Has gastric reflux set up house in you? This goes beyond the occasional heartburn. This kind of reflux can help you identify the location of your esophagus…when you’d just as soon not know. Then there’s the stealth version, too. No uncomfortable sensations in the gullet, but unexplained hoarseness or inability to sing as smoothly as you usually do.
There are other symptoms as well, including: regurgitation of a bitter tasting and burning fluid into the throat, burping, and recurring hiccups, just to name a few. Reflux or GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), as it is known, can tear up a perfectly good esophagus and ruin singing careers. There is also increased risk for esophageal cancer if left untreated over time.
There is definitely a stress factor, as well. Truly, I can have just one negative thought and bring on the reflux. Who says the mind isn’t powerful?
So, one prong of my anti-reflux campaign is stress management. Affirmations. Check. Coloring. Check. More sunshine. Check – when the sun shines. More walking. Check. Talking with friends. Check. But, I was still clinging to what also needed to be addressed.
There, again, our health is our choice.
The turning point for me came with viewing NBC Nightly News the other night, as they featured a story about the bad side effects of many common drugs given to combat reflux. In addition to the already known side effects of proton pump inhibitors being increased risk of fractures and infection (due to the drug blocking mineral absorption), the folks at Johns Hopkins discovered there is also an increased risk for kidney disease.
A 20-50% increase risk for kidney disease, in fact!
One female patient was profiled having normal kidney function in March but only 30% function by August, while taking a proton pump inhibitor. She was instructed to stop taking the over the counter medication and her kidney function increased.
The story concluded with a doctor from Johns Hopkins saying reflux can totally be addressed by food. He said eliminating berries, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol for 28 days will help heal the body. That was it. He was speaking to me. There was my choice for the second prong of my defense attack.
Was I going to choose health? Health without drugs?
Caffeine consumption is going down – gradually – a cold turkey approach is not kind to the head. No more chocolate…Hey, Valentine’s Day is over! A choice is a choice. So long berries…See the recipe that follows using baked apples. No more alcohol…well, that isn’t hard, but my half glass of wine will just have to wait another day.
It’s day five as I write this and guess what? No reflux. Even with just half-caffeine coffee! Twenty-eight days total for healing.
Twenty-three more to go! When I get there, moderation will be my middle name.
So, with no more chocolate, what kind of treat can I devise? I return to an updated version of my Baked Fruit with Benefits. This may be the best baked apples I have ever created, and they are chock full of extra goodness (that’s the benefits part).
Here’s why. The amino acid glycine is the main amino acid in collagen. We make about 3 grams of this a day ourselves (so it’s considered non-essential) BUT we need a minimum of 10 grams a day – more if we are healing from injury or recovering from intense exercise. Thus, it could be categorized as a conditionally essential amino acid– meaning we need to supplement it in our diets.
The big flap about not eating so much meat, apparently, can be erased by ramping up our intake of collagen – if the animal studies translate to human results. Meat-eating animals’ longevity was increased with the addition of glycine/collagen to their diets. He cited another study in which low levels of glycine predicted diabetes risk.
Glycine/collagen will also: improve quality of sleep, reduce the amount of muscle meat needed to be eaten to maintain muscle mass, is great for healthy joints, improve appearance and elasticity of skin , assist in healing of wounds, and is a key ingredient in cooking rich sauces.
Aside from eating bony cuts of meat: ribs, oxtails, necks, and the like, which all take extra time to slow cook, and from drinking collagen-rich bone broth, I add bone and body building collagen with the products pictured here.
The collagen hydrolysate on the left is not a thickener, and it can be stirred into liquids of any temperature. That’s the kind I used in the recipe below by mixing this collagen powder into the arrowroot/brown sugar mixture used to dust the apple bits before baking.
The powered gelatin on the right can be added to any hot liquid as a thickener. My no-bake Fruit with Benefits recipe in Toolkit for Wellness uses this to thicken the fruit juices as they cook in the pan. I add this to my home-cooked bone broths, as well. With this, you could make your own jello or fruit rolls ups!
Now to the recipe. You will notice that I crammed in every good thing I could find for this baked apple dish. Fresh fruit, gelatin, minimal sugar, and cinnamon topped with activated nuts, hemp, ground flax seed, minimal sugar, cinnamon, and coconut oil.
Baked Apples/Pears with Benefits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease 8 x 8 inch glass dish with coconut oil
Prepare mixture used to “dust” the cut fruit. Any extra may be stored in air-tight container for next time. Quantities may vary as you may even need to mix up just a bit more if you run out.
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup arrowroot
1 tsp. cinnamon/apple pie spice, or to taste
Prepare fruit by peeling, coring, slicing apples and possibly pears.
Today I used:
3 Golden Delicious apples and
1 Anjou pear
Gradually add sliced fruit to bowl and sprinkle with dusting mixture, stirring to coat after each addition.
Into large fry pan on medium heat put:
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 cup chopped activated nuts (I used the last of my walnuts, some pecans, and almonds)
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup hemp seeds
2-3 tsp. cinnamon/apple pie spice
Pinch of salt, if desired
Stir to combine, and continue to stir occasionally as the topping heats and browns – about five minutes. Do not let this burn. When browned and warm, spread on top of apple mixture.
This is delish! You can easily change-up the fruits; a handful of blueberries is awesome. A scoop of this is a great way to flavor my nightly chia seeds stirred into hot water, too! Keeps the insides humming!
Here’s to no more reflux and happy faces enjoying a healthy dessert!