Curious How TLC can change you? Summer Lifestyle Programs

Let’s face it.  The more you know about your health, the better equipped you are to achieve your wellness goals.  Dr. Michele Couri’s personalized, integrative wellness programs include:

  • detoxification
  • food sensitivity
  • hormone balancing
  • metabolic labs
  • nutrition
  • exercise

Curious how TLC can change YOU?   Schedule your free consultation today or call 692-6838.

Learn more on TLC

Intermittent Fasting – Part 2 By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

In our last newsletter I introduced intermittent fasting. Fasting is no new concept, it has been practiced intentionally (religious orientation) and non-intentionally (times of hunger/sickness) for many generations. Recently more research has been completed and positive correlations have been found between many health benefits and intermittent fasting.

A few of the possible health benefits of regular intermittent fasting include: longevity, weight loss, increased muscle mass, increased insulin sensitivity, cognitive improvements as well as a decreased risk of disease.

Intermittent fasting is NOT for all. Everyone should proceed with caution when debating whether or not to begin intermittent fasting. Not all people, medications, diseases and lifestyles are created equal. The people who should not participate in intermittent fasting include:

Pregnant:Women who are pregnant require extra energy and nutrients than a non-pregnant woman. Extreme alterations to diet should notbe made during pregnancy without the recommendation of a physician andthe guidance of a registered dietitian.

History of an eating disorder:People who struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with food should avoid intermittent fasting. If you have struggled or continue to struggle with food anxiety or eating disorders seek help from a medical provider or registered dietitian to help find the best, scientifically-proven recommendations that best fit your personality, history and lifestyle.

Type 1 or 2 Diabetes:Diabetes is a disease that affects blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels fall too low or climb too high, serious side effects may occur. Usually, these individuals would not benefit from intermittent fasting. The risk of life-threatening side effects do not outweigh any kind of benefit.

Gut Issues:If you struggle with gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, constipation, IBS, Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, intermittent fasting likely will not improve your symptoms. Remember fasting decreases the length of time you are eating, it does not identify foods that may be causing inflammatory reactions.

Women tend to be less successful than men.I do not have to tell you that men and women are notthe same. One distinct difference is men have around ten times the hormone testosterone than women. Research agrees that men do tend to have a higher success rate at losing weight with intermittent fasting than women; possibly due to a higher basal metabolic rate.

Women also have multiple hormones, in higher quantity than men, that regulate our monthly cycles and hunger. These hormones are sensitive to energy (calorie) intake. For some women, a decrease in calories may affect their monthly cycle. In a study using lab rats, after 12 weeks of intermittent fasting, the female lab rats had lost 19% of their total body weight, lowered their glucose and noted a decrease in size of their ovaries. Levels of kisspeptin, estradiol, ghrelin and leptin had all been disrupted. It only took 10-15 days of intermittent fasting to throw the female reproductive cycle out of sync.

Because the female reproductive cycle is very sensitive, it is important for women who are interested in intermittent fasting to begin very slow. There are possibilities of extreme hunger, moodiness, trouble sleeping and hormone/cycle issues if fasting is begun too aggressively. Please, take it slow.

On a daily basis I meet with women who are beyond frustrated because they cannot lose weight. They have tried everything: counting calories, counting macros, vegan diets, low carb, keto…

If you are one of those women. Please take a deep breath and listen.

Fasting is no joke. If taken to the extreme, there is the possibility of negative side effects. No one individual is like another. We all have different medical history, medications and lifestyles. If you are thinking of beginning intermittent fasting to achieve personal goals, please work with a registered dietitian who understands you and the science behind intermittent fasting.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

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

Save 10% off Integrative Consult

The Integrative Consultation at the Couri Center  

Save 10% now thru June 30, 2018.

How good do you feel?  Is your weight where you want to be?  After you eat, do you often feel bloated or tired?  Imagine how you would you look and feel if you had a complete, personalized lifestyle & exercise plan.  A plan developed especially for you and your body.  A plan based on science and backed with proven results.  At the Couri Center, our integrative, private consultation includes:

  • food sensitivity testing
  • hormone balancing recommendations
  • metabolic labs & supplement review
  • integrative nutrition & lifestyle program with our registered dietitian
  • personalized exercise program with our certified personal trainer

Isn’t it time you invested in how you feel?

Schedule your consultation today: or 692-6838.

Save 10% now thru June 30, 2018.

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May & June Sales 2018

Seared Shitake Mushrooms and Spinach Salad By Chef Golda Ewalt


For the dressing

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil


For the salad

2 cups (6 ounces) shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (discard the stems or use for stock)

2-teaspoon olive oil

Salt to taste

1 6- or 7-ounce package baby spinach, rinsed and dried (arugula works great too)

2 celery stalks, sliced very thin

2 tablespoons broken walnut pieces, lightly toasted

¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese



  1. Whisk together the vinegar and lemon juice with the garlic, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Combine the spinach, nuts, celery and cheese in a salad bowl.
  3. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil and when very hot, add the mushrooms. Shake the pan once, then let the mushrooms cook without moving them around until they begin to sweat and soften (watch closely). After about a minute or two, when they have begun to sear and release moisture, you can move them around in the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the spinach mixture and toss with the dressing. Serve at once.


Makes 4 salads

The Integrative Consult: My Experience By Renee Alwan Percell PA-C, MMS

When I started working at the Couri Center I was still struggling to lose those final pounds I had gained from my last pregnancy. I also struggled with painful body aches and joint pain. I was considering going to a Rheumatologist to see if some kind of rheumatism or autoimmune issue was causing my pain.

During my training at the Couri Center, I learned the powerful role integrative health and food sensitivity testing play in our overall well-being. The Couri Center bundles many aspects of integrative health into a program called the TLC™ Integrative Consult. This program sparked my interest, especially since I was not feeling my best. I talked with Leslie, our Registered Dietitian, about my concerns. The first step of the Integrative Consultation involves uncovering the science behind what is going on within the body. This process includes and extensive panel of specialty blood tests, including hormone, inflammation, vitamin and food sensitivity testing, to name a few. To be honest, I wasn’t convinced the labs would provide much information because overall, I considered myself a healthy eater and person.

At my first appointment, we reviewed all my lab results. My food sensitivity testing was a complete shock! Food was my problem! I had suspected that dairy “did not agreed with me,” but other than that, I thought I was fine. It turns out that I have sensitivities to dairy, gluten, yeast and even almonds! Leslie spent one-on-one time with me to help me better understand my labs, what they meant and how I could improve them. She reviewed supplement recommendations that would help improve my labs as well as how to modify my current diet. With all of the personalized information, I felt ready to tackle my sensitivities.

Next, we discussed how a liver detox would help lay the foundation of my new lifestyle. After Leslie reviewed the simple instructions (I get to eat normal food the entire week!), I set a date to start. The first two days were tough, but doable. Once I was finished the seven days, I couldn’t believe how great I felt! I actually woke up in the morning without any aches or pain and I have more energy. I also noticed all my rings were loose on my fingers.

Based on our Registered Dietitian’s guidance, I slowly reintroduced the foods I removed. I quickly became aware of the foods I could have on occasion and the foods I needed to mostly avoid. As life would have it, I often get off track with my diet. Life as a working mother of three is busy and sometimes I just like to indulge in some cheese and bread! I find that I can follow my diet for several months and then inevitably a holiday or social party will throw off my plans. I don’t get down on myself when I fall off track. Instead, I use the guidance I received from my Integrative Consultation and use the Detox Program recommended by the Couri Center every 4 months (seasonally). I have even encouraged my husband to do the elimination diet with me. He agrees that he feels his best afterward. Now we do it together and like all things, it is much easier to be successful when you have a partner to help keep you on track. I easily lost my last few pounds of baby weight, and I have even had friends complete the program with amazing results!

If you are interested in learning more about your health and our TLC™ Integrative Consult, call 692-6838 and make an appointment with Leslie for a free consultation! With summer around the corner, get a jump start on your best YOU!

Be well,

Renee Alwan Percell PA-C

Rotational Diets are Crucial.  Here’s Why. By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

For over eight years the Couri Center has offered food sensitivity testing. Many patients struggle with a variety of symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain after eating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches/migraines, skin irritations, acid reflux and even chronic sinus issues. Food sensitivity testing helps to identify single or multiple foods that contribute to these symptoms. The results are helping patients better manage, reduce and even eliminate these symptoms. At the Couri Center, food sensitivity testing includes a consultation with a registered dietitian. This consultation is customized and allows time to better explain your results and provide you with education on how to alter and plan your diet.


During most food sensitivity consults, after reviewing the results, I wait for the patient to interrupt me and say “BUT I EAT THAT EVERYDAY!” I know. It happens nearly every time. The second most common statement; “but how can something that is supposed to be healthy be bad for me?” Eating too much of a single food has been shown to increase risk of food sensitivity. Patients who have already had food sensitivity testing may remember me saying “if you learn anything, your health will benefit most from eating with the calendar and following a rotational diet.”


Modern conveniences, like cross country and international shipping, provide grocery stores with fruits and vegetables year-round, that are traditionally seasonal foods. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are classic summer foods, however they are not grown in the freezing winter temperatures of the Midwest. When foods are shipped cross country or imported from other countries, they are picked early, and show lower nutrient profiles and less phytonutrients than produce picked when ripe. Another downfall of having produce consistently available year-round; single food items are consumed repeatedly and the nutrient profiles of less “advertised or popular” foods, traditionally grown during that season, are eliminated.


Daily, I discuss the downfalls of publicized diets, weight loss plans and advertised health claims. Every so often a different trend or plan gives numerical values to food. Classifications like Top 10 lists, calories and the glycemic index give food numbers that represent a single dimension of health value. When values are interpreted without proper professional guidance and patient history, foods are often restricted or increased dependent on their numerical value. Protein shakes made with blueberries and kale, Greek yogurt or scrambled eggs are generally classified as ‘healthy’ foods and often consumed daily. These foods are also found to commonly cause problematic symptoms in patients.


Being a creature of habit may be beneficial in many areas of life, however, it should not be part of a diet. Following a rotational or seasonal diet encourages consumption of a full spectrum of nutrients and vitamins. Remember that winter foods, such as vitamin C rich citrus foods, keep our immune system strong during cold and flu season. Spring and summer produce is full of antioxidants and beta-carotene which protects against sun and contain sweetness which helps maintain energy during long, hot summer days. Nature tends to keep us healthy, if we choose to listen.


Here are a few ideas to help increase the rotation in your diet:

  1. Grocery shop weekly. Each week when planning your meals, try to purchase different foods than the week prior.
  2. Research which foods are in season. In-season produce tends to be less expensive than out-of-season foods. Summer produce that is currently in season include greens, beets, broccoli, berries, garlic, peppers, peas, potatoes and watermelon. Shopping our local farmer’s markets is an easy way to purchase seasonal food as well as support local farmers.
  3. Look for color within the produce. Strawberries that are white are providing limited nutrients and flavor.
  4. Think before you buy. Do not avoid OR over-buy produce due to preconceived ideas of their health benefits. Remember too much of any good thing is usually a bad thing.


If you are struggling with understanding how to eat for your individual body, I encourage you to look no further. The Couri Center does not recommend any one diet, nor do we make generalized recommendations without proper data.  We take the time to learn about and listen to our patients, put together a group of labs that provide detailed information and challenge ourselves by stepping outside the box for solutions to our patients’ concerns.

Please contact the Couri Center for more information on food sensitivity testing, nutritional analysis and our one-of-a-kind lifestyle and wellness program TLC: Total Lifestyle by Couri.


Leslie Rusch-Bayer


Couri Girl Spring 2018

At the Couri Center, we specialize in women’s health.  With years of advanced medical training and decades of experience, our success is easily measured in volumes of patient praise.  From traditional gynecology & surgical procedures, integrative health programs & aesthetics, take comfort in knowing you can trust the Couri Center with:

  • Well-Woman Exams
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Menopausal Management
  • Family Planning
  • Contraception
  • Pap Smears
  • Pelvic Ultrasounds
  • Treatment of Heavy Menstrual Bleeding and/or Fibroids
  • Treatment of Abnormal Pap Smears
  • da vinci® Robotic Surgery
  • MonaLisa Touch™ Vaginal Laser
  • harmonié Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Food Sensitivity Testing
  • Customized Nutritional Supplements
  • TLC™ Integrative Lifestyle Programs
  • Weight Loss Programs
  • Infrared Sauna Therapy
  • Aesthetic Studio:  Laser Hair Removal, Wrinkle/Age Spot Removal, Scar & Stretch Mark Removal, Rosacea & More
  • Injectables:  BOTOX®  & KYBELLA®
  • Pro-Niacin® Skincare by NIA24®

New patients welcome!  Schedule today: 692-6838  

Summer 2018 Total Lifestyle by Couri

Let’s face it.  The more you know about your health, the better equipped you are to achieve your wellness goals.  Dr. Michele Couri’s personalized, integrative wellness programs include:

  • detoxification
  • food sensitivity
  • hormone balancing
  • metabolic labs
  • nutrition
  • exercise

Schedule your free consultation today: or 692-6838.

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