Heartburn Prevention Plan

November 19, 2022

Today we want to help you make the connection between what you are eating and acid reflux. At least 1/3 of people taking heartburn medication still have a burning sensation in their throat and chest, so if this is you, you’re not alone. In this show, we’ll cover what is happening in the body when you have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), the digestive disorder that causes heartburn along with other uncomfortable symptoms, and we’ll give you some options of what you can do with dietary changes and supplements to find relief.

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Melanie Beasley, and I'm a registered and licensed dietitian. If you experience GERD or gastroesophageal reflux, the digestive disorder that causes heartburn along with other uncomfortable symptoms, you're going to want to stay tuned today.

For your heartburn, perhaps you're taking one of the popular medications that's supposed to keep that heartburn at bay, but you are still having symptoms. Let me reassure you, if you have acid reflux, you are not alone because at least a third of people taking heartburn medication still have a burning sensation in their throat or their chest. They still have terrible heartburn.

Well, what does research tell us about medication and acid reflux? A study conducted by Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services, found that half of the GERD patients who took over the counter medication called proton pump inhibitors, still had persistent symptoms. For many, medication was just not the answer for their heartburn.

Today, we'll focus on some nutritional solutions that may give you some relief. Again, I’m Melanie Beasley. I've been in the field of nutrition for over 30 years, and I have seen so many clients struggling with acid reflux, and I am pleased to say I have been able to help most of these clients. I know, Leah, you have as well.

LEAH: Absolutely.

MELANIE: Of course, it takes some commitment and work on the part of the client, but we do see great success. Some clients do better after they give up alcohol and while others pizza is the food that causes heartburn. Listeners, what food do you need to give up as you hear me talking? Is there some that comes to mind for you personally?

Joining me today as our cohost is Leah Kleinschrodt, who is also a registered and licensed dietitian, who has been with NWW for the past eight years. She's also the mother of Landon, who's four, and baby Carli, who's nine months. I remember those busy years, Leah. They're the best. So how do you keep it all together and have the energy to do what you need to do and how you help your clients?

LEAH: Hmm. Well, I don't know who's telling you lies that I have it all together all the time. But I'm happy to share a couple of little things that I know for me, I really need to focus on these days. I mean, the reality is where I'm at in my life that I need to really prioritize sleep, and I do need to prioritize my nutrition. I have to go to bed early because going to bed, that is the one part of my sleep these days that I get to control. Unfortunately, I don't get to control how many times I get up during the night, how many feedings I need to do, how many, like when I get up in the morning.

MELANIE: I was going to say, how are you controlling your sleep with all those feedings?

LEAH: Yeah, exactly. And that's the thing, you can't. It, that part’s up to the baby. It's funny how toddlers seem to have like just an extra early alarm wake up clock these days. But, so I control what I can there and I can control going to bed early. That's the part I can control. So I know I need to do that, but I also know I need to eat well and eat balanced, because when you also kind of have this baseline of sleep deprivation, it is easy to get swayed one way or the other, or to get a little off track.

And so I do have to concentrate on eating well, not just grabbing any old thing that I can out of the pantry, but that doesn't mean that everything looks all put together all the time. I'll, I'm just going to give an example. Actually, yesterday I was home with the kids and for my lunch I just kind of had to cobble something together.

What I did was I grabbed some of Landon's leftover scrambled eggs that he didn't eat at breakfast, threw a chicken sausage into that bowl. So there's my protein. I had the eggs and the chicken sausage for the protein. I grabbed some raw celery sticks out of the fridge, grabbed myself a jar of peanut butter and then rounded it off with a little banana.

MELANIE: All real food.

LEAH: All real food. Definitely not five-star restaurant worthy by any means, but it also did not leave me roaming the kitchen, you know, after an hour or two looking for something else to eat.

MELANIE: Or exhausted because your blood sugar dropped. I mean you definitely had control over what you were eating.

LEAH: Yep, exactly. And when I eat that way, I stay in control. So vice versa. I mean, it just comes full circle there.

MELANIE: Wonderful.

LEAH: Yep. So I always am looking through that lens of real food and making sure I hit that equation of protein, carbs, fat, and rounding it all out. So now we just, you know, had Halloween a few weeks ago and we still have the Halloween candy in my house. Landon: he's four. He just really started getting the hang of the trick or treating thing. He was so proud of everything that he got in his bucket. So those Halloween candies are still hanging around our house. And I know I've looked at some of those labels and I know if I were to eat even just a couple of those pieces, that energy right now for me is so precious. If I had something like that, I know that's going to tank my energy later on.

And I also have a sensitive digestive tract. My digestion lets me know when it doesn't appreciate what I fed it. So I really have to try to avoid these little candy treats as much as possible. And that doesn't mean I don't have nothing. I love chocolate as much as the next person. So I will buy the dark chocolate. So thinking 85, even 90% dark chocolate. So it's low in sugar. It has only good fats in it.

MELANIE: Perfect.

LEAH: And yeah, and two or three of those little pieces, maybe it's dipped in a little almond butter, peanut butter along the way. But those type of things do not set off my cravings and don't take my energy.

MELANIE: And that's the thing is when you are having that candy that's in the Halloween bucket, I always tell my clients, it's going to set you up for two days of cravings.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: And so it's too hard to have that Halloween candy around and have cravings. It sets you up for some pretty darn sense of failure in on your dietary intake because you know you shouldn't. And then you do it. And you know too much.

LEAH: Yeah, exactly. Well, and it's easy to just spiral after that. And for a lot of people it's easier just not to start. And I am one of those people I do better sometimes when I just don't start and I don't open that door.

MELANIE: Me too. If I open the door, it's Pandora's box. It's just too easy. Well, I've seen some pictures on Facebook and your children are absolutely beautiful. You don't make you unattractive babies. And I know that you're doing a wonderful job taking care of those babies. You know so much. You're so brilliant, and they just are amazing little creatures that you have.

LEAH: Thank you.

MELANIE: Congratulations on your happy family. I love those pictures. Keep them coming.

LEAH: Yep.

Gluten: a possible root cause behind acid reflux


MELANIE: Well, today we want to help everyone make the connection between what you're eating and acid reflux. First, let's look at the science about acid reflux to determine some possible root causes. It may surprise you that research from the NIH, the National Institute of Health, found a connection between eating gluten grains and acid reflux. This study was published in PubMed in 2008 14 years ago. And the study's conclusion was that the gluten-free diet is very useful in reducing GERD symptoms. Yes. I'm going to say it again. The study found, and it still stands true today, that it reduces GERD when you go gluten-free.

So 14 years ago, a well organized and funded study definitely made that connection for us and helps to reduce symptoms of acid reflux when you go gluten free. Leah, I know we have discussed this gluten connection many times, our conference calls. You know the connection as well.

LEAH: Yep, yep. Yeah. And I would say though, I did not know that connection before I started working at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. It was, I mean, conventional, still that conventional mindset. And when I started working here, it just opened my eyes to so many other things that we do have control over that can cause those reflux types of symptoms.

So now when I am working with a client, so again, they're coming to me. Maybe acid reflux is their primary concern, or maybe it's just kind of one in the list of things. The first recommendation that I often work with people on is even just getting rid of the processed carbs, the processed foods in general. And the thing is, when you do that, a lot of that gluten goes out the door with it, right?

MELANIE: Yes, absolutely.

LEAH: Yeah. So even just that focus of getting rid of the processed stuff, so many of my clients get even complete relief just by focusing on that, even if a little gluten does come in here and there. Now, if they've gotten rid of a lot of those processed foods, but there's still a little gluten hanging in there, and maybe we still have some of those symptoms hanging on, or we're just not quite where they want to be, that's when we take that next step up and say, all right, let's take gluten out completely, see what we notice over the next couple of weeks.

And if that still isn't quite even solving the problem for people, that is where then we’ll make maybe one more step and say grain-free altogether. And you know, we'll kind of circle back into this on the other side of break, but, and we'll define kind of what gluten-free and grain-free means, but just know that it's not, just because one thing didn't work doesn't mean we don't have more tools in our tool belt.

MELANIE: We do. We have a lot of tools.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: Well, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Looking back through the past 18 years of nutritional information that we have shared, our one message that has remained the same is to eat real food, grass fed meat or wild caught fish, lots and lots of organic vegetables, and add a tablespoon of natural fat with each meal and snack. Yum. What do you get when you eat this way? Better health, more energy, good mood, nice looking skin and a sharp memory. All from eating real food. It's amazing, isn't it? We'll be right back.


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Many of you listen every week and we thank you for listening. We also know that the pandemic shut down has been very difficult for many people. Under stress, many people turn to alcohol and processed foods, or both. We had time to cook, but just maybe didn't feel like having that energy to put in that effort.

Now you want to get back on track so you can feel good again. During our next few going to and from break segments, we are going to propose several different solutions for getting back on track. So be sure to keep your ears perked for those little segments. And the beauty of it is you get to pick the solution that fits for you. You get to decide what makes the most sense.

MELANIE: You get to be the boss of your body.

LEAH: Absolutely.

MELANIE: Yeah, for sure.

LEAH: Yeah. And it's always nice to have that control because that means you can change the trajectory of things.

MELANIE: And your own timing too, which we do that with our clients. Sometimes they want to do a hundred percent. Sometimes they want to ease their toe in the water until they get used to it. And that you get to decide.

Guidelines for going gluten free


LEAH: Yep. I use that, that saying a lot, Mel. Like the toe in the water or like jump off the dock kind of thing. So yes. So listeners, before we went to our first break, we were just talking about some of those first initial steps that we take with clients to help them get that relief from GERD, from those reflux, from symptoms, from that burning sensation. So we talked about removing processed carbs and just processed foods in general as that first step. Then we say, okay, if that hasn't quite cleared things up, maybe we have to go a hundred percent gluten free. Now what does that mean? When we say gluten free we mean the big one is no wheat. Wheat is in so much, right.

MELANIE: Wheat really affects people.

LEAH: Yep. So no wheat, barley, rye. And then we also take oats out also, and we will, we'll talk a little bit more about oats and oatmeal a little later on in the show. But kind of those four things, wheat being the big one, so that's gluten free.

Guidelines for going grain free


And if that's still not quite getting people where they want to be, then maybe we look at even grain free for a few weeks. Like take two or three weeks and take out all grains, even the gluten-free ones. So that means none of the gluten containing grains, but also probably usually take out rice and corn being the other big ones.

MELANIE: And I know our listeners are feeling this is a daunting task, which is why we try to be part of your team.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: So that we can define what does that look like in a meal.

LEAH: Exactly.

MELANIE: There's plenty to eat out there. There is plenty. You just have to be able to put it together and when you get relief in the end, it motivates you.

LEAH: Absolutely. Yeah, exactly. Like you said, Mel, it's when you can figure out what to eat, then it makes a lot, it makes it seem a little more doable than all the things that you have to remove.

MELANIE: You know, and I like to tell my clients that when you start eating real food and you're eating meat and you're eating vegetables and you're eating fruit and you're eating fats and you're eating nuts and healthy oils, you are essentially gluten free.

LEAH: Yeah. Yep.

MELANIE: So you focus on what you can eat and not so much on what we're removing. And then you'll see greater success. Don't you find that to be true?

LEAH: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Again, it's even shifting that mindset again away from more restriction and, but still keeping those doors open as to what you can eat. Because like you said, there is a huge variety out there that you can still have.


LEAH: So if you want to reduce some of those symptoms of acid reflux, the first step is again, taking out the things like the breads, the pasta, pizza, rolls, hamburger buns, things like that. And then, you know, it might take a few weeks, might take a little longer, but this is just the test to be able to remove those gluten grains, see if it affects you.

MELANIE: Absolutely. I think that's a big, it's a big step for a lot of people based on what they have been eating, but it's worth it if you feel better.

LEAH: Absolutely.

MELANIE: I remember a client that came to me about a year ago, and she had something called Barrett’s Esophagus, which is when you've had acid reflux and that acid pouring into the esophagus where it's not supposed to be, it can set up some scar tissue and actually a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. And she had three different surgeries to correct it. And the doctor said, I cannot help you anymore. We cannot do another surgery. Well, when you have that kind of surgery, it does set up some scar tissue. And so the little flap between the esophagus and her stomach just didn't close. And she kept having acid reflux. You can imagine it's terrifying.

LEAH: Yeah.

MELANIE: So we worked together, did exactly what Leah was just talking about, got her on real food, got her off of gluten. We did have to remove dairy, got her eating a lot better, and she stopped having that acid reflux. So with the Barrett’s Esophagus, we did have to keep her on the medication, you know, working with her doctor, but she was able to reduce it dramatically.

LEAH: Yeah.

MELANIE: And that was a big deal. So for a lot of people, they might have to have their esophagus stretched and that can also create that acid reflux. So then you have to work with what your physician is doing with you and also what you're eating so that you don't end up in that situation.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: Heartburn is more than just a need for Tums. It can really have some detrimental effects.

LEAH: Yep. Absolutely. Yeah. That's a great story that again, even if she still needed some of that medication, she still was able to get relief by changing what she was doing nutritionally.

MELANIE: Yes. And she wasn't having breakthrough heartburn anymore.

LEAH: So nice to have that relief. Now, the harmful effects of gluten, we're circling it back to gluten now, you know, it's been in the news several years, I mean, for even longer than that. But for many, it's that those breads, the pastas, the crackers, the pizza. These things are very common in the standard American diet. And some people recognize it, but often people don't recognize that it's that protein, gluten, that's found primarily in wheat, but also in some of those other little areas like the barley, rye and the oats that cause inflammation throughout the entire body.

But also especially in the digestive system, because that wheat is, it's, I mean, it's touching your digestive tract, so of course it makes sense that it's going to cause inflammation there also. That leads to the acid reflux. Researchers have found that over 30% of people with a gluten sensitivity experience those GERD symptoms.

MELANIE: I even see in clinic, it's much higher than that.

LEAH: Oh, absolutely.

MELANIE: You know, if you think about it, none of those foods occur naturally in nature. They're all processed foods. And so processed foods is really where we're getting the inflammation of the gluten in the grains.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: So if we focus on foods that you can pluck or hunt, you're going to be okay. It usually makes a big difference when we remove that gluten that causes inflammation and then they feel less inflamed all over their body. And they can even think better because their brain fog straightens out. And who doesn't need that?

LEAH: Absolutely.

MELANIE: Well, do you have more energy when you remove gluten grains, would you say Leah? I would say yes.

LEAH: Oh yeah. I see that all the time in clinic.

MELANIE: Less acid reflux that we talked about. And many women are in the habit of having cheese and crackers before bed, and they wake up with acid reflux. Or maybe their teen is eating cereal and milk for breakfast and has acid reflux all day in school. Well, as a dietitian, we look for little signs of food intolerances that can give us clues as to how to help our clients. It's kind of what we do. We're detectives.

LEAH: Yep. Yep. We got to be those detectives. And the longer you do it, the more you kind of know what to look for too.

MELANIE: Comes a little easier.

Is oatmeal healthy?


LEAH: Yep. Yeah. So let's pick this apart a little bit further. Let's talk about oatmeal.

MELANIE: She’s going to go there with oatmeal. She going to talk about the beloved oatmeal of America.

LEAH: I'm going to go there with oatmeal. You know, we've been told in the past that oatmeal is a health food. It's high in fiber. It's low in fat. It's going to help you reduce your cholesterol. I mean, it gets a gold star all around, right?

MELANIE: It does.

LEAH: Yeah. But, and it might be for some people that oatmeal might be fine, especially if you balance it out with some of the proteins and the fats that we talk about. But along say like you take a cup of cooked oatmeal, which I think is kind of an underestimate for some people in what they're eating, but a cup of that cooked oatmeal has a couple grams of fiber, but along with it comes about 30 grams of carbohydrates.

MELANIE: And you know, Leah, I would love listeners who are oatmeal eaters, my challenge today is measure it and put it into a bowl and see where you are. And I want to talk more about that oatmeal when we get back from break. It's time for a second break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Here is solution number one for getting back on track: schedule several getting back on track appointments with one of our many nutritionists.

If you are an “I can't stop at just one person”, Teresa might be your nutritionist. If you have pain and inflammation, I can help you. If you have or have dealt with cancer, Kelly understands. If you want to connect in Spanish, Monica's your nutritionist. So there's also Leah, my cohost, Brandy, Alyssa, Nikki, Kristi, Britni and Amy all ready to get you back on track, stay on track so you can feel better again. Call us at (651) 699-3438 to sign up. We'll be right back.

Schedule Nutrition Counseling


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If a class would help you get back on track, you may want to look at our Nutrition for Weight Loss foundation's 12 week series of classes. These get back on track classes are in person at each office starting in January. If you prefer virtual, we have many options for you as well.

So maybe you're in Northern Minnesota and you want to join us by Zoom, or you're in Florida and want to join us by Zoom. Or even if you just want that support, but you don't want to go out in the dark and the cold, especially here in Minnesota in January, it kind of gets that way; we've got Zoom classes for you. So if that's an interest to you, you can call us at 651-699-3438 to save your spot.

Sign up for Nutrition 4 Weight Loss

MELANIE: It sure is fun when you're talking to people on a Zoom class, it sure is fun to find out that people are from all over the state, the all over the States.

LEAH: Yeah.

MELANIE: Talking to you.

LEAH: Yeah.

MELANIE: I love it.

LEAH: Yep. Exactly. So yes, it's, it brings a different perspective; just paints another color in that class.


LEAH: So, yeah. So before we went to break, we were picking apart the oatmeal topic a little bit, saying, you know, it, it really might work for some people, especially when you balance out the carbs in that oatmeal with the protein and the fats that we talk about. But for others, it really kind of creates a blood sugar disaster right from the get go and can set people up to have heartburn, whether that's now or later on in the day.

I find many clients, again, they might get that deer in the headlights look a little bit when we're talking about getting the oatmeal out of their breakfast routine. But again, once their GERD is gone, they're all in, they feel better. They're like, I can do this.

MELANIE: Pain motivates.

LEAH: Pain absolutely motivates. The one thing I will ask clients is, can we shift you to a savory breakfast? Especially if they're struggling with those sugar or those sweets cravings; when you start your day with something savory. So think along the lines of like our turkey breakfast sausage recipe with some sauteed veggies like cabbage and peppers and sauté that all with butter or coconut oil, that good healthy fat. When you start that day with a savory breakfast, it sets you up so that you don't have those sugar cravings, those sweets cravings. And your blood sugar is balanced right away in the beginning of the day.

MELANIE: And your palate kind of changes.

LEAH: It does.

MELANIE: Right. When you start thinking out of the box of having breakfast foods for breakfast, pretty soon your pallet follows along and you start craving those foods for breakfast.

LEAH: Yep. Yeah, I noticed the same thing. It's, it doesn't take that long. It takes even just a couple of days and your taste buds really start to change.

MELANIE: I know my husband the other day had some smoked salmon. And, I thought, well, that's a delicious idea.

LEAH: Yeah. That is delicious. I love that. So when you can fix that breakfast, when we can get some of that gluten out of there, those acid reflux symptoms usually disappear. And then what tends to happen is there's a natural experiment that comes along at a later point. You know, maybe you forgot a lunch, or you're just kind of out in the middle of nowhere. You need to get a sub sandwich for lunch or the pizza, like one time a month calls your name.

Well, you bring that back in and then, I mean, my clients will notice that immediately. Like you have that flare. You get that burning sensation again. And they're like, oh yeah. That's why I was doing what I was doing before.

MELANIE: Yeah. And when you have a client come to you and say, well, I only got a little bit of heartburn, what I like to tell them is a little bit of heartburn means there's a whole lot of inflammation. So by the time you get a symptom, it is your body's flare gun that it cannot handle any more inflammation. It's not a little bit of heartburn. It's a spillover of all that inflammation that has built up in your entire body.

LEAH: Yeah.

MELANIE: And so it's a big deal. We don't want to keep building inflammation.

LEAH: Right. Absolutely. That's, I mean, that's a really great way to look at that is like, no, your body can no longer keep a cap on that inflammation anymore, and that's when you start to get symptoms.

MELANIE: Yeah. Yeah. So it's, we want our clients to be overall healthy. And so they get to choose. Right? I tell them once we get you healed, you get to choose what you're going to do with that. But let's get you to a place of healing before we start tipping into the little cheats here and there.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: Yeah. I encourage clients to run a little experiment or test on their own body and digestive system. So listeners, if you are a reader, a great book for you to get an overview of how gluten can cause a variety of health problems is Gluten Freedom by Alessio Fasano. Easy for me to say. He is the leading researcher on the harmful effects of gluten.

If you would rather watch a video, nutritionist, Cassie Weness, gives you a detailed instruction on Going Gluten Free the Healthy Way, which is listed as a virtual class on our Weight and Wellness website. Cassie is a dietitian and a mom of two teens who are both gluten sensitive. And as a baby, her son had terrible GERD until he was diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity and suddenly stopped and all the foods containing gluten were taken out. And now Cassie is a total believer. She's so passionate about educating others on the gluten issue.

Going Gluten Free the Healthy Way-Online Class

LEAH: Yep. And I remember, I've heard her story so many times about that and about how her kids were that main driving factor for the family going gluten-free. But I remember her telling that story once and she said, when I heard that news that we had to get rid of gluten, I cried. And so again, like even us as dietitians, sometimes it's not easy or like to try to wrap your brain around some of the changes that we have to make, but it's possible. And sometimes when you can again step it in or have that person walking with you on being your cheerleader on your team, as you were saying before, it makes that process a lot more doable.

MELANIE: It does. Initially you, you do feel that just like you said, a deer in the headlights. Well, what am I going to eat? But that's why you have us.

Other foods that can lead to acid reflux


LEAH: Exactly. Let's chat about what other foods can lead to those acid reflux symptoms. One of those is fast food. I guess that's more of a category than a food in particular. But think about fast food because I mean, number one, hello gluten. And then think about all the additives, the refined and damaged fats that those foods are cooked in. And then the high sugar content. Pizza is certainly another acid reflux culprit. Chips and other processed snack foods: those will also lead to that burning, those acid reflux symptoms.

MELANIE: I remember when my daughter was 16, she got a job in a local fast food restaurant.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

MELANIE: I wanted to cry. But I had her bring me some labels. I cannot tell you the amount of ingredients that were not food in all of the food. I tried to find one thing that while she's at work, she could eat. There was not one thing that didn't have 25 different chemicals. Even if it was something just like a tater tot.

LEAH: Oh my goodness.

MELANIE: And it, it was astounding to me. So I like to say, no food comes through a window because it's so inflammatory.

LEAH: Yeah.

Low stomach acid is associated with acid reflux


MELANIE: So when you experience acid reflux or heartburn, many of you may wonder what went wrong. I feel like I have too much acid, but then I take acid reducing medication and it helps at first and then it gets worse. Too much acid is actually another myth. In fact, we don't have enough acid to break down and digest our foods. Dr. Jonathan Wright, a well known integrative doctor, reported that after testing hundreds of patients aged 40 years and older, over 90% of those patients had low stomach acid.

Let me say that again. Over 90% of those patients had low stomach acid. We need a certain amount of acid to break down and digest our food. We need it to make our B vitamins and to protect us from bacteria. I know that you have found the same thing.

LEAH: Yep. Absolutely. And it's, yeah, it just seems so counterintuitive, right? Because you feel that acid. You feel that burning so it to our brains, it makes logical sense. I have too much. I need to get rid of all this acid. That's what's going to help me long term.

MELANIE: And you're desperate. You want to shut it down.

LEAH: Yep. And so that, I want to just maybe take that even a step further because this was a question that came up in our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Facebook page just the other week. Somebody asked, “Okay, I, I get the idea that reflux is an issue with low stomach acid, or it is an issue for a lot of people that you have low stomach acid, actually, but when I go on a PPI or an acid blocking medication, my symptoms go away. So when I suppress stomach acid, my symptoms go away. Well, why is that If it's a low stomach acid issue to begin with?”


LEAH: Yeah. So it's again, like our logical brains kind of go down that road. So I typed this response and had to explain that what's really happening, actually. So there's that doorway. You've mentioned this before, Mel, with your client who had her esophagus stretch; that lower part of the esophagus, there's this doorway, that sphincter, between your esophagus and your stomach, that is supposed to stay closed unless you are swallowing food or burping, basically.

MELANIE: Yes. We're not supposed to get acid up into the esophagus.

LEAH: Exactly. So that is supposed to stay closed. But when that door is left cracked open, even just a little bit, that's when you can get that acid coming back up into the esophagus. And that's what you feel with that burning. And I know we do have to take another break. I will continue that thought or explain that a little bit thoroughly on, on the other side.

MELANIE: Yeah. I think it's so important to understand the mechanism.

LEAH: Yeah.

MELANIE: So I love that you're addressing that. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Need another option to get back on track? Join our Ongoing Support and Education series of classes. If you like the support of others, join our in-person classes available at each of… if you like that support of others, join our in-person classes available at each of our locations.

If you're out of town and prefer a Zoom class, we have several options for you. We have got your back. You know, we know that when you are eating real food and avoiding processed junk food, you feel so much better. And then you are on track. We'll be right back.

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LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. There is no drug that produces the health benefits of real food. We have all gone through stressful times, but the best stress breaker is sitting down to a meal of grass fed meat, organic vegetables, all cooked in some butter or healthy fat of your choice. Want to know more about your getting back on track option? Check out our website: weightandwellness.com or give us a call at (651) 699-3438 if you just need that friendly ear to talk things through with. Make your decision this week so you have that spot saved for January, especially if you're looking through some of those classes.

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All right. So Mel, you and I, we were talking about before break about a question that came up in our Nutrition for Weight Loss Facebook group. I'll just rehash that real quick. She said, “Okay, if you have low stomach acid and that's the cause of reflux symptoms, why do you feel better sometimes when you go on those acid blocking medications that lower stomach acid even further?”

MELANIE: Great question.

LEAH: Yep. So I was explaining that there's this little doorway between your esophagus, that food tube into your stomach. It's supposed to stay closed, but when it gets cracked open even a little bit, it leaves room for that stomach acid. Even if there's only a little bit in there, it leaves room for that stomach acid to come back up into the esophagus. And that burning is that little bit of acid coming up and creating havoc in that esophagus.

Sufficient stomach acid is important to reduce acid reflux


So what keeps that door closed? That's the ultimate question. We need enough stomach acid to keep that door closed. When we don't have enough stomach acid, that's what causes less pressure in your abdominal space. And it allows that door to fall open just a little bit. And you get more of those symptoms.


LEAH: So we need enough acid to close that door. And so even some of our simple remedies, and Mel, you were talking through some of the things that you do. Like what are some things that you do to try to keep that door closed?

MELANIE: I kind of start with the basics. Well, I love acidophilus and we'll talk about that.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: But removing the culprit of irritation, which we talked about, the gluten-free, grain-free. Possibly even dairy-free. Depends on the individual.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: But one of the remedies I like is just a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water just right before you eat. And that little bit of apple cider vinegar shuts that door.

LEAH: Yeah. It's that acid.

MELANIE: It's the acid. And so people are, it seems so counterintuitive. It seems so scary. But I just say trust the process. Let's see how your body responds. Sometimes You had talked about using digestive bitters.

LEAH: Yep. That's another one. The apple cider vinegar, the digestive bitters for a lot of people can be helpful. Digestive enzymes in general; anything that increases that acid or helps your body even produce a little more acid on its own will help shut that door and shuts down those reflux symptoms.

MELANIE: And these are foods that we don't necessarily incorporate anymore in our diet.

LEAH: Mm-hmm. So you alluded to this a little bit about the probiotics piece. So now we've talked about a lot of things that we have to try to take out to remove that inflammation and to remove those symptoms of reflux. Let's talk about what we can add to help with the reflux.

What to add to heal acid reflux


MELANIE: And that helps with the healing process.

LEAH: It does, absolutely. And today, there is just a variety of nutrition information out there about the importance of probiotics in general. And you can do that one of two ways. You can get it through food, which is how a lot of our ancestors did it. And this is stuff like sauerkraut, kimchi. Sometimes for people, yogurt can help. But usually I try to go, I try to push for people to do more the vegetables, the fermented vegetables. Yeah, exactly.

So you can either do it through food or we can do it through a supplement. And this is, as a company, we encourage both. And we have clients that are tend to kind go one way or the other. So some people are willing to commit to eating one to two servings of those fermented veggies every day. Other people just need that simplicity or like that more straightforwardness of a supplement. And that's what keeps them consistent and helps them keep their symptoms at bay.

MELANIE: Yeah. Sometimes it's easier to… Well, to understand those probiotics, we need different probiotics in various areas of the intestinal tract to assist in intestinal function. Here's what happens: we eat food, we chew it, and it goes down into the stomach and into the small intestinal tract. No surprises here.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

MELANIE: And finally into the colon or large intestine. Bifido bacteria is the probiotic that helps digest foods in the small intestine. Bifido Balance helps to reduce sugar cravings. And many clients take two Bifido Balance capsules before each meal to support that digestive process and helps them also have a little more energy.

For clients with acid reflux. I love to have them add two to three Acidophilus capsules at bedtime to support that stomach digestion through the night. So that's the master player. And you'll notice that acidophilus starts with the word acid. So we think probiotic, but it's helps with that acid. Both bifidobacteria and acidophilus support digestion. They're kind of key.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely key. And you mentioned we have capsule forms of both the bifido and the acidophilus. Some of my clients prefer to use a powder probiotic, especially maybe if they're having trouble swallowing or they're just not a pill person, whatever the case may be. We have powder versions of both the Bifido and the Dophilus, and either is just fine.

MELANIE: And the powder doesn't really have a taste.

LEAH: No, the powders don't have a taste. You mix it in a little bit of water; down the hatch, it goes. Easy peasy. For most, the solution to control acid reflux is to give up those processed foods, the processed carbs, maybe all the gluten foods have to go as well. Limit the alcohol, the sugar, the fast foods, the pizzas, any of those things that cause that inflammation. Then add in the probiotics. For others, changing diet can be challenging, I'd say for many who come to our door.


LEAH: It's a challenge to undertake that on your own. So maybe several appointments, you know, every couple of weeks, just to make a plan, hone it a little bit over those couple of weeks, and then be able to take off from there is really helpful for people.

MELANIE: If we can just get them started and healed, then we can say, okay, what do you miss? And what are alternatives? And we're here to support, not to finger wag at you.

LEAH: Absolutely.

MELANIE: That's what we want to do.

LEAH: Meet everybody where they're at. And I've noticed for some of my clients who have been on acid reducing medication, maybe they need extra probiotics, or maybe they need Key Digestive Enzymes or just more of that digestive enzyme support. And they need that ongoing support just to remain reflux free for the long term. Sometimes even just that little glass of wine or the cheese and the crackers at the holiday party sets off that acid reflux again.

MELANIE: And then it's ruining your holidays. And I like to tell clients, let's heal you.

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: Get you healed. And then we'll look, what do you miss? What do we want to incorporate? How is this going to work for you going forward?

LEAH: Yep.

MELANIE: And as we head into the holiday eating, there are many foods for you to enjoy. I love mashed potatoes. Enjoy them with some butter on them. Maybe a gluten-free gravy. If you love pumpkin bread, make it with an alternative gluten-free flour.

There's a lot on our website. So I encourage clients, go to our website and follow some of these recipes that we have. My favorites for the holidays are like pumpkin muffins. We have a sweet potato casserole. We have green bean casserole, pumpkin custard, and a mocha mousse. All of these are delicious and they're not going to harm you.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

MELANIE: So you're not going to bed with acid reflux. You can eat a variety of vegetables, make a wild rice casserole. We've got a Weight and Wellness cookbook that has a lot of these recipes. And when you go to bed and you're free of a heartburn, you're going to say, oh, thank you. I can enjoy my holiday a little better. Make sure you take your probiotics on that turkey day. Don't skip the supplements your nutritionist sets you up on. And visit our website and find some. There's a lot of information out there to help you enjoy your holidays without the burn.

LEAH: I even want to highlight that pumpkin custard recipe a little bit, because I was teaching one of our Ongoing Support and Education classes just the other week. And one of the students in class, that's what she was sharing. She was like, I love pumpkin pie. That is my thing. That is my jam at the holidays. And so I'm kind of trying to decide, you know, I've committed to this no sugar eating. I've committed to eating well, but I love that pumpkin pie. Do I allow myself that little bit? Do I stay away and just kind of stick to my guns? How do I do that? And I suggested the pumpkin custard recipe. I said, you know, take a look at this.

MELANIE: Wonderful.

LEAH: It's, you know, it has healthy fats in it. And you, I believe the recipe as it's written, you make it in little individual ramekins, so you don't need to have a pie sitting around after all the guests leave.

MELANIE: The day after.

LEAH: Yeah. The day after. Even a week later. you can make, you can portion it out a little bit easier, make them in those individual ramekins. And then it's, it just is a nice way to still adhere to your goals of eating well through the holidays, but even enjoy it. You can still enjoy that little bit of pumpkin pie.

MELANIE: Little pain-free holiday.

LEAH: Yeah.

MELANIE: Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple, yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today.

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