Crunchy Chicken is hosting a challenge: Hitch up your wagon for Pioneer Week! Participants are supposed to make our meals from scratch, including pasta, butter, and cheese; decrease energy and water usuage; decrease driving as much as possible; our entertainment is supposed to more old-fashioned like reading, games, or crafts; and try not to buy anything.

I need Halloween candy anyway, so I’ll be buying fresh veggies (I’ll be watching my soluble vs insoluble fibers for our IBS, which has been behaving pretty good lately with the prebiotics and digestive enzymes), flour for homemade bread and pasta (the processed AP kind, not whole grain, which has given me numerous IBS attacks), and lots of whole milk for butter, yogurt, and cheese (oh and some whole cream too).

I doubt I’ll be able to get hubby to not bring his beloved processed frozen lunches, but maybe if I make his favorite meals, I might be able to get him to carry leftovers a few times.

I’m just glad the challenge doesn’t require not using electricity at all (I had enough of that with Hurricane Ike!)

I haven’t blogged much here since I had a few more gut attacks, when I figured out I wasn’t Celiac after all, but responded to IBS triggers (mine is insoluble fibers). Then the attacks slowed down quite a bit, but I still had a few moderate attacks while learning a new diet.

Now that I finally figured out what was causing those painful gut attacks, I wanted to blog about it. But, I was also thinking about trying out monetizing a blog. From what I read, blogs now do better if they’re tightly focuses — or a niche blog. Well, I was blogging whatever here, so it certainly wouldn’t qualify as niche, so I started a new one just for IBS, called IBS Nurse.

I wanted to put some unobtrusive ads on it, so I found a new server which allowed sub-domains, so I started another blog too: Shreela’s Online Money Experiment.

And I even started a Squidoo Lens: Diagnosing Gut Pain, which was quite a learning curve. I think I’m most proud of the movies for Celiac Disease and IBS, and the Digestive Enzymes voting section I just added. I may or may not make money from that Squidoo Lens; there’s a lot of stuff I’m not comfortable linking too (like IBS cures that are just expensive enemas — repeated enemas are unhealthy, and only a temporary cure for IBS-C, why not find what’s causing it so you can prevent attacks instead? And take supplements that’ve been tested like probiotics instead). But I’ll never know unless I try it, so I’m sticking with the Squidoo Lens on Diagnosing Gut Pain because it might help someone else find what’s causing their gut pain after their doctors rule out the more serious conditions.

I did manage to get a few things planted in my garden during this time, but even though I put in compost and manure, they still did poorly. I can’t convince my husband to till with the rototiller to loosen up the gumbo soil because he says it’s pointless. So I’m going to try container gardening for Houston’s second season (starting any time now).

So that’s what I’ve been doing lately 8^)

Bill Marler is a lawyer specializing in food-poisoning cases, but he’s an advocate for us all when it comes to food safety. Apparently I’m not the only one that thinks highly about his food-crusades:

Many people–including me–think Bill Marler is a modern-day superhero for his tireless work fighting Foodie crimes of poisonings…
Haphazard Gourmet Girls – What’s Bill Marler Eating During The Chowpocalypse?

After reading Marler’s interview snippets, I read the entire interview at Haphazard Gourmet Girls, and it was fascinating to read how passionate he is about food safety. Marler mentioned drinking alcohol quite a few times in the snipped quotes, but it made more sense in the HGG post, because drinking alcohol can decrease, or even prevent food poisoning.

“Mr. Marler cites a food poisoning outbreak with oysters, in which those who had drunk liquor while eating their oysters didn’t get ill with a norovirus, but those who hadn’t imbibed, did.”

I didn’t know about alcohol and food poisoning, and was able to find a few articles about it:

Red wine can ‘prevent food poisoning and stomach ulcers’ – Daily Mail UK

The Claim: Drinking Alcohol With a Meal Prevents Food Poisoning – NYT

Food Poisoning & Drinking Alcohol by David J. Hanson, Ph. D.

We’ve been drinking red wine for the resveratrol, which supposedly boosts the immune system; and because red wine lowers alanine aminotransferase (ALT), which seems to decrease the chances of fatty liver, and I’m guessing possibly even heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Now there’s another reason to drink red wine with dinner: Preventing or decreasing food poisoning. Our single glass might not be as effective for preventing food poisoning as preventing fatty liver, heart disease, and boosting the immune system. But I get pretty buzzed just from the one glass, so I’ll still have to depend on my food safety practices, and avoid whichever foods are poison du jour thanks to our incapable food czars.

I still had occasional gut episodes after eliminating gluten from my diet; I studied hidden gluten from many informative websites and read labels closely to make sure I didn’t eat hidden gluten by mistake. Since I had already ruled out the biggest diseases: colon cancer (colonoscopy), ovarian and uterine cancer (pelvic ultrasound), diverticulitis (CT scan), cervical cancer (pap smear), Celiac (bloodwork), and bladder infection (urinalysis w/ culture). I never saw signs of bleeding (fresh blood, tarry stools, or coffee-ground stools), so it probably isn’t ulcerative colitis. I decided it was time to do more research. (more…)

No official diagnosis yet, but feeling almost better. The steroid pills made me feel tense and anxious for about two hours after taking them, so I didn’t get any sleep until last night finally. But with the sleep, steroids, and antibiotics, I feel almost chipper today! Enough to actually go into my teensy garden that I had such big plans for 8^( (more…)

Update on the gut episodes:

After approximately six weeks of no episodes, and eating gluten-free, I had an episode (left lower quadrant) bad enough to send me to the ER of a major hospital system in Houston because I feared intestinal blockage once I started sounding like a beer-swilling sailor. Long story short: Abdominal CT – negative. (more…)

I’ve been extremely bloated for over a week; my gut episodes last between 24-36 hours, then start up again. My husband, who won’t do an elimination diet and loves packaged and junk food, has also had a few episodes this week.

The only new processed food we’ve recently added was Quaker Rice Cakes. I ate some as recently as this morning, but now I’m going to skip them a few days to see if that helps. I found a thread about Quaker Rice Cakes at Gluten Free Forum, and it seems many people there can’t tolerate Quaker Rice Cakes either.

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