Archive Monthly Archives: June 2022

{#herIBDstory} Karyn Hobson: Ulcerative Colitis is Her Thing

This episode is one of my favorite interviews to date.

My guest today is Karyn Hobson and as I’m sure you’ll see in this conversation, she and I could go on talking forever. We have so much in common, so many strange coincidences in our life that start with the fact that our mothers not only named us the same name, but then spelled our names with the same weird “Y” in the middle.

And as you’ll see, that’s just the tip of the iceberg with all the connections we have in common. I think you are going to feel like a fly on the wall listening to this really powerful IBD-centered conversation.

Four Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 The power of finding your tribe to help you get through the negativity and the naysayers who don’t get your life on an IBD healing diet.

🌿 How to balance being a “good patient” with your own patient advocacy needs so YOU come out on top.

🌿  Doing a colonoscopy your way and learning from past colonoscopies.

🌿  The wrong thing to do when symptoms creep up vs the methodical, practical, no-drama way that’s much more productive.

🌿  And so, so, so, much more! If it’s C + C related, we get into it.

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Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

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.

Summer “Gut” Lovin’ Had Me a Blast

It’s official. Summer is here.

The sunshine, the kids out of school, the pool parties, and the seasonal bounty of summer fresh and summer fun fruits and veggies. Yes, it’s summer, and that means that so much of the world is getting excited about summer food—berries and salads and melons—but for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis, summer food is usually a little cringe worthy. 

Raw fruits? Raw veggies?

Not likely.

But here’s the thing. A lot of enjoying food you don’t think you can eat, is about putting those foods in a form that you can easily digest and absorb. 

And that’s my IBD specialty.

Finding ways to help you enjoy IBD forbidden foods, especially in summer. So that’s what today’s episode is all about. Sensational summer gut healing foods you should definitely be getting lots of this time of year, all made in a way that you can enjoy them too!

Did I mention there’s recipes involved? Oh yeah, I’ve got you covered.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 The secret to eating summer foods you thought you’d never be able to touch.

🌿 The digestive enzyme found in a summer favorite that can help you decrease gas, bloating, belly pain, and diarrhea after meals.

🌿  The glutathione rich veggie that can help heal your intestinal lining.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Summer Gut Lovin Had Me a Blast

Oh it’s official. Summer is here. Summer gut lovin’, had me a blast.  The sunshine, the kids out of school, the pool parties, and the seasonal bounty of summer fresh and summer fun fruits and veggies. Yes, it’s summer, and that means that so much of the world is getting excited about summer food—berries and salads and melons—but for those of use with Crohn’s and colitis, summer food is usually a little cringe worthy.

Raw fruits? Raw veggies?

Not likely.

If you’re a Cheeky Podcast regular, you might remember I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. In fact, I’m going to repeat it over and over again because it’s just that capitol H HUGE.

A lot of enjoying food you don’t think you can eat, “Nope, I’m sensitive to that or No way, that food gives me gas and bloating,” is about putting those foods in a form that you can easily digest and easily absorb.

And that’s my IBD specialty. Finding ways to help you enjoy IBD forbidden foods, especially in summer. So that’s what today’s episode is all about. Sensational summer gut healing foods you should definitely be getting lots of this time of year, all made in a way that you can enjoy them too!

Did I mention there’s recipes involved? Oh yeah, I’ve got you covered. Cue the music.


Hello my friend and welcome to The Cheeky Podcast. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, and I am so happy to connect with you on the bright sunshiny day. Especially today on an episode all about food—my favorite topic. Summer is here and it’s time to get your freak on. You know I’m all about eating seasonally to get the best nutrients out of the food you’re eating, and if that food has been shown to benefit your gut, oh, I’m all over that.

Today, I’m sharing 5 of the best gut healing, summer loving fruits and veggies you’ve got to make part of your diet this season. But best of all, I’m also sharing with you some gut friendly recipes you can try out to get these foods in, even if you thought they were off limits to you before.

Now I know, some of you listening do tolerate fruits and veggies in their more traditional form, so I’ve got you covered dear one. Summer lovin’ recipes for when your gut is happy and recipes for when your gut needs some extra love.

On the show, I’ll be telling you all about our 5-star sensational summer favorites for these recipes, I’ll highlight why they are so important for your gut health and what types of gut ailments they are best for. Then, if you want to take these food stars one step further and cook with them, you can get your hands on my Sensational Summer Recipes for Gut Love at

OK, enough preamble, let’s just dive in with our first summer of gut love star—

#1: Asparagus

Yes, love it or hate it, asparagus. Asparagus is a lot like Brussel sprouts. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em. But I have to challenge you here because just like Brussel sprouts, I’ve got to say that if you don’t care for them, it’s because you are not making them right. Gone are the soggy, slimy asparagus recipes from your mama’s kitchen or your grandmama’s time. Today’s asparagus is made in a way that brings out all the natural sweetness and if you thought you didn’t like asparagus, I’m begging you. Give it a chance with the recipes I’ve created for you. Then get back to me with your thoughts because I’m betting you are going to be changing your mind.

Did you know that there are actually more than 300 species of asparagus grown around the world. In American anyway and also in the UK, the color we see most often is the bright green. But have you ever had purple asparagus? I think that’s my favorite. That’s a French type of asparagus and then there’s the white variety which is more of a Spanish and Dutch variety.

Well if you can find it, the purple colored asparagus is especially healthy. It is filled with phytochemicals called anthocyanins just like the ones found in purple pigmented things like berries and red wine. Phytochemicals are all about boosting our immune system and cutting our inflammation down so go for it with purple asparagus.

All asparagus varieties in general are great sources of vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin A. They’re also a great source of iron and the B vitamin thiamine. Those B’s are fantastic for energy boosting which, let’s face it, we all need when we are moms with IBD. It’s also a great source of iron, again one of those minerals that needs a boost when we have Crohn’s and colitis, and it’s also a good source of vitamin C. And if you are you thinking about getting pregnant, or you are pregnant, asparagus has your name on it as well because it is a great source of folate.

Now we can’t leave asparagus behind until we talk specifically about it’s gut healing properties. Asparagus contains glutathione. It’s an antioxidant found in plants and animals and fungi and it’s essential for proper immune function and it helps us build and repair tissue. It also protects our body from damage to its cells caused by free radicals. So you can see how this glutathione would be really vital for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis. Healing damaged cells, protecting and repairing gut tissue, that’s huge for us!

To really bring this home IBD style, it’s important to note that studies have shown that glutathione is actually depleted in the mucosal and submucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract in people with Crohn’s and colitis. So there’s actual research out there showing that we really need to find ways to improve our glutathione levels since we are depleted. Asparagus is one of those ways to help increase our glutathione levels. I told you asparagus was all about summer gut lovin’.

Asparagus also contains prebiotic compounds and inulin which can help with bacterial balance. Now, if you are in the middle of a nasty flareup, I don’t always recommend pre-biotics. They can just be way too challenging on an inflamed digestive system. But if this is you, I highly recommend you check out my recipe for asparagus soup because it is made in a way that breaks the fibers of the asparagus down and makes it much easier to digest. Now you have put the asparagus in a form that your body can use to help your gut heal.

Now one last fun fact about asparagus because it is the elephant in the room that we have to mention, and that’s asparagus pee. Have you heard of asparagus pee? That interesting smell that happens in the bathroom after you eat asparagus. It’s because asparagus contains a chemical called asparagusic acid. You might think that everyone can smell it, but the latest research says that it’s more complicated than that. There’s three types of people when it comes to asparagusic acid. There’s those who produce it and smell it, there’s those who produce it and don’t smell it, and then there’s those who don’t produce it at all.

Which type are you? Just a little fun fact to ponder.

You can get your summer of gut healing started with my recipes that include asparagus as the star ingredient: There’s my unique take on roasted asparagus and also creamy asparagus soup. The first is best if you’re able to tolerate whole asparagus in the second if you are in flare mode or find asparagus challenging to digest. You can get those recipes at

Next up is our star #2 in your summer of gut love.  

It’s Pineapple.

Tropical, summer favorite, juicy, sweet pineapple.

The reason why I picked pineapple as a summer gut healing fruit above so many is because pineapple contains a gut loving compound called bromelain. Bromelain is a digestive enzyme and it’s found in the stem, in the core, and in smaller amounts in the fruit of the pineapple. So for this reason, I highly recommend buying your own fresh pineapple, they have them in abundance in the grocery store this time of year, and when you cut it, get as close to the core as possible because this is where extra Bromelain enzymes lye.

So what is this bromelain enzyme all about and how does it impact our gut health in a positive way? Well people with Crohn’s and colitis struggle with digestion. Especially the proper digestion of macronutrients in the food we eat– our fat, our protein, our carbohydrates, can all be a struggle for us. But digestive enzymes like bromelain can have a massive positive impact on helping us break down the nutrients in the food we eat. And remember broken down nutrients means we are digesting and absorbing more of the vitamins and minerals in the food we eat. And that equals a happier belly, and it equals increased energy, and it equals a more balanced immune system, and it equals lower inflammation in our body. So being able to properly break down and absorb the nutrients in the food you it is a huge step at controlling your gut troubling symptoms. Symptoms like gas and bloating and belly pain can all be alleviated when we have digestive enzymes on board. It’s just a little extra help to aid our digestive system in doing what it wants to do, and that’s to thrive and be healthy.

Pineapple is absolutely the best source of this digestive enzyme, bromelain. And of course you can absolutely supplement with a bromelain-based digestive enzyme and if you struggle with symptoms like bloating and gas and belly pain and diarrhea after eating, these types of supplements may be really beneficial for you. But also choosing to eat pineapple that contains bromelain can be positive for your gut challenges as well.

There have been several research studies looking at the benefits of this bromelain enzyme and when it comes to gut challenges bromelain has been shown to speed healing, help decrease inflammation, it’s also been associated with helping with candida, which is a yeast overgrowth in the digestive track.

Bromelain has also been associated with lowering stool fat excretion so again if you’re having challenges digesting fat this can really be a help for you. Bromelain has even been found to reduce the expression of TNF-alpha that’s associated with inflammatory bowel disease. You may have heard your doctor mention TNF-alpha because of a biologic medication that you’re taking or maybe you have researched its role in Crohn’s and colitis, but TNF-alpha is one of the highest pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body. Cytokines are those molecules of inflammation, so bromelain can play a big role and bringing that type of inflammation down.

Like I mentioned initially, if you really dealing with some of these things that I just mentioned by having active Crohn’s or colitis, experiencing candida, difficulty digesting fat, you’ll want to look into supplementation, but why not eat some pineapple to boost your bromelain naturally as well?

Beyond the bromelain benefit, pineapple is one of the best sources of vitamin C. It’s also really high in the mineral manganese and it also has good amounts of B vitamins like thiamine and B6. And hello to your moms to be again– pregnant mamas, and nursing mamas , pineapple is high in folate and folate is recommended for three months after pregnancy as well.

There’s nothing like just cutting open a fresh pineapple and eating it by the chunk, but if you aren’t ready for fresh whole raw pineapple just yet, you can check out my favorite gut friendly way to eat pineapple all summer long in my Pineapple Fresca recipe at

Summer of gut love star # 3 is:


Yes, strawberries. And I get it if you’re saying whoa, whoa Karyn, I was with you for asparagus. I was with you for pineapple. But there is no way I am going to eat a strawberry. I remember those days well myself. In fact these days, I never take eating a strawberry for granted because I know just how challenging it can be for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis.

Remember, eating foods like this is about preparing them in a way that your body can digest and absorb. It’s about finding a way to get all those nutrients in a gut friendly way and I’ve got you covered there so take my word for it while I tell you about all the amazing benefits of making strawberries a main part of your summer of gut love.

Strawberries are all about their anti-inflammatory antioxidants. When we talk about most fruit, I usually say it’s just not worth it. Most fruit is not worth eating, especially if you’re eating it without the peel because there just isn’t enough health there. It’s way too much sugar and not enough gut health benefit. But strawberries, strawberries, they are worth every bite.

Strawberries are super high in vitamin C so you’ve got your immune system support there. They are also a good source of manganese and folate and potassium. Remember those anthocyanins from asparagus? Strawberries have them too to help boost your immune system and lower your inflammation– two things us IBDer’s need for sure.

And the seeds of the strawberry are just as important as the strawberry itself, maybe even more important because the seeds are high in micronutrients, beta-carotene and also vitamin C. Antioxidants are your first line of defense against free radicals and inflammation and strawberries are just an absolute powerhouse when it comes to that.

One last note on strawberries that’s important for all of us moms to know is that we want to give our kids strawberries as well. Research from the Department of Food Science and the University of Massachusetts found that a daily ¾ cup of strawberries may forestall the onset of Crohn’s, colitis and other IBD’s.

As moms with Crohn’s and colitis, we are always looking for ways that we can decrease our kid’s chances of ending up with our chronic illness. This research shows the benefit of strawberries so go out and buy those strawberries for you this summer, buy them for your kids this summer, if you have the time go strawberry picking because it is a blast. And everything just tastes better when it’s right off the farm, not to mention the nutrient benefits.

No worries if you are struggling with strawberries, I have got you covered with my gut friendly strawberry recipe for strawberry jam. It is a no refined sugar recipe but it is not a no when it comes to taste. You are going to love it. And for those who are ready for a raw strawberry, my grain free strawberry shortcake recipe, complete with dairy or non-dairy whipped cream is waiting for you. And I just have to give you a sidenote about that strawberry shortcake recipe, if you really feel like you’re just not ready for a raw strawberry but you are excited about strawberry shortcake, go ahead and pop the berries in a sauté pan with a little bit of water heat them on medium for a few minutes to break down some of those raw fibers in the strawberry. It makes them so much easier to digest. There’s no law against cooking your berries a little bit before putting them in the shortcake. The taste is still delicious while protecting your gut for easier digestion and absorption of those strawberry nutrients. Win-win. You can get your strawberry recipes and the other recipes were talking about today at

#4 on our list of summer of gut love stars is zucchini.

Zucchini, ripe and ready for you to eat, full of so much nutrition, zucchini is a vegetable you want to be eating this summer if you are in gut healing mode.

Zucchinis have been around for thousands of years. It’s believed that they were first cultivated over 10,000 years ago in South America. We talk about ancient grains and how healthy they are. But let’s take a moment to be impressed with ancient zucchini. Of course, over those thousands of years since, zucchinis have grown to be a much sweeter version than the original—no surprise there. But they are still delish and they are still oh so nutrish.

The summer promise of zucchini is in its anti-inflammatory properties and also it’s immune boosting properties. Again, two things we are always looking for when we have Crohn’s and colitis.

In the grocery store, you might see dark green, light green, or even spotted the zucchini. The nutrient profile for each a slightly different but know that they are all gut healthy. They may even be healthier for us than winter squash because they are lower in starch and lower in sugar content. So less disruption to the gut microbiome.

Zucchini is full of vitamin C, B6, manganese, and that wonderful B vitamin, riboflavin. It’s also high in potassium and folate (you go mama), so eating this versatile vegetable will help give you energy, an immune system boost, and help your baby’s health as well.

And I have to say it again, if you typically struggle with zucchini, if you think it’s not for you, I’ve got you covered with some amazing zucchini as the star ingredient recipes that are easier to digest and made with your gut health in mind.

When we get really specific with why those with gut struggles should consume zucchini, we look at gut struggles like diverticulitis because the zucchini is so hydrating that it helps balance electrolytes and nutrients for those suffering with this condition. Research is also shown it to benefit IBS, ulcer-type symptoms and also leaky gut. These are all things that many of us experience when we have Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

This is all great evidence to encourage you to eat zucchini, but I think the best gut loving reason is the benefit to our epithelial cells. With Crohn’s and colitis, we are often dealing with epithelial damage. Our epithelial cells line the surface of our intestine to help us digest and absorb our food and help protect us from microbial infections. But when these epithelial cells are damaged with Crohn’s and colitis, we are less likely to be able to digest and absorb our food and also we are more at risk for gut infections. Non-starchy veggies like zucchini can help lower inflammation in your gut for a stronger epithelial lining. A stronger epithelial lining equals better digestion and absorption of nutrients in our food. Bam. Drop the Mic. I don’t know about you but that sells me on eating zucchini.

In real gut health practical terms, zucchini is one of the only veggies that can help with both diarrhea and constipation because it is so easy to digest. It helps balance out either one of these challenges for a body. You can eat it soft and mushy, well-cooked, maybe without the skin for diarrhea and full skin on and lightly cooked for constipation. Now that is a versatile vegetable.

And just a real quick FYI before we move on, I’m talking about zucchini here but I also want to mention that yellow squash has many of the same benefits as zucchini so I always recommend eating both of them all summer long while they are in season. Why not get two you for the price of one?

If you’re looking for some unique and gut friendly ways to eat zucchini this summer, look no further than my sensational summer gut healing recipes. There’s delicious recipes for a zucchini omelette you are going to love and also my take on barbecue zucchini boats. Of course you can check those recipes out at

We have one last summer of gut love star. Are you ready for it? Our last gut healing star, one you should definitely be eating as much as you can this summer is #5 no our list:


Well it wouldn’t be summer without the taste of juicy, sweet, just eating it says summer, watermelon. Isn’t it great to know that when you eat watermelon you are giving your gut exactly what it needs to help it heal?

Watermelon in the summer is all about getting your antioxidants to help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation throughout your body. Watermelon is also a great summer hydrator since its water content is so high.

Watermelon was first cultivated in southern Africa. What they ate years ago was actually much more bitter, but now across the world, we’ve cultivated more than 1,200 different varieties of watermelon. Crazy cool right? Most of us eat the red part of the watermelon but you can actually eat the rind as well. It’s not toxic or dangerous, but I don’t usually recommend it for gut lovers like us unless you are fully masticating or blending it because it’s just too challenging for our sensitive digestive tract.

In terms of its nutrient profile, watermelon is a great source of vitamin C, hello immune system booster, it’s also high in vitamins A, potassium and magnesium. While I don’t think it’s the best source of your B energy vitamins, it does have smaller amounts of thiamine and B6.

I mentioned the potassium benefits of watermelon and that is not something to take lightly. Potassium is great for cleaning out toxins and helping prevent kidney stones, which is something that those of us with Crohn’s and colitis can be more prone to. It’s also a natural diuretic so that means it helps us pee more– fluid in/fluid out, which also helps decrease those kidney stones.

I mentioned that watermelon has a really high water content.  No surprise there but did you know that watermelon is about 91% water. This makes it one of the best natural detoxifier’s out there. I’d much rather you detox with food like watermelon rather than a dedicated detox which can make many people with IBD feel really awful. Our sensitive systems just needs a much more gentle detox and eating foods that naturally detox our body is truly beneficial for us.

Interestingly enough, watermelon has also been used in some of the most popular gut healing diet out there, like GAPS, for example. That’s because watermelon is believed to reduce acid reflux symptoms as it soothes and helps protect our digestive tract. It also helps to regulate pH levels which can be out of balance when acid reflux is at play.

One last thing I want to mention about watermelon is that it is a higher FODMAP food so if you are following a low FODMAP diet this summer, you may want to keep watermelon to a minimum. That doesn’t mean it’s your forever, it just means it’s your now. Watermelon will be waiting for you when your time with low FODMAP’s is over.

Of course, you can find my favorite gut friendly watermelon recipes in your sensational summer gut healing recipes guide. My absolute favorite summer recipe, the one I make all the time, is my watermelon salad with mint and feta. It’s in there as is my creamy watermelon smoothie. You’re going love both no matter where you’re at with your gut healing right now. Of course that’s waiting for you right now at

So when it comes to summer, your best to gut healing stars are asparagus, pineapple, strawberries, zucchini, and watermelon. Which one are you ready to try today? The best way to find out which one works for where your IBD is at and which ones you like best is to check out my hot off the press sensational summer recipes. These gut friendly recipes will help you with eating seasonally, keep you eating gut healthy, and it will absolutely keep your taste buds happy this summer. And bonus, these recipes are absolutely kid friendly as well. Try them out and let me know what you think. for your free and fabulous recipes.

One last note before we wrap for today. You know I have a private health coaching practice where I help moms with Crohn’s and colitis find the balance between motherhood and IBD, explore options that can have a positive impact on how your illness shows up in your life, and take you by the hand, step by step, as you take big, bold leaps towards life transformational change.

It has been my privilege to serve clients in this way since 2010. From time to time, my practice fills up and I need to stop accepting new clients in order to give my best attention to the clients I currently have. I am very close to that place again and I’m anticipating needing to start my waitlist again real soon. So, do yourself a favor. If you have been struggling with finding ways to quiet your IBD symptoms, if you are feeling overwhelmed with what steps to take next, if you are just feeling lost, make this your call to action. Before I enact the waitlist again, get in with me for a free 30-minute consult.

Now is the time my friend. Put you first. Put your health first. When you do that, you can then be a better mom to those kiddos of yours. It’s really the most selfless act you can do. If you want that free 30-minute IBD consultation with me, if you want to hear how we can work together to make big, positive changes in your life, schedule your consultation now, before the waitlist goes up again. You can do that at Super easy, just and you can book your session with me today.

OK my friend, it’s time to get out there and enjoy summer, gut love style. Summer, summer, summer… it’s like a merry-go-round. So many summer themed songs out there! Get your gut healing, gut loving recipes. They’re waiting for you at And of course, if you are driving or I confused you with too many links, you can always find all the links mentioned in this episode in the show notes and

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.

You Are Not Your IBD Body

Today’s episode is what I would call a mindset episode.

We talk a lot on The Cheeky Podcast about using food, and supplements, and alternative remedies, but one thing we don’t get into enough is how our mind can make the biggest impact. It’s something I’ve been learning more about lately.

It was always there, but it wasn’t until I started having some health challenges again that I realized just how much the mind plays a significant role, even in areas that are unconscious but ingrained in us.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 What’s really going on inside your head when someone asks, “How are you?”

🌿 Three questions we must ask to begin to separate who we are from what our illness is.

🌿  A conscious-thought exercise to set your day (your week or your month) off on the right foot.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

You are Not Your IBD Body

On this podcast, I’m most often talking about lessons I’ve already learned, I’m on the other side of something and I can step by step the information for you with ideas and concepts related to IBD that I’m comfortable teaching. Today, I don’t have a tutorial or a “how-to”. It’s more of a show and tell. I’m in the middle of this one with you and hopefully today, we can grow and learn together.


Hey there dear one, we meet again! Karyn with you on an especially introspective episode of The Cheeky Podcast. We’ve had a crazy Covid week at our house and I’m hoping all is winding down. This is our first time with the virus. 3 out of the 5 of us had it. I’m not part of the 3 and I’m hoping upon hope it stays that way. Covid is an unrelenting beast, it affects everyone differently (I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know) but I hope your experience with it, if you have an experience with it that it is mild and it’s quick. When will we get to fully move beyond Covid?  What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Today’s episode is what I would call a mindset episode. We talk a lot on The Cheeky Podcast about using food, and supplements, and alternative remedies, but one thing we don’t get into enough is how our mind can make the biggest impact. It’s something I’ve been learning more about lately. It was always there—I’m a psychology major—and in fact my training in graduate school was in a field called medical family therapy (so the medical side of the mind) so how the mind works and how we can use our mind to our healing benefit is always there, but it wasn’t until I started having some health challenges again that I realized just how much the mind plays a significant role, even in areas that are unconscious but engrained in us.

Let’s start our with IBD mindset conversation with a scenario. One that probably happens to you on a daily basis. It’s when someone casually asks you, “How are you?” Maybe it’s a friend, a co-worker, your boss, maybe it’s the nurse at the doctor’s office when you’re getting checked in, maybe it’s the check-out worker at the grocery store. Besides the perfunctory response we always give which is, “I’m good how are you?” silently, after hearing this question, we may look inside for a split second—it’s so unconscious, so brief that we barely know it’s happening—and we think how am I really doing? The answer to that question is so automatic and most of the time it has nothing to do with how we are really feeling.

It’s in moments like these that we’ll instantly mentally flip back on our day, on the last couple days or the last week and think, how many times have I been stuck in the bathroom, how much fatigue do I have, is my belly aching, am I bloated, gassy—you fill in the IBD symptoms that plague you. That’s how we judge our honest response if we were to actually give it out loud when someone asks, “How are you doing?”

Like I said, it happens so instantaneous and it’s so unconscious that it all happens before we even realize we are doing it.

What’s my IBD doing? Because that’s how know how I’m doing.  

That’s the way I was playing it too until very recently when I started consciously thinking about my immediate reaction to this question, “How am I doing?”

Why was I equating my mood solely on what my Crohn’s was doing?

Why was I giving this illness so much power?

Why was I letting IBD dictate how I was showing up in the world, especially when I felt bad?

What if I could separate who I am, my mood, my state of mind, outlook on life from the state of my IBD… could I separate all of this from IBD, even when my IBD is showing up in nasty ways.

Could I get asked that same question, “How are you?” and answer after that quick mental flip, answer with an honest “I’m great” even if my IBD had betrayed me that day?

Have you heard of the term toxic positivity? It’s all abuzz lately. Psychologically minded experts talking about how just having a positive attitude, an exceptionally optimistic attitude, can actually be detrimental to your well-being.

“My life my be on the skids, but I’m on top of the world. Nothing’s going to get me down. Today is another day and I’m just grrreeaaatt!!

The world just the most beautiful place and aren’t I lucky to be alive?”

We all know annoying people like this. They’re so freakin’ happy. Their world is rainbows and unicorns… and the honest truth is that after fives minutes with these people, we really just want to smack them for their toxic positivity.

When I’m talking about separating your IBD from your outlook on life, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about a false or inflated sense of peace or happiness or positivity.

Sure, you’re life may suck but smile and the world will smile with you.

No, that’s not what I’m pondering for myself or proposing for you either.

What I’m talking about is developing a real sense of self that includes highs and lows, but those highs and lows aren’t constantly dependent on the state of our IBD.

Does that make sense to you? I hope it does. It’s not about pretending we don’t have IBD, it’s about having a real life (the good and the bad) anyway. A life that’s not centered around IBD at every turn.

Because what I’m realizing lately is that this pattern of equating, “How am I doing?” is way too enmeshed with my IBD symptoms or non-symptom that day. And it’s giving IBD way too much power over me. And I’ll tell you something, the last thing I’m going to give that son of a B disease, is power.

Now let’s get one thing straight. The state of our Crohn’s or colitis matters. The fact that we have this illness at all, matters. Our body has betrayed us. The body we’ve come to depend on and rely on has betrayed us. Let’s just sit with that for a moment because it’s huge. Think about the betrayal and vulnerability one feels when someone breaks into their home and steals their personal belongings. Has that ever happened to you? It’s a betrayal of your personal world that was supposed to be safe. That’s kind of like what’s happened in our body with Crohn’s and colitis. It’s a betrayal of the highest order. Our body is supposed to be there for us. To keep us healthy and safe and in one fell swoop, with this diagnosis, we were betrayed by the entity closest to us in the world—our own body.

But that’s our body. The physical vessel that carries who we really are around. It’s literally the physical part of us that’s carrying who we are from one place to the next. What about our soul, our essence, if you don’t want to get spiritual or metaphysical about it, our personality. You can just call it that—your personality. The unseen but ever present things that make you, you.

Now, I know I’m getting into an other-worldly realm here. Some might even call this religious and for some, that’s stepping on too many toes. But for me, this isn’t a religious principle. You are a being—a physical being—with the housing you carry around you all the time. IBD has infected that part of you, your body. But the inner you, the invisible beautiful soul within—your personality, your compassion, your motherhood, your beliefs, your ability to experience happiness, gratitude, sadness and empathy… I’m suggesting you see this as completely separate from your IBD. Because when you do, when you separate you from your IBD, you may begin to remove yourself from the judging, and the basing “how are you,”  on your illness alone.

We never set out to do it. We never consciously think, I’m going to let my Crohn’s or colitis be my identity. But slowly, over time it happens and it’s time to break the cycle. I’m trying to break the cycle and I hope you’ll join me.

Like I said at the top of the show, this is a new outlook for me. This comes after having some hard times with Crohn’s lately and noticing that it was impacting every part of my life. I was letting it drag me down, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. And this thought that maybe I could separate who I truly am, what mood I’m feeling, how I show up in the world, didn’t come to me in an a-ha moment or in a sudden epiphany, but slowly, over time, over the last few months, I started to see that this illness was dragging me down and I wasn’t just letting it to this passively. I was the one attaching myself to the anchor at the bottom of the sea.

So the bottom line here for me and for you is 3-fold. It’s three powerful ways of showing up in the world, despite a diagnosis that betrayed your body. And those three statements go like this:

I am not my illness.

I am not my body.

My identity is more than my IBD.

It’s as simple as that, and it’s as hard as that.

I am not my illness.

I am not my body.

My identity is more than my IBD.

When you fully embrace these three statements, I mean at your core at your heart embrace the hell out of this way of thinking (not just I support the party line), but in your soul embrace that you are not your Crohn’s. You are not your colitis; you realize that it doesn’t need to dictate how you show up in the world. It doesn’t need to dictate your mood. You are not your body. You are not your body. Who you are is invisible, it’s beautiful, it’s un-adultered, it’s pure, and it is fabulous!

So now the question becomes, how do I go about separating myself from my IBD? How do I rip apart this crazy glue of an unhealthy relationship I’m tethered to? Like I said, this is a work in progress for me. In the past, I have found it easy to create distance from Crohn’s when I’m in remission. But when symptoms are raging, when ½ your day is taken up by IBD related crap, when the physical body is betraying you, how do you separate yourself from this dysfunctional relationship?

There is some research in this illness/attachment state. This showing up in the world as if you are your illness. The inability to separate the essence of you from your disease. Scientists call it psychological ownership. And sure, some psychological ownership can be a motivator to help you get well, but when this ownership drags who you are on the inside down with it, now it’s time to look in the mirror and start to make some changes.

How do we go about putting some distance between IBD and who we are at our core for the betterment of our experience on this planet, with this one life you’ve been gifted? We can start by asking ourselves a few questions.

#1: Who was I before my IBD diagnosis?

What was important to me? What lit me up and what brought me down? Who was I and how has that now changed?

Prior to my IBD diagnosis, I would have told you that I was going to be a dancer. I didn’t know if I was going to Broadway or own my own dance studio or teach dance at college, but I was going to be a dancer. It was my life before IBD. But to be really honest with you,  I was also self-absorbed and self-centered. Sure I was 14 when IBD came into my life, but I was on a path to lead what I thought of as a carefree, uncomplicated, but honestly not as fulfilled, not as appreciated life as it’s actually turned out to be.

Who were you before your diagnosis?

Have your friendships changed? Has your relationship with your partner changed? What parts of who you were before IBD would you bring forward into your post diagnosis world if you could? Even if it’s in the smallest of ways. Actually, it’s all about finding those small, significant ways.

So, I’m not a professional dancer, and I probably never would have danced on Broadway, IBD or not, but dancing is still a HUGE part of my life, 30 plus years later. Dancing is when I am freest. Dancing is when I connect with my soul. Dancing is when identifying with IBD truly leaves and magic is all I feel on the inside.

And the cool thing about life, post diagnosis, is that we can embrace some of the freedom that having IBD gives us. Some of the societal norms most people follow, we have an excuse to say, “no.” Many, many woman in our society take years to learn the word no. No, I don’t want to do that. Maybe they get comfortable enough in their skin by the time they are in their 40’s, 50’s… but we get to embrace “no” earlier. Protecting your energy, protecting your precious time becomes a hot commodity when you have Crohn’s and colitis. It means saying “no” when others might feel obligated to say yes.

And it also means that because we are faced with so many challenges, we learn to appreciate the smaller miracles in life. The little joys others may never notice or take for granted.

Who were you before your diagnosis? What did you forget to bring forward into your new life? What do you want to leave behind (like the yes-pleasing gene so many women have) and what seeds can grow out of this challenge like an appreciation for small wonders and little things like a the way a warm blanket comforts you or finding an extra roll of toilet paper in your bathroom when you thought you ran out.

I’m working on answering these questions in my life right now and I hope this question calls you to do the same.

#2: Do I make myself my illness?

Is the best describer of you—“You know, Karyn, the one with that gut disease. Karyn, the one with Crohn’s disease.”

My illness. My disability.

Is IBD your only identity? It is if you choose it to be.

How can you flip the script on your health challenge. Sure, it is yours. You are suffering for it, but it also doesn’t need to 100% define you. It doesn’t need to be 100% your identity. How can you separate you from you IBD?

I hope that when someone meets me for the first time they remember me for other things besides the one with that gut disease. There’s more to me and it’s important that I’m putting all my gifts out into the world.

Finally #3: Am I letting IBD dictate my mood? My every feeling, how I show up in the world?

It’s so tough for IBD to not dictate your mood and your thoughts about how you’re doing and what value you can bring to any situation. It can be completely unconscious. When IBD takes over our day, it takes over our soul, our essence, our personality. This becomes our default mode.

To break this cycle, it takes thoughtful, energy planning. It takes finding peace and happiness in small places to get beyond your Crohn’s or colitis dragging you down with it. So, maybe you don’t feel up to going on date night with your partner. Absolutely understandable. But we don’t need to give up the concept of date night all together. How about sitting in bed with your partner watching Netflix—even pausing the show when you need to use the bathroom or sitting with your heating pad if your belly feels like you inhaled a soccer ball.

Possibly you miss your kiddos big game because you were just didn’t feel up to leaving the house. I missed my son’s soccer tournament a week’s ago, but I sat with him while he shared with me the play by play from the video on my hubby’s phone. Thank God for technology. My kid was so excited to relive those moments that he made me feel like I was there. Now, I can still press play and enjoy those moments over and over again.

When IBD dictates your mood, your life, how you show up in the world it’s a good sign that your self-care has taken a hit as well. In what small ways can you pamper yourself? Yes, you are pampering your body with a bath, with a walk in nature, with 5 minutes of quiet time. But really, the bigger benefit is going to your soul. The smell of a candle, the sights and sounds of nature, the inner peace that quiet brings. These things don’t just invigorate the body, they invigorate the soul. And a happy and well-tended to soul is able to separate their physical state from how they are truly feeling deep in their soul.

This separation of mind and body, separation of your illness with who you truly are at your core takes conscious thought. It takes practice, it takes patience with yourself, it takes grace to falter, and it takes B+ mom effort.

I’m working on all of this. Especially on days when I don’t feel well. So, I’ve created mantra guides, words that stay with me as I work through and try to get better at this much needed separation. My favorite mantra right now is: I am not my body. I am not my body… That’s why it’s the title of this episode.

Conscious thought-practice is also really helpful as well. Conscious thought-practice involves being receptive to what the universe is telling me, taking it in consciously and reflecting the light back out into the world. Conscious thought-practice can involve getting myself in a meditative state and taking in the positive words of affirmation that feed my soul so I know what I am truly feeling. Not letting my body dictate the terms of my emotional state.

So, I thought it would be helpful to leave you today by setting both of our minds on the right path as we move forward with our day and with our life. I thought we’d go through one of these conscious thought exercises so you can really feel how powerful they can be. This is one I created for you and you can feel free to come back to it time and time again, whenever you need a pick me up or a gentle reminder that you are so much more than your IBD.

If you are just hanging out and listening today or if you are doing chores, take a quick break with me and close your eyes. It’s time to take a deep breath and go inward. If you are driving or walking, still take a deep breath with me. You can let these words passively wash over you. Either way is good.

You are not your illness.

You is inside, you is the real, inner, unseen you.

It’s your soul, your essence, your personality, you’re her.

The her in you may have to shift a bit to make room for IBD sometimes, but you are still in there.

Serve your soul just as you serve your IBD. Nurture her and she will give back to you 10-fold.

You are not your body.

You are the living, breathing, bounty of all that is good in the world.

You are worthy of love, and praise, and grace, and beauty, happiness, stillness.

You are worthy of genuine care and emotion.

Your identity is more than the woman with IBD.

It’s OK to wonder who you are without your diagnosis.

It’s OK to feel fearful about the unknown of who this person is, of who this person is yet to become, let the unknown fear in.

It’s OK to feel fearful about the known, fearful of what you are dealing with, what you are living with on a daily basis, let the known fear in.

Every ache and pain I experience may not be related to my IBD, because I am a whole person with other challenges and other life experiences.

My diagnosis does not own me.

I am open to discovering who I am apart from IBD.

I am not my illness.

I am not my body.

My identity is more than the woman with IBD.

I will find light.

I will find hope.

I will find balance.

I will find health.

I will find me.

This is the perfect way to end today my friend. Come back to this when you need a reminder of all that you are, all that you are destined to be. It’s waiting here for 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.

Is it a Flare-Up or a Food Sensitivity Reaction? How to Figure Out the Difference

When I hear a question come up over and over again for my clients, I know it’s time to bring it up on the podcast.

Because I know if they are wondering, so are you.

One of the questions I’m getting a lot lately is, “How do I know if I’m in a true IBD flare up or if I’m just reacting to one of my food sensitivities?”

This is a great question, and on the surface, it seems like a hard one to answer. I bet, if you’ve struggled with this, it’s cost you some sleepless nights and hours of questioning.

It’s time to put this question to bed once and for all. I’ve got you covered and the answer is easier than think to figure out.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 Is there a difference between a food intolerance and a food sensitivity?

🌿 3 questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering if it’s a flare-up or a food intolerance?

🌿  How to figure out what your personal food culprits.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in the Episode:

Karyn’s Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System

Episode Resources:

The Eight Most Common Food Sensitivities


Food Allergy, Intolerance, or Sensitivity: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?

Food Problems: Is it an Allergy or Intolerance?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Overview

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Is it a Flare-Up or a Food Sensitivity? How to Figure Out the Difference

When I hear a question come up over and over again for my clients, I know it’s time to bring it up on the podcast. Because I know if they are wondering, so are you.

One of the questions I’m getting a lot lately is, “How do I know if I’m in a true IBD flare up or if I’m just reacting to one of my food sensitivities?” This is a great question, and on the surface, it seems like a hard one to answer. I bet, if you’ve struggled with this, it’s cost you some sleepless nights and hours of questioning.

It’s time to put this question to bed once and for all. I’ve got you covered and the answer is easier than think to figure out.

Let’s get into it.



Hey there my friend, how are you feeling today? It’s June and I’m happy for summer weather in Maryland—finally. I just finished planting flowers in my garden and that makes me happy too. Behind my house, I have a small garden bed and some summers I grow veggies, sometimes it’s an herb garden, and sometimes it just sits dormant when I don’t have the energy or the gumption to do anything with it. Last year my neighbor grew this amazing flower garden. It was a thing of beauty and she was always bringing bouquets over to my house. We’d take care of the garden when they traveled, I loved peering over my fence into her garden to just take in the sight of the flowers. It was a daily self-care exercise and stress reliever all in one.

So this year, I decided I’d dabble in some flowers too. I bought seeds, I grew them into little sprouts in my house and I just finished planting them this week. I know, it’s late. We’ll see what happens. I’m always late putting my garden in and it still works out so I’m hoping the flower garden works too. Sunflowers, daisy’s, zinnias, Snapdragons, and Phlox’s. If you are a flower lover, these probably mean something to you. I, on the other hand, have no green thumb and don’t have a eye for telling which flower or plant is which so this will definitely be an experiment. If it works, I should have some stress relieving, calming beauty to look and smell at during this time of year. If it doesn’t, well I tried.

What are you doing this summer to find your center, to find some peace during a troubling time with your Crohn’s or colitis? To get through the kids summer vacation. I hope you find something that makes you smile because we all deserve to find something to smile about each day and sometimes, it’s something little, but it just brightens your world for a moment. Know what I mean?

Reach out and share with me what your summer happiness goal is. I can’t wait to connect with you!

Well, my dear, this is a good episode. It’s going to provide you with some clarity on a very murky topic for many of us in the IBD world. How do we know the difference between a food sensitivity and a flare up? This can be tricky for many.


In thinking about this topic for today, like with all episodes, I wanted to give you the most medical, research backed information, but maybe this is a surprise to you and maybe it’s not, medical journals and research studies aren’t being done on this. At least not ones I could find. So today, keep in mind I’m going from my own experience and my client experiences to answer this question for you.

I do have to say though that since I started my health coaching practice back in 2010, I’ve definitely seen patterns emerge and I feel confident that you are going to benefit from what I have to share. Just keep in mind the research studies aren’t there yet. Maybe one day they will be.

Also, I want this information about flare ups vs food intolerance reactions to be very actionable for you. After this episode, I want you to be able to say, “I get it now. That makes sense and now I’ll be able to figure this out for myself.” That’s why, after just a little bit of background info to make sure we are all on the same page with what a flare up is and what food intolerance is, I’ll be giving you the 3 questions to ask yourself next time this issue presents itself to you. The three questions that will give you all the information you need to know what’s going on with you in that moment. Does that sound like a good plan? I hope it does for you.

OK, now let’s start this conversation by all of us getting on the same page. When I say, “food intolerance” or “food sensitivity” what is it that I am talking about? It’s something that every IBD client I’ve ever had has had to deal with. It’s something Gut Love Community members email me about. IBD and food sensitivities, whether you know you have them or not, are impacting how you feel. So when we say, food intolerance or food sensitivity, what are we talking about here? What’s this thing that’s impacting so many of us?


The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology says that, “A food intolerance occurs when someone has difficulty digesting a particular food.” The smarties at Harvard say that food intolerance is, “The inability to process or digest certain foods.” Very similar right?

Harvard talks about examples of food intolerance being something like lactose intolerance. I’ll add on to that by saying histamine intolerance or fructose intolerance. An inability to digest those things. Harvard data also says that there’s a difference between a food intolerance and a food sensitivity, though when I look at their writings about both, they are really so stinking similar that I’m not sure even they understand the difference.

Other sources that I’ve seen don’t differentiate between food intolerance and food sensitivity. They use the words interchangeably. Personally, that’s the philosophy I prescribe too. So for today, you’ll probably hear me say both words. I mean the same thing. Whether it’s a food intolerance or a food sensitivity, we’re talking about having a challenge with properly digesting a particular food.

Now even though I’m using food intolerance and food sensitivity interchangeably, I’m not including food allergies in the mix. True food allergies are quite different that a sensitivity. A sensitivity starts in the digestive system. It may branch out and show up in other places as we’ll get into today, but it starts in the digestive tract. A true food allergy is an immune response where even a microscopic amount of that food can lead to anaphylaxis—a life threatening reaction where the person has difficulty breathing, might be wheezing, trouble swallowing, low blood pressure, maybe even passing out.

Food allergies are a whole different thing as you know if you have a family member or a friend with a food allergy. That’s not what our focus is today. Today is about the food intolerance type of issue with food and frankly, the least talked about food challenge and least understood by our doctors.


So when we talk about food intolerance, what exactly are the symptoms. What do those of us with IBD and food intolerance experience as a reaction when we eat something that doesn’t agree with us?

Well, as you can image, G.I. symptoms come up.

  • Intestinal gas
  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea

But food intolerance symptoms may not stop there. Like I said, even if the symptoms start in your digestive system, they may not stay there. You may never even experience gastro symptoms from your food sensitivity. And that’s what makes this so damn difficult to pinpoint, to figure out the culprit in the first place.

Your food intolerance may show up as neurological symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Poor concentration
  • Inattentiveness
  • Scattered mind
  • Anxiety
  • Jitteriness
  • ADHD

Or it may show up as an inflammatory response like:

  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pressure
  • Sneezing

It may even show up as a skin response with:

  • Eczema
  • Rash
  • Bumps
  • Hives
  • Flaky patches on the head
  • Flushed skin

Your food intolerance may even show up as fatigue or drowsiness.

See why so many of us don’t know we have food intolerance? You go to your dermatologist for a rash, your neurologist for headaches, maybe a therapist for your ADHD symptoms… and not a single one of these providers puts these symptoms together. No one is looking at the whole picture, saying huh, “I wonder if there’s a root cause to all of this and I wonder if it’s all related?”

But you can begin to do that for yourself today. You can begin to ask yourself, “Which of these symptoms ring true for me and could they be related? Could something I’m eating be at the heart of all this?” These are big questions and it’s OK if you don’t have all the answers today. We start with the questions. Questions about what’s going on with you is where your healing begins.

So we can experience one or two of these symptoms after eating certain foods or more symptoms. That’s not unusual either. Probably more when it comes to food sensitivities because they can show up in different ways.


OK, so we know what the symptoms of a food intolerance or a food sensitivity are. Now let’s look at what’s going on when we have a Crohn’s or colitis flare up so we can begin to see the subtle differences. We know that an IBD flare up happens when we are not in remission, when inflammation is up, gut dysbiosis is rampant and our immune system is in attack mode. This is a time when our symptoms get out of control. As you can imagine if you remember some of the symptoms that I just mentioned, the IBD flare up is a similar picture. According to the Cleveland Clinic, world renowned for their G.I. department, they say an IBD flare up is happening when some of the following symptoms are present.

Remember our food intolerance symptoms? Keep those in mind while we go over these flare up symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Diarrhea/constipation
  • Urgency
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Mucus/blood in stool
  • Upset stomach

Less common, but also present sometimes:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy, red eyes
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rashes
  • Vision problems

Completely different right? You’ve got it now. A flare up and a food intolerance present completely different. Case closed, we can end this episode now.

Uh, not so fast. That was my way of seeing if you’re still with me.

If you saw just how similar that flare up list was and you’re comparing it to the food intolerance list, I think you see the problem coming to life right before your ears. This issue of food intolerance vs flare up is a murky, tricky, little sucker and it lies. It loves to create confusion and chaos. It’s no wonder we can’t tell the difference between a food intolerance reaction and a flare up. There’s so much overlap in the symptoms that we may think we’re having a flare up when it’s actually a food sensitivity reaction and we may think we are having a food sensitivity reaction when it’s actually a flare up.

So how do we begin to figure this out? How do we begin to peel back the layers of this seemingly complicated problem, this onion if you will, to get to what’s really going on? Because when we know what our culprit is, then we can do something about it.

Uncovering whether it’s a food sensitivity vs a true IBD flare up involves asking yourself 3 questions. Three questions that will give you the information you need to have peace of mind that you are going down the right track to address your problem.


Question #1:

When I remove my suspected food culprit, do my symptoms go away?

If this were me, and it has been me several (too many) times before, the conversation with myself would go something like, “Were there peppers in that soup I had last night, and then had again as leftovers for today’s lunch? Yes, shoot I can’t believe I did that. I know peppers and I are not friends. That must be why I’m having extra gas, bloating, and diarrhea today. That’s why my head is pounding, and my hands are aching.”

Or the conversation I’ve also had with myself in the past (I like to talk to myself a lot and I also answer back, that’s a problem isn’t it). Anyhoo, I’ve said to myself, “These last several days I haven’t felt like myself. I’ve had been on the toilet more, I can’t keep track of a single thought in my head, my gas has been really smelly, and my belly looks 3 months pregnant by 4pm. What’s going on here? What have I been eating lately? Is there a food I’ve been eating that I can attribute this too? Let me do a few days with my Food-Mood-Poop Journal and see what’s going on.”

See how those are two different scenarios, but I’m getting back to the same question. When I remove a suspected food culprit, do my symptoms go away?  And if the answer is yes, you are most likely dealing with a food intolerance and not a true IBD flare up.

Now, before we move on to question #2 I want to address the challenge I see so many of you having with IBD. You feel so awful so much of the time that you don’t know what foods to remove. You don’t have any idea where to start. I’m going to cover this in just a minute so hang tight with me. I promise I’ve got your starting place too.

But if you are already working with food to help your IBD, if you are already on a gut healing diet, if you’ve already removed many of your culprit foods, this question will be easier for you to answer.

But, if you haven’t started a gut healing diet yet, what are you waiting for? It may not be 100% the answer for you, it must be part of an IBD healing approach—it’s in that Wheel of Wellness I talk about so often on the podcast. But gut healing food is an important factor and it’s time to get started on that today. Go to Episodes 68-71, wherever you get your podcasts and listen to my gut healing diet series to help you find the best gut healing diet for you.

OK, question #1, when I remove my suspected food culprit or culprits, do my symptoms go away? Now, let’s move to question #2.

Question #2 is: What are my symptoms?

It’s time to take a hard look at what’s going on with you. It’s time to be honest with yourself about your symptoms. As moms, we so often put others needs in front of our own, so with this question we strip down all the falsehoods, all the “I’m OK, I can handle it, it’s not that bad,” and we get real and honest with ourself.

What are my symptoms?

Now, remember, those symptoms of a flare up and a food intolerance can be very similar, but we have to ask ourself, “What are my symptoms?” Although there can be a wide range of symptoms in food intolerance, usually we are not seeing things like mucus in our stool, blood in our stool, consistent weight loss, fever, eye challenges like Uveitis…

We are not seeing these types of issues with an immediate food reaction.

Are you having any of these symptoms? Remember, according to the Cleveland Clinic, these symptoms are more indicative of an IBD flare up.

But maybe your symptoms aren’t this severe. Maybe your feeling abdominal pain, you’re spending more time on the toilet, you’re having headaches and body aches… is it just a food intolerance or could more be going on?

It’s time to ask yourself question #3.

And question #3 is: How long has this been going on?

1 day? 2 days? 3 days? Or is it more like 1 week, 2 weeks, a month, or longer?

To answer this question fully, we have to know the answer to another question first and that question is, how long does a food sensitivity reaction usually last? That’s a tough one to get a definitive answer on, but let’s break this down as best we can.

First, it’s important to note that a food sensitivity reaction may occur within a couple hours of eating, but it may also occur up to 48 hours later. It also may not occur until you’ve eaten your food culprit a couple times. You may need to put a couple helpings in your system over a couple days before your body says, “Enough!”

There’s really no clear guidance from medical sources here, but from my experience, a food intolerance reaction usually will go away 1-4 days after you’ve remove the culprit.

So, how long have these troubling symptoms been going on? 1 day, 2 days… or is it a lot longer than that?

According to most IBD experts, an IBD flare up can last a week, to several months, even several years. If your challenges are going on that long and if you’ve removed all your food culprits, you better believe that’s not the cause of your symptoms. It’s time to get some help from your doctor.

So, symptoms play a role in determining what’s going on and so does how long it’s been going on. If you can answer these three questions for yourself, you will come a long way towards deciding if what you are going through is a food sensitivity reaction or a true IBD flare up.

Let’s say you’ve asked yourself these three questions and you know it’s a food intolerance that’s at play, but you just can’t figure out what’s bothering you. Where do you start? Well, there’s three options I usually suggest.


#1- Food-Mood-Poop Journal

It’s the most comprehensive, meticulous way to figure out what your food culprits are. It’s crazy powerful and why I suggest it so often to my clients and on this podcast. There’s a lot that can be gleaned from tracking your food and your responses to that food. Download an app, do a free form journal, or get my free and fabulous F-M-P Journaling System at Just get started with it and start to see the patterns in what you eat and how you feel.

Now, what’s another option if you suspect there’s some food culprits but you don’t know what they are? An elimination diet is another option to try. With an elimination diet, you get rid of known IBD culprits—the main food sensitivities for many. Eggs, dairy, gluten, corn, soy, wheat, etc… Leave them out of your eating plan for 30 days to 3 months and then start to slowly add them back in and see what happens. With an elimination diet, I highly recommend you also journal about how what you are eating is impacting you with some type of F-M-P system. We think we can keep it all in our mom brain, but we really can’t. Elimination diets can be really helpful, especially when paired with a way to track how it’s going.

Or you can do option #3. Option number three involves getting a practitioner to order a food sensitivity test for you. This is usually accomplished through a blood test and as I’ve mentioned previously on the podcast, you can now even order these kits on your own. Some are good. Some are crap. I have to say though that food sensitivity testing shows a moment in time. Our sensitivities can change over time and insurance doesn’t usually cover the testing so that can be an expensive moment in time.

If you are already working with a practitioner that has access to a high-quality food sensitivity test, go for it. If not, I highly recommend the other two methods to figure out what food intolerances you are dealing with.

Knowing what you are sensitive to will make answering those three questions extraordinarily easier.

Now, that’s what to do if you know food intolerances are at play with what’s going on with you or if you are trying to sus all that out.  But what if you know it’s a flare up. You ask yourself those three questions I mentioned and you decide, yep, I’m in a flare up. Well, now it’s time to get some help. Your gastroenterologist, your functional, integrative, or naturopathic doctor… they are trained to help you in times of flare ups so don’t suffer alone. Go see them and see how they can help.

No matter if you are suffering from food intolerances or an IBD flare up, suffering is suffering. Please do yourself a favor and start by asking questions. Ask yourself the three questions I mentioned today.

If I remove my food culprit, do I feel better?

What are my symptoms?

How long has this been going on?

Start looking at what’s going on with you—no ignoring it because you don’t have time. Trust me, ignoring it will only take time away in the long run from you being the mom, the partner, the friend, the family member, the worker, and the human you deserve to be.

Today is the day to look at what’s going on mama and I’m here to help. If you are struggling with this very thing and you’re still feeling confused about whether what’s going on with you is a food intolerance or a flare up, get in touch. Together, we’ll figure it out. is how to get in touch with me. I love hearing from you and I’m looking forward to connecting with you soon my friend!

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.

From Exhausted to Energized: Vanessa Nowak Shares Her Best Strategies for Moms

Are you like me?

Exhausted by motherhood, chronic illness, all the demands placed on us every day?

If you’re feeling like your mind and body could really use a jolt of energy, a natural jolt of course– no 5-hour energy drink needed. You are going to love this episode.

It’s my interview with Vanessa Nowak, Health Coach and exhaustion to energy expert for moms. She has some really practical, tangible tips to share with us today so we can go from fatigued and blah to thriving and energized.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 The motherhood exhaustion story that led Vanessa to start to make changes in her own life.

🌿 Vanessa’s 5 Step Exhausted to Energized System to help you have more mom energy and better health .

🌿  Why, even when we have a step-by-step plan for success, we fail to act. And how you can get over inaction and into energy again.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Connect with Vanessa:

Vanessa on Instagram

Mentioned in the Episode:

The Fit On App

The Balance App

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

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.