The Ailments that have plagued me and how I came up to solving them
Slow Metabolism and Bloating
I was never aware of or had any problem with slow metabolic rate until I went to college or shortly after. It got worse when I started working. Perhaps because I started devouring foods in larger quantities.
When I was in second year college, I got addicted to Coke. There hardly a day passed without me downing a bottle of 750mL of coke. That was my dinner. I even remember asking a visiting physician, who offered free consultation, why I lose my appetite after drinking a bottle of soda. So he suggested that I stop the habit. Thinking back now, the answer was very obvious, I was just so stupid to discern it. The following day, I was sitting in one of the cobbled table and chairs next to the kiosk. I was on my break and enjoying a cake and a bottle of Fanta. Visiting doctor was walking around the campus and was passing by so I waved hello. Realizing what I had on my table, I almost froze in embarrassment! I, looking silly, tried to obstruct the view and embarrassingly apologized. He gave his kindest smile and said, “Don’t worry, it’s ok” and I could see it written all over his face, “I understand”. I was so relieved.
Eventually, I broke the habit. Well, I think I got broke and couldn’t afford it anymore.
Since then I got an ugly-looking belly. I blamed the coke. No, I blamed myself.
Flatulence and Heartburn
I could never skip a meal without suffering from flatulence afterwards. And what a painful experience it could be. I would press a cushion in my stomach, hold my breath and cry in agony. I would twist and turn like a pregnant cat who is about to give birth. I would climb on my bed and sit in Muslim-like prayer position except my butt was up in the air hoping that the trapped wind inside will find its way out. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. When I was lucky, someone would make me a hot drink or a noodle soup. They made me burp and somehow I would feel relieved. But that didn’t mean I was not going to get flatulent again.
I would also get flatulent when I drank water and take a walk afterwards. It would also cause minor heartburn. Drinking orange juice and eating more than one banana, these used to cause me heartburn. Similarly, when I drink water during or after meal, my gastric acid overflows and it’s very unpleasant, indeed.
Before I knew the acidic effect of milk and sugar, I use to like eating rice with them. I seemed to have never had any problem with it until my late teens. Maybe it was the damaging effect of coke that’s finally taking its toll on my digestive problem.
Indigestion and Constipation
There were a few instances where I ate too much I practically ate for two days at one sitting. No, I kid! But in those cases, I didn’t get hungry for the next 24 hours or so. I didn’t suspect anything was wrong with my tummy. No, no! I just thought that I had had a bad-stomach day.
Everybody would tell you that papaya is good for constipation and banana is good for diarrhea. I loved papaya. Although they abound in the Philippines, I didn’t really eat that much. Just a one slice was usually enough. Once I was having constipation so I thought of buying one large papaya to feast on. I didn’t have anything else but the papaya and was waiting for its magic to make wonders. The day ended without me visiting the back room except to pee. I got confused.
I knew nothing about detox teas and they didn’t–and still don’t–seem to be popular enough in the Philippines. The only solution I could think of was suppository. But I wasn’t keen on trying one. In my family, simple ailments like indigestion are usually treated with natural remedy.
I have always been suffering heartburn. Ignorant about proper diet, I have always wondered why I get acid reflux whenever I drink juice or eat a banana or a cake. I couldn’t enjoy eating as much as others do and not have problem with either bloating/indigestion, or heartburn. In fact even if I ate only fruits, I’d get bloated. But I love to eat. I just couldn’t stand it when I get bloated and not go to the back the next day. It often disturbed me especially when it came to day 2. In desperation, I would sometimes drink a bottle of cow’s milk to help ease the traffic jam in the gut. Sometimes it didn’t work and give me back explosions instead. It was very unpleasant. I didn’t know anything about laxatives then and when I found out about it I thought I had solved the problem.
In summer of 2006, I stayed with my friend, Lyndale, for a couple of days. She lived just 11 km from me. I just got out of work–or I was fired to say it bluntly. Alone in her apartment on a Thursday morning, I went to buy somtam(spicy raw papaya salad) rice, and fried fish for my breakfast. Then I sat with the computer all day. I had my breakfast at around 7 or 8 in the morning and I felt so stuffed eating only half portion. By 2 pm I still felt stuffed and it felt like the food didn’t move from my stomach. I was getting uncomfortable. By night, the feeling hadn’t changed at all and I started to get worried. That night I didn’t sleep well, if not at all. I was up till after midnight, dozed off a little bit and felt the heaviness of my stomach all through the night. The next day, I didn’t feel any better and couldn’t eat anything. I tried to use the bathroom and sat there for hours. Night 2 sleep was still eluding me. I was getting sick. I couldn’t go to the drug store and ask for help because I couldn’t speak Thai. I don’t know why I didn’t bother to get checked up.
Day 3 I finally went and for the first time I felt hungry again. But having just suffered from that experience I was almost scared to eat anything. I thought of starting with soft food so I bought oatmeal and made myself some porridge. I used to like eating porridge with condensed milk but now just thinking about the combination made me feel acidic already. So I used powdered milk instead and I felt okay-ish. I didn’t know what else to eat. Just the thought of any food made me feel either acidic or bloated. I couldn’t eat the normal amount of food, just half bread or a tiny fraction of what I usually had. I wanted to eat something that would neutralize my acid but couldn’t think of any.
By Sunday, I felt much better which was good because I had to make a four-hour trip to the border to get my passport stamped. The trip included a free drink in the van and lunch in the Cambodian border. In the van I took a can of drink to help me sleep. But no sooner than I had finished it when I felt uneasy and insomniac. Then I realized I just had a coffee! What in the world was I thinking! It was absolutely a nightmare. When we got to the border, I felt a hunger pang and ordered papaya somtam (how stupid, I hear someone say. Well, yes, I was). I didn’t finish it. I couldn’t. Afterwards, I started to feel the same heaviness of stomach that I had 3 days ago. I still didn’t learn! I think when the stomach is ill the mind can’t think properly.
This time I had to seek help. I called Dr. Clyde Camagay and narrated my nightmare. He told me that I was having hyper-acidity and prescribed, on the phone, antacid and another over-the-counter medicine. After a week or two I was back to normal.
During this hyper-acidity episode, I resorted to brown rice and my digestive system felt better. Since then I only ate brown rice until lately, I’m eating white rice again after about three years.
Ever since I had the hyper-acidity episode, I get indigestion, bloating, and constipation more easily than ever before.