Updated: May 4
Doesn´t sound so bad until you have it, then it´s all you think about. Specially if is recurrent, maybe is time to look at what your system is telling you here.
I suffered heartburn mostly when I was pregnant. I would have to sleep sitting down, the reflexes felt as if they were cutting my esophagus. I did some research as I did not want to take any tablets for it for the baby. Now I look back and I realized I was incredibly misinformed (and perhaps purposely misinformed).
To begin with, bad eating and sleeping habits are symptoms of something else. I always like to start here; this is the first step. Our emotions and internal and external conflicts dictate our approach to life and if we don´t feel sufficiently secured and contempt with our reality our habits will suffer. If you know your digestion problems may relate to stress, anxiety or depression, a good place to start is with breathing exercises, sunlight, new experiences and self-appreciation. Ask yourself, what is this problem telling me about what is happening inside my body? Is it related to what is happening inside my head? You have heard the phrase, you have a second brain in your tummy, well maybe that brain is having some trouble keeping you informed.
But now to the problem, I have eaten badly for many years in my life, I used to suffer from many pains. It wasn´t really until I turned fully plant based that my digestive system felt at ease finally. But one day, out of nowhere, heartburn again! What? I cleaned my diet, why? So, I started testing myself instead of going to the internet. First, when I do a quick look online the most common cause of heart burnt, it list the following:
-Certain food and drink – such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods.
-Stress and anxiety.
-Some medicines, such as anti-inflammatory painkillers (like ibuprofen)
-A hiatus hernia – when part of your stomach moves up into your chest.
This is very confusing, because there are many causes like pregnancy, which I had, but it wasn´t the pregnancy itself, it was the food I was eating. It was too easy to dismiss it as a normal thing. Being overweight made sense. When I read this, I thought that they really don’t know that much and throw a bunch of ideas for you to think you can help it with a pill. It is made to confuse us.
Then when you type food that cause heartburn, you get this:
-Alcohol, particularly red wine.
-Black pepper, garlic, raw onions, and other spicy foods.
-Citrus fruits and products, such as lemons, oranges and orange juice.
-Coffee and caffeinated drinks, including tea and soda.
And this, this list is the biggest lie on the planet (well, not the biggest, but a big one for sure)
Why? Because I have tested it myself. Here they have us thinking that acidic means sour, and it could not be more wrong. I want to start by saying that if you swallow a pill to cut the heartburn, think of what that is doing to your insides, your body is not only suffering, is left with no way to alarm you. Your body needs you to help it and listen to it.
Sour is not acidic. The body needs to be leveled to function. As a pool when it gets too acidic, it grows green mold, so does your body with too much mucus. Your body, like the pool, needs to be alkalinize. There are certain foods that are antioxidant and alkaline, many of them listed in the very list above. Spicy ingredients like chili and peppers, citrus and tomatoes! Are perfect foods for your body, maybe you have noticed that even if you cut those off you still have heartburn. Garlic raw can be very antibiotic which is not good, kills you good bacteria. But cooked like onion is very good for you. Chocolate when pure is one of the most amazing foods on this planet. Take red wine for example, a lot of people thinks is healthy. Well, the part of the wine that is alkaline is the grape, people can taste it, so they assume is good. But it is mostly alcohol, which is acidic, so it´s tricky.
In the case of food induced heartburn I have testes this list and other ingredients and I have come to a disheartening conclusion: it is not the ingredients themselves, is the way they are made and processed. The first time I had heartburn after vegan was when I made potato gnocchi. Every time I made them, I suffered. I assumed the combination of starches was bad, so I dropped it. Then, the kebab we made too. So, I assumed again it was the mix of flours. But then one day I made it with spelt flour, and with whole rice flour….never felt it again. What does that tell me? White flour requires extreme uses of chemicals and bleaching to be processed and that way these intense crops are grown take incredible amounts of fertilizers and pesticides. Same with sugar, white rice, white anything that has been bleached to death to last longer, look better and be addictive. In the case of wine, especially inexpensive wine, sulfites are what causes you health issues, it is said that good wine would never give you a hangover the way cheap wine does. To produce at such a price, they use a lot of chemicals.
Dairy is perhaps the worse of all the things you can eat. It is liquid meat with only saturated fats. Also full of hormones, bleach, pesticides in the grain the animals eat, antibiotics and infections (sorry but is it gross). Can you imagine what is doing to the balance of ph. in your stomach? Dairy is something we adapted to in order to survive but that now we can easily drop for better options. Soy is not great either, so I recommend oat or walnut as it is alkaline.
Keep an eye on your drinks, coffee is bad, but I have to say I drink plenty of it and it does hit my heart strong, but I have not suffered heartburn from it (so far). Teas are great without sugar and with a squeeze of lemon or orange in it.
Water is very important to digest food properly, especially if you eat salty and sugary food. Water will allow your body to irrigiate into the food better, create better stomach acid and make your body function good all around. Water is electric and so it can also affect your mood. If you are feeling low, fist thing you must try is drinking more water, it can change your energy level very quickly!
Chilis are good as long as you are not eating them over a bowl of fried chicken wings. It is the saturated fats making your tummy bubble, not the spice. Often people single out these things without thinking what they go with. Tomatoes are bad if you put them on pizza with cheese but in a salad with an avocado, come on! Delicious. I am not a big fan of orange juice lacking fiber and with so much sugar, but it will not unbalance a healthy intestinal flora.
If you are taking loads of medications, I recommend you investigate that too. Medications that cut reflexes usually make you very weak. Here is a list of side effects:
I remembered my friend in high school had to take some for some powerful medication she was taking, and she would fall asleep on my lap. The medication is also diminishing your lifestyle and energy, so it´s going to required either more medication (which will come with more side effects) or a lifestyle change. I tried both and let me tell you, the lifestyle change is cheaper, more effective, lasting and it just improves all the other areas in your life.
It is not easy to start but begin with what you can control. Drop on thing at the time, find a replacement and give it a real try. When you feel hungry for bad food or anxious, go for a walk, sing a song or tell yourself, one more hour. As Alan Watts says, don´t ever tell your demons your plans, just keep telling them we will do it later and never do it again!
Heartburn is something most people learn to live with, and they should not. Start with a journal of what you eat and how it makes you feel. Also notice changes in mood and energy. Try on catch a pattern and see if food craving is merely triggered by an emotion or if is a matter of stress. Either way, what you put in your mouth is what will trigger that reaction, and what you put in your mouth in commanded by your head. Make an effort to eat only when you can dedicate your attention only to eating, do not eat while doing other stuff.
Keep on checking yourself, the path to self-healing and testing yourself can offer you a type of health no based in the absence of illness but based in the maximization of performance both physically and mentally.
I never thought I could, but as they say, the only thing I regret is not doing it sooner.
Eat what you are, eat light, life and love for yourself. Flower from within and be your own doctor.
Note: If you want to know more about Alkaline foods, check out Dr. Sebi´s Alkaline list of foods on Google or Pinterest!