Saturday, January 16, 2016

antibiotics and anti-inflammatories: a story and a "pudding" recipe

Some of you may know that I have been battling an awful kidney infection since early December. I was lucky that the doctors diagnosed it so quickly when I finally broke down and went to the emergency room!

What followed, though, is what I find to be the biggest difficulty of living with non-top-8 food allergies, especially while being overseas. I needed an antibiotic  in order to heal, but everything the doctor tried to prescribe to me was full of either corn or gluten. Most of the time, the labels did not say "corn," so alerting the pharmacist and medical team that I had to avoid corn made no difference. The doctor gave up pretty quickly, so Ben and I had to spend hours after my appointment on a late Sunday night, researching the medications they had in stock at the pharmacy. Luckily, the pharmacist was patient and did not seem to mind taking out all the pill-based antibiotics there so we could examine the ingredient lists, check websites, and compare them to the very small database of possible "corn-safe" and "gluten-safe" medications others with my allergies have been able to tolerate. The few we did find were cross-reactive to penicillin, and I have a penicillin allergy in my file. (Later on, we did a lab test, since I had a bad allergic reaction last time I had penicillin. The penicillin  test came back negative a few weeks later, so I finally have confirmation that the previous reaction was due to the corn in the meds and not the penicillin itself!) We finally found one, and the pharmacist convinced the doctor to write out another prescription.

Because of the severity of my allergies, she suggested that I take the meds under a doctor's care, so I had to make a follow-up appointment with a family practice doctor before I could start my course of antibiotics. This appointment also took hours, but this time the doctor and pharmacists worked with me to try and find something that was effective and also safe! The issue is that we didn't yet have the penicillin results back, so I was limited by the food-allergies in addition to a possible penicillin allergy. I did have some minor allergic reactions, but after several hospital visits and hours of research, we finally found an antibiotic that was safe for me to take! Unfortunately, though, it was not the best antibiotic for getting rid of a kidney infection. We finally agreed that I would take the full course and then make a follow-up appointment in January if it didn't work.

Fast-forward two weeks, and the kidney infection that had started to go away was now back in full force. Luckily, I received the penicillin labs the same day as my doctor appointment (negative, yay!) and I was able to get a large (4 shot) injection of a strong antibiotic that I was assured should do the trick. The medical staff also recommended taking anti-inflammatory medication (which, of course, I can't take because of the allergies) and to use any home remedies for inflammation that I could find to help the antibiotics do their job.

So, here is the reason for this post! I did some research on several anti-inflammatory foods to help kidney functions, and then put a bunch of them together to create some new recipes. Below is my favorite - even once the infection is gone for good, I'll definitely be using this one. It makes a great, healthy breakfast or snack!

Anti-Inflammatory, Paleo-Friendly Pudding (it's not actually's more the consistency of fro-yo or ice cream. I have no idea of what to call it! If any of you dear readers end up making it and can come up with a stellar name for it, let me know!)


- 1 cup thick coconut milk (I use this one!)
- 1 frozen banana
- 10 frozen cherries
- 1/3 cup fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon

- 1 tbsp flax meal (great anti-oxidant with lots of Omega-3's, and excellent for inflammation)
- 1/2 tsp D-Mannose (excellent for treating a UTI in case you ever have one)


Simply place all of your ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth! If you want a thicker, fro-yo sort of texture, put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before eating.

**Optional: Since I've been making this concoction every day for the last week or so, I've been experimenting with some ways to change it up a bit.

- Exchange 1/3 of the coconut milk for 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt, especially if you're taking antibiotics! That "good" bacteria is important!
- After blending, add some mix-ins! I like to add some crunch to mine, so I've added different combinations of the following: cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, granola, or even a few chocolate chips to satisfy a sweet tooth!

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