Spike Mendelsohn Shares How To Manage Acid Reflux Disease With Food

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.