Gastric reflux cleared naturally with a vegetarian diet
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
For about a year before she came in to see me Amelia suffered from gastric reflux. She had been to her doctor and had all manner of tests to see if she had gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) or Hiatus Hernia or parasites in her stomach (Helicobacter Pylori), which are all potential common reasons for her symptoms.
She had also had an endoscopy to look down her throat with a camera but all seemed to be fine except for a little inflammation. Amelia was put onto antacid medication, but she still had reflux after most meals.
I asked her about her diet and she told me that she thought she had a ‘good diet’. I then asked her what she specifically ate for breakfast, lunch & dinner and snacks. It was somewhat different to what I consider as a ‘good diet’.
In fact, Amelia had been eating a high protein diet as she thought this was a good weight loss diet (which it can be for some). She ate steak for breakfast with eggs, then nuts, or a boiled egg, or tin of tuna for morning tea, cheese at afternoon tea, then meat with a few vegetables or salad for dinner.
I also asked her about her bowel movements and found she was terribly constipated most days, only passing little ‘rabbit pellets’ when she did go to the toilet (you can see why I keep the identity of clients confidential in these case studies).
She was so backed up with heavy protein food that it was literally trying to come up and out the other end, or at least trying to, hence the reflux. The pressure on her lower digestive system was pressing on the upper digestive system, just like plumbing pipes backed up and blocked. Not healthy for her at all.
Short of putting her onto a liquid vegetable juice fast (which was not going to suit her work life) I recommended to drop most of the heavy proteins in favour of a vegetarian or even a vegan diet for a while, to allow the back up of rubbish to pass through her system.
I also kept her levels of grains, legumes and nuts low initially to allow the fruits and vegetables to do their thing and alkalise and cleanse her body. She also had a few blended vegetable shakes to help and was encouraged to drink lots of Aloe Vera juice and liquid chlorophyll in water.
A week later, Amelia emailed me to say that she was going to the toilet without any problems and hadn’t had any reflux for a few days, and asked if she could re-introduce some eggs, and more legumes, nuts and seeds. I agreed and said to observe how she felt and how her bowels were functioning.
So was now on a vegetarian diet rather than a vegan diet, which she was happy with, and she was also losing more weight than when on the high protein diet. It just shows that different diets work for different people.
Amelia did reintroduce other protein foods again but found that if she ate red meat or even chicken, she would block up and get reflux again. She was fine with fish, so she decided to be a pescetarian, which suited her and gave her more flexibility with what she could eat.