Fennel, Beet, and Citrus Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Vegetarian Times



  • 3 Tbs. 2% Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 11/2 Tbs. finely chopped chives or green onion


  • 1 7-oz. bag romaine blend salad greens
  • 1 large head fennel, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. cooked beets, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
  • 2 large oranges, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds


  1. To make Dressing: Blend yogurt, Parmesan, vinegar, oil, and brown sugar in blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and stir in chives.
  2. To assemble Salad: Toss salad greens and fennel with 3 Tbs. Dressing in large bowl. Toss beets with remaining Dressing in small bowl. Just before serving, stir beets into salad. Break up orange slices into bite-size pieces, sprinkle atop salad, and serve.  Enjoy compliments of the Vegetarian Times.

What is an IPL Photofacial? By Leslie A. Gilstrap, Licensed Esthetician

If you keep your ears open in any medical office the term Photofacial may come up. But what is a Photofacial? A Photofacial is an anti-aging treatment that uses Intense Pulse Light (IPL) to penetrate and treat pigmented skin. Photofacials are non-ablative, so no skin is removed during the treatment. IPL technology targets discoloration, sun damage and broken capillaries, revealing clearer skin. Patients like it because there is very little discomfort or downtime. Multiple treatments (3-6) are usually required to achieve the best results and are spaced 4-6 weeks apart.

What results can I expect from IPL?

  • Decreases appearance of sunspots and pigmentation
  • Repairs small blood vessels that have surfaced due to sun damage or maturity
  • Stimulates collagen and improves skin tone
  • Minimizes wrinkles and signs of aging
  • Reduces enlarged pores
  • Diffuses skin redness and Rosacea

The treatment itself does not take very long depending on the area being treated (15-60 minutes). Keep in mind it’s not limited to the face just because it’s called a facial. Other popular areas are hands, arms, chest and shoulders. Common side effects are redness, swelling, dryness and crusting of deeply pigmented spots. This all will subside rather quickly through your skin’s healing process. We can discuss complete expectations during your initial consultation, which is always complimentary.

Patients should have realistic expectations of results, as some damage can lay very deep in the skin. Most discoloration will fade however not all of it will be gone. And of course the key to keeping any skin treatment looking fresh is SUNSCREEN. I like NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention SPF 30 100% mineral sunscreen, $49 available here at the Couri Center (I’m happy to provide a sample too). Without proper protection and limited sun exposure, the treated areas could reappear.

If you’re interested in finding out how your skin can benefit from our IPL Photofacial, please schedule your complimentary consultation with me. I look forward to discussing the right treatment options for you.

To healthy skin,


Leslie A. Gilstrap


Intermittent Fasting Explained By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT


Intermittent fasting (IM) is becoming more and more trendy, publicized and researched. This diet “pattern” boasts results like weight loss, longevity, clearer thinking and increased insulin sensitivity. I am going to spend my next two newsletter articles further explaining what intermittent fasting is, how it works and who might benefit from trying this type of lifestyle.


Fasting is nothing new. Fasting is documented and practiced by many different religious groups. Hippocrates even wrote, “To eat when you are sick, is to feed your illness”, and “instead of using medicine, better fast today.” If you dive deeper into the history of intermittent fasting, it is thought that during the times of hunters and gatherers, plentiful meals were not offered three to six times daily. In order to survive, food was used sparingly and when available. I can imagine there were many days when food was not found or available. Can we credit the weight gain and increased disease rate among humans over the last one hundred years to when we eat instead of what we eat? Interesting.


There are three varieties of intermittent fasting:

The 16/8 Method involves eating during an eight-hour window within a twenty four hour cycle. For instance, breakfast is skipped and eating takes place between the hours of 11am and 7 pm.


The Eat-Stop-Eat method involves fasting for twenty-four hours straight, one to two times weekly.


The 5:2 Method includes almost fasting for two non-consecutive days each week. During “fasting” days only 500-600 calories are consumed.


Keep in mind when not fasting, there are no restrictions to what can be consumed. Recommendations are to “eat sensibly.” All publications note that non-fasting days cannot be used to freely overeat. If non-fasting days are used to eat large quantities of high calorie, low nutrient foods, weight loss and metabolic benefits are lost. Some common sense has to be used when choosing what to eat, as well as the quality of food consumed. Indulging on a limited basis is just fine.


The science behind intermittent fasting is strongly related to stress and how the body adapts to stress. A journal article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal states recent intermittent fasting research is showing promising results in the “improvement of biomarkers of disease, reduction of oxidative stress and preservation of learning and memory functions.” Some studies are saying intermittent fasting may help decrease the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, prevent cancer, and even possibly prolong life.


One theory as to why these improvements are found revolves around stress. When the body is fasting, it is under mild stress and over time the body adapts and becomes accustomed to this stress. Because the body has become “stronger” due to this long term stress, it has a better ability to fight off the much more significant stress associated with disease. The article explains that the stress of intermittent fasting can be thought of as exercise. It is stressful to exercise, but when the body is given proper rest and recovery, it has the ability to adapt, heal and continue to progress. As with exercise, intermittent fasting should be slowly integrated into a lifestyle.


Weight loss and the maintenance of a low BMI are also associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Many different women struggle with weight loss. Because consumption is restricted, calorie intake would naturally be reduced. In a normal, healthy adult, this theory may be true: if calorie consumption in reduced, weight loss will occur. (If you are struggling with weight loss, please schedule a nutritional consultation to discuss your symptoms.)


Intermittent fasting, calorie restriction or “undernutrition without malnutrition”, has been one of the only ways research has found mice with cancer to prolong survival. As noted in the Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases 2010 journal article, if mice are given the option to eat unlimited amounts of food on non-fasting days, or overcompensate, benefits regarding survival and tumor growth were lost. Decreased energy intake is needed to achieve the full benefits of intermittent fasting.


Fasting challenges the brain. As the brain continues to be stressed, over time it builds up “strength” and is able to adapt to the stressors of disease. Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine believes that IM helps neural connections and reduces the build of amyloid plaques, which are proteins found in abundance in people with Alzheimer’s. When thinking of the natural progression of humans, we know that there were times of hunger. Food was not constantly available. It was necessary for the brain to function at its best, even during times of fast.

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity because it allows glycogen stores to be depleted. Once all the glycogen has been used that is stored in the liver, the body starts producing ketone bodies, which are then used by neurons in the brain. Low insulin levels are also associated with longer life spans. It should also be recognized that exercise has the same positive effects on the brain and insulin levels as intermittent fasting.


Intermittent fasting is very complex and not recommended for everyone. Next month we will discuss who is a candidate for intermittent fasting as well as how intermittent fasting can be used incorrectly.


If you have questions regarding intermittent fasting or would like to learn how to integrate intermittent fasting into your current lifestyle, please call and schedule a nutritional consultation.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer

Why We Recommend an Annual Well-Woman Exam By Terry Polanin, MSN, APN, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

“Is it true I no longer need an annual pap smear?” This is a very common question of many people, especially since the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology is not recommending an annual pap smear IF the patient has had NORMAL screening Pap smears in years past. We want our patients to know that the Couri Center does recommend the yearly well-woman visit and exam. Often people think that the “yearly gynecology or well-woman exam” is only about the Pap smear. It is not.

At the Couri Center, we have long believed in providing integrative women’s health care. It is the heart and soul of our practice. To accomplish this, we believe in addressing concerns involving the “whole person” which is far more than just the lab test called the “ Pap smear.” Certainly, we believe that the Pap smear is important and has saved many lives by detecting abnormal cells and HPV (human papillovirus), which can lead to cervical cancer. The incidence of cervical cancer in the United States has been greatly reduced since the development of pap smears in the l940s. So, we are still doing many pap smears for women, especially if they have had abnormal paps in the past. The frequency for women with “normal pap” results has been reduced from yearly to every 3-5 years depending on your age and circumstances. (See article by Dr. Kaleb Jacobs in the Couri Center newsletter). We, at the Couri Center, believe that you should have a yearly well-woman visit and then, if you fall into the guidelines of normal routine screening, we would recommend that your pap smear and HPV virus test (the virus believed to cause cancer of the cervix) be performed every 3 years, at the time of your annual exam. However, if you wish to have an annual Pap smear with the office visit, please inform us when scheduling. We suggest that you talk with your insurance provider to be sure they are covering the actual annual Pap smear. While most cover the yearly exam, some are following the ACOG guidelines for routine screening suggesting less frequent Pap smear testing.

So, what does the yearly “well-woman gynecology visit” include? The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has developed guidelines for these visits, depending on the woman’s age. (Well woman task force: Components of the well-woman visit. Obstet Gynecol 2015) Certainly, each visit will include a height, weight, body mass index (BMI to determine the risk for being overweight/obesity), blood pressure, thyroid, breast exam, abdominal exam, skin exam, and pelvic exam (pap smear as indicated). These are areas of the exam that help us to screen for health or medical problems such as hypertension, overweight issues, assistance with smoking cessation as needed, thyroid problems, breast lumps or problems, abnormal skin issues, and gynecological pelvic problems such as an enlarged uterus, ovaries, prolapsed (sagging) pelvic organs causing incontinence, and vulvar /vaginal skin problems. In addition to the physical exam, and depending on your age, we will discuss other areas pertinent to your health such as your lifestyle habits, home/work/family/self “balance”, exercise and eating habits to help assist with normal weight levels, hormone imbalances, and other areas that may be concerning you at the time of the visit.

Ten Reasons Why You Should Have an Annual Well-Woman Examination *

  • Birth Control: Learn about choosing the right birth control method for you, if you are in need of birth control.
  • Cancer Screening: Learn more about breast cancer, colon cancer, and other types of cancer.
  • Vaccinations: Talk with your provider about vaccines against the human papillomavirus (HPV), and other pertinent vaccines for prevention of diseases.
  • Health Screening: Discuss screening for high blood pressure, diabetes, bone density for osteoporosis and more.
  • Depression Screening: Depression is a common but serious illness. The yearly visit is a time to talk with your health care provider about any concerns you may have about depression, anxiety and situational stresses in your life.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening: Sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomonas, and genital herpes are infections spread by sexual contact, which can be screened during your pelvic exam at your visit.
  • Concerns about Sex: Discuss questions or concerns you may have about sexual intercourse, painful intercourse, or hormone changes that may alter your response to sex or interest.
  • Weight Control: Learn about ways to control your weight, prevent obesity, exercise, and prevent problems associated with being overweight. (Our dietitian, Leslie Bayer, coordinates our TLC™-Total Lifestyle Programs-at the Couri Center. Ask about a free consultation).
  • Issues With your Menstrual Period: Discuss PMS, painful periods, your first period, heavy bleeding or irregular periods.
  • Preconception Counseling: If you are planning a pregnancy, talking with your provider about ways to have a healthy pregnancy or plans for conception which will include healthy eating, exercise, avoiding cigarette smoking/alcohol/drugs, past pregnancies, and prenatal vitamins. (We, at the Couri Center, do not provide obstetrical care any longer but can refer you to others that do.) *ACOG 2015

Other Reasons: Get help with hormones, menopause issues, (our harmonié hormone pellet therapy) urinary incontinence, (our Emsella treatment) vaginal dryness, (our MonaLisa Touch™ laser for vaginal health), hair and skin issues (laser hair removal, free aesthetician consultations available), medical-grade skin products (NIA24® now available).

So, the next time someone says “you don’t need your yearly pap smear any longer”—you are now better equipped to explain to them the value of a yearly well woman exam and the pap smear routine screening guidelines and the many reasons that your annual visit is very important.

Have a happy, healthy summer!


Terry Polanin, MSN, APN, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

Hereditary Cancer Screening By Hope Placher, MMS, PA-C, IFMCP

Do you have a relative with cancer? Knowing your personal and family history of cancer is the first step in determining if you might be at increased risk for cancer.

I am pleased to announce a new, elective screening tool available to our valued patients – Myriad MyRisk Genetic Testing. This simple, in-office blood test screens for genetic mutations that may put you at a higher risk for developing various types of cancer. Myriad MyRisk looks at multiple genes that impact inherited risks for eight important cancers – breast, ovarian, uterine, gastric, colorectal, pancreatic, prostate and melanoma. Research has shown that up to 10 percent of cancers are due to factors that are passed from one generation to the next. These syndromes are known as hereditary cancers.


We know that most cancers occur in people who do not have a strong family history of cancer. This is called a ‘sporadic’ cancer. In some families, we see more of the same kind or related kinds of cancers than the general population – this is called a ‘familial’ cancer. But in those families with hereditary cancer, the cancer risk is passed down through generations by inheriting an altered gene, which increases the risk to develop cancer. This is precisely what Myriad MyRisk is testing for. The steps are as follows:


  • At your yearly exam, you will receive a six-question survey to complete. It is a yes / no questionnaire to screen if you are a candidate for testing.
  • If you answer yes to any of the questions, you are eligible.
  • At the end of your visit, you will be escorted to a private room to watch a brief, 3-minute video from Myriad that elaborates on genetic testing.
  • At the conclusion of the video, you have complimentary access to speak with a genetic counselor via phone conference to answer absolutely any questions you may have.
  • Blood testing is collected in our lab and sent for analysis. The results will take approximately 4-6 weeks to return and a consultation will be scheduled to review in detail.


Our goal with offering this genetic screening is to not only identify genetic mutations, but to also screen patients for personal risk factors that may put you at higher risk for cancer. As your partner in healthcare, we are devoted to help you lower your risk for developing cancer with modifiable lifestyle changes including diet, exercise, improved hormone metabolism, and stress reduction. Our team-based approach to helping our patients is created by a unique blend of physicians, advanced practice providers, and a registered dietitian/personal trainer. We are here to help personalize your management plan. Please ask your provider any questions about Myriad MyRisk Genetic Testing.

Hope Placher, PA-C

Are You Tired of Leaking? By Dr. Michele Couri, MD, FACOG, ABIHM


Let’s face it — urinary incontinence is far more than just an inconvenience. It affects quality of life on a daily basis and can cost women several hundred dollars a year in protective pads and/or adult diapers. It is commonly diagnosed, yet not frequently brought up to healthcare providers. A recent study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology reported that approximately 68% of women ages 42-64 experience urinary incontinence. There are a few different types of urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence is the leaking of urine with coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising. It can also occur during intercourse. Urge incontinence is the leakage of urine when the bladder is full and one cannot get to the bathroom on time before leakage occurs. Mixed incontinence is a combination of both stress and urge incontinence.


Urinary incontinence commonly leads to a marked decreased quality of life — both physically and emotionally. Despite this impact, studies have found that less than half of women with urinary incontinence tell their health care providers about their problem. I have my theories as to why women suffer in silence as it pertains to their urologic health. I truly believe that women feel that they are alone when it comes to this embarrassing problem. In addition, the treatments available for urinary incontinence historically have been time-consuming, invasive, and often require surgical intervention. NOT ANYMORE! I would like to introduce you to EMSELLA, and the Couri Center is the first office to offer this treatment in central Illinois.


Fortunately, with the new FDA-approved EMSELLA treatment, you don’t have to live with stress, urge, or mixed incontinence any longer. BTL EMSELLA is a revolutionary, non-invasive and painless treatment for all types of urinary incontinence, pelvic floor prolapse and vaginal relaxation. The EMSELLA chair strengthens the pelvic floor muscles by focusing electromagnetic waves causing the muscles to contract and relax, exercising them in a similar way to Kegel exercises. The technology is known as High Intensity Focused Electromagnetic Technology (HIFEM) and it causes deep pelvic floor muscle stimulation. Patients sit comfortably fully clothed in the EMSELLA chair. The chair focuses on targeted tissue in the pelvis. Muscles are strengthened, restoring the support for the pelvic organs. The vaginal walls are tightened, and incontinence decreases.


The treatment consists of 2 sessions a week for 3 weeks. Each session lasts 28 minutes and does not even require you to change clothes. It is completely non-invasive. The most important thing to remember is that the sessions are painless. Despite that, EMSELLA is so powerful that one short 28-minute treatment provides the work equivalent to performing 11,200 Kegel exercises! Just think how long it would take us to perform all those exercises on our own. Impossible!


In as few as 3 weeks, patients strongly agree their quality of life improved by 95%. Two-thirds of treated patients totally eliminated or decreased the use of pads for leakage and the results were maintained at a 6-month follow-up.


Our patients that have had the EMSELLA treatments at our office are seeing amazing results. One of our patients told me that after just two of the six treatments, she no longer had to wear a pad at night while sleeping and that she woke up dry for the first time in years. Another patient reported that after 3 treatments, she noticed significantly less pelvic pressure and less urinary urgency. She could “hold her urine” until she could get to the restroom. She did not leak anymore like she did before when she suffered with urge incontinence. Another patient told me that after two treatments, she no longer leaked when she coughed or sneezed. She was thrilled.


I’ve included a Couri Center patient testimonial:

I’m sure many of you can relate to the issues I was having: Bladder leakage when I coughed, sneezed, or when I laughed hard. When I exercised I had to stay at a “low impact” level because I couldn’t jump or jog. I was also waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom…. Every. Single. Night.


After my first treatment on the Emsella chair I was able to work out that same night and I was able to do a jumping jack without any leakage! I was truly amazed. By the third treatment my symptoms had diminished. I can sneeze without crossing my legs, and I can sleep through the night, etc.


I am so grateful and thankful that Dr. Couri has brought this technology to our practice. Something as easy as sitting on a chair 2 times a week, for 3 weeks, is going to improve my active lifestyle. Nothing can stop me now!


Why suffer with urinary incontinence any longer? You deserve to regain control. Call us today to learn how EMSELLA can change your life forever.


To Your Health,

Dr. Couri




Regain Control with EMSELLA

Urinary incontinence-the loss of bladder control- is a common and often embarrassing problem.  The severity ranges from occasionally leaking when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong you don’t get to the toilet in time. If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, regain urinary control with EMSELLA.

Urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) is a condition that can significantly impact your body image, sexual life and day-to-day living.

  • Approximately 68% of women ages 42-64 experience urinary incontinence.
  • More than a third of women ages 45-50 avoid athletic activities out of fear of an incontinence episode.
  • Up to 23% of women take time off work because of their incontinence.
  • Women with severe urinary incontinence average $900 annually for adult incontinence products.

EMSELLA, a revolutionary non-invasive, no downtime procedure that takes all the work and time out of strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.  The EMSELLA chair strengthens the pelvic floor muscles by focusing electromagnetic waves causing the muscles to contract and relax, exercising them in a similar way to Kegel exercises.  Unlike Kegel exercises, EMSELLA does the work for you and exercises your pelvic floor muscles much more completely and intensely than you could do on your own.  Each 28-minute session will provoke contractions equivalent to performing 11,200 Kegel exercises!

Click below to schedule your consultation to learn if EMSELLA is right for you or call:  692-6838.  


What are women saying about EMSELLA?


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