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November 6, 2003

Hello to everyone!

This issue brings a hearty cold-weather breakfast dish, and as always the latest news for digestive health as well.

If you've got a hankering for homestyle egg and cheese breakfasts, today's Huevos Rancheros recipe will be real treat! This traditional Mexican dish is typically made with fried eggs, fried corn tortillas, and often plenty of cheese as well. It's almost guaranteed to trigger all sorts of awful IBS symptoms. Does this mean you can never enjoy Huevos Rancheros again? Nope - the key to IBS cooking is simply substitution, never deprivation. Our delicious version is just as hearty and flavorful as the original, but without all the fat, egg yolks, and dairy that can cause digestive upsets. We've got a few kitchen tricks up our sleeve with this recipe, too.

First, if you haven't cooked with tofu before, this recipe is a great (and foolproof) way to start. Silken tofu makes a terrific stand-in for scrambled eggs, and blending in mild spices add a zesty kick. Remember, it's not great flavor that's a problem for IBS. You don't need to stick to bland foods, as most herbs and spices are actually digestive aids - especially when they're used in a low fat, high soluble fiber base. We'll broil the corn tortillas to a crispy crunch instead of frying them, which eliminates even more fat. Soy or rice cheese easily (and deliciously) replaces dairy. Sauteeing the onions and garlic until very tender dissipates their sulfur, which can cause IBS problems, and also minimizes their insoluble fiber. Fresh avocados and cilantro are the lovely (and nutritious) final touch!

Best Wishes,
Heather Van Vorous


Huevos Rancheros

Serves 4

4 small corn tortillas, broiled just till golden on one side (or use baked Tostitos)
12-15 oz. silken firm tofu, drained, and crumbled with a fork
1 T mild chile powder
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t garlic salt
2 t dried basil
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 slices soy or rice cheese, diced (try American or pepper jack flavors)
1/2 avocado, diced
1 T fresh cilantro, shredded
1/2 fresh lime

Blend the chile powder, cumin, salt, and basil into the tofu, and set aside. In a large nonstick skillet lightly sprayed with cooking oil, saute the tomato, onion, and garlic until they're very tender and the liquid from the tomato evaporates. Add the tofu to the skillet and stir gently, cooking until hot, then blend in the soy cheese until it melts. Serve the tofu mix in four portions over the baked tortillas, and top each tortilla with avocado and cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice over each serving.

For more delicious recipes like this one, come visit the IBS recipe board!

Are you just learning how to eat for IBS? A little intimidated at the thought of special IBS recipes? Don't worry! Come see the diet section, and find the answers to all your questions.

divider Reminder ~ New IBS Support Group in Tacoma, Washington!
If you missed last week's newsletter, here's a reminder that a brand new IBS Support Group is meeting for the first time on Thursday, November 13th, at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. We'll meet from 7:00 - 8:15 pm in the Trimble Forum, in Trimble Hall. Amber Brock is the group moderator, and she's a UPS student. I'll be giving an overview of IBS and ways to manage it, and then we'll just have an open (and fun!) discussion, plus some Peppermint Fudge Cake. All are welcome, so if you're in the Tacoma area please come join the group. See you there!

divider Mind-Body Technique Eases Kids' Gut Pain
Some 20% of school-age children suffer from recurrent abdominal pain -- and for 10% of them, there is a real problem in the gut. But for the rest, the pain is often unexplained -- yet persists, sometimes into adulthood.

It's a big problem that upsets their quality of life. "Not only are these children in pain, they are missing school, making frequent doctor visits and may suffer from anxiety and depression," says lead researcher Thomas M. Ball, MD, MPH, professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Arizona, in a news release. His report is published in the July/August issue of Clinical Pediatrics. In it, he describes using guided imagery therapy -- which combines relaxation, imagery, and hypnosis -- to help children gain control over their pain. Other studies have shown that the technique helps kids with other types of pain, says Ball.

The technique affects the autonomic nervous system -- the nerves that are involved in involuntary functions in the body, such as digestion. In essence, it taps the body's own healing power, he says. Check here for more information...

Long Term Benefits of Hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There is now good evidence from several sources that hypnotherapy can relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in the short term. This study demonstrates that the beneficial effects of hypnotherapy are also long-term - they appear to last at least five years. Thus hypnotherapy is a viable therapeutic option for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Check here for more information...

Study Offers Hope For Chocolate-Loving Reflux Disease Sufferers
For the 14 million Americans who suffer with chronic heartburn, a piece of chocolate may start as a joy to the tongue, but can end with a raging fire in the stomach. But there may be new hope for those suffering chocolate-lovers. Results from a new study at the University of Michigan Health System, presented today at the Digestive Diseases Week meeting in Atlanta, not only reveal the mechanism by which chocolate irritates the digestive tract of those who suffer with chronic heartburn - also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD - but also suggests a novel treatment. Check here for more information...

Travelers' Diarrhoea Can Trigger Irritable Bowel Syndrome
About 10% of people who report cases of travelers' diarrhoea are at risk for developing chronic gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This news comes as a result of a study presented October 11th at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Lead investigator, Pablo Okhuysen, MD, associate professor of medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston, United States, prospectively followed 146 students who traveled to Mexico. Said Dr. Okhuysen, "Having diarrhoea while they were in Mexico -- and having more than one episode while traveling -- correlated with the likelihood of developing IBS. This confirms that there is probably a relationship between infectious gastroenteritis and IBS." Check here for more information...

After Menopause, IBS Lessens in Women
The higher severity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that women experience in comparison with men diminishes after menopause, according to a study of over 800 patients. Researchers compared severity of IBS symptoms and IBS-specific impairment of quality of life in 826 women and men with the syndrome. Olafur S. Palsson, PsyD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States, reported their findings here October 12th at the 68th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. Dr. Palsson explained that women have more severe symptoms of IBS, they need more medications, and they go to the doctor more than men with IBS. Check here for more information...

New Drugs - and Some Respect - for IBS
Long disparaged as a "wastebasket disease," irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) appears to be gaining newfound respect among researchers, drug makers and gastroenterologists. The question now: Will other physicians begin to recognize IBS as a treatable condition, or will they continue to view it as a largely psychosomatic illness?

Researchers have made major strides in detecting the physiologic underpinnings of IBS as well as the nature of patients' "gut-brain" interactions. At the same time, drug makers now offer treatments that specifically target a broad range of IBS symptoms. And gastroenterologists have identified the signs of IBS that can lead to a definitive diagnosis, crafting guidelines to help physicians distinguish IBS from other conditions. Check here for more information...

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

divider Get Your Exercise!
"Can exercise help prevent IBS symptoms?"

Yes - exercise in any way, shape, form, duration, and intensity that appeals to you will help you deal with IBS more successfully, both physically and mentally. It's not just a hopeful theory that staying active will significantly improve your physical and mental health. The research findings on the subject are overwhelming at this point. Study after study proves that exercise provides benefits that can directly translate to helping IBS:

* Reduce muscle tension. Exercise works your muscles, releasing the energy they've stored from involuntary contractions under stress, and allows them to relax. When your muscles are relaxed you will be too - and so will your colon.

* Increase your ability to fight illness. When you're physically fit it's not just muscles that function better, but internal organs as well. This includes the organs of your digestive tract. The greater physical stamina and resiliency you'll gain from exercise will not only reduce your risk of suffering an IBS attack in the first place, but allow you to more quickly recover from one.

* Regulate bowel function and increase the efficiency of your entire digestive process. In particular, few things are more effective than exercise for preventing and relieving constipation.

* Provide a healthy catharsis for stressful emotions such as anger and hostility, allowing their productive, physical dissipation. The colons of IBS sufferers are particularly sensitive to negative emotions, so it's crucial that you release these feelings. Exercise is an ideal way of doing that.

Exercise is also a great way to:

* Produce endorphins, brain chemicals that act as painkillers and can induce a state of euphoria. Exercise is in fact so beneficial to creating a positive mood that it is considered an effective treatment for clinical depression, a disorder which is sometimes directly tied to IBS.

* Improve the quality of your sleep. One of the first signs of stress is the frustration of tossing and turning all night long, and a sleepless night directly corresponds to an IBS morning. Exercise leads to a healthy, pleasant exhaustion that allows you to fall asleep more easily and then sleep more soundly.

* Reduce the biochemical impact of worry and stress on your body. When you're under stress, neurotransmitters are activated, hormones released, cortisol produced, and entire body systems accelerate or slow their functions. IBS attack, anyone? The byproducts of this response can continue to negatively impact your body and health. Exercise minimizes the effect of these byproducts and reduces their physical impact.

* Provide a form of moving meditation. Any exercise that involves a consistent repetitive motion can alter your state of consciousness. In other words, you'll obtain the beneficial effects of meditation (which has been proven to help IBS) without actually meditating. Your breathing and movement during exercise can produce a state of tranquility and calmness in the aftermath, giving you pronounced physiological benefits.

* Improve your self-image and increase your self-esteem, both of which directly correlate to a greater ability to tolerate stress. People who exercise feel better about themselves, are less susceptible to stress, and thus less prone IBS attacks.

All that really matters here is that you pick a form of exercise you enjoy and can practice on a daily basis. You'll win and your IBS will lose!

divider Heather & Company for IBS, LLC is dedicated to serving people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Our mission is to provide education, support, and products that allow people with IBS to successfully manage their symptoms through lifestyle modifications.

We offer extensive information and tangible help for IBS, including the world's best-selling and best-reviewed books for the disorder. We provide the internet's top IBS web site resources; a twice-monthly IBS Newsletter; seminars and classes; dietary brochures for patient distribution by health care professionals; an IBS Research Library; and Heather Cooks!, a healthy cooking show on Seattle television. Much of our work is based on Heather's development of the first and only comprehensive IBS dietary guidelines and recipes, an achievement which has earned numerous awards and accolades as well as thousands of thank you letters from IBS sufferers.

Heather & Company also provides the only patient-expert moderated IBS Message Boards on the internet with forums for diet, recipes, hypnotherapy, yoga, plus Crohn's and Colitis. In addition, we support and coordinate the formation and continuation of local in-person IBS support groups across the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. We will soon have other IBS services and products available.

Our website receives over 1.5 million visits each year, and our newsletter is sent to over 18,000 people. Every month over one thousand new people join our email list. We are regular exhibitors at the Digestive Disease Week and American Dietetic Association conferences.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the message boards and this newsletter for companies and/or products that have been legitimately established as helpful for digestive disorders. Please click here to contact us for information.


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LEGAL DISCLAIMER - This email is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Any application of the recommendations in this email is at the reader's discretion. Heather Van Vorous and Heather & Company for IBS, LLC are not liable for any direct or indirect claim, loss or damage resulting from use of this email and/or any web site(s) linked to/from it. Readers should consult their own physicians concerning the recommendations in this email.

© 2003 Heather & Company for IBS, LLC. All rights reserved. BBB Business Review