I took Nexium. Then Prilosec. I felt better for a few months. I wondered how taking drugs that dialed back my digestive juices could be helpful.
I chewed gum several times a day and that helped stimulate digestive juices until my jaw showed signs of TMJ, a serious, expensive problem.
I took more Prilosec. And Zantac. And started drinking gallons of aloe vera per Dr. Oz. I tried not to stress as my mother advised me.
I love to eat and I love to cook and my eating mantra is NO DIETS and all things in moderation and I was/am so angry at God that this ailment is the thorn in my side. On good days, I see possible spiritual lessons in the distance and I do not allow acid reflux to control my life. On bad days, I am depressed at my first-world acid reflux problem and, well, you know all the bad things that happen when we are down in our pits. It's ugly.
I am done with the antacids. DONE. I have made an about-face - I am stimulating my stomach acid!
This is what happened: I made sauerkraut last year because I'm always curious in the kitchen. It was so easy that I started reading and studying Sandor Ellix Katz's book. Rebecca pointed out a section on H. Pylori, and when I googled H. Pylori and acid reflux, I read this article. And it made sense.
I am following my gut (ha!) and eating fermented food at every meal, plus taking a stomach acid pill occasionally at some meals (that would be HCl + pepsin), and downing some apple cider vinegar for heart-burn-ish symptoms.
I feel pretty good after two weeks. I feel pretty good, oh thank you God. What I believe is that my American diet, even as healthy as I thought it was, slowly killed off my beneficial digestive bacteria. I am colonizing new ones by eating live food like fermented foods, raw milk, unwashed organic vegetables, and filtered water. I will avoid any CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) meat with its excessive antibiotics. As a child, I took lots of antibiotics - we all did - for slight colds and other viruses. I had already shunned antibacterial soap at our house, and I'm afraid I'm going to get dogmatic on the subject of hand sanitizer: YOU MAY NOT USE THAT CRAP BECAUSE IT KILLED MY DIGESTIVE TRACT. WE NEED OUR FRIENDLY LITTLE BACTERIA!!! My husband gets a worried look when I talk like this and I do try to tone it down because I don't want to judge BUT IF THERE'S A SINK AROUND, MY CHILD IS NOT GOING TO USE THAT PUMP BOTTLE OF HAND SANITIZER. THIS IS NOT THE HOSPITAL ICU!!! AND NO, THANK YOU, WE ARE NOT GOING TO USE HAND SANITIZER AT THE PETTING ZOO because (I'll stop shouting now) city kids need all the animal and dirt germs they can get.
I don't want people to think I'm lulu on this topic. I was feeling lulu and lonely, but better in my body, so I kept on. And then the New York Times published this article by Michael Pollan. I could hardly calm down after reading it! I feel so vindicated, so justified, so gratifed.
I had a hard time writing this post. This is a watershed moment in my life and I wanted to explain it, but it's so new yet that I don't have a lot of perspective. I wanted there to be pictures, but I didn't know how to illustrate "watershed moment," so I used a bunch from a recent field trip to a farm with Ben. Lots of germs. Awesome.
So, that's enough for now. I have more new food habits to share in future blog posts and, as always, I am happy to discuss questions and ideas in the comments.