Back when I was just transitioning into Paleoish eating, one goal was to get off my prescription medications I’d been on for a long time. One of those was for seasonal allergies that I had come to have to take year round for the previous decade. The other was various Proton Pump Inhibitors prescribed for what I called "nuclear heartburn," officially knows as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
What I found in the end is that I just began forgetting to take both, eventually realizing I didn’t need them.
That was a few years ago, and after some experience with family members and anecdotes I’d heard over the years, I had a pretty good idea how one might successfully go cold turkey when I got an email from a reader a couple of weeks ago.
I have a question or 2 for you. I remember reading that you used to take anti-gerd medicine (prilosec?). My question is, do you wean yourself off it (going from every other day to every 3 days, to once/week) or did you quit cold turkey? …
For what it’s worth, the Paleo-ish is going well. I’ve lost a couple of inches around the waist and feel great. I say paleo-ish, because I’m doing the 80-20 thing. I allow myself one pasta meal/week, although I make sure to do it the Italian way and not have pasta be the dominant item on the plate. And as a nod to my Bavarian heritage (born and raised), I drink one wheat beer a day with dinner. I can claim that the beer is medicinal, when I was in the hospital in Munich recovering from kidney stones, my doctor told me that if I drank a wheat beer a day that I’d never get another one. 23 years of following his advice and I haven’t had one since.
Basically, I just asked myself what I’d do if I were back at the start to go cold turkey, knowing what I know now. My 1-2-3 reply.
Best to go cold turkey on the GERD meds in my view. Here’s a couple of tips to help you if you have problems:
- Go pure paleo for a few days to a week, no added fat, i.e., lean meats & veggies with at most a drizzle of olive oil.
- No alcohol, coffee, tea, or tobacco during that pure paleo week. Water only.
- Supplement with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), about a level tsp mixed in water after each meal if you get heartburn.
Most people seem to get back to normal within about a week. But you’ll definitely want to forego the pasta and the beer for that week.
Congrats on the success.
How could it be any simpler? And for this reader, apparently it was pretty simple, for I received this email just a few days ago.
Worked like a charm. Now working on getting rid of the lipitor. And after I’ve lost 20 lbs, I’ll be able to convince my doctor to drop the blood pressure meds. (as I did doing Ornish/Pritikin).
Glad he could follow the simple advice, advice he’d likely never get from a drug pusher in a white coat.
Any other tips from self-experimentation experience? I know some recommend betaine HCL, probiotics, digestive enzymes and such, but personally I have never noticed any benefit with any of those for myself.
In terms of learning everything you always wanted to know about GERD, what it really is (too little, not too much stomach acid), how devastating PPI GERD meds can be long term and why you want to get off them, Chis Kresser is the go-to guy on this. See his multi-part series at The Healthy Skeptic.
For the newbies just leaning about how to go Paleoish, here’s a primer with links to follow.
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