Writing Exercise #9

Changes in human behaviors that contribute to decreased exposure to microbes.

Hand Sanitizer

Avoiding sick people

Covering your cough

Wiping down surfaces with disinfectant

Washing your hands after using the restroom

Working in healthcare or exposed to a patient base

Having children in the school system

Living in a large city versus suburbs

Sharing writing utensils

Using someone else’s phone or keyboard at work

Staying home from work when you’re sick

Exercise when you’re sick to get the blood flowing!

Eat well to avoid compromising your immune and defense systems

Writing Exercise #8

I seem to remember us discussing and learning a lot about gut microbial community. We talked about crohns disease and diet. We talked about how gut microbe environment affects other diseases or conditions within our bodies. I have thought a lot about this lately as I am in a life period of making changes to my diet and learning a new lifestyle relating to health and nutrition. I have been plant-based on/off for years. My sister has an allergy to lactose or more specifically, whey protein. I have done some reading about lactose in our diets and come to some pretty concrete impressions and opinions about intake of dairy products. Lately, those thoughts have been challenged as I work to become more lean and find that dairy and meat products seem to be the best or easiest way to do that. I think that one of the most approachable ways to maintain gut health is through yogurt which is dairy but injected with probiotics. This is an approachable to ingest probiotics and feel like yogurt is the thing we use to do that. We’ve associated them together. So there are so many conflicting thoughts currently with me about this topic. I also read the china study, which is a book that talks about animal protein in human diet. After reading that book, I was polarized against the meat and dairy industry. It seemed to paint such a clear picture. Humans stop drinking their mother’s milk after we mature to a certain age. Animals do the same. So then why do we take animal’s milk, meant for baby animals (or in our case, baby humans) and culture it, cultivate it, make it into other products and consume HUGE amounts of it in the form of cheese, yogurt, butter etc.

Animal Protein in the Human Diet

Just reading the so-called title of this next portion makes my mind jump right into conspiracy theory because I go to how the lobbyists for dairy and meat industries have invested so much money and time into promoting dairy and meat as our main source of diet. There are people who think of a meal as the meat and then whatever else. If a meal doesn’t have a meat, it means they are poor or something is lacking. I do live in Oregon so I think I have some separation from that. Also, I was raised in a religion where most people are vegetarian. These things make it easier for me to wrap my head around a lack of meat and dairy in our diets. I don’t mean to pick on meat and dairy but both as products, they are problematic. Dairy so because so many people seem to have sensitivity towards it, and I believe it is truly only meant for babies. Meat so because it is so expensive to produce per square foot and per dollar invested, but also because it seems inhumane. We don’t live outside in the wilderness and kill one cow for 6 months of meat and products. They live in little stalls and stand in the same spot for 2 years until they’re fat enough to kill. They are pumped with fake nutrition, or waste from other stuff. Yuck. There are quite a few expose type shows or movies, try Netflix, that expose the conditions in meat yards. That makes it hard to support meat industry. It’s not like it’s the best quality meat anyway. I read once somewhere how their hormones upon smelling death, release into their bodies as they approach their own death, fear etc. That is has not been proven through research, but suggested, that those hormones affect as upon eating their meat. I have wondered more than once if when you eat steak, you get nightmares because your body is breaking down the steak in your gut while you sleep and you get those fear hormones in your body while your subconscious runs your brain at night.

Writing Exercise #7

Positive – The baby needs to be exposed to the world and live in the world for it’s own immune system to be able to learn and adapt to the microbial environment surrounding it. So, in that sense, the sooner the better. For the mother, her resources were given priority to the baby while she was pregnant, so this is a good time for her microbial environments to return to normal. Once the baby has birthed, her body will begin to do that.

Negative – A new baby and momma are fragile creatures. We take great care to ensure they are both safe while recovering from the birth episode. The baby has a new immune system and very much relies on the mother’s immunity, mainly through the milk. The mother has been compromised because she is healing from birth and also her body rerouted her resources for months to the developing baby. They both need time to recover and (in the mother’s case) rebuild their own resources.

Writing Exercise #6

Describe your personal philosophy about how and when you have taken, or would take, antibiotics.

I think antibiotics are necessary and should be used.

Also, antibiotics are overused which is a problem on a system wide scale. For the people who overuse antibiotics, their bodies now can harbor the drug-resistant strains and then those strains can be shared. We need to be careful about antibiotic use.

I don’t go to the doctor unless I’m really sick or have been sick for a long time. If and when I am prescribed antibiotics, I set reminders and make sure to take the dosage exactly as prescribed. A lot of people stop taking the meds when the symptoms start to go down, but your body is still fighting the infection and you need to keep taking the medications through the duration.

What experiences or prior knowledge do you have that shaped that personal philosophy?

Learning that our body’s natural response time is 2-14 days, we should not administer antibiotics until after 14 days to see if the body can heal itself and kill off the invaders given it’s natural processing time. We jump right to trying to fix it as fast as possible and I think that’s doing our body harm, in not allowing us to work the process.

Writing Exercise #5

What choices do you make in terms of food/nutrition/product use and consumption that may have an impact on your microbial communities?

First of all, I don’t believe human adults should be consuming animal milk. Milk is made by a mother for a baby. It is meant for babies. Why do we drink milk made for a different species babies. We wean our own babies off of our own milk, but then we drink animals milks. It doesn’t make any sense.

I fully made the switch to plant based milk products a long time ago – I think this was the first step in being more aware of what I eat and how it affects me. I also enjoy fake meat products. I use yogurt for the “probiotics”

Consider choices that are intentional, and choices that are perhaps non-intentional.

Intentional choices are those like changing to a different type of milk

Non intentional are our own food preferences. Some people have a “sweet tooth” or people who like “savory” – this to me is a non-intentional choice and affects people differently. Fat people make other fat people because of two reasons, genetics and their lifestyle. If you’re fat, your kids will probably be fat because their fat is deposited in the same areas on your body as theirs will be. (Personal example: I got my dad’s chin, which is a double chin, a super baby faced man with a soft jaw.) I see people who are huge and fat and yet they don’t have a double chin. It’s just a matter of where our body feels comfortable putting that excess.

Writing Exercise #4

(1) Correa and Piazuelo in their study of gastric cancer entitled “Helicobacter pylori infection and Gastric adenocarcinoma” (2011) assert that there is much complexity in determining causality of gastric cancer and that prevention is most likely to reduce new cases. (2) Correa and Piazuelo provide examples of environmental factors contributing to an increase in gastric cancer cases including ethnicity, diet, and smoking habits. (3) The purpose of this exploration is to describe the complexity of treating causality and symptoms of chronic gastritis that sometimes lead to gastric cancer so we may learn more about how to prevent gastric cancer. (4) Correa and Piazuelo are both medically trained physicians who are both professors in medicine, engage in research and Piazuelo is part of the division of gastroenterology at Vanderbilt University.

Correa, P., & Piazuelo, M. B. (2011). Helicobacter pylori Infection and Gastric Adenocarcinoma. US gastroenterology & hepatology review7(1), 59–64.