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Saturday, 12 March 2016

Blog: On soul and food

I haven't been an active blogger or a poet. Time sure flies when you're busy. I haven't been running as much I as I thought I would. But I injured a ligament around the knee in January with swimming and it took a bit of resting to get it healed. March and April will have to be more active, if I want to run a half-marathon in May. I haven't been in the right mood for poetry writing, I do have some work in progress, but with everything going on, I rather go to sleep in the evening. The last of my guinea pigs, Izzy, died few days ago, so it's a little bit more quiet in the room and in the hallway.. there's no cute rodent around to poke. He was six years old, which is a good age for a guinea pig, and he was also the only one who never needed to go to the vet. I'd love to have a cuddly furry bunny, but not at the moment.
I've told you what I haven't been up to, now let's move to the things that I did. For one thing, I attended a course in sports massage, and I quite enjoy doing it. I've read a really interesting book, one of those that really pull you in and you can read it one sitting. It's called The Soul's Code – In search of character and calling by James Hillman. I'll share a few lines with you:
On loneliness:
»To guard against these moments we have philosophies that explain them and pharmaceuticals that deny them. The philosophies say the uprooted and hurried condition of modern city life and impersonal work have created a social condition of anomie. We are isolated because of the industrial economic system. We have become mere numbers. We live consumerism rather than community. Loneliness is symptomatic of victimization. We are victims of a wrong way of life. We should not be lonely. Change the system – live in a cooperative or a commune; work in a team. Or build relationships: »Connect, only connect.« Socialize, join recovery groups, get involved. Pick up the phone. Or ask your doctor for a prescription for Prozac.«
On love:
"The Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset says we fall in love on few occasions in a long life. It is a rare and fortuitous event, and it strikes incredibly deeply. When such love happens, it is for no other reason than the singularity of the object. Only this person. Not attributes and virtues, not voice or hips or bank account, not projections left over from earlier flames or hand-me-down family patterns, simply the uniqueness of this person whom the heart's eye selected. Without that sense of fate in the choice, the romance of the love doesn't work. For this sort of love is not personal relationship or a genetic epitasis, but more likely a diamonic inheritance, a gift and curse from the invisible ancestors."
I have a lot of books on my shelf and on the computer to read, if only I had the time. As I wrote in the last blog, I'm discovering how to heal IBS. I've been trying to do so in the past, but I probably found wrong solutions. I've talked about the importance of gut microbiome. I've been making water kefir for a while, now I've received Kombucha and Sourdough.
Kombucha is fermented tea. To make kombucha, tea is brewed, sugar is added to the tea, and then a microbial community is added to the tea. This community is usually a giant slimy blob that goes by many names: mother, SCOBY (for symbiotic community of bacteria and yeast), and pellicle.
Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally-occurring lactobacilli and yeast. Sourdough bread has a mildly sour taste not present in most breads made with baker's yeast and better inherent keeping qualities than other breads, due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.
Many who are gluten sensitive can eat bread made from sourdough, since the bacteria breaks down gluten and it's easier to absorb. I'm happy to report that so far so good, my guts are finally getting better :) Also, a doctor specializing in food sensitivities has recommended a FODMAP diet. I've never heard of it before, but once I read about it, it made much sense and all those bad times started flashing back.
The Australian group has produced strong evidence that a group of short-chain carbohydrates, named FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides And Polyols) are problematic for those with IBS. These short-chain carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly fermented by bacteria in the gut. The production of gas by these bacteria is a major contributor to symptoms.
In the small and large intestine, the small FODMAP molecules exert an osmotic effect, which means more fluid is drawn into the bowel. FODMAPs are also rapidly fermented by colonic microflora producing gas. The increase in fluid and gas distends the bowel. This can cause the sensation of bloating and abdominal pain or discomfort, and affects how the muscles in the wall of the bowel contract. It may cause increased forward movement (peristalsis) leading to diarrhea, but in some people, it can cause constipation.
It is important to appreciate that malabsorption of FODMAPs occurs to the same extent in healthy people and is a normal phenomenon. It is only in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that gut symptoms are induced more readily. The reasons for this may include:
a)       The way the muscles of the bowel respond (motility) to the distension: They could result in faster or slower passage through the gut.
b)      The gut is “hypersensitive” to changes in the gut environment and to interactions with the nervous system and immune system within the digestive tract: This means that IBS individuals are more likely to perceive pain at a lower threshold when distension of the bowel is present compared to healthy adults.
c)       The type of bacteria in the bowel: The bowel bacteria might produce larger amounts of gas or there may be increased bacterial numbers in the small intestine (called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO) so that more gas is produced in the small bowel. Distension of the small bowel can cause increased abdominal discomfort, distension, and bloating.
It also makes sense why I'm fine when drinking whiskey, but regret beer and wine ;) good thing there's ginger beer though. I hope some of you may find some use from this information. And it's always so, it works if you want to change. Now I'll sink my fingers in ink ;)

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