Several times throughout several of my blog posts, I state that heartburn and chest pain are two different symptoms. I make that clear, basically because I want YOU to comprehend the difference, because I NEVER did! So, if you experience chest pain after certain foods, I highly recommend you to read my experience, below! ~Leslie~
When I was in junior high, I discovered the horrible experience of heartburn! I remember running to milk or TUMS for instant relief! Very soon later, I was diagnosed with GERD. Sometime around then, chest pain entered into my life. After certain foods, a knife-stabbing feeling would enter into my chest, within every breath. Let me make that clear. . . my chest HURT TO BREATH! And the more I’d eat of those certain foods, the MORE painful it felt to take a breath! I always tied my chest pains being part of GERD. And because the chest pain was in the same area of my body as with heart burn, I always assumed it was in the same diagnosis, GERD. (Keep in mind, chest pain still can be a symptom of GERD!)
Several times through college, I tried following the GERD Diet, but it never gave me relief. In fact, a lot of the foods that I was supposed to avoid, would not bother me at all. And several of the GERD-Diet suggested foods would bother me horribly! Backwards, right? It was confusing! Also, soon after college, I turned gluten-free and my heartburn diminished completely. My heartburn seriously disappeared. So, my heartburn was gone, but my chest pain still remained. So, I assumed that my chest pain was still part of GERD. Below is a more detailed list of my food C.o.N.f.U.s.I.o.N. that I discovered throughout my years.
Here’s some foods that I was supposed to avoid, but these foods/drinks never bother me, so I ate these food all of the time!
- cocoa powder
- raw tomatoes (can easily eat 10 roma tomatoes or entire package of grape tomatoes without any problems!)
- lemons and limes (I add to my drinks daily without any problems!)
- oranges and grapefruits (limit 2 to 3 per day)
- high-fat meats
- chicken skins
- carbonated water
- Ground beef–full-fat
- chili & cayenne spices
- plain yogurt (full-fat)
- sour cream (full-fat)
- Healthy oils (Olive oil, coconut oil, etc.)
So, that really confused me. . . . . . . . .
Foods Suggested on the GERD DIET, but ALWAYS caused chest pain (and often feeling overly fatigue):
- popsicles, especially with corn syrup (my worst chest pain)
- low-fat desserts (also, often puked!)
- gelatin (always extremely fatigue the rest of the day and often puked!)
- low-fat mayo (also, puked almost every time!)
- low-fat sour cream
- low-fat yogurt
- plain breads
That confused me even more!
The only foods that I could actually agree to avoid with the GERD DIET because of heartburn AND chest pain:
- processed tomatoes (Both reactions)
- vinegar (Both reactions)
- chocolates (Both reactions)
- soda (Only chest pain)
Many years later, I started to pay more attention to my sulfite allergy (diagnosed when I was 25–now 31). I started to connect the dots, or maybe I should say that I untied the dots, because I started to realize that my chest pains were not connected with GERD. The heartburn and the chest pain symptoms were tied with some of the same few foods, but those foods caused my reactions for two different reasons. Reason # 1: Heart burn, which I rarely experienced anymore for the past 9 years. Reason #2: Chest pain, which were caused by foods with sulfites. (Notice, the orange text represents foods high in sulfites. For a longer list of sulfite-loaded foods, check out the link: Sulfite High Foods.)
Now, I do NOT get chest pain or heart burn with tomatoes products, chocolate, and vinegars, because I discovered sulfite-free chocolates (Enjoy Life), sulfite-free tomato products (Pomi), and sulfite-free vinegars (rice vinegar & organic apple cider vinegar). WOW! Plus, I still consume the foods that are listed to avoid on the GERD Diet, without any problems. This really makes me question if I actually have GERD, as before diagnosed. Possibly your chest pain is caused by an allergy like me. (Again, keep in mind, chest pain still can be a symptom of GERD!)
There are lots of wonderful sources of chest pain allergy reactions, but I will limit to this website , Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, because it tied with the sulfite allergy: Sulfite Allergy Symptoms —
Sulfites can cause mild to life-threatening symptoms in approximately 5 percent of people with asthma. Symptoms include chest tightness, hives, stomach cramps, diarrhea, breathing problems and other symptoms of anaphylactic shock.
With sulfites, I react with chest tightness pain, stomach cramps, and breathing problems (I’ve had asthma since I was a young child). If you have been diagnosed with GERD, you most likely do have the frustration disorder. As I said, I question if I have GERD, but who knows, I’m not a doctor. All I do know is what foods do and do not work for my body. For the last nine years I’ve lived gluten-free and rarely have heartburn. And by turning sulfite-free (as my allergy specialist directed me to do so), I’ve stopped experiencing chest pains, while still enjoying the foods on the GERD Avoid List. This morning, while writing this article, I’ve enjoyed three cups of coffee! For lunch, I’ll be eating a chicken drumstick with its’ fatty skin. I think tonight, I’ll make a tomato-based soup and treat myself with some chocolate for dessert. 🙂
FATHER & DAUGHTER
Even though my article, above, is finished, I do want to mention my dad. My father DOES have GERD/acid reflex. He has struggled with it ever since he was in 1st grade. My dad has often vented to me about his symptoms throughout the years, and even though I had the same diagnosis, I could NEVER relate to him. His explanations never made sense and now I understand why. I’m thankful that my personal symptoms have diminished now that I’ve turned sulfite-free. And I’m very thankful that my father’s symptoms have dramatically reduced with medication assistance. Now, my dad and I are feeling quite well!
I even went through my entire pregnancy without any heartburn! Wow! I have friends and family members who vented how they struggled with heartburn during pregnancy, but I had zero heartburn. 🙂