Well, ok, in my case it was mostly above the belt with nausea and vomiting. Yummm. At least, I suspect that it may have been salmonella. What were the offending food items? Tuna salad. Isolating the factors, the ingredients were canned light chunk tuna — which I of course shared with the kitties, who did not get sick, raw onion, raw garlic, raw celery, mayonnaise, salt, pepper. I also ate some Kettle Chips, but I’d had those days before and had no trouble. The mayo, salt and pepper we had had before and had no trouble. The garlic, no trouble. However, it was a new bag of onions, and a new bunch of celery. I suspect the onion.

The tuna salad sat in my stomach overnight (I’d had it for dinner), and made me seriously uncomfortable all night. Eventually, I threw up, one of my least favorite activities. I spent yesterday nauseated, weak, and almost passed out a few times. Bending over, like when feeding the cats, was a definite no-no. But nothing else came up, even after I’d gotten to the point where I just wanted it to so that I wouldn’t get poisoned by whatever was in the food, and so that it would be over sooner, if possible. I was actually glad that my stomach was protecting me and keeping the toxin from infecting me further.

I’m feeling much better today. I’ve still got that “I’m not so sure” feeling about food, but also some rumblings of a very empty stomach looking for food.

Since it’s still not known which foods are causing the current wave of Salmonella, I’m wondering if we just need to cook everything for a while? Disappointing in summer with all these lovely salads around. Currently, the CDC and FDA are lamely investigating raw tomatoes but have also stated that there are additional sources that are also being investigated. They should at least tell people so that we can make our own choices. Supposedly, tomatoes still “on the vine” are safe. Also, supposedly tomatoes from Maine are safe. Hannaford sells hydroponically-grown-in-Maine tomatoes.

Here’s some more info on Salmonella:

  • it can shed out of your digestive tract in your feces (poop) for a year after infection and be contagious that whole time
  • if you have intestinal salmonella but are otherwise healthy, you may not show signs or symptoms
  • “salmonella symptoms begin with nausea and vomiting and progress to abdominal pains and diarrhea. Additional signs and symptoms include fever, chills and muscle pains, and can last anywhere from several days to two weeks.” —Mayo Clinic’s website page on Salmonella

Salmonella Prevention Tips, from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Keep eggs adequately refrigerated (lower than 41 F), and discard cracked or dirty eggs. Avoid keeping eggs unrefrigerated for more than two hours.
  • Cook eggs for 15 seconds or more at 145 F. Eat eggs promptly after cooking.
  • Avoid eating raw eggs, as in cookie dough, homemade ice cream or eggnog. If you must consume raw eggs, ensure that they have been pasteurized. Check the egg carton or package for labeling.
  • Separate uncooked meats from produce and cooked foods to prevent transfer of any bacteria.
  • Wash your hands after handling uncooked foods. Also be sure to thoroughly wash cutting boards and utensils.
  • Wash your hands after contact with animals, including reptiles, rodents and other pets.
  • Wash your hands after handling human and animal feces, including those of household pets.

These tips do not address the current outbreak of Salmonella that is associated with veggies, but are good reminders. Another egg tip is to buy free-range organic eggs, because the hens that produced them would be eating bugs and not dead animals that are put into commercially-produced chicken feed.

Again, the underlying lesson seems to be to buy local — locally produced food is healthier since it is fresher, and it’s especially great if you can get it from an organic CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. With CSA, you usually sign up in the spring with a farmer or collective, pay in advance (I heard prices of about $500 here in Southern Maine this year), and collect your fresh veggies once a week. I know people who have done this as a group and had more veggies than they could consume with several families combined.

Stay tuned to the Peacock & Paisley blog for ongoing alternative medicine news and holistic health information.

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