Saturday, November 16, 2013

Benefits of Lactobacillus GG probiotic (Culturelle)

It’s been exciting in recent years to note that more research is being done to determine the many benefits of probiotics.  We are thankful that Dr. Poley was in tune to research about them in 2003 when Sarah was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

With more and more probiotics becoming available, it can become rather confusing in knowing which one is the most beneficial.  Lactobacillus GG has been the most widely researched probiotic and is the one Dr. Poley highly recommends.

In a study done by Gupta et al, at University of Chicago in 2000, significant changes were evident in patients with Crohn’s Disease who took LGG twice a day.  Symptoms of pain, diarrhea and lab work all improved within 1 week! In another preliminary study done in 2002 by Guandalini at University of Chicago, some children diagnosed with Crohn’s disease showed significant improvement by taking Lactobacillus GG.
In 2006 a study was done by Zocco et al at Catholic University on187 patients with ulcerative colitis, and it was noted that LGG seems to be effective for maintaining remission in patients with ulcerative colitis.
In our family, we have noted additional health benefits of increased immunity with LGG (Culturelle).  Along with the benefit of Crohn’s disease remission, Sarah had great improvement with her allergies (seasonal and dust) after taking Culturelle. She rarely gets sick with colds and when she does, the duration is typically brief.

 My husband decided to take Culturelle hoping for improvement of his allergies as well.  Previously he had taken allergy shots, used a steroid inhaler every day for about 15 years, and took Allegra as needed.  He began taking Culturelle twice a day in 2007 and stopped taking allergy shots along with the other allergy medicines at that time.  A couple of months later when the fall seasonal allergens arrived, he realized he didn’t even need to take any allergy medicine.   And when the spring allergens arrived, he only needed several allergy pills through that season.  He continues to do well by taking Culturelle everyday and rarely needs allergy medicines.

A friend of ours had repeated episodes of bronchitis in the winter months for a few years.  He started taking Culturelle twice a day and had significant reduction in respiratory infections. 

So if you are following Dr. Poley’s plan of diet and Culturelle for Crohn’s or Ulcerative colitis, be encouraged that along with the benefits LGG carries for IBD, you may have other health benefits as well.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I have included a recipe for Cranberry relish. Since cranberries are so tart, the recipes for this usually contain a lot of sugar.  But we have found that using some honey and a small amount of orange juice seems to make it sweet enough. Enjoy!
May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And may you be blessed with good health!

Cranberry Relish
2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup orange juice
¼ cup water
1/3 cup honey
1 small apple, chopped
½ cup pecans, chopped

Mix cranberries and orange juice and water in a blender.  Pour into saucepan and add honey.  Bring to a simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir often.  Allow to cool and then add pecans and chopped apple. Refrigerate.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dealing with a Colonoscopy Prep

Recently the topic has come up regarding the best prep to use in preparing for a colonoscopy.  If you are following a restricted sucrose diet, and at some point have to have a colonoscopy, I hope these suggestions will be helpful in continuing to adhere to the diet.

Two years ago, Dr. Poley suggested that Sarah have a colonoscopy to make sure there weren’t any hidden problems.  We were thrilled the results were normal!
The following is the prep and also the diet that Dr. Poley recommended prior to that procedure:

Two days before the colonoscopy, drink 1 ½ ounces of castor oil. (Sarah mixed it with white rice, which made it more tolerable.)  She was also instructed to eat a low-residue diet (also called a low-fiber diet). The purpose of the low residue diet is to reduce the volume of stools.
Low residue diet:
-- Well cooked meats.
--Well cooked vegetables (ex. beets, green beans, carrots, squash and eggplant). Avoid broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
--Well cooked white potatoes (no skin)
--Fruit without skin, applesauce, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
--Milk, but limit to 2 cups/day.
--Plain cereals such as cheerios or cornflakes are okay.
--Saltine crackers are okay.
--Avoid whole grains, popcorn, potato chips, highly spiced foods and nuts and peanut butter.

On the day before the colonoscopy, Dr. Poley ordered a clear liquid diet and gave instructions to drink a bottle of citrate of magnesium that afternoon.

So many of the choices that are typically suggested for a clear-liquid diet contain a lot of sugar (sucrose) and could possibly cause problems, such as sodas, sweet popsicles, jello, Gatorade, etc.

The choices that worked well for Sarah in following a clear liquid diet with very little sucrose are chicken broth, beef broth, naturally flavored teas with no sugar added,“Knox blocks”(made with apple juice and Knox gelatin) and water. You can also make popsicles with diluted apple juice.

  Recipe for Knox Blox 
(using less juice than the recipe on the box of gelatin)
 4 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold apple juice
1 cup apple juice and 2 cups of water heated to boiling.
Sprinkle gelatin over cold juice in large bowl; let stand 1 minute.  Add hot juice and water until gelatin completely dissolves, which is about 5 minutes.
Pour into 13x 9 inch pan.
Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.  Cut into squares.  To make it more fun for kids, use cookie cutters to cut different shapes.

Many Blessings,

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Low Sugar Lunches

For those of you who may be packing school lunches for your children or for yourself in the weeks ahead, I have listed below some ideas of food choices in following a restricted sucrose diet.

Suggestions for sandwiches:
-Sandwich made with bread slices that have 1 gram or less of sugar per slice.
-Deli meat that has no sugar added to flavor it.
-Peanut butter sandwich (jellies are not allowed since they have too much sugar in them, but is okay to use a
     thin layer of honey with peanut butter, if desired)
-Tuna or egg salad with mayonnaise.
-Cheese sandwich....can use sharp cheddar cheese if lactose intolerant.

If you are trying to follow a gluten-free diet, corn or rice tortillas work well for cheese and meats. Taco shells are another option.  Sarah sometimes has a peanut butter sandwich made with 2 thin corn cakes or can use rice cakes.

There are selections of gluten-free breads available as well that don’t have much sugar.  Most of them are quite expensive unless you make your own.

Add a piece of fruit to the lunch: 
We find that an apple or pear is a good choice as they seem to be more filling than some of the other fruits. If there is limited time for eating lunch, container of applesauce works well.
Of course, plain yogurt and adding your own fruit to it is another great choice!

Add a vegetable such as carrot sticks or celery.  Cold peas and slices of cucumber or dill pickles are good choices too.
You can add a container of hummus for dipping raw veggies in, if desired.  I’ll add a recipe for that below that is mild.

For additional food or snacks, the following is a list of some processed foods that are convenient to pack which have very little sugar added to them.
Goldfish crackers—0 grams of sugar per serving
Cheez-it crackers—0 gm.
Saltine crackers—0 gm.
Special-K cracker chips—0 gm.
Triscuit crackers—0 gm.
Townhouse crackers—1 gm. (in 5 crackers)
Club Crackers—1 gm. (in 17 crackers)
Snyders Pretzels - less than 1 gm.
Corn torilla chips - less than1gm
Doritos - less than 1 gm.

Some products that I noted at Whole Food Store if you are looking for organic:
“365” Golden round crackers—1 gram in 6 crackers
“Back to Nature” classic Rounds—1 gm. in 5 crackers
“Harvest” whole wheat crackers—0 gm.; Crispy cheddar crackers—0 gm.
“Blue Diamond Nut Thins” (all types are gluten free and have 0 grams of sugar added)

These are some breads that have only 1 gram of sugar per slice:
Whole foods brands—Italian bread—1gram/slice
                                    Spelt - less than 1 gm
                                    Oatmeal bread - less than 1 gm
“Nature’s Own bread”—Whole wheat - less than 1 gm
                                    -Butter bread- less than 1 gm
Pepperidge Farm—small loaf—1 gram per slice

For a beverage, water is the best choice; unsweetened tea is okay, milk is fine too, but no juices are allowed, since they contain too much sucrose.

I hope this list is of help.
Blessings to you all!

Recipe for Hummus
1 can of garbanzo beans (drained and set aside liquid)
¼ cup liquid from can of garbanzo beans or water
¼ cup Tahini
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp salt
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

National Geographic Article about Sugar

There is a fascinating article about sugar in the August issue of the National Geographic magazine.  It tells of the history of sugar and that the amount many consume is toxic.  Richard Johnson, a nephrologist at the University of Colorado has noted..." It seems like every time I study an illness and trace a path to the first cause, I find my way back to sugar."
It's hard to believe that the average American consumes more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day!

Here's the link to this very informative article.

Hope you have a great last week of summer! Be sure to check back later in the week for some ideas of healthy snacks to pack in school lunches.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Possibility of Celiac Disease in Association with IBD

About 2 years ago, my daughter, Sarah, began to feel extreme fatigue and started having headaches after lunch.  She had no other symptoms.  Since I have had a wheat-intolerance for over 15 years which causes me great fatigue along with achy finger joints, I suggested she try eliminating gluten for a week.  After following a gluten-free diet for several days, her energy level resumed to normal.  She had an appointment to see Dr. Poley in a few weeks for her yearly check-up and planned to discuss it with him then.

When we were searching for answers for the cause of Sarah’s anemia in 2003, she had the antibody blood tests done for Celiac twice which were negative. The endoscopy report did not indicate Celiac either, so we presumed and hoped that would never be an issue.  But at her appointment with Dr. Poley 2 years ago, after she mentioned her experience of fatigue and headaches after eating wheat, he ordered a genetic test to rule out Celiac; he thought that a HLA-DNA test would improve diagnostic accuracy. A cheek swab specimen was sent to Kimball Genetic Lab in Colorado. .  The results were positive for one of the markers for Celiac disease. (DQA1- O5 allele)  Dr. Poley also ordered a Vitamin D level.  The result was low at 17, which can be associated with Celiac disease. So in addition to following a restricted sugar diet, Sarah now follows a gluten-free one as well.  Since I have been eating a gluten-free diet for a number of years, it made the transition of finding the right foods a little easier.

 Due to the results of Sarah’s tests, I decided to have the genetic test done and the results showed the same markers that she has. Her brother, who started having problems with gluten, also has the same marker. 

Dr. Poley has noted from patients when he was in practice and also from many research articles that Celiac disease is one of the most under-diagnosed disorders in this country. There can be false negatives with the antibody blood tests.  Sometimes it can be missed by an endoscopy or even by a biopsy.

I recently heard about an experience from someone who has been corresponding with me about her daughter who was recently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.  Her daughter was improving with the sucrose-restricted diet and probiotics but when she started following a gluten-free diet, she improved even more. They are currently awaiting further test results.

If the sucrose-restricted diet and probiotics are helping you, but not totally restoring your health, you might want to try a gluten-free diet as well and talk to your doctor about further testing for Celiac disease.

The following is a list of symptoms of Celiac Disease that might be of interest to you:
-Bloating, cramps, altered bowel habits, indigestion, or persistent gastro-esophageal reflux.
-Abdominal pain (can be a very prominent symptom)
-Iron deficiency anemia
-Mouth ulcers
-Abnormal liver enzymes
-Autoimmune Thyroid disease
-Loss of hair (alopecia)
-Dry eyes and mouth
-Diabetes Type 1
-Gynecological problems (problems with periods or infertility or miscarriages)
-Neurological problems ---headaches, difficulty concentrating, poor school work,                
            behavioral disorder, difficulty with balance, depression, or forgetfulness
-Osteopenia or Osteoporosis
-Discolored enamel defects

I’ll add a recipe below for gluten-free oatmeal bread or muffins.  Enjoy!
May you be blessed with good health!
Oatmeal  Banana Bread or Muffins
1 ½ cup oats and 1 cup milk (soak together while mixing the rest)
Mix together the following dry ingredients.
1 ½ cup oat flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼  tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
 2 tsp powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp xanthum gum
Mix together the following wet ingredients and then mix with wet ingredients and also soaked oats.
1/8 to ¼ cup honey
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
2 mashed bananas  or   use 1 cup applesauce
Chopped nuts and coconut and raisins may be added if desired.
Pour in loaf pan (bake for 1 hour) or muffin pan (bake for 25 minutes) at 350 degrees.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Daily Allowance of Sucrose

When Sarah first saw Dr. Poley in 2003, he suggested she restrict sucrose (sugar) as much as possible.  Since Sarah was the first patient Dr. Poley had recommended this diet to for treating Crohn’s disease, a guideline of a daily sucrose allowance had not been determined.  Through reading labels we decided that allowing 3 grams or below seemed reasonable.  It would drastically reduce the amount Sarah had been eating previously, but she did attempt to reduce the amount more than that.

In recent time, we have tallied up Sarah’s usual intake of sucrose added to processed food.  (This is only referring to the sucrose that has been added to foods, which can be identified in the Ingredient label and the Nutrition label.)  For the past 10 years and today, the amount of added sucrose that Sarah has adhered to and Dr. Poley highly recommends is between 5 and 10 grams as a daily allowance. 

I realize that this total may sound very rigid, but if you begin reading labels, you will find this guideline is very workable to follow.  It may take a little time to walk through the aisles at the grocery store checking out the products that are available, kind of like a treasure hunt.  If this diet helps your health, it truly may be a treasure to find the right foods.

This is an example to further explain:
For Breakfast—cereal (1 or 2 grams for a cup)
For lunch—sandwich bread (1 gram of sugar in each slice = 2 grams)
Snack—choices of pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, and a variety of crackers, (0 - 1 gram)
For Dinner—roll or bread (1 gram in one serving)
These would add up to 5 or 6 grams.
Sarah usually has 1 or 2 pieces of fruit a day, and maybe occasionally, 3.

I will include a chart below of the sucrose content in some fruits to give you an idea of which fruits contain the most sucrose. It’s from an article by J. Rumessen (Scand J Gastroenterology 1992;27:819)  Also below that, I'll add a recipe for oatmeal granola. Enjoy!

May you be blessed with good health!

Sucrose Amounts in Fruits:
(These amounts are per 100grams of edible portion of fruit)

Apple—1-5 grams
Cherry-- .02 grams
Grape—0.5 grams
Orange—4-7 grams
Pear—1-2 grams
Plum—1-5 grams
Prune—2 grams
Honey—2 grams
Carrot—4 grams
Melon—1.5 grams 

Recipe for Granola:

3 cup oats
1 cup coconut
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup raisins
Optional ingredients: chopped pecans, almonds, coconut

Combine all ingredients except raisins. Spread out on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 min. stirring in pan after first 15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Side Effects of Medication or a Flare?

Side Effects of Medication or a Flare?

There have been times when I have wondered if a person’s relapse into a flare has actually been from the disease process in Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, or has it been from side effects of medications?  It seems that this is a difficult question to answer since many of the medicines prescribed for Crohn’s disease carry the risk of causing adverse reactions that are similar to the symptoms of the disease itself.
If your health has improved by following a restricted-sucrose diet and taking Culturelle, while still taking medication, and if you later begin to have symptoms of a flare-up, it would be wise to talk to your doctor about the possible occurrence of side effects from the medicines.  Even if one is listed as rare, it is worth considering, because obviously someone in the past has experienced a reaction since the drug company documented it in their literature.
I'll add some websites below with information about medications that are frequently prescribed for IBD. 
Following the list is a recipe for a delicious quiche!
Blessings of good health to you!

These are the links about medications:
Pentasa, Asacol, Lialda, Apriso are brand names for the drug Mesalamine...
Entocort is the brand name for drug Budesomide…
Imuran is the brand name for Azathioprine...
This is a link about Humira injections….
This is a link about Methotrexate...
Remicade is brand name for Infliximab...

Here’s a recipe for a quiche with a unique crust made with grated potatoes created by Esther Beachy that I came across online.   I have changed a few of the ingredients according to our family’s likes. This works well if you are trying to stay away from gluten as well.  Enjoy!
Meat and Potato Quiche
3 tablespoons oil
3 cups shredded peeled potatoes, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)
¾ cup cooked ground beef
¼ chopped onion (optional)
1 cup milk
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Combine oil and potatoes in a 10 inch pie plate.  Press mixture down evenly to form a crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Layer with beef and cheese and onion.
Mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour over beef mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until the knife comes out clean.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Finding the Right Diet

From time to time, I get questions and comments about the differences with Dr. Poley’s diet and the Specific Carbohydrate diet, so I thought I would share some info that might help clarify the credibility of Dr. Poley’s dietary suggestions.

When our daughter Sarah was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2003, I came across Elaine Gottschall’s book about the specific carbohydrate diet.  Although I desperately did not want Sarah to take medicines, I must say as I thumbed through the book, I felt rather overwhelmed by the restrictions of the SCdiet. However, I did have intentions to try to convince our daughter to follow the diet.

Everything changed when I read about Dr. Poley on page 8 and realized that his office was only a 2 hour trip from us.  As I read further in the book, I found that Elaine had cited his research a number of times.  We were thrilled that we were able to make an appointment to see him. 

At our first appointment with Dr. Poley, I referenced the book where I had seen his name and research cited.  Imagine my surprise when I soon learned from him that his interpretation of his research was very different from how Elaine had interpreted it.

A brief explanation from Dr. Poley about the digestion process may shed some light on his valid reasons for his recommendations...  “With starches it goes as follows: first it is broken down by pancreatic amylase in the very upper small intestine, and is further worked on by gluco-amylase to the end product of glucose, which is then quickly absorbed. Sucrose is probably digested all along the small intestine, but it is in the terminal ileum where there is relative stasis until the digesta enter the cecum through the ileocecal valve, which may cause a slow-go, hence there is always increased bacterial activity, and those buggers have a hay-day.”

Since starches are quickly absorbed, Dr. Poley feels that sucrose is the main culprit for feeding the overgrowth of bacteria in the GI tract. Along with the restricted-sucrose diet, he suggests eating yogurt and taking Culturelle probiotic to bring balance to the gut bacteria.

Although we do not follow the SCdiet, I am truly grateful that Elaine wrote the book because it led us in the direction to find Dr. Poley.  Maybe in time all of the pieces of the puzzle to IBD will come together.  We hope this information is helpful in figuring out what works for you.

I have included a recipe for banana oatmeal cookies that I hope you will enjoy. They have the texture of a chewy cookie and are gluten free, dairy free and egg especially good cookie if you have any allergies to those foods.
Many blessings!

Recipe for Banana Oat Cookies-

1 ½ cups oats

½ cup oat flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons chopped nuts

2 medium bananas, mashed.

3/8 cup oil.

Raisins or Grain-sweetened chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients. 

In separate bowl, mix mashed bananas and oil, then add to the dry ingredients.

Drop by heaping teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Place pecan on top if desired. Bake 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Happy Spring!

Here it is already spring once again!  The months have passed quickly, but I hope to have time to write more in the weeks to come.

Life continues to be going well for our family, and our daughter, Sarah, remains free of Crohn’s disease.  In December she traveled to Indonesia to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding.  Ten years ago, we would never have imagined Sarah’s immune system would have tolerated a trip like that, since the environment with a different climate, foods, and germs can sometimes be challenging health-wise in a place like Jakarta.  We are grateful that Sarah did so well.  She had a great time and gathered wonderful memories for a life time.  

We have enjoyed hearing from others who also are having success by following a restricted-sucrose diet which is described in Reaching for Answers to Crohn’s Disease.  I’d like to take a moment to share about Sheila and her 2 sons from Cleveland, Ohio, who all have had Crohn’s disease.  Her story was very inspiring to me, and I hope it will be encouraging to you.  

I first heard from Sheila about two years ago.  She was diagnosed with Crohn’s many years ago and learned of our story when she was looking on Amazon for books on the subject.  After reading Reaching for Answers to Crohn’s Disease, she was intrigued because she herself had come to the realization through the years that sugar had been a factor in contributing to flares.  Using info in the book, Sheila was able to convince her sons, one in high school and one in college, about the credibility of the reasons for restricting sugar and taking a probiotic.

In her desire to spread this news to others, she gave books to several doctors.  Months later I heard from a gentleman whose 8 year old son had Crohn’s.  I soon learned that he received our book from his child’s pediatrician.  And guess what?  His pediatrician happened to be one of the doctors Sheila sent a book to. His son is doing well and is also now off of medications.

Reachingfor Answers to Crohn's Disease is now in e-book format to make it quicker to access for those who enjoy reading e-books. (Available from Winepress, the publisher, by clicking here.)  Two changes were made in this version: Dr. Poley now allows a small amount of honey, and we removed the statement about NutraSweet, since there is so much controversy about its safety.

I have included in this post a recipe for peach cobbler that has a small amount of honey in it.  It’s also gluten-free for those who are bothered with gluten.....Enjoy!

Many blessings to you for good health!   Happy Spring!


 Recipe for Peach Cobbler:

2 cans of drained sliced peaches (in juice—no sugar added)

1 cup oatmeal

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

3/8 cup honey

In 8 inch pie dish, pour cans of drained peaches

In a bowl stir together other ingredients.  Then mix in 1/3 cup of softened butter or margarine.

Spread on top of peaches and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.