Gastroenteritic Product Reviews

Last week, I spent a brief few days out of town. During my time away, I had mentally planned to make a post of all the interesting, new, relatively healthy food finds spotted on supermarket shelves while away. Let’s admit it: it’s oddly fun to scavenge out-of-town grocery stores — [health]-foodies know that nothing beats the feeling of a unique product find or snagging a usually elusive item.

So, feeling like a true blogger, I headed to the local ShopRite armed with my camera, feeling somewhat less awkward for undertaking the venture in an area where no one would recognize me.

I was going to show you this:

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And this…

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(…though I didn’t then realize the right-hand box contains devil Splenda.)

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But, then, my camera promptly died. I was crushed. I know, right? Lame.

Not 12 hours after I returned home, however, I came down with some kind of terrible virus — emphasis on terrible, awful, holy-crap- (no pun intended) -what’s-INSIDE-of-me?, regenerating grumbly, rumbly stomach, etc., etc.; I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out for you….

Waking up with no appetite whatsoever is unusual for me, but moreso is the feeling of being repulsed by the very thought of eating. The last time I had that sensation, it would up being appendicitis. Thankfully, you only get one of those.

So, I spent the early August 20s with my good friends:

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Mr. Terlit, and, simultaneously;

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and, for the first time in recent memory, encouraged the household purchase of all fiber-bankrupt “white” products. Truly, blasphemous.

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As the above are items I rarely purchase, they were refreshing in their own way. White Lundberg rice was also consumed en masse. I also enjoyed Whole Foods’ 365 “Golden Rounds” (their take on classic Ritz) along with the Late July saltines, which I found especially – surprisingly – good dipped in Vermont cinnamon applesauce, or, my personal favorite, Crofter’s Organic Fruit Conserves — the best jams/jellies/preserves/conserves on the market.

Blog - Crofter's Four Fruit ConservesPhoto from croftersorganic.com.

I also learned about the “B.R.A.T”/”B.R.A.T.T.Y” diet for … bathroom woes: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, Tea, and Yogurt. Certainly, useful to know, especially if you have kids.

But when that fails, seek maximum strength:

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Looks soothing, smells minty, but tastes like acid. Hey, it worked.

Just in case, though, backup was called…

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These Clif products proved really helpful in combating dehydration and replenishing electrolytes. Not that it at all mattered to me at that point, but at just 45 calories/serving (2 per large bottle), these are light, refreshing, (88% organic) fruity drinks, enriched with salt, magnesium lactate, and potassium phosphate. Plus, each drink comes in the “first bottle of its kind, made from 40% post-consumer recycled pet plastic.” I drank the orange and lime-ade flavors. The Strawberry-Banana So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt was also a (sugary – 22g) tasty treat, for the stomach-soothing live active cultures. It’s really a shame that — for those of us avoiding dairy and limiting soy where possible — coconut milk yogurt is so low on protein (1g/container). But, like Turtle Mountain’s (parent company) coconut ‘ice cream’ products, it was totally smooth, creamy, and delicious — and did the trick.

If you haven’t stopped reading from all the toilet talk thus far, kudos! As a reward, you’ll learn the lessons of this unpleasant week-long(!) experience:

1. Even though most OTC stomach medicines warn that a doctor should be contacted if your — oh, let’s just say it: diarrhea — symptoms last longer than two days, don’t be alarmed if your symptoms lasts longer. I was sick for 4-5 days, and started self-diagnosing myself with every chronic condition from Crohn’s to IBS. (Keep in mind, I’ve already had appendicitis, but, had I not, I definitely would have strongly suspected it.) Most likely, it was a bacterial invasion, perhaps from food poisioning; maybe even Salmonella or E. coli. Nonetheless, as long as there’s no vomiting, blood in the stool, or fever, you should be OK to ride it out with the help of B.R.A.T and Imodium. My doctor diagnosed it over the phone simply as “gastroenteritis,” an umbrella estimation, of course, but a seemingly accurate one. I was also surprised to learn that most cases of serious-sounding Salmonella are not threatening:

“Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment … The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.” –cdc.gov

2. Be thankful every day that you can move freely without fearing the betrayal of your own body. It was awful knowing that I could scarcely leave the house — too risky. Everything had to be evaluated; a two-hour car ride seemed insurmountable. At one point, I had to head home in a hurry while simply at the CVS (buying medicine!) mere blocks from home. Never before had I truly understood the daily challenges of those with chronic gastrointestinal problems, and the struggles and limitations were truly eye-opening.

3. Step outside your norm. Had I been well, I would not have gotten the change to try those products I don’t usually purchase. Case in point, ProBar: while I usually lament the great energy-density of the bars, they proved lifesaving, and serve as fantastic meal replacements when you don’t feel the capacity for volume. My favorites were Koka Moka, which I received as a sample from my Healthy Living Summit goodie bag, followed by Art’s Original Blend. I also subsequently bought the Cherry Pretzel and Sesame Goji flavors to to test out later. Their new, smaller “Fruition” line sounds good, but I still vote for a half-size ProBar in the same flavors.

4. It seems my troubles have — very unscientifically — brought to my attention that the things humans ingest tend to remain (wreak havoc) in the system for about four days. In my earlier pine mouth encounter, symptoms occurred two days after eating the problematic nuts and lasted for two days subsequent to that. This time around, four days was also the BULK of it… (-tomatoes hurled-).

Have you ever suffered with a similar condition that didn’t ever want to seem to get better? What was the culprit? What products or homeopathic remedies helped? (I read about everything from the standard “avoid dairy, produce, fiber, and caffeine” to recommendations of carob powder and blackberry root bark (Dr. Weil) for intestinal soothing.)

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5 responses to “Gastroenteritic Product Reviews

  1. Your poor thing! I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    I have endured IBS for years (like 25 of them) so I know what it’s like to need to know exactly where a bathroom is at all times. Unfortunately, when I have a flare up I just have to ride it out. I have been on prescription med’s before, but none are long term. 😦

    PS….About the polenta….I just slice it, lightly oil it, put some S&P on it, then throw it on the grill until crisp on the outside!

  2. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who lets some normally unseen white bread into their house when there’s sickies…

  3. i LOVE grocery shopping. it is one of the funnest things for me to do! hah, its weirdly relaxing, and can be exciting if you find new stuff 🙂 i love going to weird food stores in the hopes of finding some hidden treasure of a product :p

    thanks for stopping by my blog

  4. Hope you’re feeling waaaay better! I have to say I have never heard of, but love, the whole BRATTY acronym. So smart. I tend to live off of all products ginger when my tummy is doing back flips…candied ginger, gingerale, ginger tea, (you get the picture). And as for grocery shopping, I think I love it more than regular shopping. It’s just one of those things random things that make me happy!

  5. You are already a blogging superstar, just like I knew you would be. I’m adding you to the HLS blogroll!

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