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 😂).


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

4th Day of Christmas

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.”

What a perfect gift for this year! 💜 #Healing2021

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Filed under C-Diff, Guiding Words, Healing 2021, My Life, Practicing Gratitude

Eat Your Colors (Finally!)

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

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Filed under C-Diff, Guiding Words, Healing 2021, In My Kitchen, Practicing Gratitude

3rd Day of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas, my Chi-town friend gave to me…a super cool t-shirt and some other feel-good goodies. Listen, I will 💯 accept a gift early and then put it back in the gift bag under the tree to open later and officially open and celebrate it during the twelve days of Christmas.🤷‍♀️🎄

And so today I am celebrating and grateful for the kind of friend who remembers you when they’re out of town, who remembers you even in the midst of their own trials and tribulations, who remembers you and your trials and wants to bring you joy and comfort. Happy Christmas! 🎄

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Christmas Breakfast

Santa brought me a new cast iron skillet! So I made sourdough pancakes for breakfast. Plus sweet potatoes and a baked omelette (with mushrooms, a little greens, and gruyere cheese). I can eat! Some variety! Still modifying (that’s probably permanent), but what a difference a year makes! They said it could take 1-3 years for a full recovery, and that was hard to believe until I was living it. And at the year mark, I ended up sick. I thought I was back to square one. But another few months is a whole new world. So Merry Christmas to me…and you too! Have a wonderful day. #domesticgoddess #Healing2021

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Filed under C-Diff, Guiding Words, Healing 2021, In My Kitchen, My Life

Best Books of My Year

What was the best book you read this year?

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 66 books so far this year. Here are some of the best (but not in any particular order because that’s too much pressure):

🧑‍🍳 Cookbook: The Tahini Table. This cookbook is gorgeous, and I’ve learned to make some pretty tasty treats.

🗣️ Memoir: Just as I Am by Cicely Tyson. It was beautiful and funny and everything a memoir should be. And not at all pretentious.

📚 Nonfiction:
1) The Science of Positivity by Loretta Graziano Breuning.
2) Nobody’s Child: a Tragedy, a Trial, and a History of the Insanity Defense.
3) Living Without Plastic: More Than 100 Easy Swaps for Home, Travel, Dining, Holidays, and Beyond by Brigette Allen and Christine Wong
4) Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain.
5) The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness by Sarah Ramey.

📚 Fiction:
1) Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah.
2) Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
3) Later by Stephen King.
4) Billy Summers by Stephen King.
5) The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.

I still got some in the queue for when vacay starts…

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Filed under My Life

Pets & the Microbiome

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.””

My dog Oakley is my daily exercise partner.


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Filed under C-Diff, Gut health, Just For The Health of It, Ripped from the Headlines

C-diff Awareness Virtual Walk: Wrapping Up!

Wrapping up for the day! We checked out the progress on the Arts Center. We clocked 5 miles total for the day.

CdiffAwareness info:

⬆️ CDI incidence and severity have increased in recent years.

🦠 The increased incidence and severity are partially due to an epidemic strain, BI/NAP1/027, which produces higher toxin levels and is highly resistant to fluoroquinolones. Luckily, I tested negative for this super-strain! It’s much harder to kick!

➡️ ETA: the length and severity of the illness depends on a lot of factors. Everyone responds differently to a c-diff diagnosis because there are a lot of different strains of toxigenic c-diff. Some release Toxin A, some release Toxin B, some release both. Some are simply more virulent than others. And they can be life-threatening.

💊 The most important modifiable risk factor for C. difficile infection is antibiotic exposure; this risk is dose-related and higher with longer courses and combination therapy.

💊 Antibiotics in these classes are regularly linked to CDI:

➡️ Clindamycin (Brand name Cipromycin®)
➡️ Fluoroquinolones (Levaquim®)
➡️ Cephalosporins, such as cefalexin (Keflex® and Daxbia®)
➡️ Penicillins

💊 Although even single doses of prophylactic antibiotics can cause CDI, the more antibiotics you use, the greater number of doses, and the longer you take them, the greater the risk. Again, don’t be afraid to ask if three days will do. 10-14 days is a standard that isn’t always necessary (especially with those dental procedures I mentioned earlier). Also, combos aren’t always necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask why they want you on two simultaneously or back to back.

🏨 CDI is also associated with older age, recent hospitalization, multiple comorbidities, use of gastric acid blockers, inflammatory bowel disease, and immunosuppression.

➡️ It has become more common in younger, healthier patients in community settings. A recent study in Minnesota found that 41% of cases of c-diff were community acquired.

➡️ Over and over, the people in my support group said these things: ask questions; question everything; don’t just accept what you’re told; don’t let them put your concern off as NBD (esp. women!); be your own best advocate; do your own research.

➡️ Your average doctor still knows very little about c-diff. GIs know more than PCPs, and IDs know more than both, and even then, well, they’re not always up to date on the latest research and recommendations. It’s your body, your health, you know it, and you fight for it.

🙏 Thanks for doing the C-diff Foundation Awareness Virtual Walk with me! And thanks for all the questions and discussion. I’ve been sharing my journey on my blog as well…lots more research there.

💁‍♀️ I’m almost 11 months post-treatment. It can take 1-3 years for the gut to fully recover depending on the length and severity of the original illness. Isn’t that nuts?! But today we can walk five miles. And I’m not trying to eat bananas and rice. I had duck eggs and toast with peach jam for breakfast. 🙂

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Filed under C-Diff