prevention of Clostridium difficile infection

micrograph of Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile infection is caused by antibiotics which kill off the ordinary good bacteria allowing the C. diff to flourish in the gut.

C. diff causes inflammation of the large intestine and CDAD (C. diff associated diarrhea); CDAD is caused by toxins that cause bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

That doesn't sound so terrible, rather like the flu, except C. diff is really hard to get rid of. An infection can go on for months or years, preventing people from leaving the house. And as the ability to absorb nutirion is impeded. they can waste away and die.

So when I was in the ICU on two types of IV antibiotics and overheard the doctor ask my nurse if I had diarrhea, I knew why he was asking and was not a happy camper.

Image credit: Clostridium difficile 01 by CDC/Lois S. Wiggs [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

response to question raised by Nearing meme

Food processing, poisoning, and drugging is undermining the health of the American people as well as yielding large profits to the individuals engaged in processing, poisoning and drugging.

I have a bunch of "memes", basically quotes I like by different folks. For each person, my cute little avatar makes a comment, and the quote is included in the largest font I can manage. Scott and Helen Nearing are folks I quote, and my avatar calls them my favorite communists.

I do not necessarily agree with everything they say, anymore than any other person I quote. It's the quote itself I am agreeing with. I use these little "memes" to post to social media cause I like the ideas expressed and am quite willing to have conversations on the topics covered.

Recently posted on Facebook was the particular quote: "Food processing, poisoning, and drugging is undermining the health of the American people as well as yielding large profits to the individuals engaged in processing, poisoning and drugging."

The question asked in reply was: " So you don't eat ground grain products, canned or bottled goods of any kind, or basically anything that is cooked in any way..because that is all processing right?"

And I typed my reply, but Facebook wouldn't let it post because it was too long. These are the perils of being a verbose chick.

So without further ado, my reply...

morning routine - summary

morning routine summary

My morning routine posts are all over the place in the archives, so I thought I'd put together a summary with links and nutritional information.

Of course, as I've stated repeatedly, I am not a morning person. My routine honestly starts with a giant cup of coffee.

There are two schools of thoughts on coffee. Some think it is full of antioxidants and such, like chocolate. I tend to like those arguments.

Others thing coffee is not so great, especially for those of us with adrenal issues. I don't care. I need my coffee!

bean and bacon soup

bean and bacon soup

Another favorite from my Dead Cheap Meals series!

Again, ham broth works best, but beef broth, chicken broth or store-bought broth with dolomite and gelatin work too. Just get some good bone broth in ya!

You also need a half pound of precooked bacon. which I do in advance so don't count in the prep time for the recipe.

split pea soup

default image

As with most of the dead cheap meals series, this recipe requires bone broth. While ham broth is preferred, beef broth, chicken broth or my mock broth would work also.

A small amount of ham processed from a half ham or leftovers is needed too.

Hubby insists yellow split peas are the bomb and taste entirely different from the green ones; I don't think it matters much.

Though peas don't have to be soaked in order to cook quickly, it is worthwhile to soak them anyway to remove phytic acid. And pressure cooking reduces lectins, so we wind up removing most of the anti-nutrients that the Paleo Peoples have issues with.

morning routine - broth concoction

broth concoction

It might seem this morning routine stuff is very complicated, but it seriously takes me less than a half hour to do the whole thing once the initial coffee has occured.

I make the lemon water with my vitamin C, then drink that while I make my veggie juice. I drink the veggie juice while I rinse the juicer, which pretty much has to be done right away.

And then I reward myself with my broth concoction, which is almost better than the coffee. If it had caffeine, it'd be perfect. ;)

more essential tools for disabled gardening - a place to rest

more essential tools for disabled gardening - a place to rest

If you are disabled, particularly if you have fatigue issues, it is critically important that you have somewhere to rest near your garden.

My "table" is an old wire spool with a handy hole in the middle. I say handy because you can out an umbrella in it and aim it against the sun. I do have an umbrella, but it is currently out back at my larger garden.

My seat is just a plain metal chair on a broken paving stone so it won't sink.

Here's why you need a designated resting spot...

pinto beans and rice

pinto beans and rice

Pinto beans and rice is a Southern favorite I prepare as one of our weekly Dead Cheap Meals. Of course, it goes best with a nice hot slab of buttered cornbread.

Ham broth is the preferred bone broth, though beef broth, chicken broth or even fake broth with gelatin can be used.

You also need a small amount of ham as per my method of processing a half ham or any diced leftover ham.

morning routine - vegetable juice

freshly made vegetable juice

After my coffee, I then drink my lemon water with vitamin C while I prepare my vegetable juice.

I've posted about how GAPS got me into a juicing habit previously. It seems to me an easy way to get a minimal amount of veggies in no matter what I do the rest of the day.

Because even after the coffee and the semi-shock of the lemon water, I am still not a morning person, I simplify my juice system by doing most of the prep in advance.

review of Perfect Health Diet, second edition

Perfect Health Diet logo

I guess like most real foodies, I vaguely knew about the "Perfect Health Diet" long before I got the book.

Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet took the basic Paleo diet, added to it what they call "safe starches" (which for most people means rice and potatoes), and came up with their unfortunately-named diet.

I say it has an unfortunate name because the name itself kept me from reading this book for quite a long time. I'd think, "Sure, YOUR diet is perfect, as opposed to paleo or primal or WAPF or GAPS or AIP or Wahls' protocol or even my own diet recommendations" and the implied hubris in there bugged me.

But I think I was misreading that all this time, as the adjective "perfect" modifies "health" not "diet". My reading comprehension was way off.

Paul regularly posts on Facebook and blogs on their own site and it's quite obvious he is not full of himself, but conversely open to ideas and discussion and extremely approachable.

My mistaken aversion to the book was unfortunate for me; this is the book I'd have liked to write myself, if only I had a couple years to devote to such a project and a couple graduate students to work for me.

Not having those resources, I am grateful to the Jaminets for this book.

first three essential tools for disabled gardening

essential tools for disabled gardening - 2-in-1 hoe & rake, gloves, seat and hydration

There are a few tools that are absolutely indispensable to disabled gardening in a raised bed.

The four shown in this picture include a 2-in-1 hoe & rake, gloves, a seat and hydration.

Senate bean soup

A bowl of the famous Senate bean soup served in the Dirksen Building, September 2014.

Senate bean soup is another bean dish we do regularly around here as part of our Dead Cheap Meals.

As with most of my bean soups, ham broth is preferred, though beef broth, chicken broth or my mock broth would work.

You also need a small amount of ham as per my method of processing a half ham or just some leftover ham.

my grow-light system

my indoor light stand

My apologies in advance as this is an image-heavy post and I'm a crappy photographer. Further, given where this is located in my house, it's nearly impossible to get a shot of the whole thing.

So... there are such things as light stands for starting seeds. Before I lived here, I never needed one, I used a windowsill. But here with stone walls, the windowsill is so thick the light just doesn't get through. Seedlings get all leggy here.

morning routine - lemon juice

lemon water

There's a bunch of so-called reasons out there for drinking water with fresh lemon juice in it first thing every morning.

IMNSHO, most of them are hogwash. Sure, lemons contain vitamin C, pectin and potassium, but not enough to do anything. Unless you're juicing scores of lemon, the health benefits are minimal.

Also, I am not a morning person. I need a huge dose of coffee first thing in the morning. Then I need to sit like a lump until it hits me. So nothing else is going to happen first thing in the morning until after that!

But once I'm wakened enough to face the day without growling, the first step of my morning routine is to juice half a lemon.

Lemon juice makes the medicine go down... or something.

Spanish beans and rice

Spanish beans & rice

As I pointed out in dead cheap meals, I stretch the expense of pastured meat by cooking a bean dish at least weekly.

My Spanish beans &amp rice recipe depends on having a small amount of ham, which I generate in batches by processing a half ham.

It also calls for broth and I prefer ham broth. But beef broth will work too, or you can fake it with store-bought broth, dolomite and gelatin.

disabled gardening

raised bed built for gardening while disabled

In May of 2007, I had a myocardial infarction and was hospitalized for well over a week and then came home bedridden. Hundreds of seedlings I had started died. :(

I spent much of the next couple years bedridden, including 2 winters where my husband was an over-the-road truck driver, so the winters were particularly depressing. Eventually, getting my adrenals sorted out, my reverse T3 reversed and eating much real food, I was much improved and wanted to garden again.

Gardening is a practical hobby in that organic vegetables are very expensive, so you can easily save way more money than it costs to do. But I didn't restart gardening to save money. Nor to feed my family. I began again because gardening feeds my soul and mine was starved.

real food for busy women - ginger, turmeric, juice & a fast nourishing meal each day

I have lots of topics to cover and it may wind up a bit convoluted, but they're all related in my real life.

hot, sweet ginger

(sounds vaguely naughty)

I love fresh ginger, and it's got one of the highest antioxidant levels of any vegetable, so well worth eating.

I also discovered early in my marriage that my husband will eat almost any big pile of vegetables if ginger, garlic and tamari are involved (similarly, my daughter would eat nearly any vegetable under a cheese sauce).

So ginger is on the menu here. However, if you buy just enough ginger for the next meal or two, you run out. If you buy a bigger hand and don't use it in time, it goes green and moldy before you get to it.

I want fresh ginger and I want it available all the time and I don't want it green.

not quite a recipe post - eggplant experiment

eggplant stirfry

I grew 3 types of eggplants last year.

I grew the Casper variety, which is supposed to be early. I don't know as I was in Texas when they would've been being early. They are white and I got my seed from Seed Savers Exchange.

I grew Rosa Bianca cause they are pretty. No other reason really. I got that seed from Fedco.

Also from Fedco, I grew Diamond eggplant, an open-pollinated black eggplant. Basically, I was unsure I'd like the white or rose colored stuff; always get black at the store. So this was my backup eggplant.

Here's what they looked like...

Dead Cheap Meals

bean soup

Today, I am a magician. I shall take a single pound of ham, bacon or sausage and feed a hungry truck driver and a disabled chick two big dinners with loads of leftovers for lunch. ABRACADABRA!

I do this almost every week. Basically... eggs and beans are the answer! >>TADA<<

vaccinations - any middle ground out there?

vaccine kit

The sarcasm-impaired should note that this post is full of it.

The first thing I think of with all this social media hoopla about vaccinations on both the pro and con side are the Amish. Guess it's cause I live here in central PA. The Amish generally don't vaccinate. They also don't get on Facebook and argue with those who want to pass laws making it compulsory. I dunno, maybe we should make them drive cars instead of buggies too. And get out of those ridiculous clothes.

In short, I am surrounded by an unvaccinated community, in fact, I buy both most of my meat and dairy from them, and I have not seen any huge measles outbreaks occurring in the 13 years I've lived here. There was an outbreak in Ohio last year, which effected no one other than the Amish; they evidence I see indicates they are likely are not killing the rest of us.

You read that above and think I'm in the anti-vaccine camp. You don't know about the chiropractor who setup an anti-vaccine display in his office and immediately lost me as a client now and forever. His material included an opposition to polio vaccines. I had a science teacher in middle school who still used canes due to his childhood polio. I don't want that shit coming back. I'm not supporting a business that supports polio.

eat your vegetables


A few years back, I saw Dr. Wahls' Tedx talk, "Minding Your Mitochondria".

Dr. Wahls had multiple sclerosis and became disabled to the degree that she was confined to a zero-gravity wheelchair when the tilt-recline became insufficient.

She did a bunch of research about what was necessary to fuel the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cells. First, she went paleo, but that wasn't sufficient. Next, she added a whole bunch of various vegetables to her diet and she got well. Her Tedx talk ends with her on a bicycle!

If you haven't seen it, the YouTube shows below; I highly recommend you take a few minutes to see it if you haven't.

review of The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, Carol Deppe's new book

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening

Carol Deppe has a new book out. Readers of my blog will know I really like her stuff as discussed in my corn post, but I'm not sure if you know why.

It's not just that she provides a lot of practical information not provided elsewhere. All the books on my gardening shelf have that distinction, which is why they were purchased as opposed to the scores I just borrowed from the library and returned. There's only about 5-6 of them there frankly.

Carol's books are not on my shelf; Carol's books are on my Kindle, and besides my Kindle itself, I have a Kindle app on my phone. Carol's books are with me in the garden so I can look stuff up right when I need it.

But again, it's not just the wealth of information she provides. A lot of it is just... her.

starting seeds

seed starting kit

This is the type of seed starting system I use, where each tray can hold 12 6-packs or a total of 72 plants.

Following is my description of how I start seeds, posted several years ago on Facebook. This year, there will be several changes though.

First, I ordered onion plants rather than starting my own seeds. This is because I really should start seeds in December to have decent-sized seedlings to transplant in March. This year, I did not get my manure together with regards to my planning until mid-January.

Second, reading Carol Deppe's newest book (review coming shortly), she made the point that coddling seeds with sterile soil is basically selecting for plants that can't stand a few stray bacteria. So I'm going to skip baking the manure, which was never pleasant anyways; it's VERY difficult to talk me into something I didn't want to do anyways. ;)

(Aside, one day hubby came home and looked at a tray of manure cooling on the counter and in a smart-ass manner, asked me if that was dinner. I replied that if he couldn't tell the difference between that and the meatloaf in the oven, my cooking chores would be a LOT easier in the future).

On to my seed-starting system...

why a tiny house

a tiny house

A few years back, I decided I wanted to build a tiny house. A few months after I decided, my husband got on board also. ;)

It's easier to tell people today as there's all these TV shows and whatnot, so nearly everyone knows what a tiny house is. I don't have to start by explaining that.

But I still get the question all the time about why not just buy an RV?

My answer is not necessarily applicable to anyone else, but honestly I did consider an RV first.

vintage post - hunger in America

Red & Honey logo

I prefer real food, especially nutrient-dense meat and dairy products and organic produce, eschewing "empty calories" from grains and sugar.

Meanwhile one in six people in the US are hungry. I mean, actually hungry. I mean, they would be quite happy to eat pesticide-laden crap filled with GMOs, white flour and sugar, chocolate produced by child slave labor, not because they prefer that, but because they're actually hungry.

For those of you who think it's because they waste money on other things, or don't cook from scratch, or just don't understand how important real food is, I have a vintage post for you.

posts for Pat: Flexible Meal Planning

You can plan and prepare balanced meals for your family

I can't know today if I will be able to make risotto next week. Risotto involves standing at the stove stirring constantly for 30-40 minutes or so. And it's not good as leftovers, you have to make it when you are going to eat it to get that decadent creaminess.

So... I never plan for risotto. I have broth made, always. I usually have rice, Parmesan and butter on hand. I often have precooked beans and sometimes have precooked meat in my freezer. So... if it's the end of the day and I feel pretty energetic, I might make a risotto.

But I can't ever count on it, which is why I don't like the whole idea of a specific meal plan. Around here, risotto just happens... or it doesn't!

garden planning

my raised bed garden

The picture shows my raised bed. Steve built this for me several years back when I was much more disabled than I am now. It is 4 x 24 ft long. Because I also didn't have the energy to dig soil to fill it, the bottom half was filled with logs ala hegelkultur. Then we added a couple bales of straw to give it a flat floor on top of the logs. Finally, we filled it with a mixture of about 1/3rd each vermiculite, peat moss and compost. The net on the north side is for growing peas and beans on the outside; when it was all I had, I grew tomatoes on the inside. I have a little seat, a piece of wood with foam rubber nailed on, to use to sit on the cinder block walls and garden from a sitting position.

Growing vegetables very close together is a feature of Square Foot Gardening or Biointensive Gardening. To do so, you need lots of fertility, hence the soil mix that is 1/3 compost. It works well if you have little space, or if you're disabled like I was. In my opinion, gardening beats not gardening, even if all you have is a raised bed or even containers.

However, my disability progressed to the point where it was easier to do stuff from a standing position rather than having to get up and move repeatedly. So we tilled up a big chunk of yard last year.

how to cook fluffy rice & fried rice recipe

Jasmine rice

There's several tricks to making good fried rice. First, you really need to start from cold rice. For me, if I plan to make fried rice for dinner tomorrow, I cook the rice while fixing dinner tonight so it will be thoroughly chilled.

The other trick is that the rice must not be sticky. You can use sticky rice in lots of recipes, bu it doesn't fry well. The tricks to making it fluffy instead of sticky include rinsing the loose starch off the rice, soaking it if it's old, using less water than usual and letting the rice rest.

raw milk vs. commodity milk - a third choice?

what type of milk?

I need to address some things about raw milk.

I'm not going to start with all the pros and cons. You can click those links to read if you like and use your own brain to come to your own conclusions.

The thing no one seems to consider is that there's a third choice between pastured, raw milk and commodity milk: high-quality milk that's been minimally processed.

Cynthia Anne - RIP


As noted in my last post, I kind of fell off the blogosphere due to my daughter's death. I'm coming back first with a post about her, then on to other topics.

For those of you who knew her, her Facebook page is located at Cynthia Anne; some friends and family are posting anecdotes and pictures.

I've been posting to Facebook every couple weeks or so about her. Likely, a few folks have found me depressing and stopped following me. But several have said they have found my postings useful, so I decided to gather them here so they'd not be lost.

This post is quite long. It will get longer as I continue to deal with her death. I don't want the blog to become a grief blog, but do want to keep this all somewhere. So if you want to follow along, you'll need to bookmark this page or friend me on Facebook.