Why Community Matters for Our Health

  By Heather Tallman Ruhm, M.D. 

Our Western approach to medicine has become combative  –  battling Alzheimer’s, fighting infections;  using chemical warfare (anti-depressants, antacids, anti-inflammatories, anti-biotics, and chemo), or radiation, or the scalpel to defeat the so-called enemy; while thousands of individuals bike, run, dance or hula to wage war on cancer.  I propose that, rather than joining the mission of search and destroy, we learn from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and Mother Theresa too - when asked to march against something bad, she declined.   She only joined causes for good.  I believe in the value of striving for fitness, but let’s hike, bike and hula with a community that is for restoring health not against disease.

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If we didn’t laugh, we’d cry, or sigh, and so we do.

By Heather Tallman Ruhm, MD

The world knows trauma. We see it, read about it, and try to avoid it every day, but we experience it, often unexpectedly. How does it leave us?  It depends. How we leave trauma and how it leaves us, depends on the state we are in as we meet it, and the support we access afterwards.

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Gluten-free, But Still Gassy and Bloated? The Top 7 Causes

Gas and bloating are two of the most common reasons people come to see me. I have been in clinical practice for almost two decades and my patient population has changed a lot in that time. A decade ago I was diagnosing people with celiac and gluten intolerance and introducing them to the gluten free diet. Now with the explosion of popular press about celiac and the gluten free diet, most of the patients I see are already gluten free. This means that now I am working to identify other conditions that are co-existing with their gluten intolerance and that won’t respond to the gluten free diet alone.

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Recipes We Like: Gluten Free Oat, Blueberry & Walnut Bars

This recipe is from my friend and cookbook author extraordinaire, Carol Fenster. Carol and I have crossed paths at many celiac events, back and forth across the country over the last decade, and it is always a pleasure to see her. This recipe is from her book 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes. Her most recent book, Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking, is also beautiful and full of family favorite recipes. Any of her half dozen or so cookbooks are essential to a good gluten-free cookbook library!

Blueberries, cinnamon, and walnuts team up with rolled oats to make a hearty, flavorful bar that is also quite versatile. Feel free to change the filling — it is equally delicious using raspberry, fig, or strawberry jam. Or, use your favorite nuts such as pecans, almonds, or pine nuts. These bars freeze and travel well.

GLUTEN FREE OAT, BLUEBERRY & WALNUT BARS

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter or buttery spread, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla, divided
1 cup GF Flour Blend (see below)
1 cup GF rolled oats*
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 ½  teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup blueberry jam
*Check with your physician before eating gluten-free oats.

  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously grease an 8-inch square nonstick (gray, not black) metal pan. Or line the pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang for easy removal. Grease the foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Stir in the flour blend, oats, brown sugar, walnuts, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until thoroughly blended, then press 1 ½ cups of the mixture firmly on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir the remaining teaspoon of vanilla into the blueberry jam until smooth, then spread it evenly on top. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly on the jam, then pat to make it smooth and even.
  4. Bake until the top is lightly browned and firm, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the bars in the pan for 30 minutes on a wire rack. If using the foil lining, invert the pan onto a large cutting board and remove the foil before cutting into 16 squares. Otherwise, serve the bars directly from the pan.

Serves: 16

GF Flour Blend
1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 ½ cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour

Whisk together and store in a dark, dry place.