For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with consistent, painful mouth ulcers/canker sores. They were frequent, sore, large (often bigger than a five pence piece!), and they lasted for weeks. It seemed like nothing that I did made any difference. I bought gels and liquids from the pharmacy which were incredibly painful to apply, overpriced mouthwashes from the dentists, and on a few occasions doctors would give me prescriptions for Corticosteroid tablets (steroids).
Whilst the steroids helped marginally in reducing the size of my ulcers, they were time consuming to apply (they had to slowly dissolve on the sore), and I had to take four per day. Plus, I never feel comfortable taking medication unless it’s absolutely necessary, so I was always reluctant to use them.
I know it sounds like a silly thing to stress about, but mouth ulcers really did ruin the quality of my life. When I had them, it hurt to speak, drink and eat. Sometimes they were at the back of my mouth and it would feel like my entire throat had closed up. I would only be able to eat soft foods, like soup, and it took all the enjoyment out of eating. When I didn’t have any ulcers, I would eat a wide variety of foods without considering my diet whatsoever.
Sometimes the ulcers would bleed without warning, which was scary as Google told me that shouldn’t happen! Being the hypochondriac that I was, I would sometimes visit doctors for check-ups. I had blood tests to check every vitamin and mineral in my body, especially b12 and iron (all fine), I went through vigorous questioning about whether or not I was sexually active or under stress, and of course, the end response was always ‘there’s nothing we can do’. One nurse claimed that I was just eating too much junk food, when at the time I was genuinely eating really healthily. Nobody really had any answers for me.
Before I get in to how I cured my mouth ulcers, I’m going to list all of the (failed) changes I made in an attempt to get rid of them.
- I reduced spicy foods.
- I took an iron supplement (unnecessary).
- I bought an expensive, SLS free, natural toothpaste. (I still use it, but it didn’t make any difference to my ulcers!)
- I took up running.
- I went to the gym.
- I reduced my stress. After finishing my A-levels, I had nothing to worry about and spent half a year travelling in Canada. My mouth ulcers only seemed to get worse.
- I reduced my coffee intake.
- I tried echinacea tablets. (No difference whatsoever).
- I made a conscious effort to drink more water.
- I washed my mouth around with salt water. (Painful and gross, but apparently it works for some).
Sometimes I kidded myself into believing that some of these methods had actually worked, but then a few days later I’d just get another ulcer and I’d be back at square one again.
So, if you find yourself empathising with my past situation, feel free to take my advice. I can’t promise it will have the exact same effect on you, but it definitely worked for me, and now I can understand why.
Ditch the meat, dairy, and eggs.
DITCH THE MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGGS.
DITCH THE MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGGS!
If you’ve never considered a plant-based diet before, I can understand that this probably seems like quite a radical suggestion. But not only did changing the way I ate have a huge impact on my mood, skin, and health, but it also finally cured those agonising sores that had been troubling me for most of my life.
There was an adjustment period – going plant-based is not something that you should ‘try’ for two weeks and then give up when nothing happens. I was still getting ulcers for about a month and a half into my new lifestyle, but once my body had flushed away all of the toxicity of dairy and egg (I was already vegetarian), I felt infinitely better. It’s been a year now, and in that time I have had around three ulcers, one of which was triggered by a week of eating excess tomatoes with oil and vinegar (yes, I seem to have a sensitive mouth). However, all of these went away quicker, were a lot smaller, and even seemed less painful!
I became vegan for ethical reasons (I am 100% against the exploitation of animals), but I have also concluded that the food side of veganism is the healthiest way to live, too. I used to eat a lot of dairy products, especially cheese, which I now believe was a major contributor to my mouth ulcers. Cheese is so processed, so unhealthy, and so acidic. Meat is also very acidic, so that could be a contributing factor to many people’s mouth ulcers.
Sometimes mouth ulcers can be triggered by life changes and have nothing to do with what you put inside your body, but for me, it was definitely about what I ate. Stop eating a diet full of acidic forming foods, and if you’re like me, you’ll see a change. Just remember to be patient and trust the process – give it time.
Eat plenty of green vegetables – aim for over five different types of veg a day, if possible – experiment with legumes, as they provide additional nutrients, drink lots of water, and just try to keep your diet as varied and healthy as possible. Also, it’s really important to make sure your B12 levels are not dipping, by drinking fortified plant milks or taking a supplement.
I’m not going to guarantee this will give you success, after all I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but if you do feel like trying a plant-based lifestyle, I’d be happy to answer any further questions you have. Just leave me a message, or contact me here and I will help out as much as I can.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how a plant-based diet can significantly improve your health, I recommend checking out the Forks Over Knives website and film.
Did going vegan help you with any kind of illness or health issue? Feel free to share your story in the comments! Don’t forget to share this page and subscribe to the website for new content. You can also find me on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter,Instagram, Google + and Tumblr for even more!