Friday, January 16, 2009

Bloating Tonight

Barrett's belly was very bloated tonight. I could tell without measuring but I measured anyway. Around his belly button he was 21 1/2 inches (normally 18 1/2). He has just been complaining that his stomach hurts as well. So far he hasn't had any other symptoms but we'll be watching him.

Foods he ate today:
buckwheat cereal in rice milk, banana, homemade zucchini bread, mixed nuts, quinoa cooked in chicken broth with organic ketchup, pineapple, apple, orange, Baked Lays Natural potato chips, black beans

I'll update if and when more symptoms show up.

ETA. I just read the label of the chicken broth I used. It was Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth. It claims to have no MSG. However, the label says it has autolyzed yeast extract (oops, I was supposed to be avoiding yeast anyway). It could be the yeast that made him bloat, but he has never bloated from the yeast in the tapioca bread he used to eat. In fact, I have never seen him react to yeast. However, this website mentions that a different variation of Swanson broth states that the yeast extract comes from wheat. This article talks about manufacturers hiding MSG under the name of autolyzed yeast extract which is used to make MSG (wikipedia:yeast extract). MSG is something that should generally be avoided because it often is derived from wheat--and many people who react to gluten react to MSG anyway.


  1. Hi Michelle,

    Have you considered making chicken broth to avoid the MSG issues? Do you have a Crock Pot slow cooker? You can also make it in a big pot/Dutch oven on the range, but then you'll have to stay home to babysit (peek at it now and then). CP slow cookers are easier because you put the stuff in, set the temp and come back later and it's done.

    I used to make broth with leftover chicken bones/carcasses, but a friend showed me her way, with a fresh whole chicken, and I like it better because a) it's easy, b) it makes a big container of cooked and deboned chicken meat for easy snacks, soups, and quick meals at the same time.

    Seriously, I unwrap a whole chicken and put it in the pot. Add water until it is about 2" from the top. Add chopped onions, carrots, and celery (or keep a bag in the freezer for onion ends, scallion, carrot, and leek, trimmings, and limp celery and dump them right in when you make broth) and a bay leaf if you can, but they aren't essential if you are pressed for time or don't have any.

    Here's the important part: pour in a "glug" of vinegar (a couple tablespoons) such as apple cider vinegar, even lemon juice. The slight acidity of the water will "leach" minerals out of the chicken bones and into the broth, for greater flavor and nutrition. You won't taste the acidity, but it makes great broth.

    Cover and set the temp. Naturally, Low will take a lot longer and High will cook faster. A few hours at the minimum, though, but not all day (you don't want to cook all the flavor out of the chicken meat). I tend to set on High at first until the water is hot, then reset it to Low later.

    When the chicken is cooked well, carefully remove it to a big bowl or platter to cool off a bit (watch out for splatters and splashes and falling legs if it's really well cooked and falling apart - use tongs if necessary).

    When the meat is cool enough to handle, quickly debone with big hunks of meat to serve right away or store in a container in the fridge. Ladle a bit of broth over the meat to keep it moist.

    Return skin, bones, and cartilage to the pot, perhaps add a bit more water and cook a *lot* longer. Strain into containers and store in the fridge for a week or in the freezer (leave space for expansion).

    In the winter I do this weekly, for the meat and the broth. Even though the cooking takes several hours, the hands-on time is very minimal.

    And homemade broth is richer with gelatin than commercial broth, so it's great for the GI tract (my friend Dianne likens commercial broth to "water used to rinse chicken). Gelatin is very soothing, nourishing, and promotes GI healing. And no MSG! Yay!

    This one might freak you out ;-):

  2. Wow, that sounds overwhelming. I hardly ever use chicken broth so I'm not sure it's worth the effort. But if there is a way to store it for a long time or can it, it might be worth it. Or at least once in awhile. I tried making my own broth once before and it was really bland. I'm glad you posted the right way to do it. I think I'll try it at least once and see if it's not as bad as it sounds. :0)

  3. The best and richest tasting chicken broth I make is from either the Dutch oven chicken (in a pot) on my blog, or from leftover bones from a local family owned rotisserie chicken place near me. Sometimes I go in for a rotisserie chicken or two and while I'm there I ask if they have any backs and wings. They always do (sometimes with a fair amount of meat on them, too) and they give me a huge takeout container for free or $1 (depending on who is working). At home I plop all the bones in a pot and simmer away. Awesome broth.

    I freeze the broth if I can't use it in a week. If you want to save freezer space, chill it to make it easier to remove the fat, then simmer the broth until it is very reduced and concentrated. Freeze in ice cube trays and add water to reconstitute.

    There is so much junk in commercial chicken broth, no matter what the brand, including potential gluten (HVP, MSG, etc.) and really, broth's just a few minutes hands-on work, the rest is just simmer time. I don't spend a lot of time picking every bit of meat off, etc.