Routine

Today I’m #grateful to be back home and back to my routines! Even before CDI, I always felt best when I was on routine. After CDI, routine became even more important to healing. Even small shifts in routine could cause a PI-IBS flare. That’s gotten so much better now that I’m over a year out. But it’s still good to get back on routine. I’m doing a bit of a kitchari “cleanse,” since I did so much new and different eating over the last week. I’m back to my tea and turkey tail extract and tongue scraping and morning face mask and hour-long dog walks and yoga (although I did do some yoga every morning and evening on a towel in my hotel room 🙂 ). These are all things that helped me while healing, and now they’re a great way to make sure I stay healthy, especially after a change in routine. Just because I healed my gut doesn’t mean I can start taking it for granted again! Do you have a get-healthy or stay-healthy routine that’s helped/helping you?

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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Maintain 2022, Practicing Gratitude

Beans, beans, they’re good for the heart…

Kidney bean (with chia seeds) burgers: proving you can make almost anything a burger (I’m still avoiding red meat)! LOL. What I am personally excited about with this meal, which I made last week, is that it was topped (as md sided) with cabbage slaw with cotija (this is a low lactose cheese) and paprika-Dijon aïoli (also on the side for dipping). Cabbage. Raw. Not cooked. Not fermented. That’s a first. And I thought for sure I’d have problems. But…no! So that’s my #successstory from last week.

🌱 Beans are such a good source of nutrition, including fiber and prebiotics. Great for the gut. I introduced them slowly and over time, and I now eat them regularly. If you have trouble with beans, I would encourage you to try adding in small amounts over time. As the expert in an article another group member recently shared, “Some people then mistakenly think they have irritable bowel syndrome or a gluten intolerance and back off the fibrous foods.You have to start gently. Increase the amount and type of fibre gradually. The answer to a problem with beans…is actually more beans.” Article: http://bit.ly/3q61jAU.

🎵 Or as we used to sing in my childhood, “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat them, the more you fart. The more you fart, the better you feel. So eat your beans at every meal.” 😂

❤️ They really are good for the heart, too…not just because of the fiber but because of their significant amount of antioxidants. They’re also linked to reduced frequency of breast cancer. Eating beans or lentils two or more times a week was associated with a 24% reduction in risk of breast cancer.

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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, In My Kitchen, Just For The Health of It

2022 Guiding Word

I’ve been considering what my guiding word for 2022 should be. I’ve settled on “maintain.”

That might not sound particularly inspirational or aspirational–that’s what I thought. But the word stuck to me like glue. I tried to come up with something better, but it just kept coming back to me: maintain. And there are some obvious reasons for this, I think. After a year of healing, of fighting for my health and wellbeing, a year focused on maintaining it makes sense. I want to maintain my health–physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I want to maintain balance (especially work-life balance). I want to maintain focus, energy, gratitude. I want to maintain all of the good practices I adopted last year and years prior. I want to maintain the lessons learned.

And yet maintain… maintenance…seems like a really low bar. But let’s face it: after the last two years, it’s really not. And also, there’s something to be said for maintenance (ask anyone whose car/AC/appliance/tooth breaks down because they ignored their scheduled maintenance/checkups. And anyway, the world just kept floating to the top: maintain. And I pulled out my Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary and flipped through to find “maintain.” And now it seems even more apt. Maintain. Uphold, defend, carry on, keep up, assert, justify, sustain against opposition, persevere. Maintain. No wonder it kept rising to the top. So here we are: #Maintain2022.

In related news, this dictionary came home with me from Winthrop. It was probably a Writing Center reject. But at one point it apparently belonged to Dot Thompson (which will be relevant to Winthrop peeps like Jo Koster ). And that was another sign for me to stick with “maintain.” And also, I tucked between its pages random newspaper articles about language. There are also index cards with definitions of certain words and notes, including someone’s phone number on this page, which I’ve marked through because who knows whose number that was or is (I clearly didn’t think to note that 😂).

Background:
Several years ago, I started choosing a word or words to guide me through the year, an idea I stole
from Mary How.

2015: “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
2016: empathy
2017: grateful
2018: Patience.
2019: Release.
2020: {I don’t remember…but can you blame me?}
2021: Healing
2022: Maintain

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Homemade Granola

1/2 c coconut oil + 1/2 cup local honey + 1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp salt. Mix it all together and then add 3 cups oats and 1 cup sliced almonds. Mix it really well. Spread it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 300° for ten minutes, stir. Then 10 more minutes. When I take it out of the oven I’ll add dried fruit if I want to and smash it in there with a spatula. Then I let it cool completely on the baking sheet. I can break it into big and small pieces. I like adding it to plain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt.

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Filed under In My Kitchen, Just For The Health of It

Doctor doesn’t always know best

Remember when Ranitidine (aka Zantac) was banned from the market because it was linked to cancer? I do. Because I took Ranitidine daily. For years. And I commented to that effect on Facebook.

👨‍⚕️ And my friend Elliot commented that there is no way I should be taking that daily anyway. He said something about it being bad for you, not solving the root problem, diet & lifestyle changes…yada yada yada. And my response was something like “But my doctor prescribes it for me. It says right here on the bottle take one to two pills a day.” I may or may not have also mentioned loving tomatoes and jalapenos. And all food and not wanting to give it up. Let me live my best life!

📰 So…then a while later I end up on Omeprazole instead (in part because of burpees, but that’s a tangent). Again, my doctor again said it was fine. Totally normal. NBD. And you should listen to your doctor, right? Well, I’m nothing if not #alwayslearning. I was wrong. Elliot was right. My doctor was wrong. Because one, two, skip a few…c-diff, could’ve died, had no choice.

💊 And once I started really researching CDI, the microbiome, etc., one of the things I discovered about PPIs (proton pump inhibitors, like Omeprazole), H2 blockers (like Ranitidine), and really any ASM (acid suppression medication) is they have very serious effects on the microbiome. Elliott was right: they’re never meant for long-term use because that long-term use can be very detrimental to your health. In fact, a number of studies link PPIs especially to CDI, but H2 blockers and other ASMs have also been linked to it (and other problems to boot!).

🗣️ Listen, the ASMs certainly didn’t cause my CDI. But they certainly didn’t help when I needed to fight it off. And continued use would leave me open to relapse. So I said goodbye to PPIs and H2 blockers and have sought diet and lifestyle changes or natural remedies to help with GERD/heartburn. And, luckily, I’ve been pretty successful.

👩‍⚕️But lesson learned: you shouldn’t always just listen to the doctor. Do your own research. Ask a bazillion questions and don’t feel bad about it. Whip out a peer-reviewed study or two (not just Google stuff). Doctor doesn’t always know best. And don’t ignore your friends in the health & wellness field just because you like tomatoes.

💁🏻‍♀️Thanks for coming to my JennTalk™️.

If you’re interested in more ⬇️

📝 How I manage GERD post-CDI: http://bit.ly/32La9Lg

💊 On PPIs and CDI: http://bit.ly/3Jrsei2

💊 On ASMs and CDI: http://bit.ly/34fD62v

(SN: Cleaning stuff out, meds like these going to appropriate disposal)

ETA: I got some DMs, so for reference Elliot and his lovely wife are the doctors at New Life Medical Center Greenville 🙂

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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Healing 2021, Just For The Health of It, My Opinion

Sourdough Chicken Pot Pie

Last night I threw together a sourdough chicken pot pie in my new cast iron skillet…and it was ah-mazing! Totally impressed myself…which is good because I also clearly made enough to feed us for a week. 😂 It has chicken, lentils, carrots, sweet potato, peas, and I used a little coconut cream and veggie broth before topping it off with a sourdough crust and cheddar cheese.

The crust was super easy. I just mixed together these ingredients in a bowl and then poured it on top of the “filling,” shredded some cheese over it, and put it back in the oven for 25 minutes at 400°.
• 1.5 cups fed sourdough starter
• 3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon Penzeys Italian Herb Mix
• 3 tablespoons ghee
• 2 teaspoons baking powder

I really wasn’t sure that was actually going to work. But it did. LOL. 😁

I can eat all these foods! Happy 8th day of Christmas!

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Prescreened Books: 7th Day of Christmas

Good gifts don’t have to cost a lot of (or any) money! Tonight I am #grateful for this stack of new-to-me books pre-screened by friends. Nothing better than a book a friend read, liked, and says, “I think you’ll like this too.” Ready for some 2022 reading! Happy 7th day of Christmas!

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Filed under Practicing Gratitude

Trehalose

This was in my news feed today. Evidently, a recent study (not the first) attributes two specific and resistant strains of c-diff (RT027 and RT078) to trehalose, a sugar additive used in some processed foods (especially frozen foods). The article explains that back in the 80s, these strains were not prevalent. But they have significantly increased since the year 2000, when trehalose began to be added to foods. Within three years, outbreaks of these strains were recorded. RT027 is “able to grow from small amounts of trehalose inside the human intestine, whereas other bacteria strains were not.”

Some other key points from this article:

➡️ “The researchers found a link between the rapid spread of the superbug [c-diff] in the past few years and the increased usage of trehalose in many sweet snacks.”

➡️ “Other factors may also contribute, but we think that trehalose is a key trigger.”

➡️ “An important contribution of this study is the realisation that what we once considered a perfectly safe sugar for human consumption, can have unexpected consequences.”

➡️ “Trehalose is commonly used in prepared frozen foods, like ice cream, because it lowers the freezing point of foods.”

📝 What I personally take from this: eating real, whole foods is always best for your health and your microbiome (and the more variety the better once you can handle it). Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible (although an occasional bowl of Cheerios isn’t gonna kill me). When the ingredient list is long, there’s no telling what’s actually in there and how it could affect your body (I’m still disturbed by beaver butt 😂).

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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Just For The Health of It

5th Day of Christmas

Handmade presents are the best presents! On the fifth day of Christmas I’m grateful for friends who gift us new homemade ornaments for our tree. Every ornament has a story, and this one’s story is about co-workers who become friends who become like family…the kind of people who show up at your house to do yard work when you’re bedridden, who send food when you’re sick, who share laughter and love in good times and bad…and make homemade ornaments to show they’re thinking of you at Christmas time. Happy fifth day of Christmas.

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Filed under My Life, Practicing Gratitude

Sourdough Pancakes

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!

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Filed under Gut health, Healing 2021, In My Kitchen