Zap your way to good health?

celebratingMy husband routinely opens his stories with “So, I was listening to a podcast…” and I like to tease him about it.

Now it’s his turn to rib me because ‘I was listening to a podcast’ about a new tech product designed to help you break bad habits and form good ones.

A lot of what I recommend on my blog and in my counseling sessions involves behavioral change (e.g. eat slower), and some people struggle with this more than others. An 84-year old recently told me that habits are tough to break, especially at 84.

Fortunately, there are all kinds of resources available to help you change a behavior, a topic that I plan to address further in future blog posts. But, for now I want to tell you about two particularly imaginative devices.

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IBS, a look into the role of bile acids

Devin Roen is a dietetic intern at the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

By Devin Roen

Greetings friends!

Who wants to learn about bile acid diarrhea (aptly shortened “BAD”), a condition commonly found in patients with IBS?

Better question: who doesn’t?!

Let’s start with a few basics.

Bile—a digestive juice used to help breakdown fats—is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. When you eat something containing fat, your liver pumps bile into the gallbladder and the gallbladder squirts bile onto the fat entering the small intestine.

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What does a serving of nuts look like?

Last week I blogged about the health benefits of nuts, including improved heart health, weight management, and a decreased risk of a variety of diseases.

Go figure that this week, this fun infographic showed up on my twitter feed, courtesy of Daily Burn.


Click image to enlarge.

For many people, snacking on nuts is an excellent way to satisfy hunger pangs and ward off binge eating later in the day. Personally, I find them particularly suitable for satisfying a sugar craving.

However, we can have too much of a good thing. A serving of nuts is roughly 1/4 cup or 150-200 calories. Limiting your portion is important for both your waistline and your digestion. Too many nuts can wreak havoc on even the most resilient guts.

Take a mental snapshot of this infographic for the next time you’re going “nuts” for nuts.

Vitamin D improves symptoms in IBS Patients

sunshineVitamin D, sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin, has once again been linked to improving gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and quality of life in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal (GI) condition that affects millions of men, women, and children around the world.

Contrary to popular belief, IBS can involve low-grade inflammation of the GI tissue.

Vitamin D is an established regulator of the immune system and inflammation, and it has shown beneficial effects on a variety of health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, depression and multiple sclerosis, to name a few.

The most recent study in support of vitamin D supplementation for people with IBS is a randomized double-blind clinical trial, which is the cream of the crop of science experiments.

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Findings from my family “cleanse”

pineapple on the beachThis week marks the one year anniversary of the Webb “cleanse,” better known as the Webb “curse” by those who elected to join me for my 10-days of no added sugar, gluten, starchy vegetables, highly processed foods, artificial sweeteners, dairy or alcohol.

The main goals of the “cleanse” were to encourage us to read food labels, gain a better understanding of what’s in our food, try foods that we might otherwise not, eat more vegetables, and feel extra energized and healthy.

I’ll admit it was a challenge (for me, giving up my glass of wine was agony, and I’m pretty sure my brother would have preferred a birthday cake versus a birthday pineapple), but many valuable lessons were learned.

One of the participants, my friend Howie, kept a detailed journal of his observations, struggles, and food intake that I’ve been meaning to share with others with dietary restrictions who can relate to his experiences. I was reminded of it this week after finding out that he’s in the midst of his second Webb “cleanse.”

Thanks, Howie, for keeping the tradition alive!

Here are Howie’s entertaining journal entries from 2015. I’ve highlighted some of his more significant findings.

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Healthy grilling for this summer, and beyond

Healthy Grilling

As we look forward to summer picnics and barbeques, you might want to take a second to explore the potential health risks associated with grilling meat and learn what to do to minimize the potential dangers.

Healthy grilling is easy when you know some basic facts about how grilling affects our food.

The problem with grilling meat at high temperatures is that it can result in the formation of two dangerous compounds: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

So what the heck are HCAs are and why are they dangerous?

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FDA finalizes new and improved Nutrition Facts Label

Last week the First Lady announced that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized a “new and improved” Nutrition Facts Label that will help consumers make more informed food choices. The new adaptation takes into consideration emerging nutrition science and is the first significant update to the label since it was released over 20 years ago.

Here is what the Nutrition Facts Label will look like in the next 2-3 years:

New label

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Dysbiosis linked to obesity

First_aid_sqUnfortunately there is a wide-spread notion that people who are overweight or obese have no one to blame but themselves. Many people, including medical professionals, believe that fat people are fat because they have little self-control.

Our overweight friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors are frequent targets of discrimination.

This infuriates me.

The causes of obesity are multifaceted, and researchers are only just scratching the surface.

One of the less familiar causes of obesity is an imbalance of gut bacteria, known in the medical field as intestinal dysbiosis.

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Oral allergy syndrome common among adults

pollenHave you found that eating certain raw fruits, vegetables or nuts make your mouth or throat itch?

I used to think I was crazy for believing that I was allergic to cantaloupe, but I couldn’t otherwise explain why I wanted to take a back scratcher to the back of my throat and lips after eating it.

Turns out that I have oral allergy syndrome (OAS), which is the most common form of food allergy in adults and usually affects people who suffer from seasonal allergies. My allergy to ragweed pollen is linked to my discomfort after eating melon.

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