Raspberry, Grape Juice, and Aloe Vera Juice Smoothie
A while back I wrote an article, Tips for Managing Your Hiatal Hernia. I’m, obviously, not a medical professional and my tips and advice should only be viewed as what they are – tips from someone who lives with a sliding hiatal hernia. As with ALL health topics, I advise you to see a doctor for any condition you have or believe you have.
This particular post is going to pick up where the last one (linked above) left off, so you might want to click through and read it first. Or, if you’re a rebel, you could read this one first THEN read the other.
You do you, I’m not going to judge.
Quite a few months back, I got a horrific case of food poisoning. As is often the case, it was chicken that caused the fury. If you’ve ever been a victim of food poisoning from poultry you’ll completely understand when I say that I was unable to eat chicken for weeks. The thought of it, alone, was enough to make me nauseous. The memories kept me at arm’s length from anything and everything with chicken in it.
As the weeks rolled by, I noticed something that I wasn’t expecting. My hiatal hernia problems were suddenly better -much, much better. In a span of 4 months, I only got hiccups ONE time and it was because I’d had hot dogs (another no no no no no for me).
Why does this stand out to me? Because hiccups with meals was a frequent problem for me when my hernia has the upper hand. I honestly wish I’d kept some sort of a hiatal hernia journal so I could tell you exactly how many times I typically experienced hiccups pre-chicken cleanse. All I can really do is guesstimate and I’d say that I used to have them 3-4 times a week.
When I steer clear of hot dogs (summer is a terrible time to do that) and chicken, I am virtually hiccup and heartburn free. For someone who can’t even remember the last time she was able to say that, it is huge indeed.
I am NOT saying that chicken is bad. Not at all.
I am NOT saying that chicken is causing problems with your own hiatal hernia. Not at all.
All I’m saying is this – if you have a hiatal hernia, you should consider swearing off chicken (and hot dogs, too… I am sorry)
It has simply been my experience that the density of chicken and hot dogs cause problems for me. Oddly enough, it was often the next day when symptoms appeared. Chicken would almost always cause me to feel that it was “stuck” and it caused hiccups so frequently that I called them “chickups.” However, I’d also feel the effects the next day. I assume it is simply hard for me to digest – somewhere along the way, it pauses and causes me problems.
Correction – it DID pause and cause me problems.
A few other dense foods that cause issues for me (and, thereby may cause your hiatal hernia to act up as well):
- salmon (but not salmon patties)
- hot dogs
Oddly enough, most beef doesn’t seem to bother me. I also don’t seem to have a problem with tea and coffee. For this I am more thankful than words could ever hope to convey!
Find Your Own Food Triggers
My own personal triggers are dense meats and bread (even when it’s gluten-free). Begin paying close attention to what you’ve recently eaten when your symptoms act up. As I’ve said, it may not even be the food you ate that day. Keep a food journal so you can see if a pattern develops.
More Tips for Naturally Dealing With a Hiatal Hernia:
- Always eat slowly. If you’re dining with a fast-eater, don’t let them make you speed up. Take your time, chew your food especially well, and if the fast-eaters get through before you… big whoop! Maybe they’ll slow down next time.
- Cut off eating and drinking anything with caffeine at least 2 hours before bedtime. 3 hours before is even better and is the number I aim for. My acid reflux stopped completely when I stopped eating 3 hours before lying down.
- Don’t lift heavy things. If you HAVE to lift something heavy, bend with your knees and try to allow your legs to do the brunt of the work. However, try your best simply not to lift anything heavy. I saw a huge improvement with my hernia when I stopped lifting bags of birdseed and “allowed” others to remove the trash from the trash can. Don’t really miss that particular duty at all.
- Be careful with exercise and weight-lifting is definitely out. One of the things my hiatal hernia cost me that I regret the most was yoga. I used to love it and would practice it daily while watching I Love Lucy, Beverly Hillbillies, Andy Griffith, or a classic old movie. I was pretty darn good too – there wasn’t a position I couldn’t get into and hold for about as long as I wanted to. As you’d imagine, though, having a hiatal hernia made yoga something I had to avoid. Contorting my body into those cool positions would just beg my hiatal hernia to take center stage. Lifting weights, hanging upside down (for any darn reason), and kettle bells are all out of the question with hiatal hernias – or any type of hernia, I’d imagine. Again I’m not a medical expert, but some things just kind of make sense, you know.
- Sleep with your head elevated. If you can afford a bed that allows you to raise your head, go for it! Otherwise, simply use a big fat pillow (or even two). I’ve known some people who raise the pillow-end legs of their bed with bricks or blocks.
- Sleep on your left side or back. Sleeping on your right side pretty much invites heartburn and acid reflux and, it has been my experience, that sleeping on your stomach will aggravate a hiatal hernia. If you suffer from acid reflux, however, I wouldn’t lie on my back… not unless my head was really elevated.
- Smoothies. Smoothies are a daily thing for me. I have one every single day at brunch and often another a few hours before supper. Most of my smoothies are dairy-free – I prefer making them with coconut milk or fruit juice. Smoothies can be as healthy as you make them and are as easy to digest as it gets.
- Coconut Water and Aloe Vera Juice are like salves to an irritated hiatal hernia. My favorite thing to do is to combine the two in a blender with ice. For whatever reasons, this concoction is Heavenly when my hernia has been giving me problems. It’s also my “go to” cocktail when I’ve accidentally gotten glutened. It just makes your insides feel like they’re being pampered and that’s a glorious thing. I also frequently add them to smoothies. The smoothie pictured above is simply frozen raspberries, grape juice (another obsession), and a bit of Aloe Vera juice.
I’ll say it once more – chicken may or may not be a problem for your own hiatal hernia. You’ll never know until you try, though. Trust me, when you get rid of something that caused you pain and discomfort, you do NOT miss it one bit. Not. A. Bit!
~ Joi (“Joy”)