Friday Favorites

Happy Friday. I know it might feel a bit like Groundhog Day lately, but I hope you have some fun weekend plans even if they aren’t as exciting as you would have hoped because 2020 has shaken up all the plans. We’ll be working in the yard this weekend and watching my nephew play some tennis in La Costa. He’s so good and we love cheering him on.

I have a few things to share that I’ve been loving this week including a new vegetarian dinner recipe we loved.

Chocolate PB cups

So first things first, let’s start off with some chocolate. I have a sweet, sweet friend in NY who sent me these delicious Perfect Bar dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I love everything I’ve had from Perfect Bar and these are no exception. They do need to be refrigerated, and while they aren’t exactly “healthy”, they are a delicious whole food alternative to Reese’s. They have a tiny sprinkling of sea salt which is a marriage made in heaven with chocolate and PB in my opinion. You can order directly from Perfect Bar with free shipping (they send with ice packs) and get 15% off your first order.

Eye Sleep Mask

Next is a sleep hack that I just discovered. The hubby has been staying up later reading with his bedside light on making it harder to fall asleep. I also was waking up before the alarm as light comes through our cheapo blinds. I decided to try an eye sleep mask that I got for free on some Jet Blue flight and I love this thing. It’s like a light switch for my mind and I can instantly fall asleep once I’ve drowned out the light. I’ve ordered a silk one from Amazon (only $7) hoping it’s a bit more comfy, but this might be something you want to try if you’re having issues falling/staying asleep.

Hint water

So when this first came out, I did not like the blackberry flavor I tried and wrote it off. They’ve since come out with a flurry of flavors and they are delicious. It’s still water that is lightly and naturally fruit flavored. My favorites are the apple, black cherry, pineapple and watermelon. There is a peach flavor, but I have not been able to find it at my local stores yet. If you don’t like sparking water or like me, you can’t drink due to reflux issues, give this a try. Ensure it’s super cold as it’s not very good at room temp. You can order off Amazon, but I found mine at Target and most grocery stores do carry.

And for the recipe we tried and loved this week…..I’ve tried a few black bean taco recipes and this one was similar but the cilantro pesto made it stand out. So delicious and good on a hot day.

Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

Here’s to a gorgeous weekend!

3 Tips to Reduce GERD, Acid Reflux and Gastritis

If you’re reading this, I feel your pain and am sorry you are suffering with the frustration that acid issues bring. I have been struggling with Gastritis and GERD for over three years now, and am happy to say that I’ve found almost 100% relief from it. It has taken some discipline and changes to my daily choices and habits. Acid issues can be very damaging to your body over the long term and in my opinion PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors) were not a solution due to the side effects including hurting gut health and overall immunity. Here are my tips and I hope they work for you. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, so be sure to consult with your physician.

  1. Find your triggers, eliminate them, find replacements

You might already have an idea what triggers your acid problems. My triggers are primarily coffee, alcohol, carbonated water and too much caffeine. I’ve eliminated almost all of these from my diet with the exception of coffee because I just don’t want to live in a world without my coffee. I’ve made some adjustments to my coffee regimen which deserves it’s own post here. Occasionally I’ll have a sip of wine or beer without issues, but I really don’t miss it anymore. Don’t know what your triggers are? Try keeping a food journal to track what you eat and drink so you can pinpoint any culprits as issues occur.

**Some common triggers to avoid and other options**

Coffee: See my coffee regimen here

Black Tea: Switch to a caffeine free rooibos or caffeine free chai

Carbonated beverages: Switch to flavored water like the hint brand or make your own with fruit ice cubes.

Citrus: I just use this sparingly in cooking. Lots of non-citrus fruits and veggies still provide plenty of vitamin C too.

Spicy foods: Experiment with other spices and fresh herbs to keep flavor but cut out the trigger

Fried foods: Try homemade baked versions and invest in an air fryer to get the crunch that fried foods give

Chocolate: Try semi-sweet or milk chocolate or only small amounts of very dark chocolate. Another tip is just avoid two triggers together such as coffee and chocolate at the same time. Ensure they are spaced out.

2. Sleep Elevated and with an empty stomach

This matters as sleeping elevated helps keep the stomach acid from seeping out of your tummy into your esophagus. I’ve invested in this wedge pillow and have been using it for six months with great results. No more sore throats in the morning from acid. It does take some getting used to and I’ve trained myself to sleep like a vampire on my back. A side bonus is that this is great for reducing puffy eyes and wrinkles!

3. Eat smaller meals and try fasting

I find that if I get really full, this exacerbates my acid issues. I now try to never get to that full point and just stay at the satisfied point. Intermittent fasting has become an easier task because I stop eating very early in the evening (no later than 6pm) to avoid going to sleep on a full stomach.

I hope these tips help you and would love to also hear anything you’ve done that has helped too! Here’s to good health!

Low Acid Coffee Hacks

If coffee is your love language, the thought of giving it up due to acid reflux, GERD or gastritis is a nightmare. I’ve been there and after lots of trial and error, I can offer some tips on how to be able to enjoy a lower acid version of your coffee. Here are the tips:

Select lower acid beans/grounds:

I personally have had great success with Trader Joe’s Low Acid French Roast. You can also pick darker roast coffees which have less caffeine and can be less irritating. Look for beans from Brazil or Central America which tend to be naturally lower in acid.

Use a coarse grind:

It is better to use a coarse grind vs. a fine grind as less acid is released.

Use a cold brew method or let the coffee sit overnight:

I have used both of these methods, and am currently brewing my coffee at night and letting it sit before I drink it in the morning. I have also used a cold brew Hario coffee maker and this is also a great option. If you prefer a bottled cold brew, I have tested most of the major brands and Chameleon Cold Brew has the lowest acid that I have found.

Mix your coffee with a substitute:

Since I am an all day coffee sipper, I brew in my coffee maker, a scoop of Trader Joe’s low acid coffee with a scoop of Teecino (an herbal coffee substitute). It tastes great and I still get the enjoyment of sipping on my iced “coffee” all day. I prefer the Teecino Java, Hazelnut, Vanilla Nut or Maca Chocolate flavors. I buy mine on Amazon, but you can find it in most natural grocers.

Modify your coffee order:

If you’re ordering at Starbuck’s or another shop, always modify to one shot of espresso vs. the 2-3 that go in a grande. You can even have them substitute some cold brew for the espresso which will have lower acid. Also, try almond milk vs. dairy milk as some have reported that dairy exacerbates their acid issues.

Hope these tips help allow you to still enjoy your coffee habit!