Cranberries And Prunes: A Lesson In Continence

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This past weekend I went to visit my father at the senior community -- or retirement home, if you will -- into which he moved several months ago. Over the course of my stay, we had breakfast together twice in the dining room. There was quite a selection of the usual breakfast foods for the residents, but I noticed that a big bowl of stewed prunes was one of the featured items -- and a very popular item at that. And prune juice had its place proudly beside the apple, tomato, and orange juices at the breakfast fountain. Everywhere I looked, the seniors were either having a bowl of prunes, putting prunes on top of their oatmeal (which was also a featured item at the buffet stations), or drinking their prune juice down in measured sips.

Then, at the table adjacent to my father and myself, I noticed an elderly gentlemen with two women seated beside him as his audience making quite a production of scattering dried cranberries over his oatmeal. It was almost as if he were conducting an episode of a cooking show on the Food Network. I'll paraphrase him as he harangued the women: "They say cranberries are good for the urinary tract, you know. I'm not sure if it's true, but I've been eating these for quite a while now, and I've been having no trouble."

The ladies, mesmerized as if watching David Copperfield make an entire dining room disappear, nodded their white heads slowly, smiling pleasantly. Meanwhile, an article for PoopReport began swirling around in my brain.

It's no secret that seniors are frequently preoccupied with regularity, continence, and other bodily functions. As we age, our systems may become stodgier, with peristalsis and muscle control becoming a dicey proposition. Some of this may be due to improper diet -- factors like not getting enough water or fiber in the daily intake. But I thought it would be interesting to examine the facts about prunes and cranberries as regards bowel and bladder health.

First, here's what Wikipedia says about cranberry juice in this regard. "There is potential benefit of cranberry juice consumption against bacterial infections of the urinary system. While much of the evidence is equivocal, hypotheses suggest that an effect occurs from a component of the juice (which) competitively inhibits bacterial attachment to the bladder and urethra, allowing the bacteria to be flushed out more easily ... cranberry juice components also show efficacy against formation of kidney stones."

All of which seems to indicate that the cranberry magician at the next table was well-informed and on the right (urinary) tract.

What about prunes? Are they all they're butt-trumpeted to be? They are, of course, dried plums, which themselves have a well-known laxative effect due to their high fiber content.

Here's some further input from Wikipedia. "Prune juice is richer in fiber than plum juice and is often marketed as a remedy for constipation, and it helps with kidney stones. There began in the United States in 2000 an effort to market prunes as dried plums to appeal to a younger market which associates prunes with elderly people."

(There is, in fact, a definition in the American Heritage Dictionary for prune as follows: "A stupid, ill-tempered person." Hardly a positive. No wonder they're rebranding.)

Perhaps the most intriguing item on Wikipedia to this reporter was the statement that "there is an urban myth that prune juice is an ingredient of Dr. Pepper". Dr. Pepper is the only soft drink I have ever liked or consumed with any regularity (an apt term there), but I have never experienced any unwanted rush, so to speak, from such consumption.

So there you have it. The nutritionists who plan meals for all those seniors know what they are doing, and the gentleman who made a vaudeville act of his cranberry sprinkling knew what he was talking about. Cranberries and prunes are, in fact, good medicine, both actual and preventative; and you don't have to be drawing Social Security checks to avail yourself of their benefits. It might be a good idea to include some version of them in your diet now to ensure that your golden years are also nicely yellowish-brown.

17 Comments on "Cranberries And Prunes: A Lesson In Continence"

C Everett Poop's picture
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I knew that whatever followed yesterday's story would be a letdown and I was right. No offense wiper. It's a tough subject to be entertaining on.

Bunga Din's picture
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I liked this report, it got me thinking as TBW's reports usually do. Some stories are SHIT stories, and others take a different route and provide us with the fiber to think about the conditions surrounding our daily ablutions.

I'm kinda wondering after reading this Wiper if not only was this gentleman giving advice to these women on good health but also showcasing that he's in full control of himself and a suitable partner for any intimacy some of the ladies may be looking for.

Usually I don't go for the sex angle but let me explain. We know that as we age things slow down but for a great many seniors they still are sexually active, it's part of good health and provides a great deal of personal satisfaction.

My grandfather was dating a woman while he was in his early 80's, this caused a great deal of discomfort for my MOM, because she'd never suspected that her Dad could love anyone else after her Mom passed away.

Gramps tried to keep things as private as possible but it got to the point that when he was visiting once he said rather bluntly "If I didn't have someone to share what I feel you might as well put me into a home" (his paramour was in her 80's as well). Mom finally saw the light and embraced her Dad's partner as one of the family.

Fast forward 10 years and Gramps was still living in his own home, entertaining his "partner" regularly and enjoying what life has to offer, when he finally had a heart attack at 92 it was his partner who was there to comfort him in his last moments, they were in bed together, all in all not a bad way to go.

Edit: His partner died a few months later.

Deja Poo's picture
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I can vouch for the "Dried Plums" marketing initiative. The Missus brought home a bag of prunes from Costco the other day. as I was busily munching down my share of "nature's candy" (yet another marketing initiative by some trade association), I noticed that the bag was labeled "Dried Plums."

Although I have no problems witht he urinary tract, I'm still going to have to try the cranberry juice thing just to see what it does to the urine. I wonder whether the smell of the urine would be more tart? So, I suppose that I'm going to have to post a Piss Report soon.
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Deja Poo - Because this shit's so strange, it couldn't ever have happened before.

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Toots N. McCrack's picture
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I love TBW's thought-provoking submissions....
I also love cranberry juice (especially with vodka in it!) but I HATE the way I can smell it in my shit the next day. Really, it's a gross odor.

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'Hey that sounds pretty nasty, how about a courtesy flush over there?' (AP1)

'Hey that sounds pretty nasty, how about a courtesy flush over there?' (AP1)

The Big Wiper's picture
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Bunga: you bring up an interesting angle, to be sure. In answer to your conjecture, I would have to say that it is highly likely that the gentleman was preening his feathers in front of the hens, so to speak.

How do I know this? Well, when my father moved into the complex a few months back, my brother and sister-in-law (who live nearby and can visit him far more often than I can) reported to me that all the women in the development were buzzing. "A man is moving in!"

Statistically, the ratio of women to men in this and many other senior complexes may be something like 3 to 1 or even more weighted toward the females. The fact is still that women outlive men, and there are far more widows out there than there are widowers.

At any rate, the cranberry magician in my report was certainly putting on quite an act. And I would not be surprised if it was indeed code for, "Ladies, I'm available, alive and kickin'!"

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

sphincter spanker's picture
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Fibrous food's and beverages are usually a well supplied part of the diet at nursing homes. The powers to be would much rather only be purchasing oatmeal and Tang, but the high turnover rate in healthcare employees who have to "dig Out" compacted fecal material makes the money they have to spend on a proper diet for the elderly cost effective. It's a bunch of crap anyway you look at it.

DungDaddy's picture
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Nothing like a good, informative, TBW Poop Report.

daphne's picture
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I found out last week at that you should not expect to sleep well after eating a whole cup of raisins. Therefore, this report does not surprise me in the least.
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.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

.....hugging bunnies since 1969
www.daphneszoo.com

The Big Wiper's picture
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But raisins in moderation, scattered throughout bran cereal, should accomplish their mission.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
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Thanks to an operation for a prostate problem I am unable to completely empty my bladder and must use a catheter several times each day. The initial distaste for doing this is simply caused by the fact that you are sticking something where you would prefer not to be sticking something.

Urinary tract infections are also a worry. Cranberries contain a sugar called
D-Mannose which makes the bladder walls slick and lets the urine flush bacteria right on out.
I use D-mannose whenever I think I am getting an infection and it seems to be quite helpful.

Much better than taking unnecessary anti-biotics.

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ChiliKahKah's picture
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Mix cranberries with grape nuts and you better be ready for a day of solitude !

Mrs. Mad Crapper's picture
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I don't understand how people can eat Grape Nuts. That stuff reminds me of cat litter mixed with sand granules.
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Earth, insane asylum for the universe.

Earth, insane asylum for the universe.

ChiliKahKah's picture
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Ever notice that the Country Buffet has prunes in the salad bar area ?

MSG's picture
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I like Grape Nuts, as well as shredded wheat. Both are excellent fiber sources, and if I have a slightly difficult bowel movement, I eat a bowl of one or the other the next day. I can't do that every day, or I would have very loose stools. As for prunes: I don't like them much, haven't tested their effect on my bowels, and am willing to take others' word on it. I enjoy cranberries, in moderation; no ill effects.

The Hated Caver's picture
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Seeing a post about prunes takes me back. They used to serve prunes with school lunches, back in the '70s. Everybody hated them except for me and some kid named Ronald. We used to get everybody to give us our prunes, and compete to see who could eat the most.

Fast forward a few years, I'm at some summer adventure camp, and today's adventure is to go caving. The people planning this little outing made a mistake I'm sure they would never repeat: just before taking us down into the cave, the served us a big brown grocery bag full of GORP.

GORP stands for Granola Oatmeal Raisins and Prunes. Me being a prune fan from way back, I dug out every prune I could from this bag, and downed all of them.

Then we went down in a tiny dark wet hole in the ground for a few hours. It was a cool adventure. There was an underground stream, and this long stretch where we had to crawl around on our hands and knees in the mud in a single-file line.

That's when it started happening.

Gurgle.

FARRRRRRRRRRRRRT. You know, those farts where it feels like your asshole opens up to the size of a golf ball and expels a continuous column of fetid air. It feels like it's never going to end, and the stench afterwards is cloying.

Luckily I made it out of the cave before I let loose the log, so I'm afraid I can't turn it into some cave crapping story unless I lie.

Even though I had to shit but only farted, it was truly the misadventure of a lifetime. If any of those people from that trip were to see me today, none of them would ever be able to look me in the eye after I made all of them breathe my fetid prune farts in a tiny underground environment all day.

I thought pretty sure at one point they were going to bust my head lamp and leave me down there to suffocate in my own butt stench.

DelicateDaisy's picture
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I don't have much trouble with irregularity unless one of my brilliant doctors decides I am lacking an odd iron component. However I want to attest to the concoction of cranberry juice and green tea I drink every day. My cranberry juice is unsweetened so it needs a little tempering. The green tea is a little bland so it needs a little kick. Green tea has been found to reduce cancer cells. Cranberries reduce bladder infections. My city has terrible tasting water. I think I've come upon a perfect solution. If I ever need it, I suppose I could mix prune juice with green tea but I don't think it wouldn't be as good. By the way, I drink three to four big glasses of this a day. I make the green tea as sun tea but just sit it on the kitchen counter. I usually have two bottles in the refrigerator at a time and one bottle on the counter. I use--what else--cranberry juice bottles.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
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Dear DelicateDaisy ... If the Japanese hear about your mixing green tea with anything else they will descend on you like zeros on Pearl Harbor. I have been drinking this superb beverage for 50 years, I picked up the habit while living in Japan. Green tea comes in different qualities and the first thing you need to do is, if you have been using tea bags, toss them out.

Alton Brown had a show that told all about tea on "Good Eats" and explained that tea bags usually contain the powdery leftovers after the good tea has been packaged and sold in bulk to those, mostly Asians, with discerning tastes for the beverage.

Go to your closest Asian market and buy some bulk tea and a small teapot. You can get a pot with a built in strainer or you can just pour your steeped tea through a strainer and into your cup.

Chinese green tea has been dry roasted and has a different taste from Japanese tea which has been steamed before drying. "Sencha" is a good quality Japanese tea and the dried leaves resemble pine needles. It can be a little pricey and it has a subtle flavor and aroma that should not be sullied by mixing it with anything else. The tea that is served in most ordinary restaurants in Japan is called "bancha" and is also tasty and much cheaper. Kinda like the vin ordinaire of tea.

Drink your tea freshly made and hot. It loses flavor when chilled. I also have nasty tasting tap water and have a Britta pitcher with which I brew my tea. I couldn't imagine starting my day without a cup of hot green tea.

I almost forgot to mention that Chinese green tea, for the most part, has a much more robust flavor than Japanese. One of my favorite Chinese teas is "gunpowder", named for its appearance rather than its composition.

Drink up and enjoy good health!


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Dirty old men need love too!!

How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on!