Acid Reflux and Heartburn aren’t easy to deal with and you don’t want to take them lightly or ignore! Besides the horrible feeling of acid bulging up into your throat or the heartburn sensation further down the chest — both very unpleasant — you’re also over time damaging your esophagus, badly.
Yes, that’s true, and most people aren’t aware of this potentially severe side effect. Daily intense acid reflux can change the cells of your esophagus to the extent that they transform into stomach cells which can and likely will turn into cancerous cells. The esophagus is the esophagus, not the stomach; thus, morphing your cells is not a great idea!
As I mentioned above, I learned a bit about this subject during my twenty-year ordeal with this problem! Medication works, temporarily or even long term, but only to suppress the trouble and pain. Meds don’t solve it. Luckily by pure coincidence, I found out I could eliminate this ugly problem myself, naturally, with the proper nutrition.
Food is the culprit, and at the same time, your medicine. If you take time, educate yourself and learn how best to change your diet, you can beat these conditions entirely on your own.
How it started.
My acid reflux got worse and worse from the age of 25/26. I started to struggle during the day, primarily soon after I ate. Nights became increasingly unbearable — I would wake up shortly after midnight with acid in my mouth and throat, burning and causing immense pain. But not just that; the nausea that accompanied it was horrific. I’d find myself waking up lying on the bathroom floor after vomiting for hours — I had passed out.
Barely managing to call an ambulance, I’d finally get transported to the hospital, where the ER doctors performed all kinds of checkups yet couldn’t do much other than administer heavy pain killers. After a sleepless night, I’d return home the following day with medicine which would see me through a few days, only for the rollercoaster to soon resume.
I carried on with this condition and monthly attacks for around 3 to 4 years until the doctors finally said it was time to operate. What operation was going to stop my acid and heartburn, I wondered?
The procedure turned out to be a new one in 1999, especially in Europe, Austria, where I lived, with the doctors having little experience with this procedure, let alone the recovery phase.
This is what happened next.
After extensive research and whether I should go ahead or not, I decided with my then-wife (a surgeon at the hospital) to go ahead. The procedure is named “Nissen Fundoplication,” after the surgeon Dr. Nissen who first performed it.
What they do.
The operation is done laparoscopically — they go into your stomach and esophagus in three areas with a camera and tools. The goal is to take a part of your upper stomach and wrap it around your esophagus to tighten the hole. This process should then prevent the acid from seeping up and into your throat and mouth, so they thought, at least.
My operation turned out to be a tricky 4-hour long event. The surgeon in the University Hospital managed to puncture my lung, which caused severe difficulties throughout the process. Apparently, I was barely hanging on; I heard from another surgeon friend from the same hospital months later as news traveled.
Of course, this “rumor” was denied by the operating surgeon and my then-wife, his assistant. The fact that he chose her as his assistant was also a somewhat questionable decision. But my dearest ex wanted to get as much practice as possible, so she assisted in my op.
When I finally came around from the grogginess in the late evening, the nurses served me a “light dinner,” they said. I remember it exactly, it consisted of brown bread with salami slices and a sweet pudding. I ate as best I could, being in terrible pain, only to vomit violently immediately after. The vomiting was so violent the nurses called the doctors as they were scared my stitches would rupture internally and externally. It’s a miracle they didn’t!
Well, what unfolded next was that I was intolerant to food. I couldn’t eat anything without feeling sick and throwing up. The chief surgeon on rounds during the third morning of recovery couldn’t explain my reaction. His cold conclusion was that this was abnormal and most likely due to me being a drug addict, as the only thing that would calm down the vicious attacks was valium. Yep, that’s all this guy came up with, as a trained and practicing surgeon of some 30 years!
When I heard this, I almost had a heart attack out of disgust on top of all the rest!
Around the fifth day of my struggles in hospital, they sent me home as there was nothing left they could do for me, I was told. So I was shuffled off to my apartment to fend for myself. My family, of course, helped out, and a wonderful sports masseuse friend did too.
She told me I needed to take “Astronaut Food,” a liquid nutrient drink, which turned out to be much like Ensure. It worked; I could drink this stuff daily and not throw up. It helped me survive, but I still lost 15kg in 1 month and was a skeletal unhealthy-looking wreck.
I carried on like this for one year, living from this drink until I could finally eat some foods again without vomiting. Fish and seafood were off-limits for at least another year as the smell of it alone would make me nauseous and sick.
Then the unimaginable happened; the acid reflux returned, not as bad as previously but still bad enough. So back to the proton pump inhibitors it was for me, for my comfort, they told me. You’ll be ok they said.
Fast forward 15 years.
I was 30 years old at the time of the operation and was on the meds for another 16 years until I had a stroke. A small one, but still a stroke! The docs in the USA (where I now lived) put it down to my poor cholesterol levels (which they were), being 25kg overweight. Next, on to the steroids and blood thinners, I went!
My path soon became a very slippery one, and I danced from one medication to another, suffering from headaches, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and more. Things certainly were not getting better!
As if things weren’t rough enough for me, my knee gave in, and I had to have a total knee replacement in 2016. The original injury occurred back in 1990 when I was a professional ski racer.
When it rains, it pours.
Struggling with my overall poor health, a complex and painful recovery from the knee surgery ensued. I wasn’t in a good place, physically or mentally, and as a result, the depression worsened.
Could things get worse? Oh yes, they could!
At this time, my dear wife and I had already been struggling with one another for quite some time, which soon enough resulted in a bitter divorce.
Fast forward on that saga, after the divorce was complete, in December 2016, I decided to escape to Bali for a couple of weeks of recovery, rest and hoped to find myself again.
Was it the trip to Bali, inspiration, or pure luck?
We’ll never know the answer to that question, but thankfully, something remarkable happened.
As I touched down in La Guardia airport on a snowy cold night, I immediately checked my inbox (as you do) and among the many emails was an email from a Heath Coaching Institute inviting me to check out their program.
Once I arrived at my home, I did just that, and the next day I immediately signed up for the 6-month course. It turns out this program was all about ancestral health and the so-called “Primal Methods.”
What does that mean?
Well, it’s all about how our ancestors ‘had to live, eat, and move” their bodies. In essence, this was a 100% natural way of living without any luxuries and food options other than what they hunted and gathered themselves.
I found this exciting and baffling at the same time. So I dug into the course, studied like crazy to complete it in record time, within 3-months. During these 3-months, I shed the entire 25kg of excess weight as I changed my food. I ditched all forms of sugars, carbs, and even (yes) fruit and smoothies. I was amazed at how fast I lost weight. But I did, and I felt great, physically and mentally.
I stayed on my meds throughout this period, and it didn’t cross my mind to think about dropping them. Why would I? They were my safety net, my life, after all!
The unexpected happened.
July 2017 came around, and I decided to head back to Bali to create content for my new blog. The plan was to stay a month and return to New York. I fell in love with Bali and stayed longer, much longer. After that first month, my meds ran out. Oops, what now, I thought? Will I get a doctor to prescribe this vast amount of medicine, and how much would that set me back if so? My budget was tight!
That was when I decided to leave the meds alone and see how I’d cope without them. The meds ran out one by one; but I was fine and felt better than ever.
After a month free of medication, I realized that I wasn’t experiencing acid reflux or heartburn anymore. None! That’s when I comprehended that the change of diet brought this on. I had eliminated all sugars from my system, both in the form of direct sugar intake and carbohydrates, which turn into glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream.
There’s not much room for speculation here. It was 100% apparent that the complete removal of sugars healed my acid reflux and heartburn.
Here I am writing this today, 5-years later on, and still in Bali, I haven’t had one single episode of acid reflux attack or heartburn since I stopped the medication. That’s a fact, and I’m the living proof of it!
Food is the Culprit AND your Medicine too!
Educate yourself and choose your food wisely, as it can change everything for better or worse.
Thanks for reading,