Health Main Dishes

Spreading Awareness on a GI Superbug + 2 Gut Friendly Holiday Recipes

November 23, 2021

Sponsored by and developed in part with support from Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

As a registered nurse, I have come in contact with many superbugs over the years. One that is particularly prevalent among all ages is Clostridioides difficile, or more commonly known as C. diff. This GI superbug is responsible for about half a million infections every year and up to one-third of people are likely to have an infection recurrence. The most common signs of the infection are watery diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, or cramps that last for days. This superbug further resonates with the importance of excellent hand washing and maintaining optimal gut health on a regular basis.

C. diff can affect anyone. However, taking or having recently taken antibiotics, spending time in a hospital or long-term care facility, having a weakened immune system, or being 65 years of age or older places you at a higher risk. I have taken care of children with C. diff who’ve had weakened immune systems from the start which made fighting the infection that much harder. One of the most difficult things about dealing with C. diff is learning how to choose foods that are nutrient-rich but won’t aggravate symptoms. Something that I have found helpful — get creative with gut-healthy swaps for the foods rather than totally cutting them out. Using dairy-free alternatives such as almond milk when cooking and oat or almond flours for baking are a great foundation to create traditional foods that won’t trigger symptoms. Because some people experiencing C. diff may lose their appetite altogether or fear certain foods will trigger their symptoms, it’s important to remember good nutrition is one of the keys to recovery. The body needs to regain strength and support gut health through a wholesome diet.

With the holidays approaching, it’s important to keep in mind those that may have an active C. diff infection. Beyond the pain of the infection, C. diff sufferers have to make significant changes to their diet which can result in a stressful and difficult situation with the many food-focused holiday gatherings. Additionally, the infection can lead to mental health concerns and trigger depression. If you are feeling this way, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional for guidance and support. Make the holidays easier by choosing healthy swaps for favorites that are dairy-free, fresh/not processed, low sugar, and low fat/not greasy or fried.

Important things to remember about C. diff:

  • Seek medical help if you have symptoms including 3 or more watery stools a day, a new fever, severe abdominal pain or cramps, or blood in your stool
  • C. diff spreads through direct contact, indirect contact, and contaminated surfaces
  • Keep C. diff from spreading by excellent hand washing, disinfecting with chlorine bleach only, isolating the infected person to private room/bathroom, closing the lid before flushing, using glove/gowns when near visitors in the hospital

To keep your gut microbiome healthy this holiday, I am sharing two easy + clean alternatives to holiday favorites. Dairy-free mashed potatoes made with gut-healthy bone broth, roasted garlic, and lemon green beans. These sides are all made with gut-friendly and gut healing ingredients like bone broth and fresh garlic and lemon. They are simple to make and perfect for your next holiday dinner!

Bone Broth Mashed Potatoes {Dairy Free}

Ingredients

5 lbs potatoes (peeled and chopped into quarters)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken bone broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic, minced
Fresh chives for garnish

Directions

Place potatoes in a large pot of water and boil. Boil for about 10-15 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain water from the pot and begin mashing potatoes to desired consistency. Stir in olive oil then bone broth beginning with 1/2 cup and adding up to 1 cup to achieve desired creaminess. Stir in seasonings and top with fresh chives.

Garlic Lemon Green Beans

Ingredients

3 lbs french green beans
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt/Pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Place green beans in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the lemon juice and garlic. Pour over green beans and mix together well, coating the green beans. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread green beans evenly over the cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until slightly blackened and crispy, stirring/flipping them at 10 minutes. Enjoy immediately!

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