The typical treatment for heartburn is antacids. I’ll always remember my grandmother and her Rolaids. You couldn’t separate the two! She carried extras around in her purse.
These days, some of the most profitable drugs in America are prescription antacids — Nexium, Prilosec, and Zantac come immediately to mind. Yet do these actually treat heartburn? Or make it worse in the long run?
One of my friends and fellow bloggers, Craig Fear of Fearless Eating (that’s a wicked cool blog name, isn’t it?), wrote a book exploring the cause of heartburn and offering a 30 day Real Food diet plan for saying goodbye to heartburn once and for all. It’s called the 30 Day Heartburn Solution. Craig is not only a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, but a generous spirit. So when I asked him if he’d provide you guys with a coupon for his e-book, he did!
What causes heartburn?
The first 25 pages or so of Craig’s book explore the root causes of heartburn.
What he argues (and I now thoroughly believe) is that heartburn is not caused by too much acid, but by not enough.
It turns out that in the presence of low stomach acid, the sugars in the food we eat can ferment and cause excess gas. Craig explains:
Bloating, belching, and bad breath are some of the symptoms that result. The maldigested mass of food and the gas that results builds up in the stomach and can start to put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve that keeps the stomach separate from the esophagus. Over time, the LES can weaken through this continuous increased pressure.
As pressure builds, some of the acidic contents of the stomach can reflux back into the esophagus. And as we’ve seen, unlike the stomach, the lining of the esophagus is not meant for acid so it burns. As previously described, this burning of the lining of the esophagus is known as heartburn. So the root cause of heartburn is the under production of stomach acid.
So what about all these antacids we are taking? Wouldn’t those make the problem worse?
While it is true that by lowering the acid content of the stomach, they successfully relieve the burning sensation of heartburn, these medicines ultimately perpetuate the problem.
And on top of that, they actually can cause other digestive issues as well — which Craig explains quite satisfactorily in his book.
So, how do you “fix” low stomach acid?
Craig developed a nutritional treatment plan that he uses with patients in his practice (Pioneer Valley Nutritional Therapy in MA), and that’s the protocol that he shares in the second half of his book.
It’s a 4 week protocol, divided in two, two week segments.
He goes into a tremendous amount of detail, so I’m a little apprehensive about hitting the highlights here for fear of misrepresenting Craig’s solution. But to put it simply, he prescribes a 100% real food diet for the full 30 days that promotes gut health and helps soothe the gut lining. The first two weeks are entirely grain-free, and the second set of two weeks can include a series of recommended (short-term!) supplements if you’re not already seeing marked improvement.
I appreciate how Craig handled this portion of the book. Not only does he provide sound reasoning and practical steps towards guiding you in the diet, but he also has “troubleshooting” sections to help you if a particular step seems difficult or hard to implement.
And yes, there are recipes.
Thankfully, this section is packed full of recipes to help you succeed in enacting Craig’s nutritional protocol.
I heartily recommend this book if you’re suffering from heartburn or GERD.
I believe it will help you nip your problem in the bud.
Where to buy Craig Fear’s 30 Day Heartburn Solution
If you or someone you love is suffering from heartburn or GERD, you will want to grab this book! It’s available in both e-book and print.
Want to read more BOOK LOVE posts?
This is the fourth in a weekly Weekend Book Love Series (see them all here).
Next week, I’ll be reviewing The Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook: 80 Gluten-Free Treats for Breakfast & Dessert (currently a #1 Amazon best-seller!).
(Seriously, I get about a dozen books each month from authors and publishers asking me to review them! It’s time I did something with my never-ending supply of interesting books and select the most awesome, most useful, most well-written of the lot to review.)