Category Archives: Healthy Choices

Upcoming events around Detroit for Crohn’s and Colitis

More good things are happening in the digestive health world, thanks in no small part to social networks connecting the people who care about them the most. Those fighters keep the movement toward awareness going forward; and awareness leads to early detection and ultimately, prevention!

Here are some upcoming events to get involved in the fight against colon cancer, crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Mix and Mingle at Royal Oak’s HopCat

The Michigan chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America are looking for new members to get involved. And what better what to do that than over beer? Head to HopCat in Royal Oak on Feb. 26 for a meet ‘n’ greet or to mix ‘n’ mingle with other young professionals in the area.

“Join us for Mingle Monday on February 26th at HopCat in Royal Oak starting at 6pm. Come meet other local professionals, learn more about the committee and brainstorm ways to make this year’s YP Committee even better. For more information about the YP Committee and to RSVP contact Kiel Porter at kporter@crohnscolitisfoundation.org or 248-737-0900 ext.4.”

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Camp Oasis Reunion at the Outdoor Adventure Center Detroit

Pizza and interactive exhibits make this event a must-attend. Free to past campers and only $5 for additional family members, this reunion gives you the chance to reconnect or if you’re new, the chance to get to know your new crew.

Third Annual Patient-2-Patient Education Project

This exciting event on March 21 is a FREE educational event for folks with various forms of IBD and their families.

“We have an exciting panel of guest speakers that will be pairing with expert IBD physicians, nutritionists, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals to discuss everyday IBD issues.”

You can even request the topics you want the panel to discuss beforehand. Get the rest of the details and RSVP through the Facebook page.

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Four simple food swaps that are easier than a menu makeover

Image result for healthy foodDiets don’t work. Repeat: Diets don’t work.

When you follow crazy fads or try to impose crazy restrictions on your food, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. And be honest – you know that’s true! Otherwise, you’d have stuck with the grapefruit diet or you’d still be eating cabbage soup.

But you know what else is equally as daunting? Immediately changing your entire diet to a healthier one.

So rather than going full-on low-carb or hopping into the Whole 30 method, a much more manageable approach is to start slow and swap. This way, you don’t lose any of your favorite foods, and you’ll be far more likely to make even more swaps as you get the hang of things.

Here’s our list of the simplest swaps to make for the new year.

Swap 1: Whole Grain for White

You don’t have to drop the gluten in order to be healthy, but you can change out your nutrition-free white bread for a heartier, whole-grain version and still enjoy your carbs.

“Whole-grain bread provides more essential nutrients and more health benefits than white bread because it is less refined and still contains the nutrient-rich bran and germ, both of which are removed when making white flour,” says Live Strong.

You’ll adjust to the flavor quicker than you think, and still be able to enjoy sandwiches and toast like always.

And there are so many versions of whole grain bread that have things like flax seed and sprouted wheat that add even more nutritional value to your diet.

Swap 2: Veggies for Chips

This might sound ridiculous – replacing your usual tortilla chips or crackers for cut veggies – but we promise, it works.

Chips and crackers can add a ton of sodium and saturated fat to your diet, and when you add your favorite dip to the mix, it can happen so quickly!

But rather than cut out your crunchy snack altogether, swapping the carbs for some veg has double benefits: You still get to enjoy hummus, salsa, even a cheese dip, while eating a serving or two of veggies that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Try English cucumbers (the kind in the wrapper), baby carrots, fresh green beans and bell pepper. This means satisfied cravings with tons of fiber and other nutrients. Win-win.

Swap 3: Non-Meat for Meat

Stay with us – we’re not saying you need to become a vegetarian overnight, but every once in a while, it can be really good for you.

And don’t think you have to eat soy alternatives or weird ingredients you can’t pronounce. A simple beans-instead-of-beef swap can make taco night super filling and healthy. Or some simple veggie burgers that come together in a snap with ingredients like sunflower seeds and sweet potatoes make a veggie option much tastier.

This will not only reduce your fat and sodium intake from beef, it’ll give you that extra boost of nutrients that plant-based proteins offer.

Swap 4: Fruit for Dessert

Don’t freak out just yet. We don’t mean you should be eating apples instead of cookies, but there are desserts out there that aren’t completely void of nutritional benefits.

Banana-coconut “nice cream” is a silky sweet alternative to your favorite dairy treat, and black bean brownies are so decadent and chocolatey, you won’t even believe they’re flour-free.

And if all else fails, the classic strawberries with whipped cream route is always a hit.

No matter what you swap or how successful you are, don’t stop trying! Every good decision you make should remind you that you care about yourself and the health of your family, so keep fighting the good fight.

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Wisdom from our doctors: Troy Gastro’s best quotes

Sure, we’re a little biased when it comes to our favorite doctors. Our medical professionals at Troy Gastro are some of the finest we know – and we have their wisdom to prove it.

Over the years, we’ve asked our docs so many questions about colon and digestive health, and they don’t disappoint with their answers.

Here are some of favorites from the staff at Troy Gastro.

Dr. John Weber on Quitting TobaccoDr. John Weber talks to us about digestive issues and tobacco use.

“Many diseases that people acquire are beyond their control. The risk of developing certain diseases, however, can be decreased by lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and nutrition.

“I think if patients understood the true financial and health costs associated with their tobacco use, then they might be willing to quit – or, even better, not start smoking.

“It’s not easy, but there are now many successful strategies available to help patients quit smoking.”

 

Dr. Kerri Bewick on Pregnancy and Digestive HealthStaff

“Heartburn can result from hormonal changes and increased abdominal pressure from the growing uterus. Increasing the fiber in your diet or taking a daily fiber supplement can help.

“Not all ‘natural’ products are safe. Some herbal products (including herbal tea) can cause harm to your unborn child. So be sure to check with your doctor before taking any of these substances.

“There are also some things to avoid, like caffeine, chocolate, fatty foods, citrus and peppermint. Avoiding these triggers can help prevent indigestion.”

 

Dr. Sante Bologna on DiverticulitisStaff

“Diverticula occur at points of weakness in the bowel wall where the blood vessels penetrate.

“A diet high in total fat and red meat is associated with an increased risk of symptomatic diverticular disease. And dietary fiber is associated with a decreased risk.”

 

 

 

Dr. Anezi Bakken on Heartburn and GERDStaff

“Heartburn is one of many possible symptoms of GERD. GERD means reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. Some food-related causes could be caffeine, spicy or rich foods, overeating, alcohol, tomato sauces or citrus.

“If you have heartburn every day you should seek medical care from a physician to identify the cause. Occasional heartburn from your trigger foods is one thing, but there is an increased risk  for Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer in patients with chronic and persistent GERD.”

 

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Fall for foods that are good for you – with recipes

Image result for fall foodsFall is one of our favorite times to eat. When the weather cools off, nothing is cozier than a hot pot of soup of a nice casserole to accompany your snuggling.

Here we’ve got a few of our favorite fall foods that pack some nutritional punch with some recipes to make them even tastier.

Squash Casserole

This simple casserole is actually pretty decadent, with a cracker crust and a cheesy sauce to offset the earthiness of this root veggie.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups sliced yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 35 buttery round crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter

This one-pot dish comes together in a snap. See some photos and get the instructions.

Apple-Almond Farro Salad

We love this recipe because it’s super versatile and doesn’t have to be followed exactly. You can substitute any cheese, fresh herbs or vinegar that you prefer over what’s on the ingredient list. And, this keeps really well for lunches the next day.

Ingredients

  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Splash of white wine
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup blanched, chopped almonds
  • 2 apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1/3 fresh parsley
  • 6 oz. smoked mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

This list might look lengthy, but keep in mind that you can substitute just about any of these ingredients. Learn the technique here.

Brussels Sprout and Hazelnut Salad with Goat Cheese

This salad uses the technique of “salt wilting” –  mixing raw sprouts with salt to soften them – to make this salad full of great textures and flavors. Combine that with tangy goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts and a tangy vinaigrette, and this will become a favorite around your house.

Plus it’s our favorite fall veggies – Brussels sprouts!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 Brussels sprouts, sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tangerine
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • 3/4 cup skin-on hazelnuts
  • 4 oz. fresh crumbled goat cheese

Learn all about the salt-wilting technique and get the full list of instructions here.

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The latest in digestive health news

Image result for digestive health graphicSo much is happening in the world of digestive health. Clinical trials and research are revealing new trends and treatments all the time; fundraisers are happening across the country; more people are learning about the risks and working to prevent colon cancer.

Here are a few interesting things happening in the digestive health world this week.

Michigan Fundraiser – Golf Fore Guts Silent Auction

If golfing isn’t your thing, you can still support this Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation initiative through their silent auction. You’ll find all sorts of signed sports memorabilia and even an in-home wine tasting for 12 of your favorite people.

“The 5th Annual Golf Fore Guts silent auction is open! Bidding will close at 5pm on Sunday, August 13th. You do not have to be present to win. Click the link below to see the list of silent auction items like a Miguel Cabrera signed baseball and TaylorMade golf drivers. To register click the Sign In button on the website or text fore17 to 24700. Happy Bidding!”

Dating with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Sahara Fleetwood-Beresford shares with The Mighty her and many others’ struggle to date with various forms of IBD – something that folks with healthy guts might not even think of. As if dating isn’t difficult enough, having the added pressure of numerous bathroom trips, frequent fatigue, or wearing an ostomy can create some obstacles that make dating seem unworthy.

“It is small things like this that could affect even the early on stages of dating that I like to get off my chest sooner rather than later. That way, it will soon become clear apparent whether there is any compatibility. These may be small things, but they occur regularly and could present a problem in terms of the outlook for the relationship.”

Read the rest of her heartfelt, honest, and eye-opening blog on The Mighty.

Colon Cancer Rates Rising in Younger White Folks

In the United States, the black population has faced historically higher rates of colon cancer than any other ethnic group. However, the recent rates of colon cancer have increased in the white population – especially in those under 50. This presents a problem since most doctors agree that screening for colon cancer and other digestive issues isn’t necessary until the age of 50 for most. Those with a family history of the disease are encouraged to get screened earlier, but if you’re not aware of your history, you’re at a higher risk.

” The number of whites being diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their mortality rates are rising, even as blacks are seeing a decline in both categories,” says Kaiser Health News. “Despite those declines, however, blacks still have higher rates of death from the disease.”

So while the community is rallying to make sure people are taking as many preventive measures as possible, it might be time to look at the age in which we’re doing so.

The best way to protect yourself is to learn your family history, get to the doctor, and to be open to as many preventive methods as possible.

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Our HOT LIST of good foods for digestion

Image result for leafy greensEating right for your digestive health doesn’t have to be a crazy health-food-store-expensive-ingredient journey. You probably have a lot of the foods that can help digestion and are also good for folks struggling with different forms of IBD.

Here’s our HOT LIST of foods that are great for your gut and not super fussy.

Good Fats

Avocado

This creamy goodness comes equipped with soluble fiber, which is much easier on your digestive tract than the insoluble stuff. And, once they’re ripe, they’re easy to prepare. Simply cut in have, twist out the core, and scoop into your dish.

Add some salt, garlic powder and black pepper, then mash together for a quick guacamole spread for sandwiches. Or scoop it into your blender, and add some lemon juice or vinegar, your favorite seasonings and herbs, and some Greek yogurt for a creamy green goddess dressing.

Smooth Nut Butters

The crunchy stuff can irritate your bowels if you struggle with Crohn’s, diverticulitis or other similar issues. The smooth stuff offers just the same amount of good fats, protein and fiber, but allows your body to do less work.

Add almond butter to a smoothie with blueberries, spinach and almond milk. Or dip carrots into peanut butter for a crunchy afternoon snack. Cashew butter works as a butter substitute if you’re in the mood for some baked good.

Salmon

This healthy-fat fish is a fan favorite. The oils are great for everything from your lower tract to your skin. Add some salt, brown sugar and pineapple and roast in tinfoil for a sweet and salty dinner. If fish isn’t your forte, order the salmon next time you’re out to eat, and let someone else do the cookin’.

Soft Leafy Greens

Spinach

Popeye’s favorite green is such for a reason. It’s loaded with vitamins, and the leaves aren’t as tough on your gut as kale or the tougher greens are. Spinach is a great vehicle for flavor. Saute a bag in a bit of olive oil with salt and fresh garlic for a super simple side dish. Add it to your smoothie since the flavor and texture will blend right in. Or add a handful to your next salad.

Arugula

Arugula is a really flavorful green that’s got a peppery bite that’s a wonderful addition to most dishes. Throw a handful into a pita pocket with some tuna fish, onion and Greek yogurt for an easy lunch. Or stir this into some warm rice and add olives, diced bell peppers and crumbled feta.

Watercress 

This super food has been named the most nutritious of all the greens. It’s a delicate and soft leaf that won’t irritate your stomach, and mixes in with any salad recipe you can think of. Same goes for smoothies – add some watercress with strawberries, peanut butter and coconut milk for a yummy breakfast or afternoon snack. And watercress goes well with your favorite veggies, diced and dressed the way you like. Add some salmon for a well-balanced meal.

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Women’s Health Week: Colon cancer isn’t just for men

Image result for women's health week 2017

From May 14 – 20, the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to raise awareness around and provide recommendations for women’s health.

The mission of this initiative is to “Provide national leadership and coordination to improve the health of women and girls through policy, education, and model programs.”

Although there are several issues that primarily affect women – cervical, ovarian and breast cancers, mammograms, osteoporosis – women also face risks with digestive issues. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colon Cancer are just a few of the health concerns of which Women’s Health Week works to increase awareness.

And while the risk for colon cancer is slightly lower in women than in men, almost 5% of women will face a diagnosis this year alone. However, those risks have been decreasing steadily over the past several decades, due almost exclusively to advanced screening capabilities and treatment options.

But we’re not out of the woods just yet: Colon cancer is still the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States.

“The old message was that colon cancer was a man’s disease. We have to be careful not to regress in our message to women.” says Sidney J. Winawer, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, to MedPage Today.

So what can women do? Two words: Get screened.

Advancements in technology, research and treatment are only good if we actively opt to utilize them. Most medical professionals recommend that women start their regular colonoscopies at age 50. However, if you have a family history of the disease, or other potential factors such as obesity, smoking and certain ethnicities, your doctor may recommend an earlier start.

For more information on women’s health issues, and National Women’s Health Week in general, WomensHealth.gov. There, you’ll find out how you can get involved, and a comprehensive list of topics that affect women’s health, with information and additional resources for each.

Call to book your colonoscopy today. And remember, screening saves!

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Our favorite recipes that are good for digestion

Everyone knows we love tasty recipes that are good for your gut. Over the years we’ve shared a bunch for different occasions. So we thought we’d revisit our favorites as a yummy reminder of all the goodness you can get while still treating yourself right.

Sweet Potato and Broccoli Toasts

Image result for healthy meals

Not all food that’s good for digestion is rabbit food.

These bites are a little more work than the cauliflower, but the flavor is perfect for a holiday brunch on a cold winter morning. There are a lot of ingredients, but most of them are optional or swap-able. Use whatever fresh herbs you like or have in the fridge, and garnish with sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds. Serve with a mimosa and you’ve got yourself a party.

Here are the ingredients. 

Sweet Potato Mash

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 12 oz.), peeled, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 red Thai chile (optional), halved, some seeds removed
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Broccoli

  • 1 large head broccoli, stem removed, cut into large florets
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices ¾”-thick crusty bread
  • 2 tablespoons chopped raw pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, divided
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Boil the sweet potatoes to create the mash, roast the broccoli in the meantime, then assemble your toasts and garnish as you like.

Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic

This stir fry is really versatile, so you can use any type of sturdy, leafy green. Kale and chard hold up well when sauteed, and spinach would wilt nicely as well.

Here are the ingredients.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
8 cups chopped fresh bok choy
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper

Lentil Soup

Giada De Laurentiis of Food Network fame gives us this simple soup that’s loaded with veggies. It also calls for lentils, which are great for your digestive tract.

There are a few steps in the process, each one easier than the next. You saute carrots, celery and onions, then add tomatoes and broth, boil the lentils and at the very end, add some pasta.

With a recipe like this, you can add any veggies you have. Zucchini and squash would make it a fall favorite. And if there’s something you don’t have, just leave it out.

Here are the ingredients.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
11 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
2/3 cup dried elbow pasta
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Get the directions here.

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It’s time to quit smoking for your colon health

Image result for quit smokingWe all know smoking is bad for us. We also know how much it sucks to try to quit. And while you’ve probably heard all of the advice in the world and all of the complications it can cause, now, there’s another reason to quit: Colon cancer recovery.

A new study suggests that folks who smoke aren’t as likely to survive the fight against colon cancer as former smokers or those who never smoked.

And to make matters worse, upon diagnoses, smokers were more likely to be in an emergency situation or need immediate surgery.

“People are generally deniers especially when it comes to pleasurable habits or when a life style change is recommended for their health,” said Dr. Sidney Winawer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

So what can you do?

The most effective way to quit is to work with your doctor to create a plan or to join a support group. Any time you’re looking to kick a bad habit, having support from a community or partner creates a level of accountability that is difficult to replicate on your own.

“Your doctor can be a key resource as you’re trying to quit smoking. He or she can talk to you about medications to help you quit and put you in contact with local resources,” says The American Lung Association.

The ALA has all sorts of other resources to help you make sense of what to expect and how to be successful at quitting. Check out their I Want To Quit Smoking page for reasons, facts, frequently asked questions and support you can get from the ALA itself.

Smoking is the worst thing you can voluntarily do to your health. Make an appointment with your doctor and commit to making yourself healthier.

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Bon Appétit! Three holiday brunch ideas that are comforting and healthy

Image result for holiday brunch

Your holiday brunch can be tasty, simple and healthy while still being fun and festive.

Our favorite time of year for food continues as the year-end holidays roll in. Potatoes, gravy, sugar and sweets, it’s all so good yet all so bad all at the same time. There are so many options for comforting holiday sides and snacks that won’t upset your stomach but won’t leave you wanting more.

We found three of them for you to enjoy this holiday season.

Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower

If you’re one who doesn’t care much for cruciferous vegetables – kale, broccoli, cauliflower – this simple recipe might change your mind. When you roast cauliflower, it becomes sweet, meaty and wonderfully caramelized. Plus, you roast it with onions, fresh garlic and thyme, and finish the oven time with some salty, nutty Parmesan cheese. Perfect to pair with some egg sandwiches and fresh berries.

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan

Just toss everything together but the cheese, roast at 425 for about 35 minutes, mix in the cheese, and roast for another ten minutes.

If you don’t like cauliflower or have another veggie on hand, you can swap it out. Carrots, broccoli or potatoes would all work well, but you’ll have to adjust the cooking time based on the size you cut the veggies.

Sweet Potato and Broccoli Toasts

These bites are a little more work than the cauliflower, but the flavor is perfect for a holiday brunch on a cold winter morning. There are a lot of ingredients, but most of them are optional or swap-able. Use whatever fresh herbs you like or have in the fridge, and garnish with sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds. Serve with a mimosa and you’ve got yourself a party.

Sweet Potato Mash

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 12 oz.), peeled, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 red Thai chile (optional), halved, some seeds removed
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Broccoli

  • 1 large head broccoli, stem removed, cut into large florets
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices ¾”-thick crusty bread
  • 2 tablespoons chopped raw pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, divided
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Boil the sweet potatoes to create the mash, roast the broccoli in the meantime, then assemble your toasts and garnish as you like.

Herb-Infused Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

Seafood can be intimidating, but these instructions make poaching shrimp pretty straightforward. You add herbs, onion and lemon to water, bring to a boil, then add the shrimp. Then cool the little guys in an ice bath and serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.

Ingredients

  • 1½ pound shell-on large shrimp
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • ½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • Cocktail sauce and lemon wedges

Short on time? Get de-veined, shell-off shrimp and you’ll cut your prep time in half.

Happy brunching!

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