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9 Ways to Protect Yourself From Superbug Bacteria

probioticsbottleThe CDC is flooding airwaves and media outlets with this message: superbugs are once again becoming a threat, this time in hospital environments.

Hospital employees and medical workers are being urged by the CDC to take precautions to prevent spreading these bacteria to others in the hospital environment as well as those on the outside.

This bacteria is being referred to by CDC officials as a “nightmare” bacteria that will kill half of all those who are infected.

In the recent past, bacteria such as Clostridium difficile which affects the intestinal tract,  Tuberculosis, and the Staph infection MRSA have been reported as causing serious illness and death.  To date all of these have developed into bacterial strains which are now antibiotic-resistant.

In this case, however, the bacteria seen in these environments apparently are isolated to one specific group of bacteria.  Officials are focused on superbugs originating from a group including Klebsiella pneumoniae, a superbug which was fatal for 7 people in the state of MD, and bacteria made resistant from a gene known as NDM-1 (named for New Dehli).

 

Five of 70 kinds in this bacteria family are now resistant to antibiotics known as carapenems – a potent antibiotic that is one of the last stands available against superbug bacteria.

Good grief, this sounds pretty serious!  Time to pull out the big guns. Maybe you’re thinking about running to the store and buying all the antibacterial soaps and disinfectants you can to protect yourself and your family.

But, wait.

Before you become hysterical and spend your life savings on Lysol and antibacterial products, there are some things you should know about bacteria…

Resistant bacteria are occurring due to the following:

  • Overuse of antibacterial substances in the hospital environment to “eliminate” bacteria
  • Over use of antibiotics for illness in humans
  • Over use of antibiotics in farming environments on animals and birds

When these substances are over-used, the result is that ALL bacteria are wiped out. But eliminating the good bacteria in our bodies and in our environment has dire consequences. If we don’t have the friendly bacteria that normally occur in our intestinal tracts, and that take up residence in our entire bodies…and which also occur in our farming environments where our food is grown, we become vulnerable to disease and illness.

These bacteria are found often found dwelling in the intestinal tract and can be considered harmless, but are known to develop into urinary tract infections or pneumonia. Those with weakened immune systems are vulnerable to illness, and can easily die if the bacteria is contracted.

In modern day, many people have weakened immune systems due to poor dietary habits that include a lot of processed foods, stressful lifestyles, environmental toxins, and the overuse of powerful antibiotic drugs.

How antibiotics can be harmful

Sometimes we need antibiotics when an illness is serious and all other methods have been exhausted. The trouble is, over the last number of decades, antibiotics have been the first line of defense in treating illness. And because so much good bacteria is destroyed in our bodies due to the emphasis in our culture on killing bacteria – the problem is that even one round of antibiotics can decimate good or beneficial flora in the digestive tract which support the immune system and overall health.

Sometimes the resistance can go on for years in the gut, and cause long-term health effects. Once friendly bacteria are diminished, it becomes easy for opportunistic bacteria to set up house. Most people have had multiple rounds of antibiotics in their lifetime, some dozens. In 2010, a study published in the Journal Microbiology examined long-term effects of antibiotic exposure in human beings, and the results were not favorable. The study determined that even short-term use of antibiotic therapy could have negative long-term effects on beneficial gut bacteria.

So how could it be the case that the very medical establishments which are supposed to protect us from harmful bacteria and sickness have actually been responsible for creating this problem in the first place?

Although there are some great things about our modern medical system – and thank God for that for when you really need it – unfortunately, our it is a system that  is built on the premise of treating symptoms. The actual root cause of a problem is often not identified or remedied because of this focus.

So what can you possibly do to keep from contracting one of these horrible bacteria?

 

How to avoid superbug bacteria

1. Avoid antibiotics as much as possible.

Use natural remedies instead of toxic drugs and over-the-counter medications.

2. Avoid processed foods, sugar, and anything refined.

Packaged and commercial foods contribute to disease and the growth of harmful bacteria in the body, which leads to chronic health issues or death.

3. Avoid using anti-bacterial soaps, washes, hand sanitizers, and any related products.

These contribute greatly to bacterial resistant strains which can make you sick or cause death.

4.  Wash hands when appropriate (but do not overwash as this can remove good bacteria and oils that keep your skin healthy), and use soap and water.

5. Use therapeutic grade probiotic supplements regularly.

Because there are so many chemicals, toxins, and now superbug bacteria in our environment, taking a high-quality therapeutic grade probiotic is something every man, woman, and child should be doing to prevent disease.  See the link above for recommended brands.

6. Eat fermented and cultured foods.

In addition to taking a high-quality, therapeutic grade probiotic, fermented and cultured foods are absolutely vital to supporting the immune and digestive systems. By preparing these at home, you ensure a better proliferation of bacteria and higher numbers since you can culture your foods longer than those bought in the store (which are normally cultured for only 4-8 hours). And with bacteria, the more diverse and higher numbers you can get, the better. Prepare these with safe, organic ingredients sourced from healthy farms (vegetables and dairy foods, etc).

7. Avoid processed foods and refined sugar.

These contribute to a weakened immune system and compromised digestive tract, and a negative effect on overall health.

8. Include plenty of real, whole and traditional foods in your diet.

Grassfed meats, pasture raised poultry and eggs, raw dairy foods including milk, butter, cream, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, seafood from safe sources, organic fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts and legumes, and use sprouted grain foods sparingly. Avoid anything that has been grown or raised with GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), pesticides/herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and isn’t produced naturally.

Grains can be inflammatory for various reasons and can contribute to yeast overgrowth, digestive issues, and long-term auto-immune disease. Even sprouted/soaked and fermented grains may not be a good idea. Read more about why grains can be harmful to health: The Truth About Wheat and Grains – Are they Good for Your Health?

Use superfoods to support your immune system:

  • Fermented cod liver oil
  • Liver and other organ meats from safe, pastured sources
  • Egg yolks from pastured hens
  • Grassfed meats and poultry
  • Bone broths made from the bones of animals and birds on pasture – all full of Omega 3s, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2
  • Healthy fats like lard, tallow, schmaltz (chicken) from healthy, pastured sources, olive oil, coconut oil and sustainable-produced palm oil (check with manufacturer)
  • Cultured and fermented foods and beverages such a raw dairy foods including milk, butter, and cream and also fermented dairy foods like yogurt and kefir from healthy cows on pasture and organic cultured vegetables, condiments, sauces, and dressings
  • Safe-sourced seafood and fish roe (eggs) which contain fat-soluble vitamins A&D, Omega 3s, selenium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and other important minerals
  • Seaweed and kelp (rich in iodine)
  • Citrus fruits and for vitamin C

9. If you are stricken by a superbug bacteria and cannot recover despite all your best efforts, there is a procedure that can be done with implanted matter from a donor into the colon where the infection normally originates.

Read more about this procedure here from The Healthy Home Economist.

According to Professor Thomas Borody with the Center for Digestive Diseases in Sydney, AU, “a single infusion of a healthy donor’s fecal material into the infected colon resulted in a cure rate of no less than 97%.” Over 1500 of these have been performed with success.

More information:
All probiotics are NOT created equal!

The importance of dietary fats

The truth about raw milk, Part I and Part II

Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of industrial food

 

Green Living Guest Posts Probiotics Real Food Reviews

Getting Started with Fermented Foods, With Wardee Harmon

fermentedsoda
I’d like to share an introduction to my good friend Wardee Harmon’s e-book Lacto-Fermentation. Wardee is a wonderful and passionate educator and blogger on the subject of fermentation as well as other real food and natural health topics.
 

If you are new to fermenting, you’ll discover a bit about the benefits of fermented foods, why you might want to make them yourself rather than buy at the store, and get some inspiration for doing your own preparation.
 

Lacto-Fermentation is a companion ebook to the online Lacto-Fermentation ecourse on her blog GNOWFLGINS. In this book you’ll learn to make sauerkraut, condiments, preserves, relishes, pickles, kvass, kombucha, and much more. 
 

Her other book The Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods is already on my shelf and I am thrilled to have this one in my collection as well.
 

Some years ago when I first started fermenting, I was pretty intimidated.  But as I discovered, the process is not difficult. And once you get going, it’s really fun.   I always feel motivated by the fact that I know the fermented foods I make are not only delicious but also have increased nutrient value over just eating those same foods raw or cooked. Now I can’t imagine my life without these probiotic-rich foods; including them in my daily diet has improved my health in ways I never knew possible.
 
I would have loved to get my hands on a great book like this with which to begin my journey into fermenting. Wardee definitely makes learning how to ferment fun and easy, something any beginner will appreciate.  
 

Wardee’s book Lacto-Fermentation is one of  the many superb offerings in the Extreme Health Digital Library, with 50+ health & wellness titles – e-books, videos, white papers, and more with a value of over $800…available for just $39.97 (each title costs just .75 cents each) all day today, March 7th until midnight at 12 a.m. PST.

 

What are fermented foods?

I heard recently that “ferment” would be the health buzz word of 2013.
 

The word ferment, when you use it together with food, can be a little scary for some people. The ick factor is high. But the good news is, this is lessening as more and more people become aware of the health benefits of fermented foods and become accustomed to the complex, sweet-sour-salty taste.
 

I’m happy to be a guest here today. Raine’s a good friend and she asked me to talk about the benefits of fermented foods, the advantages of making them yourself, and also give you some encouragement and tips for getting started. So that’s what I’m going to do.
 

First, what’s so great about fermented foods? Get ready! They’re really, really awesome.

Wait: I think I’d better explain what’s happening when a food is fermented. I’m talking about a particular type of fermentation — lacto-fermentation. What’s happening is that beneficial organisms, called lactobacilli, are encouraged to eat the food and proliferate throughout the food (this process is also called culturing). While they’re eating, they’re producing an acid that effectively preserves and protects the food form spoiling. Also they’re making the food better for us.
 

Here’s where the benefits come in.

Fermented foods experience a nutrition boost. Minerals are more readily absorbed, vitamin and enzyme content increases, the beneficial acid (lactic acid) aids in digestion and overall health, beneficial organisms re-populate the gut to increase the health of our immune system and overall health, and foods get pre-digested, making them more digestible for us. It really is a miraculous and highly beneficial process!
 

So, next question. Why would someone (namely, you) want to go to all the trouble of making fermented foods yourself?

Keep in mind, you certainly don’t have to make them yourself to get the benefits. There are merchants making high-quality fermented foods and you can find them in the cooler of your health food store or health food department — Kombucha, kvass, sauerkraut, old-fashioned pickled, cheese… These foods are really delicious and I love supporting these companies when I can’t make something myself.
 
But when you make them yourself, you’ll save money — all those bottles of Kombucha add up! Also, you can tweak flavors to get unique results and tastes all your own. Or perhaps you’ve just got gobs of garden produce to put up. Well, fermenting is a whole lot easier than canning, because the fermenting organisms do all the “cooking” while you sit back and wait for their work to be done. Plus, fermenting is more nutritious than canning. (You do need cold storage, like a cellar, to keep fermented foods long term. If you don’t have a cellar, certainly consider fermenting on an as-needed basis.)
 

Now let me encourage you to get started.

A lot of people think that if they don’t like sauerkraut, they won’t like other fermented foods. This is simply not true. So many foods can be fermented, and with so many different end flavors, that I’m pretty sure every person can find a fermented food to like. My eBook, Lacto-Fermentation, shares recipes to ferment practically every food group. You’ll create kefir and yogurt and real sour cream, cheese, sourdough bread, probiotic ice cream, pickles, chutneys, relish, salsa, beverages, and even pickled meats.
 
For the person who is particularly wary of sour foods, I’d recommend venturing into the world of fermented foods with one of these more mild ferment recipes (found on my blog): fruit chutney, fermented guacamole (video included), fermented ketchup, or fermented cranberry-apple-orange relish, just to name a few. Each of these recipes uses simple, real and whole food ingredients, and no special equipment other than jars or crocks — and a little time for the organisms to do their thing.
 
Doesn’t sound so hard, does it? And it sounds delicious, right? So get out there and get fermenting!

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I’d like to thank Wardee for kindly providing a great introduction to fermented foods. Now, aren’t you a little more motivated to learn more about these beneficial foods and get healthier?  :)
 

To purchase this book…

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