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  • Melissa S

My Reflux Story

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

I've had reflux for 20+ years, starting in high school. I followed all the regular reflux advice. I tried different acid reducers and PPIs. I stayed away from acidic foods, fried foods, fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol. I ate smaller, more frequent meals. I didn't eat 3 hours before bed. I slept on 2 pillows. All of this helped, sorta, sometimes. I went to different gastro doctors. I've had endoscopies and allergy tests. Nothing was conclusive.

During the spring of 2022 I had the opportunity to go to Napa for a friend's wedding. I was prepared with bottles of Pepcid and Gaviscon, even though I was already on a PPI. But to my surprise, I drank the wine and had no heartburn. I ate the rich meals and felt great. It was an epic weekend of celebrating, both the bride and groom, and my quiet little celebration of a weekend without reflux. I didn't think much of it, until a few months later.

During the summer of 2022 my 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with reflux. It was a rough month for her, as a few weeks before our family had Covid for the first time. She was more tired, burping more, and got car sick. She was prescribed Pepcid, which helped, but like me, didn't cure her. And then she started losing weight. I knew I had to do something to help her, but what?

Around the same time I started working with a dietician to see if they could cure my reflux. The dietician told me to eat more vegetables. I worked up to 3 servings a day and I started feeling different - my reflux hadn't changed, but I was no longer hungry all the time. I could wait an hour after waking up to eat breakfast. I no longer had to keep snacks with me just in case lunch was delayed. If eating vegetables could make me feel so different, what else was I eating, and how was it affecting me?

One morning of October 2022 I remembered back to the no-reflux Napa trip. We ate so well, and so fresh. So maybe it was the additives in food that cause my daughter and me issues. I dropped my kids at school and called into work telling them I'd be late. I decided to try something new - I was going to eliminate every "bad" food additive from my diet. I decided on my "scientific" process. I Googled every single ingredient listed on every food in my pantry. If Google results tended positive, like for vitamins, I kept it in my diet. If Google results tended negative, or the additive was GRAS (generally recognized as safe), I removed the food from my diet. This resulted in a "not on my diet" box with almost all our cookies, pancake mix and processed foods. I moved sauces and dressings around in the fridge and labeled them. I didn't get very far labeling the freezer items because my hands got too cold. But each time I ate a food, I double checked the ingredients. I decided to stick to the diet for a month. In just 5 days I started feeling much better. My reflux symptoms disappeared. And they never came back - unless I accidentally ate a food not on my diet.

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