Why do I eat gluten free and drink cabbage juice? Because these two things totally saved me from a life of discomfort and knowing where the bathroom is in every super market, mall and shopping center in our area. And I always wanted to share the reasons why with you all because I feel not many people know about this. I think health issues concern everyone and even though you may not be directly affected, I’m sure you know a friend or a family member that is troubled with similar issues. I am no medical professional but I am writing this from my experience in the hopes that sharing my experiences can help someone avoid the many years of frustrations that I had to go through. I am also writing for my daughter too so that she may refer back to this post when she wants to know more about our family history of stomach problems..
So.. I think my stomach problems started way back when I was 5, living in Tunisia. The stress of going to a French kindergarten school without knowing a single word of French was too much for me and I kept having stomach aches when it was time to go to school. I heard from my sisters that I came home after couple days and announced to everyone that they should all call me “Quangtrang”(in French pronunciation) instead of JinJoo. I guess that sounded JinJoo just did not sound like French… hahaha..
The moment my mom said that I could stay home, my stomach ache went away. After missing many days of school, my mom decided (at the recommendation of a doctor) that perhaps a different, more relaxed (since the French school was a pretty strict school run by nuns). American school will maybe suit me better? And so it happens, I had a great time at the American school with no further stomach problems. But as you can expect, that was not the end of my problems..
Lesson 1: Don’t accept IBS as your diagnosis and give up on it. There may be other things you can do to help your issue.
Similar things happened throughout my life whenever a very stressful (for me anyway) situation came about and my stomach aches came and went. But after college and up until about year 2000, for about 12 years, my symptoms of diarrhea, indigestion and bloating continued and got worse over time. Then my sister #1 who is very similar to me physically in terms of our issues, told me that she was able to relieve her symptoms by going gluten free.
This was the time when people just started to talk about Celiac disease, the disease where you have an allergy to gluten. So my daughter and I went and got tested for Celiac disease and we both tested negative. And so because we did not have Celiac, at first, I didn’t really think to go gluten free. But our stomach issues continued and in 2008, I took my daughter to a GI specialist to get to the bottom of all her problems. And after a battery of tests, Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) was the only diagnosis the doctor could come up with while shrugging her shoulders. Which meant, there is no cure, you just live with it and manage it through diet.
Well, that’s just dandy….isn’t it?? I mean, what are you supposed to do?
Often times, medical doctors will tell you that if it’s not life threatening then sorry but just live with it. Go home, learn to manage it yourself cause we have no idea how to fix it. I refused to accept that. There must be a reason and there must be something one can do to help. IBS is just so vague.
Lesson 2: Even though you may test negative for Celiac, I think you can still have sensitivity to gluten.
So on our own, we decided go gluten free. And that was like a miracle!! Well, at least for me.
It cleared things up for me just after few days of going gluten free. But for my daughter it was a bit different. Although it made things better, it didn’t clear up things completely. BTW, actually for her, symptoms were a bit different. She also had bloating, so much that it even hurt her belly but not diarrhea. She was at the other end of the spectrum – constipation.
Lesson 3: Too much acid in your stomach can cause a variety of symptoms other than the classic ones that you hear about.
Hmm..now what can it be? Fast forward few years and I am now living in Korea. My daughter came to visit in the summer of her senior year in college and her symptoms have worsened. I also started to develop a new symptom of feeling like there was something stuck in my throat and then the old symptom of diarrhea came back (now sometimes 10 times a day) even though I was not eating much gluten in Korea.
So we went and saw a GI specialist in Korea. Funny thing, the doctor heard our symptoms and right away, she says that it’s because we have too much acid in our stomach due to stress and other factors. So I asked, how can that be? We don’t have the classic symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux… she said, “Oh, not everyone has those symptoms..”
We got some strong antacid medications and boy, we both got better really fast!!
Lesson 4: If you stop antacid medications too suddenly, more acid comes back with a vengeance.
OK. So this is great. But, I hate taking medicines long term because they always have side effects. EVERY human made drug has side effects and the longer you are on them, you will end up taking more pills to fix the never ending side effects and sometimes you get new diseases as a result. This is my theory so I try to go off medications and find a more natural solution if possible.
Hmm.. now when I got off antacid medications (e.g. Zantac), I didn’t know (and the doctor failed to tell me) that if I stop too suddenly, the stomach acid comes back with a vengeance. Yikes.. that was NOT good! Then, my sister #3 told me about how her friend drank cooked cabbage juice for few months and cured her stomach acid problem completely. So I decided to give it a try and what do you know?!!
Green cabbage is MUCH better than any antacid medication!!
And this is what I wanted to share with you all –
SOLUTION: Try drinking cooked cabbage smoothie if you have too much acid in your stomach! Also try avoid gluten at the same time.
MY CABBAGE SMOOTHIE RECIPE:
- Boil or steam green cabbage leaves for good 15-20 minutes until they are fully cooked.
- Blend cabbages and some of the cooked liquid to make a smoothie. The finer you blend the cabbages the better. Add more liquid if you like yours more watery.
- Make a big batch and keep leftover in the fridge. It will stay fresh for several days. You can also freeze it.
HOW TO DRINK:
- Whenever you feel your stomach is too empty and feeling the symptoms of acid like first in the morning
- After a meal when you feel things are not digesting well or if you feel you have too much acid.
- Drink anywhere from 4 – 8 oz each time. You should feel relief right away.
- Drink for a week at least or longer based on how you feel.
FYI – drinking cabbage smoothie for a week or more is NOT going to cure your problems once and for all. I do have recurrences but it has happened only every few months so far. And I have to confess, for me it reoccurred mainly because I was basically bad. I either went off my gluten free diet and ate too much gluten for days or if I skipped meals. I found that these things bring back my usual problems of too much acid in my stomach, bloating, indigestion and then diarrhea.
PLEASE go visit a doctor first and try to get a proper diagnosis. I tried the cabbage regimen because I did NOT yet have peptic ulcer or acid reflux but other symptoms of too much acid in my stomach (stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, indigestion). You should always go to a doctor first to make sure you don’t have anything serious. But if you don’t want to continue to take antacid medicines forever, then you may be in an area where this may be helpful. I tried taking Tums and they only last for 5 minutes and my symptoms of acidic stomach comes back right away. But when I drink my cabbage smoothie, I’m OK for few hours or longer and eventually I feel back to normal within a few days as long as I watch my diet at the same time.
If you have bloating, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation along with other symptoms of acidic stomach, you could make things better by trying the following:
- Make cabbage smoothie and drink often throughout the day whenever you feel uncomfortable
- Continue drinking cabbage smoothie for several days to weeks
- Never skip meals, eat a full healthy meal and never leave your stomach too empty too long
- Avoid gluten (this may apply to you or not but definitely try it)
- Avoid the usual stuff – acidic foods, too spicy foods and too greasy foods, coffee
- Add more probiotics like yogurt and kimchi to your diet 🙂
Again this is all just from my personal experience but there is also quite a bit of write up online about how cabbage is good for stomach ulcers. An article in Western Journal of Medicine writes “The average crater healing time for six patients with gastric ulcer treated with cabbage juice was only 7.3 days, compared with 42 days, as reported in the literature, for six patients treated by standard therapy. ”
Also, an article in Natural News talks about an experiment – “In a double blind study of 45 inmates at San Quentin Prison in California, 93 percent of the ulcers in prisoners taking cabbage juice concentrate in capsules – the equivalent of a fresh quart of cabbage juice every day – were healed after three weeks. Only 32 percent of the ulcers healed in those taking a dummy capsule.”
So you see, it’s not just me.. 😄
But I have to say I did not experience much relief from just eating raw cabbages as part of a meal like in salads. I only found immediate relief when I drank a smoothie consistency cooked cabbage juice. I can feel it coat my throat and stomach as it goes down. Cooked cabbage juice also tastes much better than raw in my opinion. 😉
Well, I hope this is helpful to some of you out there.
Have a happy week everyone!