You came to the right place for your questions honey! I have sort of become a bowel expert, simply because I dealt with problems and so did my mom. What we had was IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. The medical field will tell you there's no cause or cure, but it what it comes down to is you have random bouts of either constipation, diarrhea or both. Usually any stressful situation can trigger it and a lot of times bad food choices. It got to where we (mom and I) couldn't eat out at all. It was guaranteed that late that night 'IT' would hit us. Immodium was our lifesaver-never left home without, and sometimes took it before we went somewhere just in case.
After dealing with mine for over a year, I finally went to a gastroenterologist. You know what he said? He gave me an anti-depressant. That's it. Oh, and increase fiber and exercise. Doctors don't know jack.
So after coming home and balling my eyes out thinking my life was over at the age of 22, I prayed for God's guidance. Right after that I found an herbalist named Dr. Schulze. LIFESAVER!!
Then I learned about probiotics, the next lifesaver.
So this is what I recommend for you Joy. First, and I know this sounds scary but it is not I promise. You need to get the pockets in your bowel cleaned out, because it's just harboring old fecal matter and allowing bad bacteria to grow. Go to the link in the lefthand sidebar called 'Dr. Schulze'. Read what he has to say. Order the bowel detox, specifically the Intestinal cleanse #2. I did this twice and never felt bad, never had problems at all. It will literally 'put the fire out' in your intestines and scrub the walls clean, gently. Next you need to refill your guts with the good bacterias found in fermented and cultured foods.
We started drinking kefir in January 2008. We have only benefited from it. I have actual grains, the living organism. What they do is 'eat' the lactose in the milk and the by-product (yes, what it 'poops out') is a thickened drink FILLED to the brim with healthy bacterias and yeasts that will actually take up residence and colonize your intestines. Yogurt is good for keeping the intestines clean, but the kefir will stay alive in you. It is so gentle and so soothing to the insides. If our tummies are little upset or if we have heartburn, it is very soothing. The word kefir literally means 'to feel good'. So don't be afraid. I know I was at first, and we drank some storebought kefir first in small amounts before I ordered the grains.
How did I get grains? I ordered them from www.fermentedtreasures.com. They were very healthy and after two weeks of making it everyday, the texture of the kefir was perfect and my grains had doubled in size! I have had the same ones and given out many to friends and family. My mom finally got on the bandwagon and has been faithfully drinking kefir. Most of her problems went away and she is missing her gallbladder! As far as the powder goes, I am not familiar with how it works except by watching how Candy did it. The powder is easier to use I suppose, but the grains are much more potent and alive.
You asked about mold and food poisoning. The neat thing about cultured and fermented foods is that they don't go bad generally. They just keep fermenting. Yesterday my fridge wasn't cooling so I packed the meat and dairy in the ice chest, but left the kefir, buttermilk and yogurt because I knew it was preserved already, as long as it stayed cool. I've been culturing dairy for a year and a half and never had mold. Cultured foods are protection against foodborn illness. They starve out the bad bacteria.
So, don't be afraid of it. People lived off of fermented foods for thousands of years. You will only benefit from it. Try some storebought kefir. See how you like it and how it makes you feel. Buy the bowel cleanse and give it a try- you can always start out slow and not do it as intensely as he recommmends. Or you can take a dose everyday. Then decide if you want to make your own kefir. It's not hard and you get into the habit of thinking about it. It literally takes 2 minutes! I have fermented veggies, dairy, sourdough, and made kombucha, a fermented beverage made from tea and sugar, and we've NEVER had a bad reaction to any of it :)
I will also add that after you clean the bowel and colonize it, there may be areas that need some healing in the walls. I started eating virgin coconut oil about two years ago and wow, it really helped. Your intestines need good fat to repair and this fat is so easily absorbed that it can be used immediately. There are SO many benefits from it. Check it out here. Wouldn't it be awesome if during the whole process, you got healed? Rather than prevent it from getting worse, it could actually go away completely. Pray about this and commit it to Him- stretch out and believe for complete healing- nothing is too hard for God!
Let me add, I cannot even remember the last time I had an 'attack'. Occasionally, I might get a crampy feeling like I'm going to have diarrhea and it may be looser (sorry it's gross), but haven't had a real bowel attack in at least two years :) Thank you Jesus!!!