Today I’m going to write about my experience with acid reflux disease and how to prevent acid reflux
My experience with acid reflux disease
It is my experience that we should define our terms. What do we mean when we call acid reflux a disease? It is to some extent a misnomer as it is not really a disease in the sense that there is a cause such as a virus which can be treated with medication which kills the virus and you get better or cancer which can be treated with drugs and radiation. Acid reflux is more of a condition which can be controlled through a variety of approaches that I will begin to discuss in this blog.
As I stated in my first blog on this issue, I started suffering from acid reflux many years ago as a young adult and it has stayed with me to one degree or another throughout my adult life. From my research, I have learned that there really is no known reason why one person is affected and another is not. My wife and I eat essentially the same foods and she seldom has any reaction to things that absolutely destroy my stomach and I must avoid.
Initially, I just suffered from this awful pain because I had no idea what it was and the doctors weren’t much help. Eventually, I discovered certain over the counter products which provided relief and I was able to keep it under control to a limited degree. Then I discovered that my diet was the culprit.
The Zone Diet Plan
Over the last twenty or thirty years, there have been many diet crazes, plans, and ideas that have come and gone. One of them was/is The Zone Diet plan by Dr Barry Sears. For the details of this plan, you can google it and study it in depth or read his book: “Enter the Zone” by Dr Barry Sears. Here are some highlights and basic principles and how it helped my acid reflux disease as well helped me lose a lot of weight.
The first thing Dr Sears teaches is that you need to change your lifestyle in order to be successful. You need to do the following:
Give up all white foods. That means all foods made from refined white flour and sugar. Wow! That’s a lot of stuff
- Bread. I know, how do you stop eating bread. Also, cake, cookies, pastry, doughnuts, etc
- Other white foods: potatoes, PASTA!, rice, everything white
Next, he says that when you go to the supermarket only buy what’s being sold along the outside edge of the market and nothing from up and down the aisles. Think about that for a moment. What he’s saying is to eat only fresh fruits and vegetable, some meat, fish and chicken. Eggs are okay as are nuts, olives, avocados. And use butter and olive oil in your cooking. Thus, you have eliminated from your diet all the processed foods which contain lots of sugar and flour and untold chemicals which are doing us harm. You now have a healthy diet.
He goes on to explain exactly how to eat a balanced, Zone Plan meal. A balanced meal is protein, carbohydrates and fat. Everything you eat is one of those three things and the key is understanding that you must eat them in the correct proportions. Simply stated it is a piece of protein (meat, fish, chicken) about the size of the palm of your hand and twice that amount of fresh fruits or vegetables and some fat in the form of nuts, olives, olive oil, etc. There is more to it than this brief description as explained in his book.
How did this work for me?
I followed this plan faithfully for about two years. In the first year I lost 45 pounds and never was hungry between meals and, most importantly for the purpose of this discussion, I never had a single incident of Acid Reflux disease. Not one. After a lifetime of having practically everything I put in my mouth causing a painful reaction. Why does this work? Dr Sears explains it in great detail in his book(s) and it is far too complex for me to try to explain here. All I can say is that this radical change in my lifestyle worked for me.
That was about twenty years ago. Since that time I have tried to eat according to the basic Zone principles but it is admittedly very hard to sustain over time as life is full is too many temptations and sometimes you just have to have a piece of Pumpkin or pecan pie at Thanksgiving or a slice of cake at someone’s birthday or anniversary party. Through this experience, I learned what foods cause problems and which I can safely eat and if I start to gain a little weight that by going back to The Zone I can lose it again.
What else works
Here are a few other ideas you can try:
- Eat six small meals each day instead of three big ones. This will keep your stomach from getting too full but you still get the calories and nutrition that is needed
- Eat slowly. When you eat fast the food can pile up in your stomach. When
you eat the stomach sends a message to the brain that you are getting full. When you eat too fast the food piles up too fast and interferes with these messages.
- Try not eating two hours so before bedtime. Also, try eating your largest meal earlier in the day.
- Raise the head of your bed so you are sleeping on a slight incline instead of being flat. Put small blocks under the legs of the head of the bed.
Not everything works for everyone and there are a lot of ideas and strategies for combating this condition. As those of you who suffer from acid reflux disease know all too well, it is an extremely painful condition. When that acid starts flowing back up your esophagus you think your whole insides are on fire. These are just a few basic ideas that have worked for me and other people. I hope they will help you. Please leave comments or email me with any comments or questions or related topics you’d like me to cover in future posts.
Please leave me your comments or questions by clicking on the “comments” link on the left side at the beginning of the article. I will be sure to get back to you.