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For the past 2 months I have gained a new respect for those who are forced to be limited with their food choices.

Let me start from the beginning. In mid-January I had an unexpected trip to the ER for abdominal pain. Over $450 later I was told that it was gastritis. My stomach was inflamed. I was sent home with some acid reducing medication, pain killers, and told to eat bland foods.

Now it’s almost 2 months later and I’m still living with this awful thing called heartburn. So as my own dietitian I try (or in this case, I tried) to stay away from everything that may flare it up. Acidic, spicy, fatty, fried, greasy food. Chocolate. Alcohol. Coffee. I avoided it all. (Maybe with a couple of exceptions.)

(Here’s a handout on preventing heartburn with diet. Click here.)

So what was I supposed to eat?

For awhile I was eating Ritz crackers, bananas, and peanut butter and jelly on white toast. Bland, bland and some more bland.

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Four months ago I went through a stressful time in my life. I had just graduated from the dietetic internship in June 2010 and was now unemployed. On top of that I had the daunting task of taking the Registered Dietitian (RD) exam in September 2010.

Fortunately, shortly after graduating I was very blessed with a job at a large Portland hospital. But I still had this looming cloud over me to pass the RD exam.

While this was all happening, two very uncomfortable mental and physical stresses were occurring

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