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Archive for » April 4th, 2017«

How the low-FODMAP diet helped me beat my bloat

If you’re one of the 60 million Americans with a digestive disorder, you may be used to approaching each meal with a sense of dread.

Simply snacking on a piece of fruit can leave you gassy, bloated or in pain. In my case, a couple of pieces of cauliflower can puff up my stomach like a balloon.

I have endometriosis, an inflammatory condition in which uterine cells grow outside of the womb, sparking symptoms like abdominal cramping and bloating. Ditching dairy and meat relieved many of my worst digestive woes. But as I entered my 30s, it seemed as if every bite of food became a gamble.

Some doctors suggested I take probiotic supplements loaded with healthy bacteria, but each pill gave me gas pain. One diet I tried suggested smoothies made of vegetables like kale, peas and garlic. After one souplike shake, I thought my stomach was going to explode.

Then another doctor suggested something I’d never heard of: the low-FODMAP diet.

FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols — certain carbohydrates prevalent in a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as milk and wheat, among other things. These carbs are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and rapidly fermented by bacteria in the colon, causing a wide range of abdominal woes, especially in people with sensitive guts, like those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

“What’s going on when you’re eating a high-FODMAP diet is you’re getting this osmotic effect in the bowel,” said Bethany Doerfler, a clinical registered dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “That means that you’re eating all of these sugars and fibers that are feeding gut bacteria, and they’re causing water to get pulled into the intestine.”

The result can be cramping, diarrhea, bloating and those stomach noises even your co-worker three desks down can hear.

Researchers at Australia’s Monash University created the low-FODMAP diet in 2005 to alleviate symptoms in patients with IBS, but it’s recently been gaining traction with others (like me) who are digestively challenged. Companies such as Nestle have even introduced low-FODMAP products like ProNourish, a nutrition drink.

“I think this is probably the first diet that we’ve had that has excellent data behind it to say manipulating carbohydrates actually helps change your symptoms,” Doerfler said. “Before that, it was a little anecdotal.”

Those wanting to try a low-FODMAP eating plan should talk to their doctor and consult a dietitian familiar with the diet; it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients since you’ll be cutting out or reducing important food groups.

Low-FODMAP followers start by eliminating high-FODMAP foods from their diet, often for a few weeks, before gradually reintroducing them. The idea is to keep a close eye on symptoms to figure out which foods you can tolerate. You might only have a problem with one category, and lower portions of some foods could be fine.

If you eat something problematic, it may take a couple of hours or a day for your gut to get back to normal.

“I remind people that if they have a symptom flare, they’re not in danger — they just feel crummy,” Doerfler said.

What foods should low-FODMAP followers avoid?

• Forgo dairy products with large amounts of lactose, a disaccharide. This means no ice cream, milk or yogurt. Humans can’t digest lactose without the help of lactase, an enzyme many people stop producing as they age. Products with low-lactose levels — butter and feta and cheddar cheeses — tend to be well-tolerated. Almond-based milks and desserts are dairy-free alternatives.

• Watch out for wheat. If you get gassy after eating bread or drinking beer, you could be reacting to the fructans — an oligosaccharide — not the gluten protein. Don’t just switch to artificially gluten-free products, which can still be hard on the gut. Try sourdough bread. The fermenting process breaks down some of the fibers for you.

• Raw onions and garlic are also high in fructans. If you’re sensitive to garlic, you can still use garlic-infused oil. For onions, substitute the green parts of scallions or leeks.

• Most beans need to be avoided, but you can try a quarter cup of canned chickpeas or a half cup of canned lentils. The canning process leaches out some of gas-producing elements.

• Fructose is another red flag. These are the single sugars, or monosaccharides, found in fruit. It becomes a problem when the amount of fructose is higher than the amount of glucose. Opt for fruits like bananas and blueberries instead of apples and cherries.

• Limit your intake of sugar alcohols, or polyols. They occur naturally in foods like mushrooms, watermelon and cauliflower and are used to make artificial sweeteners. If you need to add a little sweetness, try table sugar or stevia instead. Avoid any sugar ending in “ol.”

In my case, I realized I’d been eating high-FODMAP foods throughout the day. I put artificial sweetener in my coffee, had whole-wheat toast for breakfast and black beans for lunch. My usual afternoon snack — a nutrition bar — was chock-full of things on the high list.

I now have steel-cut oats with natural peanut butter and a banana in the morning. Lunch is sourdough bread, tofu and carrots. For dinner, I make sure to cook all my food.

“Heat is a great natural digestive enzyme,” Doerfler said. “I think that for some of these vegetables that might be too difficult to do raw, it’s a wonderful option to have them cooked.”

After the first week, I lost 2 pounds and my post-meal balloon belly had all but disappeared. After three months, I have an even stronger grasp on my problem foods. I still have bloating issues if I dine out, but at least I know my triggers.


For an updated list of high-and-low FODMAP foods, download Monash University’s app. It’s $7.99 at the Apple App Store and $9 on Google Play.

Other helpful resources can be found at MyGiNutrition.com (which receives funding from Nestle Health Science) and KateScarlata.com, a site run by a Boston-based dietitian by the same name.

If you’re looking for a guidebook with recipes, check out “Healthy Gut, Flat Stomach: The Fast and Easy Low-FODMAP Diet Plan” by Danielle Capalino ($17.95, Countryman Press).

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Diet Doc Discourages Fad Diets and Promotes ‘Healthy Eating …

SALT LAKE CITY, UT–(Marketwired – April 03, 2017) – Many individuals follow a strict diet regimen to balance their weight and prevent weight gain in the long run. Some dieters, however, are simply searching for a quick solution to achieve the perfect ‘summer body’. Fad diets seem to offer temporary solutions but can often be unhealthy as they are often starvation-based and potentially dangerous. A better option is to follow a healthy eating plan with nutrients that benefit the body without exceeding daily calorie intake goals. A healthy eating plan can be customized to an individual’s dietary needs but often involves the following:

  • Increased amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and leaner dairy products (fat-free or low-fat)
  • Moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Low amounts of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars

The Keto Diet, or the Ketogenic Diet, is one example of a healthy diet that promotes weight loss by modifying the body’s utilization of the energy from food. It involves high levels of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and low amounts of carbohydrates. Generally, the human body burns carbohydrates before fats for energy; the ketogenic diet removes carbohydrates from the diet for bit so the body is forced to burn stored fat.

If not managed properly, the Keto Diet, like any other diet, can be unhealthy or even dangerous. Although ketone bodies are a sign of weight loss with the Keto Diet, they can also be a warning sign of serious issues like diabetes. Therefore, it is important for a medical professional to supervise any major dieting endeavor. At Diet Doc, a nationally recognized weight loss center, the unique dietary needs of each individual are considered in order to maximize efficient, safe, and long-term weight loss.

All Diet Doc patients receive custom-designed weight loss programs and diet consulting. With a safe, doctor-supervised diet plan and guidance for life, Diet Doc patients gain the following benefits within the very first month:

  • Rapid but healthy weight loss
  • Understanding of past weight loss failures and detailed future planning
  • Customized and balanced diet plans that curb hunger and establish a healthy lifestyle
  • Attention to specific nutritional needs based on individual body chemistry

For patients who struggle with portion control or emotional eating, Diet Doc offers solutions like Metwell, which helps balance metabolism and reduce appetite without harmful side effects. Medical weight loss solutions like these, especially in combination with popular diets like the Ketogenic Diet, have been shown to be effective when doctor-supervised and customized to an individual’s dietary needs, according to Diet Doc Weight Loss Center’s resident medical expert, Dr. Rao.

With a team of doctors, nurses, nutritionists and motivational coaches, Diet Doc products help individuals lose weight fast and keep it off. Patients can get started immediately, with materials shipped directly to their home or office. They can also maintain weight loss in the long-term through weekly consultations, customized diet plans, motivational coaches and a powerful prescription program. With Diet Doc Weight Loss, the doctor is only a short phone call away and a fully dedicated team of qualified professionals is available 6 days per week to answer questions, address concerns and support patients.

Getting started with Diet Doc is very simple and affordable. New patients can easily visit https://www.dietdoc.com to quickly complete a health questionnaire and schedule an immediate, free online consultation.

About the Company:

Diet Doc Weight Loss is the nation’s leader in medical, weight loss offering a full line of prescription medication, doctor, nurse and nutritional coaching support. For over a decade, Diet Doc has produced a sophisticated, doctor designed weight loss program that addresses each individual specific health need to promote fast, safe and long term weight loss.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DietDocMedical

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DietDocMedicalWeightLoss/

LinkedIn: https://www.LinkedIn.com/company/diet-doc-weight-loss?trk=biz-brand-tree-co-logo

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Exactly How To Grocery Shop If You’re Trying To Lose Weight

These tips will help you be more thoughtful and efficient at the market:

Related: We Got a Trainer to Share Her Weekly Grocery List and Clean-Eating Tips

Shop The Perimeter

The perimeter method means sticking (mostly) to the foods along the walls of the grocery store—fresh produce, meats, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs. At some markets you’ll also find that there are fresh-pressed juices! By only shopping the outer rim of your local market, you’re avoiding ice cream, processed foods, chips, soda, and all that other stuff you don’t want! Pro tip: Duck into the grains aisle for a hot second to grab some quinoa, brown rice, beans, or oats—then get out.

Never Shop Hungry

You know this; we know this; but somehow it totally still happens. Your hunger can absolutely take over your brain and dictate your decisions, so don’t let the hunger pangs tell you what goes in your cart and then into your pantry and eventually into your belly.

Get The Right Staples

Make a list of the healthy dry goods that you should always have in your pantry and tailor your grocery list accordingly, depending on what’s low and in need of a refill. Need a little help on where to start? We’ve got a list of healthy pantry staples ready for you to print.

Make A List

Going into a grocery store aimlessly is like giving a presentation at work and not even knowing the topic (okay, that was a rough metaphor, but you get it). Your grocery list is your plan of attack—your strategy. You need to have that game plan, especially if you’re new at this. Plan what meals you’re going to make for the week. Evaluate what ingredients you already have and what you need. Craft your list based on your needs, and then get ready to own that grocery store like a boss.

Check out these moves that will help you burn calories fast.

Choose The Right Packaged Foods

Packaged foods are typically a no-go unless it’s something like precut produce. Obviously you want to steer clear of processed foods and junk, but sometimes markets offer prechopped fresh veggies and fruits as well as lighter packaged meals for on-the-go eating. Read the labels, be choosy, and decide what will help save you time while maintaining your nutrition goals (this is a lot easier to decide on if you are NOT hungry, so don’t skip tip number two!)

Choose The Right Stores

When you can, try to shop at natural and local markets that offer premium produce, organic ingredients, and grass-fed and pasture-raised animal products. This will guarantee that you’re giving your body the highest-quality fuel for your weight-loss journey.

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The Chew: The Raw Diet

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

I first met Saphy, Vega and Boudreau on an in-home registration. It was hard not to fall in love. Saphy, the oldest of the three dogs, is blind and follows you with her nose. Vega is light brown and small. She wears a constant look of concern on her face. Boudreau is the largest dog with dark patches on his white fur and the attention hog of this Pit-bull crew. They’re three of the most wonderful dogs I’ve known and the first I’ve cared for whose meals are based on the trendy raw diet, specifically, Primal Pet Food.

The first thing I noticed about these dogs is how healthy they are. Each is the perfect weight for their frame. All of them have the shiniest fur I’ve ever seen. They’re strong and athletic. Although she can’t see, Saphy jumps around like a puppy at playtime. Their feces are small and compact with no odor. Did their raw diet have anything to do with it?

Raw Diet Theory

The theory behind the raw diet is to feed your cat or dog food closest to what they would be eating if they were still in the wild. All proteins, usually muscle meat often still on the bone and organ meats such as kidneys and livers are 100 percent human grade, meaning the product is legally suitable and approved as nourishment for humans, as well as antibiotic and steroid free. All fruits and veggies, for example, kale, carrots, squash, broccoli and apples are certified organic with no preservatives added.

Benefits for dogs and cats include better intestinal health, healthier teeth and gums, shinier coats, weight loss, smaller amounts of feces with less offensive odors, urinary tract health and increased energy. Using a ready-made product saves you time in preparing meals from scratch and they are complete diets containing all the essential vitamins and minerals your pet needs. The feeding amount is usually smaller per meal meaning less food is needed.

The Decision

Thinking of my pets, I wondered if a raw diet could help one of my cats that’s overweight as well as my beefy dog? Would it improve the overall health of all three of my cats and dog?

When I was told one of the new products our retail store would be carrying was Primal Pet Food, I decided to make the change. Before trying a raw diet with your pet it’s important to first discuss this dietary change with your vet. My own vet was very supportive of my decision, especially for my dog. Your vet can guide you on how to ensure your pet will receive a balanced diet and remain healthy through the transition.

Transitioning to a Raw Diet

It’s important to start your pets off slowly when moving to the raw diet. Read the transition instructions the company provides on the back of the packaging. Each pet’s needs will vary depending on size and how much he or she normally eats. Gradually increase the amount of raw food until your pet is eating a full diet of raw products. Take as much time as your pet needs. The Primal Pet Food website has a great feeding calculator to determine the amount your pet should be fed. If your pet has a sensitive stomach, you may want to give him a digestive enzyme. Speak with your vet about recommended dosage.

Future Results

I begin the transition this week and will keep a journal to report any changes in my pets from their raw food diet. I will share my results over the next few weeks.

If you already use Primal Pet Food products or would like more information, we sell them at competitive prices in our retail store and Bark + Boarding (formerly Dog Paws n Cat Claws) staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Sara Schabach
In-Home Pet Sitting Manager and Company Writer

Summer meal program for children more than doubles in Genesee County

Perez McCall eats an orange in this 2015 MLive file photo at Center of Attraction Church in Saginaw County as part of the Meet Up and Eat Up program. The program allows kids under the age of 18 a free meal over the Summer.  

GENESEE COUNTY, MI — A summer meal program will more than double its output in Genesee County this summer after significant boosts in funding.

Meet Up to Eat Up, a Genesee County Community Action Resource Department summer feeding program for children, is expected to give away more than 100,000 meals this summer compared to a typical 40,000 meals in past summers. The increase comes in large part from an $811,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Education — which will be quite a difference from the typical $300,000 annual budget, said Matthew Purcell, executive director for GCCARD.

“One, I’m pleased to see that there’s a realization that because of the water crisis, there’s an increased demand and need for this type of service. Two, it shows a commitment and shows the importance this community places on the future – which is the children,” Purcell said.

Foods high in calcium and iron are known to combat the effects of lead exposure in the body.

The state’s grant is “above and beyond” the meal reimbursement funding that the program typically gets. The money allows the organization to increase the number of meals it gives out, but it will also do much more than that, he said.

“We’re also enhancing site capacities — they may need a refrigerator or heating unit to heat the meals or people to monitor and supervise sites. This provides resources to help enhance the sites around the county and city,” Purcell said.

Nutritious meals are typically given out at community events and summer camps as part of the program.

“It’s something fun that they want to go to … (the program) provides an interaction with the kids in the community to make sure they receive nutritious input in their daily diet,” Purcell said. “Typically, during the school year, the school is this source of nutrition … A lot of the children, if not for this program, wouldn’t have quality nutrition in their diet.”

Purcell said he hopes to expand in the future to a year-round, after-school program that provides healthy food for school children on weekends and holidays as well.

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