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October 13, 2004
Hello to everyone -
The 2004 harvests of peppermint and fennel have arrived! This means that both the Peppermint and Fennel organic Tummy Teas™ are at their all-time freshest and strongest - you won't believe how potent these teas really are until you try them.
I always specify the largest leaf size or whole seeds for teas, because the moment an herb or spice is cut or ground the volatile oils (and thus the flavor, aroma, and beneficial digestive effects) begin to disappear. I also search for the highest possible volatile oil content available for the herbs in the first place, as this is where the quality of teas can really vary.
While the volatile oil in my fennel is always at least 1.5% minimum, and the volatile oil level in my peppermint was 1.8% at the last harvest, my 2004 peppermint has a level of 2.1%. It's by far the strongest peppermint tea I've ever tasted, and its calming effect on the gut is noticeable after just a few sips. If you've been using fennel or peppermint tea bags, or even bulk herbs from a local store, now is the time to try the Tummy Teas and see just for yourself the tremendous difference. The freshness and taste of the fennel and peppermint are incomparable, and so are the digestive benefits of the brews. See what you think!
Also, this is your very last chance to come join us at the Las Vegas IBS Fall Sprawl! Catch a last-minute flight and have a fabulous weekend - all you need to know is right here. Plus, as always, we have a wealth of new digestive health research findings. Enjoy!
Heather Van Vorous
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Smoky Sweet Potato Soup
Makes 8 Servings
1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 3 medium)
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup finely diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons honey
1-3 teaspoons chipotle powder or smoked paprika, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed, finely shredded, for serving
Baked corn chips or cooked rice, for serving
In a large heavy stockpot simmer the sweet potatoes, carrots, thyme, and broth for 2 hours, covered, stirring occasionally with a wire whisk, until vegetables disintegrate. Mash vegetables in pot with a potato masher if necessary.
In a non-stick skillet heat oil over medium low, and saute onion and garlic just until lightly golden. Add to broth with maple syrup, honey, and chipotle or smoked paprika to taste. Cook until flavors mellow and blend, at least 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve individual bowls of soup topped with a sprinkle of cilantro. Serve with baked corn chips or over cooked rice.
For oodles of other delicious recipes, come visit the IBS Recipe Exchange board!
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.
Racial Differences in the Impact of IBS on Quality of Life
A study in the October 2004 Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology compared the impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) on health related quality of life (HRQOI) for non-white and white IBS patients. There was previously no reported data evaluating the HRQOL of non-white persons with IBS.
Go here for more
The Lowdown on Low Carbs
The Cleveland Clinic Magazine 2004 has published a new article on the low carb craze. In America recently, the new road to weight loss has been paved with high-protein, low-carb diets. In the past few years, an estimated 32 million carb-conscious Americans began taking cues from the well-known Atkins and South Beach diets, which forbid or severely limit eating bread, pasta, potatoes and other starches. As the food industry stocks hundreds of new, low "net" carb items onto supermarket shelves, some of the beleaguered heavy-carb industries - for instance orange and potato growers - have attempted to re-position their products as healthy "smart carbs." But are low-carb diets good for us? Are they even safe?
Go here for more
Relationship Between Colon Ischemia and IBS
A recent article in Medscape Gastroenterology looks at colon ischemia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), two common gastroenterologic disorders that, until recently, were thought to occur independently in very different populations. We know now, however, that there is a complex association between the two: (1) colon ischemia appears to be more common in the IBS patient than was recognized previously; and (2) there is concern that the newly developed serotonin receptor agonists or antagonists (such as Zelnorm and Lotronex) may increase the risk of colon ischemia, and serotonergic signaling may be abnormal in patients with colitis. This review highlights some of the relationships between colon ischemia, IBS, and therapy for IBS.
Go here for more
Looking for safer alternatives to Zelnorm? Go here for more
Food Elimination Based on IgG Antibodies Helpful in IBS
In IBS, food elimination based on IgG antibodies reduced the symptom score by 26% in fully compliant patients, according to the results of a randomized, controlled trial study published in the October issue of Gut. The authors suggest that adverse reactions to food in patients with IBS might be caused by some form of immunologic mechanism other than dietary allergy, particularly one mediated by IgG antibodies.
Go here for more
Probiotic Improves Postinfective Gut Dysfunction
Treatment with the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei reduces the muscle hypercontractility seen in an animal model of postinfective gut dysfunction, suggesting a possible benefit for patients with postinfective irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), new research in the September issue of Gastroenterology shows.
Go here for more
Increase the benefits of probiotics with the prebiotic Tummy Fiber Acacia.
Looking for the latest IBS research and news?
What about a diet for IBS and Fibromyalgia?
Check out the IBS Research Library!
"I have Fibromyalgia, and IBS is just one part of my illness. Can I follow the IBS diet? Will this help or hurt my other Fibromyalgia symptoms?"
~ Carol S., Wellesley, MA
While IBS is a much more common illness than most people realize (it's estimated to affect 15-20% of the general population), an even higher percentage of people with fibromyalgia suffer from this disorder. Because fibromyalgia can require some dietary restrictions in its own right, it's helpful to know that these can be easily incorporated into the IBS diet - there's no reason at all your diet can't help both problems.
Acid-forming foods such as red meat and dairy, which are problematic for the joint pain of fibromyalgia, are completely avoided when you're eating for IBS - this is truly a case where you're killing two birds with one stone. Stimulants like black tea and coffee, which are detrimental for IBS and fibromyalgia as well, can be easily (and deliciously) replaced with herbal teas that actively aid digestion, such as peppermint, fennel, chamomile, and anise. Peppermint is my personal favorite for helping IBS and fibromyalgia both. Mint contains menthol and methyl salicylate, which have anti-spasmodic actions and calming effects on the body's smooth muscle tissues. Mint also has powerful analgesic (pain-killing) properties that are mediated, in part, through activation of kappa-opioid receptors, which help block pain signal transmission.
If you're really longing for a cuppa joe instead of tea, there are also several caffeine-free herbal coffees (typically made from roasted soy or chicoree) on the market. Try a few brands and see what you think - they can taste quite close to the real deal, but they won't trigger symptoms.
There are some gray areas in the overlap between dietary guidelines for IBS and fibromyalgia. Foods in the deadly nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants) bother some people, but not others, with fibromyalgia; if they're problematic for you they can simply be replaced with other vegetables. With all vegetables, make sure you follow the IBS guidelines for dealing with insoluble fiber foods - these foods absolutely do need to be eaten, but carefully. Refined table sugar, a stimulant which can negatively affect fibromyalgia, is typically not a problem for IBS (though certain sugars, such as fructose and lactose, often are). However, sugar is a junk food, so it can simply be omitted from your diet if you wish. Unrefined sugars such as maple syrup or honey may be more tolerable, or stevia can be used.
Acidic foods, such as citrus and vinegar, are often problematic for IBS as well as fibromyalgia - this is another area where substitutions are best made (try using fresh citrus zest instead of juice, and flavored soy sauces, mustards, or other condiments to replace vinegars). Aside from these specific considerations, the general dietary guidelines for IBS (high soluble fiber, low fat, the careful incorporation insoluble fiber) are usually quite helpful for fibromyalgia as well, and allow for a tremendous amount of culinary freedom. You don't have to give up great taste or fun cooking in order to have good health, even if you're dealing with IBS and fibormyalgia both!
One of the most popular previous IBS Newsletter columns was the Seven Sneaky Deadly Sins of the IBS Diet. Wondering what they all are? Check here...
1. Coffee (yes, decaf counts)
2. Yogurt (it's the safest dairy product for IBS...isn't it?)
3. Alcohol (just one glass of wine is okay, right?)
4. Vitamin supplements (they're good for you, aren't they?)
5. No insoluble fiber foods (they're triggers, so you just don't eat them, right?)
6. Too low a dosage of soluble fiber supplements
7. Not drinking enough water (doesn't soda pop count?)
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