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Eating “outside the box” to avoid acid injury

Last week was a bit of a hectic week for me.  At the same time, it was AWESOME; I spoke for 2 different groups.  The first was for Cabarrus County Senior Link, which is a healthcare forum that focuses on services and education for people serving the senior population in Cabarrus County.  I am so honored to be part of this caring and kind group of professionals.  I’ve made so many amazing connections through this group.  My wonderful partner Catherine and I spoke about the importance of “eating outside the box” and how to keep healthy by reducing acid intake and increasing nutrient intake by adding a colorful variety of fresh foods to your plate.

I shared a ton of information regarding acid reflux, why it should be avoided, how we can avoid it, and how we can manage it to preserve our swallowing and voice.  The talk went really well!  If you would like to learn more about acid reflux, send me a message!

Acid reflux isn’t really a topic one would think a speech language pathologist would know a ton about.  However, years ago, I was inspired to do research for it, in order to propose a specialized diet for a skilled nursing facility that had a high incidence of reflux in with residents.  I did take my proposal to the MD on staff, who was really impressed with my initiative and knowledge.  However, the facility administrator had more pressing issues, so my reduced acid diet never came to fruition.  Alas, here I sit with allllllllll this knowledge on acid, reflux, nutrition, and how it affects our bodies.

During my period of research, my husband shook his head at the stack of papers I printed off.  I spent hours down a proverbial “worm hole” of research on GERD, nutrition, diets, body alkalinity; it was crazy.  I think I spent about a week diving into article after article, asking more questions, finding more articles, and asking more questions.  All in all my stack of research was probably 10 inches high!At the top of this pile, you see a book.  The Acid Watcher Diet by Dr. Jonathan Aviv.  This book was a complete game changer for me and my health.  I bought this book for 2 reasons.  Reason 1:  I noticed a high incidence of GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease) diagnoses when I first started doing chart reviews for my patients in skilled nursing facilities.  I wanted to understand WHY so many people seemed to have reflux disease.  Reason 2: I was battling some digestive issues of my own during that time, and I was absolutely convinced the problem was the food.  Turns out, I was right.

I bought the book, read the book, and completely changed my grocery list and eating habits.  Within a month I started feeling a significant difference in my levels of nausea, stomach pains/cramps, chest pain, and burning sensations in my throat.  I can tell you honestly, I’ll never go back to eating the way I used to!

I reference this book every single time I start talking about reflux disease or laryngopharyngeal reflux with my patients.  I recommend it so much, it inspired me to join Amazon’s affiliate program.  (If you do click on the link, I will receive a small commission from your purchase, so thank you!)

I love this book and reference it so much because Dr. Aviv takes the time to explain the who, what, when, where, why, and how of acid; what it is, why we have it so much, what other parts of our health it affects, aside from digestion, how we can prevent it, and why we should.  He has pH charts for low acid foods, recipes, lists of foods to avoid, lists of foods to exchange, and lists of foods to buy at the grocery store.  But, the education piece, at the beginning of the book, is what I found to be the most valuable.  Holy Moly, acid does wreak havoc on our bodies… and leads to swallowing and voice disorders, amongst many others.

So there it is.  I, as a speech language pathologist, get to talk about acid reflux because it can, and usually will, affect your swallowing, or your voice, or both.  If you think about it, I mean, in a simplified physics way, if you have only 1 tube, and something is trying to come up the tube (reflux), while you’re trying to put stuff down the tube (food/drinks), the stuff trying to do down, won’t want to go down very easily.  Hence, the trouble swallowing.  As far as the voice goes, keep reading!

Long story short, and I mean VERY short: (if you want the down and dirty, BUY THE BOOK!!) acid eats away at the tissue in your esophagus, your throat, sometimes in your nose & your ears, if the acid goes high enough.  Your esophagus is designed to handle 50 reflux episodes a day, but your throat can not handle more than 3 acid exposures A WEEEEEEEK!  (That little fact comes from Dr. Eric Blicker in episode #23 of the Swallow Your Pride podcast)

One problem is, the food we buy in a jar, a can, a box, or a bag has to be acidic in order to preserve shelf life; it’s a law.  So, you not only have to worry about what is coming back up from your stomach after you eat too much of the wrong thing, but you also really need to worry about all the acidic food you put down your throats and esophagus because it’s full of chemicals & acid.  Soda, alcohol, boxed meals, canned soups, bottled teas, white bread, cereal…  We are burning our tissue TWICE! Ew.

All that burning, can cause tissue damage and changes in your throat, which can lead to voice disturbances, lesions in your throat, and quite possibly, cancer.

Because of my presentation for the Senior Resource Link, I was inspired to post a recipe for a low acid meal, from scratch, that takes about 30 minutes to cook.  I cannot remember where I found the original recipe; probably on Pintrest!  It’s for Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet.  My husband and I like it because it’s quick, fairly easy, and in one pot, which means less dishes to wash! 

The nearly finished product.

I started out by peeling and cubing 2-3 sweet potatoes, into about 1 inch pieces.

Don’t judge the knife skills. I’m a speech language pathologist not a chef!

Then, I put a 10 or 12″ pan, heated it up with some olive oil in there… put in some thawed ground turkey (Dr. Aviv suggests buying organic whenever possible; the turkey was not organic this time) and cooked it until it was no longer pink. I added a pinch of crushed red pepper, a few shakes of garlic powder, salt, & pepper to the turkey as well.  (Sorry, I don’t measure unless I’m following a new recipe; I cook by smell.)   

When the Turkey was ready, I threw in some bell pepper.  The peppers were organic; we cut them up and froze them.  (in hindsight, smaller cup-sized portions would have been more efficient than throwing them all into one container and freezing.  None-the-less, I got to relieve some stress by hacking off the top layer of frozen pepper chunks!)

Note the nice freezer burn…! Don’t worry though, I think “Chef” Jaime is going to get a vacuum sealer for his birthday this year.

I added the peppers to the cooked ground turkey.  Then, I added in my sweet potatoes and covered my pan.  I let it all cook until the potatoes were soft; probably about 30 minutes.  While I waited for the skillet to finish, I grated some fresh pecorino & parmesan cheese to melt on top! 

When the potatoes were soft, we plated the food, added the cheese, and voila!  It became a delicious, one dish, low acid, 30-minute meal!

I hope you enjoy the recipe! If you did, like this recipe or topic, please make sure to comment below.  I want to make sure I am giving you content of value to you!

Until next time… Cheers!

Michelle

 

Great news! Resurgence patients can now manage appointments & billing online 24/7.