During my last semester in college, I developed a condition called GERD, gastro-esophageal reflux disease.
It was so uncomfortable that I actually went to see a doctor, a rare occurrence in my otherwise healthy early 20s body.
I was told to stop eating acidic & fatty foods, to not eat before going to bed, to sit up after eating, etc. The doctor also prescribed a medication – Prilosec – to be taken indefinitely. I obliged at first, even though my symptoms persisted.
I did everything I could to minimize the discomfort, including sheepishly telling a waiter in an Italian restaurant (in Italy) that I couldn’t have tomato sauce, cream sauce, pesto, cheese, butter, olive oil on my pasta. He gave me the nastiest look.
I wasn’t only embarrassed, I was also sad that I couldn’t eat the foods I loved. IN ITALY, no less!
That first year after college, still dealing with all the symptoms, I looked for more remedies to help minimize my GERD.
In my gut , I knew that there must be a more natural way to treat the condition outside of medications and avoiding all the foods. Life was feeling miserable.
Someone recommended a Chinese acupuncturist in Portland, Maine where I was living. I had not tried acupuncture before, but I was desperate, so I went.
She checked my pulse, looked at my tongue, took my history and asked:
“What is causing you to be so stressed?”
Well, I said. I just graduated from college and have no idea what to do with my life! Could that be stressing me out?
When you’re a planner, a self provoked perfectionist and a parent pleaser, not knowing what’s next is enough to throw you in an emotional spiral.
“Ah! That’s why you have this!” She said with in her broken English.
“Your Liver has been attacking your Spleen, causing Stomach Fire.”
That sounded like Greek (Chinese) to me at that point. Rough translation – my digestion was out of harmony due to stress, hence GERD and all the symptoms.
Before she gave me acupuncture and herbal supplements, she did another new thing to me – an NAET test – a muscle testing technique to see what foods my body did not like (at that time).
After a few minutes, she revealed the NAET results…
Eggs, sugar, dairy and bread… she concluded matter of factly after the assessment. Avoid these for 2 weeks and come back for your next appointment then.
I wanted to feel better so badly that I did just that.
And you know what? I did feel better, almost immediately!
There were lots of factors happening at the same time, so it was hard to tell which one was working more than others.
What was for sure true was that it my first introduction to the concept of healing myself with natural modalities and eating according to what my body liked and didn’t like.
It was also the first time I learned that my emotions can directly impact my digestion – that brain and gut connection!
After a few weeks of regular acupuncture, herbal medicine, and avoiding those foods, I was able to stop the GERD medication and start eating normally again.
Occasionally if there’s prolonged stress, some symptoms would return. But I know exactly what to do now to get back to balance. And it never involve medications!
While my GERD is mostly controlled, I find myself in another big life transition (hello empty-nesting!) along with nagging symptoms that prevent me from enjoying a full life.
In my late 40s now, my joints ache, my hormones fluctuate, my digestion is finicky. Sleep can be elusive, fatigue at 2pm is real, and sweet cravings are more prominent now than ever!
Inspired by the book Brave New Medicine, Dr. Cynthia Li reminds me how we can use food as medicine along with mind-body healing modalities.
I am again excited to bring myself back to harmony.
Hippocrates said a few thousand years ago that “all disease begins in the gut.”
In November, I plan to do a 22-day Holistic Gut Reset by nourishing myself with whole foods while eliminating certain common inflammatory foods (gluten, dairy, sugar).
Mindfulness practices will be included to decrease stress and encourage optimal parasympathetic rest & digest nervous system functions.
I’d love for you to join my Reset if you are ready to feel better from the inside out as well!
Please reach out to me directly as I hope to create a group of COMMITTED individuals who will support each other through these 22 days.
email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s to a healthy gut and a harmonized you!
Want to connect with me directly? Feel free to book a free session with me here.