Heartburn or acid reflux making eating… and even just living… difficult?
Want to get off those awful antacids or drugs?
The other day, I had a chat with my local friend Jackie M. She is researching food solutions, diet, and natural remedies like crazy… so she can manage her GERD without medications. (She’s already having success! Yay!)
When we chatted, I shared some of the things I know — and one food in particular (which I’ll discuss below) could be THE KEY to getting over heartburn and acid reflux for good.
On today’s #AskWardee, I’m telling you what I shared with my friend Jackie — the 5 steps to healing heartburn, GERD, and acid reflux through diet, lifestyle, and natural remedies. I hope these tips will help you or someone you love to feel better very soon!
I broadcast #AskWardee live each Wednesday at 10am Pacific (1pm Eastern) on Periscope and Facebook Live. Both the podcast and video replay of this week’s show are below. Enjoy!
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The Question: Natural Remedies For GERD, Heartburn, & Acid Reflux?
My friend Jackie M. has really been looking into this lately, and she asked for my input. Since I often get asked by others how to avoid or get off using anti-acids, let’s talk about 5 steps to healing.
My Answer: 5 Steps To Healing Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Millions of Americans suffer with heartburn (also called GERD) and acid reflux. Acid reflux is when stomach acid flows backward out of the stomach into the esophagus. When this gets severe, a person will experience heartburn — burning pains in the chest.
The causes are many — pregnancy, stress, poor diet, being overweight, overeating, smoking, taking certain medications, a weak esophageal valve, and even hiatal hernia.
Then, when suffering individuals go to the doctor, they are often given medications such as antacids or PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) like Prilosec.
But do you know how bad these drugs are?
They may cover symptoms — but forget about ever getting off them or your symptoms will come back with a vengeance.
Not to mention that they can cause even worse damage like serious nutrition deficiencies — magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B12 — as well as contribute to poor digestion, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anemia, and fatigue (source).
This doesn’t sound like a win to me.
It sounds like a band-aid solution that makes us dependent on drug companies to mask symptoms forever. With a ticket to add more medications to manage the other conditions that creep in.
Yet… did you know that a few diet changes can make a drastic difference in how you feel?
Plus, you can feel good about getting off the pharmaceutical hamster wheel when you take back control of your own health. And think of all the money you’ll save that you were spending on doctor bills and prescription drugs!
Let’s go through the 5 steps to healing heartburn and acid reflux naturally… through diet, lifestyle, and supplements.
1. Avoid These Foods
These foods suppress the immune system and lead to poor gut health, not to mention some foods (like coffee and alcohol) are actually triggers for acid reflux.
Avoid these foods:
- vegetable oils
- carbonated beverages
- artificial sweeteners
- fried foods
- spicy foods
- processed foods
- sugar and excessive sweets
2. Include These Foods
The foods you should eat are those we talk about a lot here at Traditional Cooking School. 🙂
Stick to whole foods, preferably organic or pesticide-free and non-GMO. So…
- “Clean” animal meats and fats — grass-fed, pastured, organic, etc.
- Lots of fresh fruits and veggies
- Healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and butter
- Bone broth to soothe and heal the digestive system
- Grass-fed dairy, preferably raw
- Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut to repopulate the gut with friendly organisms
One of the best foods you can eat is raw apple cider vinegar. Have a few teaspoons or tablespoons in water with each meal. Those with acid reflux or heartburn may actually have low stomach acid (because it leaves the stomach) so the vinegar helps with efficient digestion. It may even trigger a weak esophageal valve to close!
Bottom line: a traditional food diet is ready made for soothing, healing, and preventing heartburn and acid reflux.
If you haven’t already, get acquainted with traditional cooking through my FREE Traditional Food Video Series.
3. Add These Supplements
- raw, organic, apple cider vinegar — 2 tablespoons in a glass of water 3 times daily with meals may help cure low stomach acid and trigger the esophageal sphincter to close.
- digestive enzymes — take with meals to assist with efficient digestion; individuals in poor health may not be making enough enzymes for digestion. Take as many as are needed to relieve indigestion.
- HCL w/ pepsin & bitters — HCL is the acid of the stomach for digesting food; often people with acid reflux have too little of this (I know; it doesn’t make sense!), so supplement! Take with meals, as many as needed to get relief.
- probiotics — additional probiotic supplementation is helpful to more quickly get gut flora in balance. But don’t go too fast; increase the amount slowly.
- chamomile, papaya, or ginger herbal tea before bed to calm and soothe
- magnesium — many people have magnesium deficiencies and those using drugs for these conditions may be depleted more. This is a good form or use this one if you need help with constipation.
- Vitamin B-12 — a lot of people are deficient anyway and can use this boost in energy; the drugs for these conditions can cause a deficiency, too. Get 10% off through April 30, 2023 with coupon code WARDEEAPR23.
Back to the raw apple cider vinegar…
My husband consumes it regularly. Recently, he increased how much he drank and especially to have it directly following each meal. What little indigestion or bloating he was having is completely gone. It really makes a huge difference!
4. Slow Down Your Lifestyle
It’s not just food that impacts our health. Lifestyle is huge — even how you eat and chew your food impacts digestion. So, slow down and:
- Chew slowly.
- Eat in a relaxed, not hurried, environment.
- Reduce stress as much as possible — can you lighten the load? Can you say no to more things to give your body a break so it can heal?
- Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime.
- Sit up after meals — rather than lay down — to aid digestion.
- Consider the GAPS Diet (see #5).
5. Consider The GAPS Diet
Nearly every health issue is tied to the gut. Heal the gut, heal the condition. 🙂
The gut-healing GAPS Diet is a temporary diet (3 months to 2 years, depending on how you respond) that focuses on foods that are very easy to digest. The foods allowed on GAPS are actually so easy to digest that they are digested far up in the bowel, allowing the lower portion of the gut to rest and starve off pathogens like bad bacteria and yeast overgrowth.
The diet also focuses on healing foods like bone broth, fermented vegetables, and soothing yogurt, which give the body the nutrients it needs to build up a strong gut wall, all while it introduces friendly microorganisms to keep the inner ecosystem in balance.
The GAPS protocol is a very strict diet that eliminates all grains, refined sugars, and starches. It is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, with healing cultured foods and a focus on bone broth added in. The author, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, designed the diet to heal her own son who had autism.
On GAPS, you eat the following foods:
- Meat (clean)
- Bone broth
- Ripe fruit
- Some legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Cultured dairy like yogurt, kefir, and cheese which have been cultured to remove nearly all the lactose
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut
My own experience is that a gut-healing diet like GAPS healed my life-long seasonal allergies. At the time of this writing, I have been allergy-free for more than 5 years!
More info: Why You Might Consider The GAPS Diet and our GAPS Diet archives.
- FREE Thick Raw Milk Yogurt Recipe — cultured 24 hours to remove ALL the lactose
- FREE Traditional Food Video Series
- How To Make Yogurt
- How GAPS healed my life-long seasonal allergies
- Why You Might Consider The GAPS Diet
- GAPS Diet archives
- Gut-Healing Diets Made Simple
- How To Make Milk Kefir
- How To Make Sauerkraut
- FREE Fermenting Formulas Cheat Sheet
- “Is Coffee Good For You? + The Truth About Caffeine”
- Is Cold Brew Coffee Healthy?
- 5 Healthy Coffee Alternatives… Boost Energy Naturally! #AskWardee 140
What Is The #AskWardee Show?
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I share tips and resources, plus answer your questions about Traditional Cooking!
When: Wednesdays at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern
Where: Traditional Cooking School on Facebook Live
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Do you have heartburn or acid reflux? What has worked for you to manage or heal it?
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Ellen D. says
Servere gerd runs in my family. We all have it as well as our children. Unfortunately some foods that are supposed to help, make it worse. I am allergic to raw apple cider vinegar and dairy as well as many other things. I also have year round environmental allergies. I took prilisec for many years. It just made my gerd worse and worse. Instead of taking me off they just kept adding more meds. Eventually the PPIs caused me to get gastroparesis. I stopped taking all my meds, which was extremely difficult and I was sick for 3 weeks. I am now on a mission to heal my self. It’s been difficult because food has become my enemy. I haven’t tried the gaps diet, I been mostly living on scrambled eggs, broth and meal replacement shakes. I’m going to check out the gaps diet, thanks.
I’m sorry to hear about the gastroparesis. Hopefully, the GAPS diet will help.
God bless you!
~Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team.
Elaine Dealy says
I suffered w/ heartburn for 2 years. In desperation I went to a specialist. She put me on Prilosec, & told me to also take iron bc I was anemic. Did not tel me Prilosec blocks the absorption of iron! Prilosec did not help. I tried many herbal & natural remedies w/o much success. One thing did help enormously: no drink w/my meal. No drink half an hour before, & 1 hour after a meal. The extra liquid in the stomach dilutes digestive fluids & interferes w/digestion. Once I did that my heartburn went away. Now I rarely have a problem. Praise the Lord!!
I’m so glad you found a method to help your heartburn. Praise God!
Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂
~Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
I know that we get tired of hearing different suggestions for our ailments. I developed gut problems from meds. I was being treated for gerd but I actually had gatroparesis as well. I in my search saw that Accupuncture was a help and I have to say that three treatments turned me around. It stopped the gastroparesis. Almost a miraculous result after years of gut problems. Maybe this in combination with diet could be helpful for someone else.
So glad to hear that you found relief through acupuncture. I have a family member with gastroparesis. It’s very difficult to deal with.
~Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
Is there an alternative to Apple Cider Vinegar for someone with an apple allergy?
Vicki Henry says
You could try digestive bitters.
We have a blog post about them here: https://traditionalcookingschool.com/food-preparation/3-easy-ways-use-digestive-bitters-make/
~ Vicki, TCS Customer Success Team
I have a weird situation. I started GAPS 3 weeks ago to try and calm some inflammation that causes numbness and pain in my arms and hands. I have had occasional heartburn in the past and probably more this year than ever before. The weird thing is that since starting GAPS, I am having almost chronic heartburn, gas, burping, and mild constipation. What am I doing wrong? Today I mixed up a chia seed pudding to add to my diet to see if that helps. Maybe I’ll try the acv. I don’t want yo give up until I give this diet a fair shake. My arms are better, but not completely.
I am sorry because we are not doctors we can’t give medical advice. Your symptoms maybe detox or die-off symptoms. Wardee has a great article on taking it slowly when introducing probiotics here:
You may want to work on detox methods to help the body flush out the toxins. And that if it’s not manageable, you could do full GAPS instead of Intro GAPS. Please consult with your doctor for any medical advice.
~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team
Oh my. I wasn’t expecting medical advice, just anecdotal encouragement, so thanks!
I drank ACV water with some DE in it for 2 days and also took the Cell Salt Nat Phos every time I felt like heartburn was coming on. That fixed it for me. Isn’t it amazing how each body is different? This was a timely and helpful article for me.
Vicki Henry says
I’m glad that you were able to find a solution that worked for you! Thank you for sharing your experiences.
~Vicki, TCS Customer Success Team
I take omeprazole to manage my GERD wich is causing me to get recurrent pneumonia and I’m struggling to come of it now as like you said you become dependent if not symptoms get even worse , what does the diet recommend? Do you stop the omeprazole and start the diet simultaneously or do you continue to take it until you become used to the diet changes?? I know you can’t giv med advic but as u can imagine if I mention GAPS to my go they are likely to not know what it is and say omeprazole is safe and I wouldn’t recommend in a diet change (not because they feel this way just because it’s unknown to them and they prefer to throw more tablets at the issue) please let me know your thoughts!
I’m sorry we can not give any medical advice. I would highly recommend seeing a naturopathic doctor or a doctor who is open to natural ways of healing. A healthy traditional foods diet is always beneficial.
~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team
It started with LPR and post nasal drip which turned into heartburn when i cut out dairy, sugar, and wheat. Ive tried a candida diet thus im afraid of having acv and honey due to the fact that it might feed yeast. I have now started the GAPS diet due to severe constipation.