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Heather's IBS Newsletter ~ For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

March 20, 2007

Relief from Everyday IBS

Hello to everyone -

This week we welcome spring with a special sweet pea recipe that shows it's not just what you eat with IBS, it's also how you eat it. Plus, we have an inspiring letter from a woman whose very life has changed as a result of this concept - to such a degree that she no longer suffers on a daily basis.

We had quite a response to last issue's provocative news and research article finding that "overly anxious and driven" people are more prone to IBS. Most of you found the study to be an affirmation of your own experiences, though a sizeable minority were simply insulted. Interestingly, this week's news section features a lengthy study directly focused on giving IBS patients the tools they need to self-manage the disorder - and asks whether or not this will actively make patients less anxious and driven about their symptoms.

Finally, we clear up the confusion around wheat, gluten, and IBS with part one of a two part special Ask Heather - don't worry, it's a lot more simple than you may think!

Best Wishes,
Heather Van Vorous

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Springtime Sweet Pea Dip

This dip is a beautiful bright green color, and it makes perfect use of spring's fresh sweet peas. The bread provides a good soluble fiber foundation, pureeing the peas greatly minimizes the risk of their insoluble fiber, and roasting the garlic cooks off the sulfur.

These steps make the recipe digestion-friendly, but none of this would matter if the result wasn't also addictively delicious! Remember, eating safely for IBS never has to mean deprivation or poor nutrition.

Makes 4 Servings

10 oz. fresh baby peas or frozen green petite peas (about 2 cups)
1 large head garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspooon white vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Acacia Tummy Fiber (optional)

For serving: Two 12" long narrow French bread baguettes, halved horizontally, toasted

Cook the peas in boiling water until very tender, then drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove outer paper skins from garlic head, but do not separate cloves or peel. Wrap head tightly in foil and bake until very soft, about 45 minutes. Cool.

Squeeze cloves out of garlic head and into a blender or food processor. Add peas to garlic in blender, add remaining ingredients, and puree until very smooth, scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary. Serve dip with toasted baguettes or rice crackers.

For a special treat and a gorgeous meal, serve as a side dish with Sweet Corn and Crab Soup.

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.

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divider Relief from Everyday IBS
Dear Heather,

I have suffered with IBS since I was a child, and now that I am in my fifties, you have given me the answers to my lifelong agony. I was misdiagnosed in my early twenties, and suffered so much through life that my youngest daughter told me one day that she can't remember me well. I have been sick her whole life. That just about broke my heart. I wanted so badly to be a good mother and do things with my children, but I had IBS so bad that I missed many events in all my children's lives.

It is just so sad that I can't go back and recapture some of the most touching times in their lives. I had tried everything, and nothing worked until I found your website.

THANK YOU for being so honest and helpful about IBS. People don't really understand the pain and embarrassment that comes with it. You have made it a reality to my family. They now understand and are so helpful now that they know what is happening. Like so many, my doctor just told me what I had, not how to deal with it.

My sister ordered your books for me, and I have found them amazing! I can't tolerate fennel tea, but I do use the Acacia Tummy Fiber and the Peppermint Tummy Tea and peppermint oil capsules. My husband uses the peppermint caps, too. I am able to go to work without worrying so much, and I can leave the house on most days. I still have to be very careful about what I eat, but being able to eat at all is a blessing.

I have no problem with you using my letter for whatever need it fills. Thank you for having such a wonderful website that allows people like me to find some relief from the everyday pain and suffering of IBS.

Thank you,

Connie Pettit

Thank you so much, Connie. I'm so happy you're doing better! ~ Heather

Did you miss the recent reader letter from Patricia, and what answered her IBS prayers?

~ Heather's Tummy Tamers ~
For the Dietary Management of Abdominal Pain &, Bloating
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Our Peppermint Oil Caps have the added benefits of fennel and ginger oils, and they help prevent abdominal pain, gas, and bloating!

New Retail Stores Carrying Heather's Tummy Care Products
We're continuing our special rebate offer for people who buy Tummy Care products at their local stores, and we have new store announcements this week as well.

Full Circle Center
3798 Janes Rd Suite 3
Arcata, CA 95521
707 826 2222

North Dakota
United Pantry
123 Main St S.
Minot, ND 58701

If you don't have a store in your area carrying Tummy Care products yet, please give them this flyer to ask them.

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divider Subtypes of Functional Constipation
A recent study in Digestive Diseases and Sciences was designed to assess the various subtypes of functional constipation in a referral gastrointestinal center. All patients referred for evaluation of constipation during a 10-year period were audited, and those with functional constipation according to Rome criteria classified by physiologic tests of colonic transit, as well as tests of anorectal and pelvic floor function. More than 70% of patients with functional constipation had evidence of pelvic floor dysfunction, whereas those with slow transit and constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome subtypes were less frequently represented.

Even in a setting different from those most frequently reported in the literature, pelvic floor dysfunction represents the most common cause of functional constipation. Simple, physiologic testing is needed and useful for the diagnosis. This fact has implications, especially because many such patients may benefit from biofeedback. Go here for comprehensive information about constipation...

Go here for more information about this study...

Reactions to a Guided Self-Management Intervention for IBS
A recent study at the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, The University of Manchester noted that self-care interventions are promoted as effective strategies for improving the quality of life and health outcomes for individuals with long-term health conditions. Using group and individual interview data they attempted to illuminate the transposition of IBS from a condition unsatisfactorily managed by medicine to one successfully managed within the life worlds of individuals. They suggest that the benefits of understanding the prior experience of managing illness and contact with health services include the acceptability and workability of complex interventions in patients' everyday lives. Go here for more information about this study...

Symptomatic Overlap: IBS-Diarrhea and Microscopic Colitis
A recent article in Inflammatory Bowel Disease noted that while microscopic colitis is diagnosed on the basis of histologic criteria, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is diagnosed by symptom-based criteria, there has been little investigation into the symptomatic overlap between these conditions.

Their aim was to assess the prevalence of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a population-based cohort of patients with microscopic colitis. Their results showed that in this population-based cohort of histologically confirmed microscopic colitis, approximately one-half met symptom-based criteria for the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. The clinical symptom-based criteria for irritable bowel syndrome are not specific enough to rule out the diagnosis of microscopic colitis.

Therefore, patients with suspected diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome should undergo biopsies of the colon to investigate for possible microscopic colitis if symptoms are not well controlled by antidiarrheal therapy. Go here for comprehensive information about diarrhea...

Go here for more information about this study...

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

~ 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 Wheat, Gluten and IBS
"If I have IBS do I have to avoid wheat? What about gluten? And what on earth is celiac?"

Wheat causes confusion for many, many people with IBS. Is wheat safe? There is no flat yes or no answer to this concern because it prompts another question - what kind of wheat?

Whole wheat, with its outer layer of bran, is high in insoluble fiber. This means that it's a very likely IBS trigger. That's why whole wheat bread, whole wheat cereals, and bran can cause such awful problems for people with IBS. How awful? Multiple clinical studies with IBS patients have shown that wheat bran causes abdominal pain, bloating, and "bowel disturbance". This is certainly something I don't need.

However, when you remove the bran from whole wheat you end up with white flour (the regular kind you can buy in any grocery store, that you use for home baking breads, muffins, etc.). Though this is still wheat flour, it is not whole wheat flour, and this makes a world of difference for IBS.

White flour contains no insoluble fiber but it does have soluble fiber (the same amount of soluble fiber as whole wheat flour, actually). Soluble fiber is the stabilizing force of the IBS diet for both diarrhea and constipation, which is why white breads are such great safe staples.

(A reminder about why soluble fiber is so special: Unlike any other food category, it soothes and regulates the digestive tract, stabilizes the intestinal contractions resulting from the abnormal IBS gastrocolic reflex, and normalizes bowel function and water content from either extreme. This means it regulates both over-motility and under-motility of the colon. So, soluble fiber prevents and relieves both diarrhea and constipation.)

When you read the ingredients on packaged foods they might not specify if the wheat flour used is "white" or "whole", but it's usually pretty easy to tell. For breads, a brief glance will tell you if there is whole wheat in it (you'll see little brown flakes). If the bread is pure white, like French or sourdough, you're safe. For most crackers, pretzels, muffins, etc. only white flour will be used. Exceptions are likely to be noted right on the label.

If you can't eat whole wheat but also don't want to limit your diet to refined grains only, what can you do?

Next week, we'll tackle the difference between an IBS intolerance to wheat and true gluten intolerance, plus celiac!

~ Heather

Did you miss the last "Ask Heather" and how to take vitamins if you have IBS? Find it here...

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