Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2020 ~ The Year of Your Perfect Vision


Since I'm an Optometrist, I'm calling 2020, "The Year of Your Perfect Vision!" Start this new and noteworthy year with your eyes focused on your health, wellness, and wholeness! 
          I've developed the perfect plan and outline to make this year your strongest and healthiest year ever. Outline for Life ~ The Essential Core Principles is precisely that -- your step-by-step guide to wholeness and wellness -- physically, mentally and emotionally, and spiritually. You can download for free the entire three outlines (Body, Soul, Spirit) with discussion and Introduction page here @ www.jeffhoracek.com/resources. Take each point and step, one day at a time to manifest your ultimate best! 
          Don't forget to check out all the other resources while you are visiting my page; my books (Renew My Heart, O God and Restore My Spirit, O God), book excerpts, wellness articles, and the new Bible Study charts! I'm here to help you make the year 2020 the year of your perfect vision for yourself! I'm praying for you! 

Jeff 

www.jeffhoracek.com

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Celebrating Christmas


Celebrate Christmas with Christ in view, knowing that it’s most likely not His birthday at all.

Bethlehem and Golgotha, the Manger and the Cross, the birth and the death, must always be seen together.
               —J. Sidlow Baxter

Christmas is coming! Quite so; but what is “Christmas”? Does not the very term itself denote its source—“Christ-mass.” Thus it is of Romish origin, brought over from Paganism. But, says someone, Christmas is the time when we commemorate the Savior’s birth. It is? And who authorized such commemoration? Certainly God did not. The Redeemer bade His disciples “remember” Him in His death, but there is not a word in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, which tells us to celebrate His birth.
               —Arthur Pink

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lordʼs death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NIV

               Christ Himself instituted the ordinance of Communion, commemorating His death and sacrifice on the Cross, where the bread and wine represent His broken body and blood shed for us. While it is true that nowhere in Scripture are we admonished to celebrate Christ’s birth, there is a scriptural precedent set forth in Luke 2:8–14, 16–18; where an angel brings the news of the birth of the Messiah, the Lord, to the shepherds tending their flocks in the field, and the heavenly host of angels are there praising God and this event. After witnessing the event, the shepherds went on to spread the joyful good news. Likewise, in Matthew 2:1–3, 11; we see the Magi, the wise men from the east, come to worship the newborn King, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Therefore, we have a biblical precedent for celebrating His birth.
               However, with that said, we as Christians should also understand the basic facts surrounding Christmas. While we are now generally certain of the year of Christ’s birth in 4 BC, and His death in AD 30, at the age of thirty-three (there is no “0” year in the timeline as we go straight from 1 BC to AD 1), we are not certain about the actual day of His birth. The original year set for Christ’s birth in AD 1 has been shown to be incorrect. (For reference, BC denotes before Christ and the designation follows the year; AD denotes anno Domini, “in the year of the Lord,” and that designation precedes the year. The more recent “religiously neutral” designations are: BCE, meaning “before common era,” and CE, meaning “common, or current, or sometimes even Christian era.” Regardless, the calendar of dating is still the Gregorian calendar based on the birth of Christ.)
It is highly unlikely that Christ was born on December 25th for many good reasons, notably that shepherds of that area, even today, are not typically out in the fields with their flocks due to both inclement weather and lack of available pasture. During the winter season, the flocks are typically penned and somewhat sheltered. Also, it would have been an arduous journey for pregnant Mary to make this trip of about seventy miles over rather difficult terrain in inclement weather, and probably on foot as they were poor, most likely not owning a donkey. This would also have been an inappropriate and inconvenient time for a taxing census by the Roman government requiring everyone to register in their hometown. The most likely date of Christ’s birth is probably in the spring, late March to early April in 4 BC, and there is more data to substantiate this.
               The early church did not celebrate Christ’s birth, and it wasn’t until about the third century, some three hundred or more years later, that it began to be observed. The date set was in fact most likely appointed to appease the new influx of pagans into the church with pressure to keep their old holiday celebrations, substituting a Christian designation for a pagan event. The December 25th date is most assuredly the former pagan celebration of the winter solstice, most notably the Roman heathen festival of Saturnalia, honoring the god Saturn, the Babylonian celebration of Semiramis, the queen of heaven, and the Egyptian goddess Isis, giving birth to her son Horus, all occurring on similar days.
               Therefore, good Christian, celebrate Christmas with Christ in view, knowing full well the history of it all and realizing that it’s probably not His birthday at all.

Excerpt from Restore My Spirit, O God, pages 488-490.

www.JeffHoracek.com

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving, Praise, and Patience

It’s Thanksgiving. You’ll need this Scripture to make it through.
Know it, recite it, and put it into practice—1 Thessalonians 5:14–
18 NIV.

"And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who
are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened,
help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that
nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to
do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:14–18 NIV

Well, Thanksgiving is a time for families to get together, and
we all know how well that always goes. It would be good to keep
this Scripture close at hand during all family get-togethers and
events, and refer to it often. Committing it to memory would even
be better so you can recite it frequently. Yes, seriously. Scripture
has a way of breaking through impenetrable barriers. It might
even be a good idea to put forth all those specified precepts into
practice. This time around, you may be the one holding everything
together.

So smile, read this Scripture to everyone before dinner, and
have a Happy Thanksgiving. Prayers and blessings.

Excerpt from Renew My Heart, O God, page 401.

www.JeffHoracek.com

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Outline for Life - Spiritual Well-Being

Here is a first look at the basic outline for Spiritual Well-Being:

Access the full explanatory description on the Resources page of my website, JeffHoracek.com!



www.jeffhoracek.com



Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Outline for Life - Mental and Emotional Well-Being

Here is a first look at the basic outline for Mental and Emotional Well-Being:Access the full explanatory discussion on the Resources page of my website, JeffHoracek.com!























www.jeffhoracek.com

Monday, November 4, 2019

Your Outline for Life Is Here!

Your key to unlocking total and complete wholeness and wellness - body, soul, and spirit - has arrived! I have just completed a logical and sequential methodology to empower well-being in your every aspect to live out God's plan and design for you.

Outline for Life - The Essential Core Principles for Physical, Mental and Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being is a 45-page foundational guide written in outline form to give you all the essential knowledge and tools necessary to make you whole and well. This document is organized into 3 Parts - Body, Soul, and Spirit - plus an explanatory Introduction and is available in its entirety, currently free of charge, on the Resources page of my website, JeffHoracek.com, and can be accessed there or downloaded. 
        Each Part has a basic skeletal outline consisting of two pages followed by a full explanatory discussion. Reading the Introduction first will provide an overview of the component Parts. 

Here is a first look at the basic outline for Physical Well-Being: 














www.jeffhoracek.com

Friday, October 11, 2019

Certified Nutritional Consultant!


            I am extremely excited and honored to announce that I have received my certification as a Nutritional Consultant from the American Association of Nutritional Consultants! This has been in the works for over a year now and I am pleased to have completed this course of self-study. Whereas this certification is not a license nor a degree in nutrition, like a registered dietitian (RD), it is a certification of completion and proficiency shown by testing of the foundations of the art and science of nutrition. The self-study course comprises 11 textbooks and areas of study including: anatomy and physiology; nutrition and common ailments; nutrition in action (applied kinesiology); orthomolecular nutrition; children's health and herbal remedies; medical chemistry; diet and nutrition; enzyme health; living chemistry; applied nutrition; and healing with amino acids. 
            The art and science of nutrition fits in well with the profession of Optometry as we regularly recommend ocular vitamins and nutraceuticals for the wellness of the eyes and visual system. The addition of this knowledge base will greatly enhance solid recommendations to patients and the ability to reach more people through my website, writing, blog, and articles on the topics of health and wellness. 
            My goal is to reach as many people as God will bring to help them become whole and well - bodysoul, and spirit - and to live victorious lives as God intends. 
It's Your Life - by God's Design
www.jeffhoracek.com

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Your Healing Has Come!

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. Isaiah 58:8-9a 

Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. Psalm 30:2 

She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. Matthew 9:21-22 

and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all. Luke 6:19 

     Your healing has arrived and the Lord is surely with you and surrounds you with His powerful presence! Close your eyes and touch the robe of His healing power. Let today be the day of your deliverance. I'm praying for you!


www.jeffhoracek.com

Monday, August 5, 2019

Lion of Judah, Lamb of God


When life gets you down, just remember Who you belong to and Where you are going.

Christ came as the pure, meek Lamb to forever free you from sin, evil, and death. Revel in that!

He's coming again as the powerful, regal Lion to take you home. Rejoice in that!

Peace and Strength are within you through Him! I'm praying for you!

#lionofjudah #lambofgod
www.jeffhoracek.com 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Angelic Visitors

Clown Nose in ICU, age 5

       Liver Transplant Scars; Galen age 16 

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14 NIV  


     I would like to say that the photo of the “abs” is me, but alas, my fifty-eight-year-old abs are not that lean! The photo is, of course, the abdomen of my son, Galen, displaying the three, very-long incisions (shaped like the Mercedes-Benz insignia) from his liver transplant on July 10, 2008, eleven years ago. And although the scars have significantly diminished over these years—at age five then and age sixteen now—they are still a visible sign of his journey. Clearly evident are also the numerous point-insertion scars from the metal staples holding those original incisions together.
     So what is the purpose of this anatomical analysis? Well, here is a bit more of the story of Galen’s transplant journey.

     Galen was back in the ICU room after a successful liver-transplant surgery and was being monitored tenaciously. God had miraculously provided for one life to live through the tragic loss of two young children, brother and sister, who had just drowned in their family’s pool. Elation and sorrow are difficult emotions to balance. A roller-coaster ride of emotions and unanswerable questions is what this life event dumped into our unsuspecting laps.
     But something just wasn’t quite right with Galen. We all knew the extensive toll that Galen’s liver failure had placed on his entire body and knew recovery was never fully certain or what potential permanent damage possibly had already occurred. You see, over the next couple days during the brief moments he was fully awake and aware—eyes scanning the room, us, and his own unimaginable condition—Galen never spoke a word in response to us or his surroundings. It was very uncharacteristic of this normally gregarious young boy and we were concerned that toxic ammonia had caused some permanent brain damage to his speech centers. Certainly, he was in a state of emotional shock as well, wondering what had happened, not fully remembering all the prior events, and now a stomach with huge incisions held together with staples.
     They rushed Galen back down to surgery on the second day after the transplant as the doctors suspected that he was bleeding internally—and he was. They restitched the torn blood vessels back together and removed a pint of blood that had escaped into his abdominal cavity. To everyone’s surprise and elation, upon Galen’s return to the ICU room, he was talking! The doctors and nurses were astounded as they witnessed for the first time the gregarious Galen, who previously had been lifeless, unresponsive, and limp. After a few days, they moved Galen back down to the main ward, the “dungeon” as Galen would call it, the old Parkland Hospital in Dallas at that time.

     Galen has only two solid memories of the ICU before his transplant surgery. One was his outburst when a nurse tried to get him to sit on the toilet. And the other—well—this is where things get a bit more spiritually—and angelically—interesting.
     Galen clearly recalls a time in the ICU when an attractive lady wearing a long, white lab coat, wearing bright red lipstick was talking to Kim, his mother, in the room about Mary Kay cosmetics, which, in fact, Kim was active with at the time. What was so striking to Galen was the fact that on the ICU ward no lipstick or makeup or perfumes were typically allowed for staff due to the potential sensitivities of the patients, and Galen somehow knew that. It was only much later that Galen even related these experiences to his mother and me. And, of course, Kim has no recollection of any such event or lady. A dream? Imagination? Even for a five-year-old boy, even under the circumstances, I think not. Certainly, an angelic presence of comfort and peace signifying that soon all will be normal again and well.
     And Galen had another, even more profound visitation. A few days after both surgeries concerning his transplant, now in the main ward of the hospital, the “dungeon,” Galen very clearly recalls this second event. Mom was in the shower in his room, and I evidently had now returned back to work during the daytime hours. Another, different lady with long, brown hair, wearing navy-blue scrubs walked into the room and spoke directly to Galen, who was quite awake and sensible. Paraphrased, she stated to Galen, “These staples have been in long enough, it’s time to take them out!” And she proceeded to bring forth a standard, office-supply staple-remover and used it to remove one staple from the top of Galen’s vertical incision, from a position nearest his heart. And then she simply left. Of course, Galen felt nothing, and medically, the staples were not removed till weeks later.
     Since Galen never told us about this visitation until much later, nobody ever bothered to check or count the staples or noticed anything noteworthy or out of the ordinary. But the visitation assuredly happened, and maybe as if to tell Galen that your healing and new life journey have just begun, and God and His angels are with you.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 NIV

     I do not know if a gold staple will be waiting for Galen in heaven, but I do know that angelic encounters of various kinds happen frequently. I know many friends who have had direct spiritual angelic contact and I personally have had two angelic appearances in dreams. As the above Scriptures testify, it is a spiritual reality.

     But the story is still being written, and seven years later Galen is in the hospital again to have surgery to place a stent in his bile duct to keep it open. Unknowingly at the time, a blood vessel was inadvertently nicked from the endoscopic surgery, and Galen once more was bleeding internally and not doing well. I was at the hospital with Galen and my friend, Edwina, had come by to place some decorations on Galen’s hospital room window. Edwina has had a significant life journey of her own and is very spiritually aware and sensitive to angelic and heavenly signals and signs. After she had completed the window decorations, I noticed that she was peering intently out the window. She turned to look at me and exclaimed, “Do you see them? They are coming right through the window and heading straight for Galen!” Edwina saw two white “tufts,” one positioned slightly higher than the other, moving parallel together in a direct straight line to Galen’s side. The tufts seemed to vanish when they reached Galen, but Edwina continued to sense their presence. Neither Galen nor I saw anything. But in my mind, they were, no doubt, Galen’s two guardian angels returning to render him aid.
     At that time, Edwina knew nothing about Galen’s previous angelic encounters, as I had never told her as I myself had forgotten. And sure enough, the next day they did surgery again and found Galen’s bleeding blood vessel and clamped and sealed it. 

     Spiritually, we are never alone. The Holy Spirit and the Living Word of Jesus reside within us. The heavenly angels surround us and are in our midst. They are messengers of our loving God to aid us and comfort us in our direst times of need. Most of the time they are in the unseen spiritual realm, but occasionally they make themselves known—if we are spiritually open to receive them.
        
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10 NIV

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17 NIV

www.jeffhoracek.com

[Part 1 of Galen's Liver Transplant story can be found on my Resources page on my website titled "Miracles Happen," a direct excerpt from Restore My Spirit, O God, pages 268-269.] 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Surviving Life's Storms


     In the midst of life's catastrophic storms, during the tempest of times, through the tumultuous torrents - whether sourced internally or externally; Jesus asks, "Where is your faith? Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid" (Luke 8:24-25; Matthew 14:24-27).

     Deliverance is just one word away - Jesus. He calms every storm from within and from without, and He walks on the water to rescue you. I'm praying for you.

www.jeffhoracek.com

Monday, June 3, 2019

Follow Me!




Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 NIV

     Jesus never said that the Christian life would be easy. Jesus said to pick up your cross and follow Him. Your cross is like no other. Only you can carry your cross and there is no other cross for you to carry in following Jesus. I cannot carry your cross, but I can help you along the way and encourage you. Jesus is the only One who can truly lift your burdens—your cross—and carry you through to victory. Jesus has already carried His cross to victory. And He said, “Follow Me”—to victory! If you’re not following the Leader— carrying your own cross to victory—then you’re going the wrong way—to defeat and despair.

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12:26 NIV

     Jesus has reserved a place of honor for you in heaven as you diligently carry your burdensome cross here on earth. And Jesus will never forsake you or leave you and even though this life is tough, He has an abundant life promised for you. So don’t despair. Perseveringly carry your cross to victory, and relish in His peace and joy along the way.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29–30 NIV

     Pick up your cross daily. Get firmly and inseverably yoked to Jesus. Follow Him to your victory. His best is for you. 

www.jeffhoracek.com

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Depend on Miracles!

Depend on Miracles! He Is Risen! (Mark16:6)
Miracles come from God. And His miracles are happening every day in you and me!
"So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?" (Galatians 3:5)

www.jeffhoracek.com | #heisrisen #emptytomb 
#miracles


www.jeffhoracek.com 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Retaking Control—Nonprescription Drugs: Stomach Acid Reducers


Another group of the most commonly used OTC drugs are the stomach acid reducers. There are three main types of stomach acid reducers and they are all widely used but frequently confused and misunderstood. They all have different mechanisms of action and are unique in what they do and problems they may cause. The three main types are antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
            Antacids are the old standby and all of these are the chewable tablets or liquids that are ingested to reduce acid stomach, acid reflux (heartburn or GERD—gastroesophageal reflux disease), and general indigestion. These are usually taken when symptoms appear. These chewable tablets and liquids usually contain calcium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide, and some contain simethicone, which reduces the surface tension of gas bubbles to reduce gastrointestinal gas and bloating. Notable brands are the chewable Tums, Rolaids, and generics and liquids include Maalox, Mylanta, and others. Please note that some of these, especially the liquids, can contain aluminum hydroxide, which is a toxin to your system and has been implicated as a risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease. There is a certain amount of aluminum in the environmental soils that plants absorb, and we eat, but the last thing you want to do is ingest more aluminum. Once in your system in significant quantities, it is toxic and difficult to chelate out and remove. Effects are cumulative and may take many years to show up, just like mercury and lead poisoning. [Caution is also advisable in using aluminum cookware, aluminum foil for baking and food storage, and drinking soft drinks or beer from aluminum cans as food can also become contaminated with aluminum in all these instances. And yes, most antiperspirants (not deodorants) contain aluminum as the main active ingredient that stops perspiration—and it can be absorbed through the skin.]
            Antacids are relatively short acting and work simply by absorbing and neutralizing the existing acid present in the stomach. The calcium and magnesium formulations are fine to use occasionally but they can sometimes cause a rebound effect of more stomach acid being produced some hours later. By their nature, these minerals—calcium especially, and magnesium somewhat—can bind to various other drugs or substances in your stomach and render those pharmaceuticals more difficult to absorb. So if you take prescription medications it is best not to take these antacids for at least an hour or two before or after taking your prescriptions (and the same is true for calcium and magnesium nutritional supplements as well).
            The H2 blockers are pharmaceutical tablets that are histamine blockers that inhibit the production of stomach acid indirectly by blocking the acid-stimulating effect of histamine in the stomach. To be effective, these should be taken about a half-hour before eating and they are also relatively short acting for usually only a few hours to reduce acid stomach, acid reflux, and general indigestion.
              The common OTC H2 blockers are Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), and Zantac (ranitidine). These are generally safe for short-term use but can mask an underlying more serious issue. They all can potentially interact with some prescription medications and also tend to decrease mineral and B-vitamin absorption and create nutrient imbalances and deficiencies if used consistently. There is also currently a concern that long-term use of these medications could cause mental decline in later years, so it would be wise to only use them occasionally when needed.
            The last group of stomach acid reducers are the long-acting (24 hours or more) PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) that directly decrease the hydrochloric acid production of the stomach acid-producing cells themselves. These medications include Prevacid (lansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), and Nexium (esomeprazole) and again, all for decreasing acid stomach, acid reflux, and general indigestion. These are fine to use for short periods, usually two to four weeks at a time to get maximum benefit, but long-term, everyday use can become problematic. Some of the potential side effects of everyday use include potential drug interactions, decreased mineral and nutrient absorption, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, emotional disturbances, and even creating more gastrointestinal disturbances.

            There is enormous confusion about stomach acid—just what does it do? The primary function of stomach acid is to convert the proteolytic enzyme, pepsinogen into its active form, pepsin. Protein digestion takes the longest, usually up to eight hours or more throughout the entire digestive tract, so protein digestion needs to start in the stomach for proper amino acid assimilation. Pepsin is one of very few enzymes that actually functions in, and requires, an acidic environment. Most all other animal-based enzymes function best at a more neutral or slightly alkaline pH and are denatured and destroyed in the acidic stomach environment. Digestion times vary widely from person to person and the types of food eaten. Generally, digestion in the stomach lasts from two to five hours, then another six to eight hours in the small intestine, and finally up to twenty-four to thirty hours before being passed out of the body. If protein digestion in the stomach is minimal, then the pancreatic enzymes secreted into the small intestine have to try to make up the difference, which puts a strain on the whole digestive process.
            The second function of stomach acid is to break down larger chunks of food into smaller pieces. Just as chewing food begins to crush it into smaller pieces mechanically, stomach acid serves to do this chemically. Please note that stomach acid does not digest food, it only breaks big chunks into little pieces, but is essential for enzymes to begin their work! Digestion requires enzymes (proteases for proteins into amino acids, amylases for carbohydrates into simple sugars, and lipases for fats into short-chain fatty acids) so the essential food nutrients can be absorbed. Without proper enzymatic digestion, food particles simply pass through you, unabsorbed, and can cause a toxicity buildup in your colon.
            The third function of stomach acid is to destroy harmful bacteria that may be ingested with food. This helps to keep your digestive tract safe from harmful bacteria. The low pH, acidic environment of the stomach is essential for this purpose. Water is at a neutral pH of about 7, your blood and body keep a very tight and mildly alkaline pH of about 7.4, and your stomach at rest with no food present runs at an acidic pH of about 4.5–5.5. When food is ingested, the pH of the stomach drops to about 1.5–3.5, which kills bacteria and allows the protease, pepsin, to begin protein digestion. So your stomach is always a very acidic environment, and it is coated with protective mucous to keep it from ulcerating from the acid. The mechanisms for maintaining the stomach environment are very complex with multiple components and feedback loops, and too much acid production on a regular basis can cause acid reflux, burning, and ulcers. But too little acid production impedes the proper digestion of proteins and impedes the absorption of many essential minerals. The smell of food or the anticipatory phase of eating stimulates the stomach to produce an increase of about 30 percent more acid, but the real stimulator of acid production is the actual presence of food, especially protein. The stomach will generally reach its full acidic state in about 30–45 minutes and stay in its most acidic state as long as food is present. Ironically, as we get older, our stomachs generally produce less acid and there is not enough for proper digestion to occur. Therefore, for many of us, reducing stomach acid is not the correct answer to alleviate the underlying problem.

            The primary underlying problems of excessive stomach acid or irritation are twofold: prescription and OTC medications, and the typical American diet. Many prescription medications cause gastric upset and distress, especially among them anti-inflammatory steroids and the OTC NSAIDs—aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. If you must be on these, there are alternative means to help combat the problem, such as taking medicine with food, if appropriate.
            The primary cause of too much stomach acid for most of us is our typical fast food, junk food, sugar-saturated, soft drink-saturated diets. And the real problem is that most of us, because of this extremely poor diet, are in a relative bodily state of acidosis—our entire bodies are too acidic when they should be more neutral to slightly alkaline, just like our blood. You can actually purchase pH test strips online to measure your body pH from your saliva and urine. Urine will always be a bit more acidic than saliva, but the closer you are to a neutral pH of 7 the better off you will be. Most of us will measure in the acidic ranges of 6 or below.

            So how can we better alleviate our acidosis problem? The obvious, but most difficult solution is, of course, a complete change in our dietary habits. Fast foods, all junk foods, all sugar-containing foods, fatty foods, fried foods, excessively spicy foods, all processed foods like white flour, coffee, caffeine, and especially soft drinks (which contain not only sugar and caffeine, but phosphoric acid) all serve to make us acidic and are gastrointestinal irritants. Also be wary that any food allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances will also lead to GI upset. Common offenders are dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, and sometimes nuts. If your body cannot properly digest those items, you will not be happy when you eat them. The best foods to eat are raw or lightly steamed fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, small portions of lean turkey, chicken, and fish, and organic whole grains, seeds, and nuts. Raw is better than cooked for vegetables because you retain the natural enzymes in the vegetable to aid in your digestion. Plant enzymes are destroyed by heat but not by stomach acid! Plant enzymes can function in the pH range of 3–9, in much more acidic conditions than our own pancreatic enzymes (proteases, amylases, and lipase that the pancreas secretes into the alkaline environment of the small intestine), which require a more alkaline pH and are destroyed by heat and acid. Plant enzymes will be inactive at low stomach pH but not destroyed, so they can continue digestion once they reach the more alkaline small intestine and become active again.
            Here are some additional things you should try to help decrease acidosis and excess stomach acid:
·       Probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that primarily colonize your colon and help complete digestion, provide essential nutrients themselves, and help prevent colonization of harmful bacteria. These beneficial bacteria need to be replenished on a regular basis as they do not always survive for long periods of time and most are lost with stool excretion.  There are many different strains, and each has unique characteristics. Yogurt is a great source of probiotic cultures or they can be taken as supplements—daily is best for maximum effectiveness and cultures should contain at least three different strains. The more common strains are Lactobacillus (L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. salivarus, L. rhamnosus, L. casei, L. sporogenes, and L. bulgaricus), Bifidobacterium or Bifidus (B. lactis, B. bifidum, and B. longum), and Streptococcus thermophilus (this is not the pathogenic Strep, but a beneficial strain that is often used in yogurt fermentation). For great information on probiotics see www.probiotics.org.
·       Fiber (often called Prebiotics). Fiber is essential to give bulk and substance for proper digestion and assimilation. Fiber aids in the proper density as food travels though your digestive tract and helps stabilize the process, helps to detoxify and decrease acidity, lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, and provides a food substrate for the beneficial bacteria. There is no direct nutrient absorption of fiber, but it is critical to get sufficient quantities. Fiber is either soluble or insoluble (which is also called dietary fiber). Soluble fiber is broken down by the digestive process and is necessary to balance stool consistency and includes the following types: psyllium, gums, mucilages, pectins, inulins, and some brans, notably oat bran. Insoluble or dietary fiber is not broken down by digestion and is necessary to soften stool consistency and includes the following types: cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and some brans, notably wheat bran. It is best to get an even mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber or tailor your needs to keep stool consistency—soluble to primarily balance, insoluble to loosen. Obviously, fiber is best derived from raw vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Alternatively, there are many very good fiber supplements in capsule form, powder to mix with water or juice, or the easy chewable tablets that usually have an equal fiber mix. For an excellent discussion of fiber go to: https://www.healthline.com/health/soluble-vs-insoluble-fiber.
·       Digestive Enzymes. Digestive enzymes are wonderful to help your system digest all foods better, even those foods you typically have difficulty with. There are enzymes available for virtually every food type. The best are the plant-based enzymes since they have the widest range of action and survive stomach acid. Taken right before you eat, they help to digest food completely and relieve the strain of enzyme production required of your pancreas. The quality products will not only have the basic food component enzymes (proteases, amylases, and lipases) but also have a variety of alternate carbohydrate enzymes such as maltase, lactase, alpha galactosidase, invertase, xylanase, cellulase, pectinase, and others. Please note that the enzyme bromelain (from pineapples) is better suited as an anti-inflammatory enzyme rather than a digestive enzyme and the enzyme papain (from papayas) does contain digestive proteases, amylases, and lipases but is not as efficient as some of the newer digestive enzymes. And remember that the animal-based pancreatin (like your own), although containing all digestive enzyme components, will not survive long in stomach acid unless it is specifically enteric-coated to protect it.  Enzymes are not inexpensive, but well worth the cost, especially if you have frequent digestive distress. For great information see www.enzymedica.com.
·       Alkalizing Supplements. If you can’t eat enough raw vegetables, the next best thing might be to increase consumption of “green” supplements either as powders to mix with juice or protein shakes, or alkaline-booster tablets and capsules that are great mixes of vegetable and fruit powders. These can help you reduce your acidosis and become more balanced and alkaline.
·       Notable Herbs. There are many herbs that are great to help quiet the stomach and aid digestion and minimize gastric distress. Notable are ginger taken as capsules and aloe vera gel taken as gel-caps or juice.
·       Homeopathic. There is a product called Acidil, by Boiron, which contains four homeopathic components that might bring some temporary relief.
·       Pure Water. Drinking water or water with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) will help in a pinch to dilute stomach acid and ease acidity.


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