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Desperate Diarrhea Victims Bemoan Archway Bankruptcy

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Ten years ago we received an amazing letter from Donald Agar in Pittsfield, Massachusetts: “I have had Crohn's disease for 40 years, and during that time I have had a never-ending battle with diarrhea. Lomotil helps some, but it doesn't eliminate the problem.

“Three months ago, I bought a box of Archway Coconut Macaroon cookies. I've been eating two a day and I have not experienced diarrhea in that time. If by chance I eat three in a day, I get constipated. Believe me, I have a new life now.

“My brother-in-law has a friend who just had cancer and suffered diarrhea as a consequence of the operation. We told him about the cookies and they corrected his diarrhea. I would be delighted if others were helped by my discovery, too.”

We invited others to share their experiences with coconut macaroon cookies for diarrhea. Over the next decade we heard from hundreds of readers, most reporting amazing results. Here are just a few examples:

“I read your column on the effect that coconut macaroons might have on Crohn's Disease. Having suffered with this dread disease for years with little relief, I bought four boxes of Archway's product. Much to my shock, there has been dramatic improvement in my symptoms in less than one week. My gastroenterologist pooh-poohed the idea, but I can honestly state that the macaroons have given me far more relief than any medication I have taken.”

Another reader had a different health problem that caused diarrhea: “I had a kidney transplant (donated by my beautiful daughter Lizzie) and the medicines I have to take really do a number on my stomach. I was having so much diarrhea that it made my hemorrhoids bleed. When I read about the coconut cookies, I tried them and you know what? They worked!”

This reader offered another story: “I shared this information with my brother-in-law who'd had diarrhea since radiation treatment on his prostate burned his colon and caused demoralizing daily diarrhea. The macaroons worked for him. He is elated and is actually planning to take some extended driving trips. He eats two a day.”

Sadly, all the enthusiasm for Archway Coconut Macaroon Cookies wasn’t enough to keep the company out of bankruptcy. A reader just lamented: “We recently learned that Archway has gone out of business. No longer will we be able to get their coconut macaroons. Do you have a suggestion for another brand or will any coconut macaroon work?”

We have heard from many readers that the coconut is the critical ingredient in the cookies. Homemade coconut macaroons have been used effectively by a number of readers. Here is one recipe from Stephanie Muravchik of Charlottesville, VA: Preheat oven to 250. Cover a cookie sheet with greased tinfoil. Mix 2/3 c. sweetened condensed milk, one egg white, 1.5 tsp. vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Add 3.5 c. shredded sweet coconut and mix well. Drop by tablespoons onto sheet and bake 20 to 25 minutes until well browned.

For a fluffier cookie, beat the egg white separately and fold in after the coconut has been added. We make no guarantees that these cookies will work as well as the Archway brand. Since Archway is no longer available, though, they are worth a try.

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I have used plain unsweetened toasted coconut to combat diarrhea. My husband is diabetic and his glucophage caused this problem. I bought unsweetened shredded coconut in the baking aisle and toasted it in the over for a few minutes. I sprinkle a little over his cereal in the morning.

Coconut milk is available in the Asian section of any large grocery store. It comes in a can and is very effective.

That should have read "toasted it in the oven."

The recipe we are using is much simpler and better for those who may be sensitive to milk. If you use organic sugar cut the amount way down. I use the organic flaked coconut from Tropical Traditions.

Coconut Macaroons

2 egg whites
Dash salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 3 1/2-ounce can (1 1/3 cups) flaked coconut (not sweetened)

Beat egg whites with dash salt and the vanilla till soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating till stiff peaks form. Fold in flaked coconut. Drop batter by rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in a slow oven (325) for about 20 minutes. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

One of my young friends had Crohn's, an autoimmune condition, so bad he'd almost given up on a normal life. I'd done a lot of on-line searches of autoimmune conditions after my granddaughter developed psoriasis, and learned that Vitamin D makes a huge difference in all these conditions. I told the Crohn's sufferer to try it, 4000 units a day. It cured him, totally. That was 3 years ago and he's now married and in a PhD program.

My husband has had Crohn's Disease for 6 years; in one year, he wasted from 230 lb. to 110 lb (his current weight). He takes Kefir, Bifidus, Acidophilous, Metamucil, his diet is high fiber bread, raw fruits and vegetables, salmon and broiled skinless/boneless chicken breast; he cannot tolerate any fats. But he still had terrible diarrhea with undigested food in it.
We sent for a free sample of Digestive Advantage for Crohn's & Colitis, by Ganentech, and the sample worked so well that he has bought it and taken it since. He takes one small tablet in the morning; his foods are completely digested, his stools are formed, and his gas, burning, and pain have virtually disappeared.

He does continue all the other regimen, but this food product has been a miracle for him. I take their once a day tablet for Lactose intolerance, and it has worked wonders for me as well.
(We have no financial interest in this company.)

If people don't have time to cook, then I'd look for store bought macaroons that are similar in that moist consistency to the Archways. Many macaroons are dry, which make me think they don't have very fresh coconut in them. But the moister, probably the better. There aren't THAT many kinds in the store, so it should be easy to give them all a try. Not sure how healthy it would be overall, but a friend w/a family history of Crohn's decided to eat Mounds candy bars instead of macaroons for early symptoms.

There are so many benefits to adding coconut to one's diet. It doesn't always need to be cookies. Try switching to coconut oil for cooking. It does wonders for Chron's as well as many other health issues.

Had to search for the correct name of the company Sandra was referring to.

It's "Ganeden Biotech."

The URL is

cannot find macaroons can someone help please!


I am 58 years old and had irritable bowel syndrome since I was 27. My mother told me she had read an article in the paper by a Dr. saying to eat two archway coconut macaroons a day for your irritable bowel problem. I did eat two a day for nearly 4 years. During that time it was like taking a miracle drug. I had no problem. Then I decided to stop eating then and see what would happen. Here it had corrected the problem. I no longer have the problem and it had been with me for nearly 30 years.
My sister finds that mounds candy bars has the results for her.

I was diagnosed with IBS about a year ago after suffering with constant, painful diarrhea for months. It seemed to start with a series of 3 different antibiotics for a debilitating bronchitis that lasted 3 months. I was advised to stop all antibiotics and the diarrhea should stop.

It didn't. I finally saw a GI doctor who diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and gave me hyoscyomine (?) which controlled the diarrhea most of the time. Last month I read your recipe for Pumpkin/applesauce muffins and made them. I have 2 for breakfast every morning and have no had any IBS symptoms since! How can this food be curing the IBS and why didn't my doctor recommend increasing fiber in my diet?

I found mini coconut macaroon cookies at Trader Joe's (their own brand). They are pre-packaged in 1 lb plastic tubs for $3.49 which I thought was reasonable. They are very tasty. Ingredients: coconut, sugar, corn syrup, egg whites, baking soda, natural flavor, salt and milk. Unfortunately, many states don't have Trader Joe's.

I'm not much into cooking but here is the easiest recipe I've found for coconut macaroons when I have time to make them:

Coconut Macaroons

14 ounces (net wt) shredded sweetened coconut (Baker's sweetened coconut comes in 14 oz bag and says it is equivalent to 5 1/3 cups)
1 can (14-15 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350┬░ for 8-10 minutes. Cool macaroons slightly and remove to rack. Makes about 4 to 5 dozen macaroons.

Followup to my posting above about Trader Joe's coconut macaroons. When I went back to get more macaroons, there were none on the shelf. The manager said there were none in the warehouse either. I emailed Trader Joe's headquarters and the reply said they have been discontinued due to insufficient sales.

I recently read an article on the web that said that although Archway (purchased by Lance) is making cookies again, the macaroons have been discontinued as they are making a lot less varieties of cookies than they previously made.

I have had IBS [irritabale bowel syndrome] for over 30 years. My problems with diarrhea/loose stool are sporadic, definitely connected to stress. For the last 15 years I have had excellent control with hyoscyamine made by Ethex. It is now not being made. My Dr. has prescribed five other drugs, none of which helped. Lomotil made me desperately ill: dizzy, double vision and puking in addition to my IBS.

I had read about the macaroons in your column but never tried them because the hyoscyamine controlled the problem without the calories. I began looking after the Lotomil experience and _finally_ found some macaroons at a bakery.
They work very well; I eat two per day.
Thank you.

Archway was saved, having been purchased by another company. All of their products, including the coconut macaroons, have recently returned to my local grocery's shelf.

I just purchased the Archway coconut macaroons at my local Food Lion grocery store. Hope this helps some people having problems finding the cookies. 6/22/2009

I had to invent a recipe that could be safely used by most diabetics and those allergic to egg, for family members.
I learned that it's really all about the coconut and carob! Forget sugar and egg--those could make other problems for many people!
One does not have to worry about being unable to get a specific brand of macaroon.

For Bowel-Regulation problems:
Coconut, and also carob, provide important nutritional components especially needed by those with bowel regulation problems. Carob powder helps VERY well, too [Carob has been used for thousands of years for bowel regulation problems]. However, these can be simply enjoyed by anyone who just wants a guilt-free goodie, too!

At our house, we simply get:
--Coconut Butter: like peanut butter, only made with just coconut; from local health food store, Co-Op grocer, or online.
--Stevia and/or Agave syrup to taste
--a little Vanilla,
--some Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut,
--optional: Carob Powder [we use raw]; raw carob tastes sweet, and kinda chocolate-ish; toasted, it has a bit of a nutty flavor.
Warm the coconut butter just enough to be able to work it [I put it in a little bowl in our toaster oven on low temp for a few minutes]. Mix ingredients well together; store in a jar in the refrigerator [stores a very long time--estimate 1 year in the refrigerator].
This makes a macaroon-like treat with all the benefits, and far less of any ingredient that could cause other problems. It can be chilled to harden it, or, can be spooned from the bowl as soon as it gets mixed.
Here's my educated guess why it works...

Coconut has some germicidal qualities, important nutrients, great fiber, and good oils--ALL critically needed by most folks, particularly by those with Bowel troubles.
Coconut oil also has medium chain triglycerides (MCT) [most fats in our diets are long chain triglycerides].
MCT is absorbed through portal venous channels rather than through lymphatics.

One alternate solution:
I used to keep a few Original Tiger's Milk bars in the house for my kids; those things have a good nutritional content, but kids think they are getting a treat.
One Original Tiger's Milk Bar nearly always worked to stop diarrhea [barring food poisoning--that required other home remedies]. These worked for grown ups, too. It's the Carob--and maybe the peanut butter in these.
We also used these as a healthier snack-treat, instead of candy bars.

Either way, great stuff to have around!

C. Holmes, R.N.

Do you know which Digestive Advantage Sandra is referring to?? There are several different kinds. Is this just a probiotic?

There are numerous methods to help bowel issues related to Crohn's and IBS.
These are related to out-of-control inflammatory processes; things that reduce inflammation and give the digestive tract something to work on are usually what works---it's not the product/manufacturer/name brand, but the ingredients!
These kinds of things help:
---INULIN: naturally occurring in foods like Jerusalem artichoke; it helps heal the lining of the digestive tract.
---CAROB: Very ancient traditional help for digestive tract irritations, it contains good fiber, anti-inflammatory qualities, and nutrients that help. It comes raw or toasted--we prefer raw as it tastes sweeter; the toasted tastes slightly nut-like.
---COCONUT fiber: good fiver, some level of germicidal activity against pathogens, good nutrients and anti-inflammatory qualities.

ANYthing that adds to inflammatory response in the body is to be avoided, including [but not limited to]:
---fructose of any kind, except as comes naturally in fresh fruits and veggies]High fructose corn syrup and other kinds of manufactured fructose are in just about every prepared food on the market--you REALLY have to read labels to be able to avoid it.
---gluten containing foods
---allergenic foods, if you know, however wheat, dairy, corn and some others are extremely common allergy-inducing substances.
---simple sugars--refined, white kinds [these have had all the co-nutrients removed in the refining process--it is the co-nutrients that help the body metabolize the food]
Refined white and other manufactured sugars induce inflammatory responses; these have been shown to lower immune response time by about 8 hours--so if you are exposed to infections, consuming sugar will insure you DO catch the bugs circulating, and stay sicker, longer.
---Artificial sweeteners absolutely mess up the immune responses--some worse than others [ie., acesulfame-potassium, aka: Ace-K, acesulfame-K and other arrangements of it's chemical name, can actively lower immunity by consuming even one serving per day for even a week or two, causing increased incidence, severity and duration of infections]

IF you need something that can be used as a food-replacement substance, I can highly recommend something like Metagenic's
UltraClear Sustain powder that mixes well with water.
We had a guy come to our office, AWOL from a regular hospital, towing his IV line, wearing hospital garb--they wanted to carve out his colon due to raging Crohn's disease. He was justifiably terrified! Doc put him on a complete meal replacement regimen using at least 5 servings of the Sustain per day. Within one week, he was feeling pretty good, up and dressed. In 2 weeks, he wanted to go back to work, but Doc told him not. In 4 weeks, he went back to the hospital for a recheck--those docs swore there must have been a mistaken diagnosis--he had no signs of Crohn's disease left. The Doc at our office worked with him to start back to eating only foods that were not allergenic for him, and taught him how to use a rotation diet. Any time he felt any sort of upset in his gut, he was to return to using Sustain.
U.C. Sustain is very hypo-allergenic, tastes vaguely vanilla, and is a bit gritty in the glass--just drink some water after drinking the seving, to rinse the mouth and throat. It contains inulin, which is one of the features that makes it so effective.
It worked miracles for him--but he really wanted to do it, AND followed directions explicitly.
IF you are interested in using something like this, work with a proper practitioner. It is important to get appropriate nutrition, guidance and support.

C. Holmes, R.N.

I see that a few have noted that Archway is still in business. It was purchased by Lance, you know, the company that makes various snacks.

The macaroons are back on the shelf!!

Being a recent convert to a healthy lifestyle, I have discovered the benefits of organic virgin coconut oil. I take 3 tablespoons a day. I cook with it or use it like butter. It improves the digestive system and prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats in the oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites,that cause digestion.

Also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It's effective in fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringwom, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc. It helps controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. Anyway, I could go on and on, but don't want to bore you. I am just saying you don't have to depend on the cookies and ingest all that sugar, when the oil is so much more effective and healthy.

This is an amazing website - I am one of you who has dealt with tummy issues (IBS) since I was very young. I can't be ANYWHERE and not know where the bathroom is located, its pure insanity and I want it to stop... but it looks like coconut (either cookies or the oil, itself) is pretty much what we all have in common! :)

I heard about archway maybe 3 years ago, never found or tried looking for them, then the other day I mentioned my stomach cramps (or maybe she noticed me grabbing my side) and she said "hey, you should try those archway coconut macaroons!" it all came back to me instantly, I just bought 2 boxes, ate 3 and then ate a hefty dinner.... WHAT A DIFFERENCE!! I am super pumped about this new life that just started TONIGHT!!

I also have chronic diarrhea since 1997. And am on medication that helps but not curing or 100% foolproof. I have recently been researching this subject and have found that chamomile tea helps control diarrhea and helps with digestive calming from cramping. A cup of tea helps for in the morning. Helps firm up stool. Also chamomile tea helps to calm, relax and help sleep better. I am happy with results so far, however I am still on medication. Maybe if I add coconut to daily routine along with the tea, results could be amazing! I'm hopeful. Would love to get off medications and live a normal life again. Oh by the way, have had issues for 15 years.

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