Flushing away bad eating habits (my TMI post on acid reflux)

Garden hose

Before I get to how excited I was to see today’s Acid Reflux and Ayurveda: Pitta Party post on the most excellent Heavy Metta blog, I have to tell you about last night, one of those times when life throws a big fat wrench into your plans.

Around 12:30 a.m., about an hour after I had gone to bed, I found myself hunkered down in the bathroom, throwing up my diner. It would take two more rounds over the next couple of hours for my body to be content that enough had been ousted. It didn’t feel like food poisoning to me, because the expulsion lacked a certain . . .violence. It was quite matter-of-fact, very workmanlike: Hello, dinner, welcome! And . . .  oh, you’re leaving so soon? And out the front door nonetheless? Well, OK, goodbye!

Reflecting more on it this afternoon, it occurred to me that it could have been a really, really unfortunate acid reflux reaction. I suppose it could have been something else too, but that’s the theory I’m rolling with for now.

I’ve had acid reflux for years. Doctor’s orders? No coffee, no caffeinated soda, no chocolate. I ignore two of the three (not a big soda drinker). While I had been better about coffee for a few months, I’ve been back on the bandwagon for the past few weeks. And over the course of the day, I realized, I had had many of the most common triggers, in addition to morning coffee: garlic, onion, tomatoes, processed chicken (funny, because I rarely ever eat chicken anymore), potato salad (I never eat this stuff, but I did yesterday as part of my lunch — didn’t even enjoy it), high acid fruits and cranberry juice. Add the typical low-grade levels of workday stress and it was probably a perfect storm.

Some thoughts:

  • Can the yoga asana practice do anything about acid reflux? Friends have told me the control of stress alone is helpful. What about the digestive juices themselves?
  • Eating ginger before a meal has helped me in the past, but I’ve let that slip because I thought things were under control. I’ll have to start again.
  • I’ve found Nexium to be the only thing that has really helped me, but it’s so expensive under my current health insurance plan that I’ve stopped filling the prescription in the past few months. (It costs me $90 a month, because my infinitely wise insurance company refuses to believe the other stuff truly doesn’t work for me. After last night, though, I’m back on Nexium too, expenses be damned.

Very helpfully, Maria over at Heavy Metta posted a whole post earlier today about acid reflux, Ayurveda and pitta-types. Me, pitta? Had she read my mind? 😉 Check out her blog, even if you don’t care about acid reflux, because you get choice lines like this one, found in the section on Mastic Gum:

. . .I’m just a very curious layperson who loves Ayurveda and who happens to do a lot of nutrition-related research for a living at my day job. I don’t advocate any particular kind of treatment, but information is always helpful. And where else will you get Ayurveda, health and heavy metal in the same blog? Freaking nowhere, man!

Screenshot of Heavy Metta blog

Screenshot of the Heavy Metta blog post “Acid Reflux and Ayurveda: Pitta Party”

By the way, my dinner tonight was much improved. I prepared a remix of a great little recipe for Fagioli all Uccelletto with cavolo nero from SmarterFitter, one of my favorite food blogs. My visit to Tuscany last year instilled an appreciation in me for those oh-so-simple-and-plain cannellini beans, and I’ve been looking forward to trying this SmarterFitter recipe. Rebooting the way I eat — I don’t want to spend my nights last last night ever again — seemed like the perfect time.

Fagioli all Uccelletto with cavolo nero

Do you live with acid reflux? What do you do?

(Photo credit: Don’t Breathe by JenSmith826 via Flickr Creative Commons. The actual photo is pretty cool — an experiment in narrative structure. Head over to see.)

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8 thoughts on “Flushing away bad eating habits (my TMI post on acid reflux)

  1. i suffer from gastritis which is acid reflux but lower down. my worst triggers are beer, white sugar, white flour, coffee, and down the list if i get uber sensitive. the only way i can manage it is to eat well most of the time, and if i slip up, don’t do it for too long or in too much excess and get back to the good diet. carrot juice and coconut water are the most effective and immediate ways to soothe my stomach.
    also, when it gets bad, i take de-glyrrhized licorice to help heal my stomach lining.
    it is also definitely bad (of course) when stressed. so i see yoga as helping in a more global way with respect to the stress mainly.

  2. Yes, I can feel the difference stress has my acid reflux — and it’s a pretty big difference. Where do you get the de-glyrrhized licorice?

  3. I hear ya sister!! I’m on a drug very similar to Nexium, have been trying to come off it for years. Acid-reflux is the worst.

    Alcohol is definitely the biggest culprit for me, but at 26 I’d be a social pariah if I gave it up for good!! I enjoy a nice glass of wine every now and then :)

    Thanks for the heads up, going to read the other article now :)

  4. The de-glyrrhized licorice is available at most health food stores, I think Whole Foods has it too. And OH YEAH, the other big thing is carrot juice. When my stomach is hurting/burning, and I need immediate medicine, I drink a small glass of cold carrot juice. It is amazing how it immediately cools down and soothes the stomach. Whole Foods and maybe Trader Joe’s have fresh carrot juice in their produce coolers I think?

    (sorry I live in Canada so I get my stuff at different stores but my family is in the USA so I am familiar with the shopping down there!)

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