eat right and enjoy it

moving away from GERD to surviving and thriving on a plant-based diet: follow me and learn from my challenges and as I take this journey


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Appointment With My GI Doctor

I visited my Gastroenterologist this week to discuss having an endoscopy.  I want  to check the status of my esophagus.  I’ve made a lot of lifestyle and diet changes and my symptoms have improved quite a bit, but they are not gone totally and I just want to know the condition of my esophagus at this point.

I mentioned that I had not taken my Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) medication for two months and that I actually feel better.  Well never mind how I feel, the doctor wanted to know why I stopped taking the medication.  I told her that I didn’t like the side effects of the medication and that I felt my symptoms had worsened while I was taking the PPI and I didn’t want to take it anymore so I stopped.  I also mentioned how my ENT doctor told me PPI’s cause dementia among other things.  So then I was told I could take a different medication it doesn’t have to be a PPI.  I was a little confused and dismayed because I thought the goal was to help me get off all medications, prescription and OTC.  I just told her that  I’ve made diet and lifestyle changes and that I feel better and all she could say was let’s try a different medication.

She scheduled my endoscopy for next week and informed me that if there is irritation or something worse she would be prescribing more medication.  I respect medical professionals but why do I feel like it doesn’t matter what changes I’ve made and the fact that I feel much better without the PPI.  Are people with GERD doomed to be on medication forever?


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Stocking My Pantry

I have no patience for wasted space and I’m constantly tweaking and pruning my pantry.  It is important to me to fill it with healthy plant-based options, and nothing that might aggravate my stomach.  Some of the items I keep on hand may not be beneficial for the O Positive Diet.   I’m trying hard not to offend the diet but my stomach comes first.  It has been a challenge because I am still trying to figure out which foods help or hurt my GERD.  Some are very obvious while others are found through trial and error.  Below is a list of the main foods I currently stock and why.
I stock the beans (carbs), because they are so versatile but I eat them in very limited quantities, since many believe carbs, especially complex carbs can cause GERD to flare up.

  • Black Beans (chili, burgers, brownies)
  • White Beans (faux alfredo sauce, chili)
  • Chickpeas (hummus, chili, salads)
  • Black-eyed Peas (chili)
  • Pinto Beans (chili)
  • Canned Salmon (salad)
  • Canned Mackerel
  • Canned Crabmeat
  • Tahini
  • Chicken Broth (sautéing, soup)
  • Beef Broth (sautéing, soup)
  • Vegetable Broth (sautéing, soup)
  • Bone Broth (soup)
  • Miso Soup
  • Quinoa
  • Carob Powder
  • Celtic Salt (increase minerals, seasoning)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (increase minerals, seasoning)
  • Liquid Smoke (seasoning black bean burgers)
  • Garlic Powder (seasoning)
  • Onion Powder (seasoning)
  • Popcorn (low calorie filling snack)
  • Coconut Oil Spray (used on popcorn so seasoning will stick)
  • Nutritional Yeast (seasoning, popcorn, B-12, pizza crust)
  • Coconut Oil (cooking)
  • Pumpkin Puree (bread, pancakes)
  • Gluten Free Flour (bread, pancakes)
  • Flaxseed Meal (crackers, pizza crust)
  • Pumpkin Seeds (snacks, crackers)
  • Chia Seeds (crackers, pudding, pizza crust)
  • Walnuts (snacks, salads)
  • Pecans (snacks, salads)
  • Watermelon Seeds (snacks, salads)
  • Nori Sheets (sushi, snacks, salads)

 

 

 


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MY TOP TEN

I’m not perfect but these are the top 10 things I try to do every single day.  These things keep me going and feeling like I’m making progress as I deal with GERD.

  • Drink alkaline water throughout the day (to wash out or deactivate the enzyme pepsin)
  • Drink 8-16 ounces of freshly juiced, green vegetables (these vegetables are alkaline and full of micronutrients)
  • Exercise for at least 1 hour
  • Avoid sugar-laden and starchy foods as much as I can
  • Avoid processed foods (which means I’m constantly cooking)
  • Eat whole foods as much as possible (I love the produce section of the grocery store, I view it as my pharmacy)
  • Eat a spoonful of Manuka Honey 3 times a day (to help soothe my throat and stomach)
  • Try not to eat anything after 6:00 pm (if I eat anything 4 hours before I go to bed I’m guaranteed to wake up with a stomach ache and sore throat)
  • Sleep with my head elevated (this is hard for me to do every night)
  • Show my husband that I appreciate him for helping me


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Fine Tuning My Brain

Eating a plant-based diet is a little different than the blood type diet.  At least on the blood type diet I still had my best friend – meat.  I had to educate myself and fine tune my brain so that I could embrace this new way of eating.  I finally came to the conclusion that I had to part ways with meat because of its’ acid producing qualities.
I learned that it would be better for my stomach if my body was more alkaline rather than acidic.

Initially, I cried when I thought about being on plant-based diet and these were my thoughts:

  • I’m not crazy about vegetables, I barely think about them
  • How much salad can a person eat in one day?
  • Vegetable have no taste – whatsoever
  • How can I survive on vegetables alone?
  • My hair will fall out
  • I love meat
  • I don’t know how to be any other way

As you can see from the thoughts I had, I was very ignorant about the benefits and rewards of a plant-based diet.  I had to fine tune my brain and make a commitment to my health.  Instead of focusing on my taste buds and the foods I will have to eliminate from my diet,  I made the choice to focus on the beautiful nutrient-based, whole foods surrounding me and that were readily available to nourish my body and take care of my stomach.  Will I miss the taste of a juicy hamburger or the crunch of buttery fried fish? probably, maybe, especially if I smell them,  but I am tired of being tired and sick of being sick.  I think this is the path I should take now and I am embracing it.  So far I feel better, I look better and most importantly I feel my stomach is happier and I’m actually doing something to help heal it besides taking a pill everyday.

As with any new venture encouragement is needed.  I find encouragement in the results I’ve experienced in my body and in my favorite documentaries:
“Forks over Knives”, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, “Hungry For A Change” to name a few.  Books such as:  Kris Carr’s “Crazy, Sexy, Diet”,  Dr. Koufman’s “Acid Reflux Diet” and the countless recipes and information I’ve researched online.  All of these  have helped me walk confidently on this less traveled, and often misunderstood road.

 


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What Had Happened Was . . .

I have been suffering with GERD which is short for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease for several years. Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus. Reflux means to flow back or return. Therefore, gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus.

In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from flowing back into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus.  The symptoms I have been experiencing because of GERD are:

  • a very sore and painful throat (like someone hit me in the throat feeling) this was constant
  • numerous sinus issues (2 very bad sinus infections in the past 3 years) itchy nose, post nasal drip
  • slight cough and throat clearing
  • sensation of having a lump in my throat
  • constant burping
  • pain in my chest
  • feeling like my stomach was taking too long to digest my food
  • at night I could feel the acid gurgling in my throat, every night

All of these symptoms were ongoing – they never stopped, despite the fact that I was on prescription medication for GERD for over 5 years – this was prescribed my Gastroenterologist.  Twice within a 2 month period, my severe sore throat sent me to the doctor, one was an Internist the other a specialist, an Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) doctor.  Both prescribed a one-week course of antibiotics – I took this medication and there was no improvement either time.  Two months later I went to a different ENT who ordered a scan of my sinuses and the scan came back showing that I had nothing to be concerned about.  That confirmed that the GERD was causing my sinus problems.  By now I was sick, tired, and fed up.  I was sick of the sinus issues and the feeling the acid in my throat at night, I was tired of not finding any relief, and I was fed up that the medication that I had been taking for so long was no longer working and I’m not sure if it ever did.  On top of all that the last ENT I visited said that the medication I had been taking was found to cause dementia in patients with long term use and that I should consider surgery – I was done.

I immediately made an appointment with my Gastroenterologist because the last time I was there I did not have the throat issues I have now, so I wanted to have an Endoscopy (a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a person’s digestive tract) in order to find out the condition of my esophagus and stomach. I made my appointment 6 weeks away because I wanted to take time to try a few things on my own. 

I did some research online and came across this: Until the Thin Lady Sings – I-cured-myself-from-gerd-acid.html, so I decided to do a detox and then after the detox I would tweak my diet so that I was not just eating right for my blood type but for me more importantly for my GERD.  I went to the book store and found a book on an Acid Reflux Diet – Dr. Koufman’s Acid Reflux Diet.  In this book there was a section on doing an Acid Reflux Detox.  I bought the book and did the two-week detox.  During this detox I used the Dr. Schulte’s intestinal cleansing supplements formula’s 1 and 2, and I basically subsisted on fresh vegetables that I juiced each morning and ate as salads for dinner and I also a vegan lunch.  Some details for those 2 weeks:

  •  I juiced a wide variety of green vegetables
  • I avoided any vegetable that was or might be a trigger for acid reflux such as:  garlic, onion, tomatoes, peppers (whatever was listed in the book)
  • or course no caffeinated or carbonated beverages or alcohol or tobacco
  • no animal foods or by products such as dairy or eggs
  • If I wanted fruit I only ate bananas and melons (per the book), and I did not eat them with anything else and preferably an hour before or after anything else I ate
  • I primarily drank highly alkaline water PH9-10 and I drank a lot of it (get the book and you’ll find out why)
  • I used Manuka Honey  – this is a medicinal type of honey to soothe my irritated throat (it costs a lot more than regular honey but I didn’t care if it was going to help)
  • I did not eat anything after 6:00 pm – even  if my last meal was at 3:00
  • I elevated the head of my bed and slept in a semi sitting position

Note:  2 weeks before the detox I had already starting reducing the amount of meat I was consuming, If I ate meat at all, it was just on the weekends, so it made it easier to do the detox.

Results:  immediately after the detox my throat felt a whole lot better, I no longer had the pain in my chest, I felt a lot better in general and I lost 10 pounds.  I am still suffering with the post nasal drip and sore throat but they have both definitely improved.  I have an upcoming appointment with my Gastroenterologist in the meantime I will continue my plant-based diet avoiding meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods. I am still juicing my vegetables in the morning, drinking the alkaline water, using the Manuka Honey, not eating past 6:00pm (this gives my food at least 4 hours to digest before I retire for the evening) and sleeping with my upper body elevated. I know there is some controversy as to whether O positive blood types should be vegan/vegetarian or not, but I try to take the best from both worlds with an emphasis on doing whatever helps my GERD.

 

 

 


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Time For A Change

The Eat Right for Your Blood Type diet has served me well.  It introduced me to a better more conscious way of eating, I even lost weight.   Now, because of issues with my GERD, I must move forward to a  plant-based way of eating.  Please join me and my 16 year-old daughter on this journey to eat right, feel better and discover new foods and recipes that promote a healthier, happier us, we, me and her.

 

 


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Chili with Cucumber Salsa

Sometimes the weather drives what I cook for dinner.  It’s really cold out today so it’s Chili time.  I believe Chili is one of those dishes that can be very personal.  We add the ingredients we like and we omit the ones we don’t.  This is my version I hope you can use something from it.grassfed_beef

Tips:
I always use grass fed beef.  I know it costs more but it is worth it, it just tastes better.

chocolate

Baking Chocolate

I use 1 oz. of 100% cacao.  It gives the chili a depth of flavor and some body.

I prefer to use beef cubes over beef broth.  The cubes seem to intensify the beef flavor.

I make a cucumber salsa and add that to the chili.  It gives the chili that taco-ish flavor that compliments the chili and the cucumbers give it a texture that I love.

Because the beef granules have their own salt and there is salt in the salsa I don’t really add salt to the chili.

IMG_0940

Cucumber Salsa

CUCUMBER SALSA
1 or 2 Cucumbers chopped

1 or 2  Small cans of green chilies

1 or 2 Tomatoes chopped

1 Onion chopped

Cilantro (dried or fresh)

Lime Juice

Salt

Add the ingredients together to your taste!  Make enough for at least 2 cups.  This salsa is even better if allowed to sit overnight before adding to the chili.

CHILI
Olive Oil

1 Onion chopped

1 Bell Pepper chopped

2 lbs. Ground Beefchili_seasonings

6 Beef Cubes

2 Cups of Cucumber Salsa

4-5 Cups of Water

1 oz. Baking Chocolate 100% Cacao chopped

Chili Powder to your taste (I use about 2-3 tbsp.)

Cumin to your taste ( I use about 1 tbsp.)

Chipotle Powder to your taste (I use about 1 tsp.)

1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 Can of Pinto Beans (optional) (one of our beneficial foods)

cooked_beef

Cooked Beef

LET’S GET COOKING!
Cover the bottom of a pot with the olive oil

Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes

Next add the grass fed beef and cook for 10 minutes

Add the beef cubes, use a large spoon to break up the cubes as they cook down, do this until the beef is thoroughly cooked

Mix in 2 cups of Cucumber Salsa, and the water then bring to a boil

Add the chocolate, once the chocolate has melted add the next 4 ingredients to your taste

Finally, let the chili simmer for 10 minutes

If you want to add the pinto beans do it at the very end and simmer until the beans are thoroughly heated

You can top your chili with green onions and or mozzarella cheese.  Serve it over quinoa or gluten free noodles.  Put the chili inside a taco shell made from a grain that doesn’t offend your diet.  Layer the bottom of the shell with spinach leaves and top it off with some of the cucumber salsa.  I could not find a shell that didn’t offend my diet so I used a corn shell (oops!)  beef_taco