Spring 2016

Well, Spring looks like it may stay with us for a while, and that’s just fine by me. It gets so hot and humid here in Arkansas. You feel like you’re in a sauna when you step outside.

My favorite and only two grandchildren are officially out of school for the summer which lends for a very busy summer for everyone. I really look forward to spending a little more time with them each year when school is out.

It’s so amazing watching them quickly change from diapers to young adults. It also gives me a chance to relive some of those precious moments when my girls were this age. I feel double blessed to have one of each at this time in my life.

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America Search Home

This site has been most helpful.

KEEP REACHING FOR THE SKY
KEEP REACHING FOR THE SKY

Diet and IBD
As we discussed in our brochure Diet, Nutrition, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, nutrition concerns of patients with living Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are extremely common. Once you develop IBD, paying special attention to what you eat may go a long way toward reducing symptoms and promoting healing. In Part II of this article, we answer some common questions patients living with IBD may have regarding your diet.

Is IBD caused by allergy to food?
No. Although some people do have allergic reactions to certain foods, neither Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is related to food allergy. People with IBD may think they are allergic to foods because they associate the symptoms of IBD with eating.

Do any specific foods worsen the inflammation of IBD?
No. Although certain foods may aggravate symptoms of these diseases, there is no evidence that the inflammation of the intestine is directly affected. Obviously, any contaminated food that leads to food poisoning or dysentery will aggravate IBD.

Is there a special diet for people with IBD?
There is no one single diet or eating plan that will do the trick for everyone with IBD. Dietary recommendations must be individualized. They should be tailored just for you — depending on which disease you have and what part of your intestine is affected. Furthermore, these diseases are not static; they change over time, and eating patterns should reflect those changes. The key point is to strive for a well-balanced, healthy diet. Healthy eating habits, of course, are desirable for everyone but they’re especially important for people with IBD.

Which foods should be avoided?
Again, there are no blanket rules or recommendations. If a particular kind of food causes digestive problems try to avoid it. But it’s important to distinguish between an actual allergy to one kind of food and an intolerance. Many people have food intolerances—far more than really have true food allergies. Elimination tests are better at diagnosing which foods must be avoided or modified than the standard allergy skin or blood testing. Many good books discuss the proper way to follow such an “elimination diet,” which involves keeping a food and symptom diary over several weeks.

In fact, a food diary can help pinpoint which foods are troublesome for you, but it can also reveal whether or not your diet is providing an adequate supply of nutrients. By reviewing your food diary, your dietitian can see if you are getting the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for a person of your age, sex, and size. If not, the dietitian can suggest ways to ajust your diet so that your intake of nutrients is improved. That may mean increasing the amount of food you eat, changing what you eat, or adding supplements to your diet.

It’s important to remember that it’s not just the amount of food you consume that guarantees a healthy diet. Your daily intake needs to include an adequate amount of calories, proteins, and nutrients. A balanced diet should contain a variety of foods from all food groups:

Meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products, if tolerated, are sources of protein;
Bread, cereal, starches, fruits, and vegetables are sources of carbohydrates;
Margarine and oils are sources of fat.
Should people with IBD be concerned about fluid intake?
Yes. In a condition with chronic diarrhea, the risk of dehydration always exists. If fluid intake does not keep up with diarrhea, kidney function may be affected. Patients with Crohn’s disease and other diarrheal diseases have an increased incidence of kidney stones, which is related to this problem. Furthermore, dehydration and salt loss create a feeling of weakness.

For these reasons, people living with IBD should consume ample fluids-especially in warm weather when loss of salt and water through the skin may be high. A good rule of thumb is to drink one half ounce per day for every pound of body weight. That means that if you weight 140 pounds, you should drink at least 70 ounces a day, or eight and three-quarters glasses. Sip your beverages, rather than gulp them. By introducing air into the digestive system, gulping can cause discomfort.

What’s the best way to decrease intestinal cramping after eating?
During periods of disease flares, eating may prompt abdominal discomfort and cramping. Here are some ways to reduce these symptoms:

Eat smaller meals at more frequent intervals: five small meals (think in terms of “fist-sized” portions) every three or four hours, for example, rather than the traditional three large meals a day.
Reduce the amount of greasy or fried foods in your diet. Butter, margarine, cream sauces, and pork products may all cause diarrhea and gas if fat absorption is incomplete. These symptoms tend to occur more in people who have had large amounts of small bowel (particularly ileum) removed.
Limit consumption of milk or milk products if you are lactose intolerant. Some people cannot properly digest lactose, the sugar present in milk and many milk products, regardless of whether they have IBD. This may occur because the inner surface of the small intestine lacks a digestive enzyme, called lactase. Poor lactose digestion may lead to cramping, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and bloating. Because symptoms of lactose intolerance may mimic those of IBD, it may be difficult to recognize lactose intolerance. A simple “lactose tolerance test” can be performed to identify the problem. If there is any question, milk consumption may be limited. Alternatively, lactase supplements may be added to many dairy products so that they no longer cause symptoms. Your dietitian may assist you and/or your child with this. However, it’s desirable to maintain intake of at least some dairy products because they represent such a good source of nutrition, particularly calcium and protein.
Restrict your intake of certain high-fiber foods such as nuts, seeds, corn, popcorn, and various Chinese vegetables. If there is narrowing of the bowel, these foods may cause cramping. High-fiber foods also provoke contractions once they enter the large intestine. Because they are not completely digested by the small intestine, these foods may also cause diarrhea. That is why a low-fiber, low-residue diet (see below) is often recommended.
However, some people who follow these guidelines may still continue to experience abdominal cramping following eating. In these cases, medication may be helpful. Prednisone and other corticosteroids, for example, may reduce intestinal inflammation-allowing the bowel to work more normally. Speak with your doctor to see if taking antispasmodics or antidiarrheal medications 15 to 20 minutes before eating may be helpful for you. Antispasmodics or antidiarrheal medications may be helpful in reducing symptoms and maintaining good nutrition, particularly when the disease is mild; they should be avoided with more severe disease.

What is a low-fiber with low-residue diet?
About two thirds of people with small bowel Crohn’s disease develop a marked narrowing (or stricture) of the lower small intestine, the ileum. For these patients, a low-fiber with low-residue diet or a special liquid diet may be beneficial in minimizing abdominal pain and other symptoms. This diet minimizes the consumption of foods that add “scrapy” residue to the stool. These include raw fruits, vegetables, and seeds, as well as nuts and corn hulls. The registered dietitian associated with your IBD treatment program can assist you in devising such a diet when appropriate. Often, these dietary adjustments are temporary; the patient follows them until the inflammation that caused the narrowing responds either to medical treatment or to a corrective surgical procedure.

It is important, however, to watch out that you do not impose too many food restrictions on yourself or your child. These limit variety in the diet and make a balanced intake of foods more difficult to achieve.

Is there a place for fast or “junk” food?
Children with IBD face special challenges, and eating nutritiously is high up on the list. Parents would like to think that there’s no place in a healthy diet for fast food, but this may not be true. Some of these food provide a valuable supply of nutrients as well as calories. Take pizza, for instance. The cheese offers calcium, protein, and vitamin D; the tomato sauce provides vitamins A and C; and the crust supplies B vitamins. The same is true for other popular favorites such as hamburgers or cheeseburgers, although all of these foods also contain more fat and salt than should be consumed on a regular basis. Milk shakes and ice cream also offer a good source of calcium, proteins, and calories. If lactose intolerance is a problem, that can be overcome by taking commercially available lactase in tablet form before consuming any dairy products.

Key Take Away Diet Tips
There is not one set diet that is applicable to everyone with IBD—it is an individualized plan. Modifications in diet depend on the symptoms you experience, the extent of your disease and many other factors determined by the doctor.

Two of the common symptoms of IBD include diarrhea and cramping. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when experiencing these symptoms:

Try: Bananas, white bread, white rice, and cheese (if you’re not lactose intolerant), Gatorade and Crystal Light diluted with water, fruit juices, applesauce, smooth peanut butter, bland soft foods, crackers made with white flour, plain cereals, refined pastas, broth, canned varieties of fruit, cooked vegetables, potatoes without skin,eating broiled or steamed fish (e.g. herring, salmon, halibut, flounder, swordfish or pollack), using canola and olive oils, small & frequent meals, nutritional supplements if there is weight loss and if your doctor approves vitamins and mineral supplements.
Avoid: Caffeine in coffee, tea and other beverages, fresh fruits and uncooked vegetables, high-fiber foods (such as fiber-rich breads, cereals, nuts and leafy greens), high sugar foods, skins, seeds, popcorn, high fat foods, spicy foods, raw foods, prunes, beans, large food portions, in some cases dairy products, ice-cold liquids (even water), and too much of any type of liquid.
It is always important to keep a food journal to help you understand the foods you are able to tolerate and not tolerate during the time of a flare. To find an example of a food journal please review the section below entitled ” Helpful Diet Links.” Finally, if possible, it is helpful to consult with a dietician. They can help you formulate a specific dietary plan for your case. The dietician can also review your food journal to see if there are any patterns in your diet in relation to your symptoms.

Watch this webcast and learn more about diet and IBD.

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HOSPITALIZATION 2015

For some time now, I’ve been experiencing stomach pain so severe it immobilizes me. I am in so much pain I end up having dry heaves and I am well familiar with different types of pain and illness. I have RA, osteoperosus, broken fingers and toes and In the early 70’s having a baby via natural childbirth was the popular mode of childbirth, I had two, so yes I do know pain, but this pain is so severe the only way I can describe it is that it feels like someone or something is ripping my guts apart.

This is the second time in the hospital after six months and many episodes of the severe belly pain. I had an episode while in California on our vacation and spent two days in fetal position on the bed. Not the most fun vacation, I can assure you.

I have beat myself in the brain trying to diagnose these episodes. I have asthma and no stranger to allergies but this has really stumped me. Of course the first thing I tried to do was modify my diet. I’m thin already so I needed modification but not limitation of carbs or calories. I’ve always been more conscious of healthy eating because of living with my Grandmother who was into health food when no one knew what health food was. She taught me how to make her homemade yogurt and soy milk.

I began to eat six or more smaller meals very much like grazing. I cut out nuts and anything deemed hard to digest. But nothing seemed to work. I kept my bowels open and did everything I knew and had learned from herbal study classes and the teachings of my Grandmother, but guess what?
Unfortunately, NOTHING I DID MADE A DIFFERENCE AT ALL!

After the first stay in the hospital I did what my General Practitioner told me to do, “go to a gastrointerologist”. Getting an appointment in a timely fashion was just a little harder than one would think, that is unless you live in a retirement resort city.
One said they had nothing until next year!
WHAT A LAUGH!
Well, guess what Dr. Next Year? I was able to get an appointment in just a week and a half to a specialist that had a 100% rating.
WOW! What is this world coming to?
Shame, shame on you, Dr. NEXT YEAR, you don’t have the better of the two ratings so I’m sure you had room for me, you were “Johnny on the Spot” when I had to have exploritory surgery.

Continue reading “HOSPITALIZATION 2015”

Learning to live with Crohn’s Disease

Before first trip to ER, in  June. Sunny California!
Before first trip to ER, in June. Sunny California!

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“WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS”! I’m on the mend. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND KIND WISHES. 91 pounds has never looked so good. If you could have seen me at 87 and at my usual weight of 100 you would have been shocked. I WAS!!

I’ve been embarrassed by family members, who love me, by asking when I was going to gain some weight, feeling they were judging me as I had judged others not knowing about the debilitation of Crohn’s disease and other illnesses that drain your life force from you. I didn’t know what was going on inside my small intestines, I just knew I was having a hard time maintaining my weight and stamana.

I have been guilty of judging extremely thin people of various self induced things, but never again and I am so sorry for that. I was taught better than to judge other people.

Weight is a very touchy subject no matter what you weigh, the media suggest we all look a certain way but God has created us all unique and different in every way so next time you see someone that doesn’t fit into the media’s design of perfect size give thanks to God for our own unique individuality. Our uniqueness is what makes us SPECIAL.

Summer 2015

Summer 2015 has quickly come and gone. I’ve had one busy summer from hatching baby chicks in incubator to canning a few home grown vegetables. Ive dealt with disabilities I never knew I had, lightning striking appliances in my home, water raining in from the ceiling, new roof, new exterior paint, damaged ceiling, 2 hospital stays, my youngest daughters emergency appendectomy and numerous test while I was in the hospital.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, well I may not be as strong as I thought I was but I am getting there little by little everyday and with the help of my family and friends it makes me just that much stronger.

Soap Making 101

Today I need to make soap. My skin is very sensitive to  soaps you find at the market. A friend of mine gave me a bar of lye soap many years and my face cleared up. I used to take special trips via scenic highway 7 toward Harrison in the Ozarks just to buy lye soap. One time while buying soap the store owner told me I should try the recipe in one of her Ozark cookbooks. I bought the book, all of her soap and headed home. While searching for supplies online I came across a recipe for soap made in a blender. I’ve been making soap for the past20 years.

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I start by measuring distilled water into a tempered glass container. You should only use glass or stainless steel when working with lye. Never ever put the water into lye. Always measure your water and add lye to the water while slowly stirring.

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I always mix in the kitchen sink. Use a long handle spoon. It’s a good idea to use protective gloves and mask. The lye water is very caustic at this point. Avoid any splashing, stir gently until lye has melted. The lye water will be extremely hot at this point. Leave it to cool down.

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Next it’s time to measure oils. I use Olive oil, coconut oil and vegetable shortening. I also use nothing but essential oils and finely ground herbs. This time I’ll be making Patchouli with dried Calendula petals finely ground. I use a coffee grinder to grind the dried herbs.

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I use coconut oil for the wonderful lather it gives. This time I’ll be using vegetable shortening that contains soybean oil and Palm mental oil. Always make sure which oils are in your shortening so you get the exact amount of lye to fat ratio.  I usually figure the oils in shortening are 1/2 of each oil if two oils are in the shortening. The shortening and coconut oil will need melting you can use pan and stove top or microwave. Which ever you choose is just fine. Please watch carefully heat slowly. We don’t want a grease fire. This website http://www.thesage.com has a calculator that’s easy to use.

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When the oils are melted add the rest of melted oil to the blender. I also add 1 1/2 teaspoons essential oil and 1 teaspoon dried herb. Next you want to have your molds ready.

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This recipe usually make nine 3 oz. bars of soap. Now it’s time to pour the lye water into the blender. Cover with lid and blend on high until it’s the consistency of runny pudding.

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Pour into molds. Be careful not to splash the mixture as its still very caustic at this point.

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At this point I allow to harden a bit then cover with towel and allow to set for 24 hours. After that I put in freezer and allow to freeze for another 24 hours. At this point you can pop the soap out of the molds. Make sure they are popped onto glass, stainless steal or wood. Cover with towel and turn over every few days. They will be completely cured by 2 weeks. When you can touch your tongue to a bar and there is no tingle or burning sensation, your soap is ready.

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This is the recipe I use. You can find this on the website above. I use 9 oz. water, 3.6 oz. lye, 6 oz. Coconut oil, 6 oz. Olive oil, 12 oz. oil in Crisco or other vegetable shortening.

TINY HOUSE

Some people would feel cramped in a small house but after 30 years living in a large home in Hot Springs, I was more than ready to move to the country and build a home small enough that didn’t take an entire day to do my house cleaning. I wanted acreage and a garden spot. My tiny house was built in 2007. It originally was 420 square feet with barn style roof on concrete block foundation. In 2013 we added a 14×15 bedroom which gave us an additional 210 square feet. Last year Darrell built a beautiful deck attached to our bedroom. I love our TINY HOUSE. The upkeep is minimal which gives me more time for things I enjoy doing.  Our Newest Addition

In the meantime we’re giving our house a facelift with a new coat of paint. Photo shoot after we’ve finished.

Well we’re not quite finished with painting but I couldn’t wait to show you how we are coming along. First with a formal introduction without going overboard with the entire process which I sometimes am prone to do.

Road to Dunn House

This photo was taken last fall. We did have pretty colors in our neck of the woods.

Dunn HouseSay hello to Dunn House our tiny home. This was the color of our house. We didn’t get too far from our original colors, but we did change the trim. After we had gutters installed we decided the color of the gutters really complimented the color of the house so we chose to go with that color for the trim.

IMG_0642This is the back of the house after Darrell finished building the deck.

Below is after first coat of new paint.

IMG_1635Going to bed but more to come……