cabbage, cauliflower, ...) in juices as supposedly they have a bad effect on the thyroid. I tried pear juice once, it was soooo good!

    I see you are making smoothies, what do you use to replace the milk? What can you put in it beside banana? Even though a smoothie with just banana sounds wonderful already. About the intolerance to milk, I did not know that some people have a reaction to casein. I have been tested for milk allergy and I was fine, I don't know if it is the same thing.

    I will give a try to fresh herbs then (except mint)! I can't wait!

    The manuka honey I bought is called Wedderspoon 100% raw Manuka Honey product of New Zealand Unpasteurized Honey Active 16+. It was quiet expensive at whole foods and it hurts my stomach. Moreover I don't have H. Pilory so it was a bit of a waste.

    All fat trigger my symptoms really, including nut butters (especially peanut butter for some reason) but sometimes as a treat I put a little bit of sliced almonds or chunks of walnuts on my oatmeal. It seems to be ok in moderation.

    I sleep on a wedge too, on the left side too, but even with that I get a little bit of a sore throat in the morning unfortunately. It was hard to get used to the wedge. Otherwise I use free podcast meditations on my iphone that include some deep breathing. I find it very useful to fall asleep when I have a light pain that keeps me awake or to get my energy back in the afternoon after a bad night sleep.

    Celia, I completely agree that medicines sometimes cause other problems. Health has become such a business at our expenses! This is why I am focusing so hard on the diet. I am so glad I could get off the PPI already.

    • Posted

      I had a try at Manuka Honey this morning and really wished I hadnt as inside a few minutes my stomach was burning and not good at all, still got it a few hours later, so hoping I dont have this all day now.    Im sticking to Aloe Vera, DGL, Zinc-Carnosine, Slippery Elm and Acidophulus tabs!!  Hopefully I can expand my diet soon as I need to put some weight back on asap, Im all skin and bones right now.
    • Posted

      I tried manuka honey too a while ago and I had the same reaction. It is not good for gastritis. Either the ph level 4 or the tea tree oil in it or both. I am surprised you tolerate aloe vera, in bottle it's ph level is at most 4.
  • Posted

    I added some fresh thymes, fresh rosemary and fresh oregano to my vegetables yesterday. It tasted so good and I seem to fine. I am so happy about this. Thank you musicchick!
  • Posted

    You're welcome!

    I only eat apples with something alkaline. Kale is one of the most alkaline vegetables, and I eat it quite a bit now steamed with coconut on it and in the smoothie with the apple. They balance each other out. I put raw kale and pour organic squeezed apple juice (without citric acid added) into the Magic Bullet and mix it together. Then I drink it. It's very quick and easy. I have added zucchini, cucumber (don't do this though, it's nasty, lol) and carrots to it. It tasted great *minus the cucumber*. I wouldn't want it to upset your thyroid though, so if you think it might, then avoid it.

    Eating apples alone without something like alkaline almond butter or sun(flowerseed) butter or with PH water makes them hurt my throat a bit so again, I always make sure there is an alkaline with it.

    I can't say whether the steamed cucumber tastes good because my taste changed dramatically before I started this three weeks ago. I wasn't eating vegetables much and not raw except broccoli and spinach, which were the only greens I ate regularly. Now, I eat foods that I'd never have eaten before and like them.

    Milk allergy and lactose intolerance or intolerance to casein are not the same thing. A milk allergy will cause a systemic histamine response when you eat or drink dairy products. Lactose intolerance and casein intolerance are an intolerance to lactose or casein, respectfully. The lactose intolerance can cause bloating, gas, and discomfort but a lactaid enzyme can ease that. I know less about casein but it's a problem with digesting the protein casein in the dairy product. I use apple juice (without citric acid added) with my kale and a few other veggies and it comes out well for me. It's not the best tasting but the apple makes it sweeter and the greens balance out the acidity in the apple. I have trouble with banana and acidity and it's not low histamine, so bananas aren't on my list. If you can do it though, go for it! Generally, you want 80% alkaline and 20% acidity in your daily menu. If you are suffering badly though, like I originally was, then start VERY slow with only a few foods in your day. Each week or two (or in my case it took three weeks), add another food. Your body takes a long time to heal.

    I used Wedderspoon as well and it did nothing good for me. I do not have Hpylori either but the Manuka kills viruses and bacteria and just improves overall gut health, I believe. I'm also a teacher and am prone to colds. I now order two brands directly online from NZ. They are UMF certified from the Manuka plant. Wedderspoon is not. I see a big difference in them. Some may, some may not, but for me, BIG difference.

    Peanuts are apparently acidic, as are walnuts, but almonds seem to be ok. In fact, some charts list almonds as the only nuts that are ok on an alkaline diet. Go very slow with fats. I actually wasn't eating any fats for a long time andlost a lot of weight as a result. This entire process caused me to become underweight but now that I'm able to eat more, I'm gaining some back. I also cut out all grains and oatmeal was problematic for me, since it too is acidic on many charts. I gave oatmeal several tries but just cut it out completely with the other grains. I noticed an improvement.

    Do you have anxiety or other health issues as well?

  • Posted

    There was an article in the New York Times about raw kale and the thyroid, you might want to check it out. I can't put a link in this post but you can google it. It is called "Kale ? Juicing? Troubles ahead." I will send you the link by private message.

    My stomach stopped hurting today actually, I did not need to take the DGL licorice yet, so I am quiet happy about that. I am going to stick to my list of food that don't hurt and not experiment too much at the moment, it feels so good to make progress (which are so slow!). Every time I eat something that does not agree, I feel that I go back a week with my symptoms, it is not worth it. Anything even slightly acid hurts.

    I am having banana and oatmeal (it does not feel acidic and is recommended in Dr Koufman's book) in the morning, rice or potatoes at the other meals with chicken or fish and steamed vegetables, some melon or watermelon as a snack with a coconut water, sometimes some low-fat popcorn with a movie but I seem to have a light reaction to that, it might just be the fat, sometimes some fresh carrot juice with fennel, ginger parsley and celery. I tried cabbage once, it did go well at all. I don't think I could eat much nuts because of the fat now or apples because of the acidity.

    I don't have other health issues except IBS sometimes (it got under control when I stopped gluten). The doctor said that my blood tests and other tests are perfect: no H. Pilory, no allergies, everything is fine. My only problem now is that I feel really tired all the time, and I don't always sleep well. The meditation podcast helps to fall asleep.

  • Posted

    I put some cucumber juice in my carrot juice tonight and it did not feel so good with it afterward. I guess it might be too early to reintroduce it.
  • Posted

    Ines, you sound like you are in better shape than I was. I wasn't able to eat banana and oatmeal, it made reflux bad for me (LPR) and choking spasms. I found that they are acidic so I cut them out. I'm so glad that you are able to tolerate them! Potatoes and rice were too heavy for me as well and caused reflux. I believe grains are acidic so eating them with chicken and (ocean) fish which are acidic may be hindering your progress. I'm not a doctor though and can only say what worked for me. I can't digest corn either, as most of the population doesn't digest corn products well. For me, cutting out all grains and focusing on alkaline veggies with small proteins worked best for me. Coconut is super alkaline so that works well too for me. I'm glad you are able to eat so many different foods though. Since I added pear and celery to my diet this week, it's been pretty good! I can't wait to slowly introduce another food next week.

  • Posted

    The Ph level of bananas, according to the book of Jamie Koufman, is 5.6, which is not so bad. Especially compared to apples whose Ph level vary from 3.2 to 4.2. Usually any food with Ph level above 5 is well tolerated by people with reflux. But for a small number of people (1-2%? I forgot the exact number), banana is a trigger food. About oatmeal, I don't know its Ph level without milk but with milk 2% it is 7.2, which is pretty good. It seems to be the typical breakfast for many people with reflux. But we are all different.

    The Ph level of potatoes vary (depending on the variety) from 5.7 to 6.0, Yam Ph level is 6.1. I don't know about rice but I usually feel good when I eat it, with or without chicken or fish. When a food hurts my stomach, I usually feel it very quickly.

    There are two different theories regarding acidity. One says that some foods acidify the body as a whole, which is different than the Ph level of the food itself, the latest being a good marker of the impact that food will have on a hurt stomach. Which notion of acidity are you referring to? I am following the second notion.

    I am curious to know more about corn. I noticed that I had a small reaction after eating low-fat popcorn. I was wondering if it was due to the corn itself or the small amount of fat in the popcorn. Do you have some references about this topic?

    I can't cut out all grains as I would not have enough to eat anymore. I can tolerate only a very small amount of fat which reduce my daily calories a lot. And I feel that I tolerate them well.

    I love coconut water (which is low-fat) but can't tolerate any other coconut product (High-fat foods cause reflux).

    I tried soy milk today, it did not go well either :-\ I guess I should stick to my list of safe foods until I feel that I am healed.

  • Posted

    I started adding more herbs (sage, etc) into my diet and my symptoms (stomach pain mostly) came back more strongly. It looks like herbs are irritating. So I am back to a bland diet :-\

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