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One Month of Homemade Bread-March 2013

These days it seems like homemade bread is one of those oxymoronic luxuries. Buying bread at the store is just what everyone does nowadays. Just like back in the olden days (like a hundred years ago) everyone baked their own bread. It has just been accepted that bread is too much work, takes to much time and just isn’t worth it.

As always the truth is far muddier than it would seem. Baking a couple of loaves of bread on a Sunday really doesn’t take that long, especially if you have a bread machine. Much of the time is taken by the bread rising so it isn’t even that much actual work. The final question is whether or not baking bread at home is worth it. The hard part is trying to compare the nice, fresh home baked bread vs the plastic wrapped “wonder” type bread. So cost-wise I feel it is pretty much a wash. You may save a little bit of money to make bread at home, but it I don’t think only baking bread at home is going to pay off your mortgage.

So the real difference is the quality of bread that we are eating. So I’ve decided that for the month of March I’m going to only have homemade bread in my house. I have a bread machine so I will be using that as well as making bread by hand. I’ll have to see if it lasts beyond March but I have promised myself to not buy any loaves of bread for this next month. Good growing everybody.

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English Muffin Bread

P.S. I got an early start on it today by making these loaves of English Muffin bread.  I froze one loaf so it wouldn’t go bad while we eat the first one.

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Adventures in Ulcerative Colitis January 2013

**Warning, this is a post about my personal health (not gardening) disregard if uninterested**

So for the past month I had been doing all right with my ulcerative colitis. My bowel movements were pretty normal and I was feeling pretty good. There was one big problem, money. Unfortunately we live in a world where health decisions must have a financial component to any choice being made. So the Asacol that I was taking cost us over $200 each month (that’s after insurance).

In an attempt to curb these costs I wanted to try sulfasalazine. This is a generic drug so it wouldn’t cost is anything out of pocket. The difficulty with this drug is that it includes a sulfa chemical group that some people have allergic reactions to. So I started taking it just before the start of the new year. At first I didn’t have any problems. Then it hit me. Five days after starting to take the medicine I came down with a fever. My body started running at 102 F and all my insides felt terrible. I thought it might be a virus at first so I hoped it would pass and that would be that. But it only got worse.

The fever started on a Friday night and by Sunday night it was up to 103.8F. I had never run a fever so high. So my wife got worried and took me into the ER. They looked at me, drew blood, took urine, did a chest X-ray, and gave my a liter of IV saline to try and get me rehydrated. At he end they called it “Viral Illness-misc.”. Basically saying its probably one of the hundreds of viral illnesses that get people sick this time of year. So go home and rest and come back if it doesn’t get better.

Well, I didn’t get better.  Tuesday evening my fever hit 104 and back to the ER we go.  This time they did everything over again and gave me 2.5 liters of saline to get me rehydrated.  To make an even longer story short they sent me home with the same diagnosis.  That night my lovely and brilliant wife came up with the idea that the sulfasalazine might be causing the problems.  So I stopped taking and called the doctor the next day.  He agreed that it might be the problem and told me to stop taking it.  That was Wednesday and by Friday I was starting to feel better.  My fever started staying down and I was able to eat and drink more normally.  By Sunday my fever was gone, everything was back to normal, and I was back on the Asacol.

So moral of the story is that I am allergic to sulfa drugs and that everyone should be very careful in taking them.  They are cheap and would probably work, but can be dangerous.

I’ll get back to gardening soon so good growing everyone.

Health problems

!!Just a warning the post has talk of digestive issues and fecal matter.!!

So again I fell of the blogging wagon, but this time I’ve got a excuse. I’ve been having health issues for the past few weeks. These issues include stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and (most disturbingly) blood in my stool. So after a day or two of these symptoms, I went to a doctor for the first time in like a year. So to make a long story short, after three weeks and my first colonoscopy at the age of 27 I’ve been diagnosed the ulcerative colitis.

The condition is defined by an inflammation of the colon. The gastroenterologist has described my condition as moderate. So that’s probably a good thing. A former coworker had full blown Crohn’s disease. Colitis and Crohn’s disease are different diseases but have similar symptoms. Basically Crohn’s effects the beginning of the colon and colitis effects the later section of the colon. So I’ve been reading a fair bit and learning about my new condition. I’ve also been prescribed the medicine Asacol (1.6g three time per day). That is a fair bit of medicine but hopefully once I get my first flare under control I should be able to go to a maintenance dosage. Well at least I now have a reason to stat looking into all the crazy things people do with this condition.

Hopefully I can get back to thinking about the garden soon.

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