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Coffee and Acid Reflux – Bariatric Edition

My Coffee Story


I have a love/ hate relationship with coffee.  It is the first thing I do each day.  I get out of bed and visit my French press or my Keurig.  I brew a cup of coffee.  I add a touch of stevia and a dash of coffee cream.  My cup of coffee in the morning is the only way I know how to start my day.


Fast forward 35 years later …..


I started drinking coffee when I was 15 years old.  I am 50 right now.  That is 35 years of starting my day with a cup of java. I am quite sure that a lot of you can relate.


Recently, my morning cup of coffee hasn’t been tasting quite so good.  My stomach feels “off” afterwards.  I think it is time for a change.  How hard can it be to switch the coffee for another morning beverage?


HARD …. it has been hard.  


So back I go to my morning coffee, but only now not only do I have an upset stomach and a lousy taste but I also have a bit of acid reflux.  UGH.


Acid reflux is a symptom of something else.  What this tells me is that the caffeine in the coffee relaxes my esophageal sphincter, allowing acid from my stomach to rush back up in my throat.  


Ladies and gents, I have two options.  I can break-up with coffee or take PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). 


I love coffee, but I don’t love it enough to start taking meds to be able to drink it.


How many of you can relate to this?  I need to take a break and maybe I can reintroduce it at a later stage.


I think that it is important to listen to our bodies.  If something we eat/ drink, makes us feel bad, shouldn’t we back away from the offending food?  


If my son eats raw fish, his throat begins to close, and his tongue begins to swell.  You better believe that he does his best to stay far away from sushi restaurants.


If I eat beans, my tummy hurts for days.  You better believe that I have learned to stay far away from beans.  My biochemical individuality hates beans/ lentils.


My husband has a super hard time digesting garlic and radishes.  He eats them occasionally and then pays his dues for eating them.


Most of us have “triggers” and “offending foods”. Some common ones are coffee, spicy foods, eggs, dairy, pork, fried foods.  


I have been told numerous times that if my body hates beans, I just need to eat MORE of them, and my body will eventually get used to the offending food?  What dumb advice.  I tried that when I was younger.  Never worked.


So, you are telling me, that if you are lactose intolerant, you should just drink more milk?  Sounds like a terrible idea.  Wouldn’t it be better to eliminate dairy? 


Shouldn’t we respect our biochemical individuality and listen to our bodies? 


Tell you what folks.  I am going to “take one for the team”, heal my acid reflux, and eliminate my beloved coffee. 


I haven’t found a great coffee replacement yet.  I’ve tried black tea (made me nauseous. I’ve tried peppermint tea (meh).  I’ve tried raspberry tea (blah).  Today I order a few different drinks online to help me with this transition.


If you are experiencing acid reflux, and you are a coffee drinker, you may want to make the switch with me.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Maybe we will find something we like as much as coffee or even more than coffee.


I shall keep you posted.



Your coffee-loving RHN.


About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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