Two things: 1) I added some (not too many!) cherry tomatoes when I was cooking my vegetable khichdi for the week. I ate it for lunch 4 times. I also put a tiny tomatoe slice on a sandwich earlier this week. And…nothing bad happened! 🥳 2) I’m so exhausted. Work is crazy. I slept for 9 hours the other night! I am so tired of having to prepare 3 meals a day for every day from scratch in my own kitchen. So I gave takeout another go. Last time did not end well. So we again scoured a menu for something we thought I could try and then I made some custom requests: whole grain bread instead of brioche; no butter for grilling; no sauce with milk. It’s a Ham & Gruyere Melt. I researched gruyere, and apparently it’s lactose free. So I had this sandwich (well, not the whole thing because it’s huge) for lunch today. Fingers crossed it goes well! So far, so good, but tomorrow will be the real tell. It will be such a relief to find at least one takeout thing I can eat! I’m almost 10 months post-treatment. Tuesday will be the anniversary of my first bacterial infection diagnosis and treatment (Flagyl) which started this whole roller coaster. That’s getting in my head obviously. Focusing on my gratitude though! And the tomato success is on the list!
Category Archives: Gut health
This article was in my morning reading feed. I have worked really hard on chewing properly! It’s amazing what a difference that makes. It’s helped with acid reflux and with general digestion. I take much more time to eat now than before. Such a small thing but big difference. I’ve also been careful about the times of day I eat, and I’m a big fan of the benefits of fiber (as many of you have heard me say over and over). There’s some good points here about sleep and stress (and general mental health and we’ll being).
The one thing I haven’t heard of or tried is Panta Bhat (fermented rice). Obviously, I know fermented foods are good for digestion and for a healthy gut, but I had never heard of fermented rice. Super simple to make, so I might give it a try.
On a different note, I’m over 9.5 months post-treatment. This time of year is when I first started getting sick. My first antibiotic was prescribed August 31. It was all downhill from there! Stress is real right now with my work life, so I’m trying to remember to manage that because it’s important for my gut. I’ve been using Banatrol as a preventative pretty regularly lately just because I don’t think my mental health can handle any PI-IBS flares right now. Anyway…onward!
Can stress cause a PI-IBS flare? Absolutely! Could it even make you more susceptible to bad bacteria (like c-diff)? Yup. Can it make active c-diff symptoms worse? Also yes. I’ve know all that to be true based on my own experience and other reading. It’s why I’ve focused so much on not just diet but also lifestyle changes. I know I had high stress when I first contracted c-diff. I know it played a role in my illness. I believe had I not been so stressed, I might never have even gotten sick…or at least it wouldn’t have been so bad.
But it’s always nice to have a little medical expert back-up, right? So…from this article in my morning reading feed:
➡️ “Stress very directly impacts gut health because it impacts the trillions of microbes that live within our digestive tracts, collectively known as the gut microbiome.”
➡️ “…stress changes the way the gut functions, which affects the bacteria balance. Your gut microbiome can also impact your mental health through the gut-brain axis.”
➡️ “…stress can actually enhance bad bacteria — meaning that the bacteria could cause even more harm to the gut than if you weren’t experiencing stress.”
➡️ “Stress can wreak havoc on your stomach, often at the most inconvenient times like before a big meeting or when you’re working overtime. This happens because stress changes the way your digestive tract functions.”
I’m just gonna leave this right here. Some points of interest:
👉 “The authors noted that in Europe and the United States, an estimated 20% to 30% of CDIs (clostridioides difficult infections) are now believed to originate in the community, rather than the clinic.”
This is a substantial increase. Previously, most CDI originated in hospitals or assisted living facilities and mainly affected the elderly. That’s simply no longer true. Case in point: me.
👉 “Patients prescribed proton pump inhibitors had roughly double the risk of community-associated Clostridioides difficile infection compared with those not taking the drugs.”
👉 “Patients who use proton pump inhibitors face a moderately increased risk of community-associated Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI), and the risk can persist for up to a year following the treatment, according to new research.”
I tossed the PPI I was prescribed once I learned it was a risk factor for recurrence. Not worth it. I had only started it sometime in the last year. I’d had heartburn on and off for years. And took Ranitidine (an H2 blocker) for years. Some people told me that wasn’t how the drug was meant to be used. But my doctor prescribed it, so I thought it was fine. Then Ranitidine got yanked off the market. I dealt with it. I still had Tums, or I’d pop some Famotidine if needed. Then I talked to my doctor about how sometimes when I was working out hard and going down to the floor and back (hello, burpees), it felt like everything was sliding up my throat and about to come out. Like maybe I’d vomit. So she said, “let’s try Omeprazole.” She told me it was a different kind of heartburn medicine, explained basically how it worked, that was all. Ok, cool. I took it. But not religiously honestly. So IDK how much of a contributing factor it was in contracting c-diff…but it could have been a factor. I mean, the antibiotics were the main culprit, and alone they could have done it, but they also might have had a solid assist from the PPI and its impact on my gut.
So anyway: patient beware the PPI script, especially for long-term use. And especially if you need antibiotics regularly for some reason. Ask questions. No offense to my friends in the medical field, but don’t take what they say as gospel truth…or the fact that they offer no warnings imply there’s not a reason to beware. They’re only human too.
Today I manage without medication. Natural aids for indigestion as needed, diet & lifestyle changes (including protecting my lunch time at work…so if we work together, sorry no more sacrificing it for meetings).
I’m having a rough week. My gut is too. Or my gut is having a rough week and therefore so am I. Tomato-tomato.
So tonight I made a pot of kitchari to try to reset my gut, resolve some lingering pain and discomfort, and feel better.
As I’ve mentioned before kitchari was one of the first real meals I could eat after treatment. In addition to being gentle on the gut and easy to digest, kitchari has a number of nutritional benefits to promote healing.
For example, Moong or mung beans are incredibly beneficial. Read about 10 major health benefits here. Most notably for c-diff recovery: “Mung beans contain soluble fiber and resistant starch, which can promote digestive health. The carbs in mung beans are also less likely to cause flatulence than those of other legumes.”
Here’s hoping a quick kitchari cleanse gives my body the break it needs to get back to normal (or what counts as normal these days anyway).
This article was in my morning news feed. Oatmeal has a lot of health benefits! I am still eating overnight oats bran most mornings. Important to us recovering from c-diff or working on gut health:
北 “Oatmeal also contains soluble fiber which can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. In addition, the fiber helps keep your intestinal system regular, and we know regular bowel movements are important.”
北 “Oatmeal contains high levels of polyphenols, an antioxidant.”
北 “Oatmeal contributes to a healthy gut.”
I read a lot about polyphenols when I picked up Dr. Mark Hyman’s book. He thinks they’re very important. They are actually a prebiotic! Here is a link to a study on polyphenols and their effect on the gut. A lot of science-y jargon, but a key point: “…dietary polyphenols present prebiotic properties and exert antimicrobial activities against pathogenic GM, having benefits in distinct disorders.” It also says they have anti-inflammatory properties. Link: https://bit.ly/3jD8jCb
This article was in my morning news feed. Sharing because I know it’s something many of us struggle with post-infection as we try to heal the gut and recover our health. Some good advice here that would also apply during PI-IBS flare ups.
This article was in my morning feed. Sharing because I know people have asked about the difference between the types of fibers and how they affects us during healing and in rebuilding the gut.
👉 “Soluble fiber binds to water in your digestive tract, forming a thick, gel-like consistency as it moves through your body.”
👉 “This type of fiber is also fermented by the beneficial bacteria in your gut, resulting in the production of short-chain fatty acids.”
👉 “Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is a type of fiber that doesn’t absorb water and passes through your digestive tract mostly intact. Unlike soluble fiber, insoluble fiber isn’t easily fermented by the bacteria in your gut.”
➡️ “Incorporating more foods that contain a higher amount of soluble fiber into your diet is a great way to promote regularity, reduce diarrhea, and improve your digestive health.”
➡️ Some of the top sources of soluble fiber include:
🍌 Fruits: bananas, oranges, pears, grapefruit, blueberries, figs
🥦 Vegetables: broccoli, avocado, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts
🌱 Legumes: kidney beans, lima beans, Great Northern beans, chickpeas
🍞 Whole grains: oats, barley, quinoa
🌱 Seeds: chia seeds, flaxseeds, psyllium seeds
I like lima beans! And according to my afternoon reading feed, they’re good for the gut!
🌱 “Eating a high fiber diet can help keep your gut in tip-top shape.”
🌱 “Eating beans (like lima beans) can help support your healthy gut bacteria. That may reduce your risk of health conditions like colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.”
🌱 “Bacteria in your gut ferment the fiber found in beans. This increases the production of compounds called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs serve as important fuel for your gut bacteria, so they benefit your gut and intestinal lining health.”
🌱 “The bad news? Most peeps don’t consume nearly enough fiber. The good news? You can. Eating a balanced diet that includes fiber-rich lima beans will help you reach the daily recommended value of 28 grams of dietary fiber.”
This morning I came across this article, detailing further research to support the importance of fiber to a strong microbiome and overall health and wellness. I really think fiber played a huge role in my healing and recovery. Obviously, after infection, you need to build up slowly. Women should aim for about 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should target about 38 grams. And that may be hard to get early in healing the gut since many foods are hard to tolerate by an inflamed gut. I strongly believe in getting nutrients from real, whole foods. It’s the best way. But I did use a fiber supplement as I began my recovery. Today I can get the daily recommended amount or more by lunch thanks to overnight oats bran with chia seeds & strawberries at breakfast and lentils with veggies or modified guaca-tuna salad at lunch. 🙂
➡️ “Researchers used a mouse model to determine the key dietary factors affecting gut microbiome and how they contribute to obesity and other metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Mice were fed varying levels of low-fiber, high-fat diets which changed their gut microbiome.”
➡️ “What we have shown is that by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet and lowering the amount of fat, you work on two very important components that will improve your health.” –André Marette, PhD, Laval University, Canada
Examples of high fiber foods (per Dr. Mark Hyman):
■ Brussels sprouts
■ Nuts and seeds, especially sprouted
■ Olives and olive oil