Day 219-Wednesday's Medical Minute-What Causes Gas?

There are those who would say farts are funny. I would have to agree, depending on the circumstances. There are times though, when flatulence is a real problem, it may cause pain similar to a heart attack and it might be helpful to some of you to get to the root of your gas problems. Maybe you don’t realize that gas is a symptom sometimes of something more serious than eating Grandma’s cabbage, and there are ways to lessen your discomfort, if you just knew what to avoid.

Gas is caused by many factors including:

  1. Lactose Intolerance-The inability to fully digest sugar (lactose) in dairy products
  2. Food Intolerance- Digestive problems that occur after a certain food is eaten
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome- An intestinal disorder causing pain in the belly, gas, diarrhea, and constipation
  4. Celiac Disease- An immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye
  5. Gluten Sensitivity- Sensitivity to gluten

The symptoms of each factor are similar and can include; passing excessive amounts of gas, bloating, cramps, belching, discomfort, flatulence, fat in stool and urgent need to defecate.

Well some things just can’t be helped, like after eating some high fiber foods like fruits and veggies, or you may burp after accidentally swallowing gas while eating. But what if your symptoms are telling you there are more serious problems going on? Would you want to get to the bottom of it, maybe change your diet or check with a doctor?

If you experience excessive gas, it may also be a symptom of another health condition such as diverticulitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease, or a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine from conditions such as diabetes. If you use artificial sweeteners, they may also be the culprit, many folks just can’t tolerate things like mannitol, and xylitol which are found in some sugar-free foods, gums and candies. I learned this the hard way, not knowing how mannitol affects you, I ate three pieces of a particular brand of sugar-free chocolate candy one time. Not pretty!

Ok, there are obvious ways to reduce the amount of gas your body produces, like stop eating the offending food, or drinking soda which has bubbles, but what if you aren’t sure the cause? If you experience persistent pain, you need to check with your doctor. He will schedule tests after an exam, like a blood or breath test and possibly specialized x-rays to determine the cause(s) of your excessive gas.

We all have and pass gas, and sometimes, it’s just funny. But when you can’t stop, or find yourself hurting no matter what you eat, or what otc medicine you try, please go get checked out and make sure something more serious isn’t going on.

Luckily, I have never been much of a milk drinker, when I started eating a more Paleo diet, I switched to almond and/or coconut milk. I notice if I slip or cheat, I get excessive gas. No ice cream for me I’m afraid, unless I make my own from coconut milk, bananas or cashews. If you check out my Pinterest board on Everything Paleo, you will find a delicious recipe for Coffee Cashew Ice Cream which I pinned from Do You Even Paleo. You might even find something else you like while you’re there, go check it out!

Plus, there are ways to minimize the gas your body creates on a normal basis;

  1. If you drink about 30 minutes before your meal, instead of with it, your body will digest the food better.
  2. If you ate and drank slowly, you would swallow less air, which means less gas.
  3. You could try taking a digestive enzyme like Beano to break down the sugar from beans and other vegetables.
  4. You could try activated charcoal, found in pill or liquid form, which helps reduce gas and creates firmer stools.
  5. You could try not drinking through a straw, and chewing gum (guilty on both counts) which may cause your stomach to fill with air. So does smoking. (not guilty, I vape)
  6. Avoid certain artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, and mannitol. Read the labels if you aren’t sure. I use Stevia which is natural.

I hope this has helped you identify some of the reasons you may have gas, simple or excessive, and that you go get yourself checked out if you are experiencing more serious symptoms like prolonged pain, bloating or frequent belching. Ask me any question on the subject and I’ll try to find you the answer. For me, eating natural healthy foods is going to produce it’s share but by not eating gluten-which I make it a point not to, I reduce my occurrence of stomach discomfort, diarrhea and constipation. If you want to know more about the Paleo lifestyle, check out Mark’s Daily Apple and  Dr Axe websites that explain the best ways to heal leaky gut and eat for optimal health. Enjoy your day and see ya tomorrow, on the patio!

Day 218-MET-(My Essay Tuesday)- My Sertoma Cruise

My Mom never got to hear about my first (and so-far last) cruise which I went on with my Sertoma group. I knew I was going before she passed away, that’s how far in advance you have to book them, she would have loved to hear about all the things I saw and how much fun we had. The cruise was a Godsend really, a pick-me-up after a year of grieving,  I did almost everything I wanted to ensure I got the most out of the four day getaway. It was a significant life event, one I will never forget.

We all have a bucket list, I guess, and this cruise allowed my to accomplish at least two things on mine. The cruise itself, since I had never been on one, and swimming with dolphins-an experience that I will never be able to compare anything else to. My four days at sea and the excursion to Cozumel was so uplifting and good for my soul, I even felt I deserved it after working for a whole year to get healthy and be able to proudly don a bikini. I struggle constantly with body image and wanted to feel good about myself, so I adopted a Paleo lifestyle and by the time of the cruise, I was twenty pounds lighter.

When we moved to southeast Texas in 2010, the first group I became involved with was Sertoma. Now these ladies in my group, for there are many chapters, are a hoot-so much fun to be around, while at the same time true to their goal of serving mankind. I took the role of social director for the first two years, and we talked about a cruise, but it wasn’t until Linda Borel became social director that it happened. I was happy regardless and the planning began, down to ordering specific shirts for particular events once we boarded the ship. We were known as the Sassy Sertoma Sisters and boy, that describes us to a T! I’m pretty sure we had quite the reputation as seekers of fun by the time we sashayed off the ship.

Day one was hectic as we boarded the ship and got through security, long lines and short patience didn’t help, yet we were all excited and filled with expectations of good times ahead, so we didn’t complain…much. Certain members of our group snuck some contraband on board and that added a sense of nervousness. All went well however, and soon we were being shown to our rooms. I actually made notes in case I wrote about this some day, so I know for instance, that my room number was 6284 and I shared it with Dedie Orta. I was one of the lucky ones that only had two to a room, it’s quite a squeeze to fit three in, yet some of our group had to. That was an advantage of booking early, I got to pick my roommate and the fact that it would just be us two. Having never been on a cruise, I was determined to have fun while sticking to my budget, so I wrote down everything I spent so I would know how much I had left on my card. (You put a certain amount on a spending card they give you at the start of the cruise). That first night, we donned our special T-shirts and had dinner in the dining room at the rear of the ship. It was so beautiful, I had to take a ton of pictures of how gorgeous the water looked. Determined to stay busy and get the most out of my experience, I went to a couple of shows after dinner and then ventured into the piano bar. That became our favorite destination for the duration of the cruise-at least at night. I also went ahead and booked my excursion from the ship, it was the best price that way, which was to swim with the dolphins once we got to Cozumel. Later, I enjoyed my first appletini-it was my first sticker shock of the evening at $10.65! Some of my  “Sisters” were kind enough to share their alcohol allotments with me, so I would not have to buy all of my drinks. They really wanted to make sure I had a good time, and they had been on many cruises before. I tried a pomegranate martini at another point in the cruise, which seemed to be more to my liking.

Day two I was dubbed the lucky cruise virgin after winning the grand prize at a jewelry seminar I attended.  It was a tanzanite necklace valued at about $300 so I was very excited and hooked on more chances to win stuff. Which I did! That was between breakfast and lunch-after which I attended another seminar for the diamond company we would be visiting in Cozumel, and won another piece of jewelry. This time, it was a pretty bracelet made of Larimar Caribbean stones. That evening was the semi-formal dinner and we all wore our bling and best outfits. So fun! That was followed up by more clubbing and another visit to the piano bar where we met the greatest people from New Braunfels-I still talk to them this day! After meeting them, every time we walked into the piano bar and they spotted us, it was like we were rock stars or something. They made a big fuss and made us ladies feel very special.

Day three was finally the day we landed in Cozumel and I was so exited to go on my excursion. I was also slightly nervous, never having been to that part of Mexico and unsure of the rules, how we would get where we were going, if I would have to swim far to get to the location, and on top of that, my friends that were to accompany me were so hung over, I was afraid they wouldn’t make it. They drug themselves off of the ship though, and by the time we were entering the dolphin pools, they were right as the mail (as Doc Holiday says). One cannot describe the feeling of swimming belly to belly with a wild animal, let’s just say it was exhilarating and all I wanted it to be! I wished we got to stay longer but we were soon off to experience some beach we weren’t supposed to, and then go shopping like a boss! Some of us had purchase valuable coupon books on the ship and now was the time to run from shop to shop, redeeming coupons and shopping for the best deals we could find, all in about one hour! You only get 5 or 6 hours once you land in Cozumel, so its a whirlwind of activity if you had booked a four hour excursion. I bought a cool pair of sunglasses from Del Sol that change colors in the sun, a color changing T-shirt for David, also from Del Sol and picked up a few more (free) jewelry items. I purchased some things for the kids and proceeded to join the ladies for an authentic margarita at the club closest to the ship. The water was indescribable, so blue it was turquoise and I took pictures ad nauseum which should be a crime. I took so many pictures, I even got sick of them, so I will only include a few. I took my pictures off the computer and these were all I could find. 🙁

A few favorite pics from my Carnival Cruise to Cozumel

The last day was an anticipated art auction, Dedie attended with me and you won’t believe this but…I won something again!! It was the top prize of champagne and two paintings, I just could not believe my luck. I was allowed to pick two from an assortment previously chosen by the auction directors, I only had to pay for the shipping and framing. They are displayed proudly on the walls of my new home and mach my decor perfectly. The last evening was enjoyable with dinner and a fantastic show called The Big Easy, later we closed down the piano bar and I just have to say, we were all pretty lit by that point. I remember the next morning having breakfast on the Lido deck, we were all feeling pretty rough…all except Dedie- she has the good sense not to drink, therefore she was bright eyed and bushy tailed. Like I stated earlier, I was determined to have the time of my life, and I can safely say it was all that and a bag of chips. I will never forget it and I’ll always be grateful to my Sertoma sisters for showing me what a good time can be when you are with friends that care about you and your well being. I can’t wait until the next one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 217-Motivational Monday-God Loves A Cheerful Giver

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This morning I realized (after doing the math) that I only have 4 months to go to be done with my 365 day project on this here blog o mine. Ok, maybe a few days past four months, but who’s counting? Oh yeah, me! Anyway, once I get to that fabulous victory, I’ll need some feedback from you guys about whether you are still exited about getting a post every. single. day. On the one hand, posting daily keeps me writing daily, keeps me accountable and makes me stick to a promise, so that’s good. Yet, on the other hand, do you get tired of seeing my blog in your inbox day after day? Maybe I could cut it down to 4-5 posts a week, figure out the features everyone likes and/or add some new ones. I trust you will let me know. I’m hoping some things will become clear to me as to the direction I should go, once my courses are finished. I’m really learning lots of useful information, tips and tricks in the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, as well as the blog it comes from, Making Sense of Cents.  I was thinking something like Tutorial Thursday where I show how to use a product I love or review a company that makes a product I use might be more useful than showing old pics of myself and /or my family.

 

Today’s scripture comes from 2 Corinthians 9:7- “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

 

I stumbled across this scripture this morning while looking for one, it was in a pamphlet from my brother’s church-Bear Creek Bible Church- and I just loved it because it really exemplifies the life of a caregiver, nurse, doctor,  or even blogger- don’t you think? We give because we want to, not because we are made to, and we do so without complaint because God wants us to give freely of ourselves.

I hope you all find inspiration in this scripture this morning and that you al enjoy your Monday! It will be very warm here today, and that I am looking forward to, after a drizzly, cool, and cloudy weekend. Join me back here tomorrow for MET and be on the lookout for the next installment in the series I’m writing Angels of Arvada, coming Friday. Have a good day!

 

Day 216- Free Days-A Sunday Visit to Cahill UMC

Inside Cahill UMC
Inside Cahill UMC

Good Sunday everyone! Today we decided to go visit our old church in Alvarado, Tx- Cahill UMC

Man, it was like going home again! We had not been back in over 7 years, yet as soon as we walked in, we were greeted as usual by the sisters that always sat in the back, Mickie and June. I could not believe they were still there and it brought a tear to my eye that they remembered us and were exited to see us visit. Also, the organist Lynn was still there and several others in the congregation we had come to know when we used to live in Alvarado. It was such a joy to see old acquaintances still in attendance, even if the preacher has changed. He was a nice fellow, honestly I have to admit I missed AJ being there but things change and we move on.

While we were on that side of the world, we had brunch and drove back by the old homestead. We had lived on a three acre property at the end of a mile long street, right next door to a beautiful horse ranch. I miss it out there, yes, it’s a ways from the city we live in now, but I could live out there again. I miss the quiet of the country and the ability to go get lost in my own backyard ( the back couple of acres was just woods). We used to build a bonfire and sit out back watching it burn while our dog chased the goats around. Ya can’t do that in the city. The house looked exactly the same, across the street however, a new house was being built. I had to wonder what changes, if any, had been made to our old house. Since we have remodeled almost every house we’ve lived in, I’m always curious to see if people like it, or change it (after all that work we did)!

Now I’m off to tackle some homework and maybe paint my nails, if I have time for both. I hope you all have a great Sunday and get some relaxing done. I’ve relaxed enough and need to get something done, so I’ll see you tomorrow for another quote or scripture and your dose of Monday motivation. Before I go, I thought I’d share a photo of a piece of jewelry I made way back when I first started. I never completed it, it started out being a bolo tie, however, I could never find the right cabachon for the concho, so it sits in it’s bag, waiting for the day I finish it. (Which may never come.)

One of the first pieces I ever made
One of the first pieces I ever made

Day 215- Free Days-The Rainbow Bridge

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It is with a heavy and sad heart that I have to report the passing of my Mom’s dog Sophie, whom my Dad and son Sean have been caring for since my Mom passed in 2014. She was a chocolate lab, crazy eyed and shiny of coat-digger of holes and eater of rocks-loved and loving til the very end. My Mom got it in her mind that she had to have a chocolate lab, so we got her one for her 75th birthday. She was a beautiful pup, and Mom loved her, although she couldn’t do much with her. She loved playing with my brother’s dog Sushi-also gone now- and together they delighted in tearing up my Dad’s back yard, digging holes and eating persimmons off of his trees. I swear that dog would eat the brick off the house if you let her, still, they loved her-we all did, and it was a sad job, yet we were willing to take her and spare my Dad and son that pain. Dave and I stayed with her as the Dr relieved her of her painful existence, petting her head and reassuring her that she was loved. She was eleven years old, crippled and riddled with cancer…we did the right thing. Bless her heart, luckily it only took about twenty seconds for her to cross that rainbow bridge, and as the tears streamed down my face, I thought that now she will be happy again, running through the fields of Heaven with Sushi and Chloe and all the other dogs we’ve had and lost, as that is the circle of life. Do dogs get to be with their people that have passed on? I don’t know the answer, but I’d like to think so. I can just picture Mom in her chair, Sophie with her head in her lap and Chloe on the other side of it,  Sushi laying at her feet, and all being right with their world.