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Heather's IBS Newsletter ~ For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

November 13, 2007

Special Thanksgiving Issue!

Follow Up to the Worst IBS Her Doctor Had Ever Seen - Get the Details!

Hello to everyone ~

By reader request we have a special follow up letter this week to our last letter from Judy, who had "the worst case of IBS" her doctor had ever seen. In just five months, she's now so much better that she's traveling to Paris, and her doctor is recommending her discoveries to his other IBS patients. People wanted more details about Judy's story, so this week you can see exactly how she did it!

We also have a special Thanksgiving focus to this issue, with a fabulous IBS-friendly stuffing recipe and tips galore for managing the holiday - and travel - safely and deliciously.

Plus, as always, we have the latest IBS news and research!

Best Wishes,
Heather Van Vorous

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Cranberry Herb Stuffing

This is a wonderfully old-fashioned stuffing with savory herbs and a light sweet-tart touch from the cranberries. Stuffing is a great soluble fiber basis to your meal (as long as it's low fat). Remember that soluble fiber is what will keep your digestion stable, and enjoy!

Makes 8-10 servings

2 cups sweet white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup finely chopped fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried, sage
2 teaspoons fresh chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried, rosemary
7 cups raisin bread, cut into 1/2" cubes and toasted (about 12 slices)
1 tablespoon Acacia Tummy Fiber (optional, but very helpful)
1/2 cup vegetable or fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh orange juice OR 1/2 cup brewed, cooled Fennel Tummy Tea

Preheat oven to 325F. In a large non-stick skillet cook the onion in the oil over medium heat until softened. Add cranberries, brown sugar, sage, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, add toasted bread cubes, and stir gently but thoroughly until well combined.

Spoon stuffing into a 3-quart casserole dish. Add the Acacia Tummy Fiber to a small bowl and stir in the broth and the orange juice (or fennel tea) till dissolved, then drizzle liquid over the stuffing and gently stir. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 30 minutes more.

For a special Thanksgiving dessert, serve everybody's favorite Heather Cooks! DVD recipe, 5 Minute Pumpkin Pie!

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.

~ Heather's Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules ~
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divider Follow Up to the Worst Case of IBS Her Doctor Had Ever Seen

Our last newsletter featured a wonderful letter from Judy Cantey, who had "the worst case of IBS" her doctor had ever seen. In just five months, she did so much better that she's now traveling across the country, and her doctor is recommending her discoveries to his other IBS patients. Reader response to Judy's initial letter was overwhelming, and people wanted more details about her story. Judy was kind enough to oblige. ~ Heather

Dear Heather,

I started with the Acacia Tummy Fiber and the Tummy Tamers peppermint oil capsules. It took around a month before I started seeing results from the Tummy Fiber. The peppermint caps response was almost immediate from the first dose. I now take the Tummy Fiber twice a day, one and a half tablespoons each time [please note that Judy did not start with this dose, she gradually worked her way up to it - Heather]. I mix it in applesauce or scrambled egg whites. I take the Tummy Tamers twice a day at lunch and dinner.

I have occasionally had to use glycerin suppositories until the Tummy Fiber really kicked in. I love bananas for a snack and pretzels. I have found that there is so much I can eat and not be hungry. I still have had one or two IBS attacks (not long after I started using your products), but without the pain and cramps thanks to the Tummy Tamers.

I really try to eat my meals based on the soluble fiber list the most. That is what is so amazing to me. I love potatoes any way they are cooked, I love sourdough bread, carrots, beets, and a lot of things on the list. I would have to say that the majority of my weight gain (236 at my highest) was because I love bread, rice, noodles etc. That is what has made this so easy for me because using the Tummy Fiber along with these foods has made me lose the weight I had gained. I am down to around 190 now and still working at it.

I can even now eat some trigger foods (steak is my favorite) in small amounts with baked potatoes and beets, for example. People at work especially, along with family members, say that I look better today than I have ever looked in my life and there are a lot of days that I feel younger than my children. I have gone from a 22-24 pants size to a 16-18 and my shirt size has gone from a 26-28 to an 18 or XL. I never thought I would feel or look this good again.

As I said I am going to take a trip to New York to see my son, and next spring I am going to Paris with him and attending the runway fashion show for the designer my son works for.

Again, I thank God first because He is the great healer and I thank Him for the insight He has given you for this problem. I wish I had known all of this earlier in my life. Now that I do know I am excited to be doing things and not worrying about my stomach, which I thought would never happen.

Isn't life a wonderful gift?

Thank you again.

Judy Cantey
Florence, South Carolina

Thank you so much, Judy. Have a wonderful time in Paris!

Did you miss Judy's first letter, and how her life completely changed in just five months?

~ Heather's Tummy Fiber ~
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divider The Menstrual Cycle and Its Effect on IBD and IBS
An article in the American Journal of Gastroenterology noted that female patients with bowel disease commonly report worsening symptoms in relation to the menstrual cycle. Their aim was to determine the nature of gastrointestinal symptoms correlating with the menstrual cycle in women with inflammatory and irritable bowel disease.

All disease groups (IBD and IBS) had a cyclical pattern to their bowel habits significantly more than controls, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation. The study concluded that the prevalence of menstrually related symptoms is high, and appears to affect bowel patterns. The physiological and clinical effects of the menstrual cycle should be taken into consideration when assessing for disease activity. Go here for more information about this study...

Eliminating Allergic Foods in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A recent clinical study in the Department of Digestive Disease, Shandong Provincial Hospital, Jinan, China aimed to explore the effects on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by eliminating the allergic foods according to food-specific IgG antibodies and to clarify the etiopathological role and mechanism of food allergy.

The food-specific IgG antibodies to a panel of 14 different food antigens in serum were detected with ELISA in fifty five cases with diarrhea-dominant IBS, thirty two with constipation-dominant IBS and eighteen normal controls. The frequency and severity index of symptoms and scores of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Quality of Life in thirty five cases with positive food-specific IgG were observed before and after elimination of allergic foods for two months.

The study results were that the positive rate of serum food-specific IgG antibodies was 63.6 percent in patients with diarrhea-dominant IBS and 43.8 percent in constipation-dominant IBS. Both were higher than that in normal controls. After eliminating allergic foods for eight weeks, the symptoms were relieved completely in 31.4 percent of the cases and remarkably in 34.3 percent.

The study concluded that abnormal immune reactions mediated by IgG antibodies coexisted in patients with IBS. It is of great significance in treating IBS by eliminating the allergic foods according to the serum level of food-specific IgG antibodies. Go here for the comprehensive dietary management of IBS...

Go here for more information about this study...

Probiotic Approach to IBS Expected in the Long Term
A recent article in Gastroenterology Clinics of North America noted that Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may result from a dysfunctional interaction between the indigenous flora and the intestinal mucosa, which in turn leads to immune activation in the colonic mucosa. Some propose that bacterial overgrowth is a common causative factor in the pathogenesis of symptoms in IBS; others point to evidence suggesting that the cause stems from more subtle qualitative changes in the colonic flora.

Bacterial overgrowth will probably prove not to be a major factor in what will eventually be defined as IBS. Nevertheless, short-term therapy with either antibiotics or probiotics seems to reduce symptoms among IBS patients. However, in the long term, safety issues will favor the probiotic approach; results of long-term studies with these agents are eagerly awaited. Go here for more information about this study...

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divider Thanksgiving Holidays with IBS
"I'll be traveling over the holidays and going home for Thanksgiving. How can I stay stable while I'm out of the house for the holidays?"

First of all, have faith that it is definitely possible (and not even all that difficult) to have a great time during the holidays and keep your IBS safely in check. So let's take the holiday issues one at a time...

Thanksgiving Day

Remember that although it's an annual rite to stuff yourself like the Thanksgiving turkey, too much of any food at one sitting is a bad idea. Help keep your digestion stable by keeping your meal size reasonable, and wait a while before having seconds.

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 cereal, and don't forget to add in your Acacia Tummy Fiber. At dinner, take just a little of everything and enjoy every bite. After the meal, go for a leisurely walk (instead of crashing on the sofa) to help keep your digestion on track.

Since Thanksgiving is traditionally centered around food - and lots of it - focus on the dishes that are both safe and delicious. For the turkey itself, choose just the white meat (no skin!) to keep your fat content low. Add a little cranberry sauce instead of gravy, and get a good soluble fiber basis from the stuffing. (Check the fabulous recipe above for an IBS-friendly stuffing that's especially delicious.)

If you make traditional mashed potatoes with soy or rice milk instead of dairy, they'll be a terrific low fat, high soluble fiber foundation for the meal as well. And don't skip dessert! There's no need to when you have a wealth of digestion-friendly options like 5 Minute Pumpkin Pie to choose from.

For an extra margin of safety in the first place, take a Tummy Tamer peppermint oil capsule before the meal to help offset the effects of the extra fat you might be eating despite your best efforts.

Travel Tips

As usual with IBS, the best defense is a good offense, and for traveling this means taking time to think things through in advance. It will be 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.

Feeling guilty about somehow being "difficult" in this regard is not allowed. Taking care of your health is a legitimate priority, holidays or not, and that's all there is to it.

For travel itself, whether car, plane or train rides, bring your own food and a 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 high volatile oil teabags with you as well, and just ask for hot water so you can brew your own.

It's important that you're extra careful to follow the IBS dietary guidelines from the first day of your trip to the last, as travel is always upsetting to your body even if you're not immediately aware of the effects. This physical stress can quickly rear its head in the form of an IBS attack, so focus on prevention at all costs. Precautionary efforts will let you enjoy the holidays, not suffer through them.

In addition to taking dietary measures, maintain your stress management program while traveling, at least to the best of your ability. Try to find a peaceful time and place each day to be alone and relax. (Taking a long hot bath before bed is one option.) Ask in advance for a quiet room if you're staying in a hotel.

If exercise is key to your IBS management, make it a priority of your trip. Take your work out clothes and shoes with you and unpack them first so you're ready to go. 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 go with it.

Disruptions to your sleep cycle are almost inevitable when traveling, particularly if you change time zones. Make an extra effort to overcome this potential trigger as quickly as possible. If you can, bring your own pillow with you. This is one of my favorite tricks for ensuring that I get good sleep even if I'm not in my own familiar bed. 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.

If you need a full-on plan of attack for staying stable while traveling, get comprehensive information here in the First Year IBS. Remember, the whole point of taking a holiday is to end up happy and well-rested!

~ Heather

Coming next, we'll follow up on our previous special age issue and address whether you can be too young to develop IBS (the answer might surprise you!)

Did you miss the recent "Ask Heather" and how older age affects IBS diagnosis and treatments? Find it here...

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