So these sourdough pancakes I made on Christmas morning are now my official staycation obsession.
Last year, as I was recovering from c-diff, someone gifted me some sourdough starter because it’s considered to be good for the microbiome. After all, it’s home like a bazillion bacteria (that’s why it bubbles!) . And it’s supposed to easier to digest because it’s fermented. And fermentation is one step in the digestion process, so basically, it already made it easier by cutting out a big step, right? But really, here is a WebMD article about sourdough. Notably, it explains, “Sourdough bread may be easier to digest than white bread for some people. According to some studies, sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic, which means that the fiber in the bread helps feed the “good” bacteria in your intestines. These bacteria are important for maintaining a stable, healthy digestive system.”
Last year I made some great muffins and these, but failed at making bread. I made poser pizza with sourdough crust. We had great homemade sourdough tortillas, and I ate plenty of homemade sourdough dark chocolate chip cookies. But the pancakes are new. And I love them. I serve them with a little ghee (still avoiding lactose!) and a little real maple syrup. Delicious! And pretty easy too…at least for staycation!
On the fourth day of Christmas, I am #grateful for another thoughtful gift. This is a “tree of healing” ornament gifted by a friend. When she saw it, she thought of me and my guiding word for 2021: healing.
It’s a gorgeous ornament, and it’s special because it has a story. We are the kind of people who have a tree whose ornaments all have stories. We’re not the kind of people who have one of those fancy themed trees or one with matching ornaments.
This one’s story is about a year of healing. It’s also a reminder that we don’t do it alone. Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor wrote in her book A Stroke of Insight, which I read early in my recovery: “Recovery, however you define it, is not something you do alone, and my recovery was influenced by everyone around me.” Same girl, same. As the ornament’s explanation says, “Like a tree, you are constantly rooted to those urging you to keep strong.”
Remember when I used to be all about “eat your colors?” But then I wasn’t because I couldn’t (and couldn’t really eat food at all?). Well, tonight I am going to bed #grateful that I ate my colors! We had maple carrot power bowls for dinner. Usually, on Christmas vacation, we’d have lasagna or spaghetti with “to die for” sauce or steak…special occasion stuff. But it’s a different kind of Christmas…a staycation…with home cooked colors. But how wonderful it is to eat the colors! #Healing2021 #domesticgoddess
This article was in my feed this morning. Thought it was really interesting, especially since so many people have worried about catching c-diff or other bacteria from dogs and cats.
From the article: ““A growing number of studies have documented the ability of animal contact to impact the human microbiome (collection of microbes in the intestines) in ways that may help prevent certain types of disease, such as cardiovascular disease and asthma,” said Dr. Laurel Redding, VMD, PhD, DACVPM, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Penn Vet, the project’s Principal Investigator. “In conducting this study, our goal is to shed light on the microbial exchanges that occur between pets and pet owners and assess whether pets can mitigate disruption of their owner’s gut microbiome following antibiotic therapy.””
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!
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).
ETA: Update: I SO wanted this to be a success. But at around the 24 hour mark, it became clear it was not. On the upside, unlike with previous attempts, there wasn’t the terrible, painful abdominal pain. So I guess that’s still a win(ish). 🤷🏼♀️😭
First meal out in over a year and a half. We walked around downtown and passed on 4-5 restaurants after checking the menus. Settled on Shortfields. I had a turkey burger with feta cheese and sauteed spinach and mushrooms with a plain baked potato. I kept the lettuce and tomato off. It was so good. And so nice not to have to make a meal! Fingers crossed it’s still good tonight and tomorrow, but so far this is a success, and I am grateful for that!
I’ve said a number of times that the practice of gratitude has been key in my healing and recovery. It especially helped with the post-infection anxiety/PTSD. Even during this latest PI-IBS flare, it helped me. Every night, I list at least three things I’m grateful for. I spend my day looking for those things. It makes a big difference in my emotional and mental well-being.
From this article (courtesy of the gratitude app this AM): “Simply being grateful can give your mood a big boost, among other benefits. For example, a recent two-part study found that practicing gratitude can have a significant impact on feelings of hope and happiness.”
The gut-brain connection is real. Research and my own experience has taught me one can impact the other: a lot! I really believe this healing journey is mental, emotional, and physical. So if you need a reminder this morning to take care of yourself, here ya go! Mind, body, spirit: you got this! 💜