Acid Reflux–My Experience and How I Manage It

When I was a senior in college, I woke up my first day as a freshman orientation leader feeling really gross.  My stomach was hurting, I didn’t feel like eating, and I honestly thought that I might throw up.  So I avoided breakfast, got a Sprite, and pushed through the day.  Little did I know that I was going to feel super gross for MONTHS.  It seemed to not matter if I ate or not, what I ate, what I drank–no matter what I did, I just didn’t feel good.  Sometimes I would have to run to the bathroom because I thought I was going to be sick; sometimes I woke up at night feeling awful.  I lost about 15 lbs in a couple of months just from not eating enough because I was trying to avoid feeling sick.  It was awful.

When I finally went to a doctor and got diagnosed with acid reflux, that was the beginning of me trying to figure out how to manage my symptoms.  I was put on prescriptions, told to eat Tums all day every day, told to eat more cake and brownies to “soak up the acid” (for real, a doctor told me to do that), to drink more milk, and lots of other things that, frankly, didn’t help.  The medicine I was put on helped make my symptoms less severe, but I was still suffering from it every day.   We even went so far as to have an endoscopy to check my esophagus to check for damage or any other signs of something deeper going on than just acid reflux–only to come up with no answers.

It took me a long time to figure out how to manage my own symptoms, but after paying attention to what I was eating and how it made me feel, I was able to identify my trigger foods so I can avoid them: peanut butter, red meat, dairy, carbs, and sugary foods–like  the cakes and brownies I was instructed to eat at first.  Hmmm.

Coincidentally, when I started my health and fitness journey, one of the biggest changes I noticed was that my acid reflux basically disappeared.  When I’m taking care of myself–eating clean, working out, and drinking my Shakeology–I have no issues with acid reflux.  When I eat too much junk and skip workouts, I can tell immediately in my acid reflux issues–I will start to feel sick and not be able to sleep well.  It’s one of the biggest signs my body gives me that I’m not taking care of myself.

One of the best revelations that my doctor helped me uncover is that for me, my acid reflux seems to be very linked to stress and anxiety.  I was told that the fact that my acid reflux literally just started one day, and during a stressful time of my life–planning a wedding, senior year of college–suggested that my symptoms were really caused by stress.  Working out regularly and properly fueling my body lessens the stress my body experiences, and thus reduces those symptoms.

For anyone else who is suffering from acid reflux, I would recommend a few things from my own experience:

  • Keep a food journal to keep track of what you’re eating and how it makes you feel.  Don’t just assume that your experience will fit the traditional trigger foods or relief foods that you’ll find online–it doesn’t fit my experience!  Keeping track yourself will empower you to make food choices that make you feel good instead of gross.
  • Work out!  If you’re like me and stress impacts your acid reflux, working out will reduce the stress by giving your body another outlet to release that stress without making you feel sick.
  • Drink Shakeology.  Part of what makes Shakeo awesome is that it has probiotics AND prebiotics to create a healthy environment in your gut, which could mean fewer issues with acid reflux (which means the pH levels in your gut are not what they should be).

Obviously, everyone is different, but these tips can help anyone.  Knowing what makes you feel awesome and healthy, versus what makes you feel gross, is an empowering thing.  Take some control of your health and make empowered, informed choices!

Fixate Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

I love desserts.  I love to bake them, look at pictures of them, and certainly eat them.  I’m always on the lookout for cleaner treats or healthier versions of desserts that I love, so when I saw that the healthy cooking show on Beachbody On Demand–Fixate–had Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls on their menu, I wanted to immediately try them!

I’ve made these several times for multiple occasions, and they are always a huge hit!  These are actually on our Advent activity list to take to my son’s school teachers.  Yum!

One important note with this recipe is to make sure that you use PURE maple syrup, not the cheap pancake syrup.  It will not taste the same, and it changes the nutrition.  Pure maple syrup is a sugar that is easier to digest and is used by the body as energy, not stored as fat like the added sugar in the cheap stuff.

These are great for a holiday potluck, simple gifts for neighbors, or when you want a nice dessert for a get-together.  Or when you want chocolate.

2 of these count as 1 yellow snack container for the Portion Fix.

Fixate Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

1 cup natural creamy peanut butter

1 tbsp cornstarch

3/4 cup coconut flour

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

8 oz dark chocolate, chopped or chips

2 tsp coconut oil

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Combine peanut butter, corn starch, coconut flour and maple syrup in a large bowl, food processor or stand mixer.  Blend well until it becomes a uniform dough.  Add hot water as necessary to moisten it.
  3. Using clean hands, shape dough until 1 inch balls; place a toothpick into the center of each ball. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes. ***I actually just use a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon because they have a nicer shape and don’t melt this way.
  4. While you wait for the balls to chill, put the chocolate and coconut oil in a small, microwavable bowl.
  5. Melt the chocolate and oil 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring after each 30 second interval, until completely melted and smooth (this usually takes me three rounds).  Let cool slightly.
  6. Remove balls from refrigerator.  Hold a ball by the toothpick and dip it into the chocolate, swirl it to completely coat or use a spoon to pour chocolate over the top of it.  Repeat with each of the balls, returning them to the baking sheet.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until chocolate has hardened.
  8. Store in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Enjoy!

 

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

I never, EVER thought that I would like Brussels sprouts.

I don’t remember having them as a kid, but they were part of the Thanksgiving meal at my college–cooked with bacon and maybe brown sugar?  I tried them because I like pretty much anything with bacon, but they were HORRIBLE.  As a part of the cabbage family, they can be very bitter, and I don’t love bitter foods like kale and other greens.

Like most people, I had basically written Brussels sprouts off as gross until my friend Deb shared this recipe with me.  There are many variations of this recipe on the Internet, and I really don’t know who to attribute this one to, but it is GOOD.  If you like balsamic and mustard, just try it.  I know that Brussels sprouts have a bad rep in general, but give it a chance!  They are so healthy and a great, nutrient-dense veggie option.

I’ve made these as posted here, and I’ve also made them with chopped white onion and a some minced garlic.  That adds some more flavor and a little more veggie power.  You could also roast this with bacon, because, well, bacon.

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

2 cups Brussels sprouts, ends chopped off and halved (or quartered if they are large)

1 tbsp olive oil

1-2 tbsp balsamic vingar

pinch of salt and pepper

1-2 tbsp of mustard (any kind you like) for dipping

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until Brussels sprouts are evenly coated.  Spread in a single layer on a large cookie sheet lined with either foil or parchment paper.  Roast Brussels sprouts for 15-20 minutes, until slightly browned and softened. Serve with mustard and enjoy!