Each day, we’re bombarded with messages about heartburn. Commercials depicting happy men, women, and children enjoying huge meals and then suffering acid reflux are resolved with a simple chewable tablet or a preventative pill. These are followed by advertisements for the latest, largest fast-food offerings. It can be confusing when our bodies are reacting negatively to this protocol that seems so “normal”. It’s understandable that many of us suffer from ailments related to diet, including an addiction to these “safe” medications. In my last article, I explored the secret causes of heartburn and how to heal. Below, I share why these addictions happen, and how to safely support your body while discontinuing over-the-counter treatments.
The Truth About Over-The-Counter Medication
While these medications are tested and found to be “safe”, they add to the imbalance in our bodies. When heartburn occurs, it can be tempting to chew a tablet and wait for the sensation to pass. This is actually damaging to our body’s ability to heal. Many of these medications contain harmful chemicals, such as polyethylene glycol which can be contaminated with dioxane or antifreeze, and aluminum which has been connected to Alzheimers. Other medications like Omeprazol or Zantac which stop acid production are now being associated with vitamin deficiencies, kidney problems, and DEMENTIA!!! Instead of listening to the cry for help, we mute it with an acid-eliminating tablet. This causes our bodies to react more strongly the next time we consume the offending food and makes us reliant upon the medication. Instead of correcting the problem, we mask the symptoms and continue a life of imbalance.
A Different Standard for Healing
Chinese Medicine postulates that a balance between body, mind, emotions, spirit, energy, and activity promotes a healthy life. Our bodies work hard to restore balance, which diverts energy away from the other aspects of our being. When we feel this imbalance, instead of walking down the aisle of the grocery store for the latest heartburn remedy, reflect on your diet and see what might be needed in order for you to heal. Interestingly, heartburn can be caused by not enough acid as well as too much acid. As we get older, this is a more common cause of heartburn.
Supporting Your Body During the Process
The best way to promote wellness inside and out is to allow your body to heal itself. By tuning into signals like heartburn and acid reflux, we learn which foods are damaging to our bodies. These are often starchy white foods. You may still experience symptoms for up to a week after you stop eating them; however, eliminating these foods has provided relief for over 90% of my patients!
It can take time to get used to reading these signals from your body, and I encourage you to be extra gentle and patient with yourself. Pay attention to any uncomfortable sensations, and note which foods you consumed prior to the flare-up. Rely on healthful, soothing teas and supplements when needed. Peppermint is a cooling, helpful herb that is a wonderful remedy for soothing a bout of heartburn. Ginger harmonizes all the organs and is particularly good for your stomach and digestion. Other herbs work with your body to heal instead of simply dulling pain.
You CAN end your addiction to over-the-counter heartburn medicines. Make a few changes to your diet and substitute herbs for your favorite medicine. You’ll be supporting your health both today and in the future!