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FEATURE

 

Reflux Is Reversible

A great place to get started in treating reflux and healing the gut is by changing up your diet and doing a straight-up elimination diet. Elimination diets are the gold standard for identifying food intolerances, and it’s a simple but powerful tool you can use without shelling out hundreds of dollars for a food sensitivity test.

An allergy free diet eliminates the 8 most common food sensitivities for 30 days:

*Gluten *Dairy *Corn *Soy *Fish *Shrimp *Eggs *Peanuts

Eating foods that trigger your immune system can make you retain water (and weight), so clearing out these foods is a nice way to get the needle moving and get some of the extra bloating off.

When you begin an elimination diet, your meals can be super simple:

Breakfast: 2 scoops of pea protein with 1 cup of almond milk, 2 tbsp ground chia seeds, and 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries.

Lunch: Roasted chicken breast over a large salad with chickpeas, olive oil, and lemon juice

Dinner: Grilled steak with asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes over quinoa

Snacks: turkey roll-ups, fresh fruit, chicken breast, pumpkin seeds, or coconut yogurt

After 30 days, you can reintroduce one new food from the most common sensitivities above every fourth day. Keep a food log to see if you have any water weight gain for up to four days after reintroducing the new food. That’s a sign of a food intolerance. If you notice you’re still sensitive to foods you’re trying to reintroduce, give your gut more time to heal. Eventually, you should be able to have small exposures without any adverse reactions.

Another one of my tried-and-true go-to’s is celery juice. Celery juice helps quell reflux symptoms and naturally rebuilds your production of Hydrochloric acid. Juice an entire bunch (organic is best) first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Wait 20 minutes before you have your breakfast. For wicked reflux, add in 2 tbsp of fresh or bottled aloe gel to soothe and heal inflammation. This gorgeously green cocktail has helped 90% of my clients get off their reflux medication!

And of course, killing off H. Pylori is paramount when treating reflux and gut inflammation because that is often the root cause of the issue.

Foundational pieces to support gut-hormone balance:

●  Front-load your sleep; your body does the best healing between 10:00 pm-2:00 am.

●  Eat nutrient-dense foods like meat, liver, bone marrow, bone broth, wild Alaskan salmon, sweet potatoes, cooked vegetables, pastured butter, and coconut oil.

●  Stimulating the vagus nerve with deep breathing at night. I use the Insight Timer app to meditate and breathe deep every night before bed.

●  Switch from high-intensity cardio to walking and lifting weights. Too much cortisol can lead to an inflamed and leaky gut.

●  Learn to manage stress and take things off your plate. “No,” is really a complete sentence!

●  Test stool and hormones to find out your baseline functionality. As you go into menopause, you’ll find that the healthier your gut, the easier your transition will be.

 

“I am in my 40s and feel like everything I eat bloats me - Help!”

Bloating is one of the top complaints I hear in my practice. Women constantly tell me, “I wake up with a flat stomach and look six months pregnant by the end of the day!”

If you feel like everything you eat causes bloating, you probably have a leaky gut. As we've learned, pathogens of parasites or a deficiency in hydrochloric acid or good bacteria are contributors to a leaky gut. When the lining of your intestinal wall thins out, undigested food particles pass back and forth across the gut wall, causing inflammation. That pressure translates to uncomfortable pressure or bloating. In turn, all that inflammation can lead to brain fog.

A good way to start eliminating bloating is to consciously and carefully check in with your eating habits and how you experience your meals. Remember: Digestion begins in the mouth. Tasting, appreciating, and thoroughly chewing your food is not only deeply pleasurable, but it is also a must.

 

When you sit down to eat, you have the capacity to better register when you are full. One of my go-to tricks is to arrange food on a smaller plate (or measure portions if you need to). l This is a great way to make sure we don’t overeat.

Remember that pleasure is the best nutrient of all. Eating is meant to be savored and joyful! Beautiful food nourishes us and feeds our souls. We receive the gift of energy for our bodies and fuel for our brains. And yes, there have been plenty of times where pleasure took the form of face planting into a bag of nacho chips and eating ice cream right out of the container. But when it comes to reclaiming your body, these need to be indulgent exceptions and not the rule!

So if you have bloating:


Take a moment to relax before you sit down to eat. Slowly inhale and exhale three times. This will immediately calm your nervous system.
Eat cooked veggies instead of raw.
Enjoy stews and soups.
Take time to enjoy the beauty of your food as you put it on a plate. Eat s-l-o-w-l-y.

Chew each bite until it’s the consistency of baby food. Put your fork down between bites.
Taste each gorgeous bite and savor every flavor.

When you simply start there, you’ll enjoy your food more, probably eat less because you’ll notice when you are full, and crave a lot less.

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Excerpted from See Ya Later, Ovulator! Mastering Menopause with Nutrition, Hormones and Self-Advocacy by Esther Blum, MS, RD, 2022. Reprinted by permission of Hybrid Global Publishing.

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