The Heartless Grip of Heartburn

BlogHer Original Post

When Denise asked me to write about some midlife topics in the Good Health-athon, I actually wasn't feeling so healthy at the time. In fact, I was trying to figure out how to feel better in light of my persistent heartburn.

My doctor had already listened to my litany of symptoms and suggested a month's regime of an over-the-counter remedy. As much as I like my doc, he didn't talk about nutrition as part of the remedy and quite frankly - neither did I.

So when I whined over the phone with Denise about my tentative diagnosis of acid reflux, she pointed me in the direction of Elaine Magee, nutritionist and prolific author of 25 books on nutrition you can live with, including the one with my name on it -- Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Acid Reflux. In this book, Elaine writes in a very user-friendly, Q&A format on everything you want to know about acid reflux and then some. Her "10 Food Step to Freedom" journal helps you track the nutrition and lifestyle changes that work.

I picked up a copy of Elaine's book before we talked and learned that more than 15 million people in the US struggle with acid reflux. Her book - and our conversation helped me realize how important nutrition is as a compliment to medical treatment. For most of my younger years I ate pretty healthy and was pretty healthy so I never focused on nutrition as a health mandate - until now.

Since my conversation with Elaine things have gotten a little more complicated. I spent New Year's night in the ER in excruciating "worse than labor" pain - not a typical acid reflux symptom. That episode was followed by an endoscopy and ultrasound of my abdomen in the past week.

The good news is no ulcers, gallstones or other serious conditions. The bad news is that I still don't have a clear picture of what's going on and I confess I was a little teary and frustrated when I left the doctor's office yesterday.

As I sat in my car in the parking lot, though, I refocused on my talk with Elaine and the positive role nutrition can play in helping me cope with whatever's rumbling around in my middle-age mid-section. I committed to learn more this year about how I should be eating at this point in life instead of assuming I can eat the same way I did when I was younger. Here's my action plan:

  • Read Elaine's latest book, Food Synergy to learn more about the role nutrition plays in our overall health. It's waiting for me at the bookstore along with a copy for a good friend battling breast cancer and my sister who struggles with fibromyalgia,
  • Work with nutrition coach Wendy Battles of Don't Worry, Get Healthy to develop a healthy meal plan I can follow easily on a daily basis, and
  • Include the 100 healthiest foods in the world in my diet as much as possible without aggravating my acid reflux or whatever it is.

Beets are one of those super foods. Having grown up in the generation where mothers served pickled beets, I swore off this vegetable long ago before I knew how rich it was in nutrients and antioxidants. Yesterday, with my new mindset on nutrition, I ate beets for the first time in 40 years in a very tasty beet apple mélange suggested by friend Steve in Paris. Here's the recipe:

  • Chop and sauté an onion
  • Cook and sauté 3-4 cups of chopped beets
  • Slice and cook 3 granny smith apples
  • Mix all the ingredients together and puree in a blender.
  • Add cinnamon to taste and enjoy.

Of course, eating beets and overall better nutrition may not exactly be a cure for what's ailing me but its sure helping me take the heartache out of my heartburn.

What works for you?

P.S. Thanks Denise for introducing me to Elaine and her wealth of knowledge about acid reflux!


Karen aka Midlife Muse

My blog home is Midlife's a Trip - watch for a new look coming soon! Also visit me at my brand new site, Midlife Career Path where I help people in midlife and mid-career reinvent themselves in uncertain times.


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