Is your Crohn’s or colitis diagnosis so fresh in your mind that you’re still playing the diagnosis conversation you had with your doctor over and over, almost like a record that’s skipping?
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with IBD, let everything else go except for 5 things I’m about to share with you. It’s your 5 Step Roadmap and it will help you get through all the initial overwhelm, the stress, and the anxiety that comes after being saddled with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease diagnosis.
And if you’re here today because you’ve had IBD for a while and you’re just stuck in overwhelm or indecision, rest assured you are also going to get lots of juicy nuggets as well from this podcast episode as well.
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Is your Crohn’s or colitis diagnosis so fresh in your mind that you’re still playing the diagnosis conversation you had with your doctor over and over, almost like a record that’s skipping? Coming up today on the podcast, if you’ve recently been diagnosed with IBD, let everything else go and do these 5 things first.[MUSIC]
Hey there my friend, it’s so good to be here with you today. It’s a cool day in Maryland, but the sun is shining and that always warms my heart. How about you? If you are listening to this episode because you’ve just been given that lovely Crohn’s or colitis diagnosis, you’ve come to the right place because I’ve got your step-by-step plan right here. And I’ve got to tell you, sure I’m biased, but this is some juicy, life supporting information. Get your pen and paper ready.
And if you’re listening today because you’ve had IBD for a while and you’re just stuck in overwhelm or indecision, or just because you’re a long time listener, first of all, I’m so grateful for you and the connection we get to have each week, and rest assured you are also going to get lots of juicy nuggets as well from this episode.
So the first things first. I have to mention that this episode and these 5 steps are not about a particular dogma or treatment plan for IBD. There’s loads of paths to IBD health and wellness. In know it may not feel like it to you right now, but there are. It doesn’t matter what your path is or if you have no path at the moment because after this episode, you’ll have a lot more clarification on which path you’d like to choose to move forward. So no matter which way you decide is the way for you to heal and live your best remission filled life, as you’ll see as we go through the steps, you can apply each principle, no matter which direction you to go in.
So, good valuable info, for the healing modality or modalities (which is always my recommendation) that you choose.
Also, this is a road map so you’ll want to follow these 5 steps in order. It’s not a choose whatever step you want to take first road map. It’s a step-by-step road map so keep in mind, you’ll want to go step by step to get your best results.
OK, without further ado, let’s dive into your “I Was Just Diagnosed with IBD” 5 Step Roadmap
Step #1- As difficult as this diagnosis is to get, and so many of us don’t even have a clue what Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis is when we first hear those words, the most important thing to do first is breathe… breathe a sigh of relief because you now have a reason for your pain. You have an answer to all your questionable symptoms. And for most of us, it took way too freakin’ long, going to doctor after doctor, being passed off as having IBS or anxiety or stress. And getting to where you are at this point took loads of persistence and gumption to challenge the system. You are a rock star for getting this far.
So step #1 is to breathe a sigh of relief.
You have a diagnosis. It’s almost centering in a way because you probably have felt so off, so out of balance for so long. You have an answer and you’re not crazy—so breathe a sigh of relief.
And as soon as that diagnosis comes down, everyone around you will be so rush rush… you must start this med, and do this procedure, and get poked and prodded with bloodwork…
But it’s ok, I’m giving you permission, to let the world stop spinning for a moment and let the dust settle. Take a beat to breathe and gather up strength because you are going to need it. Don’t let the medical establishment rush you here, unless there’s an immediate surgery necessary. Usually that isn’t the case, so give it a few days, a week, and just let this new diagnosis settle in.
What does this change in my life?
What does this not change in my life?
Go inward in this moment. Get help for your kids. Ignore the world, it doesn’t matter.
As moms, so often we hear about a challenge and we jump into fix it mode. It’s in our nature. It’s our natural reaction, but I really want you to fight that normal mom response to solve and let action take over.
Instead, when you get that diagnosis, go in. Sit with this. Feel all the feels deep in your soul. Let the news wash over you so that when you have rested your reserves and begin to accept the impact of how this will change your future, you will have the energy to come out swinging with hope, with resilience, with strength, and the knowledge that you will find your way. And you will still shine bright in your lifetime. And you will still shine your light and amazing spirit with the rest of the world, just like you did before IBD came into your life. You will get to that place once again. Before you move on to step 2, you must believe these things about yourself, and in order to truly get there and not fake it, you have to stop for a moment, breathe and take it all in.
Now that you’ve put your energy in the right place, in your reserves, it’s time to take some action. Step one was all about re-action and self-reflection. And now, we take the energy we’ve been storing (and its psychic energy or if you don’t want to get to woo-woo about it, it’s mental energy, because your physical energy is probably still very low) and we begin to pick up the pieces.
By now, you’ve been given a lot of information from you doctor. There may be pamphlets or notes from your doctor’s visit or patient portal information, test results and recommendations. Now it’s time to begin to put the pieces together in step 2.
In Step #2, You Formulate a Starter Plan.
Not a final plan. Not an end all be all plan. A B+ mom starter plan. One you can live with for now, knowing once the worst of your symptoms are behind you, you will probably make tweaks. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s the best way forward. That can be hard for so many of us perfectionists out there, but you will be most successful in healing if you just imperfectly start with the goal of getting to your most pressing issue first.
It’s time to ask yourself, with all the information I currently have (because you are just in the initial stages here), keeping in mind where you’re at physically right now, is your disease in a mild, moderate, or severe state—and ask yourself, what plan makes the most sense for me right now? What should I be doing immediately to relieve my worst symptoms?
In order to be able to move forward, you’ve got to get some relief. You really can’t think of anything else until you do. We’ve all been in that place before where we get tunnel vision because what we are going through is so devastating and painful, that we just can’t move on until we fix that problem.
I’ve experienced this so many times in my long journey with Crohn’s— but the thing I remember most from my early, early days with IBD was these ulcers in my mouth. So many that I couldn’t count them all. 20-30 all at the same time… they were everywhere. Under my tongue, on my tongue, in my checks, the roof of my mouth, in my throat. I couldn’t eat or drink anything, or talk or swallow, or breathe without being in immense pain. There were so many symptoms for me in those early days, but that one was really a doozy and I knew if I could fix that, I’d at least be able to leave my home again.
That’s just one example of the things that can rock your world in the early days or even years into your Crohn’s and colitis. In your early days, forget the unsolicited advice from people coming out of the woodwork telling you eat this, don’t eat that. Forget people who tell you that you just need to manifest your health or meditate, or find gratitude, try reiki or acupuncture, of an infrared sauna…
While those things can be amazingly healing and I talk about all of them on this very podcast and at some point you should try to incorporate healing modalities like these, in step 2 of your “I was just diagnosed with IBD” 5 step road map, with symptoms that are initially so severe, like going to the bathroom 10-20 times a day, blood in the toilet, 20 mouth ulcers like me that hurt even when you drink water, fatigue that keeps you from even stepping out of bed… your day will be successful if for today, you can say today, I put one foot in front of the other.
In the beginning when you just need symptom relief to feel like a human being again, deal with your most pressing problems first. The ones that will eventually get you out of your four walls, even if it’s just for a short period of time.
Because that is something to truly celebrate.
Now when it comes to what to take for those kinds of challenges, I’m not a doctor so I’m not prescribing anything specific, but for you that might mean taking 8 Imodium a day, or moving to an elemental diet where the only thing you put in your body are nutritional shakes for a week, or taking steroids temporarily, or rinsing your mouth with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixture multiple times a day like I had to do.
Whatever gets you to a place where you ease your most pressing physical discomfort, that’s the plan you want to be making in Step 2 of your road map.
Make a plan for your most pressing challenges and be open to whatever action you need to take to get immediate relief so you can take back your life and begin to see you on the horizon again.
Once you are on semi-stable ground, once you have some symptom control in place, you’ll have the mental capacity to begin to learn about your illness, learn more about all that IBD entails. And that’s step 3 of your roadmap:
The Knowledge is Power Step.
Before this point, and I know it’s so hard to do, but I highly recommend that as much as you can, you stay off the internet. Don’t google Crohn’s or colitis. or go on Facebook groups or other social media sites. You’ll only get more sick and more anxious. And you may even get sucked in with the drama of toxic people who try to bring you down with them.
But now that you have your immediate challenge/s sorted and quieted a bit, now it’s time to become a sponge and learn all you can.
Besides what your doctor is telling you, what other options are out there? And once you’ve soaked up as much as you can, you’re in a steadier state, you can ask yourself: Do I feel most comfortable with a medication only approach, a more natural approach or a combination of the two? What modalities sound intriguing to me? Now is a good time in stage 3 to peruse many of my episodes from the podcast to get ideas about what options are out there for you. There’s loads of information in the last 85 episodes. Like episode 26 where I talk about the benefits of far infrared light therapy or episode 45 all about good coffee substitutes, or episode 66 where I dive into gut healing herbal teas, or episode 75 it’s all about your IBD work life balance. So many good ones, and now is the time to start binge listening, soaking up all the information like a sponge.
And keep in mind, you’re still going for B+ mom status here. There’s no place for perfection when you’re trying to find ways to get into and maintain remission. You can pretty much assume that throughout your life, you will be making changes to how you care for your IBD from time to time. As life changes, so will your chronic illness. So the choices you make in stage 3, your knowledge step, these choices you are making can always be tweaked. You never need to feel like you are signing your life away. You’re just trying on possibilities here and that can be very exciting and very rewarding.
In step 3, with so much information out there on the internet and in friend groups and from well-meaning family members, and heck from our doctors too– if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or anxious, it’s OK to take a break. Step 3 doesn’t need to happen in one day or even in a week.
Little bits of information, in bite sized pieces is best if we want all this knowledge to say with us.
And as you research and think about all your options, a murky path will start to illuminate. You’ll start to feel pulled instinctively in a certain direction. Because there’s so much to consider and so many decisions to make in step 3, journaling during this time can be really helpful. Get your thoughts out and write whatever comes to your mind. For some, just the act of writing will help center your thoughts. You may never even need to read what you write. For others, re-reading what they write is the key to understanding, but journaling about anything and everything during this fresh, raw, and new time can be really profound.
And if you need it, if you wonder about how much weight you should give to each idea that you find, I highly recommend you get a second opinion. Not necessarily about your diagnosis, but about your treatment plan. Remember, every doctor is different. Contrary to popular belief, as much as medicine is a science it is also very much an art and your doctor is the artist. Find out what a different approach might look like if you’re feeling called to do that.
Then, when you’re ready, when you feel like you have enough knowledge, make a preliminary decision.
Meds only— you might say, let’s start small with anti inflammatories, the 5 ASA’s like Lialda, Pentasa or Apriso and see what happens. Or let’s go with the big guns and go straight to biologics like Stelara or Humira. Or you might decide it feels right to go natural all the way. Food, lifestyles, mindset… Or maybe a combination approach where you take medication and use an IBD healing diet as well.
There is no one size fits all answer. There’s only the one that fits for you. And it just has to fit for you right now. It doesn’t have to fit you for life.
Remember, it’s OK to move forward even if the path is murky. B + mom is where you want to be. You don’t need to have all the answers to begin.
Once you complete Step 3 on our IBD roadmap, you should begin to feel like you’ve taken some of your lost control and you’ve taken it back. When we gain knowledge and formulate a plan, we tend to feel more centered, grounded, and in control. Win or lose, that’s the power of Step 3 and fulfilling Step 3 is how we get to move on to step 4.
Step 4 is all about sticking with your plan and being patient.
Healing the gut takes time. Finding your path to initial remission can take time.
Over my years as a health coach I’ve seen clients who want to try something for one day or three days and then ditch it because they’ll tell me, it didn’t work for them. Gut healing doesn’t usually work that way. It’s very rare that it does.
That doesn’t mean it’s not possible or even that it’s not likely that healing will take place. But gut healing is about one step forward, two steps back. But over time, those one steps forward, they add up.
Patience and going tortoise slow are going to be your mantras during step 4.
Patience is my friend. Patience will guide me to success.
The tortoise wins the race in the end so I will be the tortoise.
I want you to practice patience and I want you to be the tortoise, but I don’t want you to feel like you are wasting your time. And this is where two incredible resources come into play. Two resources that if you cultivate now, you will be able to keep in your arsenal for the rest if your life.
#1 is your Food-Mood-Poop journal. This is the most critical piece that’s missing so often from this step because it’s tedious and it’s time consuming. If you are a Cheeky Podcast lifer, I’m hoping you’ll stay with me for just a sec while I catch up anyone who hasn’t heard me mention the power of the Food-Mood-Poop Journal before. In a very quick gut shell, your FMP Journal is the place you record what you eat, how it affects you, your mood, your poop and your other symptoms.
Now you may fancy yourself Wonder Woman, I certainly do from time to time. You might think I can remember what I eat. It’s all in my mind. I can remember what treats me good and what sends me to the porcelain throne or the bed in pain. I can even watch how these things change over time, but trust me mama, I’m going give it to your straight right now. You can’t. Even Wonder Woman has her limits. We moms have way too much going on in our lives to remember this type of minutia that isn’t written down.
Are journals are time-consuming? Yes, I’m not going lie. They can be. But keeping a journal like this (and mine is really streamlined) is very time limited and trust me, you will benefit so much from this now, and whenever you’re struggling down the road with a flare up. Devoting some time to your Food-Mood-Poop Journal now will get you to the finish line so much faster and then be able to get you off the journal that much sooner.
Food-Mood-Poop Journal. Do it. You will thank me for it. And Stage 4 is the place to begin. If you want to get started with a tried and true, client and Gut Love Community member tested FMP Journaling System that works, get your hands on my FMP journal. It’s free, it’s fabulous and it’s yours at karynhaley.com/journal.
OK, I mentioned there are two resources you’ll want to adopt in Step 4. The second one is your Wheel of Wellness. Can I get an amen for the Wheel of Wellness?
Long time listeners, you know what I’m talking about. First time listeners, it’s time to begin the process of cultivating your Wheel of Wellness— your well-rounded support tools that encompass everything in your life that helps you feel your best—mind, body, and soul.
It won’t be anywhere near done when the stage is over, and that’s OK. That’s perfect actually. The goal here in Stage 4 is just to get you started. The good news is that you already have the first spoke in your wheel in place. Whether it was choosing gut healing food, or supplements, or a medication or a mixed approach… Remember you already did that back in Step 3. You are working that one thing, you are choosing patience and persistence to see how it works for you. Now it’s time to start putting some other pieces in place that support your current approach, your gut health and your overall health. There’s a reason we don’t start with your Wheel of Wellness from stage 1, right from the get go. Putting together a fully functioning Wheel of Wellness, with all its spokes and moving parts is just too overwhelming in the beginning stages. It’s too much. It will spread you to thin and leave you feeling like you’ve started all these projects you just can’t complete. And nothing frustrates our mom brains more than uncompleted projects!
So, we start here in Step 4 to add to the resources we’ve already gathered with more gut healing options that become the support system to keep your most important gut healing modalities working at their peak.
Think of your Wheel of Wellness it like a beautiful tiered wedding cake with the bottom layer being the strong support for the rest of the cake. Is it as beautiful as the upper most piece with all of it’s fancy decorations? Nope, probably not. But it is no less necessary, because without the strong support of that bottom layer, your wedding cake would fall flat.
Oh no, not on your wedding day!
Now, the cool thing about your Wheel of Wellness (and maybe the frustrating thing about it as well) is that no two IBDer’s wheels will look alike. What you put into your Wheel of Wellness will most assuredly be different that mine. We are all individual and what we need as our bottom layer support structure is different as well. This can be frustrating for some mamas who are looking for a cookie cutter option to squash their IBD, but I’ve been in the C + C trenches enough to know that we call have to carve out our own path.
But what I can do to help you connect with what might become an integral spoke or spokes in your Wheel of Wellness is to tell you about the types of things to consider when you are adding to yours.
Your support system—who are the people around you that you count on for IBD support? Your spouse, your friends, your mom, your co-worker, your online buddies? Keep that support system close to your heart, now especially in your early days with IBD. You need them now the most.
Your movement practice- we all need a movement practice, whether it’s competition level weight lifting or restorative yoga or walking in nature and everything in between. No matter what type of movement you choose, choose the one that’s best for you where you are currently at. For example, if you can’t get off the toilet in the morning, a get up and go morning kick boxing movement program is probably not the best option for you. Choose a practice that is right for where you’re currently at knowing you’ll add on to it as you get healthier.
Your stress management tool belt- Oh, stress. It’s a killer. Literally. It strips you from your ability to fully fight your Crohn’s and colitis. It even causes breakdowns that lead to flare ups. We all know how important it is to find ways to manage the stress in our life. Adding this spoke to your Wheel of Wellness is crucial. If you need help in this area, don’t forget, I’ve got a resource for that. You can download my free and fabulous Stress Management Toolbelt Kit. It’s got all kinds of great ideas to help you manage your acute stress as well as your chronic stress. Getting your toolbelt is super easy. Just go to karynhaley.com/stress and you’ll find it there.
Your spirituality or faith is another possible spoke in your Wheel of Wellness. I’ll tell you what, when the chips are down, when you just feel like you can’t take it one more day, your faith can be the one thing that pulls you through. I think I told you this before, but it bares repeating. When my mom was given 6 months to live with liver cancer, it was her faith and her indelible spirit that helped her last not just 6 months, but six years before passing away. Faith my dear, it’s a powerhouse spoke in your Wheel of Wellness.
Your Wheel of Wellness may also include supportive practitioners besides your main doctor like a health coach to help you engage fully with healing modalities you’ve chosen, or to educate you on supports you may not have thought about, and be your head cheerleader support system as you move through your gut healing journey. You supportive practitioners may also include an acupuncturist or a functional medicine provider that looks at root cause healing for your IBD. Maybe a Craniosacral Therapist or a Reiki practitioner. You don’t need every type of course, but find one or two that support your needs as you continue your healing journey.
I just want to mention two more ideas for your Wheel of Wellness before we move on. Because these are ideas that might spark some insight or motivation in you to act, no matter where you’re at on your path with IBD.
Your self-care practice is HUGE. Now listen, I almost gag when I say that phrase, self-care. It is so overused and so misunderstood that it’s lost its weight. But it is so overused for a reason. It’s important mama. And it’s something we suck at! Too much mom guilt, too many kid responsibilities, too many irons in the fire, too many multi-tasking moments. We need our time. We need to know who we are away from all the demands of our life. Overused or not, self-care is needed for you now more than ever and the positive impact it will have on your physical health when you take the time for you is astounding.
The last Wheel of Wellness idea I want to mention today is to include some form of meditation and/or also therapy. As a former mental health counselor myself, I’m biased in this area, but I can also tell you from personal experience how vitally important these two healing modalities have been in my life. Therapy—when I was first diagnosed, it was life changing. My mom took me to a therapist who practiced medical hypnotherapy. Forget what you know about stage entertaining hypnotists, this is not what it’s about. The right hypnotherapist can have a huge impact on your gut health. As can a therapist who practices cognitive behavioral therapy as well as dialectical behavior therapy and so many more types. Meditation came into my life much later, but I highly recommend that as well. Mediation doesn’t have to be about quieting your mom brain. It can be about focused visualizations to assist your digest system in doing what it wants to do… heal.
Those are just some of the options out there for your Wheel of Wellness. You may have something completely different in yours. Everyone’s wheel of wellness is different and everyone’s wheel of wellness will change over time. We are not stagnant in life, why should our Wheel of Wellness never change?
And that’s why during this step, Step 4 we are just thinking in terms of getting it started on this immense project. B+ work all the way! If you just get one or two spokes added to your Wheel of Wellness besides your main health hub, during Step 4, that would be absolutely freaking amazing.
So what’s the right amount of time here, how much time should you give this Step 4 to fully percolate? Usually 1 to 3 months before making any changes. Remember I said at the beginning of this step, I see lots of mamas saying I did it for 3 days (maybe a week) and it didn’t work so I’m moving on. Not so fast my speedy friend. Take the time, your body needs to catch up to your brain.
So let’s say you decided that diet was the key to finding remission, and you started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Give Stage 4 with your Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System and adding in one or two key Wheel of Wellness pieces, and give that one to three months before making any decisions about moving forward. That doesn’t mean that you are looking for “I am healed” in three months, that means that you see forward moving progress. Healing takes the body time to catch up to what’s going on in our mind. Same goes for approaches like medication only or supplements or even if you choose a mixed approach.
And the last but so important thing I’ll say on this subject is that when you’re taking into account that 1 to 3 months, be really honest with yourself and assess did I really do everything that I could do within my power and according to my plan that I put in place to help myself heal. If you were hit or miss, if you didn’t take your medicine some days and you took it other days, if you ate out at McDonald’s once a week… you didn’t really do your plan as planned.
It’s OK, we’re all human and we’re all in this together. No judgment. We’re not going for perfectionism, but we are going for maximum effort. So if you can’t say that you put forth maximum effort then absolutely give this stage a bit more time so you really know what works and what doesn’t before moving on.
You’ve made it to Step 5 my friend.
In Step 5 it’s time to assess and tweak.
If a minimum of one month has passed or a maximum of three months has passed, it’s time to take stock. As I mentioned earlier, this method and these 5 Steps are not about a prescribed plan. It’s not about following a particular dogma or road to healing. It’s about following the road that best serves you for the time that you’re currently in. I can’t stress this enough mama.
I see so many ladies out there, grasping for the one true healing modality—following the path they’ve some guru or so called expert take, only to find themselves in the same miserable place they started in, or in some cases worse off. It breaks my heart when I see this.
The bad news is that there is no one perfect path to quieting your IBD symptoms, but on the flip side, the good news is that there are loads of individually proven paths that you can use to tweak and change and formulate as you design your own proven path to health. There are lots of ways to heal and in Step 5 of this process, and it’s time to celebrate because you made it to the assessing and tweaking phase.
So, in Step 5 we ask, how has that road been serving me? It’s time to figure that out. And you can access and process this thoroughly by asking yourself a few key questions.
#1 Am I better off or worse than when I started this plan?
It’s really that simple. We don’t have to overcomplicate it.
If your answer to this question is I’m not just better I am fantastic, I am great, I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life… keep doing what you’re doing and every so often, keep asking yourself this same question. Because I can almost guarantee that there will come a time in your life when you’re going to answer this question and the answer isn’t going to be I feel fantastic, I feel terrific, I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. As life moves on and as our life changes direction and stress and circumstances and things that are not under our control and all happen, your plan will need to be revised. And when that’s the case, I want you to continue on with my next question.
If your answer to question number one is yeah, I’m better but I’m not exactly where I want to be, either in this moment or over time, it’s time to ask yourself question #2.
# 2- What can make my plan better? What, in my heart, with the amazingly fined tuned intuition I know I have if I just trust and listen to my inner self, what is my intuition telling me that it’s not working for me? What about this plan that I created does work?
And when you have those tweaks in mind, ask yourself how can I fit these tweaks into my lifestyle? How can I best make a new plan to make the changes that I need to make a new habit to become part of my life? Because that’s the hard part, often times we know what we need to do but it’s about the actual planning and implementing that tends to trip us up. So don’t just ask yourself the question what’s working and what’s not working? Ask yourself how can I implement? How can I make these changes that I need to make a new habit in my life?
And lastly, if you’re answering these questions with thoughts like: I really don’t have the foggiest idea where to start or if your saying no, I am really no better off than when I started. I’m not in the right direction and I don’t know where to go from here. It’s time for question #3.
Question #3 is: Who can help me figure this out?
If you’re feeling like you need to make tweaks, but you’re just not sure where to start or what those tweaks even should be… or if you’re saying I’ve done everything I could for the last 1 to 3 months and it’s just not working for me, now it’s time to get some additional help.
And often times this is where I come in. Often times people will have done some version of steps one through five– maybe they’ve done it to a T or maybe they’ve done pieces and parts of it, but some version of the stages we just went over and they realize that they just need more support. They need an outsider and a guide, but also support from someone who gets it. Someone who has been in a similar IBD situation, someone who’s just a few steps ahead of them on their gut healing journey.
So if this is where you are at, it’s a really good time to get in touch because this is exactly what I do as a coach. I don’t prescribe meds like your doctor does. I help you process and weigh all of your options, and help you see some options you didn’t see before because sometimes you’re too close to the situation or don’t have access to all the resources or the latest research on what’s working in the field of Crohn’s and colitis. This is where I can be a great support for you and the beauty of it for me is that I get to witness and be a part of your journey and your transformation as you get to the bottom of what will work for you. It’s a beautiful thing and one of my favorite things in life!
If this sounds like the kind of support you need and if a free 30-minute IBD consultation with me where the focus is 100% on you and your specific challenges, you can book that with me at karynhaley.com/consult.
Now maybe the services that I provide isn’t what you need. It does happen from time to time. What other options might be available to you? Is there a doctor in your area with a different approach than what you’ve been working towards so far? Maybe there’s a book or a class or a course… whatever helps you and gives you more knowledge that you can then turn that into help for your situation, that’s the direction to go in this tweaking stage.
Like I said, I’m here for you. It’s what I do, it’s my passion and mission in life to help others with IBD. To help lighten the load for as many IBD mamas as I can. But other healthcare professionals are available as well, so if you find that you get to Step 5 and you’re still lost, please don’t stop there. Help is still available. You’re hope should not be diminished. This is a monster of an illness and sometimes we need a couple go-arounds before we find our way. But find someone who can guide you. Someone who can keep things moving forward for you. That’s what it’s all about.
OK my love, those are your 5 stages, Your “I Was Just Diagnosed with IBD” 5 Step Road Map. If you’re newly diagnosed or if you’re just stuck feeling overwhelmed and anxious and stressed and sick and tired all the time, I hope that this gave you a roadmap forward. Let’s go over our 5 steps one last time. This is a good time to write them down so you’ll have this information at your fingertips whenever you need it.
Step 1- breathe a sigh of relief. You know what this is and that can be freeing. There’s hard work to be done so take a moment with yourself to center, get grounded, and gather your energy for the fight that’s coming.
Step 2- Formulate your starter plan. This is just your initial plan to get you out of your most pressing problem. It’s not your forever, but it needs to be a powerful enough treatment to get you living life again. And in this stage, be open to whatever works. Maybe you’re not a fan of meds, but they could really get you over the hump. Maybe you feel like all the foods bother you so why would you look at healing foods. Trust me, there are ones that bother you more than others, it’s about making a starter plan to start to figure it out. Your starter B+ plan. You can do it.
Step 3- The knowledge is power step. Now that you’ve got your barring’s and you’ve quieted your worst problem with whatever means necessary, you have the energy to do some research, dig deep into your options. Food, medicine, lifestyle… a combo approach. Whatever it is, get started here with imperfect awesome mama B+ effort.
Step 4- is probably the biggest, hardest step. It’s all about sticking with your plan and being patient while it plays out. During this time, you are putting in a solid effort for 1 to 3 months. You are using your Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System. You are just starting to cultivate your Wheel of Wellness with one or two spokes. You’re not changing every 3 days, you are in for the long haul.
Step 5- In Step 5, it’s time to assess and tweak. What’s working? What isn’t? If it’s all working, keep doing you mama. If there’s small parts to tweak or even large areas, it’s all good. It’s all just information you can use to help you move forward. If what you have done over the last 3 months isn’t working, you are not a failure, you are resilient, you are powerful, and you will keep searching for answers. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that there are answers. We just have to keep turning over stones to find them.
And if you are struggling, if you just feel like you are hitting your head against a wall repeatedly, it’s time to reach out. Let’s work together to see if we can put some of the puzzle pieces together for you. That’s my sweet spot. It’s what I do best. Remember there’s a link to book a free 30-minute IBD consultation call with me in the show notes, or you can also just go to karynhaley.com/consult to book there as well.
My friend, the early days of IBD are rough. I hope this information just helped you see that there is an illuminated path forward. Use these steps to shape your journey and know I’m here to help you along the way.
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.
This week’s episode of The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD is extra special because it’s a #herIBDstory episode where I get to connect with real life IBD rockstars and highlight their inspiring stories.
Today’s story is full of the kind of inspiration we all need.
Beth Coldrick is an IBD gal, stoma rocker, skincare entrepreneur, and all around positive soul. You are just going to love her and relate to her story.
Beth is the Founder of BAO Skincare, and a long-time sufferer of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. And over the last 10 years she has been on and off steroids, managed her diet and lifestyle accordingly, and has had three life changing surgeries. She now lives with a permanent stoma bag after her final surgery in August 2020.
Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode
Mentioned in This Episode:
Connect with Beth:
Connect With Karyn:
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.
It’s IBD Q and A Giveaway #2 Day!
We did this over a year ago on the podcast, way back in Episode 20 so it’s been a while. I love doing this type of episode. It’s so fun and meaningful for me to connect with you on this level. So thanks for sending in your Q’s.
There were some juicy ones and ones I think we all can relate to so that’s the beauty of this. Even if it’s not your question being asked, you can still benefit.
Plus, there’s a giveaway attached to this Q and A episode so let’s keep it fun and light today to lift our spirits and let’s dive in with your most pressing Q’s.
Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode
Mentioned in This Episode:
Connect With Karyn:
IT’S IBD Q AND A GIVEAWAY DAY!!!
We did this over a year ago on the podcast, way back in Episode 20 so it’s been a while. I love doing this type of episode. It’s so fun and meaningful for me to connect with you on this level. So thanks for sending in your Q’s. So many of them, I was overwhelmed by all the responses. Well over 100 Q’s got folded up and went into my large wooden salad bowl to be picked at random to answer for you today. There were some juicy ones and ones I think we all can relate to so that’s the beauty of this. Even if it’s not your question being asked, you can still benefit. Plus, there’s a giveaway attached to this Q and A episode (love me a good giveaway) so let’s keep it fun and light today to lift our spirits (Lord knows we need it) and let’s dive in.
Hello, hello. Karyn with you again on The Cheeky Podcast and welcome to IBD Q and A Giveaway Day. I’ve got a spring in my step. An extra umph in my voice because this is a good one. I mentioned in the intro that this is our second time doing this Q and A style episode and I’m so looking forward to it. If this is the first you’re hearing about the Q and A episode then you must not be part of our free and fabulous Gut Love Community. That’s the place to be to get some extra special love and connect with me through our weekly updates, resources, and recipes I only share there. If you’ve got IBD and you are not part of our community yet, we’d love to welcome you. Join us at karynhaley.com/community. And when you do, I’ll be in touch. I can’t wait to meet you.
So this latest Q and A has a special Giveaway attached to it. I’m excited about this one because I’m doing it like a choose your own adventure novel where you get to pick where you go next. This is a choose your own Giveaway with prizes like the new and so delicious (I’ve tried every flavor) Hu Company assorted cookie basket. If you aren’t familiar with Hu, you are going to love this. Hu was a healthily made chocolate company, but in the last little bit they’ve branched out into gluten and grain free cookies and crackers and other yummies as well. So, part of our choose your own giveaway is a Hu gift basket. There’s also Danielle Walker’s latest book, “Food Saved Me.” Danielle is a food blogger and cookbook author for gut healthy recipes and in her latest book, she shares her story and struggle with Ulcerative Colitis. Very inspirational. Perfect if you don’t mind laughing and crying, and completely getting her story like only we can. And there’s also the giveaway option of a Wellbee’s gift card. Wellbee’s is an online health food store with amazing gut healthy options I know you’ll enjoy. I love supporting small businesses like this one because they are doing so much good for our IBD community.
So if you’re Q is answered on the episode today, you get to choose your own giveaway from the list I’ll sending your way. I want you to have the gift that says, “That’s Me,” so this choose your own giveaway gift is my way of doing just that and to also say thank you for being a part of the podcast and a part of our Gut Love Community. I couldn’t do any of this without you.
OK, now that we know the gift that might just be coming your way if you submitted a Q and it ends up on this episode, so let’s get to it. Let’s get to the Q’s.
Question #1 comes from Dominika in Hungry.
My name is Dominika and I’m originally from Poland, currently living and working in Budapest, Hungary and also flaring in Budapest, Hungary. Actually I’m being admitted to the hospital tomorrow so I can have an emergency intravenous iron as well as colonoscopy… which brings me to a question.
Dear Karyn, please give us a list of snacks we can pack for our hospital stay! Taking into consideration that colonoscopy may be involved. And there is no fridge available.
You’re the best, your happy voice and positive attitude will be in my ears, helping me through this difficult experience in a foreign country!
All the best,
Dominika, first of all, thanks for all the podcast love. It warms my heart. And secondly, I’m so sorry you are struggling right now. And in a foreign country, that’s the worst. I member back when I was in college, I was lucky enough to be part of a study abroad program. I became very constipated and impacted in Holland and was taken to a local hospital. The language barrier was a huge challenge, but all I remember was the doctor having his rectal probe in one hand (think of it like the speculum gynecologists use for a pap smear) and in the other hand, a jar of goo that could only be described as gelatinous snot. When he told me to bend over, I fled from the office in tears.
Dominika, I say this all just to bring some light humor to the situation you are in, not to scare you at all because I have no doubt that your experience will turn out much different from mine. I was young and didn’t know how to handle a situation like that. I know you will advocate for yourself and make sure you understand what is being asked of you.
Now, keeping in mind a colonoscopy is the goal for you, snacks will be limited to clear liquids so let’s start there. If there is no refrigerator available to you, there’s still lots of things you can bring in your suitcase that qualify as clear liquids. You’ll have to do some translation here, because I’m not sure how these things are available in Hungry, but hopefully you can find something similar. For colonoscopy prep, you can find small bottles of apple juice, white grape juice, cans of ginger ale, tea bags… in America there are some good quality bone broth companies that sell their broth in boxes—Kettle and Fire is one bring with you. Of course, water is key, but so is coconut water which you can also buy unrefrigerated. Rotating these clear liquids alone would get you through. Will it be fun? Probably not, but they will get you through.
There’s two other things though that I want to point out about when you are just allowed to have clear liquids. #1- if you are on clear liquids, the hospital should provide should provide you with unlimited clear liquids from broth to tea to juice to 7-up or ginger ale, jello… these are the things most hospitals have. Sure, you can bring your own healthier versions and that is ideal, but you’re in a flare right now and running all over to get clear liquids and snacks to bring to the hospital is just not where your energy will be best spent. And also, even though I follow a gut healing diet religiously, when it’s time for the colonoscopy prep, I don’t worry so much about what’s going in because it’s about to come out. Could I make my own broth, my own sugar free/dye free jello, my own lemon ice pops… of course I can. But would I rather just buy acceptable brands knowing I’ll be starting over as soon as the colonoscopy is done. For just those couple days, I let it go.
I mentioned there’s one other thing I want to share with you Dominika, and that’s that just because there are no refrigerators doesn’t mean you can’t bring cold things in to a hospital. I just had a Crohn’s related hospital stay in January and I knew I didn’t want to eat any of the hospital food, so I packed up a small cooler with some bone broth, some homemade yogurt, some well cooked veggies, some cooked chicken breasts… Just a few things that I could eat when I was allowed to have food.
Hospitals may not have refrigerators, but they do have ice. Along with the small cooler, I bring a package of freezer bags. I’d have by hubby switch out the ice a couple times a day, put it in the freezer bag and everything stayed perfectly cold.
Now, this is a good place to mention that when you bring that cooler into the hospital, you are going to walk in with it like you own the place, daring anyone to question it. You own that cooler and you’ll be damned if anyone is going to take it from you. If you know ahead of time (and this is definitely one of those situations where it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask questions) if you know ahead of time that you are not allowed to bring in your own food, just carry it in with a coat or a blanket over it. My hubby did this with that last hospital stay. He put it in my hospital room and no one ever said a thing about it.
Which brings me to one last piece of advice for hospital stays Dominika, if at all possible, have someone there with you. Your job at the hospital is to reserve your energy and rest. Their job is to be the lion at the door, making sure all your needs are being met. Having been in the hospital with Crohn’s multiple times now, I can tell you having a care partner with you is crucial. IV getting low—call the nurse. No one coming to help you to the bathroom (which we know happens)—they can help. Doctors not giving you what you need for pain—they advocate.
Have someone with you. This goes for you too dear listener. If you are going to the hospital for whatever the reason, have someone you trust explicitly as a designated advocate/helper so you can focus all your energy on healing.
Dominika, I know you might also be in the hospital when you are allowed to eat more than just clear liquids, so I’ll message you privately with some options for you there when I reach out about sending your giveaway prize to you in Hungry. That’s definitely the farthest and IBD Q and A prize has gone. I love it!
Above all, I’m wishing you a speedy recovery, remission soon, and a colonoscopy that is worth your efforts. And if you, dear listener are going through this too, I’m sending you healing vibes as well. This must be the time of year for colonoscopies because I’ve been hearing from you with Q’s about colonoscopies lately. It could also be because I just did an episode called The Secret to Manageable, Tolerable, Even Enjoyable Colonoscopies a few weeks back. It’s episode 80 if you want to check it out. It might be helpful for you as well Dominika. I’ll leave a link for it in the show notes at karynhaley.com/84.
Question #2 comes from Lisa in San Diego. Oh, I love sunny San Diego! My uncle lived there (in Alpine if you are familiar with the area) and I loved visiting him. He since passed but what a great city.
I have been on and IBD flare diet and am now ready to start reintroducing foods. What is the best strategy to do that?
I do not do well with added oils.
Thanks. Love reading/listening to your podcast.
Lisa, thank you for the podcast love. I appreciate you and I’m so happy to wrote in with this question because I know this is going to help so many going through this very thing.
It’s tough when you are moving out of a flare. Your situation is precarious to say the least. You don’t want to eat anything that would jeopardize what you’ve accomplished. First of all, I would say try to find ways to combat the stress and anxiety that this can bring up. Because as we all know, stress can be a trigger just as much as food. Now notice I said, find ways to combat the stress and not ways to get rid of. Stress is going to happen. The more we try to wish it away or not feel it, the worse things will get. With stress, it’s about finding ways to manage it.
The simplest and most in the moment way to positively impact stress is with deep breathing. I’ve talked about this technique many times before so I won’t go to heavy into it here, but a good 4-7-8 breath or a 4 X 4 breath works wonders in the moment. There’s other stress management tools I love as well and they are all in my stress management toolbelt kit. If you don’t have it yet, be sure to download it at karynhaley.com/stress. It is a huge help when you’re moving into IBD maintenance life.
Next, when it comes to reintroducing foods after a flare, I always recommend going tortoise slow. I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s painful when all you want to do is go straight for the chocolate cake, but do yourself a favor and do it. You’re body will be so grateful you did. When you go tortoise slow, you can then go so much further with food because you gave your body the time it needed to adjust and assimilate. Now, what might this look like for you Lisa?
Introducing foods at a tortoise pace means starting with the easiest to digest foods possible. Cooked, de-seeded, skinned. Let’s see how you do this these foods first. Peel and cook that apple. Easy to digest squashes, yes please. And in the cooking process, stay away from those oils if you don’t tolerate. It’s really common for IBDer’s to not tolerate oils. Because of our inflamed angry intestines, or sometimes because we’ve had portions of our intestines removed, we don’t always digest fat so well. Taking digestive enzymes with your first bite of food can be really helpful, but if you know you don’t tolerate fat in the form of oils, and if you are seeing oil rings in the toilet when you go #2 or you are wiping and it feels greasy, this is a good sign you don’t tolerate fats so well, just stay away. You can cook and bake without using much oil at all.
Once you know cooked, deseeded, skinned food works, it’s time to move on to cooked food with skins and with seeds. If that goes well and you’ve given your body time to adjust, it’s time to see how raw food goes. Start with soluble fiber first—peas, beans, carrots, avocados, pears, apples and then move into the more insoluble fiber foods like celery, cucumbers, greens, berries, nuts, and seeds. If you are adding in grains, start with your ancient grains first. Quinoa is a great one to see if you digest. Basmati rice is easier to digest that other rices. Sweet potatoes are less starchy and so they’re better for our gut health than white potatoes.
While you are adding in all these foods, and it can take a few months to do it at a pace that’s best for your body, you’re also keeping up with good quality, organic if possible protein. Chicken, turkey, fish, bone broth if you tolerate it… Stick with whole foods, stick with healthy, low sugar, lower carb foods and go slow, slow, slow. Adding in a new food about every 3 days. Yes, it’s strict, but the result and getting your life back… absolutely worth it!
Sometimes you may come across a food that doesn’t agree with you. That’s OK. Set it aside and move on. You can always try it later when more gut healing has taken place.
One last piece of advice I’ll leave you with Lisa is to be keeping a food journal this whole time. A food journal to help you track what you are eating and how it’s impacting your body. This is capitol H HUGE during this time. Is it tedious and annoying, and time consuming… Yes, yes, and yes, it is. But you will be so much better off if you do this. I’m telling you from years of working with clients, the ones who keep a food log, set themselves up for success.
I’ve got my own Food-Mood-Poop journal I use with my clients. You are welcome to use that or find a phone app that works for you. There’s many ways to food journal. You can even just buy a blank journal and start there. But whatever method you choose, I highly recommend you start with my F-M-P journal so you can see what type of information is most important. I’ve seen many apps crop up with food journals like this, but they just don’t have all the necessary tracking mechanisms. You can get your F-M-P journal by going to karynhaley.com/journal and I’ll also leave a link for it in the show notes at karynhaley.com/84.
OK, Lisa I’ll be in touch about your giveaway prize. Thanks again for your question. It’s such a good one. Wishing you continued health and long-term remission. You’ve got this!
Question #3 comes from Natalie who’s from Texas. She is 19.
I remember being 19 with IBD. Natalie, I am sending you so much energy and healing vibes. Newly diagnosed is a rough time and my heart goes out to you. I know you have a question for me, but know that I’m here for you as you navigate all of this as well. Please reach out anytime.
If you’re newly diagnosed or struggling with gut healthy snacks, this is a question that will support you too I think.
I was just diagnosed after a 7 day stay at the hospital with ulcerative colitis.
I’m having a hard time figuring out what snacks I can eat that are ready made and bought from the store.
So what are some ready-made snacks that can be bought at the store? Like chips and stuff. I seem to be doing okay with baked chips.
All the research into what I can and can’t eat has been overwhelming. And I’m not sure how to put everything into a meal besides salads and wraps.
Oh, so many directions to go with this question. On the surface, it seems straight forward, but there’s so much to unpack here.
Let me start with this. One of the best things to learn early on about IBD is that what works for one person is not what works for someone else. We can drive ourselves crazy looking the one diet, the one supplement, the one medication, the one snack that works for all. Oh, there are people on the internet, people in Facebook groups, people on IG and TiKTok who will tell you there’s only one way, but do yourself a favor, don’t waste your precious time. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely worth it to peruse, to ask questions, to get suggestions… but then you’ll need to experiment to find what will become the best path forward for you.
The other thing I will say about food and especially with snacks is that we have to be careful with foods that seem to help us—or not hurt us, I’ll say. And there are foods that may seem to make sense in the moment, but that make our condition worse in the long run. Let me give you an example from my life with IBD. For 20 years after being diagnosed, I ate mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, garlic bread, pasta… all because it was bland. All because it was comfort food. I felt comforted when I ate it. And I didn’t know that slowly over time it was wreaking havoc on my intestines.
It didn’t send me to the bathroom right away so I didn’t know it was slowly changing the bacterial balance in my gut. That microbiome everyone talks about—was moving the good bugs out and the bad bugs in. In the long run, those supposed comfort foods were not worth it.
So when it comes to snacks, we need to be careful here as well. Many store bought snacks are unhealthy or worse, seemingly healthy, but actually it’s just a package of fire that inflames our intestines, whether we feel it in the moment or not. Whatever snacks you choose, my advice is to be mindful of that.
So with that said Natalie, I’ll definitely give you some gut healthy, store bought snack ideas, and these might work for you too dear listener, but also know that everyone with C + C is different. Experimenting with everything from food to medicine to supplements, to mindset techniques and lifestyle factors is part of our healing Crohn’s and colitis journey.
With store bought gut healthy snacks, the good news is that in recent years, lots of options have become available for us. You can find low FODMAP snacks, Paleo snacks, Whole 30 approved snacks and these are the types of store bought snacks I’d say are potentially the most anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial proliferating, and immune boosting for our digestive system.
I always have to start with the simplest, most pure snack and that’s fruit and veggies. Easy to buy at the grocery store, easy to have on hand. You can even dip your fruit like a ripe banana into some yogurt or dip some carrots into hummus or guacamole. And depending on where your digestive tract is at, those veggies can be cooked for easier digestion.
For packaged on-the-go snacks, my favorite brands are Simple Mills (they make crackers, cookies), Siete Foods (they have gut healthier options for tortilla chips and dips), Go-go squeeze makes fruit and veggie sauce packs like carrot apple pear or sweet potato berry. It might sound weird mixing your fruit and veg like that, but they’re actually delicious. A company called Bare makes apple chips that are delish, Manuvo Harvest makes these delightful dried tropical fruit packs like pineapple, mango, and passion fruit.
If you’re looking for some on-the-go protein snacks, Epic has super clean and delish jerky. Beef, pork, turkey, venison, chicken, in all kinds of flavors from sweet to spicy. For vegetarian protein, Eat the Change makes mushroom jerky. I know, it sounds different, but they really are good. My favorite flavor is maple mustard, but they have lots of options. You mentioned chips Natalie. For you and everyone else just a word of caution to be careful there, even with baked options because they sometimes still use unhealthy oils in baking like canola, cottonseed or soybean oil. Look for chips that are baked in avocado oil and I would eat that sparingly. Sweet potato chips are a healthier option or switch to the Siete foods tortilla chips I mentioned earlier.
That’s a few options to get you started. If gut healthy on the go snacks are something of a struggle for you, and finding gut healthy store-bought snacks can be challenging for all of us, you’ll also want to check out my Awesomely Easy On-The-Go Snack List. It’s got a bunch more options for store bought gut healthy snacking ideas as well as some recipes for on-the-go snacks too. If you go to karynhaley.com/snacks, you can get it there.
One last thing that I think will be helpful for you Natalie, and you too, are some good options for purchasing your gut healthy snacks. In your own community, the health food stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or even better a local market, they will have all the options I’ve mentioned today and a whole lot more. Your standard grocery store might have a health food section too. That’s always a good place to look. If you want to shop online, look no further than Amazon (of course) Thrive Market (that’s an online healthy option grocery store with great prices) and also Wellbee’s (one of my favorite gut healthy sites). You can trust that every snacky food on that site is gut healthy for most. I’ll link to Wellbee’s and Thrive Market in the show notes at karynhaley.com/84.
Question #4 comes from Giovanna in Italy.
Thank you for this opportunity, here is my question: it’s a thought that is struggling me right now.
This Easter, I’m planning to travel by train for a weekend to visit my sister, what are the most important things, apart from meds, to carry with me in my suitcase? The items that would really help in case of flare or the things and behaviors that would prevent them?
Good question Giovanna! Travel, it’s a big one. Travel can be really stressful for those of us with IBD. Will a flare up happen when I’m gone? What will I do if it does– being in a place that’s different from my normal, natural environment. Where will I go for help if something comes up? That’s hard. And of course the stress we put on ourselves worrying about all of this before we even leave doesn’t help at all.
OK, let’s unpack this for Giovanna and for you too dear one. The truth is, most everything you need to stay healthy on a trip isn’t in your suitcase. It’s the before you go preparations. It’s the food you eat while you’re away and the pace you set for yourself while you’re there. It’s usually the stress, lack of sleep, and the hectic schedule that get that flare bubbling up so be careful of that.
But that said, there are a few things that always go in my luggage every time I travel. I always bring Imodium (Loperamide) quick help for diarrhea and I also pack a fleets enema for really bad constipation because those are the most common things that happen to us when we travel. I also usually bring a heating pad or hot water bottle you can fill. They are at least flat and easy to pack in a suitcase. Great for an upset belly. Hemorrhoid cream is good to have on had just in case you are get too much diarrhea or constipation and your bottom gets sore.
On a related note, it’s really important to go with immune boosting supplements because getting sick can induce a flare up as well. For me, that means apple cider vinegar (you can get it in these travel size bottles), Vitamin C, elderberry syrup, and zinc. I also like to have digestive enzymes on hand to help me with digesting the food when I eat out.
A couple other things I would say about traveling with IBD is that if you are traveling to a different country, be careful of the water you drink. And not just contaminated water, but water that’s different from what we are used to. That severe constipation incident I mentioned earlier from when I was in Holland, it happened because the water in Europe is just different than the water in the states. I’ve tested out this theory multiple times on my travels, and it always ends up being the case. Also, even more important than what you bring with you Giovanna is that you build yourself up before you go with probiotics or homemade fermented yogurt, or sauerkraut and collagen or bone broth to help strengthen your intestinal lining. Be well rested and as unstressed as possible before you travel is also key.
Remember to bring as much food with you as you can. I pack a carry on with food items I know work for my sensitive belly every time I travel by plane or boat or car… pretty much any way imaginable. I’ve talked about this already in Episode 65: Eating Beyond Your 4 Walls Part IV: Gut Happy, Healthy Travel with Crohn’s and Colitis so if you want further help with this question, go there. I’ll leave a link for it in the show notes as well. Karynhaley.com/84.
Our last question comes from Jessica in Oklahoma City.
I found your podcast not that long ago and I’ve already binge listen to every episode from the first one. What a find! I’m really grateful for what you do.
I don’t think you’ve talked about my question yet.
I was diagnosed with colitis last year and it’s been an awful year. I’ve been in the hospital three times and my doctor isn’t any help. He keeps saying I have to give the medication I’m on a try. But I just know I’m not going in the right direction.
I know there are other kinds of doctors out there who help people with colitis but I don’t know where to look to find them. Who else helps people with IBD? Someone with a more natural approach?
Jessica, I love that you’ve binged all the episodes. That absolutely makes my day! I hope they have been helpful, almost like a snuggly blanket by your side during this challenging year you’ve had. This is such an important question and it shows you are already stepping into your IBD power center. You are questioning if there is another way. You are advocating for yourself and I love that. No matter what happens, the spirit will serve you well.
Even though you don’t mention it, I’m guessing the type of doctor you have seen up till now is a gastroenterologist. That’s the type of doctor most people go to first for Crohn’s and colitis. So I am going to assume that’s what you mean. If it isn’t, please email me and let me know.
I think many ladies with IBD or walking around in a daze feeling the same way too. I have this doctor, he/she tells me what to do, expects me to do it, and I feel in my bones that there may be better options, but I don’t know where to start.
The first things I want to say Jessica is don’t give up your doctor—your gastroenterologist. They are usually your best link to the medications, the procedures like endoscopy and colonoscopy, and also the hospital. Gastroenterologists definitely have a place in your IBD care. But you are also right that there may be other options worth exploring, ones that look more at root cause instead of symptoms relief medicine, the types of ideas your traditional doctor may not be familiar with.
Root cause practitioners usually fall under a few titles: functional medicine doctor, integrative medicine doctor, and also naturopath. Depending on where you live and I’m not really familiar with the practitioner situation in Oklahoma City, there may be lots of doctors or there may be only a few. And traditionally, doctors like this do not take medical insurance. Some do, it depends on the state (every state has different rules) but by and large these doctors have fee-for-service practice is. That doesn’t mean you can’t use your HSA account or submit to insurance yourself, that just means that you pay upfront and then see how much you can get reimbursed.
If you can afford it though, doctors like these usually have a very interesting and very thoughtful take on gut health. When that goes much deeper than your traditional doctor. I would say however, that if you are looking for a doctor like a functional, integrative, or naturopath, you look for someone with experience treating Crohn’s or colitis. Many of them will say, “I treat everyone,” and that’s really not of any help to you. Do you want someone with knowledge in IBD. Some practitioners will even only treat IBD patients which is ideal.
I also want to mention that it’s OK if the practitioner you find isn’t local. Nowadays, telemedicine is everywhere (oh and we can thank Covid for that) so your root cause doctor may be located in another state but has license your privileges in your state. It’s always a good idea to ask.
To get started finding a more natural practitioner, I would start by Internet searching something like “functional gastroenterologist in Oklahoma” or “integrative medicine doctor in Oklahoma.” You can widen your search as needed, remembering that you may be able to consult with a doctor out of state via telehealth. There’s also a few websites that I think are best when you’re searching for a more root cause specialist. The IFM website (the Institute for functional medicine) has a great provider search feature. The Andrew Weil Center for integrative medicine in Arizona also has a search feature to help you find a practitioner. There’s even a box you can check to find a TeleMed provider.
Those are the first two places I’d start. If you encounter any problems there, get in touch I am happy to help you find someone in your area.
Besides a root cause medicine doctor, some other practitioners that some of my clients have found helpful are an acupuncturist, and herbalist, a chiropractor, someone experienced in Reiki or craniosacral therapy, a homeopathic doctor… there’s so many options. If you’re looking for a more food and lifestyle focused practitioner, there’s always nutritionists or health coaches who specialize in Crohn’s and colitis. My coaching practice is 100% IBD clients and I’m always happy to chat with you and help you get the help you are looking for.
Remember we are all different and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another so keep experimenting and you will find someone or someone’s to add to your IBD health care team. They all can be valuable. It’s about finding the practitioner that you connect with and feel can help you.
Well we did it! Another IBD Q and A giveaway has come and gone. This was so fun. I love these episodes where we can connect with you in a more personal way. Thanks again for all your submissions. You have blown me away with your insightful questions. I promise, I will get to the mall. If you don’t hear from me in a couple weeks, please reach out again there were so many responses, I want to make sure none get lost in the shuffle.
I mentioned lots of resources today. Let me give you them one more time all at once. If you want to get a pen or open your Notes app to write these down, now is the time.
There’s a couple other resources I also mentioned in this episode. Links to those can be found in the show notes at Karynhaley.com/84.
Thanks for hanging out with me today. Thanks for being you. 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.
Do you eat seasonally or do you just buy whatever you see at your grocery store?
Heaven knows that pretty much everything we want is at our fingertips, year-round in American grocery stores. But the truth is, we can get so much more flavor and so many more nutrients out of our produce if we buy it when it’s just been picked, when it’s ripe, and in season.
Today, I’m sharing with you the top 7 seasonal veggies you’ll want to stock up on this spring and then we’ll get into my favorite part, how you can prepare each of these veggies no matter where you’re at on your gut healing journey.
It’s all about making them in a way that supports your body’s digestion and absorption, at whatever stage it’s at right now.
It’s a spring veggie extravaganza and yes, I just get that excited over spring vegetables.
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Do you eat seasonally or do you just buy whatever you see at your grocery store? Heaven knows that pretty much everything we want is at our fingertips, year-round in American grocery stores. But the truth is, we can get so much more flavor and so many more nutrients out of our produce if we buy it when it’s just been picked, when it’s ripe, and in season.
Today, I’m sharing with you the top 7 seasonal veggies you’ll want to stock up on this spring and then we’ll get into my favorite part, how you can prepare each of these veggies no matter where you’re at on your gut healing journey. It’s all about making them in a way that supports your body’s digestion and absorption, at whatever stage it’s at right now. It’s a spring veggie extravaganza and yes, I just get that excited over spring vegetables. Here we go![MUSIC]
Hey there dear one. Karyn with you on another episode of The Cheeky Podcast. Spring is in the air. Can you feel it? A little late in my opinion. I was ready about a month ago, but I’m happy it seems to finally be settling in. Have you noticed more people out and about, with a little more energy and a little spring in their step, a little giddy maybe. There’s just something about spring that brings out a reawakening in us. It’s like we’re mirroring the grass getting greener, the trees growing leaves again and the flowers blooming.
Yep, I have to say that there’s an energy out there associated with each season and that’s why one of my favorite seasons is spring. Something I’ve learned about myself is that I’m really a creature of whatever season I’m in. Winter always makes me want to curl up in a warm blanket, start a fire, and hang out at home with a good book or watching a movie. But when spring comes, I feel this pull to get out, get moving again, doing things that energize me. Does any of that fit for you too?
For lots of people in the world, coming out to enjoy the energy of spring means it’s time to move from cozy, warming soups and stews to fresh, crisp veggies and big raw salads. But many of us with Crohn’s and colitis need a gentler approach for our food choices. Raw veggies and salads galore may not be on our spring table. So the question becomes, how can we embrace all the fun, healthy, delicious veggies spring as to offer in a way that supports our sensitive digestive tract and our IBD healing?
That’s our focus for today. Eating seasonally with all of nature’s and spring’s best produce, but eating it in a way that works for where we’re at with our gut health.
So that we’re both starting this conversation in the same place, I want you to know that I’m a huge advocate for eating seasonally—especially when it comes to produce. In America at least, our grocery stores are full of cantaloupes and strawberries in January even though they are at their peak much later in the year and fall squashes like butternut and acorn are available year-round. But if you want to get the best nutrients from the food you eat, if you want all those vitamins and minerals to benefit your gut. We’ve got to eat them when they are recently picked, ripe, full of nutrients and full of flavor.
Eating seasonally for spring means that some of my absolute favorite veggies are at their peak and it’s time to buy them at the grocery store, the farmer’s market, maybe even grow them in your garden.
Today, I’ve got 7 of the best spring veggies to share with you. I’ll tell you why they will benefit you to eat them in the spring, share with you how to prepare them for where you’re at on your gut healing journey and tell you how you can get your hands on multiple recipes with these veggies as their star ingredient to help you get started eating them as early as right after this episode.
Let’s start with one of my favorite spring veggies #1: artichokes.
Artichokes, some love them, some hate them. But I have to say that I think those who don’t care for them just haven’t found the proper way to prepare them. Because when they are prepared right and when you eat them in season, artichokes are delicious.
Nutritionally, artichokes are full of the B vitamin folate (great for you mama if you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. Artichokes are also full of vitamin C and other B vitamins as well as potassium and iron. Plus, they’re actually a good source of protein. Not many veggies can boast that.
If you’re struggling with your gut health, lots of inflammation, bacterial imbalance, you’ll want to eat your artichokes boiled or steamed so they are more on the cooked side. You can then dip the leaves in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) which is really all they need to taste divine. You can also eat artichokes as part of an artichoke dip or even purred in a soup. If you’re Crohn’s or colitis is kind of middle of the road, you’re not in a full blown flare but you’re not in complete remission either, you can soften your artichoke and make it more digestible by grilling it. Have you ever had grilled artichokes? Oh, super flavorful and again, you don’t need a lot of seasoning. EVOO and the grill really bring out the flavor in the artichoke. The more cooked the artichoke, the easier it will be to digest so take that into account for your cook times. You could even do a quick steam before grilling it to break down the fibers even more. Now if you are in hard core remission, try your artichoke shaved in a salad. Lots of fiber, lots of ruffage but without inflammation standing in your way, your digestive system will say thank you.
If you want to try artichokes for the first time or you’re just looking for some new artichoke recipes, I’ve got you covered. I’ve rounded up my favorite artichoke recipes for beginners to advanced, for IBDer’s in a flare up to those in remission and they’re all in the show notes. To check out these recipes, go to karynhaley.com/82. Those recipes are there waiting for you there.
Let’s turn to one of the best and most often overlooked spring veggies, spring veggie #2: arugula. Some parts of the world call it rocket—I had never heard of it actually before I lived in England and it had to take some convincing for me to try it, but I’m so grateful I did because I love it. Arugula looks almost like a weed. It’s a leafy green with long scalloped leaves. Very earthy, but with a peppery flavor that gives it a little bite. If you’re not eating raw leaves or salads right now, you might think you need to give arugula a pass, but I dare you to give it a second look because I’m going to tell you how to prepare it.
First of all, know that arugula is high in Vitamins A and K and also that B vitamin, folate. It’s full of chlorophyll and fiber. Plus it’s a natural detoxifier and lowers inflammation levels in the body so it’s a winner in the gut health department, but how can we benefit from all that health without it going straight through us? Well, arugula isn’t just for salads. It’s actually very versatile. If you’re feeling inflamed, not up to solid food, arugula is fantastic in a smoothie. Just throw a handful of greens in the blender with your favorite non dairy milk, maybe a banana or some berries and you’ve got some power packed health in a digestible form. If you don’t’ need your arugula completely masticated, but still need it broken down, I highly recommend adding it to an omlette with some other veggies. Sauté it in a pan for a few minutes to break it down and make it easier to digest, add in your egg and you’ve got yourself a great, seasonal meal. I’ve also seen this same principle used with pizza. Top a bunch of arugula on your gluten or grain free pizza before you put it in the oven and it will wilt down a bit in so it’s easier for you to digest. Now probably the simplest but most fibrous use for arugula is in a salad. Just rocket salad, with a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar and EVOO. Maybe a little shaved parmesan and some fresh cracked pepper on top. Yum!
Are you intrigued by arugula? I’ve got your recipes in the show notes, karynhaley.com/82.
Our awesome spring veggie #3 is beets. Super nutrient dense in the spring. Now before you go fast forwarding through this one, I know you’re thinking about it. Karyn, I hate beets. Hear me out because there are ways to prepare beets that either cover up the earthy flavor if that’s not your thing or that sweeten them up to make them much tastier.
Why should beets be part of your gut healing spring regime? Beets are about one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are full of antioxidants that make them anti-inflammatory. They also gently detoxify the body and benefit your blood and your circulation—so you get more energy. Those reasons are definitely worth giving beets a second look.
One of the best ways to sweeten up a beet is by juicing it. I love juicing beets with oranges or apples. It really pairs well and juicing beets is a great way to get them in if you need a method that’s gentler on your sensitive belly. Also for sensitive bellies, beet dip in the form of a beet hummus is delicious. The beet is all broken down and creamy so it’s much easier to digest. You can then dip in cooked veggies or gluten or grain free bread and you are giving yourself some much needed spring health vibes in an easier to digest way.
If you can tolerate a more advanced version of beets, I highly recommending roasting them. It brings out all the natural sweetness and cuts some of the earthy flavor. I prefer beets in moderation, so I’ll mix them with some of my other favorite veggies when I’m roasting like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, maybe some onions. It’s really tasty.
Before we move on from beets, I have to mention that my favorite part of the beet isn’t actually the red bulb at the end. It’s the greens on the top. Beet greens are one of the most delicious and nutritious of the greens so don’t throw out the greens on the top of this veggie. Add it to smoothies, salads, sauté the greens with some garlic and EVOO. Beet greens are awesome.
Want a fresh take on beets? Check out my beet inspired recipes in the show notes. Recipes for wherever you’re at on your healing journey at karynhaley.com/82
If I had to pick just one spring food to be my favorite, it would be spring veggie # 4. And I’m cheating a little because it’s not a veggie. It’s actually an herb and it’s mint. Springtime is mint time. It’s probably the most abundant spring food out there. I once planted mint in my garden—once—and now it comes back every year, even though I turn the soil and haven’t planted it again in years. It just keeps coming back. I think the term grows like a weed was invented for mint, which is great for IBD gals because we need mint.
Think of mint as your go to digest aid. It helps with gas, nausea, bloating, gurgles in the belly, indigestion… It’s no wonder mint has been around for generations, even before toothpaste and mouthwash was invented. People used mint leaves to freshen their breath and release bacteria from the mouth. Mint is definitely something we want to get lots of year-round, but when it comes to the fresh leaves, spring is king.
Now mint is a medicinal herb so it’s not something you’re going to cook with, but mint infused water is wonderful, you can also use the leaves to make your own peppermint tea, you can add the leaves to your juice press and create a cucumber mint fresh pressed juice (my personal favorite) or if you want to use it with cooking, you can chop it and sprinkle it over your food like over lentils or couscous or a citrus salad. You can even add mint to pesto sauce for a unique refreshing twist.
Guess what? I’ve got you covered with mint recipes galore! Are you seeing a pattern here? Come over to the show notes and check them out.
Spring veggie #5 is another favorite of mine. It’s asparagus. Again, another one I didn’t used to like and another one I realized, I’d just been cooking it all wrong. Funny how that makes such a difference. I remember when I was a kid, my parents would boil asparagus and it would always turn out mushy and slimy—not too appealing. But once I discovered roasted asparagus, I was in love.
Now, I look for every opportunity to eat asparagus (as long as it’s not boiled). In the spring, I probably eat it every day. My latest favorite recipe for asparagus is in omlettes with other sautéed veggies. If you’re in a flare up and you still want ways to get this gut friendly veggie in, you can eat your asparagus in a soup. Have you ever had rich and creamy asparagus soup? Mmm, that’s a great soothing way to get your gut healing asparagus benefits this spring. And of course, if you tolerate a crunchier asparagus, blanched asparagus is the way to go. It’s when you boil water and add the asparagus for 2-5 minutes only. It keeps it’s rich dark color, it still has a little bite and no overcooked slime.
One thing I want to mention about asparagus is how to store it because I see most people not storing it to help it last longer and then it goes bad before you even have time to use it. Once you get asparagus home from the store, take the whole bunch out of the bag and chop off ½ to 1 inch of stem at the bottom. Then place the whole bunch in a large mason jar filled about 1/3 of the way up with water. Cut side goes in the jar. Stalky part out. Put the jar in your frig and you’re asparagus will last a lot longer. It’s kind of like how you care for flowers when you get them home. Except for these, get stored in the frig.
Of course you know asparagus is healthy or I wouldn’t be mentioning it today. But the important things to know are that it’s filled with vitamin K, folate, copper and selenium, and research has shown that it has the power to reduce our colorectal cancer risk—that’s something near and dear to our heart and worth giving asparagus a second look.
Asparagus recipes especially curated for everyone with IBD (no matter which stage of healing you’re in) are in the show notes at (you guessed it) karynhaley.com/82
Now we cannot complete a list of the best spring veggies without mentioning #5: spring peas. Have you had the pleasure of enjoying spring peas? Oh my! So delicious, especially when the are at the seasonal peak in the spring.
Spring peas are full of vitamins A, C, K, and those B vitamins like folate—you go pregnant mamas! Spring peas are a good source of manganese, phosphorus and even protein. Talk about anti-inflammatory. Now we just need to figure out how you can digest them best.
If you’re struggling to tolerate raw veggies, the best way to eat your spring peas is to cook or masticate them for easier digestion and absorption. If you choose to enjoy them cooked, you can add them to Asian cuisine—stir fry’s, rice, or noodle dishes. If you need them further broken down, think no further than a smoothie. Sounds weird to put peas in your smoothie, but there’s no reason why a green smoothie has to be made with leafy greens. Spring peas give you something a little bit different and richer tasting in a smoothie. Just add ½ a cup to your favorite smoothie recipe and watch as it turns green, but the flavor stays the same. Good stuff! And if you tolerate them out of the pod raw, pop them in a salad or just eat them straight as a snack. They’re very filling.
I think my favorite way to eat spring peas is England style mushy peas. I wish they would have come up with another name other than “mushy” because it doesn’t make it sound so appetizing, but mushy peas, when they are cooked properly, are actually quite delicious. And it’s really and IBD gal’s dream because they are pretty broken down and easier to digest than traditional peas.
You can check out my favorite mushy peas recipe and some other yummy spring pea recipes in the show notes.
We’ve made it to the best spring veggie #7: Spring onions. Not to be mistaken for scallions, spring onions are a bit different. Their green stalks are thicker than a scallion (or as some people call green onions) and they also have a larger (almost looks like a white onion) bulb on the bottom. There’s a good picture of what they look like in the show notes so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for when you purchase them.
Spring onions are the only veggie on our list today that boast natural antibacterial and antifungal properties—two things many of us with C + C struggle with. They also contain a compound known as allyl sulphide which helps prevent colorectal cancer. Another bonus for spring onions.
One word of caution about spring onions though, I don’t advise using the white part at the bottom if you are sensitive to FODMAP’s or if you get lots of bloating or gas eating onions. The green part at the top is actually a low FODMAP food so stick to the tops if that’s you.
If you can tolerate it, I think the best way to eat spring onions is by grilling them. I know, everyone is hauling their grills out this time of year. Well, turn up the grill and get those spring onions on. I know most people get them out about now, but in my family we grill year round. Weird, but we just love grilling. But if you’re like most and you’re hauling out your grill again this spring, get some spring onions for grilling. You don’t even need to season them too much. A little salt, pepper and EVOO and that’s it. If grilling is a little much for your belly right now, spring onion soup is delicious. There’s loads of ways to make it and I’m sharing a recipe with you for my favorite one in the show notes.
Other places where you can indulge in spring onions are in a fried rice dish—chop some up for either a white rice or cauliflower rice. Chop and sprinkle top of any protein—chicken, salmon—even on top of a dip like hummus. Or if you are feeling really saucy, chop some spring onions up and sauté and caramelize them to top on a burger or a gluten or grain free pizza or for a sandwich. OMG your tastebuds will be happy!
I’ve got some really delicious spring onion recipes ready for you in the show notes. One last time, the link for the show notes is karynhaley.com/82. You can find recipes not just for spring onions but also for all seven of these best gut healing spring veggie options there.
One last time, super quick recap. Here’s your 7 gut friendly spring veggies, the ones you’ll definitely want to stock up on throughout the spring season and prepare in so many ways you’ll probably never eat them the same way twice (unless you choose to).
OK, that’s a wrap on spring veggies. Ones that at first glance you might think, I can’t eat that or I don’t like that. But remember, we can be more versatile and think outside the normal recipe box when it comes to veggies. With IBD, it’s about preparing our food in ways our body can digest and absorb. Go check out the recipes in the show notes. They will give you some spring veggie inspiration. I’ve got my eye on a spring pea recipe that’s calling my name.
Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy gut healing journey. Chat soon!
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.