Three-Pea Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Screenshot 2016-03-31 08.04.42Serves 6

30 minutes prep


  • 3 Tbs. Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. minced Meyer lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil


  • 2 cups shelled fresh or frozen garden peas
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, cut into ¾-inch lengths
  • 12 radishes, thinly sliced (1½ cups)
  • 3 small carrots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 2 cups pea shoots or baby arugula
  1. To make Vinaigrette: Whisk together lemon juice, zest, and salt. Slowly pour in oil, and whisk until dressing is emulsified.
  2. To make Salad: Have large bowl of ice water ready. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add peas and sugar snap peas, and boil 1 minute. Drain, and immediately dunk vegetables in ice-water bath. Drain well, and transfer to large bowl.
  3. Add radishes and carrots to peas mixture; toss with 1/4 cup Vinaigrette (reserve remaining Vinaigrette for another use). Gently stir in pea shoots.


Healthy Food Coloring 101 By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

Screenshot 2016-03-30 14.12.14Spring has sprung! The grass is turning green, Easter has come and gone, bright colors are showing up more and more in stores and the yellow daffodils have opened. Spring colors are beginning to become more plentiful, and with the spring and summer holidays, cookouts, birthday parties and get-togethers soon approaching, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss food coloring!

Believe it or not, food dye is used in many, if not most, of our processed foods. The human eye is the first organ used when deciding whether or not a food (or food product) looks appetizing. Shiny red apples and strawberries, deep blue blueberries, sunny oranges, vivid deep, green spinach, look much more appetizing than a white strawberry, brown spinach or green bananas. Coloring is very important when processed food companies are creating their products. Just think, would you rather use a mouthwash that was a dull tan color, or a bright, rich, beautiful blue hue? Let’s think about those beautiful, uniformly pink, crunchy strawberries found in your favorite cereal, do you think those are naturally that color? No.

Food colorings are a very controversial topic. Many people have heard of, or read about Red #40 and Yellow #5. Many blogs, authors and education websites say the many negative side effects found with food coloring include that they are made from petroleum (the same origination as gasoline), have links to long-term health problems such as cancer, may have the possibility of causing hyperactivity in some children, trick our senses, have no nutritional value and play a part in the obesity epidemic. Did you know that the United Kingdom requires their food products to have a warning label if synthetic food colorings are used? Many companies that produce food products with synthetic food colorings in the US use natural food colorings like what is used in the UK, because they would rather switch their ingredients rather than add a warning label to their product.

In the United States, the FDA has released many statements regarding synthetic food colorings. The FDA states on their website that, “There is no such thing as absolute safety of any substance. In the case of a new color additive, the FDA determines if there is ‘a reasonable certainty of no harm’ under the color additive’s proposed conditions of use.” The agency also says that it “is possible, but rare to have an allergic-type reaction to a color additive.”

You now see the controversy. Whether you struggle with the controversies food politics create, or you are a true believer in the Food and Drug Administration, you now see the strife that food additives cause.

Even though it may require a little extra time while baking, I hope to provide you with some quick and easy alternatives to synthetic food coloring when making that delicious buttercream icing for your next batch of cookies.

Easy additions like adding beet juice, carrot juice, saffron, turmeric, spinach juice, pumpkin, paprika and red cabbage juice will provide you with everything you need to create your rainbow of colors needed for icing those cookies. When using natural dyes, keep in mind that they are not as concentrated as a synthetic dye, so your colors may be more “soft” and they are sensitive to heat. (Think about what would happen if you put spinach in the oven. It would turn brown.) Therefore, natural food dyes are best used on products that do not need “cooking.”

Try these combinations the next time you make frosting:

Pink Frosting: ¼ tsp. beet juice + 2 Tbsp. frosting

Purple Frosting: ¼ tsp. grape juice concentrate + 2 Tbsp. frosting

Green Frosting: ½ tsp. spinach juice + 2 Tbsp. frosting

Orange Frosting: ½ tsp. carrot juice + Tbsp. frosting

Let me leave you with a quote from the FDA: “Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green. Color additives are now recognized as an important part of practically all processed foods we eat.”

Yet another reason to limit the processed foods we eat.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer


Integrity In Supplementation By Dr. Michele Couri, MD, FACOG, ABIHM

supplements and coffeeThe average MD practicing in the US healthcare system has received a minimal amount of training on how to use nutrition and nutritional supplementation to aid in therapeutic programs with their patients. The current standard of care most often includes the recommendation of a pharmaceutical product to resolve  patients’ symptoms.

Over the years, many MDs noticed that pharmaceuticals often addressed only the symptoms of a patient’s problem and did not resolve the root cause. Research and clinical practice have changed a great deal in the last century, and a new approach to the patient as a whole person has led many physicians to practice ‘integrative medicine’. These physicians, like myself, have acquired additional education in the use of food and dietary supplementation as a means to strengthen the body’s integrity so it may begin to heal. It is now becoming more common to augment traditional pharmaceutical use with nutrition.   Nutrition and the use of herbal or food supplementation is another viable option available to help bring full resolution of health problems and for patients to recover their sense of wellbeing.

The Couri Center offers a number of options for patients to grow their understanding of how to improve and maintain health through the use of nutrition, and I frequently recommend the use of nutritional supplements to patients to increase the needed components in their diet. There are some basic nutritional deficiencies that have become more common in recent years, and the body many not have the tools to heal without additional support.

As a physician, my oath is to first ‘do no harm’, and with that commitment to my patients, we at the Couri Center research and evaluate the supplements that we recommend for two important reasons: the first is that we want what we recommend to support the best possible health outcomes, and the second is that we want what we recommend to be safe and with legitimate ingredients so that everything you receive from us has genuine value.

There are a number of reasons we carry therapeutic professional products at the office:

To ensure efficacy. The best supplements to support your health are those manufactured by a professional company that uses the highest quality ingredients, in the ideal forms for the body to absorb, to create pharmaceutical grade products.

As a service to patients. We maintain direct relationships with product manufacturers so you don’t have to, which saves you time and money.

Safety. We are able to evaluate the quality of products to make sure they are stable, well formulated, effective and tested – meeting FDA, GMP, NSF and WHO (World Health Organization) standards. All this ensures safety and purity for you and your family. We order direct from manufacturers so we know where the product came from and store it carefully to maintain integrity.

In the search for supplements, there are a few guidelines of what to look for and what to avoid.

Avoid purchasing supplements online – Third party resellers like Amazon or EBay do not guarantee the authenticity or quality of the products that are sold on their websites. Supplements and perishable items are more vulnerable to mishandling. There have been many instances among professional companies of complaints from patients about products purchased online, and they may turn out to be past expiration or counterfeit.

Avoid purchasing supplements at national chain retailers. In early 2014, GNC, Wal-Mart, Target and Walgreens were formally investigated for having either counterfeit nutritional products in their stores or products on the shelf that did not meet the label claim in substantial, and in many cases, health-diminishing ways.

Avoid purchasing low cost supplements. Many low cost supplements are in forms the body cannot absorb, the dose is too low to be supportive, or there are additional ingredients that do not support health or can cause allergies. With high quality supplements, you will have better dosing and absorption without added fillers, so less is more. If you see an ad on the Internet for half price product, there is likely an issue with the product.

Purchase local from an authorized reseller. When purchasing from a local independent retailer you can avoid counterfeit products and improve your local economy. For every $100 you spend with independent businesses, $68 stays in your community.

Ask questions. Companies that manufacture pharmaceutical grade products test rigorously and participate in their own monitoring for FDA compliance and will be willing to show you the test results. Look for GMP, NSF, and non-GMO labeling and certifications on products.

At the Couri Center for Gynecology and Integrative Women’s Health, we provide the best evidence based healthcare options to our patients and part of that commitment is to ensure that we do so with the utmost integrity.

To Your Health, Dr. Couri









Supportive Services for the Aging By Sue Lang, CNM, APN, LCCE


elderly coupleIn the year 2000, the Administration on Aging stated that people over the age of 65 represented 12.4 % of the population. By 2030 that number could increase to 19%. We need to take a good look at how we can provide care by utilizing services that can help our aging population make the most of their and others’ lives. Support exists for many life stage areas including: cognitive, preventative, intervention, education, and public awareness and often people just need to have someone or an agency help get them started.

Many people retire and then desire changing their lives or occupations to something that they truly want to do. What is often needed is direction and support to help encourage and manage them in the pathway that they desire. Having an advocate or person that can foster independence and healthy aging among individuals who may have disabilities while they age might facilitate this. For others, who may have just retired and desire something to do, they might benefit from the variety of courses offered by Illinois Central College or Bradley. Each offers a variety of non-credit workshops and programs that are designed to give quality opportunities for learning and socialization.

Making decisions can be overwhelming. Having available resources to help in the guidance and pathway of decision making for yourself or family members makes this process less burdensome. Below are just some of the services that are offered here in the Peoria area:

AARP- is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization that helps people 50 and over to improve the quality of their lives, promote independence, dignity and enhance the quality of life. Learn more:

The Administration on Aging was also developed to help coordinate a cost effective system of home and community based services which helps elderly individuals maintain their health and independence in their homes and communities. Learn more:

The Illinois Agency on Aging provides a number of services and resources to the aging, elderly and to seniors. Government health care options, energy bill assistance and free legal aid may be available. Meals on Wheels and food assistance programs may also help as funding allows. There are also group site meals that might include churches, senior centers, and community centers. All of those meals meet the dietary requirements and must provide 1/3 of the daily-recommended diet for seniors.

Learn more:

Counseling and Care Management Services provides assessments and referrals to seniors and their families seeking to locate needed home care services and transportation. They can work as an advocate for management of life issues. Many social workers can advise and offer recommendations and available services. Learn more:

Hult Center in Peoria has senior programs such as: Seniors on the Go and the Encore program. The Encore program focuses on mind, body and spirit and it’s a free program! The Hult Center has educational programs that can give information on Medicare and medications. They also offer seminars on wills, medical directives and financial planning. Learn more:

Health and Services of Peoria have an extensive list of Peoria and surrounding area services that are available. Along with that, most of the churches in the area have programs that focus on health such as parish nurses, lunches and or activities for seniors. Learn more:

But remember, if you are retiring or have some extra time, maybe you could volunteer to help others. You can make a difference in someone’s life.

Sue Lang

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Vote: Couri Center-Best Of Peoria 2016

BlueSteelFor years, YOU have been telling us what excellent customer service we provide.   Thank you so much for allowing us the opportunity to take care of you!  Providing you with outstanding medical care & patient service is our priority and it’s our privilege to give our best to YOU.

Each year, Peoria Magazines conducts a Best of Peoria contest whereby you can nominate ‘the best of” in multiple categories.  We encourage you to take a moment now and choose Couri Center for BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE in the business category.

Voting is EASY.  


State:  “I Vote for Couri Center for BEST customer service, 2016!”

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