On the Menu: Air. Water. Little Else.

Can someone please find me a day’s worth of food and beverage that is not spicy, fatty, rich, caffeinated, or acidic?

I bet you can’t.

Not quite two weeks ago, I detailed to you (well, maybe not you – readership seems to have dropped off a bit – where are you people? It’s the politics, isn’t it?) a stunning attack of heartburn that made me think I was going to either spontaneously combust or bleed to death inside. Good news: that hasn’t happened again. Bad news: it apparently touched off an enduring episode of acid reflux.

I’ve had this once before, and the most interesting feature of it by far is that the bumps at the back of my tongue get all hot and bothered. Well, not hot. But bothered. They swell up. The effect of this is the sensation of something being caught in my throat. Or, that I’m about to choke to death. Nothing hurts. Nothing even burns. But apparently the acid sloshes up my esophagus so far that the back of my tongue gets all irritated.

Are you grossed out yet?

It’s not really gross, except that I guess it’s kind of like I’ve been eating batteries. As of yet, I have not turned into a fire-breathing dragon. Though that might be kind of cool and is something to aim for if things don’t improve.


Anyway. I’ve been taking this over-the-counter stuff for a few days now. One of those meds that used to be prescription only and now it’s available without the hassle of going to the doctor, having the doctor say, “You have acid reflux,” getting a prescription filled and fighting with the insurance company about the whole thing. The OTC meds are a 14-day course. You take one every morning before you eat or drink anything and it’s a time-release deal. Lovely.

But today as I was swallowing the pill I read the side of the box that told me what to avoid eating and drinking, and frankly I might as well have just become Gandhi.

What we thought was principle may have just been a peptic complaint.

“Avoid heartburn-causing foods such as rich, spicy, fatty or fried foods, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and certain fruits and vegetables.”

The medicine box was an a$$hole.

Now, look. I know that those things can cause heartburn. And although I love me some rich & fatty, I try to stay healthy with the food. But under these guidelines, I defy you to come up with a list of stuff I can eat on a given day and not have it be filled with boiled chicken and nothing else.

Plus, these are perfect restrictions, since I have chili and tomato basil soup in the fridge, half a homemade – from scratch, people – chocolate cake on the counter, and half a bottle of cabernet on the table.

I cannot waste that.


The fruits and veggies may be the unkindest cut of all. No citrus. No tomatoes or tomato-based foods. No onions. No peppers. No potatoes (potatoes?! Seriously?). No scallions or garlic. No vinegar-based or creamy or oily salad dressing.

Well what other kind of salad dressing is there?

Most of this is off the table

And obviously the “no fatty foods” thing applies to any meat that isn’t super-lean. And cheese. Also, I’ve been wondering if peanut butter counts as a fatty food. And is fiber bad, or good?

So, like I said. Boiled chicken. And maybe some plain rice.

How very... blah

Why does my lower esophogeal sphincter muscle have to be such a tight-a$$?

…she asks as she sips her coffee.

Hey. Some things are required in order for me to be a decent human being.





34 thoughts on “On the Menu: Air. Water. Little Else.

  1. I sympathize with you. I have had all of those symptoms for several months now. I’m on a prescription drug (generic) Prevacid. I’m looking for mild, mild foods–oatmeal, chicken, rice… Yesterday I underwent a CAT scan. It’s not fun. Bland is not fun. Heartburn is not fun. Sigh. I can blame age. I love your humorous take on it. *Burp*

  2. You have my utmost sympathy. Nothing makes me grumpier than eating healthy when I don’t want to. Luckily, so far, knock on wood, heartburn is something I’ve never had to deal with. But the more important question is: what about the big box of wine??? Can you at least wash down the boiled chicken and rice with one of those great bottles of wine?

  3. Oh yes this is my life daily. I have chronic acid reflux, gastric paresis and IBS. I do eat a lot of mildly seasoned rice/pasta with chicken dishes. I also eat quite a bit of fish and shrimp, which seem to do well.

    If yours is temporary, then you will get through it … promise.

    But it SUCKS.

    • Hi Karen. I feel for you – I think I’d go nuts with this as a permanent condition. Part of why it’s so difficult is that I love to cook and bake. I don’t care what anyone says – food is an experience that’s irreplaceable. I’m sorry for your situation and hope it improves somehow!

  4. A few weeks back, after some extreme stress, I got a sort of prolonged heartburn that was shockingly painful. Juuuusst on the line of “I better go see someone right now.” Antacids kept it manageable, but only just. I’d never had that happen before, and my body told me pretty clearly that there was a short list of “Eat” and a massive index of “Don’t eat.”

    • Funny you didn’t tell me this when you commented on my first hearburn post. I think bodies just sort of stage revolts every once in a while. I can’t figure it to be anything else but that. It’s funny what randomly sets things off. Why would I get acid reflux once every five years or so, and any other time I don’t have a problem at all? Sphincter strike. Gotta be. I hope your killer heartburn doesn’t return!

  5. I’m going to go out on a limb here and propose something that helped me, as I share your affliction. For years, I was diagnosed with acid reflux disease, tried (and failed) to avoid all that stuff and crammed my diet with the pastas and breads the guidebooks claim soak up excess acid.

    I got worse.

    Turns out, I am intolerant of gluten. It causes 95% of my acid problems. Quitting the bread and pasta has been a lot easier than the fatty foods, spicy foods, wine, wine, and wine. Oh, and chocolate. I know the gluten intolerance thing is a fad right now, but it is what was causing my problem. I feel 100% better without it.

    • Thanks for your thoughts! I am familiar with the condition, but I really don’t eat much in the way of carbs. I will keep it in mind if this particular episode continues, though, especially since I’ll have to eat more carbs because of what I can’t eat for the time being!

    • I gave up wheat and my reflux issues have disappeared. I was on Nexium (an expensive prescription) and still had massive number of stomach erosions. Giving up wheat has allowed me to give up the prescription and not have reflux either, unless I eat incredibly stupidly (large amounts of formerly forbidden foods). I have even been able to add coffee back into my daily life (YESSSSSSSSSSS). Now if they could just figure out why I cannot eat more than 15 bites of food or so without incredible pain, I’ll be happy.

  6. I have heartburn on and off, but nothing like the pain you’re talking about. It’s just a persistent annoyance. It’s worst at night, of course, when I lay down. I hope you can get yours under control quickly. And if not, I hope you can learn to love boiled chicken!

    That was mean about the boiled chicken. Sorry.

  7. I hope the medicine will help for you…and that there wasn’t something more serious wrong (wait, you did go to the doctor, right?) Of course, I’d treat myself for a couple of months before seeking medical attention – that is what we nurses do. In my response to Andra’s comment, I also got worse on the prescription meds instead of better. Enjoy the chicken…

    • I will go to the doctor if the 14-days of the time-release OTC stuff doesn’t work. I can’t for the life of me remember what she did when I went last time. I’m pretty sure she told me to lay off the tomatoes for a while. The end.

  8. Ever hear of the BRAT diet? Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast? Apparently it’s what doctors prescribe for people having stomach issues. The mere THOUGHT of those foods makes me want to barf. Good luck getting the acid reflux under control.

  9. I have a tendency toward acid reflux and unfortunately when it’s going on red wine is the worst culprit. Fortunately, I like beer (a lot!) and it doesn’t seem to incite the reflux. Muri would have you on the BRAT diet (nothing personal, it’s Bananas – Rice – Applesauce – Tea). It may be an old wives tale (she is, after all, an … never mind) but it seems to work if I can stand it. I’ve always found a temporary diet change a lot more effective than the 14 day OTC andf then I can go back to what I shouldn’t be eating. Hope you feel better.

    P.S. – It’s not the politics.

    • Yeah, I gave up the wine. Sigh. Half a bottle of good cab, for naught. Gave up the coffee too, so now I’m grumpy all day long for want of coffee, wine, chocolate and food that’s appetizing. I just need the bumps on the back of my tongue to deflate. That’s the only sign of a problem now. Pithypants mentioned the BRAT diet as well – coincidentally on a day when I had unwittingly subscribed to it (with two very mild additions – where do you get protein on the BRAT diet?) PS – Is it something else, then?

  10. Oh NO.. poor you, what misery and i have noticed a drop in readers too, maybe it IS the politics, god i hope it is not ME! anyway, try to have a walk often, and water, water, water, water, water, water. It will be over soon. and the best time to drink your water is in the morning before anything else, even before toothpaste, as much as you can, give your insides a good shower! then 30 minutes later you can do what you normally do, hope things get better soon.. c

    • Hi there! I know, I’m a sad sad person complaining all over the internet. The good news is I regularly drink TONS of water – at least 64 oz. a day. Had 16 before I ate my boring oatmeal today! I think it’s finally getting better! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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