This is part 3 of ‘Becoming The FruitMonster’. If you haven’t read part 1 or part 2, be sure to read those first!
Yeah, so I’m back to the stomach stuff…. Greeeeaaat you may say, but I promise, this will get somewhere useful! Mainly onto how I discovered this crazy fruitmonster diet!.
The Joys of Prevacid
Last I left you, I was diagnosed with duodenal and peptic ulcers and prescribed a prevacid panacea which was to eliminate all of my problems right? Eeeeehhhhhh! Wrong! (That was my attempt at a “you got it wrong” buzzer). Forget fixing things, how about just diving further down the mystical rabbit hole that is the human digestion process? Do you know what prevacid even does? It uses chemicals to damn up your digestive juices. It’s known as a PPI or proton-pump inhibitor, which stops your body from producing the acidic soup in your stomach.
This has all sorts of great results in your body! Yeah, like making it extremely hard for your body to digest the food you eat… your body produces that stuff for a very good reason: you need it to live! The result? My energy level, emotional vitality and my very passion in life were leeched from me. I was irritable, tired, felt weak and came to deserve the title “FartMonster” rather than the self-titled tweet-world alternative.
Sometimes a I would feel nauseous and vomit a few hours after I ate: my food would come up looking as if I had just eaten it. All of this because my digestion was no longer working correctly! You take it for granted, but your digestive tract and what you put into it are the basis of your very life force. Another joyful side effect of this delightful drug? An overproduction of the gastrin hormone in your body, high levels of which are linked to increased rates of cancer! Great, don’t take it, get esophageal cancer, do take it and get colon cancer or worse.
A Lose-Lose Situation
Between a gallstone and a hard turd, I found myself. These symptoms all seemed to grow worse as I continued on for a year, waking up to the same routine: alarm -> pretty pink pill -> shut down an essential life-giving process -> internal chaos and despair. The best part? My stomach still hurt! I continued to have acid-reflux and stomach ulcer symptoms! The doctor’s solution? ”Oh, it must not be enough. Take another pill before dinner time.” Naturally, I obey like a good pharma puppet, and I’m left to pop prescription like three year old with a bag of Skittles (pop? try straight pounding prevacid to the face with that analogy).
We are now into winter quarter of my senior year of college in beautiful Athens, Ohio and I’m fed up, not happy and ready to embrace another solution. A friend of mine at the time had given me a well timed birthday gift, a book: ”Ulcer Free“. I believe I read nearly the entire book the first day I owned it. Between that book and a lot of personal research I did on the Internetz, I felt both frustrated and confident enough to start down a new path, a whole new holistic and hopeful one.
So I cut the prevacid cold turkey and started trying a slew of new things: DGL Licorice, Aloe Vera, Omega 3 pills, Vitamin this-that-and-the-other and a funky little chemical combo called zinc-carnosine. Now cutting a PPI drug off usually leads one into a stage where their body overproduces acid and serious pain endures. One must wean themselves off of a PPI a few days at a time, or they can do some serious damage to their insides. So, after a year of damming up my acid factories, you’d think my body would do the same… but it never did. That’ because my digestive capabilities never fully came back; in fact I believe that taking prevacid permanently damaged my body’s ability to produce enough stomach acid and sent my body into a dsyfunctional hormone balance.
Obviously, I cannot prove this to you, but I can tell you that prior to taking it and after taking it, my stomach operated in very different ways. In fact to this day, I still endure digestive weakness and poor motility (thats gut motion for all you stomach-stupid folks ) which I believe to be correlated to my year of taking 1-2 of those worthless, life-long drugs. Oh, did I forget to mention that part? Prevacid, Nexium and all those other PPIs: people don’t usually ever stop taking them. Sounds like a great way to make money, kind of like cigarettes, in that pharmaceutical addiction is exactly what this is. However, not of the same mother as a nicotine fix, this one is addictive because it DOES NOT SOLVE PROBLEMS, IT TREATS SYMPTOMS and that is a process that does not end my friends.
DGL Licorice – The Defender
Hopping off of my soap box and unbunching my panties, I voyage on into a lighter subject of sorts. The holistic path had actually been quite helpful! I had found my own medicinal manna: DGL Licorice. DGL has that funky acronym in front of it because it needs to be … let me get this right, **reaches into desk drawer for handy pill bottle** Ah yes, Deglycyrrhizinated (double, triple checked for spelling, scout’s honor). That means that a critical component of licorice that produces ultra-high blood pressure has been removed (extra good for me, I already had that problem). But the basic benefits of licorice remain: when licorice is mixed with your saliva, it encourages your mucosal membranes to produce extra mucous! That may sound *snort, hock, spit* a bit disgusting, but mucous is actually what keeps your stomach from eating itself! This makes licorice a great natural remedy for just about ANY stomach pain, because it shields your stomach wall and all those nerves from the dangers of HCl.
So my new solution? Taking two chewable DGL Licorice tabs before every meal, drinking aloe vera juice (yes you can drink it and if your stomach ails you, you should too!), making sure I was up on all my vitamins and taking Zinc Carnosine*.
Zinc Carnosine – The Healer
Zinc Carnosine… a strange name for something to be popping into your body. Well not that strange if you really start reading about what the traditional American ingests. Try reading the ingredients of your next meal: If you know what more than 90% of them are, congrats, you are one of two things: a) a really healthy eater, go you! or b) a chemist.
So don’t be scared of its rather pre-historic title, it is, in fact a powerful combo of stomach-wall-healing-goodness. It is two things: Zinc (the mineral) and L-Carnosine, a dipeptide bond composed of two essential amino acids, L-histidine and beta-alanine. Yes, I read that from the book. Take it to say: it literally adheres to stomach sores and encourages them to heal. This is supported by multiple scientific studies and can be verified by yours truly. THE STUFF WORKS. (*Disclaimer, Zinc Carnosine is NOT vegetarian and I was not a vegetarian at the time I was taking it!)
Although it took me well into my first year of graduate school, by pounding those delightful DGL chewables and religiously taking the Zinc Carnosine twice a day, I was able to free myself of my ulcer pain! If you’re interested in trying this, you should take DGL every 2-4 hours or so, before your stomach starts hurting and then also whenever your stomach feels upset (post jalapeno popper fest 2011). This, in addition to cutting out things that I identified as trouble foods (well except beer… I loved me some beer back in those days), I was able to heal my ulcer problems completely.
Whoopee! Ulcer Free!
To this day, I am indeed “Ulcer Free” – thanks Georgie-Porgie! If you or someone you know has ulcer problems (or any stomach pain at all), buy them some DLG and Zinc Carnosine (Swansonvitamins.com Rocks!) and tell them to read this (and my other) posts. They don’t have to suffer anymore and neither do you! Start the healing today!
Now, cutting away from the info-mercial crapola I just pulled (Swanson referral code #47AB3 include my name in the referral section of the order form, that’s N-I-C-…. haha, no seriously, I’m just kidding) you might be fooled into thinking that the story ends happily with my ulcers forever vanquished! Well, it turns out, for all the progress on my stomach pain, I was still suffering from daily bouts with acid-reflux and generally slow (and coincidently very fragrant… I have cleared rooms people and I have a reputation, be glad this is the internet and blogs are not smell inclusive) digestion. No, unfortunately these problems continued to worsen, down a slippery and likely esophageal-cancer-ridden slope.
But, alas! Never fear, my fiance is here! It just so happens, the love of my life is the reason I’m doing this whole little face-book-food-freak0ut-and-blog-o-twit-ter-sphere thing. Because it was her that helped me realize the key to managing my cranky-chronically-complaining-craptastic stomach issues… but that my friends, is for next time….