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Dr. Gardner, I know you are very busy, but I was wondering if you could answer one question for me. I think I have gastritis. I have taken Prilosec for a month, but recently stopped taking it b/c of all the bad side effects I have read about and I have decided to try to heal my self by eating healthier. I have read that fiber is very hard to digest, however I feel that I need to have fiber so I can have a proper bowel movement. I have recently started taking Psyllium Husk. Do you think this will be bad for my digestive system? or do you think it is a good thing for me to take this?

Thanks so much for your help and response. By the way, I love your site

Gastritis is a term to describe inflammation in the gastric mucosa (stomach).  I agree with your concern about taking anything that interferes with the physiology of the body.  Prilosec reduces the acid production, which impairs the ability of the body to digest proteins.  And proteins are needed for repair of the body, including the stomach mucosa.

Psyllium husk is an excellent fiber, and will only help the digestive tract.  It will not harm the stomach.  Some people need to start slow and build up to taking 15 grams of fiber per day.  The best time to take it is with meals.  If you want to reduce your food intake (to help lose weight), take 5 grams of fiber before each meal.  Then the stomach will have a full sensation earlier the you won’t eat as much without feeling like you are dieting.

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More on Quinoa

I was surprised that today’s article said that quinoa spoils quickly. I remember reading that it keeps forever–some quinoa from ancient times had been discovered and it was still good. How long does it keep?

Quinoa is one of the finest grains on the market.  Its amino acid (protein) content is near perfect, especially since it has lysine which is lacking in wheat and other grains. It is high in fiber, minerals and vitamins.  It also has good oils, which are capable of spoiling.  Kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it should last at least a month.  Spoiled oil smells rancid, which means it has oxidized and is no longer good for you.  Oxidation of oils takes place in the presence of oxygen, heat and light.  Perhaps in ancient times they had a good way of preserving the good oils without going rancid, but today be safe and refrigerate, and plan on it keeping about 1 month.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Endometriosis

My daughter has recently found out that her stomach problems are due to irritable bowel syndrome. She also may have endometriosis. She is only 17 years old. What can I do to help her get well and be rid of the daily stomach aches and horrible menstrual cramps she experiences. The OB/GYN put her on birth control pills that she takes daily. They don’t seem to be helping. She also may have gastritis. Please send me suggestions on how to help her get well so that she can experience days, weeks, months and years without this chronic stomach pain and cramping.  Thank you for your quick response.

Two problems, each with pain. Seventeen-year-olds should not be this sick (and frankly, neither should anyone else).

Treatment starts with cleaning up the diet–no sugar or processed foods. Why?  Because many of the ingredients in processed food are pro-inflammatory, and both of these conditions are inflammatory conditions, so they will only make it worse.  If that diet is not cleaned up, nothing else is going to work.

  1. Endometriosis is uterine tissue outside the uterus, that bleeds monthly like the uterine lining. This causes pelvic pain. Often there is what we call estrogen dominance in this setting, which means that the estrogen to progesterone ratio is in favor of estrogen, which causes an imbalance.  Obviously I am not your doctor, and you’ll need to consult your doctor about these options: Try progesterone in the last half of the cycle, days 16 to 27, and see if it helps. The birth control pills increase her risk of vascular disease (strokes and heart attacks long term), so I am against them, especially if they do not seem to be helping.
  2. Irritable bowel syndrome is a ‘leftover’ term that folks often use to describe any gastrointestinal upset that can’t be diagnosed as anything else. Try the following–
  • drink plenty of water,
  • increase fiber,
  • add probiotics,
  • try L-glutamine,
  • address stress reduction and emotional issues.

All of these will help, particularly the last one.

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Fava Beans

Is there info or studies on fava beans–with natural levadopa–helping with tremors? Just tried the 1st fava beans and miracle! So how much and how often works best?

I’ve never used fava beans as a source of levodopa, or L-dopa.  When there is a documented dopamine deficiency, I have used other herbs like macuna pruriens to supply the precursor for dopamine.  Since fava beans have not been studied long term, it is not known if they are as successful, or more or less effective than the medications that are used (that do not seem to work long-term anyway).  I always prefer natural products over medications. Legumes are a good source of protein and fiber.  There seems to be no harm in trying them, and in your case, it looks like they are a very good option.  Definitely worth a try–and I don’t think you need to feel limited in the intake amounts.

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Diet for Multiple Health Challenges

I have diabetic gastroparesis and other digestive problems. What do you suggest I eat? My doctor has suggested two different diets, a low fiber diet and a high fiber diet. Low fiber for the gastroparesis and the high fiber for my other digestive problem. I also have asthma,high blood pressure, arthritis and many other problems.

Gastroparesis means that the stomach is partially paralyzed or part of the stomach is totally paralyzed. That means it cannot mix or churn the food properly in the stomach.

If it was totally paralyzed, you would need a feeding tube to bypass the stomach. Partially pre-digested food, like smoothies (with spinach, cabbage, bok choi and fruit, nuts, protein powders with fiber) or overcooked vegetables will be best tolerated. Generally, American diets are low in fiber, so more fiber is beneficial. You will just have to experiment with your own body and decide what feels best.

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Calories Count? Or Carbs? Or What?

Calorie Counters Have it Right, Diet Study Says

Recently released information in the Wall Street Journal shows that calories do count—that it isn’t what you eat, but how much. Participants were put in one of four diet groups—2 low-fat groups and 2 high-fat groups, with a high-protein and normal-protein groups being the other parameter. All diets were Continue reading Calories Count? Or Carbs? Or What?