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When a box meal equates to a GERD blunder

Note: While reading this, please keep in mind cooking is not my friend. I could burn almost anything, and trying to season things does not usually work well for me. This was an attempt to fix that with mixed results. 🙂

The other day, I was in the grocery store and passed a freezer chest with meal kits in it. It was one of those kits that has all the ingredients and instructions on how to make the meal. It had chicken, cheese, seasoning, scallops, and more in it. They were also having a sale on them!

I decided that this would be a fun way to try making something healthy. It might also be a good way to improve my cooking skills (I would put cooking as one of my top 5 weaknesses). 🙂 I took a look at the options. I will be honest: I couldn’t pronounce half of the gourmet cuisines in the freezer case. I am not well versed in fancy food. I ended up with the Chicken Adobo Flautas. The picture on the front looked good. There were tomatoes in the picture, but I figured I could pick them off for my plate. Note: I realize now that I probably should have read the ingredients list a little closer….

My ready made meal kit, ready for cooking!

When I opened the box, I was excited to see how all the ingredients were in perfect proportion. No guessing amounts. However, I was dismayed to see not only tomatoes but a lime and spicy seasoning. However, I decided to still try it. Right away I burned the chicken (not that unusual for me) and set off the fire alarm. I also realized the recipe called for juicing the lime and soaking the tomato in it. Tomatoes are bad for GERD, and so is citrus. So these citrus soaked tomatoes had heartburn written all over it. To top it off, both the chicken and the sour cream had spicy components to them. I debated even trying it, but it smelled so good and I didn’t rally have any other good dinner options.

The finished meal! It looks a little different than the one on the box….

I tried taking a few bites, and it tasted good! So I ate a bit more. It wasn’t long before I was in agony. My stomach felt like it had fire ants in it. I gave the rest of my food to my husband, and went to my trusty Tums. It took awhile before my stomach decided to simmer down. Although I was in pain, I learned a valuable lesson. Before I decide to buy another meal kit I should really check the ingredients list. 🙂

-Aurora

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My Diet Plan – Part 1

Alright, it is time to get serious. I know I need to be eating better, that the person who works at the local Einstein’s Bagels should not know me on a first name basis. It has been a slow road down this hole of fast and convenient foods. I know better: I know a lot about nutrition and how the body works. I used to be much better about my diet. However, commitments and time constraints had me making every excuse why I should just head over to DQ for my lunch.

My goals for this diet have several prongs:

  1. Get my GERD (diagnosed) under control
  2. Have a diet that will help with heart disease (no diagnosis, but a family history).
  3. Try to reverse any damage already done to my heart
  4. Prevent diabetes (a strong fear I will get it)
  5. Beat my sugar addiction (self diagnosed)
  6. Prepare my body for pregnancy (went through it once with issues)

Breaking it Down

With all these goals, it was tough deciding which diet plan I was going to follow. I decided to go with the DASH diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, ” Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an eating plan to lower or control high blood pressure” (Mayo Clinic, 2019). I have tried this plan before with good results, and many other members of my family are on it. While I do not have high blood pressure at this time, it runs in the family so I would like to nip HBP in the bud. I have also read that this diet can be good for those with pre-diabetes. Once again, I am not pre-diabetic as far as I know. However, I have a fear that my sugar cravings will one day take it’s toll on my pancreas. To help it out, I want to take the precautionary measures that someone with pre-diabetes may take.

There is mixed research out there on whether or not plaque buildup in the heart can be reversed. However, I found a couple of articles that talked about foods that can help reduce plaque buildup. Because the foods they listed are already considered healthy, I feel there is no harm in incorporating them into my meal plans. No harm in trying!

For GERD, there is no set diet plan. From the research I have done, the best thing to do when you have GERD is to avoid overly acidic food. I will modify the DASH diet to eliminate things like tomatoes, ketchup, citrus items, and such.

With regards to sugar addiction, pretty much the best way to beat that is to cut out sugar. I plan to drastically reduce my sugar intake, which is part of the DASH diet anyways. I hope to curb the sugar cravings naturally with fruit. I feel that this may be one of the toughest parts of this plan. Lets hope it goes well!

Preparing for pregnancy is to take a prenatel vitamin for at least 6 months before getting pregnant. According to the doctor I talked to, it can take that long for the needed vitamins (especially folic acid) to build up in the system. I have been taking a prenatal vitamin, but I have not been very consistent. As part of my plan I want to make sure I am consistently taking the vitamin so I am ready for baby #2.

I will be doing a Part 2 that will have more details of the DASH diet. 🙂 Stay tuned!

-Aurora

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My GERD Story

GERD (which stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a condition where the bile from the stomach overflows into the tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. THe lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is the “lid” that keeps the bile within the stomach. With GERD, the LES doesn’t close all the way and the bile backs up into the esophagus. In other words: GERD is pretty much strong, constant heartburn.

GERD Trigger Foods
All of these are no-go when you have GERD

There are a variety of symptoms that can come along with GERD. When I was first diagnosed with the condition, I was having chronic stomach pains. I would eat a bite or two of something, then have to stop because of the pain. About that time, several people in my family were having their gallbladders removed due to a variety of issues. I thought my symptoms were the result of my own gallbladder issues. I went to my doctor, and he diagnosed me at that time with GERD. I had never heard of GERD, and was really surprised that it wasn’t my gallbladder. I learned that tomatoes and citrus were triggers for GERD, so I went home and immediately got rid of anything that had those items in it. It took about 2 weeks, but I started feeling so much better. This was about 5 years ago. I am happy to report that I have not needed to go on GERD medication in that time.

However, in the past year, I have been cheating on my GERD more than I should. A slice of pizza there, a piece of lemon cake there. I have also noticed my symptoms creeping up again. The familiar pang of heartburn that directly correlates to my lapses in food judgement. If left unchecked, GERD can cause serious problems with the esophagus. It can cause corrosion, and possibly even cancer. As I take this path to my best self, it is important that I get this under control. I do not want to have problems in the future, knowing full well that I could have taken care of them here and now.

The best way to treat GERD is with a healthy diet, although I have to cut out tomatoes which is normally considered healthy. Obesity can also contribute to GERD, so managing weight is also important. I do have a weight problem, so getting that under control will help.

That being said, pretty much any healthy diet coupled with eliminating trigger foods will work for managing GERD. I plan to use the DASH diet (see the other post for information) with some modifications.

I hope that this part of my journey will find my GERD symptoms eliminated, and a happy esophagus. 🙂

-Aurora