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Avoiding Acid Reflux on Thanksgiving: Indulge Without Feeling the Burn

Published by Kandy Zumstein

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As a long-time acid reflux sufferer, I have made many adjustments to my diet to help keep my acid reflux under control. However, it’s tough to limit myself on Thanksgiving. A big meal is part of my Thanksgiving tradition, and I refuse to give it up because of acid reflux. Here are my best tips on enjoying your Thanksgiving meal while keeping acid reflux at bay.

Prepare with Medication
Like many acid reflux sufferers, I take a daily dose of preventative medicine to ward off acid reflux attacks. If you don’t, you might want to take a dose of an OTC medicine like Zantac the night before Thanksgiving, to further reduce the acid in your stomach ahead of time.

Avoid Trigger Foods
Everyone with acid reflux has their own triggers, but some common offenders are cooked tomatoes, citrus, vinegar, dairy and anything acidic or greasy. If you can avoid your trigger foods, you’ll be able to eat plenty of the other Thanksgiving foods you love without triggering your acid reflux. For me, this means no mashed potatoes and gravy, but everything else is fair game!

Eat Small Meals
This is my favorite way to enjoy Thanksgiving – small meals. LOTS of small meals! I find that if I eat smaller portions more frequently, I can eat all day long without acid reflux flare ups. It’s a great way to enjoy Thanksgiving – a full day of eating. If you’re the cook, you can also write off all of your “taste-testing” this way!

Wear Loose Clothing
This is just good sense for anyone on Thanksgiving, but for acid reflux sufferers, it’s even more important. No belts, no pantyhose, and no high waist pants. Choose loose pants with a low and flexible waist band – you’ll be glad you did.

Help in the Kitchen
Acid reflux boils up when you’re sitting down, because there’s pressure on your stomach. Helping in the kitchen on Thanksgiving will keep you on your feet and aid digestion. Taking a walk after dinner is a great idea, too.

Stay Stress-Free
Easier said than done when you’re around your family, right? Find a way to avoid whoever pushes your buttons on Thanksgiving, and you’ll avoid acid reflux too. Stress is a huge acid reflux trigger.

Alcohol
Alcohol itself can cause acid reflux in some people, but for me, the main problem with alcohol is that it prompts me to overeat. It also makes me want to nap, causing further acid reflux. Limiting your alcohol intake on Thanksgiving can definitely help you avoid a multitude of acid reflux issues.

No Napping
Lying down with a full stomach is a bad idea for those with acid reflux – it sends the acid straight to your chest. If you must nap, make sure your entire upper body is elevated – a partially prone position on the sofa is better than flat in bed. Perfect for watching the big Thanksgiving game!

Antacids
Again, this is good sense even for the acid-reflux free on Thanksgiving – make sure you have a big bottle of Tums or liquid antacid in the house, just in case.

Eat Normally
I hesitate to even include this one, but the responsible healthy eater in me insists. It’s no fun, but it works. If you eat normal portions and avoid any foods with acid reflux trigger ingredients, you’ll be fine. Feasting on Thanksgiving is important, though, so this is a last resort only!

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