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December 7, 2010 ~ Scroll down for full newsletter or follow the links:


Ask Heather » Stay Stable During the Holidays (Yes, It's Possible!)

IBS Recipe » My Grandmother's Gingerbread

News & Research » The Potential Cure For IBS

Special Letter » The Secret To IBS Safe Travel?

Heather Van Vorous, IBS Patient-Expert    Enjoy the newsletter!
~ Heather Van Vorous

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My Grandmother's Holiday Gingerbread

My favorite winter dessert! This gingerbread is old-fashioned, moist, rich, spicy, and delicious. It's also low fat, trigger free, and has the added digestive benefits of ginger. Enjoy without guilt or worry!

Makes 8 Servings

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9" square baking pan with cooking oil and set aside.

Sift together in a large bowl:
2 T Acacia Tummy Fiber (great for extra soluble fiber and a rich, moist cake)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t nutmeg
1/8 t salt

Whisk dry ingredients with a metal whisk until thoroughly blended.

In a medium bowl beat together:
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup fresh orange juice, strained
4 organic egg whites
3 T canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 T finely grated fresh gingerroot
2 T finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 t vanilla

Add the wet ingredients to the dry with a few swift strokes of a wooden spoon. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the gingerbread comes out clean. Cool on rack.

For an extra-stabilizing and delicious treat, serve the gingerbread with a hot cup of peppermint or fennel tummy tea!

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! Get Eating for IBS and find the answers to all your questions.

~ Heather's Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules ~

IBS Peppermint Caps
Peppermint Oil Caps Called "Drug of Choice for IBS"

Our Peppermint Oil Caps have the added benefits of fennel and ginger oils, and they help prevent abdominal pain, gas, and bloating!

divider The Secret To IBS Safe Travel

Dear Heather,

First of all, please let me say thank God for the Acacia Tummy Fiber!!! It has literally changed my life. I now only have maybe one "bad" day every 4-6 weeks.

EVERY day used to be a bad day, so this is an enormous improvement. I walk, I watch what I eat, I drink large amounts of water, everything - but most of my life I have had terrible problems with extreme constipation, and the occasional bout of explosive diarrhea.

Once I started on the Tummy Fiber, I noticed a difference within only a few days. Now I take some every morning and every evening. I even keep some at my office in case I forget to take it before I leave for work.

All I can say is now I can travel without being so tense. It used to be that, if I were sitting for even a couple of hours, as on a car or plane trip, I knew I would have days and days of pain and things not moving (!), and now I just do not have that problem.

I have even given some to my dad, who has noticed a real improvement in his life, also. I kept hoping that someone in the Denver area would carry this, and now I see that a couple of local stores might have started, so I will call them today.

Keep up the great work you do. You have made life better for so many of us.

Ruth Uhl
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Thank you so much, Ruth! I am thrilled that you are doing so much better! ~ Heather

Did you miss the recent letter from Debbie, whose IBS is better after 20 years?

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divider What's the Only Potential Cure for IBS?

I'm often asked if there are any cures for IBS. The answer so far? A definite maybe!

At this point, gut-directed hypnotherapy is the only treatment that works directly on the brain-gut dysfunction underlying all IBS symptoms. This means hypnotherapy can alleviate diarrhea, constipation, pain, gas, bloating, and more. As a result, some researchers have called hypnotherapy the first "cure" for IBS.

While I'm always trying to feature personal feedback from people with IBS who have tried hypnotherapy, it's terrific to see the hard science behind this treatment. Gut-directed hypnotherapy is in fact one of the most thoroughly researched and well-established treatments for all IBS symptoms.

I've compiled a number of significant research articles and reviews on hypnotherapy for IBS below. These clinical trials are drawn from Gut, Lancet, Gastroenterology, and other internationally respected medical journals. The study results are consistent and overwhelmingly positive. For in-depth information about self-hypnosis for IBS, see the IBS Audio Program. ~ Heather

Gastroenterologists Call for Wide Use of Hypnotherapy in IBS
Leading gastroenterologists are calling for hypnotherapy to be used more widely in treating irritable bowel syndrome. Researchers at King's College London note that in one study at Withington Hospital, 12 weeks of hypnotherapy helped 71 percent of patients ease their IBS symptoms for five years after the treatment.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Audio Program Celebrates Over 10 Years of Success
Called by some "the best kept secret in gastroenterology", the IBS Audio Program 100 developed by Michael Mahoney, Clinical Hypnotherapist at Guardian Medical Centre in Cheshire, England, is now used by IBS sufferers in 41 countries. The IBS Audio Program was developed specifically to manage both the physical and the emotional aspects of IBS. Hypnotherapy has now been listed as a treatment option for IBS in the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Hypnotherapy for IBS - Systematic Review Shows Long-Lasting Symptom Relief
Z Gastroenterol. 2009 Nov;47(11):1153-9.
Data from published hypnotherapeutic interventions with approximately 800 patients show long-lasting symptom relief.

Hypnotherapy Relieves More Than Just IBS Symptoms
Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2009 Jul;57(3):279-92.
This study noted that people with functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and dyspepsia suffer from a range of severe symptoms that often substantially erode their quality of life. These conditions are notoriously difficult to treat, with many patients failing to improve despite being prescribed a wide variety of conventional medications.

As a consequence, the potential benefits of hypnotherapy have been explored with evidence that this approach not only relieves symptoms but also appears to restore many of the psychological and physiological abnormalities associated with these conditions.

Hypnotherapy Called a Cure for Pediatric Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
2007 Digestive Disease Week Conference, Presentation title: Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Psychosocial and Psychotherapy. Abstract 914.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of adult patients with IBS. This study evaluated the treatment approach in a pediatric population.

53 children between the ages of 8 and 18 years who had been diagnosed with IBS or Functional Abdominal Pain were randomized to standard therapy or to 6 hypnotherapy sessions of 30 minutes over a 3-month period. The endpoints of the study were pain intensity, pain frequency, nausea, headache and appetite. The investigators defined a cure as a greater than 80% improvement in pain.

After 1 year, the cure rate reached 85% for hypnotherapy-treated subjects and 25% for those receiving conventional therapy. The authors concluded, "Gut-directed hypnotherapy is highly superior to conventional therapy in the treatment of children with longstanding FAP or IBS."

Effect of gut-directed hypnotherapy upon quality of life in IBS patients.
J Clin Nurs. 2006 Jun;15(6):678-84.
This study quantified health-related quality of life in a group of 75 irritable bowel syndrome patients and measured changes following a treatment program of nurse-led gut-directed hypnotherapy. It is well recognized that health-related quality of life can be severely impaired in patients suffering from the irritable bowel syndrome. Current conventional treatment for irritable bowel syndrome is often unsatisfactory. This study followed 75 patients and determined that gut-directed hypnotherapy has a very positive impact on health-related quality of life with improvements in psychological well-being and physical symptoms. It appears most effective in patients with abdominal pain and distension.

A 27-Sep-2005 press release featured Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the University's Medical School and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service, who has been researching the use of gut-directed hypnosis for over 20 years. Most recently, two hundred and fifty patients who have suffered from IBS for over two years were given twelve one-hour sessions, during which they were given an explanation of how the gut works and what causes their symptoms. "IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body," explained Professor Whorwell. "During the hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seem to be able to change the way the brain modulates their gut activity."

Former patient Sonia Pinnock said, "I suffered from IBS and was on medication for nearly 20 years, but could get little relief from my symptoms. Since visiting the clinic for 12 hypnotherapy sessions last year however they've disappeared completely - the difference it's made to my quality of life is indescribable."

Another happy patient Christine Walsh continued, "After my hysterectomy I suffered from IBS for about five years, and it totally ruined my quality of life. I couldn't plan holidays or leisure activities and at work I was often doubled-up in pain. But since having weekly hypnotherapy sessions for three months I've now been free from IBS for five and a half years - the treatment has totally changed my life."

Hypnotherapy Benefits Last at Least Five Years.
Gut. 2003 Nov;52(11):1623-9.

204 patients prospectively completed questionnaires scoring symptoms, quality of life, anxiety, and depression before, immediately after, and up to six years following hypnotherapy. All subjects also subjectively assessed the effects of hypnotherapy retrospectively. 71% of patients initially responded to therapy. Of these, 81% maintained their improvement over time while the majority of the remaining 19% claimed that deterioration of symptoms had only been slight. With respect to symptom scores, all items at follow up were significantly improved on pre-hypnotherapy levels.

Researchers call gut-directed hypnotherapy a "cure" for IBS!

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divider Safe Holidays with IBS
"I'll be traveling over the holidays, going home for huge family dinners, and attending several parties. How can I stay stable while I'm out of the house, on the road and in the air?"

Well, first of all, rest assured that it is definitely possible (and not even all that difficult) to have a great time during the holidays, enjoy yourself at all kinds of festivities, AND keep your IBS safely in check. Let's take the holiday issues one at a time...

Family Feasts

Remember that although it's a tradition during the holidays to overindulge, too much of any food is a bad idea. Keep your digestion stable by keeping your meal size reasonable. You can always have seconds later.

To help prevent overeating in the first place, have a good sized breakfast of a soluble fiber staple such as oatmeal or cream of rice, and add in your soluble fiber supplement. At holiday dinners, take just a little of everything and enjoy every bite. After meals, go for a leisurely walk (instead of crashing on the couch) to help keep your digestion on track.

Since holiday get-togethers are traditionally centered around food (and lots of it), pick and choose the dishes that are both safe and delicious.

Helpful Hints for Parties & Holiday Meals

* Keep your portions small so you can have a taste of everything without overloading your gut.

*Take a soluble fiber supplement like Acacia Tummy Fiber right before the meal, as this will keep your digestion stable. Remember, it's soluble fiber (which soothes and regulates the GI tract) that allows you to safely add insoluble fiber foods.

* If the meal is higher in fat than it should be for IBS, try taking an enteric coated Peppermint Oil Capsule an hour before you eat. This will increase your bile production (which digests fats) and help prevent the abdominal cramps, bowel dysfunction, and pain often triggered by fatty foods.

* Eat at a leisurely pace, chew thoroughly, and make sure you're breathing deeply so you don't rush through dinner. Take the time to enjoy the conversation and catching up with family members and friends just as much as you enjoy the meal.

* Make a point of drinking your most helpful herbal tea (Fennel for bloating and gas, Peppermint for spasms and pain) all day long, both before and after the meal. This will help prevent problems in the first place. If you're having holiday meals away from home, take your own tea and Tummy Fiber travel packets with you.

Travel Tips

As usual with IBS, the best defense is a good offense, and for traveling this just means taking some time to think things through in advance. It will be well worth your while to make careful but flexible plans, take some simple precautions, and prepare to ask questions or make special requests on your trip to get your dietary and stress management needs met.

By the way, feeling guilty about somehow being "difficult" in this regard is not allowed. Taking care of your health is a legitimate priority, whether it's a holiday or not, and that's that.

For travel itself, whether car, plane or train rides, bring your own food and a travel soluble fiber supplement. Do not assume that the meals being provided by travel services, or the tourist restaurants along your route, will offer any safe choices whatsoever. Odds are they won't. If you rely on fennel or peppermint tea to keep your symptoms in check, bring a supply of teabags with you as well, and just ask for hot water so you can brew your own.

It's very important that you are extra careful to follow the IBS dietary guidelines from the first day of your trip to the last, as travel is virtually always upsetting to your body even if you're not immediately aware of the effects. This physical stress can quickly rear its ugly head in the form of an IBS attack if you allow it, so concentrate on prevention at all costs. The power of precautionary measures is what will enable you to enjoy the holidays, not suffer through them.

In addition to taking dietary precautions, maintain your stress management program while traveling, or at least a modified version of it, to the best of your ability. You may have to replace morning aerobics with evening walks, find a quiet corner of your bedroom to regularly practice meditation or yoga, or ensure in advance that if you're staying in a hotel room it's in a quiet location so your sleep is uncompromised. Do whatever it takes, and feel free to substitute any alternative that works for you.

If exercise is key to your IBS management as well, make it a priority of your trip. Take your work out clothes and shoes with you and unpack them first so they're staring you in the face. If you don't have the option of exercising as planned once you're actually on holiday, change tactics and adapt - find any variation that works and run with it. Maintenance is the key here and flexibility will get you everywhere.

Disruptions to your sleep cycle are common when traveling, particularly if you change time zones. Make an extra effort to overcome this potential trigger as quickly as possible. If you can, pack your own pillow whenever you travel, and you'll likely sleep much better. As a daily rule, try to go to sleep earlier than you think necessary and get a little extra rest - this will definitely minimize your risk of attacks. Even scheduling a few naps here and there can make a world of difference. After all, family holidays are supposed to leave you happily well-rested!

~ Heather

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