Archive Monthly Archives: September 2021

7 Reasons Why the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Didn’t Work For You

I see it all the time.

Women come to me and say, I don’t get it. The SCD (the specific carbohydrate diet) seems to work for everyone with Crohn’s and colitis. I’ve tried it and I did everything right—fanatical adherence. And I still feel awful—maybe even worse.

Why didn’t it work for me?

Have you experienced this too? It’s so much more common than you might think when you’re out there doing this on your own feeling like the only one.

If this sounds like you, you’ve tried the SCD, you did everything the experts told you, you rocked it, but you still feel horrible. If you were left feeling defeated, frustrated and alone—this episode is tailor-made for you.

And if the SCD is on your radar, but you’re still gathering info and trying to decide when is the best time to start, this episode is definitely for you too mama because it’s going to save you wasted time and heartache as you venture out into the world of SCD

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • The reason why even though you feel like your miles away from SCD success, you really just steps away
  • The best nut flour for your digestive health
  • Why grains could be on the menu for your SCD gut healing plan

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Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode #5: The Top 3 SCD Missteps Everyone Makes

Episode #25 Coconut Flour 101

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Crohn’s & Colitis Meal Planning Made Easy

Happy New Year!

I can hear you saying, what?

I like to think of September as The New Year for Moms. When the kids go back to school, it’s time to get more “you” time, time to start something new that will give you big, bold traction on your Crohn’s and colitis healing, something like… (drum roll)… meal planning.

Wa-wa (like you got the answer wrong on a game show).

Not the climax you were looking for I bet. Many mamas groan when they hear those two words, but that’s only because they haven’t figured it out yet.

Today, I’m helping you figure out how doing meal planning the right way can give you less stress, more free time, and allow you to spend less moola on groceries.

Don’t think it’s possible? Oh, it is! Come join me and I’ll show you how.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • What is meal planning with your gut health in mind
  • 11 amazing benefits of meal planning that are also good for your gut
  • 3 tips to help you start meal planning today

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Mentioned in This Episode:

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Crohn’s & Colitis Friendly Condiments from the Condiment Queen

Do you love condiments as much as me? Ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, salsa, and dips like guacamole and hummus?

You bet you do!

They add a little flava-flav to just about everything you eat. But when it comes to being able to enjoy condiments like these on your favorite foods, you run into two problems…

#1- The ingredients in traditional condiments wreak havoc on your gut (whether you know it or not).


#2- Condiments like these, the ones you find at your local grocery store, are never on your gut healing diet. The ingredients are either full of sugar or chemicals (and often, both).

If you’re a condiment lover, hold on to your hat mama because this week on the podcast, I’m setting you up for condiment success.

I’m dishing out some seriously good news when it comes to these flavor makers. Condiments that turn your plain food from iffy to spiffy (yep, I said it) and at the same time, make your belly happy too!

We talk about:

  • The ingredients in 95% of all condiments that make your gut do a tailspin
  • Quick and simple recipes if you want to make your condiments at home (great for knowing exactly what’s in them)
  • How you know when you’re ready to start eating condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce (all the good stuff) when you’re on a gut healing diet
  • Why condiments are the key to getting your kids to eat healthy food

And so much more!

After this episode, you’ll have simple and delicious condiment recipes at your fingertips, knowledge about which store-bought condiments are gut healthy, and access to all the best condiment brands on the market. You go, condiment queen.

Episode at a Glance:

  • [07:00] The ingredients in 95% of all condiments that make your gut do a tailspin
  • [09:16] Why Mrs. Butterworth isn’t as friendly as she looks
  • [14:10] Quick and simple recipes if you want to make your condiments at home (great for knowing exactly what’s in them)
  • [15:00] Gut healthy, yet super tasty condiment ideas you can buy at the grocery store
  • [15:31] The absolute best condiment brands you can always trust
  • [16:18] How you know when you’re ready to start eating condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce (all the good stuff) when you’re on a gut healing diet
  • [19:15] Why condiments are the key to getting your kids to eat healthy food
  • [22:23] The benefits of the condiment caddy and what to put it in
  • [24:04] The best way to take this conversation to the next level and get your gut healing plan in place today

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Mentioned in This Episode

You’re FREE Resource: Condiments for a Healthy Belly and a Happy Mama

Book Your 30-Minute IBD Consultation HERE

DM Me on Facebook

Episode Transcript:

Do you love condiments as much as me? Ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, salsa… dips, aw dips, like guacamole and hummus?

Definitely tasty, but the problem is, with so many added ingredients like sugar and salt, plus chemicals to enhance flavor and color, and preservatives to increase shelf life, they’re usually not so healthy for your gut. But today we’re going to change all that so you can rest assured that the condiments your consuming aren’t messing with your digestive system. In this episode, I’m going to share with you the best gut healthy condiments you can have, ways to make the unhealthy condimnents healthy, and all the while, keep your Crohn’s or colitis belly happy.

If you love condiments as much as I do, it’s time to take your condiments from iffy to spiffy. Uh, the corniness has begun. Let’s get this condiment party started!


INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.


Hello dear one and welcome back to The Cheeky Podcast—the best place to be for moms with Crohn’s and colitis who are trying to heal with out of the box remedies that honor not just your symptoms, but your mom lifestyle as well. I am so thrilled to share this time with you today. Whether you’re dropping the kids off at school, washing the dishes, exercising or just laying down and chilling like you deserve mama, thanks for hanging out with me for a bit, I couldn’t appreciate you more. I love this podcast medium. It’s the perfect way to connect with you, my fellow gut loving mama.

After last week’s deeply personal and sometimes dark episode, episode 50 (go check it out if you haven’t yet), I needed something a little lighter this week. Something equally important for your gut health, but a little lighter. Something that brings joy to my life, and I hope joy to your life too.

And that’s condiments.

You know me as Karyn, the Crohn’s and Colitis Health Coach, but in my family, I’m known as the condiment queen. Move over Queen Elizabeth. I never met a condiment I didn’t like. Whether it was pre-Crohn’s as a kid, or after I started eating gut healing and healthy food, all the way to today. Condiments and I are, as the cool kids say, BFF’s. How about you? Do you love a good condiment? Do you have to have ketchup and mustard or mayonnaise on your burger? Maybe it’s relish or barbecue sauce? I’ll put condiments on anything but when it comes to a burger for me there’s nothing better than a barbecue sauce mayo combo and for a hot dog I like traditional yellow mustard and relish. If I’m lucky, some kraut.

Mouth watering yet?

[05:30] I’d love to know your sauce or a condiment obsessions. I remember way back in the day, when I was a kid, I had to put ketchup on everything. From breakfast eggs to dinner steak and everything in between, ketchup was my jam. My youngest child must take after me because he was quite the ketchup connoisseur as well. Lately he’s started to shy away from ketchup a bit, I think because his brothers like to tease him about it (and we all know how the whole older sibling younger sibling dynamic works), but if he had his way I think he’d put ketchup on salad.

Like I said, as a kid it was all about ketchup, but as I got older I fell in love with blue cheese on my pizza—maybe for you it’s ranch… fries dipped in mayonnaise (you can thank visiting the lovely country of Belgium for that), and to this day whenever I go out to a fancy restaurant, I have to order a sauce like bearnaise, or green peppercorn for my filet mignon.

[07:00] Condiments can enhance the flavor of pretty much everything we eat, but condiments, the kind we buy at the grocery store are usually really unhealthy for even healthy people, and for those of us with gut disorders like Crohn’s and colitis, the ingredients can be so disastrously disruptive, that at best, they said us to the toilet, and at worst they ignite the flames of a flareup.

Most store-bought condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salsa, salad dressings, hot sauce, soy sauce… all the ones that are probably in most kitchen refrigerators are usually filled with added sugars and salt. And over time, the sugar especially, will mess with your gut and create a bacterial imbalance and a host of distressing digestive symptoms.

If it was only natural sugar and natural salt that was added to condiments, I think we could find some work arounds, but the worst part of about these grocery store condiments is that they are filled with artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, even chemical preservatives and those of us with the gut disorders can be really sensitive ingredients like these. Even if you don’t feel it right away (like running to the bathroom 5 minutes after you eat), these artificial ingredients can make your Crohn’s or colitis worse and be one of the factors that keeps us from finding true and lasting remission.

Let me  give you a few examples so you can see exactly what I’m talking about here.

Let’s take maple syrup- Mrs. Butterworth? Seems like a friendly lady right. Think again. That’s definitely not maple syrup that’s hangin out in that kind of freaky looking bottle where we pour the syrup from the top of her head—come on, you know it’s weird. Syrups like Mrs. Butterworth, not to pick on her because there’s lots of other maple syrup imposters out there, have no maple syrup in them. Instead they’re filled with high fructose corn syrup, and, because hfcs wasn’t enough, then some more corn syrup, and then some cane sugar because the hfcs and the corn syrup wasn’t enough sweetness for the manufactures. Also caramel color and sodium hexa-meta-phosphate, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), and then there’s that added artificial flavorings (and who even knows what that means).

BBQ sauce is loaded with multiple types of sugar.

Many queso dips contain MSG.

Teriyaki and soy sauce are both loaded with sodium and gluten.

And don’t even get me started on your favorite store bought, supposedly healthy salad dressing. A salad should be a healthy meal. But the chemicals, the artificial flavors, preservatives, the gut disrupting gums that are used to keep the ingredients emulsified, the added sugar… makes your “healthy” meal anything but healthy.

If you’ve looked into or started any gut healing diet for your Crohn’s and colitis, you know that none of these store-bought condiments are allowed. There’s just too much crap. They’re not natural, and their ingredients cause major disruptions to your already disrupted gut.

So, even though you know you’ll miss condiments like crazy, you are motivated mama and you start that gut healthy, gut healing diet and all these condiments are off-limits. You’re eating dry chicken and tasteless vegetables. Your food has no pizzazz, no flavor, no flair. And it just makes you feel serious FOMO. Everyone else can eat jazzy, spicy, bold, flavorful, delicious treats, but you’re stuck with boring, bland, tasteless cardboard.

[13:04] If you’re smiling or laughing right now, you get it. You get the dilemma. It’s not fair.

But, hold the phone mama because I’m here to change all of that for you. Just because you’re eating gut healthy doesn’t mean your food has to be tasteless or boring. Hell to the no! Healthy food can be super tasty. You just have to add your own flair to it.

You can say yes to ketchup, you can say yes to a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, you can say yes to creamy, delectable mayonnaise and salad dressing and sauces that make your Asian dishes sing. It’s all about finding a way to either create your condiments in a really simple and speedy way in your kitchen or knowing which brands have ingredients are best for your sensitive digestive system.

If you’re like me and you love condiments and food that tastes good, you’re going to definitely appreciate a brand new resource I have to share. I created this one especially for my clients who understandably refuse to give up flava when they’re in gut healing mode. It’s my pdf guide—”Condiments for a Healthy Belly and a Happy Mama” and it’s yours absolutely free. This condiment resource has quick and simple recipes for some of your favorite condiments, it has ideas for healthy condiments you can buy at the grocery store, and it also has my favorite condiment brands, so you know exactly what to buy and where, when it comes to your purchasing options. If you are a condiment queen like me, you’re going to love this resource. You can get it by going to That’s

You can also get your free resource by checking out the show notes. I’ll leave a link there as well.

Before we wrap up for today, I want to address one of the questions I always get asked about condiments when it comes to eating for your gut health. Many gut healing diets like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, The GAPS diet, Paleo, even the gluten-free or dairy free diets, don’t get into when is it OK to add condiments (healthier condiments) like these to your every day eating plan.

[16:18] Although everyone is individual and some condiments that work for one mama will not work for another, the rule of thumb I like to follow is when you can eat all of the ingredients in the condiment separately without any G.I. or non-G.I. reaction, you can eat that condiment, in all its glory.

So if you’re waiting to enjoy mayonnaise for example, check out your mayonnaise recipe if you’re making it homemade, or the ingredients list for a store-bought option. It might include ingredients like eggs, a specific type of oil, maybe some Dijon mustard, sometimes you’ll see lemon juice or vinegar in mayonnaise. Can you tolerate all of these ingredients individually, by themselves? If you can, that condiment is yours for the taking.

Make sense?

Cool, so go for it with healthy homemade or store-bought condiments from my pdf resource guide because they really will jazz up any gut healing food you’re eating. I remember when I began the Specific Carbohydrate Diet back in 2008, condiments and seasonings became my go-to for every meal. It’s amazing how wonderful and deliciously healthy gut healing food can taste when you have the right condiments and the right spices and seasonings. It doesn’t hide the food like so many traditional condiments do. It brings out the natural flavor in the food. It’s just an absolutely different gastric experience when you eat this way.

So that’s good news isn’t it? Condiments are not off the table even when you are trying to eat gut healthy for your Crohn’s and colitis. Want to know something that might be even better than that? I’m going to tell you how to do condiments like the bad ass boss mom I know you are.

Let’s do condiments like only a mom can.

When you’ve collected all of these delicious and healthy condiments, you want to have them at the ready for you, but you can also have them at the ready for your kids too. Condiments are the key to getting your kids to eat healthy food.

[19:15] I’ve gotta shout that from the roof top one more time: Condiments are the key to getting your kids to eat healthy food.

The key to doing condiments like the mom I know you are is to set up a condiment caddy, one that is circular and spinnable. Some people call it a Lazy Susan. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google Lazy Susan. You’ll see exactly the device I mean. It’s a round platter that spins. When it comes to breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, set out the condiment caddy right in the middle of the table and watch what it does for your kids taste buds.

There’s two rules that bad ass moms follow when it comes to the condiment caddy. Rule #1 about the condiment caddy that works perfectly in your kids favor is that they are allowed to put whatever condiment from the condiment caddy they choose on their food. Even if you think it’s gross. I mean, even if they choose to put ketchup on their salad.

The second rule about the condiment caddy is that initially, they are allowed to put as much of that condiment as they want wherever they want. So again, back to getting your kids to eat salad, they are allowed to put as much salad dressing on that salad as they wish… at first.

Those two rules definitely go your kids favor. But with rule number two, as you get your kid used to whatever healthy food you’re dishing up, you start to pull back a little bit on the condiment. Eventually and hopefully you’ll be at an amount you consider to be sane.

[22:23] I got my kids to eat broccoli this way. A little parmesan cheese and butter on their broccoli and voila, they are now broccoli lovers. Same thing with spinach salad—at first they loaded it up with ranch dressing. Little by little, they were easing up on the dressing and loading up on the spinach—well at least it worked for 2 of my kids and don’t they say 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

And if you’re wondering what would I possibly put in my condiment caddy, you’ll definitely want to check out my free pdf resource: Condiments for a Healthy Belly and a Happy Mama. It’s got condiments galore so I have no doubt you’ll find some condiments you and your kids will love. Remember you can find your PDF resource by going to the show notes or typing in into your browser.

Do it like a the amazing mom I know you are with the condiment caddy.

OK my friend, did I answer all of your questions about the best ways to use condiments to jazz up healthy, gut healing food… about buying healthy condiments at the grocery store and making super simple delicious condiments that will make your belly happy at home… and how to get the kids involved by making condiments the gateway to health food? If anything I’ve talked about today is unclear or you still have questions, be sure to DM me on Facebook. I’m happy to continue the conversation over there. On Facebook I am @TheIBDHealthCoach. @ TheIBDHealth coach.

[24:04] And if you’re a Crohn’s or colitis mama and you’re struggling—maybe you were just diagnosed, or you’re struggling to get off the toilet, struggling to have enough energy to enjoy time with your kiddos, struggling to get your head around the steps you need to take to create a healing path for you—that’s definitely my specialty… know that I’m here for you. I offer free 30-min coaching sessions for moms with Crohn’s and colitis who are ready to get clear on their healing path, so they can move forward with confidence, clarity, and good gut health. During our 30-minute consultation, we set goals together, we talk about how we can marry your symptoms and your lifestyle to create the best plan for your needs and wants, and we talk about how we can work together with me as your guide to get you to the other side faster and with less roadblocks. And whether we decide working together is a good fit or not, you leave the session with tools you can use to jump start your Crohn’s or colitis healing journey right away.


If you’re ready to take big bold steps mama to heal your Crohn’s or colitis, I’ve got you covered. Schedule your free 30-minute consultation at  That’s

Dear one, just for today because we like to take it one day at a time– be bold, be brave, be kind to yourself, but always, always be true to who you are.

Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy gut healing journey.

Chat soon!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

After 35 Years With IBD: 5 IBD Breakdowns That Turned into Breakthroughs

It’s the big 5-0 (episode 50) and I’m getting personal to celebrate this milestone.

Thanks for hanging out with me over the past 50 episodes and for stopping by each week for your dose of IBD information from a food, lifestyle, and mindset perspective. I appreciate you more than you know!

Throughout episodes 1-50, you’ve heard others share their story. You’ve heard me talk about my clients, but I haven’t really shared a lot about my IBD journey, up close and personal, warts and all.

You’ve even sent me some really lovely emails asking why I do the work I do and why I started this podcast. You asked for a while now, so here’s goes nothing.

Today, I’m getting vulnerable, taking a break from my introverted self, and pulling back the curtain to share a few things I’ve learned in my 35-year Crohn’s experience with 5 breakdowns that threatened to take me down, and 5 breakthrough paths I chose to take instead. There’s lots of heartache in this one, but with lots of triumph thrown in too. Hope you enjoy and that some part of the episode speaks directly to you.

We talk about:

  • The dangers of using prednisone steroids long term
  • How bad 80’s hair isn’t so bad when you consider all the other bad things that happen in this life
  • Why gut healing food isn’t the only answer when it comes to keeping your IBD in remission
  • How you can get through any embarrassing IBD bathroom situation with a little stealth and a lot of humor
  • How everything in your IBD life comes back to your Wheel of IBD Wellness

And so much more!

After this episode, you’ll definitely have your answer to why I created this podcast and why I do the work that I do. And most of all, I hope this information sparks some inspiration for you to keep fighting when you want to give up, keep asking questions and finding answers, and always, always be the one in charge of your healthcare.

Episode at a Glance:

  • [06:24] How bad 80’s hair isn’t so bad when you consider all the other bad things that happen in this life
  • [15:50] What a Sitz Bath is and why it could be your best friend when you Crohn’s or colitis rectal involvement
  • [16:49] How you can get through any embarrassing IBD bathroom situation with a little stealth and a lot of humor
  • [20:55] The dangers of using prednisone steroids long term
  • [22:15] The benefits of having a supportive mom by your side
  • [32:01] How you’ll need to pivot your IBD plan many times in your lifetime
  • [35:00] Why one particular infertility doctor is stupid
  • [37:53] Why you shouldn’t get cocky when it’s 10-0 in the 7th inning stretch
  • [45:15] Why gut healing food isn’t the only answer when it comes to keep your IBD in remission
  • [46:36] How everything in your IBD life comes back to your Wheel of IBD Wellness
  • [53:10] The best way to take your IBD healing journey to the next level.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Mentioned in This Episode

DM Me on Facebook

Episode 30: I’m Doing Everything Right, How Come I’m Not Better

Dr. Allison Siebecker

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to episode 50 of The Cheeky Podcast. I can’t freaking believe it. Our little engine that could is raising our consciousness and giving hope to women all around the world that we mamas with IBD, we are bad assess and we will never give up, and we will never stop finding the true healing path in all of us.

Podcasts are and amazing invention, aren’t they? Connecting us to each other so we can find ways to help our Crohn’s and our colitis and I’m really proud to be a part of that.

Have you been with me since the beginning? You go girl! Joined halfway through? Amen sister friend? Maybe this is your first episode. Welcome aboard! No matter when you joined the conversation mama, I am so happy to have you here, I’m so grateful for you and I can’t wait to share some IBD wisdom with you in this special and very personal episode #50. Buckle up, because it might just be a bumpy ride.

Here we go!

Hey hey dear one. I’m so happy to share this time with you today. It’s episode 50. Whoo, hoo!! We made it. And to celebrate, would you do me a favor? Whether this is your first or 50th time with The Cheeky Podcast in your ears, if you’re enjoying the information, would you please take a minute to give us a positive rating and review in itunes? It helps other IBD mamas hear about all the IBD goodness we’re putting out each week. Thanks dear one, I appreciate you. Now we’ve got lots to talk about today.

Like I mentioned at the top, this is episode 50 and throughout the weeks and months that the podcast has been on, you’ve sent the most lovely and supportive emails and several have asked me to do this for quite a while. You tell me that the how to’s have been valuable in your healing, and you’re loving the interviews, but you’re wondering why I haven’t shared my story yet. What made me want to start the podcast? What’s my IBD story?

If I’m being really honest with you and with myself, I’ve put off talking in depth about my IBD story because I’m just not that comfortable being at the center of the story. I love telling client stories, talking about what I’ve learned on my IBD journey, but talking about myself, my mama always taught me the best way to shine is to shine a light on someone else.

But today, in honor of the big 5-0, I’m going to swallow my introverted nerves, and put it all out there, my Crohn’s story—at lease the parts I think will benefit you. I hope it inspires you in some way, to see your story in my story, to keep pushing forward, to never give up, to believe in your power, to know the strength and value of what you bring to the table with your intuition and insights– through all your provider interactions, and ultimately how you have the power to take charge of your own healthcare decisions. That’s the main thing I’ve learned in my 35 years with IBD. So, I’m getting vulnerable with 5 breakdowns I’ve experienced in my time with IBD and how I was able to turn those breakdowns into breakthroughs. Maybe you’ll see a bit of what you’ve gone through in my story, and insights to take with you for what you have yet to go through on your IBD journey.

Let’s go ahead and dive in with breakdown to breakthrough #1. It all starts with the diagnosis.

Like so many with Crohn’s and colitis, my story begins in a hospital.   

At 17 years old, I was just graduating from high school, ready to go to college 3 ½ hours from home to study dance with hopes of continuing my dancing career that started at age 3.   

I was ready to take on the world!   

[06:24] And let me give you just a little more context into where I was at, at that time. In my nuclear family, I was the “baby” in a house full of boys—the only girl with 3 older brothers- or more accurately, it was more like having 4 fathers who loved to watch my every move! I grew up in an upper/middle class family in the privileged community of Orchard Park, NY.  Go Quakers! I was fairly sheltered, moderately spoiled (although my brothers would tell you mega spoiled) and through most of my life up til that point, my biggest worry was “Do I have enough hairspray to hold up my big 80’s hair?” 

But back at the hospital, I was coming out of exploratory surgery where a colorectal surgeon was trying to find out why I kept having bloody poops and why I had several rectal fissures (tears in my rectal lining that bled when I pooped or sat down, or stood up, or moved…). 

“Hrfmmmbbrrrr….. Croobsh Distreshffff….. Vefishr Siknerth…..”   

No need to adjust your earbuds. These are just the sounds I woke up to as the anesthesia wore off after surgery. I can still hear it in my head today, these muffled voices and I remember seeing a blur of people I vaguely recognized as my parents and my doctor.  They were talking in hushed tones like people do in a hospital.  I remember, I couldn’t make out what they were saying, just those mumbles.  And the image lasted only a moment and I was out again, blissfully unaware that my life was about to change forever.  When I think back on those last moments of unknowing I had IBD, I wish I would have known that change was coming.  I wish I would have fully embraced those last few moments of true childhood innocence. 

As many loving parents do in a situation like this, mine tried and shield me from the emotional and physical pain they knew would follow.  Even when recover and wake from surgery, they didn’t tell me anything.  They said “the procedure went well” and “we’ll talk when we get home”.   

This isn’t the first time I have been shielded from the truth.   

Since I was 14, strange symptoms were creeping up with no known cause.  I went from stomach pain to esophagus pain to canker sores in my mouth and finally to bloody poop.  Well-meaning doctors diagnosed me with everything from Esophagitis to Endometriosis. 

It seems crazy to me now that they didn’t put 2 and 2 together. Or if they did, they were clearly getting 5!

So many of us have experiences like this before we get our IBD diagnosis. I’ve heard about this happening over and over from GLC members and clients—that it took years to get a proper diagnosis.

I have no clue why it takes so long.

 At the time, when I was getting all these non-IBD diagnoses—for 3 years, I didn’t question anything.  

I never asked, “Why would an otherwise healthy 14-year-old girl have esophagitis?”  In hindsight, I feel kind of stupid for not asking the right questions, but I don’t even know what the right questions would have been.


A couple days after that surgery, my parents sat me down to tell me the truth, “The doctor did a biopsy while you were at the hospital and discovered you have Crohn’s Disease.”  

You know exactly what my response was, I know you do. What’s Crohn’s Disease?

I didn’t know what Crohn’s was, but I knew the word DISEASE and it definitely didn’t sound good. 

At 17, I endured my first real breakdown moment in life when I got that diagnosis. Can you think back to that moment for you? When you got that diagnosis. It sucks right? Definitely a breakdown moment. Maybe a little bit of a relief because now you know what you have, but at the same time, it still sucks.

For me, sure, I had had some teenage challenges before this. I had boyfriends dump me, got through catty girl stuff and actually endured some pretty nasty bullying in middle school, but this breakdown, this IBD diagnosis was different. It made the other teenager challenges seem silly and frivolous.

The good news is that with this breakdown, I didn’t stay in the broken phase very long.

Even though any sort of physical healing from Crohn’s was still 20 years away for me, this physical breakdown of my body, led to an emotional breakthrough that still carries me through every challenge I encounter in my life.

Something I have to tell you as a side note, before I go any further is that I come from a long line of really strong women.  Great, great grandmothers and great aunts that immigrated from Italy with nothing.  An Italian grandmother I called Nana who lived a life of only going to school until the 4th grade, never owning a single toy or a doll, marrying an abusive husband, yet still carrying on– always bringing me to laughing tears with the stories she would tell.   

And my mother, who underwent multiple eye surgeries—6 or 7 I think before she turned 18 months old—throughout her life, she was legally blind in one eye. When my mom was 77 years old, she was diagnosed with liver cancer. Her doctors gave her 6 months to live, but she lived 6 years—mainly out of shear willpower and faith.

The Train Leaves the Station 

It’s because of these remarkable women in my life that after I graduated from high school and was diagnosed with Crohn’s that it was just expected I would carry on, strong and confident, that I could get through this, no sweat.  The strength of the maternal women in my life got me through that first blur of a summer with multiple doctor’s appointments, multiple medications and a new lifestyle to adjust to.  

In July, the summer I was about to turn 18, I remember vividly a conversation I had with my mom where I said to her, “Mom, I don’t think I can go to college anymore.  I’m so sick.  I’ve lost so much weight.  I’m so scared of how I will make it at college 3 ½ hours away from home.”   

My mom didn’t miss a beat.  In a loving way she sat me down and said, “It doesn’t matter that you’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s, Karyn. You will get through it. What’s more important is that the train of life is leaving the station.  If you don’t get on the train, Crohn’s be damned, your life will pass you by.”  That was all the discussion we had about it. I went to college.

With support like that, there’s no room for self-doubt.   

My first physical breakdown of the diagnosis of Crohn’s that turned into an emotional breakthrough happened when I went away to college two months after being diagnosed and I am eternally grateful that my mom didn’t let me wallow and lag behind.  College still holds some of the best memories and life lessons I could ever imagine.  

IBD and College: Life with Crohn’s in a College Far Away 

Breakdown #2

Breakdown #2 that turned into a breakthrough picks up my story about where we just left off. The breakdown begins as soon as I hit the college dorms.

It involves a sitz bath, 5-ASA medications that didn’t work, a year’s worth of steroids with 20 lbs of weight gain, face mooning, and finally becoming suicidal.

Let me break down my breakdown for you.

So, I have to start off first with complete honesty. While I was at college, I did engage in the typical college antics—parties, drinking, sorority life— but much of my college life, as I’m sure you can imagine, having IBD too— it was different than those around me.  

When I went to college, I was having really painful poops.  Like cry out in pain when I pooped painful. Those rectal fissures I told you about earlier?  Still there, except now I had more of them.

[15:50] It hurt so much to poop, that I had to use this contraption called a Sitz bath when I went #2. Have you heard of these? If you’re having painful poops, maybe a Sitz bath can help you too. Basically a sitz bath is a plastic, round bucket that sits on your toilet seat. You fill it with warm water and do your business in the water filled sitz bath, then flush all the contents down the toilet. In my experience, the warmer the water the better. It definitely lessens a painful poop when you have fissures or hemorrhoids.  

Every time I had to poop my freshman year in college, I’d go to the community toilet in the dorm (yeah, one of those gross community bathrooms everyone on the floor uses), I’d go in there hiding the Sitz Bath, a jug for the water and a towel to wipe my bum in a duffle bag.  I’d try to go to the bathroom when no one was around so they wouldn’t see me filling the water jug at the sink before I went into the bathroom stall.  I was super self-conscious that someone would ask, “why the hell are you filling a water jug and taking it into the stall?” 

Sometimes I was stealth and no one walked in.

[16:49] Sometimes, my dorm mates would see me and give me really strange looks, but thankfully they never questioned it—at least out loud.

I can laugh about the ridiculousness of it all now! 

Freshman year, there was also the rectal abscess I endured where I got a high fever from the infectious, puss filled, hard, sack in my butt. My doctor inserted a tube just to the right of my rectum to drain it. I had to keep it in for moths, and I hobbled along, even danced in a showcase performance, with this small tube sticking out of my butt. It sucked.

Someone please tell me that the treatment for rectal abscesses has advanced over the years. That’s just crazy!

But the worst part of my college experience happened my sophomore year when my disease had progressed beyond Dipentum, Asacol, Pentasa and antibiotics like Flagyl and Cipro. 

Shout an “Amen” if you remember any of these oldies! They’ve all been replaced with other, hopefully better, 5-ASA’s now. 

My doc told me it was time for steroids— specifically prednisone.  And of course this was a point in my life where I was a good little patient and did what I was told. If my doc said, steroids, I said, sure!  He mentioned to me about the weight gain, the “mooning” of the face, the acne that might follow… but the part about the emotional symptoms that might come up… not so much.   

Plus this was in the early 90’s. The days when steroids were given long term. After one year on these toxic drugs, I was teaming with anger outbursts, I was so moody my friends never knew if Dr. Jeckle or Mr. Hyde would show up, I was being teased with guys telling me, “You missed the freshman 15 and decided to gain the sophomore 20, huh? And finally it was the long term depression that set me into a downward spiral and messed with my mind. Eventually I started having thoughts of suicide.

Talk about a massive breakdown. How could this possibly turn into a breakthrough? Again, it took my remarkable mom stepping up and stepping in.

[20:55] One day when she was visiting me at college, I told my mom that I had started to feel suicidal. Again, this unflappable lady, she didn’t miss a beat. She marched me straight to my doctor’s office—I remember we definitely didn’t have an appointment—she demanded that the doctor see me immediately. I don’t think we even waited in the waiting room (maybe because the staff was afraid of others encountering my mom’s wrath) and when the doctor came in, she told that doctor that he was to immediately taper my steroids. She was appalled that they had kept me on them for so long and that they had better come up with a new solution, pronto.

Of course, I can’t claim with 100% certainty that it was the steroids, but I do know that I was never suicidal before prednisone, and I have never been suicidal since.   

Thank God, it isn’t standard practice to keep patients on steroids so long term anymore. I feel confident that this breakdown won’t happen to you.

Breakdown to breakthrough #2: suicidal on steroids to mama saving the day.

Breakdown to breakthrough #3 takes me from painful years of infertility to finally having the blessing of three amazing children. Let me tell you about it.

If you’re listening to this podcast, chances are you’ve got kids. You’ve got Crohn’s or colitis and you’ve got kids. It’s a real struggle isn’t it—kids and IBD? I’ve definitely had my challenges being a mom with Crohn’s, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I think I always new I wanted to be a mom—from as long as I can remember, but there was a time in my life when I thought my IBD would keep me from my motherhood dreams.

IBD and Marriage: Is he husband material? 

For many, many years, I followed the advice of my doctors.  I followed the conventional path.  I was still following the advice of the medical professionals who told me that food had nothing to do with my illness when I met a man that changed my life.  He was a friend of my brother’s, studying to be a Psychologist at the same graduate school I went to.   

You’ve met my head shrinking, coffee drinking, hubby on the podcast. He’s made an appearance or two.

We met on a skydiving trip—something we’d probably only do in our younger years. After that, we became inseparable.  

He’s been there through all of my Crohn’s hell and my bowel resections. I remember vividly when he held me in his arms and let me cry until I couldn’t cry anymore after I told him 4 ½ feet of my small intestine had become the size of a string of spaghetti and doctors were going to operate to take that part out.   

He was there again for my next bowel surgery when 4 ½ feet was removed again. But the best thing he ever did for me was to stand by me and our marriage when I broke down, thinking we’d never be able to have children.

 IBD and Infertility: Can I have a baby please? 

Within a year of getting married, Bill and I started trying to get pregnant.  With my Crohn’s history, I was worried it might be a struggle to get pregnant and I was right.  After two years of trying to conceive, we still weren’t pregnant.  We tried temperature readings, fertility drugs, scheduling sex at certain times of the month…. it was really stressful!   

I remember saying to Bill, “I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to have a child.  If you want out of our marriage, I will understand.”  Bill, my rock, said he was with me for the long haul.  He wasn’t leaving just because we couldn’t have children.   

Of course, we thought about adoption. We didn’t care how we became parents. We were seriously considering it while we also going through fertility treatments. I remember one idiot fertility specialist we met with—and trust me, I don’t use that word often or lightly and I understand how derogatory it is, but this doctor deserves it. He told me that the reason I wasn’t pregnant was because besides having Crohn’s I must also have anorexia because I’m so thin. He told me to get help for my anorexia and then I would be able to get pregnant. I didn’t have anorexia! In the words of Hermione in the first Harry Potter series, “What an idiot.” He truly didn’t get Crohn’s or colitis at all.

Just when I was at my lowest point, hormones raging from fertility drugs, we conceived our first child through a fertility procedure called IUI. I remember getting the phone call from the doctor telling us we were pregnant and literally dropping to my knees in pure joy and astonishment.  After such a dark times, what a breakthrough! And to my surprise getting pregnant my first time set off my fertility juices because I got pregnant two more times after that. We have three beautiful boys now—two of them grown men– and I feel so blessed that they are a part of my life every day.  

Breakdown #3: years of infertility to the miracle of 3 kids. What a breakthrough that was! If you’re struggling to get pregnant, please don’t give up hope. I’m so grateful that I kept trying.

Breakdown to breakthrough #4

[36:01] Probably the biggest breakdown to breakthrough I had in my almost 35-year Crohn’s journey was going from looking at my illness from an approach of making no decisions and no moves on my own, looking to everyone else for answers, keeping the power and the knowledge outside of my control, which by the way got me nowhere. Not once in those 20 years did I ever feel well. Not one day. And the breakthrough that emerged from this breakdown was the biggest transformation and mindset shift of my life.

In 2007, our family move back to the states.  We had been living in England for 4 years while my husband was in the Air Force. He was getting out of the military, and we were settling in Maryland.

I wasn’t feeling well.   

I was a mom with 2 little ones, 17 months apart. I was running myself ragged. I was stressed.

The immunosuppressive drugs I was on wasn’t suppressing my Crohn’s symptoms, but it was suppressing my immune system so much that I was constantly fighting off one infection after another.   

I went to a new gastroenterologist who ordered a colonoscopy and endoscopy.   

When the tests were complete she gave me this news, “There’s nothing else I can do for you.  You’ve had so much of your small intestine taken out that you shouldn’t have more surgeries.  You should wait and hope for a small intestinal transplant.”  

Of course, medicine hasn’t advanced that far yet! 

I was devastated.   

I’ve done everything I was told to do for 20 years. I listened. I took all the medication, as prescribed. Endured pooping in a bucket, a rectal abscess, steroid rage and depression, and 2 bowel resections. How can you be telling me there’s nothing else I can do for you. It felt like the medical community had failed me. 

What the hell do I do now?   

In that moment the mantra my mom taught me 20 years earlier, back when I chose to go to college instead of climbing in bed and staying there was pounding in my head—-  

“The train of life is leaving the station… The train is leaving the station…”  

And then it hit me.  The medical community may have given up on me, but I still have hope.  

I raced home from that doctor’s appointment and ran to my basement where books and trinkets are packed high in boxes.  I search and search until I found Breaking the Vicious Cycle—the book Elaine Gottschall wrote about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.   

Even though I had bought it and read it 5 years prior, at that time it just read like Greek to me. Gluten free, grain free, dry curd cottage cheese, almond flour, homemade yogurt? Know one was talking about gluten back then. I was not ready to hear it. But this time, right then and there, as I read it again, cover to cover, highlighting so much that all the pages looked bright yellow, taking notes in the margins… this time, for some reason, it made sense.   

 Somehow in that moment, the breakthrough just washed over me. I just knew that the words in this book were the step-by-step plan for my future. 

Gluten Free/Grain Free Eating Takes a Village 

I also knew that healing like this wouldn’t be easy. It wasn’t healing in a magic pill. It was hard work. It took time, but finally, after 20 years of hell, I knew it would be time well spent.

So even though I knew that this was the path I needed to take, I was still daunted.  It was a whole new way of eating for this Italian girl who lived on bread, pasta, cereal, and mashed potatoes. 

Even though the internet was not what it is today, I scoured and scoured until I found an SCD expert. A Health Coach who showed me the ropes and walked me step by step through the maze of SCD “legal” and “illegal”.   

I had never heard of a Health Coach before, but I jumped in with both feet with the clarity of a woman who knows she is on the right path for the first time in a long time, maybe the first time in her life. 

The SCD Diet: Game Changer 

So, I did the SCD intro diet and to be really honest with you, it kind of sucked, especially in the beginning.   

I ate like a baby.  Mashed bananas, homemade fermented yogurt, pear sauce, carrots cooked until they were mushy, chicken broth…   

Those first few days, I missed my old food and I felt like crap.   

But as the weeks went by, my crappy symptoms began to disappear.   

My stomach pain was gone, completely GONE.  My diarrhea began to improve. I couldn’t believe it

I hadn’t felt this good since my early teens! 

On the SCD, my initial plan was to try to go off all my meds in one year, but after just 6 months, I felt so good, that I just went for it.  

It’s been 13 years since then, and I’ve never regretted my SCD decision. Not once. The SCD saved my life.

Breakdown #4: From “there’s nothing else I can do for you” to an SCD breakthrough of healing proportions.

[37:53] You might be thinking that after that triumphant breakthrough, life with Crohn’s has been on easy street for this gal. Well for a while, I thought that was the case too. I’d been looking for a way out of all the pain, the medications, the uncertainty of what hellish symptom would appear next. SCD gave that to me. But what I learned in the last several years is that keeping my IBD under control isn’t just about diet, it’s about a lot more than that.

Breakdown to breakthrough #5, my final breakthrough so far. I hope that what I’m about to tell you can be a learning experience for you too. So you never have to go through my trials and tribulations.

For years, the SCD kept my IBD completely in remission. I ate huge salads for lunch every day. My once a day poops were so solid, that I experienced occasional constipation. My energy was through the roof, and I didn’t take it for granted. I savored every bit of a strawberry, of pumpkin seeds, of chrunky fibrous nuts.  

I thought, why isn’t everyone doing this? The SCD is the cure. After the most profound experience of my life, turning my IBD around with this diet, I became a Health Coach to serve others on their healing journey.

But about 5 years ago, a few things happened that brought me back to square one, and showed me that there isn’t just one path to healing. There’s several. About 5 years ago, I had to find my way past yet another breakdown so I could begin to rebuild again.

Within the course of a few months two illnesses struck me hard. First, I go the flu. Not a stomach bug, but the diagnosable flu. It wiped me out. I felt horrible. I laid in bed for a week, sometimes unable to pick my head up. I became severely dehydrated and required IV fluids. Thankfully, I did recover. Only a couple months later, I got plagued with food poisoning. E coli to be exact. It seemed like everything that was in my insides was coming out of both ends. I couldn’t get off the toilet for a several days. I think the flu I had had recently, had set up such gut dysbiosis that this food poisoning pushed it over the edge.

Looking back, I think if just one of these ailments had brought me down, I think I would have been able to fight it back. But the two of them, bam bam, together like that, it set up the stage for a lasting bacterial imbalance that I’m still fight to this day.

After months of trying to get back on track, I started working with a wonderfully gifted nutritionist, who diagnosed me with SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It’s common to contract SIBO after bacterial upsets like a bout of food poisoning. And SIBO is just want it sound like, an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. When we think of the bacteria in the intestine, many people think that we have equal amounts of bacteria throughout the digestive track, but actually, most of the bacteria in a healthy individual lies in the colon—the large intestine. When too much bacteria travels to the small intestine, we can end up with SIBO. And it’s so much more common that many realize, especially for IBDer’s. Most mainstream doctors are not testing properly for SIBO and the symptoms are so similar to Crohn’s and colitis that we don’t realize we have it.  But it’s really important that we do figure it out because the treatment for SIBO is different than the treatment for IBD.

If you’re wondering about SIBO, if it might be a factor in your symptoms, and you want more info on symptoms, testing, and treatments, check out episode 30: You’re Doing Everything Right. How Come You’re IBD Isn’t Getting Better. It’s one of my most downloaded episodes and it’s got some great SIBO information. I’ll link to the episode in the show notes. Another great SIBO resource is Allison Siebecker. I’ll also leave a link to her SIBO work there as well. There’s a ton of good information on her website.

SIBO is a bit of a monster. You can treat it, but it usually takes a few treatment courses, and then in times of stress or bacterial imbalance, it can rear its ugly head again. SIBO is definitely something I continually work hard on to keep it in check in my own body.

I worked really hard to tackle SIBO and just as it was finally settling down for a long winter’s nap, I began struggling with small intestinal scar tissue from my old surgeries. The scar tissue was blocking my intestines, causing partial obstructions. Obstructions, maybe you have dealt with those in your own IBD life, are really the worst. Your abdomen fills up like a balloon, the pressure and pain on your belly is intense to say the least, and in my case, I just have to wait until the food passes through, which can be an excruciating few hours.

As annoying as all the physical aspects of illnesses, SIBO, and scar tissue can be, all of these physical setbacks began to take an emotional toll on me. When you’re doing everything right, you’re taking care of yourself, you’re eating right and you still get struck down with challenges you can’t control, it’s emotionally exhausting and infuriating. It was definitely a breakdown for me.

And unlike many of the IBD challenges I’ve been through in the past, the breakthrough with these latest setbacks wasn’t an instant a-ha or quick fix. This breakthrough has come to me in waves.

[45:15] Over the last few years, I’ve realized that staying well, isn’t just about one thing. It’s not just about finding a diet that works for you. It’s about what I like to call your wheel of wellness. To get through and thrive with IBD and the extra challenges it creates, I had to expand my healing circle. It doesn’t matter whether it’s another autoimmune disease that creeps up on you, which is really common for IBDer’s, or dealing with your IBD in the time of Covid, worrying about contracting the virus or whether or not to vaccinate– which of course creates stress that can impact our disease as well, or even other IBD related problems like SIBO, or candida, or scar tissue, or arthritis… we all have to use the abundance of resources at our disposal to create the breakthrough—to develop a fully functioning wheel of wellness.

For me, my wheel of wellness and the breakthrough that came from breakdown #5 means creating a wheel of wellness that centers around learning the ancient art of breathwork, dealing with my stress in a healthier way, focusing on ways to get more sleep, meditating, practicing yoga, trying energy modalities like reiki and craniosacral therapy, getting out of guilt mode when I need “ME” time, prioritizing what’s important in my life, journaling and feeling gratitude deeply every day, manifesting and visioning the change I want to see in myself. And of course, gut healing food too.

At their core, these are mindset and lifestyle practices and over the last few years, I’ve come to rely on these practices more and more. I find as I get older, I need them more and more in my life. And it’s been truly astounding just how powerful of a component the mind is when it comes to healing.

That’s what led me to starting this podcast. As I developed a larger wheel of wellness for myself, I wanted to share ideas with you that could help you develop your own wheel of wellness. If the last 5 years have taught me anything, it’s that everyone’s wheel of IBD wellness should look completely different, but I want to make sure you know all your options, so you can take that information and develop the healing plan that works for you.

These 5 breakdowns to breakthroughs that I’ve shared with you today are not the end of my journey. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that, when it comes to IBD, the journey continues everyday. There’s always obstacles that we get in our way. There’s always going to be breakdowns.

Healing and growing and learning how to rise above, is about finding a work around, finding a road less traveling, finding a path that’s dedicated to your name only. That’s where your breakthroughs lie.

There are many others in the IBD space—practitioners of one sort or another who tell you “this is the way to healing—the one way.” They may tell you the only way to help your IBD is with medicine or the only way to help you IBD is without medicine, but what I’ve learned through all my years with Crohn’s, through all the breakdowns and breakthroughs I’ve been through, is that there is no one way to find remission, no one way for all of us to heal.

If I could pass down just one important message to you from all the time I’ve spent on my own healing journey and witnessing others healing journeys, it’s to keep searching for your way. When it comes to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, we are all different. What works for one isn’t what works for another. But we do have one thing in common, one healing tool that you and I both need. And that’s our own personal wheel of IBD wellness. That invisible wheel that’s a combination of all the healing modalities that serve you best.

Keep cultivating your wheel of wellness and keep supporting your right to have the biggest say in how you treat your IBD.  In the next 50 episodes of The Cheeky Podcast, I promise to keep giving you big ideas that have the power to grow your Wheel of IBD Wellness—in the way that works for you.

It’s been my honor and privilege to bring you 50 episodes of The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD. I can’t wait to see what the next 50 will bring.

Thanks for hearing my story today. I hope it brought some light and intention to the struggles you’re going through. You are in my heart dear one.

Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

3 Things Moms Who Successfully Use Food to Heal Their IBD Do Differently

Are you about to get started on a special diet to help your IBD?

Maybe you’ve already tried to use food to help quiet your symptoms or get you out of a flare up and it just didn’t go the way you hoped. If you’re in either of these camps, you’re going to love hearing about the 3 things moms who successfully use food to heal their IBD do differently.

Let’s face it, one of the most life-changing things you can do to help with the bloating, the gas, the quick trips to the bathroom after you eat, the belly aches that can plague us, the acid reflux, the heartburn, the joint pain… you name it, is to find out what foods trigger your IBD and what foods help you feel better. If you want to be successful when you start or re-start any eating plan tailored for IBDer’s, this one’s for you

We talk about:

  • How to find a mentor who can help you when you need someone who’s been there, done that
  • How the big, bold, and slow plan takes you to the finish line first every time
  • Why all of the IBD healing diets aren’t all that different from one another (and how that’s OK)
  • Why making your food, everyone’s food is the key to your gut healthy diet staying power

And so much more!

After this episode, you’ll have everything you need to start or restart your gut healing diet with the mindset for flare busting success today.

Episode at a Glance:

  • [09:21] How to find a mentor who can help you when you need someone who’s been there, done that
  • [13:58] The strong connection successful IBD moms have with Dorothy and Toto
  • [17:05] How the big, bold, and slow plan takes you to the finish line first every time
  • [18:13] Why all of the IBD healing diets you can choose from really aren’t all that different from one another (and how that’s OK)
  • [20:07] The role of food journaling on your “Eating for IBD” journey and how you can get my journaling system absolutely free
  • [25:15] How your gut healing diet will make your whole family healthier
  • [23:55] Why making your food, everyone’s food is the key to your healthy diet staying power
  • [33:19] A few insights from my own “Eating for IBD” healing journey (hint: perfectionists welcome)
  • [38:20] The best way to take your IBD healing journey to the next level.

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Mentioned in This Episode

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Karyn’s Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System

Episode Transcript:

Are you about to get started on a special diet to help your IBD? Maybe you’ve already tried to use food to help quiet your symptoms or get you out of a flare up and it just didn’t go the way you hoped. If you’re in either of these camps, you’re going to love hearing about the 3 things moms who successfully use food to heal their IBD do differently.

Let’s face it, one of the most life-changing things you can do to help with the bloating, the gas, the quick trips to the bathroom after you eat, the belly aches that can plague us, the acid reflux, the heartburn, the joint pain… you name it, is to find out what foods trigger your IBD and what foods help you feel better. If you want to be successful when you start or re-start any eating plan tailored for IBDer’s, this one’s for you.


INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.


Hey there mama, Karyn Haley here with you on another episode of the cheeky podcast. I hope you have either already found some YOU time today or that you are going to later today. When we’re moms with IBD, we especially need to carve out that time. It’s crucial to our healing. Today, before taping this episode, I took a bubble bath with chamomile Epsom salt and Dr. Teals green tea and matcha foaming bath. No kids, door locked, 20 minutes of me time. Where can you find YOU time today? 20 might be too much when it’s last minute. So how about 5 minutes? I know you can find 5 minutes. Maybe listening to this podcast is your relaxation time. Trust me, it’s important for your health and healing. No guilt mama. You need it. You deserve it.

OK, now on with the show.

I’m excited about this one because normally, I give you an action plan, a step by step how-to for your Crohn’s or colitis, with but today is all about mindset. I know some might tune out when they hear that word—mindset. We want to think healing is all about our actions, but I gotta tell you, it’s not. Just because you have the knowledge it doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. Today is all about developing critical mindset skills every mama has the power to use. And trust me, these successful mom attributes aren’t complicated, they’re just often overlooked. But after this episode, you’re going to know the most important mindset hacks successful moms use to make sure their IBD healing diet works to reduce IBD symptoms and finally achieve lasting remission.


Let’s dive in with #1 on our list of things successful moms do differently when it comes to IBD gut healing diets.

And I have to start this mindset shift with a question. Have you ever seen a chef create a recipe on the food network or on a youtube video and thought, that looks delish and easy, I could make that. You may even have all the ingredients, but your dish just didn’t turn out anywhere close to the chef’s version.

Or maybe you’re a DIY gal and you find a home improvement project to spruce up your bathroom or kitchen in 5 easy steps. “Bring your kitchen from drab to fab with thrift store finds in one weekend.” Your thrift store doesn’t have half of what the expert found in theirs. Instead of looking sheik, your modge podge vase look like it’s melting, the marble contact paper that was supposed to easily cover your microwave looks like an unfinished art project your 1st grader made, and your kitchen table staining results are so cringe worthy that you know you could never invite anyone over to eat with it looking like that.

For me, my moment of “I saw an expert to it so I can do it too” downfall is painting. I’ll see something like an old Bob Ross video and think, I can make happy little trees, only to get all the paint, get out the easel, and then decide my trees look more like abstract art.

We’ve all been there with ideas and projects that seem so simple, but without someone there with you, leading you by the hand, giving you step by step cues, someone you can ask questions to in the moment and give you direct feedback, your initial good intentions quickly turn to resentment and feelings of failure, and then just throwing in the towel and giving up.

Using food to heal your IBD works much the same way. You can read all about the diet you want to try, you can find recipes no problem—cookbooks, the internet… you can even make your own plan for success. And can you do it on your own? Of course you can, I know you can. But successful IBDer’s do it faster, and with a lot less bumps and stumbles in the road when they have a mentor by their side, someone who goes through the whole process with you.

A mentor offers you the option of:

Getting questions answered quickly without having to go down a 2-hour internet rabbit hole to find the answer.

Systems and frameworks for your specific diet

Recipes at your fingertips that are tailor-made for your sensitivities and tastes

Someone to send a quick text to when you’re at the grocery store wondering which almond milk to buy

Mentors have been where you are right now. They know the pitfalls and little known tricks that help you succeed quickly. And when it comes to finding IBD remission through a nasty flare up that’s taking you away from work, family, friends, things you love to do… everyday counts.

What does an eating for IBD mentor look like? The good news is that there isn’t just one type of person that can help you.

[09:21] I know it’s rare because we’re all searching for IBD buddies, because how many of us have people with Crohn’s or colitis right in our immediate circle, but maybe you have a friend or a family member who’s been there before. It does happen occasionally. They have Crohn’s or colitis and they’ve used food to help their symptoms too. If you have access to a mentor like that, I say always say start there. It’s not the perfect scenario because as you know, everyone’s IBD experience is different and what they can eat and what you eat, may not be the same. But it’s a good starting place and you already have a built-in connection with this person, which can be a great motivator.

Where else can you find a mentor to help you successfully use food to help your IBD symptoms?

Well, you know I’m a health coach and I am a mentor for people with IBD who use food as one of their healing tools. I’ve been where you are on my Crohn’s journey, over my years coaching I’ve had the pleasure of working with moms all over the world. I’m absolutely here as a mentor if you need me, you know how to get in touch, but there may also be a health coach who lives in your area. There are also health coaching directories you can find online. If you search for health coach directories, I’m sure you can find many and maybe even one who lives near you.

Other mentors that specialize in IBD and diet include nutritionists, dietitians… some nurses specialize in diet management. Practitioners like this have many different areas of expertise so just look for someone who specializes in IBD and the diet you are thinking of trying. For example, they specialize in IBD and eating gluten free or IBD and eating on the SCD.

With the world of healing being so global and virtual now, there’s no need to find a generalist. There’s lots of IBD specialists out there with the training you need for your particular case and needs.

Personally, on my IBD healing journey, I’ve worked with my own Health Coach and nutritionists along the way to help me find and maintain remission too. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but it was a health coach who was my initial mentor and the experience was so profound in transforming my life that that’ why I became a health coach too!


Let’s talk about the 2nd mindset shift successful moms who use food to heal their IBD know. These bold, bright shining stars figure out a way to go big and slow at the same time.

At first, it might seem like those two philosophies, going big and slow, are diametrically opposed. But if you think about it for just a second, you’ll realize that they’re not. Moms who are serious about using food to help quiet their IBD symptoms make big bold plans and take big, bold leaps when it comes to finding the right IBD diet for them. They don’t make minor food tweaks.

[13:38] And when we’re talking about big bold plans in the eating for IBD department, we’re talking major diet shifts. The kind that, in all honesty, for a moment, upend your whole life, Dorothy and Toto in the tornado style upend, before the house gets set back down right where it was meant to be all along.

In practical terms, that means gut healing diets that change the way you grocery shop, possibly even the grocery stores you go to, diets that change everything you eat in your house and at a restaurant and at your friend’s house and when you travel. Big bold changes that challenge everything you knew before, but also offer life changing, amazing healing transformation on the other side.

What kind of diets are the “go big” diets?

We’re talking diets like the specific carbohydrate diet, the GAPS diet, the IBD-AID diet, the autoimmune Paleo diet. Each of these diets has subtle differences, but at their core these diets are about eating unprocessed whole food, removing gluten, removing lactose… they are very low in sugar, there’s a lot of home cooking involved and staying away from the pantry with boxed, canned, and packaged foods.

Like I said big, bold. Diets like these are not for the faint of heart. They are for mamas who are ready to try something completely new. Diets that take you on a beautifully life transforming journey. And it takes so much courage, trust in the process, and stamina to make these diets work for you.

[17:05] There’s so much stamina involved because when moms who are successful on IBD healing diets do it right, they don’t just go big, they also go slow. They don’t dive into the diet all at once hoping for a miracle. They introduced the foods on these eating plans tortoise slow. They understand that it took their body a long time to end at this place of pain and suffering, of inflammation and altered immune function and bacterial imbalance. A place where diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloody stool is the norm, not the exception. A place where you wake up every day afraid of leaving the house because you don’t know when or where you’ll need to find a bathroom. I know you know this place well, mama.

When you trust in the process of the diet and you have staying power on your side, you understand the need to go slow. Like I said, we didn’t end up in this place overnight and it takes time for the digestive system to repair and heal. Going super slow while going big with these diets at the same time takes extra courage, but it also gives your body the time it needs to heal and seal the gut. So that one day, eating fresh ripe strawberries, salads, apples… it’s your new normal.

 With successful gut healing diets, the tortoise wins the race every time.

Going big and going slow at the same time also means that you’re not diet hopping every few days. It means trusting in the process and sticking it out. I’m going to tell you something that many of the creators of these gut healing diets don’t want you to know. They don’t want me to tell you that there really isn’t that much difference between one of these “go big” diets over another. At their core, they’re all very similar and they all work to help bring your body back into balance. All of these diets like to tout that they’re the best in town. Only they work!

I’m here to bust that myth today mama. They all work. Sure, there’s tweaks here and there that everyone needs to make for their own individual body, but because they are so similar at their core, it doesn’t really matter which one of these big bowl diets you get started on. They all will help your Crohn’s or colitis to one degree or another.

When you pick your big, bold, IBD healing diet, stay the course. Go all in and make it work for you. Down the line, you can make those tweaks and changes that suit you best. But in the beginning, the best thing you can do is don’t overthink which one is best, because they all have great gut healing power.

Going big and bold and slow on a gut healing diet also means tracking how it’s going for you. That’s how we know which tweaks to make and when. Moms who are successful on IBD healing diets track their progress through food journaling. Journaling is the way we figure out those peppers we ate yesterday gave us heartburn, or the way we figure out that the lack of sleep we’ve had for the last two nights is making our colitis symptoms flare up, or the way we figure out that 24-hour fermented yogurt doesn’t work for us because it leads to arthritis in our joints. By the way, these are all things my clients recently found out by journaling through their own eating for IBD process.

It’s amazing the connections in the patterns you will see when you food journal through this life-changing, gut healing diet process. And there’s a lot of ways to journal. I know without a shadow of a doubt there’s one that will work for your personality and your lifestyle. I know I’ve mentioned it a couple times on different episodes, but I have a journaling system I created a few years back for my clients and you’re welcome to swipe it and try it out in your own life. If you go to you can get my food-mood-poop journaling system absolutely free. Journaling, it’s the key to big, bold and slow gut healing success when you’re eating for your IBD.

Going big bold and slow with your IBD healing diet has lots of components so let’s do a quick recap. Moms who are successful on their IBD eating plan go big. They choose diets that might have a big learning curve in the beginning but also hold big possibilities for life transforming healing. They don’t overthink their diet choice because they know that there’s something gut healing with every big, bold option. Moms who are successful on their IBD healing diet go tortoise slow. They don’t diet hop, they stay the course and let the diet work for them to truly repair from the inside out.

And through it all, moms who are successful on their IBD healing diet journal. They track their progress and they look for patterns in the way that the food they’re eating, the way that they’re feeling, and the way that they are sleeping affects their physical health—within the gut, but also through other part of the body too.


[23:55] The third and last thing successful eating for IBD moms do is they integrate their diet with what the whole family eats. I see it happen over and over again in my practice when moms try to appease everyone in the family. They start out making their own food, something different for their spouse, and then on top of that, something else for the kids.

It’s a nightmare for mom and it never works.

Being a short order cook is not a sustainable model for your family and will always, always lead to burn out and ditching your IBD healing diet. You just can’t keep up with it. The time alone that you’re spending making different meals for everyone in your clan will keep you away from keeping the gut healing focus on you.

Do yourself a favor mama, be successful right from the get go and cook your food for everyone in the family. IBD healing food, and that means any of the diets I mentioned today, is healthy for everyone. Eating quality protein, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, eating whole foods and good quality fats is healthy for everyone.

And a really cool byproduct of cooking your food for everyone in your household is that everyone in the family gets healthier.

Now there’s just two caveats I want to point out that are important to mention here. Number one, if you are taking big bold steps and you are going tortoise slow, in the beginning of your diet you may not be eating exactly what your family eats because you need to, for example, peel and deseed your fruits and vegetables while your digestive lining is in repair mode. You might also be cooking your food longer in the beginning. With these beginning stages that are so absolutely crucial for your success, it’s really important to have help in the kitchen and emotional support from your family, in those beginning few weeks. But after the initial repair the flare phase of eating, when you progress to normal cook times and eating veggies with the skin on, get everyone on the same page when it comes to eating.

Getting in the habit of cooking like this (making your food everyone’s food) will preserve your sanity, lessen your stress, and in the long run it will help you find remission sooner. We know, the research shows us, that hectic schedules and chronic stress lead to physical ailments. Those physical ailments often show up in your gut. The place where we’re having problems already. One way to decrease your stress and time spent in the kitchen with a gut healing diet is to put everybody on the same page. Trust me mama, I’ve seen it many times before where people who do not do this fail to stay on a gut healing diet. They give up before they even put the time in to see results.

Make your food, everyone’s food.

I mentioned that there are two caveats for this point, and the second caveat is that even though you’re cooking the same food for everyone in the family, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an add-on for your kids and spouse. For example, if I’m eating grilled Hawaiian chicken with green beans, carrots, and some sliced mangos, that doesn’t mean I can’t add a side of basmati rice or quinoa or roasted sweet potatoes for the rest of the family. It’s much easier to add a simple side dish for your family than to make a completely different meal for you that adds on to the time you’re already spending in the kitchen. Unless you’re a chef and there’s nothing you love more than hanging out in the kitchen, adding a side dish to round out the family meal is the way to go.

So when it comes to meals, keep them super simple, don’t make separate meals for everyone because let me tell you what will end up happening. The person who will always get left of the equation is you. The person who won’t eat at all or who will grab for the mac & cheese you just made for the kids is you. Successful eating for IBD moms know that for this to work in a sustainable, healthy way for all, everyone in the house eats what you eat with the exception of adding a side dish or something else extra special like dessert so that they feel like they are eating with some sort of normalcy and in a way that’s tasty too.


[30:42] Let’s do a quick recap of the 3 things moms who successfully use food to heal their IBD do differently.

#1 They get a mentor (a friend or family member whose been there, health coach, nutrition professional of some kind). Someone to show you the ropes and be your idea bouncer in real time because questions always come up.

#2 Successful moms go big and slow at the same time. Go big with your diet change—SCD, GAPS, Autoimmune Paleo, IBD-AID. And this, by no means downplays other smaller actions you can take like eat gluten or dairy free. These are great initial steps and I see them work, up to a point. If you want big bold, lasting remission, the transformational diets are the way to go. And when you choose an eating plan, always channel your inner tortoise. Take it slow. When you think you’re going slow go slower. Give your digestive system the time it needs heal and repair before you move on to eating quote/unquote “normal” foods again.

#3 Make your food everyone’s food. Your food is healthy, it’s healthy for everyone in the family. This may not work initially as you’re eating food that is well cooked and possibly without the skin or deseeded, but very soon you will be able to eat the food your family is eating. Have everyone on the same page when it comes to what’s for dinner. Add a side dish and you’ve got a meal that makes everyone happy (and healthy).

[33:19] Before we wrap up I’m want to leave you with just a couple quick hit bonus tips for a successful eating for your IBD journey. These are tips straight from my personal experience with success on the SCD.

Within the diet and you choose, be ready for lots of trial and error. We all know in the world of Crohn’s and colitis, there is no one size fits all magic pill or even diet plan. Within the diet you’ve chosen—the one you’re staying with long enough to see if it works, be open to seeing what works for you and what doesn’t. You’re going to make mistakes along the way. Lord knows I made lots and lots of unintentional mistakes at the beginning. Knowing that mistakes are part of the journey and accepting this upfront can be a huge weight off your shoulders. Your food-mood-poop journal will be your guide to help correct these missteps quickly so use it wisely to help you make adjustments, tweaks, and even to help you experiment and find out what works best for your body. Once I started used a journaling system in my early days of eating for IBD, it was a game changer.

Basically what I’m saying in a nutshell, going in with trial and error in mind, going in know there will be mistakes… is to try to avoid perfectionism at every turn. Ooohhh, I said that word! I know that is a hard ask for all of us with Crohn’s and colitis.

Recovering perfectionist Karyn raising her hand proud!

Those of us with IBD, we tend to be women who want to do everything we can perfect the first time, but I encourage you, as you begin a new gut healing diet, be OK with mistakes. Mistakes are what lead us to the path of great results. Successful eating for IBD ladies know this and use their mistakes as learning and growth opportunities.

Remember you can find my food-mood-poop journal by going to a Feel free to use it as is or use it as a jumping off point to create your own journaling system. Maybe you love freehand journaling in a dedicated notebook, maybe you like to type notes on your phone or even selfie videos. Use the information from my journaling system, but find the method that works best for you.

Well, that’s a wrap on 3 things moms who are successful on IBD eating plans do differently. What do you think? Are you getting ready to go for it with eating for your IBD? DM me on Facebook and I’ll share with you 3 more awesome tips to help get you started on your best foot when it comes to making your gut healing diet work for you. On Facebook, I’m @theIBDhealthcoach.

Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey. Chat soon!

Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.

[38:20] One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.

My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.

Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.