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A Simple Method to Relieve GERD Sufferers – Practice Food Combining
According to an online article I read recently, GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (years ago it was simply referred to as heartburn), affects 44% of American adults at least once a month. This statistic seems realistic to me based on the number of hands I see in the air at my lectures when I ask people in the audience to raise their hand if they suffer from GERD, acid reflux or heartburn.
The amount of money spent on prescription and over-the-counter medications to get relief from GERD is staggering. The number of commercials for these products on TV is also amazing; this represents big money for the advertising and drug industries.
Common over-the-counter products include: Tums, Pepto Bismol, and a myriad of other antacids, both tablet and liquid, as well as simple enzymes from pineapple (bromelain) and other sources. Popular prescription medications for GERD include: Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, Tagamet (I think a few are so commonly used they are now over the counter), Zantac, and Pepcid.
As with any chronic irritation, persistent problems with GERD, acid reflux, indigestion, or heartburn can lead to serious health problems, including cancer.
A long, long time ago on a planet far, far away, before I went raw, I suffered terribly from GERD, which in those days was called heartburn or acid reflux. The pain was so bad at times that my doctor actually sent me home with an aerosol can of benzocaine, I think it was – maybe it was novocaine? Anyway, it was a spray that he could spray right down my throat to numb it and ease the pain. I put the can in the trunk of the car and decided then and there that I had to do something else, this was definitely the wrong road I was on. I was 44 years old. I’ve never used that can. Instead, I began my raw food journey.
If you suffer from GERD or acid reflux or heartburn, or if you know someone who suffers from GERD, et al, (especially if they eat SAD*), please listen – because there are simple solutions for many people with this problem. (*Standard American Diet)
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. I’m sure there are people for whom this solution won’t work. I am sure there are people who really need the remedies I have listed. I speak from experience not only as a long-time raw fooder, and this can work for non-raw fooders, but also as someone who understands the theories of food combining.
Please consult your medical staff before trying my suggestions to end GERD forever. In no way should this be construed as medical advice as I am in no way qualified to give medical advice. I never went to medical school, I never went to nursing school, hell, I’m actually a total idiot in all things medical. This is simply advice on how to eat your daily food in a way that has helped me and many hundreds of people have told me that it has helped them.
If you are currently taking medication for GERD, do not stop taking it without consulting your doctor. If you should decide to try the dietary advice I’m about to give while you’re still on your prescription, that’s entirely up to you – let me say it again, so there’s no misunderstanding, it’s always best to consult your doctor before doing any changes.
Solution(s) to End GERD, Heartburn, Acid Reflux, Indigestion:
Reducing the amount of acid-forming foods eaten helps many, but not all, patients with GERD. Eating a balanced and varied diet of all or mostly raw foods is an alkalizing diet and this alone can help many people.
The rest of the story is about combining food. If you are not a raw fooder, never plan to be a raw fooder, or know someone who is not a raw fooder and never plans to be a raw fooder but suffers from GERD et al, try food combining. This means you will no longer eat food the way your mom served it.
Why? Proteins and carbohydrates (starches) take very different amounts of time to digest, as well as completely different types of enzymes to digest them. So when you eat steak and potatoes at the same time, your digestive tract has a huge conflict. Nothing actually digests properly or well, which leads to, you guessed it: GERD, acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, and incomplete digestion, which can include or contribute to what some people refer to as leaky gut syndrome.
A fix for eaters of the Standard American Diet or eaters of mostly cooked and processed foods (I’ll get to this info for raw food eaters later):
Look at your typical plate of food. What is traditional about it?
Let’s call it the Big Three Plates:
A. proteins like steak, chicken, hamburger, tuna, etc.
b. starch such as mashed potatoes, rice, French fries, pasta, this category includes bread.
C. vegetables such as carrots, green beans, asparagus, this includes lettuce.
When I was growing up, and I think this is still true in many households today, all responsible mothers with common sense served the big three on the plate: meat, vegetables and starch.
Want to feel better? Forget the way mom served you food, eat like this instead, let’s call it the Delicious Duet of the Lunch and Dinner Plate:
Option one: Steak, chicken, lamb, etc. with vegetables including salad. NO bread, NO potatoes, NO rice. For a completely different meal at least four hours apart, try this:
Option two: A starch such as rice, potatoes, baked yam or pasta along with vegetables including salad.
It’s no longer the big three of a plate, now you’re consuming a delicious duet of lunch and dinner plates. A few more examples (and yes, my friend, you will need to learn what protein is and what carbohydrate is to do this.)
Note to Raw fooders – this information can help your friends and family with digestive problems more than any other once they try it and feel better – well, maybe they could listen to you about something else.
Example of combined food to prevent acid reflux:
1. Eggs, bacon, sliced tomato, fruit (no toast, no potatoes)
2. Vegetable, cheese or meat omelette, sliced tomatoes or fruit salad (no bread, no potatoes)
3. Waffles or pancakes, fruit salad or sliced tomatoes (no meat, no cheese)
4. Steak/meat (pork, hamburger, chicken, etc.) with a large salad and non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, okra, summer squash, cabbage, etc. (no rice, no potatoes, no bread)
5. Rice or potato dish or yams or pasta, bread and a large salad and any kind of cooked non-starchy vegetables (no meat, no cheese)
6. Pasta with tomato sauce and a large salad, with bread. (no meat, no cheese)
In other words:
Eat meat with vegetables
Eat starches with vegetables
But never eat meat with starches (think: meat and vegetables yes, starch and vegetables yes, meat and starches no.)
Another tip: Have a main protein meal at lunch because protein takes the longest to digest, then have a main starchy (carbohydrate) meal at dinner; it will help you sleep better later.
Two more pieces of advice: try not to dilute the food with liquid. Drink between meals, not during. Taking digestive enzymes is helpful and especially with heavy meals.
If you eat meat or protein at every meal like many Americans (eggs for breakfast, tuna for lunch, hamburger for dinner), you’ll need to give up at least one high-protein meal a day for this approach to work. Also, a hamburger at McDonald’s is now a no no. But you could only eat a hamburger plus some vegetables. Or you could just eat a bun and veggies, you could probably eat a bun and fries – not recommended but you can. (These are very illustrative examples, but should help you remember that this information is important for GERD sufferers with SAD eaters. Don’t we all know one of these?)
Raw Fooders approach combining food
I personally don’t know any raw fooders who suffer from GERD. It turns out that food combining principles are less important when eating everything raw. This is probably due to the many enzymes available, or as the body adjusts to all raw or very raw, the relative ease of digesting raw rather than cooked, processed foods. However, it’s still a good idea to keep protein and starch separate, and most raw foodists try to keep fruits and vegetables separate when practical. Remember, if it has a seed, it’s a fruit, so cucumber, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, etc. are fruits when you’re coming up with things for your meals.
Example of a bad raw food combination:
Eating yams and nuts in the same meal would strain the digestive system and lead to incomplete digestion. Eating large amounts of starchy vegetables and nuts, even if the combination does not bother you physically, is probably not good for the body. Likewise, and most people know this, some foods are digested very quickly and should be eaten first, then wait 20 minutes, or be eaten alone, this applies to all types of melons. Freshly squeezed juices are also digested very quickly, it is not a good idea to eat a lot of food followed by watermelon or juice. Eat them first, wait a while before the next meal, or eat them by themselves.
If you have too much raw food and suffer from indigestion, try mono-food for a while. This means only one food in each meal. All apples. Or a whole salad. Or all nuts. Eating just one meal makes the body’s job of digestion, assimilation and elimination easier and can help ease any indigestion you have. Try to take digestive enzymes with every meal as well, especially with complex meals.
It turns out that this article is aimed by its very subject: GERD, at cooked food eaters. Some of the examples I have used may seem very crude to many of my readers. Please don’t misconstrue my intent, this is to help people who suffer from GERD and related digestive issues. Some GERD sufferers may consume a raw diet, but the largest percentage are likely to be cooked foods, and likely SAD eaters of cooked foods.
I hope you can use the information in this article to help someone, maybe a friend or relative or someone in the office. This could be a great first step in introducing them to a healthier lifestyle.
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