I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

And you could go lick a doorknob.....

This week found me flat on my back with full blown influenza.

As in fever, chills and downright miserable ickiness. All in all nowhere near my planned activities had intended me to be this week. Had I obtained my vaccine as suggested I should have been protected.

I did not. Thus 4 days in bed and today finds me bit more energetic, definitely cranky and ready to get out of the house. Which after writing this is what is planned. A short excursion to the store.

Let me just say the flu sucks! My body ached, the fever made me miserable and my bed head was atrocious. My awesome hubby brought me jello and gingerale as well as picked up my Tamiflu and cough syrup. (As he should have -I was in no shape to go anywhere).

After being admonished to stay home by the PA at the doctors office, my week was spent in the spare room- quarantined! And what did I do all week. Between naps I caught up on a couple blogs and read up on influenza. Figured it couldn't hurt since t.v. sucked and knowing thy enemy always helps.

After reading the CDC website and the Mayo clinic website I concluded the PA was correct and I did indeed have the flu (not that there was much of a doubt). Then after reading the comments on the CNN articles and the NPR articles I concluded people are morons!

Seriously, the lack of knowledge exhibited by people posting comments was pretty amazing! Wow- just- wow! So here are a few basic facts:

1) Influenza is a virus.
2) Viruses do not respond to antibiotics. They do respond to antivirals like Tamiflu and Relenza.
3) Influenza may cause a person to develop complications caused by bacteria- pneumonia is an example. Then antibiotics may be necessary.
4) A flu shot does not guarantee immunity and can help safeguard your health
5) If you are part of a susceptible i.e., elderly, chronic disease etc. you should be vaccinated.
6) Just because you have never had a vaccination and never had the flu does not mean you are automatically immune
7) It takes up to 2 weeks for the vaccine to be effective. You can become sick in that time period.
8) The vaccination covers three strains of the flu virus. The drug makers are making an educated guess when the vaccine is formulated each year. You come in contact with another strain after vaccination and then you may get the flu.
9) Tamiflu and like drugs have to be administered in the first 48 hours or they will not work properly. After that it is rest and plenty of fluids.
10) The flu is highly contagious! Stay home until you have been without a fever for 24 to 48 hours and that is without Tylenol or a like drug lowering it for you!!      

Oh and to the poster who said ".....licking a door knob is the same as a vaccine....." Wow!! Really??? Glad you are not my parent!

Seriously, this virus is tough. It hurts and at times it made me cry. I can't imagine my grandbabies feeling like I did. So if you have it -stay home. If your kids have symptoms keep them home. And vaccinate!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Government Coming to Harass You!

My husband mentioned a story he heard on NPR about food safety yesterday. Then this morning he reminded me about it and said it was on the NPR website. While enjoying my coffee and kicking my cat away from my feet I read the the article . All in all, a pretty vague commentary about upcoming regulations that will impact agriculture and food processing in the future. The article is here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/01/04/168607713/fda-to-release-rules-to-strengthen-safety-of-food-supply

The comments to the article, however, provided a dose of reality. Most were written by industry representatives, farms and businesses directly impacted by the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). When a microbiologist made and insightful comment about ways food can be contaminated another person "respectfully" disagreed asking that she cite sources and stating she had a vested interest. Yet, the farmers and industry reps commented in vague terms crying big government and the demise of the small farmer.

The FSMA exempts small farmers and Good Agricultural Practices (part of FSMA) stress mainly employee health and hygiene and uncontaminated water.   Here is the list of key concepts for produce safety from the FDA website:

  • Irrigation and other agricultural water
  • Farm worker hygiene
  • Manure and other additions to the soil
  • Intrusion of animals in the growing fields.
  • Sanitation conditions affecting buildings, equipment and tools

The link to the entire article on the FDA website is below:

Having been in unpermitted facilities and facilities that choose not to follow state and federal law I can say with all honesty that these laws are necessary. You are welcome to disagree.

A few examples: An unpermitted warehouse that had roaches crawling out of pallets of food. not one or two insects - hundreds. A permitted facility infested with rats that did not clean up any rodent feces or dead rodents until forced to clean by closure of the affected area. Facility managers that turn off hot water to the facility then lie and say the "circuit just blew". Packing houses that have layers of mold and grime on walls with lizard droppings in processing areas.

Then there are always the non permitted facilities that we stumble on that have no hand wash sinks in processing areas, no hot water and sometimes no clue of food safety.

Really, too much regulation??? Just because you think you are doing it "right" does not make it so. I can't tell you how many times someone tells me they have been in business "forever" and nobody has become ill. That same person then turns around scratches their body or coughs in their hand and returns right back to handling food. No hand washing and not realizing what they have just done.

 Why am I mad? Because the crappy places we see are not news. Our jobs do not provide large amounts of capital to the state thus we have NO lobbying voice. We in affect have no voice. We are viewed  simply as "the government" coming to harass you and destroy your business.    

Why do we need these laws? Here is a simple test. The next time you are in a public restroom watch how people wash their hands or even if they wash their hands.Do the sinks even have hot water, do people wash for at least 20 seconds and actually make suds? And they are now going to the salad bar that you also ordered.

If we can't trust people to even wash their hands properly how can we trust industry to police themselves without the laws? And who will be screaming when the next outbreak occurs?


Friday, January 4, 2013

Babies, Beans and Bursting with Gratitude!

Almost three weeks ago we welcomed a newborn grandson into the family and today we welcomed his new baby boy cousin! Our cup runneth over. 2013 is the year for babies!

Babies are such a beautiful gift. Babies are hope personified. Holding both of them it feels like my heart simply can't get any bigger. Both of them join 3 year old siblings at home who caused me to feel similarly at their births.            

There is no way to even top the feelings of being around a new baby and watching the proud and loving parents hold such a tiny infant and marvel at their perfection. For all babies are perfect and all are beautiful to behold.

So my afternoon was spent quietly at home reading then planting beans in the garden. While digging in the cool moist earth my mind and my heart kept going back to the two little ones and their adorable brother and sister. Precious and innocent, my gratitude for having them in our lives is limitless.

There is really nothing more to add but a large sigh of contentment!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
Let the resolutions begin. I wish Everyone a bright and happy 2013!