Everything I have read about barretts esopagus says to stay away from citrus but you suggest lemon and vinegar. It seems it would be rough on the throat. Can you elaborate on this? Thanks so much. I want to try some of the natural remedies but I want to be sure on this.
Thanks for your website!
I cured my Barrett's. After 3 years of regular upper GI inspections, on my 4th I was declared free. It was during the 2nd year of my Barrett's that I followed this 'regimen'. Here it is:
First and foremost, DO NOT EAT AFTER 5 AT THE VERY LATEST.
You are probably on some proton pump inhibitor. Although a good thing, it does a number of what I believe are contrary effects. By lowering your stomach acids, food takes much longer to digest. Thus, you can't expect your stomach to be clear of food for at least 6 hours. Secondly your stomach enzymes are now out of balance due to your lowered acidity. So your food isn't digested and absorbed fully either.
Keep all meals small.
You probably already know this. Large meals aggrivate hiatal hernias, GERD.
If you must eat a large meal, make it breakfast. And have it before you have coffee. And if possible, keep the coffee under 2 cups.
For the first 6 months of my regimen, I was in the strange habit of making large dinnerlike meals upon waking. I found it very soothing, and was of course very hungry! I made mild curries, stews, mild mexican dishes, and traditional breakfasts.
Never, ever have a large meal with alcohol.
Nothing against alcohol, as I will later disclose. But wine, beer along with an even medium size meal seems to 'shut down' the digestion. I was in misery many times from this one-two combo. If you must do both the same night, drink alcohol either a couple of hours before, or a couple of hours after the meal. I don't know why.
Cocktails seem to be easier on the system, in moderation. Less yeasty, filling.
If you get that gnawing, hungry feeling that many HH and GERD sufferers get, I found chewing gum helped a lot. It gets the saliva flowing, and saliva seems to calm the stomach.
You can eat hot food, but not very hot, and not too often.
I was addicted to super-spicy food. I love it. Learn to love the flavor of those spicy foods, not the 'intensity'.
Eat tons of Broccoli.
I ate broccoli in my stir fries, omlettes, mexican dishes, indian food, salads - whatever. I became addicted. If you hate broccoli, it's probably because you grew up in a household where it was cooked to an awful olive drab. Buy FRESH broccoli, and just steam or stir-fry until it is a richer deep green. Still crunchy, not mushy. I believe broccoli is a very, very powerful food.
Eat tons of Onions
Same as above. You can cook the hell out of the onions if you want. Put em in every cooked dish.
Same with Garlic
Avoid prepackaged meals/mixes/sauces
This stuff is industrial poison when taken in quantity. Use spices with tomato sauce, ethnic sauces as a base. Yeah those sauces are prepackaged, but they're to be used lightly and 'doctored' with garlic, onions, spices.
Yogurt will make you fat if you eat too much. So every day, just have a cup of it. It's full of 'friendly' bacteria for your stomach. Just to supercharge the yogurt, I would take vanilla yogurt, and add a teastpoon of spirulina to it, mix it in. Spirulina is a powerful source of exotic and crucial nutrients, and smells like hell. But mixed in vanilla yogurt, trust me, it tastes downright good! I called this mix 'The secret weapon".
This stuff is great. It's a grain, you cook it like oatmeal. Add broccoli, garlic, onions and some boullion, (add _____'s Amino's) you've got a great 'salty hot dish'. I know people who cook this up in the morning, add milk, honey and cinnamon, and they've got a sweet breakfast porridge.
Granny Smith Apples
I read somewhere online that eating even half of a GS Apple can reduce the gnawing HH symptoms. It often worked.
I know what you're saying. No. Way. Hear me out: I hated sauerkraut. I hated that mushy awful crap they put on hot dogs. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole. I happened onto some at a fancy restaurant, when I was presented with a salmon on a bed of sauerkraut.
It is great. It is also loaded with digestive enzymes and is a GREAT snack food when you are hungry. I urge you: Get some, try it cold. Try to find the unpasteurized kind if you can, like PowerKraut if you can find/afford it. I have the feeling this stuff is a healing food of the Gods, like Quinoa, Aloe, Broccoli, Papaya.
Avoid Sugar and Sweets
I'm lucky this way. I don't like sweets at all. But I thought I'd mention it because it may have been instrumental in my recovery.
If you must eat out, just order an appetizer.
I know it's tempting to 'live it up'. Yeah, you'll have to live with it later. If you have to order an entree, try for the love of God to just eat a little and take the rest home. NIBBLE at the restaurant.
NO CARBONATED BEVERAGES!
I cannot emphasize this enough. I drank quarts of diet coke every day. The damn stuff expands in your stomach and creates the whole problem. Additionally you ingest Phosphoric Acid, burning away at your esophagus. Run like your hair is on fire from all cola products, and avoid carbonated as well.
The 'two tea" combo
Every morning I would load up a giant tea ball with a combination of green tea and 'red berry tea' (this is available at coops and health food stores in bulk form) and make about half a Mr. Coffee pot of it. Three mugs. It wakes you up, and you are bathing your esophagus in antioxidants and "red plant phytonutrients/cancer fighters". I believe this is VERY IMPORTANT>
Later in the evening, an hour before retiring, I would make a cup or two of just the red berry tea (don't want caffeine then! ) and substitute the green tea with aloe vera juice. I think this is even MORE IMPORTANT. I believe that my Barrett's was primarily caused by 'upper GI sloshing" into the esophagus at night while asleep.
-if I'm going to have stuff sloshing all over my Barrett's, why not make it something that fights it and sooths it? This tea and nightly regimen may be the most important part of the whole regimen.
This wasn't intended to treat the Barrett's but seems to help combat they gnawing HH feeling you sometimes get. Heat up some water, pour some powdered ginger into a glass, add honey, stir. Let the ginger settle to the bottom if you like.
Apple Cider Vinegar.
I went on occasional 'binges' of drinking AC Vinegar diluted in water, once daily for weeks, then would discontinue. Just too much to do, and not much fun. But I did this enough to note. It seems to alleviate HH symptoms as well.
I have a theory: I'm a 'sloucher'. And I sit in a slouchy chair in front of a computer a lot of the time. Or while watching TV. If you look at a crowd of men (women too but men seem more pronounced) you'll see two types: "slouchers" who seem to lean over their chests, and 'belly pushers", guys who stick their guts out and lean back in a way. I've also noted that 'slouchers' tend to be quieter, restrained people, and 'belly pushers' more aggressive, outspoken people.
I think that 'slouching' is more than physically conducive to HH/GERD. I think the body is 'building and holding stress' in the lower esophageal region. Muscles are tensing, nervous system excited, but it's all staying there. So, every day I would do this before exercise or yoga, or just by itself.
The Belly Pushing Exercise
A note of caution: keep very aware of potential dizziness, feeling faint. If you feel that way, quit and kneel down and let the feeling pass.
1. Stand normally. Notice your breathing. You're probably breathing into your chest. And your shoulders are leaning forward. Pull your shoulders back!
2. Take a deep breath INTO YOUR BELLY, making the area around your belly button stick way, way out. RELAX your stomach muscles. See how big you can make your belly! Pretend you are a fat guy, and this air in your belly is your fat. Do this several times, making sure to hold in the air for a while. Remember the shoulders.
3. Now do it again just the same, but this time pay attention not to your belly, but to your Solar Plexus - that's the region above your belly but just below the center of your ribcage. Note that it isn't relaxed. Try to do the same breaths, but once you've relaxed the belly, relax the Solar Plexus, as if you are 'expanding the air' into that region. This actually takes a lot of practice to do, and you'll often get dizzy from it.
If you're holding your shoulders back, you may notice a tension on either side of your neck, near the collarbone. THEN you know it's working. It's working as a stretch/tension/massage on the region and you'll know it if you repeat this, because eventually it relaxes. Internally, you can visualize a sort of 'thoracic push'. Do this a few times if you can. Remember, just duck down and take a breath if you feel faint/dizzy.
After doing this for a few months, I've gotten to the point where I can 'move' my musculature outward almost like a wave - from belly out, then upward to solar plexus, and chest and then back downward - with little effort, even sitting in the office.
I try to do this exercise regularly - almost daily - because the old 'slouching habit' is a lifelong imprint that returns quickly.
The Reverse La-z-boy.
This isn't really anything but a short-term fix for when you have a HH 'gnaw attack'. If you have a recliner, set it in front of the TV facing AWAY from the TV. Now, set it into full recline position and sit BELLY DOWN in the recliner, so that your chin is at the head of the recliner, and watch TV. This seems to rearrange things inside so that you have some temporary relief of the HH, and you can watch TV while doing so. I have read books this way, I just put a footstool below the head of the la-z-boy.
I consumed an awful lot of supplements, but I have for years before my HH. I will simply list the ones I took specifically for this regimen, then follow it with my 'normal' heap o' supplements. That said, there's no reason to assume that my normal supplements weren't instrumental in my recovery as well.
Candida cleansing supplements.
I think this may be the most important supplement you can take. The symptoms of this fungal infection are varied and elusive. But I'll tell you: I got on these and not just did the HH symptoms lessen, I felt great. I thought candida was one of those hypocondriac diseases, but now I am convinced. I believe that Candida is a very powerful antagonist that may enable Barrett's.
DO IT. Take these for six months along with...
Drink Metamucil or equivalent every day. IMPORTANT!
I tended to drink it in the EARLY evening as a 'snack', believe it or not. Never take it at the same time as vitamins. It just soaks 'em up. It keeps it all moving DOWN, not up.
I also take a wide variety of vitamins, the 'alphabet variety' plus aminos ahd antioxidants as a lifetime practice.
I've done basic yoga for years: Sun Salutations, a few other things. But at the beginning of this enterprise I took up running. It not just is good for your cardio but you are always 'bobbing', pushing stuff downward. I do three miles a day.
If you're not a runner, Try three miles, but just run a block, walk a block. Then two blocks, one. Then three, one. After a month you'll be fine, able to run it with just a few half-block walks.
I smoke. For six of the 12 months I was on Chantix. I smoked very, very lightly on Chantix. One or two a day, max. Many many days with none. It worked. Got off Chantix, smoked again. There is utterly no doubt that smoking is a strong factor in Barrett's. Try to quit. You know they're relaxing your stomach sphincters. That's real bad. If you can't:
1. If you eat, don't smoke. If you smoke, don't eat. In other words, no 'after dinner smoke'. Keep them separated by hours at least.
2. If you are drinking in the evening, and a smoker: try to smoke as little as possible. Alcohol multiplies the smoking/GERD syndrome.
3. That morning smoke. If you must have it, skip breakfast. Otherwise, you'll be suffering all day. If you have breakfast, don't smoke for at least two hours after breakfast.
If you feel you are drinking too much, do something about it like joining AA. Or follow the 'European Model" and learn to drink reasonably and not declare yourself 'diseased and must abdicate to God'.
I found that if I was suffering from HH symptoms most DURING THE EVENING, that two alcoholic drinks relieved my symptoms immensely. Note I said IN THE EVENING. I do not advocate 'medicinal drinking' during the day.
If I was out on an evening of drinking, I always made sure to drink some water at the end of the night, then drink some red berry tea/Aloe or just chug some Aloe before going to bed. This, again, made sure that whatever was 'sloshing over my esophagus' was healing more than damaging. I think fermented beverages are a bad thing: the fermentation enables candida and is generally impure, and also fill you up, providing a 'toxic esophageal slurry' for bedtime. Beer and wine are 'dirty' liquors.
I switched to distilled mixed drinks, asking for seltzer water rather than tonic. Careful though, those mixed drinks can carry a punch! If you're a beer drinker, don't down them like beer. To you beer drinkers: Craft your buzz: don't get carried away and become an alcoholic or fool. Mix your drinks weak, then you can have lots of them.
TO THOSE OF YOU WHO GO OUT AND SMOKE AND DRINK (COMMON VICTIMS OF BARRETT"S)
Think about it: A night of drinking and smoking. You go home to sleep. Your throat is coated with nicotine, your stomach full of alcohol. That combo sloshes around in your upper GI all night. No wonder you have Barrett's! Do yourself a favor, no matter how tired/drunk you are: try to taper off in your last hour, and then go home and drink the red berry/aloe mixture or just aloe, and drink a good size glass, not a sip. Turn the slosh into a healer, not a killer. And brush your teeth and tongue first!
ONE MORE THING
I got one of those wedges to sleep on that raises your upper body. A great investment. It takes some getting used to, but after a while you prefer it. It really, really helps! It keeps the 'slosh' downhill.
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