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In this Issue...


Food & Recipes

Special Letters

Rx News & Research

Ask Heather











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Heather's IBS Newsletter ~ For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

February 21, 2006

A Solution to Seven Decades of IBS Struggles

Hello to everyone -

Our special reader letter this week shares the story of how one woman is now able to lead a pain-free life after nearly seven decades of struggling with IBS. I hope her story inspires everyone who feels beaten down by years of IBS misery - please don't give up hope, there are many ways that you, too, can take control and lead a healthy, happy life.

We also have a special IBS recipe round-up this week, and, as always, we've got the latest IBS news and research. Enjoy!

Best Wishes,
Heather Van Vorous

Did a friend send you this newsletter? Sign up here for your own free subscription. divider

Grilled Shrimp Shish Kebabs with Spanish Saffron Sauce

Brilliant golden yellow, smooth and creamy, the pungency of this saffron and garlic aioli sauce plays off the mellow sweetness of grilled shrimp. It's hard to believe a sauce this rich and creamy could be so safe to eat! Shrimp are a great source of protein for an IBS diet because they are so low-fat, and the dip is loaded with soluble fiber from the bread and almond base.

1 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled
1 Teaspoon dried rosemary
2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/4 Teaspoon saffron threads
2 Cups packed, one-inch cubes of French bread, soaked 15 minutes in 1/2 Cup water
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 Cup almonds, finely ground
6 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons water

In a bowl stir together the shrimp, rosemary, and 1 Tablespoon olive oil, and marinate, chilled, for 1 hour.

Place saffron threads in a small saucer and microwave for 10-20 seconds, until brittle. Add saffron, remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil, and all other ingredients to a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth, scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary. Transfer dip to serving bowl.

Thread shrimp on metal skewers and grill over medium high heat in grill pan (or over charcoal grill) just until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Serve shrimp with dipping sauce.

Basmati rice is a delicious accompaniment to the shrimp, and I like to add a side dish of fresh steamed zucchini or green beans. Store bought mango or raspberry sorbet makes a wonderful dessert.

Are you just learning how to eat for IBS? A little intimidated at the thought of special IBS recipes? Not quite sure just what makes these recipes special in the first place? Don't worry! Come see the IBS Diet pages, and find the answers to all your questions.

Fennel Tummy Tea Peppermint Tummy Tea
Fennel & Peppermint Tummy Teas - High Volatile Oil Content
Now in New Jumbo Organic Teabags!


Fennel is terrific for bloating & gas, Peppermint is great for IBS pain & spasms.

divider A Solution to Seven Decades of IBS Struggles

Dear Heather,

I just have to tell you how very happy I am that I found your website. I was diagnosed with IBS (then called "spastic colon") 50 years ago when I was 18, but Id suffered with the symptoms all of my life. My mother claimed that I was born constipated. Later in my life, my main symptom was diarrhea, but often I was miserable with a combination of constipation and diarrhea, bloating and terrible pain. IBS blighted my life.

Ten months ago, I cut out dairy products. Within a month, there was a marked improvement. From your site and your book, I at last understood the action of soluble fibre in the gut, and I began to drink it in water every morning of my life, before breakfast. Never have my innards been so serene. I would not have believed it if Id been told that my 69th year would be pain-free and comfortable.

I plan to tell my doctor about the simple solutions to my problem of nearly seven decades, and about where I learned them. Hed prescribed Probanthine (anti-spasmodic medication) which helped a little, but a side-effect (dry mouth) was so unpleasant I stopped taking the pills. Pepto-Bismol was his only other recommendation, and taking that did nothing at all except to thoroughly turn me against the colour pink.

Thanks again you were nothing short of a godsend for me. You can use my comments on your site and in the IBS Newsletter. I wish I could put my comments on billboards.

Aideen McKenna
Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you SO much Aideen! I could not be happier for you! ~ Heather

Did you miss the last reader letter? Find it here...

~ Heather's Tummy Fiber ~
For the Dietary Management of Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea, &, Constipation

IBS Acacia Tummy Fiber

Organic Acacia ~ Pure Soluble Fiber

The prebiotic fiber that relieves both diarrhea and constipation!

divider Lifestyle Factors and Reflux
A recent study in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics noted that although the symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease are common in the general adult population, the etiology of GERD is still largely unknown. Lifestyle factors have been frequently suggested as possible risk factors.The study found an association among those with reflux symptoms who were overweight and obese. Further risk factors included smoking and the frequent consumption of spirits, sweets, or white bread. Physical activity and the consumption of fruits seemed to have some protective effect. The study concluded that lifestyle factors were associated with increased reflux symptoms. Go here for more information about this study...

New Prescription Laxative Wins U.S. Approval for Adults
U.S. health officials have approved a new prescription drug, called Amitiza, to treat adults with chronic constipation. The drug, made by Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and privately held Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc., helps relieve constipation, abdominal bloating, and discomfort, the Food and Drug Administration said.

It is intended for patients who experience constipation over time with no known cause. The new capsules work by increasing fluids in the intestines and should be taken twice daily with food. Side effects can include headache, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain, among others. The drug should be taken twice daily with food to help increase fluids in the intestines. Go here for more information about this study...


IBS Patients Show Greater Brain Response to Subliminal Gut Stimuli
A new study in Gastroenterology demonstrates that patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) show greater sensitivity in their visceral sensory neural circuitry in response to subliminal stimuli than healthy controls. The findings could be used to distinguish between neural and neurocognitive effects of IBS drugs, and also to stratify patients based on neural or neurocognitive abnormalities.

"The findings of this study also objectively show the existence of long-suspected neural hypersensitivity in IBS patients and as such help better dissect and define different pathophysiologic components that may exist in this patient group," the researchers noted.

Questions remain about whether changes in IBS patients' visceral perception and autonomic response may be caused by emotional and cognitive factors that alter central pain modulation. Another question is whether visceral hypersensitivity is specific to IBS or appears in other types of functional disorders as well. Go here for more information about this study...

Herbal Medicines for Treatment of IBS
Seventy-five randomised trials, involving 7957 participants with irritable bowel syndrome, were evaluatied in a recent issue of The Cochrane Library. Seventy-one different herbal medicines were tested in the included trials, in which herbal medicines were compared with placebo or conventional pharmacologic therapy. Herbal medicines were also combined with conventional therapy and compared to conventional therapy alone. Compared with placebo, a Standard Chinese herbal formula, individualised Chinese herbal medicine, STW 5 and STW 5-II, Tibetan herbal medicine Padma Lax, traditional Chinese formula Tongxie Yaofang, and Ayurvedic preparation showed significantly improvement of global symptoms.

Compared with conventional therapy in 65 trials testing 51 different herbal medicines, 22 herbal medicines demonstrated a statistically significant benefit for symptom improvement, and 29 herbal medicines were not significantly different than conventional therapy. In nine trials that evaluated herbal medicine combined with conventional therapy, six tested herbal preparations showed additional benefit from the combination therapy compared with conventional monotherapy. No serious adverse events from the herbal medicines were reported. Go here for more information about this study...

Looking for more IBS research and news? Check the IBS Research Library!

~ Heather's Tummy Tamers ~
For the Dietary Management of Abdominal Pain &, Bloating
IBS Peppermint Caps
Peppermint Oil Caps with Fennel and Ginger Are Amazing!

Because our Peppermint Oil Caps have the added benefits of fennel and ginger oils, they are truly unbeatable for preventing abdominal pain, gas, and bloating!

divider IBS Recipe Round Up!
"I don't always have a lot of time to try and figure out how to adapt traditional recipes for IBS. Where can I get help with this?"

"I have IBS and a gluten intolerance as well. How can I find recipes that address both concerns?"

"I have diabetes and IBS. What can I cook and eat that will be suitable for both problems?"

"I hate to cook, and I need fast and easy recipes for IBS. Do you have these?"

"I love to cook, and I'm always looking for new recipes. Is there some kind of comprehensive IBS recipe resource out there?"


As you can see from all the questions I've been getting lately, it's definitely time for an IBS recipe round up! Let's take this one question at a time....

If you're brand new to the IBS diet and just learning how to cook safely for IBS, the best place to start is with the book Eating for IBS. This will get you all of the IBS dietary groundrules and guidelines for easy ways to make your kitchen IBS-friendly. There are hundreds of recipes to choose from, and all of the tips, tricks, and substitutions that make traditional recipes IBS safe are clearly explained. For folks who have some cooking experience, and just need to adapt their normal kitchen routine into one that is suitable for IBS, this is the place to go.

If you're struggling with dietary changes for IBS and another disorder as well, such as celiac, hypoglycemia, obesity, or diabetes, have no fear - it's almost certainly easier to cook for your comprehensive health needs than you'd ever imagine. In fact, the odds are good that your concerns have already been addressed in the IBS diet and recipe FAQ, so start there. If you still have questions, come join the IBS Recipe Board, where you'll find a wealth of information, ideas, and recipes from other folks dealing with IBS plus additional health concerns. There are threads on gluten-free IBS recipes, cooking for diabetes plus IBS, and lots more. You can also post any recipe question of your own, and get answers galore!

If you truly hate to cook or have very little time for it, and you've been forced into the kitchen by IBS dietary needs, the IBS cooking show DVD is the perfect solution. Each of the five full-length shows offers step-by-step instructions, and is aimed at people who have little experience cooking, or who are unsure about how to modify their traditional cooking methods to meet the dietary needs of IBS. Illustrated recipe cards are included, so you can easily cook right along with the shows. The focus is fast and easy meals that can be prepared in 10-15 minutes, and the flavors are all-American.

If you love to cook, and simply can't find enough IBS-friendly recipes, we've got the ultimate resource for you - the IBS Recipe Exchange Index, which has over one thousand IBS safe recipes! The Index is a compilation of over three years of daily posts on the IBS recipe board, and it's truly got it all - from beverages to breads, appetizers to main dishes, dips to desserts. This amazing, enormous resource was just updated by the board's fantabulous moderator Melissa (also known as Mags), and I can't thank her enough for so much hard work. The Index is nothing short of astonishing and an absolute treasure for people who love to eat but can never find enough new IBS-friendly recipes to try. Look no more - this is the only resource you need for a lifetime of happy, healthy IBS cooking! ~ Heather

Did you miss the last "Ask Heather" about Dairy for IBS? Find it here...

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