Spike Mendelsohn Shares How to Manage Acid Reflux Disease with Food

The new spokesperson for a heartburn drug shares food-friendly tips for managing ARD

Chef Spike Mendelsohn suffers from acid reflux disease, and is the new spokesperson for Dexilant.

Yesterday, The Daily Meal chatted with Spike Mendelsohn about being the new spokesperson for acid reflux disease drug Dexilant; Mendelsohn says he's suffered from acid reflux disease his whole life. (Plus, we got his scoop on life post-Top Chef and where he'll expand his restaurants next.) Today, Mendelsohn shared how acid reflux disease (ARD) has affected him. 

"Managing acid reflux disease is a balance of watching what I'm eating, how I'm exercising, taking the time to decompress, and taking my medication, Dexilant," he said in a webinar.

Mendelsohn and acid reflux expert Dr. David Peura shared their advice on how to best manage the disease with food. While both said it's best to speak to a doctor about specific dietary changes and medications, there are known lifestyle acid reflux triggers. Their tips:

It's all about moderation. While certain foods can definitely cause triggers for ARD — fried fatty foods, caffeine, chocolate, tomatoes, alcohol, peppermint, and more — it doesn't mean you can't ever have them. Take Mendelsohn's need for coffee: "Working in an intense environment all the time, I feel like I always have to stay caffeinated," he said. "Managing my coffee intake is something that I'm working on." Another ARD-inducing trigger for him is anything tomato-based, he said. But his guilty indulgence at the end of the day is chocolate.

Avoid fried foods: Instead, try grilling, Mendelsohn says. It's a healthier, but plenty flavorful, option for ARD-friendly cooking.

Switch out ingredients for ARD-reducing ingredients: Take mac and cheese, for example: Mendelsohn says to use low-fat cheese, low-fat milk, and turkey bacon for a healthier, heartburn-free recipe. Or, instead of using triggering spices and black pepper when roasting a chicken, try Mendelsohn's tricks — use olive oil, salt, and dried oregano instead. The chef created ARD-friendly recipes on the Don't Let It Burn site, like turkey burgers, sweet potato fries, and a pear, pistachio, and brie salad.

Take note of how much you eat, and when: It's better to eat small balanced meals throughout the day to manage ARD, say Mendelsohn and Puera. And it's never a good idea to eat a big meal late at night before going to bed, as lying down can trigger acute symptoms of ARD.

Check out the Don't Let It Burn web site for more ARD-cooking tips from Mendelsohn.