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Oh, Cheftalkers, I need your help--new, sweeping dietary restrictions

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

So, I have had this nose and throat problem for a few years. Can't tell you how many different things have been ruled out and/or treated along the way but now the diagnosis is something that has a long name but is also called "silent reflux." My larynx and throat have been damaged.

 

The prescription in addition to meds is a draconian, "low acid" diet. Pretty much everything that has flavor seems to be ruled out for at least 3-4 months, until symptoms have cleared up and things can heal. After that I can try adding things one at a time to isolate anything that causes symptoms to return

 

Here is what I am told I cannot have:

 

No alcohol of any kind. No carbonated beverages--including sparkling waters.

Coffee, tea--black and green. ( I have not been uncaffeinated in over 40 years. I adore coffee.) 

No citrus--not even in cooking. (I would assume this means vinegar is out, too.)

GARLIC  (this is what the Dr says, though I downloaded the USDA;s "ph of common foods" document and garlic does not seem to be excessively acidic.) 

Alliums

Most condiments--mustard is specifically listed as a NO

Cheeses, cream, 2% and full-fat dairy products. (skim is OK, but yuck.)

Most fruits--bananas and papaya --my 2 least favorites are OK. Melon is OK. 

Pastries, cakes, pies, etc.

Chocolate

No more than one whole egg a day--prepared without fat. (I question this, as butter and oil are on the "allowed" list)

Tomatoes

Sausages, bacon, cured meats and pork (though, again, I think "pork" is stupidity. Tenderloin is not shoulder and the fat is supposedly the issue)

"Spicy" food. The dr I saw, seemed to interpret this as NO SPICES.

 

I walked out of that office and sat down and wept. I do not know how to cook without garlic, acids and spices.

 

What I can eat seems to be limited to lean proteins, blandly cooked. Beans and lentils (unseasoned? No thank you.)  Raw, steamed, roasted or boiled vegetables. Breads and grains. Some fruits. Butter and Oil are OK in moderation. Herbs seem to be OK. I think ginger might actually be OK. Water. Herb teas, except for mint. 

 

Is there any hope?

post #2 of 17

LPR-Laryngopharyngeal reflux? Just looked it up on WebMD.

     The typical dietary restrictions don't seem as excessive as your doctor's recommendations. But in any case, keeping stomach acid down is the key. One of the medications listed is parenthetically listed as sodium bicarbonate-baking soda.  I am not a big fan of prescription medications so personally I'd opt for keeping the acid low and work on more holistic methods.

     I'd also get a second and third opinion on treatment. Talk to a dietician as well as a nutritionist. 

      My father had a hiatal hernia for years and took Win-gel. I don't know if its' still available or sold under another name but that helped him. 

Then he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and the treatment for that greatly reduced his acid reflux. 

Of course, much depends on whether your situation is physical or dietary based but I would think after some research you could work out a diet plan to get healthier while not driving yourself crazy. 

If dietary based, it would seem a straightforward problem of keeping the acid down and out of your throat while still enabling the body to digest your food.  Finding a balance for that would be the plan so some foods to be avoided will be highly acidic while others will require the body to produce more acid to be able to break them down. I think that's why the fat and pork.

I'd follow doctors orders and work out adjustments after you talk to the other specialists.   

Fwiw, I love coffee too. You have my complete sympathy. 

post #3 of 17

Potatoes and sweet potatoes/yams are okay?

post #4 of 17
Welcome to my life. I'm so sorry you're suffering with the same thing. It takes time to get things under control but you will learn how to manage this. I started off the same way, something was wrong with my throat and got diagnosed with many things before docs realized it was silent reflux.

The list is just about right though I would add bell peppers too, and nuts too. I advise that you urge your doctors to try H2 blockers first and stay away from PPI because weaning yourself off those can cause major hyperacidity. It happened to me and it wasn't pretty.

Certain herbs are good such as parsley. Stay away from mint and even breath mints, they aggravate. When I was going through the regime you are facing I would start my day with a banana parsley smoothie (use water for the liquid). This combination is very healing.

After the initial healing I can tell you that I can now pretty much eat anything. But not anytime I want it. Chocolate for example is a major trigger for my reflux. I can eat some but early in the day, never before bed! I can eat spicy food but I can only tolerate a little early in the day. I only drink one cup of coffee a day. I can't eat too much fat.

The most important things to do is to eat small meals, never allow your stomach to get overly full because this riggers attacks. Also buy a wedge pillow and sleep with your head and upper body elevated. It won't allow the acid to creep up your throat. Finish eating at least 3 hrs before bedtime. Get plenty of exercise this helpd tremendously with digestion! I'll check this thread often and help any way I can but yes there is hope. I find myself in an altered state of living, a new kind of reality but you are not alone, this is a common problem. Good luck!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #5 of 17

WELCOME TO YOUR NEXT FOOD ADVENTURE!  

 

That's a bummer Terry I feel for you.  I have mild silent myself and take omeprazole every morning.  But there are things you can do to help yourself heal.  Wade through Koukouvagia's "Bone Broth" thread it's an Ayurvedic medicinal type of broth and quite delicious and very healing.  

 

Look into Qigong and Tai Chi.  Qigong for a healing, stretching morning ritual.  My warmup runs 20 minutes and more if I add tapping and some basic Tai Chi moves in with it.  The tapping is really good for the organs and there are simple forms to lower blood pressure, stimulate energy and improve balance.   

post #6 of 17

Are dried bonita, seaweed, and dried mushrooms on your approved list? If so they can quickly become your new best friends due to their huge umami profiles. Umami is imparted through glutamate which is an amino acid so I wasn't sure. Carrots also are big on umami and carrot juice reduced can make some banging sauces. Are apples okay, because apple juice can also make a good base for sauces.

 

Yes there is hope, I feel for you as I have been put on dietary restrictions for testing purposes before and initially I thought life was over, but looking back now I can see how those times helped to release my inner chef from his box and expanded my culinary skills and creativity.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #7 of 17

Wondering if sulfur/ cysteine is the reason for the elimination of some of the animal products on the list, (dairy, cured meats, pork, etc.) as well as garlic and the aliums, though the guidelines seem a bit inconsistent (how are butter and oil okay?). Cysteine is in higher quantities in most animal products and because of the sulfur, puts greater acid load on the body to properly neutralize. Glutamate does not contain sulfur

post #8 of 17

Here's the thing - that's an across the board standard issue list of "Verboten".  It wasn't tailor made for Terry it's what everybody gets.  You could maybe get hooked up with a nutritionist and customize your diet plan.  There are some pluses - 3-4 months with no alcohol might net you a significant weight loss and reigning in some of the other stuff will lighten the load also.  I haven't given up drinking, but have scaled back and you'll be impressed at how you feel when you get weened off of the caff.  I have one cup of coffee in the morning and have switched from espresso to light roast and I notice a difference.  Light roast has more nutritive goodies than the roasted to death espresso I love so much. 

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike9 View Post

Here's the thing - that's an across the board standard issue list of "Verboten".  It wasn't tailor made for Terry it's what everybody gets.  You could maybe get hooked up with a nutritionist and customize your diet plan.  There are some pluses - 3-4 months with no alcohol might net you a significant weight loss and reigning in some of the other stuff will lighten the load also.  I haven't given up drinking, but have scaled back and you'll be impressed at how you feel when you get weened off of the caff.  I have one cup of coffee in the morning and have switched from espresso to light roast and I notice a difference.  Light roast has more nutritive goodies than the roasted to death espresso I love so much. 
I think unless you have suffered with acid reflux its hard to relate to what's happening. I gave up everything on that list and then some. I quit coffee for 6 months. I had an endoscopy. My life turned upside down and even so my doc told me I have a mild case. Everything on this list must go. Ive learned how to incorporate all the foods back into my life but I still think of it all the time. I must still weigh pros and cons when faced with tomato sauce. I still make my banana parsley smoothie when I have a flare up. I get rid of everything on this list every once in a while and only eat safe foods. Trust me, this list is just a starting point. There is no tailor made list, that comes much later when you've learned how to control this thing. But damage has been done to the esophagus and so healing must take place immediately. So everything on the list goes.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #10 of 17

I get an endoscopy every two years so I know.  Mine is "monitored", but I don't flareup much anymore.  We make smoothies every day, go light on the acids, etc, etc.  It's an insidious thing when they told me I had "silent reflux" I was like - "have you ever had reflux?? - there ain't nothing silent about it!!"  Well a little research laid it all out and I had to tone everything down.  It was work, but I've been getting good feedback from the endoscopies so I must be doing something right.

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone. 

 

This has been going on now for years. At first it was thought that the throat problems were due to a thyroid mass. Treated that. No improvement. This is the 3rd ENT I've been to. The last one consistently makes it to the top of the "Best Doctors in Chicago" rankings. Lovely man. Ran many tests, performed many different treatments, sent me to an allergist, changed meds a couple of times. Symptoms just kept getting worse. He finally said he had run out of tricks and suggested another opinion. This ENT is at Northwestern. Personally, I think he took just the tiniest bit of pleasure in telling me all the things I need to stop eating. He was also completely humorless. I work in a bookstore. Found 2 books today that I trust more than the half-baked and contradictory hand out he gave me on my way out the door.

 

My normal diet is really pretty healthy. No fried stuff. Meat is not a regular thing. Don't snack. Lots of fruits and vegetables. Cheese is a treat, not a daily thing. Moderate social drinking once or twice a week. I do drink a lot of coffee, use tons of garlic and citrus, eat a bit of dark chocolate and drink a cup of green tea every day. I don't have a spice rack. I have a spice cabinet. Three shelves. So many ethnic markets near me. Almost all of my friends are exceptionally good cooks and they all like good booze. Most of my social life revolves around eating and drinking with them. I am really having a hard time wrapping my head around how I'm going to do this. I'm supposed to observe the really strict measures for 3-4 months, then re-introduce things gradually. My throat and vocal cords are a mess. I'm also past due for an endoscopy.

post #12 of 17

ENT? I'm surprised he didn't refer you to a Gastroenterologist.  

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

@Mike9--he did but did not give me a name. He actually told me I didn't need to come back to him unless the diet didn't work. I really did not like this guy, but I think he's probably right. I also haven't used this hospital for primary care in the past. It's an excellent hospital--probably the best in this part of the Midwest, but if you go there you need to be prepared to accept that you are cattle.

 

 

My long-time primary care physician left her practice in the city to go out to a far-away suburb a couple of years ago now and I really haven't settled into a comfortable relationship with a new one since. Saw one in November I'll probably go back to at some point. My pay sucks but I have good insurance, so I can go to any gastro I pick. I'll ask for a nutritionist consult, too. The ENT I was seeing is a good guy. He'll probably have a referral if I ask him for one.

post #14 of 17

If you have the insurance then by all means do so so you have the complete picture. 

post #15 of 17
N/a.
Edited by Cerise - 5/16/16 at 6:21am
post #16 of 17
For me i loved the old scaresdale paperback book he may not touch on everything but...its very informative with the health issues and our children r dealing w today. And guess what i have no children
post #17 of 17
Again oh my my mom has nose and throat issues shes 75 right nobody knows
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