Recently on top of all of my long covid symptoms I’ve had some pretty excruciating pain and symptoms of Acid Reflux. It is likely I’ve damaged my Oesophagus so as well as trying medication from my GP I am on a really restricted diet and wow for someone who enjoys cooking ( and eating ) as much as I do it is extremely hard. For those who don’t know, to treat severe acid reflux you need to avoid or massively limit the following foods:
All pepper and peppers
Fast or processed foods
And many more
Fun..ha well the last one is an exaggeration but it is limiting.
You also can’t eat for the last 3 hours before bed so bye bye late night snacks and you are advised to stay upright or move around after every meal as well as avoiding tight clothes while eating and immediately afterwards.
All of these foods can relax the oesophageal sphincter which in turn means acid can rise up into your oesophagus and throat.
I first noticed I had an issue when I felt like I had a constant lump in my throat, as well as often feeling like my food was getting stuck and being very aware of liquids travelling down my throat. Then I felt nausea frequently as well as burning pain in my chest and then the sour taste of acid in my mouth. I called the doctor mainly to check what heartburn meds they recommended alongside my beta blockers and when I described my symptoms my GP was quite concerned and started me on an immediate course of Omeprazole with the understanding that if my symptoms hadn’t improved in 4 weeks I would have to have further investigations.
In that 4 week period as well as the medication i drastically changed my diet and lifestyle. I cut out all fats other than olive oil, avocados and walnuts. I switched from dairy to almond milk and reduced my caffeine intake to 1 small cup of coffee first thing and cut out all tea, juice and soft drinks. I completely avoided red meat and white carbs and all citrus fruits as well as everything above. I mainly ate the following:
Porridge with almond milk, banana and walnuts or avocado, egg whites and wholemeal bread
Soup of some kind ( typically carrot and coriander) or a baked potato with fat free cottage cheese and salad.
Chicken or salmon with brown rice or pasta, cous cous or cauliflower rice and an abundance of veggies. For flavour I used fresh herbs and himalayan salt.
Bananas, apples, probiotic yoghurts, rice cakes or crackers with almond butter, walnuts or baked pretzels.
1 coffee a day, lots of water ( sometimes I treated myself with Fiji water or similar) or warm water with honey and ginger.
I also had to use a lot of OTC antacids because as I discovered these things do not fix themselves overnight and omeprazole each morning.
What did I find:
Well I started using a nutrition app to make sure I was still getting all I needed and discovered most days I was eating around 1200 calories, those late night snacks make a difference hey and I lost around 13lbs in the first few weeks. My nails grew quicker and my skin was clearer but my symptoms remained the same. My goal wasn’t to lose weight but most of these kinds of health conditions improve with less belly fat so it was a bonus I guess.
Where I am now..
So I am now 6 weeks into my very restricted diet and I’ve lost around 16lbs. My doctor asked me to stop taking my Omeprazole two weeks ago to have a test which unfortunately cannot be done while taking PPI medication as it masks things. The omeprazole clearly has been doing something as since stopping I am in a ridiculous amount of pain. Peptic is my new best friend. I have had the test done today so am hoping to start back my medication soon. I have had one or two days where I’ve had to for various reasons eat something outside of my diet and I’ve paid for it but that’s life.
I’ll provide an update soon!