• An Active Morning {Canyon Ranch}

    May 20, 2013

    My first day at Canyon Ranch was amazing. It was a great mix of stimulating activity and pure relaxation. Basically, it was the best of both worlds.

    Breakfast

    I woke up hungry and excited for breakfast this morning. After last night’s delicious dinner, I was really looking forward to breakfast. It’s by far my favorite meal of the day and everything I tried at Canyon Ranch at that point was healthy and delicious, so I was ALL about breakfast.

    Not surprisingly, breakfast started with a decaf iced coffee with almond milk. (I’m not going to lie, I got pretty excited when my server said they had almond milk. Oh, it’s the little things in life!)

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    Once I had a few sips of my iced coffee, I headed to the breakfast bar, which is available every morning at Canyon Ranch. It had all sort of goodies on it, including fresh fruit, granola, cereal, yogurt, nuts, dried fruit, baked goods, and something called “Peanut Butter Delight,” which, of course, I needed to try.

    Breakfast bar at Canyon Ranch Lenox

    I added a scoop of the “Peanut Butter Delight” to some banana slices, which were soaked in a lemon meringue sauce. (I’m not 100% positive whether it was actually a lemon meringue sauce or not, but it tasted a lot like it!) I topped everything with a sprinkle of ground flax, and, holy yum, I loved it. It was almost like eating dessert for breakfast. FYI: The “Peanut Butter Delight” is peanut butter mixed with ricotta, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and honey. Here’s the recipe!

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    I honestly could have eaten what was on the breakfast bar, but I figured I should order something from the menu. I wasn’t sure whether I was in the mood for sweet or savory for breakfast, so I ordered both: Gluten-Free French Toast and some scrambled eggs.

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    Both were delicious. The scrambled eggs were especially flavorful. Hello, fresh eggs!

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    Workouts

    After breakfast, I attended a class called “Advanced X-Training.” Before I tell you about it, let me give you a little info about the group exercise classes at Canyon Ranch. From 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM every day, there are anywhere from three to seven classes offered each hour in six different categories: aquatic, cardio, dance, flexibility, mind-body, and strength. And within these categories, there are four fitness levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced, all levels). There are seriously SO MANY CLASSES. You could stay at Canyon Ranch for a whole week and still not do all of them. Some of them repeat (M, W, F), but there are specialty classes (i.e. “Real Deal Boxing,” “Berkshire Beat,” “Versa Bootcamp”) mixed in, so there’s always something new and different to try.

    Ok, back to the “Advanced X-Training.” This class was only 30 minutes (most classes are 45 minutes unless otherwise noted), but it was fast paced and challenging. Using the indoor track and various equipment (medicine ball, ropes, kettlebells), we did a circuit-style, full body workout. There were six stations, each with a different exercise, so we performed that movement until the person running completed one lap of the track before moving onto the next station. We did the circuit three times with a 60-second rest in between, and I was a sweaty mess by the end. I definitely got a great workout!

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    Up next was “Yoga for Athletes,” a 45-minute class, which included flowing athletic moves (arm circles, lunges) and yoga poses to improve strength, balance, and flexibility.

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    It was a nice mix of athletic-y exercises (planks, push-ups) and traditional yoga postures. And the room had a beautiful view.

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    After yoga, I attended a lecture called “Inflammation & Immunity,” which was led by Dr. Teresa Hubkova. Most of the information covered was intended for general health and wellbeing, but Dr. Hubkova talked a little bit about autoimmunity and specifically Ulcerative Colitis. She actually went on and on about how frustrating the disease is for patients and doctor, and then shared all of the terrible UC symptoms. The woman sitting in front of me squirmed in her seat and then said: “That sounds horrible.” Yep, yep it is. And I’m not even ill with the disease! Ugh, IBD is the worst.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share a couple of the new treatments out there for UC and other autoimmune diseases:

    • Helminthic therapy: An autoimmune disease is one where the immune system basically gets confused. Instead of attacking an “invader,” like a virus or bad bacteria, it attacks healthy cells and tissues. Helminthic therapy deliberately introduces a parasitic worm into the body to “distract” the immune system, so instead of attacking the colon, for example, it attacks the parasite. Doctors use parasites that aren’t harmful to humans in this therapy. For example, whipworm is a commonly used parasite. It causes disease in pigs, but not humans.
    • Fecal transplant: Yes, this is for real. After the lecture, I texted Mal and Monica to tell them what I learned: “I learned if I put healthy poop in my butt, it will cure my UC.” Monica had no idea how to respond. Mal called me, laughed a lot, and then made a bunch of gross jokes. (I love my husband.) I know this fecal transplant stuff sounds crazy (and disgusting), but doctors in Australia have been doing it for 16 years now with really high success rates, and UC patients are being cured of the disease. Some patients see improvement in their symptoms within hours of the transplant. Crazy, right? I bet you’re wondering WHY this works. Well, the thinking is that a healthy stool includes thousands of different (good) bacteria that keeps the intestinal lining healthy and teaches the immune system what is good and bad bacteria, so it stops spazzing out. Basically, it’s like a super duper probiotic. VSL3#, the best probiotic on the market right now, only has 12 different strains of bacteria just to give you an idea why these fecal transports supposedly work. Unfortunately, in the United States, fecal transplants are not yet approved for the treatment of UC, but, hopefully, things will change. I would totally do this if I knew it would cure my UC once and for all.

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    Ok, enough of that. Let’s transition…

    Lunch

    After the lecture, I headed to Café Tasse for lunch. After back-to-back to workouts, I was starving!

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    I ordered my lunch and then helped myself to some iced tea.

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    A little while later, my lunch was served to my table: toasted turkey, brie, and apple sandwich on gluten-free bread. Mmm! It was awesome.

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    I finished off lunch with a couple of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. I love these babies—they don’t even taste gluten-free!

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    More adventures to come!

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    { 60 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jamie @ Sometimes Healthy Living Blog May 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Living vicariously through your Canyon Ranch adventures! I really hope to go there one day :-)

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    Audrey @ In Shape Cupcake May 20, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Ahhhhh these seems like the dream resort. Thats really interesting about the Fecal transplant. Kinda weird…thinking about how awkward the first one must have been. But hey, if it cures it…I would go for it too.

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    Tina May 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Haha! Seriously! Imagine the doctor proposing that to the patient!

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    Catalina May 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    @Tina: LoL loved the transition from fecal transplant to delicious lunch ;) I am still laughing!! Well, if it works hopefully it will get approved in US too.

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    Tina May 21, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Haha! Yea, I wasn’t sure how to do it!

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    Coleen May 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Dr. Oz had a show on last week about fecal transplants. Yes it sounds a little out there, but some of the people on the show said it was life changing. It sounds like it might be very popular in the near future due to it’s success rates and safety.

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    Tina May 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    He did?! Thank you for telling me. I want to watch it!

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    Coleen May 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    It looks like it was on May 17th. The epidose is called America’s Wackiest Health Trends. You can see a couple of the clips from the episode on his site. You can use fecal matter from someone you know-I can only imagine the jokes/conversations that would bring for years to come. They also mention how cheap the treatment is. Another bonus. @Tina:

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    Tina May 20, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Thank you!!

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    Beth @ Mangoes and Miles May 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, too! So much so that sometimes I’ll have breakfast for lunch. And dinner. ;) The breakfast bar sounds amazing!

    Your morning sounds super busy but super productive. That’s a TON of classes. It’s hard to imagine ever getting bored!

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    Dana May 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    That turkey sandwich….. Need! Looks like a wonderful place!

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    Beth Sheridan May 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I’m in love with this place…The food and the workouts…Wow!

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    Aurora@Fitness is Sweet May 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    This trip sounds so amazing!

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    Wendy Irene May 20, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Tina, I hope you are having an absolutely fabulous trip! I heard about fecal transplants on Dr. Oz too. It is hard not to cringe but it sounds like many are having success. Sending relaxing vibes your way!

    Reply

    Sky May 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    I just took a quick look at their site and that looks like the perfect get-away trip to me. The peanut butter delight and your breakfast looked delicious! The two classes you took today would be right up my alley too. Can’t wait to read more!

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    kyla May 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    The research also suggests that fecal transplants work best from someone who lives with you/eats a similar diet to you. I’m curious to see long term results!

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    Miranda @ Miranda Runs May 20, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    That ranch sounds so cool! I’d love to go there- how fun!!

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    michelle kim May 21, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Hahaha, WOW! A fecal transplant?? But I think it would make sense as a last resort for someone who has been suffering with UC for a long time with so many many failed/ineffective treatments.
    The food there looks good though :)

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    Angela May 21, 2013 at 1:35 am

    What an amazing place! Can people from the community come in to take the classes too?

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    Eryn May 21, 2013 at 2:14 am

    That place sounds amazing! Healthy and relaxing all rolled into one, really can’t beat that. :)

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    Shel@PeachyPalate May 21, 2013 at 3:27 am

    Sounds like my idea of heaven! Great workouts, even better food and some interesting lectures to learn as you go and potentially improve your health…! I need to go there!

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    Meghan @ After the Ivy League May 21, 2013 at 7:15 am

    Yum! I love it when restaurants offer gluten free options. Not that I’m opposed to the gluten version, but I always feel so much better when I stick with gluten free!

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    Aisling May 21, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Canyon Ranch looks amazing. Bit of a trip from Dublin but I love the combination of relaxation, clean food, fitness and knowledge. Enjoy the rest of your stay, I’m going to Google their site!

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    Andrea R. @ Morning Runner Girl May 21, 2013 at 7:48 am

    This ranch sounds awesome!
    I recently just returned from an Adventure Resort in St. George, Utah called Red Mountain…. it was INCREDIBLE! sounds very similar with all the work-out classes, fress/clean eating and daily activities! I can’t imagine ever going back to a “normal” vacation again! I just love the constant activity too much :)
    Have a GREAT TIME!!

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    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl May 21, 2013 at 8:08 am

    That peanut butter delight sounds amazing, as does the french toast. Yum!!

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    Kim @ BusyBod May 21, 2013 at 8:12 am

    This place seriously sounds like heaven! I’m definitely adding it to my bucket list :)

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    Eva May 21, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Funny you mention the fecal transplants because i just learned about them in school this past semester! i’m in pharmacy school and in one of our classes, we talked a lot about GI/bowel disorders and the treatments for them… fecal transplant is definitely something you do not forget about… ever..

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    Elizabeth @ Positive Changes May 21, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Your trip so far sounds amazing! I would love to go to a place that serves gluten-free items and not have to worry about it!! Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat May 21, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I love a good breakfast buffet. This one sounds amazing! I could so go for some of that peanut butter delight! :-)

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    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio May 21, 2013 at 8:54 am

    What an amazing place!! Enjoy your time there.

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    Alyssa @ Road to RD May 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I’ve actually heard of the fecal transplant before! I wonder if it works for IBS, but probably not since there’s no physical damage let alone an explanation.

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    Allie @ Allie's Appetite May 21, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I think the basis for fecal transplant is displacement of your bacterial flora with that of a healthy person. Since IBS is commonly treated with probiotics I bet it could work! I have IBS and UC and I’ve noticed that probiotics definitely have an impact on my symptoms. I’d try fecal transplant in a heartbeat if it became approved!!

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    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness May 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Looks like heaven- the scenery, the facilities, the breakfast :) !! I’m living vicariously though you, can’t wait for the next update!

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    Nicole @ FruitnFitness May 21, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Lunch looks amazing! The whole place looks great.

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    Mara May 21, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Tina- they are doing fecal transplants at Seattle children’s hospital. Let me look into the information for you because I just read an article about it. Interesting that it is not FDA approved yet. Maybe they are just doing a trial?

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    Tina May 21, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Are they?!? I’d fly out there in a heart beat!

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    joelle (on a pink typewriter) May 21, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Oh my gosh, this makes me soooo want to visit a Canyon Ranch resort!

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    mary @ minutes per mile May 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

    wow, i had no idea about fecal transplants until now. the things i have learned as a carrots n cake reader…

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    Tina May 21, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Haha!

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    Shannon May 21, 2013 at 10:49 am

    This place looks so truly amazing! I looked at the link provided for Canyon Ranch and ended up drooling all over my keyboard :) I definitely will be saving my pennies over the next decade so I can bring my hubby and myself to this wonderful resort. Cant wait to hear about your next adventures there.

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    Jess H. May 21, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Canyon Ranch is often on Rue La La, and this is making me curious to give the deals a look the next time they’re offered. It sounds amazing!

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    Tina May 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Is it?!? You should hop on that deal the next time!

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    Jess H. May 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    @Tina: It is! I’ll give you a shout next time, too, if you’re interested.

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    Annette@FitnessPerks May 21, 2013 at 11:41 am

    That ranch sounds amazing!! And that sandwich–mmmmmm!

    Interesting about the fecal transport….I bet that if it really does have such a high success rate, that the US will approve it. But not gonna lie–that is wacky & a bit gross. Oh well, if it works-then I think anyone would be willing to try it!

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    Chelsea May 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Ugh, I’m so jealous! Not only does Canyon Ranch look amazing, but my mind boggles at having that many fitness classes to choose from! I don’t know if I’d even really be able to pick, and might just end up living at the place so I never had to! :)

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    Sarah W. May 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    US takes forever to get on board with ANYTHING

    If the success rate is truly that high, and would drastically improve your quality of life, wouldnt you consider saving up the money to go to Australia and pay a doctor out of pocket for the treatment?

    I know I would if i suffered from UC!

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    Tina May 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I’m definitely thinking about it! I’ve always wanted to go to Australia!

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    Maggie May 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Hey Tina!

    I just wanted to say that fecal transplants are totally a legitimate treatment. I work in a lab that studies bacteria in the gut. The importance of good bacteria is huge. My supervisor did a study on hospitalized patients infected with Clostridium difficile and found that fecal transplants were highly effective (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22002980). I think at this point in time Doctors are unsure about prescribing this treatment since no one really knows exactly how it works. They know it has to do with the bacteria obviously, but they can’t pinpoint which type of bacteria do the work and how it affects your gut exactly so I think there’s just a little bit of uncertainty there. However, I bet you could find a research study to join! Additionally, my supervisor told me that you can do this kind of thing at home if you really want…the best stool for a fecal transplant is one from a relative that you live with (Mal!) and all you need is an enema kit…kind of disturbing but might be worth a shot haha. Best of luck with the UC! I feel for you. There’s tons of research happening on the “gut microbiome” though so I don’t doubt that there will be new treatments or that fecal transplants will become more typical :)

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    Sara Flynn May 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Wow! this looks like so much fun. I hope you are having a blast!

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    Mary May 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Another IBD sufferer here and I would do fecal transplant in a fast heartbeat for the chance to end this dreadful disease!

    Keep posting the great updates from Canyon Ranch. The rest of us are living vicariously through your posts.

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    Ashley @ BrocBlog May 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I want to go to there.
    Seriously though looks like so much fun!

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    Jelena@FabLifePhD May 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Actually both things that the doctor said are really well investigated in the world of Immunology at the moment.
    Speaking about helimniths, it works this way: There are two kinds of immune responses regarging CD4 T lymphocytes: Th1 and Th2. It has been shown that people that tend to have stronger Th2 (than Th1) response rarely suffer from autoimmune diseases (like Chron’s disease). Helminths are able to induce Th2 immune response, so this is why immunologists are willing to investigate this area. Of course, that does not mean that people will eat worms, but more ceratin pieces of worms or “tableted” worms to induce Th2 response.
    About Fecal transplant: GUT micorbiota (so the composition of the microorganisms in your guts) is really important for the regulation of inflamation. Persons with UC, Chron’s and other diseases often have disturbed microbiota structure, so the idea is that by giving them the microbiota of a helathy person, they can re-establish healhy microbiota balance. Of course, I don’t think people will really eat poop, but more a bunch of bacteria from other people’s poop (I know it does not sound comforting at all, but it does not stink at least)

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    Tina May 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Thank you for the info!!!

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    John May 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    We learned about fecal transplants in school last year, actually really interesting! They do use them for C. Diff and things like that.

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    Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution May 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Oh, there was some lady on Dr. Oz talking about a fecal transplant! I wasn’t really paying attention to the show at all until she started talking about how her fecal transplant solved all her health issues! Crazy!

    Reply

    Monica May 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I would love to visit a Canyon Ranch-it sounds amazing. I hope they do approve that type of therapy here in the US if it is that successful. I know lots of people who deal with UC who would do anything for a cure. I’m sure the first time a blood transfusion was suggested there were raised eyebrows too. :)

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    Jennifer May 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

    So I am looking through all of the recipes on Canyon Ranch & salivating on my keyboard. I plan to make quite a few of them. I also now what to go to Canyon Ranch one day!

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    Tina May 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Their recipes are incredible! I got lost looking online at all of them the other day.

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    Michelle May 24, 2013 at 9:01 am

    This may be helpful, or it may not be. And it definitely will not sit well with those with weak stomachs. But….my mother had severe UC, and also had C-diff (not good at all). She battled (and suffered) with these for well over a year, along with multiple doctors visits/treatments that didn’t work. To make a long story short, she was told about fecal transplants, but that no one would actually do one. She is in the medical feld, so she started doing some research, and confirmed with a few doctors (including experts in the field), and decided to do an at-home fecal transplant. Not an ideal situation, but she was so sick at this point, she would do anything to feel better. It worked. And to this day, neither (UC or c-diff) has come back, and it has been over a year now. If you have any questions, or would like more info, just email me, I’d be happy to share more, if it will help you feel better too!

    Reply

    Tina May 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for the info! I’m glad to hear it helped your mother!

    Reply

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