I’m one of the lucky ones who inherited chronic heartburn from my dad. I never really understood why he ate Rennies as if it was candy, until the day the heartburn struck me. Now I understand exactly why Rennies was my dad’s best friend. But, I always felt that my heartburn could be cured with another method other than popping antacids in my mouth every time I wanted to order a pizza.
But first things first, what is chronic heartburn?
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the tube that carries food from your mouth to your oesophagus.
If the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens, stomach acid can flow back up into your oesophagus (acid reflux) and cause heartburn.
My heartburn diet journey
That’s why I knocked on the door of a dietician. She gave me a plan that was focused on removing all the food in my diet that gave me heartburn. The challenge was to follow this for a month and not go near any medication, to see if we could cure my heartburn in a natural, yummy way!
That Monday morning, I jumped out of bed determined to remove all the bad food in my fridge. I replaced my coffee with decaf and boiled the kettle for my first cup, without milk. I started my day with a bowl of Kellogg’s, with Lactose free milk and a bit of honey to replace sugar.
For my mid morning snack, I took the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” to the next level. I peeled the skin off the apple – the fructose and high fiber content can cause bloating and digestive issues – then dipped a slice in peanut butter and I was all set! Lunch was a salad with a lot of greens, no tomatoes and no salad dressing. This was a tough one because I felt like a goat eating my salad jam packed with lettuce, cucumber (the skin peeled off), carrots, peppers and white cheddar (instead of yellow cheddar). But at least I was a goat without heartburn!
The dreadful supermarket visit
After a good day of eating nothing I wasn’t supposed to, I went to the supermarket. In my basket I had mixed veggies, without broccoli, cabbage and potatoes. Broccoli and cabbage didn’t make the cut because of the amount of gas these two vegetables create in the digestive tract. And anything with starch is also off the list. Now for some protein to eat with all these veggies: Red meat isn’t part of this diet, so I settled for chicken and fish. As for replacing potatoes, I bought basmati rice to go with my meal!
And so the month flew by and I felt good about the changes I made to my diet. For some people this diet sounds awful, but the dietician also gave me some fun recipes for when junk food is calling your name.
Here is one of my favorite recipes for one of those pizza craving nights
When making pizza, use Woolworths Slimmer’s Choice wraps as your base Spread tomato paste on the wrap. Toppings can include mushrooms, green pepper, chicken, avocado, olives, a lot of white cheddar and you are all set!
Here is a few tips for how you can change your diet to prevent heartburn
- Remove all fat from your meat.
- Remove the skin of the chicken before cooking it.
- Stay away from citrus type fruits, such as oranges, pineapple, grapefruit etc.
- Avoid strong spices, like curry and salsa.
- Avoid vegetables such as onions, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.
- Stay away from refined starch like white bread, biscuits etc.
With a lot of alternative foods and new cooking methods I cured my heartburn and forgot where I stored my Rennies!