on October 28, 2010
My husband has had chronic GERD for years without knowing it. He started having symptoms that didn't make sense around last January. He was short of breath, cleared his throat a lot, had nausea and an upset stomach, and finally passed out in the middle of the night. I found him unconscious on the bathroom floor. After months of tests his GI doctor diagnosed him with Barrett's syndrome, a precancerous condition of the esophagus, but he couldn't explain the respiratory involvement. Worse yet, the only solutions offered were very invasive - surgery to remove the abnormal cells or light therapy with not the best chance of success. We needed a second opinion and we found Dr. Koufman. She ran different tests that tracked his acid level during an entire day of activities, including while eating, sleeping, coughing, everything. My husband had an enormous amount of acid and was refluxing all the way up to his larynx. The standard course of treatment from the GI doctor included a one-a-day medication that did not last the full 24 hours for my husband, so since he took it in the morning, it stopped working while he was sleeping,in the worst position for reflux to again attack the esophagus that was trying to heal all day.
Within a couple of days of meeting Dr. Koufman, my husband was on the strict phase of the diet. It wasn't easy since he was previously working in the wine trade and had to completely stop drinking wine, coffee, pretty much everything except water, milk, aloe juice and camomile tea. She also changed his medications to better control the condition over 24 hours. Within about 3 weeks, he started feeling noticeably better. After a couple of months, he went back for more tests and his condition had improved dramatically. This all happened before the book was published and when it came out he was so excited by the recipes. What a difference it has made to be able to enjoy gourmet-style food after months of just obeying a list of forbidden foods. Now his condition has almost completely reversed, he has lost 35 pounds, and he is able to start adding things back in, like Gala apples.
Although a life-threatening disease is never a good thing, this experience has changed life for our entire family. Dr. Koufman's care and now her invaluable book have not only turned around my husband's condition and allowed him to take charge of his health, but the delicious recipes have allowed him to enjoy food again without feeling like he is stuck with a life-sentence of bland.
on January 5, 2012
It's relevant that more information is being published about this annoying problem and Dropping Acid is very helpful. The book has good info about reflux and some nice recipes (although I don't cook much).
Dr Koufman mentions early on about packaged foods generally being a problem and containing alot of acid but, I wish she would have gotten more specific about what to look for. Elsewhere I read that in the 1970's the FDA approved for preservative use in food things like: citric acid, malic acid and absorbic acid. (and who knew 35 -40 years ago that we would eventually consume SO MUCH packaged food. Almost everything in the grocery store is canned, bagged, jarred, boxed, frozen, etc.)
Once I realized this I became vigilant about looking at the ingredient contents of the food I buy. Well folks, you're going to be shocked because this is where you're getting alot of your acid intake. These preservative acids are in many canned veggies, crackers, cookies, cereals, yogurts and frozen meals....oh boy! It's crazy.
Listen, I had been taking 30mg of prescription Prevacid for almost a decade.
Here's what I did, starting Jan 2011:
1) Switched to acid-free coffee (Folgers has one called: Simply Smooth)
2) Eliminated all carbohydrated beverages (never drank much but, realized soda is poison)
3) Consume alcohol moderately. Maybe total of 3 or 4 glasses of wine per week.
4) Bought NOTHING that had any of those preservative acids in them. Clearly, this means more fresh food and only packaged w/o those acids!
5) Eat chocolate and tomato-sauced foods in small amounts (tomatoes themselves have alot of water in them so aren't a problem for me but concentrated things like pasta sauce and chili are an issue.)
After a couple of months of eating like this I had the courage to start trailing off the Prevacid. Well, I'm still surprised and thrilled to report that ** I have almost no symptoms anymore!** If I overdo it a bit (example: consume tomato sauces and wine OR chocolate and wine in the same meal) I'll feel it a bit (burping, bloating).
I now take a couple of over-the-counter Prevacid pills per week; sort of to keep things in balance. At least I'm thinking about it that way because I still can't believe that this worked. My God, all the money I would have saved on those prescriptions and the discomfort I could have avoided!
Anyhow, I hope this info is useful to others. Give it a whirl; it's worth the shot.
**UPDATE: May 2014 - Glad people are finding my review helpful. I need to add that I had not yet realized when I wrote the original review that fruit juices can be very tough on a stomach with acid sensitivity. That sounds like a no-brainer but I didn't know it and loved drinking cranberry and apple juices mostly (not citrus, I knew I couldn't tolerate that). Well, when I eliminated regular consumption of fruit juices was a BIG improvement. I take no acid reflux meds at all now. You just have to figure out what your trigger foods are and ditch them!
on October 27, 2010
Don't let the glossy photographs of the recipes in this book fool you. Cleverly disguised as cookbook, this book is both sophisticated and scientific in presenting a groundbreaking view of and approach to a highly misunderstood and under-diagnosed condition--acid reflux. (Of course, it is also a terrific cookbook.) By teaming up with Master Chef, Mark Bauer, Drs. Koufman and Stern, present not only a persuasive treatise as to how, when and why the modern American diet is literally "eating us alive." This book is also a specific, dietary road map that can help those afflicted.
Brilliant in structure, the book starts with what every patient wants to know, "How can you fix me, doc?" The "Cure" is then presented through the journey of discovery that these physician-scientists completed over many decades. This book is written with the patient, the layperson, in mind. The authors ably explain the complexities of how acid reflux from the stomach results in tissue damage and symptoms not only in the stomach and esophagus, but all up and down the airways, causing a variety of conditions one would not ordinarily associate with a "GI" disease. Asthma, sinusitis, vocal symptoms and chronic cough, to name but a few, all can be caused by acid reflux.
Several important new discoveries are highlighted and tied together early on, making the case for following the dietary recommendations made less onerous with delicious appearing, albeit slightly sophisticated, recipes.
The critical role of pepsin was discovered by Dr. Koufman; and it is unfortunately poorly understood by many physicians treating these patients. Knowing that it may be re-activated by acidic foods being put in the patients mouth, days after any reflux comes up from the stomach, is critical in understanding why reflux symptoms are increasing, reflux is affecting different areas of the body, is becoming more virulent (seen in the rising rate of esophageal cancer) and is fast becoming a national health hazard of the greatest proportion.
Most interesting is the research that went into developing the historical perspective of how America's food and our society's eating habits have been transformed. Market forces appealed to our increasing preference for food and beverage variety. Legislation was created to protect our food supply as transcontinental shipping became more commonplace. Both have had unintended negative consequences which are hard to reverse. Simply telling the patients, no matter how much they might suffer, that they cannot eat this or that, just doesn't work.
And that is where these physicians go beyond the science. They fill a much needed gap by laying out some basic food rules. Then they engage a master chef to create recipes that look, sound, and taste delicious. No more excuses for the foodie who doesn't want to give up taste for health. This is integrative medical care at its best!
While some of these recipes seem daunting (and perhaps more time consuming that I might like), most can be tweaked and easily adapted for the less culinarily talented amongst us. The photographs alone, all taken by the authors, are enticing enough to want to make one try.
So, for all you acid reflux sufferers - and for all you doctors who care for these sufferers - you will feel much better after reading and cooking with Dropping Acid--The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure.
I certainly did!
on June 24, 2012
The book has 4 parts, each explaining clearly what the problem, the diet, and the cure are about. There is also a recipes section.
For years I thought I had asthma, sinus problems, nasal congestion, and a "full" right ear! But NO hearburns. I went to see an allergist, a pulmonologist, and 3 ENTs. Results of all exams: normal.
My allergist, Dr. Hunter in Frederick, MD was the firt MD to mention LPR (LaryngoPharyngeal Reflux) after testing my pulmonary functions over a period of months and suggested I see an ENT. First ENT did the Fiber scope exam. Result: normal. But I kept coughing day and night, all other symptoms still persist. I went to see a pulmonologist. Exam and X-rays: everything is normal again. He told me to get a gastroscopy with a gastroenterologist: Normal again. A second opinion ENT was consulted. He put me on Prilosec: No effect. Reading about medication's adverse/side effects, I stopped taking Prilosec after a week. Still lots of clear mucus, cough, and congested nose and full ear.
Frustrated after 3 years of trying to solve this, I searched for an ENT specializing in sinus problems. In the Washingtonian Top Doctors list (online) Dr. Michael Sigiel, ENT in Rockville, MD specializes in sinus problems. He listened to me and looked at my throat: it was mildy irritated. He told me that I have the "Silent Reflux" and to purchase this book, read it and follow its advice. In Dr Koufman's book, she advises to follow the 2 weeks strict diet regimen and then follow book diet guidelines for the rest of my life. Yes, a life style change" definitely. After 2, 3 months, I returned for a follow-up with Dr. Siegel. I am symptoms and problem free! All my problems gone!
I no longer eat citruses, and other fruits (all berries, plus more) except for watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe, papaya....and have practically avoided any read meat (pork, beef, veal), fried food, and pastry .... But, I can have chicken, fish and seafood, and yogurt, to name a few. Whole grain is better. I can still eat all veggies except for tomatoes, garlic, purple onions ...Book gives you more details and guidance.
Well, it worked. I take NO drugs, I have been free of coughs, sinus congestion, post nasal drips, and full ear sensations for over a year now!!
I lost 4 lbs not that I am overweight or anything) following the regimen. My cholesterol levels (already good) now reach newer HDL high and newer LDL low. Same goes for triglycerides.
GERD or LPR sufferers, try this natural route before popping pills in your mouth. I know it takes self-discipline but for a better NO DRUG quality of life, you would want to try this book's advice and guidelines. Cheap, since the book now costs only about $17.00
on April 27, 2014
I bought this book based on reviews. I had advanced Barrettes disease from years of acid reflux and was told I had one year to turn my disease around before I developed cancer. I was told what not to eat by surgeons however not told what to eat or given any dietary specifics. I found that the food suggestions in the book aided me in keeping a stable healthy PH balance. PH is a tricky thing to maintain. Many things you would not think acidic turn to acid in the body. Many foods acid such as lemon neutralize acid. Food is a complexed topic and difficult issue. The book helped me with food alternatves so I didnt have to do a lot of research. Let's face it, I didn't feel well, was very sick and needed all the help I could get as soon as I could get it. One of my surgeons was delighted with the book. My other surgeon who does a lot of medical research trials claimed food doesn't make a difference.
My stomach will tell you different. With Barrettes disease you have a life long disorder. It never goes away because of the acid produced by your body. I will never know if the book was the miracle worker or the medication I continue to take. I am a firm beleiver that food matters regardless. Diet matters. In combination with medication and a good knowledge of what to eat and when to eat it I have made fantastic progress as long as I stick with healthy food and understand what damage acid reflux does to your body. Acid reflux is called the silent killer. And it is. My son passed away this year from esophageal hemorrhaging caused by acid reflux. He was 43. He also didn't take diet seriously.
I'm going to stick with the book because the medical community is very conflicted with medical advice and medical knowledge when it comes to diet and food for healing serious medical problems.
on January 14, 2011
The reviews for this book were great. The previews online were great. The cookbook is not great. The best part of the book is the overall reflux description at the beginning of the book. The chart listing the ph of various foods is good.
The book touts ginger, aloe vera and bananas as a sort of reflux "super foods." Unfortunately, there are very few recipes that actually include these food items. Instead, nearly ALL of the recipes include butter, orange juice or whole milk. Seriously?!?!? I'm not a reflux physician, but I know enough to know that I have to stay away from those three foods all the time. The other thing that was odd is that cookbooks usually have wonderful pictures of the food and I can only dream about recreating the look of the food on the plate. The pictures in this book are very poorly lit and look like they were taken in the kitchen of the author (not professionally).
The title of the book "The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure" is very misleading. There is no "cure" within the pages of the book. If you have reflux and pay attention to your body, you already know the foods that trigger your reflux and understand that staying away from those foods is a good idea. There is nothing new with the cover of this book.
I did not keep this book. I sent it back to Amazon.
My advice--read the book preview online (it's almost all there) as well as the Dropping Acid blog. That part is free. Skip the cookbook.
on November 30, 2010
This is by far the best reflux book I have found to date on the market. Especially if you are diagnosed with LPR (laryngo-pharyngeal or "silent" reflux), rather than GERD, this book explains the science in ordinary language that is easy to understand. It gives you an understanding of what a pH balanced diet looks like and why you will benefit from it. Many of the recipes are great and include foods, like aloe and ginger, that are not only "safe" for reflux sufferers, but actually help to treat the symptoms of reflux. As a singer and voice teacher I have been frustrated with typical reflux information as the diet and lifestyle changes never seemed to help enough - I denied myself everything and still had symptoms. Now that I understand about acidic preservatives in prepared foods and how to create pH balanced meals, I have found the missing information which has finally given me true relief from my reflux symptoms. I recommend this book highly - read it today and then pass it along to your ENT!
on October 28, 2013
I had the fortuitous experience that on the day I received the book I had been diagnosed with LPR (see heading). Because I have Barrett's esophagus, generally caused by reflux, this book is invaluable.
I have followed the diet religiously for almost eight weeks now and am much,much improved. I've also lost fifteen pounds which makes me almost underweight. I feel great. I had to do a mental number on myself, having to give up coffee, chocolate and alcohol, but if that's what it takes, so be it. ( I told the physician that my day hangs by two clothespins - the cup of coffee in the morning and the glass of wine at 5 PM, and that by giving up coffee and my glass of wine, my whole day fell apart. He was unsympathetic. Turns out he is LDS, and Mormons don't indulge. Darn. I put on such a good act,too.)
INFORM YOURSELF BY BUYING THE BOOK (you MUST own it) and FOLLOWING THE RULES. It is absolutely worth it.
on March 12, 2011
I bought this book after having been prescribed omeprazole for the symptoms of GERD. I had chronic indigestions, belching and some nighttime reflux for five months and was very uncomfortable all the time. I had an endoscopy which resulted in a diagnosis of hiatal hernia and mild inflammation in my stomach. My doctor said nothing about diet even though I asked about it. Take PPIs for the rest of my life was his response. I strictly followed the induction diet in this book for 3 weeks, not 2 as suggested, and at the same time I slowly stopped taking the PPI. It is weeks later and I am now on the maintenance part of the recommended diet. For the first time in 5 months I have no symptoms. I was so skeptical of the word "cure" in the title. However, for me, I do believe that continued adherence to the diet presented in this book will actually be a real cure. Highly recommended for everyone with symptoms. It certainly can't hurt to try this diet.
on May 4, 2014
I do wish people writing negative reviews of this book would read enough of it to realise that it is not aimed primarily at "normal" GERD sufferers who get heartburn and indigestion.
Dr Koufman is an ENT who specialises in voice. This book addresses people who have LPRD (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease) aka "silent GERD". This is where the acid reflux does not usually cause heartburn or indigestion, but does cause problems in the aerodigestive system. Symptoms include persistent cough, vocal problems, throat clearing, excessive mucous and lots of other issues related to the airway and vocal folds (including lesions, tumors and cancer). She believes, and has some evidence to back it up, that the damage is caused mainly by pepsin (a digestive enzyme) and this enzyme needs an acidic environment to do its damage. Thus the emphasis on not eating acidic foods. The diet isn't so much to stop the reflux, it's about not allowing the throat area to become acidic.
The first section of the book explains GERD, LPR and Dr Koufman's theories of "acid from above" (ie acidic food) vs "acid from below" (ie acid reflux). A lot of this information is available on her blog and other sites on the internet, but it is well presented and easy to follow. She wins points from me by explaining that her theories have NOT been tested by formal studies (large, double blinded, placebo controlled studies), but the theories make sense, the science that I'm able to check out is all correct, and the evidence from her clinical studies demonstrates the success of her approach. She is at pains to emphasise that everyone is different and reflux is very idiosyncratic and that what works for some may or may not work for others.
The second section explains the diet. The book suggests a 2 week induction diet, during which you can only eat foods from a very limited list. All the foods have a pH over 5 and the idea is to inactivate any pepsin hanging around in tonsils and throat. It's not too bad - chicken, fish, green vegetables, bread and wholegrain cereals - and it's only for 2 weeks. Then you can move to the maintenance phase, when many more foods are available.
The third section is the cookbook. The recipes all relate to the maintenance diet. The recipes are interesting, and include some really weird combination that I would never have put together. Some of them we have tried and dislike, but most are very palatable. There are some that are quite complex and would take too long for my lazy cooking ability, but many seem quick and easy. The main benefit I have found is the use of mainly reflux-friendly flavours. Before finding this book, most of the foods I was cooking as a reflux-friendly diet were very bland. I love tomatoes, onions and garlic and used to use them a lot, little knowing that I making my husband's symptoms worse! I also used a lot of cheese and butter. When I lost the use of these foods, I had no idea what to use to put some savour in my cooking. This book has helped a lot.
My husband has suffered with LPR symptoms for several years, steadily getting worse until he had almost lost the use of his voice. Various doctors have diagnosed various problems and prescribed all sorts of pills and potions, none of which did any good, but it was not until an ENT mentioned the possibility of LPR that things began to fall into place.
He's been on anti-reflux therapy for a while now, with some improvement. This includes PPIs, diet modifications, raised bed etc. However, I found Dr Koufman on the internet and decided her ideas sounded interesting and worth a try, so I bought the book. When my husband did the 2 week induction diet he got an immediate significant improvement in his vocal ability. He can now speak almost normally some of the time. Believe me - this a breakthrough.
TL;DR - this book is an interesting and novel approach to dealing with LPRD (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease) aka "silent GERD". We found my husband's symptoms improved significantly with the induction phase of the diet. The recipes seem OK, although some are too time consuming for me, others are quick and easy. The use of small amounts of strong flavours produces interesting food without being too bad for reflux.