A few years ago, when I moved to Pittsford, I was enthralled with the Pittsford Wegmans—it was a bit overwhelming at first, but I got into a groove there quickly, and made almost daily trips (after all, I lived 0.24 miles away!). Shortly after I began shopping there, I noticed the produce department had all kinds of exotic items to try—and boy, did I try them! Some were disgusting (or I didn’t actually know what to do with them), and some things I just looked at repeatedly for years and never gave them a shot. Aloe leaves were one of my most consistent purchases from the less mainstream produce corner. I was pretty excited to buy my first aloe leaf (which may look like a cactus family member, but it’s really related to the lily), since I had heard all kinds of great things about it—of course, it soothes the skin, but it also soothes and heals the digestive tract. And it has wonderful properties that combat symptoms of acid reflux, and simultaneously heals the problem—-it’s not a bandaid approach, and it has no side effects unless you consume too much at once (we call that the Draino Effect, and it’s not serious, just unpleasant).The Gooey Gel—You’ll filet this by trimming the edges and slicing off the green sides.
The aloe gel is a super healer and toner in the digestive tract—all the way through from the esophagus to the large intestine. It also contains a special polysaccharide that makes nutrients more bioavailable in the stomach (it coats the lining). It slows gastric emptying and also reduces hydrochloric acid production. For a person with digestive issues and/or nutrient absorption impairment, this is great news! It helps the body digest foods more effectively without producing excess acid.
In the past six months alone, I have had six people begin drinking aloe vera juice to reduce acid reflux symptoms (ranging in severity from a person having been on acid-blockers for 15 years to someone who had been prescribed Prilosec for a chronic cough). All six people eliminated their issues 100%.
My favorite brand to recommend (because not everyone can find whole aloe leaves) is Lily of the Desert. They have the least processed product I can find, and they don’t have a lot of junk added to the juice! Look for Lily of the Desert Aloe Juice, Whole Leaf. I think the Inner Filet version will work too, but I know for sure the Whole Leaf works.
Note: I had one person tell me they tried a cheap brand they found in Wal-Mart, and it did not work. I’m guessing it was more processed and had more fillers.
The amount a person needs is dependent on the severity and details of the issue they have. For acid reflux, starting with 1-4 ounces in the morning (before eating) generally does the trick, and for people with more severe problems, they may need to drink another ounce (or more) later in the day (or before each meal). There’s no magic formula because everyone is different! I recommend starting with 1 ounce, before breakfast and increasing it in quantity and frequency as needed. You probably won’t need more than 4 ounces per day (at least I haven’t experienced this with any of my clients).
My favorite way to consume aloe is in a drink I make in the blender (Because, really, it’s good for everyone…not just people with acid reflux! It will heal most digestive issues, like colitis, and other irritations and damage, as well as treat constipation and some IBS symptoms…but it’s good for you even if you are perfectly healthy!). If you have acid reflux, you may just want to keep it simple and take shots of the Aloe Juice (the blender drink calls for Aloe Gel).
(I like to serve this as one of my samples at Smoothie Workshops—people are always pleasantly surprised!). I posted about aloe in 2010, so you can read that post too if you like—it’s geared more toward the nutrient benefits of aloe, not specifically toward acid reflux.
In the blender:
3-inch chunk of aloe gel (either buy Lily of the Desert Aloe Gel and add about 3 Tbsp, or filet an aloe leaf and cut a 3-inch chunk)
Juice from 1 lemon and 2 limes (if citrus is irritating to your reflux issues, use a different type of juice!)
8 ounces coconut water (fermented or plain)
stevia to taste
Blend until smooth—it’s fizzy! Feel free to add a little Grey Goose if you’re into that kind of thing
Mom and I drank this one day after a really sweaty walk, and we couldn’t get over how refreshing and awesome it was.Aloe Cooler — 3 inch chunk of aloe gel, juice from 1 lemon and 2 limes, coconut water (fermented or plain), stevia to taste, ice!
Aloe is one of my very favorite examples of Food as Medicine, and I’m probably way more excited about it than I should be—but I’m past worrying about being too enthusiastic. It works—and I hope that people will start to see that acid-blockers are a crappy bandaid solution to an issue that your body can heal if it is just given the right tools and assistance!
I’ve also made this with cherry juice, and it’s amazing! I know the picture of the cherry version looks like mostly foam, and it is foamy at first, but let it settle if you don’t want to drink that part (I like it) and it’s a smooth cherry aloe cocktail!
News/Notes: Today was mostly a work day, but I did have coffee with my mom and make time to go in the sauna (it’s so rainy, damp, and cold here!). I’m so excited for this week—I have so much going on, and it’s all good…and one of my client/friends made a connection for me with a trainer she’s working with for her fitness competitions–he’s going to give me a free session with him on Tuesday morning. I can’t wait—I wanna get my ass kicked! Ha. Let’s see how I feel afterward.