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Vegan Holiday Eggnog

screenshot-2016-11-27-17-14-01Makes about 14 (1/2 cup) servings

  • 3/4-1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes
  • 2 cups fresh water
  • 1-15 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp. Kahlua or vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. spiced rum (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)


For thicker eggnog, use 1 cup of cashews. For a thinner version use 3/4 cup.  The spiced rum is optional. The xanthan gum will give the eggnog a super duper thick, smooth and creamy texture.


Place the cashews in medium bowl. Cover completely with boiling water and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes. When the time is up, drain and rinse the cashews, then place in a high-speed blender.

Add in the fresh water and blend with the cashews on high for about 2 minutes or until very well blended and smooth.

Now, add in the remaining ingredients and blend on high again for another two minutes or until the dates are completely blended. Stir before serving if being chilled. Garnish with additional freshly grated nutmeg. Stir before serving if being chilled. Garnish with additional freshly grated nutmeg.

Because this is whole food quality, be sure to consume within a few days.

The Importance of One’s Story By Dr. Michele Couri, MD, FACOG, ABIHM

November 22, 2016

As I write this newsletter article, I reflect upon the date – November 22nd. It was on this date a mere fifty-three years ago at the hands of an assassin that America lost its 35th President John F. Kennedy.   On that day, the world turned upside down. Fast forward to 2016, our nation has just elected its 45th President. Following the election, scenes on the television and on social media sites were eerily similar to those of five decades ago.   Angry protestors in the streets, red-hot racial tension, rumors of government corruption – these headlines, although current, could very well be used to describe the political climate of the 60’s. One indisputable fact is that we are a nation divided; we are a nation that is hurting.

Ironically, President Kennedy wrote the following words, intended for his speech at dinner in Austin, Texas the evening of November 22nd. A speech he was never able to deliver. His words however are just as relevant today as they were then.


 “Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our

duty as a Party is not our Party alone, but to the nation, and indeed,

to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political

power but the preservation of peace and freedom. So let us not be

petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst

ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake.

Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause –

united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future –

and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind

into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

After Kennedy’s assassination, his widow Jacqueline wrote in a letter, “We never value life enough when we have it.” How true this is. As we approach this Christmas holiday season, may we never forget how precious life is. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Let us not waste time in strife, in petty struggles about power and division. May our hearts be filled with forgiveness. From one of my favorite songs from the Broadway hit musical Hamilton comes the following line – “Forgiveness, can you imagine?” Take time to truly imagine what forgiveness feels like and put it to good measure in your daily life. Let us concentrate our efforts and talents on causes that empower our fellow man rather than tearing each other down. Let us never forget the neediest, the sick and the hungry.

I recently ran across an article that beautifully illustrates the selfless power of the human spirit. Ed Moseley, an 86 year old man who resides at a Georgia assisted living facility, taught himself how to knit and has now made hundreds of hats for premature babies to wear. Moseley, a former engineer, is battling cancer, but this has not prevented him from shariscreenshot-2016-11-28-09-55-47ng his time and talent for the good of others. Moseley’s first hand-made hat took three hours or more to make, he said, but he’s now cut that number to 90 minutes. Moseley and others have made all different kinds of ha
ts for premature babies, and more than 350 hats were delivered to their local hospital last week. Ed, even while battling for his own health, is a champion for the tiniest and most vulnerable among us. What a great story indeed.


The last song of the Hamilton musical is my favorite because it tells of the importance of one’s story. Alexander Hamilton starts out by singing, “Let me tell you what I wish I had known when I was young and dreamed of glory. You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story”. I challenge you to ask yourself what story are you going to leave? When your time is up, have you done enough? It is never too late to re-write your story. Make it one that people will tell for generations to come – one that inspires people to do the impossible. I truly wish you and your family a Christmas filled with peace, love and the fondest of memories that define YOUR story.

To Your Health,

Dr. Couri

Meet Dana! A candid interview with Dana Humes Goff, APN, CNM, DNP


Meet Dana Humes Goff, APN, CNM, DNP, and a certified nurse midwife with 35 years of nursing experience in women’s health. Prior to becoming a nurse midwife in 1994, Dr. Goff was the Director of Maternal Child Nursing at Unity Point Health Methodist, Peoria, IL and was the first certified nurse midwife to be granted hospital privileges in Peoria in 1995. Her educational background includes a BSN from Bradley University, and a Master’s and Doctorate in Nursing Practice from University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Goff is also adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago for graduate nursing students in women’s health. In addition to her extensive background, Dana is also certified in Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics, and is a certified Class IV Laser Officer. Learn more:


Dr. Michele Couri and the Couri Center team proudly welcome Dana to our practice, January 2017. We hope you enjoy learning more about her in the following interview:

What is one word you would use to describe yourself?  Compassionate

What are you most proud of?  My legacy: my family, my home, and all the women I have cared for throughout my career.

How do you recharge?  Cuddling with my granddaughters, kisses from my pups, long walks, beach vacations.

Do you like to cook?   Yes! What is a favorite recipe? Homemade Pico de Gallo with fresh tortilla chips.danagofffamily

Which sports teams do you root for? The Chicago Cubs! I’ve been a Cubs fan since 1969.

If you were to tell one person “Thank You” for helping me become the person I am today, who would it be and what did they do?  Cheryl Riddell, she was my mentor and nursing director when I worked at Methodist years ago. She taught me how to handle stressful situations with dignity, grace and humor. I miss her every day.

What movie or novel character do you most identify with?  Any one with a strong female protagonist.

When are you the happiest? When I have my family around me and a house filled with laughter.

If you really knew me, you’d know….  That I have a wicked sense of humor

What would you most regret not having done by the end of your life?   I would most regret not writing my bestseller.

What characteristic do you most admire in others?  Accountability

What are you most passionate about?  Women’s rights and equality.

What one memory do you most treasure?  My mother telling me I could do anything if I worked hard enough.  I lost both my folks when I was 20 years old and I miss them dearly.

What super power would you like to have?  To cure cancer.

What would a “perfect” day look like for you? Sun shining on my skin, a breeze in my hair, not a care in the world.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?  Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone and change your life.

If you could volunteer your time, what would you do?  Rescue abandoned or abused animals.

What is your favorite season?  Why?  I’m a summer girl.

If you had just one box for all your stuff, what would you put in it?  All my stuff.

What type of music do you enjoy?  Classic rock, easy listening and ehow tunes, but James Taylor is my all time favorite.  I had the pleasure of meeting James and Carole King a few years ago.

What is your least favorite exercise?    Running What’s your go-to exercise?  Jumping jacks, planks, and power walks.

Favorite book(s)?  Harry Potter Series, The Color Purple, Mrs. Mike to name a few. I’m a voracious reader and have many favorites.

What motivates you?  Injustice.

We have so many wonderful female patients here at the Couri Center.  What would you most like to share with them?  How delighted I am to be a part of such an outstanding team of health care professionals.

Dana Humes Goff, APN, CNM, DNP

Brave, Bold & Fearless: Her Story By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

screenshot-2016-11-28-08-47-53As many of you know, the TLC™: Total Lifestyle by Couri program has been popular with women who are trying to improve health, prevent disease and lose weight. I have led over 400 women through this program over the course of the last 5 years. This program is very strong and has a phenomenal success rate. Whether you are looking to improve energy, balance hormones, detect food sensitivities, lose weight or improve lab results, this program does it all.

I love sharing the testimonials of women who have completed this program. I am often asked how I “get” what they are going through, or what makes me “think” I can help them. It is an easy question. I once WAS them. As any female can probably agree, growing up female is no easy task. I was once that girl that was always “the big girl” on the basketball team (and I don’t mean just tall), never got picked for line dancing in PE and struggled with confidence, whether friends, adults or the opposite sex. I DO get it. I have been on this journey before, and I constantly live in the “maintenance program.” Thankfully, I had a guide to help me through this tumultuous time in my life (Thanks, Mom!). I listened to everything, but only believed a little. (She tends to always be right. Lesson learned.) But, I am happy to say, I got through that hurdle of life only mildly “bruised.” I still on a day-to-day basis struggle with confidence/stress in the form of self-doubt, body confidence (wow, having a child messes things up) and knowledge confidence, but I also surround myself with a great community of people. When you acknowledge your struggles and work to make improvements, often, mostly in hindsight, progress and growth is achieved along the way. I promise you my journey was awful, but, in hindsight, so much of my life and career were molded by this time.

…and sometimes, I am put in the passenger seat and end up learning so much from my patients.

Almost two years ago, I met with a patient who had recently finished chemotherapy. She had decided to use the TLC program as a way to discover and develop a healthier lifestyle. This patient had been through a very rigorous treatment time and had to discover her own strength in a way none of us are prepared to experience. After she finished her treatment, she was ready to feel better, ready to change and ready to begin living again. She started the program with the intention of losing a lot of weight, but left the program a stronger woman than she ever imaged, both physically and emotionally. She did lose weight and body fat, but most importantly she reversed the type 2 diabetes that many oncology patients struggle with after treatment. Most importantly, she developed an understanding of the importance of setting an example of healthy nutrition and exercise habits for her daughter.

This patient kindly answered some questions on how TLC™ has shaped and changed her life:

  1. When you first thought about the TLC™ program, what was your motivation? Weight loss was originally my number one motivator.
  2. In one word, how would you describe the way you felt on a regular basis before TLC™?   Tired.
  3. Before the program, did you think you had a choice about feeling this way or did you think: “this is just the way it is?” I knew I had a choice and only I could do anything about it.
  4. Prior to beginning the program, what were your expectations? Were they different after finishing the program?  I truly expected to lose a lot of weight.  After the program I’ve learned to be realistic about my expectations and just do the best I can every day.
  1. What are some of the most valuable things you have learned during the TLC™ program? How to properly cleanse my body when I’m sluggish. The value of proper eating on a regular basis so that when I need to indulge, it’s going to be OK.  Exercises that I can do at home quickly that help keep me in line.
  2. We all know change in hard. Was it worth it? Absolutely!  If I’m being honest, I could use a couple more times through the program.
  3. If the “new you” could talk to the “old you” what is the conversation you would have? Look at all that time you spent beating yourself up!  Just trying your best every day is enough. Some days are great, others are not and that’s all right.
  4. Other than weight loss, what other improvements or change in symptoms have you experienced? My pain is better, although for me it’s never going away.  I reversed pre-diabetes, that’s so huge!!
  5. Did you see improvements in your labs? Do you feel more secure in your health? I saw major improvements in my labs!  Yes, I feel more confident that I’m at least doing everything that I can to keep my cancer from coming back.
  6. How do you feel about your future? Do you have any concerns about maintaining the changes you have made? Yes, every day is a struggle for me.  It’s one of the many reasons I continue to see Leslie every week, accountability to others is a huge factor in my life.
  7. Knowing the New Year is upon us, if you were recommending the TLC™ program to a total stranger, what would you say?  Bite the bullet and invest in yourself.  It’s a lot of money, but the benefits and peace of mind far outweigh the cost.  Plus, you gain a Leslie 😉

I so love encouraging women. I have witnessed women leaving this program with more courage, strength and confidence than I ever expected. TLC™ will take you on a journey that will promote healthy living and a healthy outlook. With the New Year approaching, I encourage you to set up a free consultation to see how TLC™ can change your life and yourself.

These women enrich my life every day, and I encourage you to visit to read more about the journeys taken. Change is never an easy challenge, but it is possible. We would love to help you discover the “YOU” you have never met.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

Stress and the Holidays By Sue Lang, APN, CNM


It just seems like yesterday that the Christmas season was here and now another season is upon us. We all know that mild stress can help us be productive, but major stress can lead to depression and a feeling of frustration. Signs of stress can include, but not be limited to, increased heart and respiratory rate, headaches, stiff neck and muscles, sweating, upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea. When we are stressed, our immune system is also affected. Colds, flu and other heath issues can arise. I encourage you to incorporate some of the ideas listed below into your season to help reduce your stress level so you can enjoy your holiday time.

  1. Recognize when you may be feeling overwhelmed or depressed. There are steps that we can take to help if symptoms get you down. If you have lost someone close to you, this season will often be a very hard time. Seek help through you caregiver, priest, pastor, or rabbi.
  2. Be realistic-know that you can’t and maybe shouldn’t do everything by yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family for help when you need it!
  3. If you are planning on gift giving, try to stay on a budget. Make gifts and spend time with others. These are often the best times.
  4. Make family time a priority and visit the festival of lights or window shop. Play some games from your childhood. Consider leaving the electronics unplugged to allow more time for interaction and memory making.
  5. Read to your children or grandchildren a book each night about all the holidays and customs around the world. This may be the start of a new tradition in your family. This is such a great time for bonding! If the grandchildren do not live near you, call them and read to them over the phone or via Skype.
  6. Get sleep. Being a night owl is not going to help.
  7. Exercise. We know that exercise is a great stress reliever and that it produces endorphins.
  8. Maintain a healthy diet that includes folate, omega-3 fatty acids, Inositol and L-theanine. (Spinach, broccoli, avocado, legumes, fruit, fish, algae, walnut, chia seed, and flaxseed contain these nutrients.)
  9. Take time to remember what this season is about.

Remember, we do not have to be perfect. Only God is!

Sue Lang, APN, CNM