All posts by Karyn Haley

The New Crohn’s & Colitis Treatment Approach Isn’t a Pill, a Food, or a Supplement

The New Crohn’s & Colitis Treatment Approach Isn’t a Pill, a Food, or a Supplement

Whether Crohn’s or colitis is plaguing you, let’s face it, you’re in a constant daily battle. I see you, I feel you, and I understand you more than you might imagine. Between doctors appointments, medications, flare ups, managing kiddos, trying to work, and trying to find time for the self-care we know our mind and body need, it's tough navigating the world of IBD. 

I’m right there with you.

For the most part, we rely on our gastroenterologists to get us through the rough patches with flare ups, but let's face it: those short appointments barely scratch the surface of what we need. It's like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Sure, medications have their place, but they're just one piece of the IBD puzzle.

You've likely experienced those rushed office visits, where the focus is solely on covering up symptoms rather than taking the time to truly understand the root cause of your specific challenges. 

It's frustrating, isn't it? 

You go into the doctor’s office full of hope that this time will be different. This time, you’ve got all your questions in hand. This time, they’ve got to help you, right?

But so often, we leave feeling disheartened and dejected.

Where’s the hope? Where’s any amount of good news?

And if you found this hopeful gut loving part of our internet universe– your Gut Love Community– you know that I’m all about the opposite of the way you feel after those frustrating appointments. 

To me, healing should be about:





Root cause


Now, you might be thinking, "Yes, that makes sense. That’s where I want to end up, but I’m not there yet. If I want more gut healing vibes in my life, where do I go from here?" 

Maybe you've spent hours scouring Dr. Google for answers, only to end up more confused than when you started. But fear not, my friend. This article is your roadmap to navigating the world of complementary, natural, alternative, root cause, integrative, functional medicine and finding the right providers who can help you craft your ultimate healing plan. 

It's time to step away from the endless scroll and into the office of a provider who truly understands what you're going through. Together, we'll explore your options, arm you with the right questions, and empower you to take charge of your health like the badass mom warrior you are. 

Let's dive in!

What are My Natural Healthcare Provider Options?

Now that we’ve brought some of the challenges you’ve most likely encountered in a traditional healthcare setting out into the light, let's explore the types of more natural health professionals you’ll want to consider adding to your team. 

Because knowing your options is your best starting place.

Your gastroenterologist is undoubtedly a key player on your healthcare team. Thank God they are there for medication management, necessary procedures, and surgeries, but relying solely on your gastro for every gut health issue you’re facing can feel like you’re just throwing spaghetti at a wall hoping one of the noodles will stick. Those short appointments barely scratch the surface of what we need, leaving us feeling frustrated, dejected and alone.

The best news I can give you is that there is a whole world of alternative medicine out there waiting to be explored. It may not be 5 minutes from your front door, but with a little bit of knowledge about where and how to search, you can find a root cause provider who’s right for you. Besides your traditional G.I. doc, there are a number of alternative health professionals that you'll want to consider putting on your team.

And keep in mind, you don't need to connect with all of them. 

What's most important is finding the right provider rather than spreading yourself thin with multiple practitioners who may not fully understand your needs. This can take time and a bit of research on your part, but I know you my friend. You are skilled, and tenacious, and given the proper tools, you will find the right provider who can make all the difference in your healing journey.

So who are these alternative medicine providers, and what do they bring to the table? 

The options abound.

From acupuncturists to chiropractors, to reiki masters, to therapists and counselors, the alternative options go on and on. And while these practitioners can all play a valuable role in your holistic care team, your best starting place is with a natural-minded, holistic IBD specialist. These are the folks who sit at the top of the natural health pyramid, armed with the knowledge and expertise to get to the root of your IBD symptoms. 

Integrative medicine doctors, functional medicine providers, and naturopaths are some of the best and most skilled types of providers you’ll want to research. These specialists offer a whole-body approach, they have the training to run comprehensive functional tests your traditional doctor will never think of, and focus on treating the underlying causes of your symptoms rather than just masking them with medications. Working with a provider like the ones mentioned above can be truly life-changing. They have the ability to partner with you in an empowering way; to be your guide (not your dictator or your guru) as you take control of your health and reclaim your life from the trials of IBD.

Now That I Know, Which Direction Should I Go?

Remember, at the top of the natural provider pyramid stems three types of providers: The integrative provider, the functional medicine practitioner, and the naturopathic physician. And you have the daunting task of deciding which type of provider will best suit you.

To help you get as familiar with the similarities and differences between these three options, I’ve created a guide for each, discussing the following categories within each profession:




Conditions Treated


How to Find

You can use this information to help you make the best decision for you regarding your natural health provider. There is no right or wrong answer. All of these types of practitioners have the potential to offer value and exceptional care. Read over this provider breakdown to help you make the best decision for you.

Is an integrative medicine doctor for you? 

●  Beliefs: These professionals believe in combining conventional and alternative therapies to treat the whole person—mind, body, and soul. 

●  Training: They come from a variety of backgrounds, such as osteopathy, traditional MD, or naturopathic medicine, and then receive additional integrative training.

●  Philosophy: Their philosophy revolves around the idea that illness manifests from an imbalance of the body's natural equilibrium, with lifestyle, genetics, environment, and mental health playing crucial roles.

●  Conditions Treated: Integrative medicine doctors treat a wide range of chronic illnesses, including chronic pain, metabolic disorders, digestive issues, mental health conditions, and autoimmune diseases.

●  Treatments: Their treatments often combine conventional approaches like medication and surgery with unconventional options like massage, chiropractic care, nutrition, and counseling.

●   How to Find: To find an integrative medicine doctor, you can check out the American Board of Integrative Medicine or get a referral from a healthcare provider.

Is a functional medicine provider the right fit for you? 

● Beliefs: These practitioners focus on root cause medicine, aiming to identify the underlying causes of disease.

● Training: They view the whole body as interconnected and practice personalized medicine. Functional medicine providers come from diverse backgrounds, such as nutrition, traditional medicine, or naturopathy, and then receive additional functional and diagnostic training.  

Philosophy: Their philosophy centers around the idea that illness stems from dysfunctioning body systems linked to lifestyle, diet, genetics, and environment. They believe that health occurs when these systems are optimized. 

● Conditions Treated: Functional medicine providers treat a wide range of chronic conditions, including autoimmune, metabolic, digestive, hormonal, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases. 

Treatments: Their treatments often include personalized nutrition plans, targeted supplements, lifestyle modifications, stress management, detoxification, and mind-body techniques. 

● How to Find: You can find a functional medicine provider through resources like the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) or through a referral from a healthcare provider.

Is a naturopathic provider the right choice for you?

Beliefs: These professionals believe in the body's innate ability to heal itself and use a natural, holistic approach that focuses on root cause healing. 

Training: Naturopaths attend accredited naturopathic schools of medicine and undergo rigorous training in alternative and traditional medicine. 

● Philosophy: Their philosophy centers around the idea that illness manifests from an imbalance in the body, with poor diet, stress, environmental triggers, toxins, and genetics playing significant roles. 

● Conditional Treated: Naturopaths treat a wide range of chronic illnesses, including autoimmune, digestive, hormonal, allergies, cardiovascular, and mental health conditions. 

● Treatments: Their treatments often include nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, counseling, acupuncture, and physical medicine. 

● How to Find: To find a naturopathic provider, you can check out resources like the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) or the Institute for Natural Medicine.

Each of these stellar “top of the natural health pyramid” providers bring something unique to the table, but ultimately, the right fit depends on your individual needs, preferences, and values. Take the time to explore your options, do your research, and trust your instincts. Remember, you don't need to connect with all of them—what's most important is finding the right provider who resonates with you and can support you on your healing journey.

If you’re thinking there’s a lot of similarities between these types of natural-minded, holistic providers, you’d be right, BUT…

At the end of the day, the approaches by these providers may seem very similar in many ways so how do you decide which type of natural-minded, holistic provider is best for you? 

Picking the best one comes down to asking yourself these 5 questions:

#1: Is it important that my provider be up on both eastern (more natural) and western (more prescriptive) medicine? If the answer is yes, an integrative approach is your best option to pursue. Done. Case closed.

#2: Who’s in my area? If it’s important for you to see your doctor in person (and let’s face it, it’s nice to be able to do that from time to time even with the advances in telemedicine), pick the one you can find in your area. The truth is, traditional MD’s are found in pretty much every town in America (and around the world), but holistic, natural-minded doctors aren’t always available in high numbers. 

Depending on where you live in the world, it might be hard to find someone, but the good news is that all of these types of providers will help you dig beneath the surface of what’s at the root of your Crohn’s or colitis. Pick the one nearest you and get started. You can always make a change later if they aren’t a good fit. 

And of course, virtual consultations are an option as well. Gone are the days where we could only see doctors who live in our part of the world. My main naturalistic G.I. provider lives 2,700 miles away from me and I wouldn’t trade her expertise, the time she takes with me, or her outside the box, root cause thinking for anything in the world.

#3: Will I need testing and prescriptions? While most integrative and functional providers have these types of privileges, in the U.S. there are many states that do not recognize naturopaths as doctors and thus do not allow them to write prescriptions or order tests. Maryland (where I live) is one of those states. 

Even though I have a naturopath, she is unable to write prescriptions or order procedures for me. Instead, she makes recommendations and I bring them to my M.D. and ask if they are comfortable ordering what my naturopath thinks I need. Luckily, I have a great M.D. who is willing to work with me, but not everyone has this option.

#4: What’s the cost and can I use my insurance? In the U.S. this can be a big issue. I wish I could say that all natural and holistic providers accept insurance, but the truth is most do not– and their fees can be quite pricey. Trust me, it’s worth it in the long run and will probably save you medical expenses, but still it’s pricey up front.

Always check with your insurance company or your HSA account first to see what they may cover. Look for out-of-network benefits and see what you may get back before going to your appointment. And don’t forget, you’ll be filing on your own so don’t forget to ask your fee-for-service doctor (that means they take cash, not insurance directly) for a Superbill so you have what you need to submit your insurance claim on your own.

#5 What’s the reputation of the provider? Who they are and how they serve is often much more important than what type of natural medicine they practice. Check out their reviews, ask around about the provider, and above all, interview the practitioner before you make a final decision. 

This is where empowerment and advocacy come into play. Remember, you are in charge of your healthcare. These individuals are YOUR consultants. They work for you. Their ability to help you is much more important than what medical program they attended.

Finding the Best Natural Provider: Do it Like the Badass IBD Mom Warrior You Are

You’ve got your practitioner breakdown so you know the differences between these types of natural medicine providers.

You’ve asked yourself the 5 best questions above.

Now what?

No matter how you slice it, finding any type of doctor you trust and respect is hard– even in the traditional medicine space.

But you’re a badass IBD mama and you’ve got grit, tenacity, and you're cheeky as hell.  

So let’s do “natural-medicine providers” like only a mom can. Here are 5 practical tips to help you find the right provider like we do everything as a mom—efficiently and effectively:

1. Leverage Your Networks Like a Playdate Pro

● Use Mom Networks for Referrals: Just as you might ask for recommendations for a pediatrician or a good babysitter, turn to your local mom groups, online forums, or community centers for personal referrals to naturopathic doctors, functional medicine practitioners, or integrative health experts. 

● Social Media Savvy: Utilize social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Many professionals maintain active social media profiles where they share their expertise, interact with the public, and post client testimonials.

2. Consult Like You’re Interviewing a Babysitter

Initial Consultation: Many natural health practitioners offer a free initial consultation. Use this as an opportunity to see if their philosophy and approach align with your expectations.

●  Prepare Questions: Go to your consultation prepared with specific questions. Ask about their experience with IBD, their approach to treatment, their successes with past patients, and how they handle communication and follow-ups.

3. Do Your Homework Without the Mom Guilt

●  Research Their Credentials: Check the credentials and licensing of any prospective practitioner. This includes looking into their educational background, additional certifications, and any professional affiliations with recognized medical associations.

Review Testimonials and Reviews: While patient testimonials on their websites are helpful, also look for independent reviews on Google, Healthgrades, or other medical review sites to get a balanced view of their practice.

4. Think Location and Logistics

 Consider Proximity: Like scheduling playdates in convenient, kid-friendly locations, consider the logistics of getting to and from the provider’s office. If it’s too far, it might add stress, which is counterproductive to treatment.

● Virtual Consultations: Many providers now offer virtual consultations, which can be a great option for busy moms. This not only saves travel time but can also make scheduling more flexible.

5. Trust Your Mom Instincts

● Listen to Your Gut: Just as you'd instinctively know if something is wrong with your child, trust your instincts when choosing a health provider. If you feel rushed, dismissed, or uncomfortable after your initial consultation, it might be worth considering other options.

● Inclusive Decision Making: Ensure they are willing to work collaboratively with your existing medical team. A provider who respects your choices and coordinates care with your gastroenterologist and other providers will help ensure comprehensive support.

Bonus Tip: Stay Informed and Flexible

● Educate Yourself: The more you know about IBD and potential treatments, the better you can advocate for yourself and communicate effectively with your provider. Staying informed will also help you evaluate new information and treatment options your provider might suggest.

● Adjust Expectations: Natural medicine often takes a holistic and sometimes gradual approach. Set realistic goals and timelines with your provider, and be open to adjusting them as your treatment progresses.

Ready to Put This Into Action in Your Life?

So, as you embark on your journey into holistic healing and naturally minded providers with all the knowledge and insights you’ve gained today, remember that finding a "Root Cause Healer" is your ultimate goal. Whether it's a functional medicine doctor, an integrative health practitioner, or a naturopathic doctor, the decision is yours to make. 

Take the time to explore your options, trust your instincts, and choose the provider who resonates with you and your needs.

And keep in mind, you’re doing all this to begin to build a comprehensive support system to help you manage and eventually thrive with IBD. Your best care starts with these types of providers at the top of the pyramid, and from there, you can add in other practitioners who support your ultimate health goals.

From health coaches like me, to acupuncturists, massage therapists, nutritionists, psychologists, craniosacral therapists, yoga instructors, reiki masters, etc… each member of your team will play a vital role in your healing journey.

Let’s wrap this conversation up with a neat, shiny, purple, IBD-sized bow. It’s time for a free resourceful resource to ensure you find the best natural provider for you.

We’ve talked about alot today and I know this whole process of finding a natural minded provider can be quite daunting. That’s why I've compiled all the essential information about each type of provider mentioned in this article in a new free resource: 

"Which Natural Provider is Right for Me?"

It puts everything we’ve talked about today in one easy peasy pdf. It’s all broken down for you there. “Which Natural Provider is Right for Me?” will be your go-to quick cheat sheet guide to help you navigate this important decision and ensure you receive the best care possible. 

Long term IBD remission is waiting for you, so take this important step today and grab your free resource right below this article. Let's embark on this journey to holistic healing together!

The Missing Piece That’s Holding You Back From Flare-Free Living

The Missing Piece That’s Holding You Back From Flare-Free Living

Have you ever felt like you're doing everything right on your journey with IBD, but you’re still spinning
your wheels getting nowhere fast?

You're eating all the right foods, taking your supplements religiously, and following your doctor's
orders to a tee. Yet, despite all your efforts, something still feels off. Oh yeah, I've been there too, and
I want you to hear something important from me– everything you’re doing is the right thing, but
sometimes it isn’t enough. There might just be a missing piece to your healing puzzle. A piece that
goes beyond what you put on your plate or pop in your mouth. It involves tapping into your higher
mindset, and it just might be the secret ingredient to unlocking true and lasting healing at the root
cause level.

And I know at this point, if you’re anything like me, you might be thinking that this term higher mindset
sounds like a bunch of woo-woo pseudoscience, mystical, magical thinking and that it has no basis in
your reality, but stick with me for a few minutes my friend. If this old science minded, show-me-the-
research gal can finally see the transformational power of a higher mindset on your physical health,
so can you.

Trust me, this topic is not fluffy and only for “those” kind of people. It’s big, bold and it has the power
to help you find the massive IBD transformation you’ve been searching for.

If you're ready to explore a new dimension of healing that goes beyond conventional approaches,
grab a cup of tea, cozy up, and let's dive into the life-changing power of a higher mindset.

There’s Actually Science Backing This Stuff Up

In a world where we're constantly bombarded with promises of quick fixes and magic pills, the idea of
incorporating a higher mindset or a mind/body approach into your gut healing regimen might seem
like a far-fetched notion. We're often conditioned to believe that healing begins and ends with what
we can see and touch – the medications we take and the gut healing foods we eat.

So let's start this convo by debunking the myth surrounding mind/body medicine. The fact is, it's not
some mystical, intangible concept reserved for yogis and meditation gurus. In fact, mind/body
medicine is rooted in scientific research, although you won't find it plastered on billboards or
advertised during commercial breaks. It's subtle, intuitive, and not easily measured – qualities that
often lead to its dismissal in favor of more tangible solutions. But make no mistake – your mindset is
just as important as the medication you take or the gut-healing foods you eat.

It's the missing link that bridges the gap between your physical and mental well-being, and
understanding its significance is key to unlocking the full potential of your healing journey with IBD.

It All Starts in The Vagus Nerve: Your Superhighway to Gut-Brain Communicator

Imagine the vagus nerve like your body having its own built-in Wi-Fi, connecting your gut and brain
seamlessly, transmitting signals in both directions like a super communication highway. This vital
nerve serves as the direct line of communication between your gut's enteric nervous system (ENS)
and your brain's central nervous system (CNS), playing a major role in regulating everything from

digestion to mood (yes, it’s that diverse– from eating to feeling!). It's like having a constant, silent chat
between your gut and brain, where they share updates and influence each other's thoughts,
functions, and emotions in real-time.

When you think about it, it’s actually really cool how advanced our bodies are.

I like to think of this complicated concept in really simple terms: a happy gut equals a happy brain,
and a happy brain equals a happy gut. This interconnectedness is why understanding the gut-brain
axis is so crucial, not just for our digestive health, but for our overall health and well being.

The vagus nerve, with its parasympathetic fibers, helps manage key gut functions like digestion,
motility, and inflammation. When it's stimulated, it can enhance digestion by ramping up the
production of stomach acid and enzymes, ensuring our bodies absorb nutrients efficiently. Plus, it has
an anti-inflammatory effect, calming down gut inflammation and promoting gut health. So, when we
talk about healing, it's not just about treating the symptoms – it's about nurturing this intricate
relationship between our gut and brain, recognizing that they work hand in hand to keep us healthy
and balanced.

Science-backed healing at its best.

Nurturing the Gut-Brain Connection to Overcome Challenges with IBD

We know our vagus nerve serves as the key player in the intricate communication system between
our gut and our brain, but when this connection becomes impaired, it can lead to a host of challenges
that disrupt our GI system.

One major issue that comes out of a vagus nerve impairment is damaged digestive enzyme
production, which can hinder proper digestion and nutrient absorption, leaving us at risk for
malnutrition. If you’ve seen what you recently ate in the toilet (instead of getting digested and
absorbed), you’ve definitely experienced issues with the absorption of key vitamins and minerals.
Same goes for fat. If it feels greasy when you wipe or you see oily spots in the toilet, you are
struggling to digest the high quality fats in your food.

Nutrient deficiencies like these are all too common with IBD.

And it doesn’t stop there. Irregular gut motility, influenced by the vagus nerve, can lead to
uncomfortable symptoms like constipation or diarrhea. The role the vagus nerve plays in what our
poop looks like in the toilet is something none of us think about, yet they are inextricably linked.

And let’s not forget about our gut microbiome. The vagus nerve helps maintain its balance, but
dysfunction within this super communication highway can result in dysbiosis, contributing to a range
of health issues and inflammation. This can lead us down a path of impaired immune response that
can further exacerbate our IBD symptoms and make us more susceptible to co-infections like
SIBO/SIFO (small intestinal bacterial/fungal overgrowth) and Candida.

The good news in all this vagus nerve/digestion dysfunction is that there's hope.

Just as a disconnect in the gut-brain connection can cause disruption and dis-sease, the opposite is
also true. Research shows that when we use mind/body medicine, we have the ability to strengthen
our gut-brain connection via the vagus nerve.

And there’s a multitude of ways to strengthen this connection.

Meditation is one way, but so often I hear from clients– “there’s no way I have the patience for
meditation.” That’s perfectly fine because meditation is only one way we can build a higher mindset.
Meditation is not for everyone. Mind/body techniques take many forms. And these techniques have
the power to reduce chronic inflammation, repair immune function, and enhance microbiome
diversity– all in the name of helping us overcome the challenges posed by IBD so we can reclaim our
health and our life.

From Poo-Poo to Woo-Woo Believer

Now maybe this all sounds promising to you– using the mental to impact the physical. But you’re
worried you don’t have the patience for all this mind/body stuff. And it’s just too time consuming for
not enough visible reward.

I get it.

Take heart in the fact that you’re not alone in feeling this way.

Before trying out a mind/body approach to gut healing, I didn’t want to find the time or patience for it
either. After all, I had a gut healing eating plan that was working, didn’t I? Well, it turns out that just
when I thought I was in permanent remission–that IBD was well behind me– I realized I was deluding

Let’s go back to 2008. Do you remember 2008?

Updating your Facebook status constantly.
Buying digital photo frames.
Keeping your Netflix DVD queue rolling.

Back in 2008, I was elated!

I had been through 20 years of pain and suffering. I had loads of experience navigating the labyrinth
of toxic medications and their nasty side effects. By then, I had endured the emotional and physical
scars of two bowel resections, but I finally found hope, health and peace. By shifting my eating away
from the standard American diet and moving toward targeted holistic supplements, my life took a turn
for the remarkable. I basked in a newfound vitality, crafting a business around helping others find their
IBD bliss. I even founded a successful grain-free granola company that dared to use nuts as the star
ingredient—a once forbidden food for so many of us with IBD. My scans mirrored my rejuvenation,
showing my IBD as undetectable.
Undetectable IBD! Something we all would die for.
Confident and seemingly invincible, I believed I had relegated IBD to a chapter in my past, not
knowing that more difficulties lay ahead for me just around the corner.

In 2018, my peaceful, healthy world came crashing down with a resurgence of gut challenges.
Significant scarring and a compromised intestinal wall due to past surgeries started the decline of my
charmed life. This period of time was also marred by profound emotional traumas—surviving a near-
fatal car accident, helping my son through a near fatal accident of his own, then the loss of my

beloved mother after a long battle with cancer… I began battling PTSD, anxiety, and depression and
it began to take a physical toll.
I was learning firsthand that the mind/body connection was strong, but I was paying no attention to it.
During this time, I thought all would be fine. In denial, I pressed on, still focused on eating well for my
IBD belly. But in doing so, by intently focusing on my physical well-being. Thinking that would be
enough, I was neglecting the profound toll these challenges were having on my emotional and
psychological health.
I was deluding myself that the ship would right itself.

In a rock-bottom state when the reality of my predicament finally hit me, it was a stark realization that
no amount of dietary vigilance, gut healing supplements, or having the best G.I. doctors by my side
could make a difference. But, when I finally began to turn the tide and embrace introspection, looking
into my past traumas, facing my reality– developing those mind/body techniques that help you get in
touch with what’s actually happening on the inside of your body– I realized there was a whole host of
mental and emotional frameworks I had been neglecting.

Because to put it bluntly: when you don’t take care of your mental shit, that shit will follow you around
everywhere you go.
And it will wreak havoc on every part of your physical body.
When I fully embraced a higher mindset shift, mind/body techniques like yoga, connecting with
nature, therapy, and breathwork slowly became staples to my new way of healing– and not just at a
physical level, but an emotional level as well.

Today, as I continue on this higher mindset journey for my physical and mental health, I’m at peace in
my commitment to never sideline the transformative power of incorporating mindset into my healing
practice. And I’m not so cocky about my health anymore. I take it one day at a time and work very
hard to stay as healthy as possible– mind, body, and soul.
True healing is always a journey, not a destination, and that journey is about managing your IBD and
living a rich life filled with insights, resilience and strength.

Bringing a Higher Mindset Into Your Life

After witnessing the profound impact of higher mindset techniques on my own journey and then
through the lives of my clients over the last six years, I couldn't help but wonder if others could benefit
too. Sure, it was working in my own little IBD circle, but would it work for the masses? It was time to
put my science brain on and start slogging through the current research to look for trends in IBD
mind/body medicine.

And guess what? I found exactly what I was hoping for.

Even the clinical research studies agree with me. Mindset practices aren't just mystical; they have
real, tangible benefits supported by scientific evidence.

Studies show that mindfulness-based interventions can enhance quality of one's life and
reduce anxiety and depression, offering a ray of hope for those of us navigating the challenges
of IBD.

●  Moreover, practices like mindfulness, yoga, and breathwork have been linked to the
downregulation of inflammatory markers at the genetic level, promising relief from inflammation
and its associated symptoms.

●  I also found research suggesting that incorporating breathwork as a mind/body technique can
alleviate chronic pain in people facing various chronic health conditions. The research
matching what I had experienced and what my clients were saying sealed the deal for me.

Mindset matters.

What you think and feel matters. Difficult times can bring your disease to its knees, and the opposite
is true as well– no special training or skills necessary.

I’ve become such a higher mindset junkie (there’s definitely a high that comes from it) that in the last
few years, I've made mindset techniques a cornerstone of my coaching practice, weaving them into
my Gut Love Signature System:

The F.L.U.S.H. Formula Framework.

From decreased anxiety and depression to faster healing times and a newfound sense of peace, the
impact of mindset on gut health and overall well-being is undeniable. Armed with this knowledge and
personal experience, I'm committed to empowering others to embrace mindset practices as a vital
component of their healing journey.

5 Ways to Do “Higher Mindset” Like a Badass, B+ IBD Mom

Once you become a mind/body medicine convert, you’d think the big leap was over. But now it’s time
to decide which techniques fit best with your symptoms and your lifestyle. Not all options serve all
mamas and it might seem overwhelming to decide on the best ones for you.

Meditation, therapy, yoga, walks in nature, gratitude, journaling, mantras, self-hypnosis, laughter,
spirituality, prayer, visualization, and deep breathing... But fear not, because you, my dear, are a
badass, B+ IBD mama, and you've got what it takes to make this work for you. Here are five ways to
rock mind/body medicine like the superhero mom you are:

1.  Seamlessly Integrate Practices into Routine Activities: Let's face it, as moms, we're
multitasking masters. Combine mindfulness or deep breathing with daily tasks—like doing
dishes, showering, or during bedtime routines with your little ones. With deep breathing, no
one even knows you're doing it!

2.  Start Small with Mini-Sessions: Short, 5-minute sessions of meditation, yoga, or journaling
are enough to make a difference. Sneak them in early in the morning before the kids wake up, during nap times, or right before bed. And hey, there are apps on your phone like Insight Timer
that make it super easy to get started.

3. Kids Benefit from a Higher Mindset Too: When you're a mom, everything involves the
kiddos, right? Include them in your mind/body groove. Join a mommy and me yoga class like I
did with my youngest, share gratitude practices during family dinners, and teach them
breathwork to help navigate their own emotions. After all, we all need these practices in our

4. Leverage Technology for Convenience: Mom life can be chaotic, so why not use technology
to your advantage? Guided meditation, yoga, and mindfulness apps are like having a personal
guru in your pocket. Set a reminder on your phone to make sure you don't forget to take
advantage of these convenient tools.

5. Connect with Like-Minded Communities: There's strength in numbers, mama! Whether it's
online communities or local support networks, connecting with others on a similar path can be
incredibly motivating. Knowing you're not alone in this journey is all the motivation you need to
keep going strong.

Breathe Easy: Let’s Take Your New Higher Mindset to the Next Level

Congratulations, my friend You’ve got what it takes to make a higher mindset a priority on your gut
healing journey! Now, it's time to put what you've learned into action and take that first step towards
adding this missing piece to your IBD action plan.

If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure where to start, don't worry—I've got your back. Let's kick
things off with one of the most accessible and effective mind/body techniques out there: breathwork.

It's simple, it's powerful, and it's something you can do right now, wherever you are.
Don’t underestimate this simple technique, because it’s mighty.

To help you dive into your new higher mindset goal, I've put together a free resource just for you:
Breathwork 101. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about breathwork,
from the basics to advanced techniques. Plus, it includes five different breathwork methods to choose
from (not just the 4-7-8 breath), so even if you’ve been using this mind/body option for years, you
might discover a new method that works for you.

No more waiting! Take your first step towards healing your mind, body, and gut today by
downloading your free copy of Breathwork 101.
It's time to reclaim your health and life, one breath
at a time.

Let's do this, mama!

From Flare-Ups to Freedom: When a Low FODMAP Diet Can Transform Your Life with IBD

From Flare-Ups to Freedom: When a Low FODMAP Diet Can Transform Your Life with IBD

Living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) presents a myriad of challenges, from managing symptoms to navigating dietary choices. For many individuals with IBD, mealtime can be fraught with anxiety and discomfort, as certain foods can exacerbate gastrointestinal distress. In recent years, the low FODMAP diet has gained recognition as a potential solution for alleviating these symptoms and improving overall quality of life. This dietary approach, which involves reducing the consumption of fermentable carbohydrates known as FODMAPs, has shown promise in providing relief from bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and altered bowel habits—common issues faced by those with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Understanding the principles of the low FODMAP diet and its potential benefits is crucial for individuals seeking to better manage their symptoms and reclaim control over their gut health.

Living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) throws us into a daily battle, where even mealtime can feel like navigating a minefield of discomfort and anxiety. For those of us grappling with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, certain foods have the power to turn a simple meal into a painful ordeal. While there are many dietary options to consider to help quell the negative symptoms IBD brings, one diet that deserves consideration is the Low FODMAP diet. Although it isn’t for everyone with IBD, for those who meet the Low FODMAP criteria, it can be a beacon of hope in the quest for relief from bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and the relentless onslaught of abdominal pain.

A Low FODMAP diet has the potential to offer the promise of a better quality of life and a renewed sense of control over your gut health, your overall health, and your mom life—and isn’t that what we are all ultimately searching for?

Understanding the ins and outs of the Low FODMAP diet is your first step in determining if this diet is the answer you’ve been looking for to conquer our symptoms and reclaim your IBD mom life.

Decoding FODMAP’s: What are We Talking About Here?

Low FODMAP’s is a fancy term and many people have heard this term, but don’t know exactly what it means. Let's break it down, layperson style—no medical jargon or fluff-- like we're chatting over a delicious cup of soothing peppermint tea.

So, FODMAPs, ever heard of them? They're not some fancy acronym from a science textbook; they're the sneaky little carbs found in everyday foods that can wreak havoc on our sensitive guts. FODMAPs stand for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. Yeah, a mouthful, I know! But basically, they're these tiny carbohydrates and sugar alcohols hiding out in foods like fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy. Now, here's the kicker: for folks like us dealing with gut issues, these FODMAPs can be a real pain in the, well, gut!

And just so we really get all the facts before we officially dive into how this diet can help you, let's talk about where this whole Low FODMAP diet craze came from. It all started down under in Melbourne, Australia, with some brilliant minds at Monash University. Back in 2005, they dropped this game-changer on us, aiming to help folks with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other pesky gut problems. So, why's it relevant to us moms in the IBD trenches? Well, because it's like a roadmap to navigate our way through the digestive minefield, helping us dodge those FODMAP-laden landmines that can turn mealtime into a battlefield. It's like having a trusty ally in the war against gut troubles, giving us hope for a little more peace in our bellies.

Can I get an Amen?

Navigating What Low FODMAP Might Look Like for You

So, who's the best candidate for this dietary adventure? This diet tends to be particularly helpful for those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), where certain foods can trigger unpleasant gastrointestinal reactions. But here's the catch: it's not just for those with IBS. For many of us with IBD, including Crohn's and colitis warriors, a Low FODMAP diet can also work wonders, especially when other gut gremlins like SIBO or candida decide to crash the party.

While there’s way too many allowed and not allowed foods to go into all of them in this article, here's a quick breakdown so you can get an idea of what to expect:

Foods Allowed:

  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Eggs
  • Certain grains like rice and oats 

These are your trusty companions, the ones that won't send your gut into a frenzy.

Foods Not Allowed:

  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Dairy products
  • Wheat products
  • Certain legumes

On the flip side, you'll want to steer clear of these troublemakers, the ones that might stir up a storm in your belly.

Committing to a Low FODMAP diet is all about taking a phased approach. First up, we've got the elimination phase, where you bid farewell to high FODMAP foods for a set period, usually around 8-12 weeks. This gives your gut a chance to calm down and reset, like pressing the pause button on the chaos. Next comes the personalization phase, where you gradually reintroduce FODMAP groups one at a time, keeping a close eye on how your gut reacts. It's like conducting a science experiment with your own body, gathering valuable data to tailor your diet to your unique needs. Finally, there's the reintroduction phase, where you determine your personal tolerance levels for different FODMAPs. This is where the magic happens, as you create a customized eating plan that keeps your symptoms at bay while allowing for a bit of dietary freedom.

This isn't a one-size-fits-all journey. Some of us may need to stay on the low FODMAP train longer than others, while some may find that they can eventually graduate to a more flexible approach. It's all about finding what works best for you and your gut.

Low FODMAP Foods Can Ease Your IBD Burden

A Low FODMAP diet can be a game-changer specifically for those of us with IBD. For starters, the Low FODMAP Diet offers a ray of hope for the pesky IBD symptoms that threaten to disrupt your day. Research suggests that it can significantly improve clinical outcomes and enhance our quality of life by reducing gastrointestinal distress associated with IBD, as well as for overlapping conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). By steering clear of high FODMAP foods, we're able to alleviate bloating, gas, stomach pain, and other discomforts that often plague us during flare-ups.

For someone with Crohn’s or colitis, implementing and monitoring the Low FODMAP diet requires a personalized approach tailored to our unique needs. While it's essential to limit fermentable carbohydrates to manage symptoms effectively, we must strike a delicate balance to ensure adequate nutrition and maintain the health of our gut microbiome. Working closely with a nutrition professional who understands the ins and outs of the diet is a valuable first step. They can help us navigate the nuances of the diet, offer support when needed, and fine-tune the plan to maximize its benefits for our gut health.

Despite its potential benefits, it's crucial to acknowledge that the Low FODMAP diet isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, nor is it meant to be a permanent fix. While it may provide relief from immediate symptoms, there's still much we need to learn about its long-term impact on our gut microbiota and overall health. Further research is needed to unravel the complex interplay between diet, gut microbiome, and IBD. And you can be sure that when that research comes down the pike, I’ll be on it and you’ll be the first to know.

The IBD Tagalongs (Sorry, this tagalong is not a cookie)

A Low FODMAP diet can play a role in your IBD healing regime, especially if you’re dealing with one of the many, what I like to call “IBD adjacent” ailments like SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), SIFO (Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth), leaky gut, IBS, and candida (a yeast overgrowth). These hare-to-treat- gut disruptors act like unwelcome guests crashing a party in our bellies. And the tricky part? They often show up together, making it feel like we're dealing with a whole gut circus.

These conditions often tag along with IBD because our guts are already sensitive and prone to inflammation. It's like they're saying, "Hey, if there's a party going on down here, we want in!" But the problem is, they don't know how to behave themselves. Instead, they wreak havoc on our digestive system, causing even more discomfort and distress. So, when we're talking about managing our gut health, it's not just about addressing Crohn's or colitis—it's about tackling this whole squad of gut-related issues that like to party together.

The good news is that a Low FODMAP diet can be a key player in your IBD + other gut issues treatment plan. With low FODMAP foods on board, you may be able to quell the underlying bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, and achy joints that often make your IBD symptoms seem worse than actually already are.

What Your Gut Healing Team Looks Like

A Low FODMAP diet has so much to offer. It’s like the MVP of your gut healing team, but it's definitely not the whole roster. Think of it more like the star player that needs a solid supporting cast to bring home the championship. When it comes to tackling IBD and all its sidekicks, we need a multi-pronged approach that covers all the bases.

·  Diagnostic Tests:  Now, I get it, these tests can be pricey and not always covered by insurance. But if you can swing it, they're worth their weight in gold. Think of them as your gut health GPS—they give you the roadmap you need to navigate your way to healing. From blood tests to SIBO breath tests, these diagnostics help pinpoint exactly what's going on in your gut so you can tailor your treatment plan accordingly.

· Lifestyle Modifications: Exercise, sleep, and stress tools, etc... It's amazing how much these little tweaks can make a big difference in how we feel. And hey, if you need an excuse to indulge in some self-care, just remember: you're not just doing it for yourself, you're doing it for your gut and your family too!

·  Nutritional Adjustments: Beyond the Low FODMAP diet, we're looking at things like keeping a food-mood-poop journal to track trigger foods, eating smaller, more frequent meals, and maybe even dabbling in a gluten-free diet if that's what your gut needs. It's about finding what works best for your specific gut issues and tailoring your approach to what you need most.

· Medication/Supplements: While the low FODMAP diet can help manage symptoms, it's not considered a long-term solution for IBD, IBS, or any other gut disruptor you are facing. It's often used as part of a broader treatment protocol aimed at addressing the underlying causes, alongside other interventions like medications and/or herbal antibacterials or antifungals, mind/body techniques, and probiotics to build the gastrointestinal tract back up after an initial gut repair phase.

·  Integrated Care: Picture this-- you've got your gastroenterologist calling the shots, your nurse keeping everything running smoothly, your nutrition professional guiding you through the dietary maze, your therapist lending an ear when things get tough, and maybe even an unconventional treatment practitioner bringing some alternative healing methods to the table. It's like assembling the Avengers, but for your gut health.

Studies have shown that the best healing plans are multi-pronged, and multi-teamed. Everyone and everything working together toward a common goal.

And the key here? Personalization. Because let's face it, no two guts are exactly alike. By tailoring your treatment plan to your unique circumstances and needs, you're setting yourself up for success in the long run. It's not just about treating symptoms; it's about treating the whole person. And when you've got a multitude of approaches and a team of experts in your corner, you can bet that you're on the path to feeling better—and staying better—for the long haul.

Low FODMAP Limitations

When the Low FODMAP diet is working for you, it's like hitting the pause button on your symptoms, giving your gut a breather while you figure out what's really going on down there. But here's the thing: it's not a forever fix. Think of it more like a stepping stone—a jumpstart to feeling better while you dig deeper into the root causes of your GI challenges.

See, while eating Low FODMAP’s can work wonders for symptom relief, they're not doing enough to address the underlying issues. That's where gut restorative and repair care come in. It's like giving your gut a spa day—nourishing it with all the good stuff it needs to heal from the inside out. Because here's the reality-- if you just go back to your old eating habits once the low FODMAP phase is over, you're likely to end up right back where you started. So while the diet can be a game-changer, it's only one piece of the puzzle. Time to roll up those sleeves and get to work on the bigger picture using the myriad of tools in your multi-pronged approach discussed above.

You can do this and it can move mountains for you, but a Low FODMAP diet is not a one week diet. It takes time and patience and may even involve a setback or two. Those who are most successful using this eating plan are those who put in the work and wait patiently for the results.

It’s not rocket science, it’s determination science.

The Low FODMAP Wrap

Let's wrap this up with a big dose of encouragement and empowerment. I know firsthand how overwhelming it can feel to navigate the world of gut health while juggling all the demands of mom life. But trust me when I say, this is your time to take action. It's not about perfection; it's about progress. And you've got this!

First things first, if you haven't already, consider reaching out to a professional like a health coach or a dietitian who truly understands the ins and outs of IBD and gut health (hey, I’m one of those;). Having someone in your corner who can tailor a plan to your specific needs can make all the difference. Remember, you're not in this alone.

Lastly, let's talk about making this Low FODMAP journey work for you and your family. Keep it simple, mama. Try incorporating low FODMAP meals that the whole family can enjoy, with just a tweak or two to accommodate your needs. And don't forget to give yourself grace along the way. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a healed gut.

As you embark on this transformative journey, know that I'm here cheering you on every step of the way. And to kick things off, don't forget to grab your free resource: my Sheet Pan Lemon Herbed Chicken recipe. It's a delicious, gut-friendly meal that's perfect for busy weeknights. Just scroll down and click the link below to get started.

Here's to your gut health, mama—you've got this!

The Truth About Yogurt: Your Doctor’s Got it All Wrong

Explaining the Invisible Battle: How to Talk About IBD with Your Co-Workers, Friends, & Family

So Your Doctor Recommended Yogurt for Your IBD Let’s separate the facts from the fiction.

You’ve likely found yourself sitting in your GI doc's office, chatting about your IBD treatment plan, and if your provider is even semi-knowledgeable about the link between Crohn’s, colitis, and nutrition or they know anything about the microbiome, chances are they've thrown the yogurt recommendation your way. “Yogurt is a great way to get your probiotics in. You don’t need fancy pills. Just head to the grocery store and buy some yogurt.” 

It's like a rite of passage for all of us with gut disorders, right?

They're all about this simple addition to help with Crohn's or colitis. And sure, this idea makes sense on paper. Yogurt's got probiotics, those friendly bacteria that supposedly balance out your gut flora to help ease your IBD symptoms. Plus, its fermentation process breaks down some of the lactose, making it easier on the tummy. And let's not forget about the nutrients packed into every spoonful—calcium, B12, protein, you name it. To the semi-trained eye whose focus is more on medication and procedures and not on the latest in nutrition science, store bought yogurt is a one-stop-shop for gut health. 

That’s what your doctor says, anyway.

But here's the thing—when you're dealing with major gut struggles like the monster that is IBD, nothing's ever as straightforward as it seems. In this article, we're diving deep into the yogurt dilemma: Why it's recommended, where it falls short, and what other options are actually better if you want to make life transforming strides for your G.I. tract and overall health.

Sure, adding yogurt to your daily routine sounds like a breeze, especially when your doc makes it sound like the ultimate gut savior. But as IBD warriors, we know better than anyone that managing our condition is no walk in the park. While yogurt does have its perks, we've got to take a closer look at what's lurking in those store bought tubs.

Spoiler alert: it's not always pretty. 

Sugar bombs, preservatives, artificial stuff—yep, they're all in there, wreaking havoc on our inflammation levels and in many cases, creating more harm than good for the critters taking up residence in our digestive system. 

And don't even get me started on lactose. For many of us, eating foods with any amount of lactose is like adding fuel to the fire. So, as we navigate this wild ride called gut healing, let's keep our eyes peeled for options that not only sound good on paper, but ones that really  work for our bodies. And when we figure out what works best for us, then we can be the one to head to our doctor’s office and say, as an actual patient with IBD, not just a number or a research statistic, this is what actually works to get my gut bugs in order. Please, pass this on to other patients to truly help and empower us all to heal.

Stick around as we uncover the truth about grocery store yogurt and explore some alternative strategies for giving our gut the love it deserves.

Why Commercial Yogurt Isn't the Gut Health Hero You’re Taught it Is

Commercial yogurt may have been touted as a go-to gut health remedy, but for those of us with Crohn's and colitis, it's essential to scrutinize the quality and composition of these products before rushing to the grocery store. Here are five compelling reasons to give your doctor's yogurt recommendation a second thought:

  1. Short Fermentation Time: Commercial yogurts are typically fermented for only about 8 hours, resulting in lower probiotic content and higher lactose levels. This shorter fermentation period can exacerbate symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, achy joints, headaches, brain fog, etc… making commercial yogurt less suitable for gut health management.
  2. Ingredients You Don’t Need: Many commercial yogurts contain additives, preservatives, and thickeners like gelatin and starches, which may irritate the gut lining and worsen not just our G.I. symptoms, but also cause problems for our skin (rashes, rosacea, eczema) and even our neurological system (brain fog, headache, lethargy). These unnecessary ingredients detract from the potential health benefits of yogurt and may trigger more inflammation and whole body discomfort.
  3. High Sugar Content: Added sugars in commercial yogurts can disrupt the balance of the gut microbiota, promoting the growth of unhealthy bacteria and increasing inflammation– basically increasing the problems you’re trying to get rid of, not decreasing them. For those with IBD, minimizing sugar intake is crucial for managing symptoms effectively, making commercial yogurts with added sugars (sometimes more than a can of soda) a less-than-ideal choice.
  4. Inflammatory Nature of Dairy-Based Yogurts: Dairy products, including many commercial yogurts, contain proteins like casein and whey, which may irritate the gut lining and provoke an immune response for IBDer’s. This inflammatory response can worsen symptoms, highlighting the need for alternatives to dairy-based yogurts for those dealing with gut challenges and sensitivities to dairy products.
  5. Lack of Individual Tailoring: Commercial yogurt options lack individual tailoring to meet the specific dietary needs and tolerances of those with IBD. While some may tolerate plain commercial yogurt, others may require non-dairy alternatives or yogurts with longer fermentation times to reduce lactose content and increase beneficial bacteria. Personalized nutrition is essential for effectively managing IBD, and commercial yogurts you buy at the grocery store often fall short of meeting these personalized needs.

Rethinking Your Doctor's Orders: Fermented Foods for Gut Health

Increase Microbial Activity: During fermentation, beneficial bacteria (primarily lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) or yeasts consume sugars and starches in the food, producing lactic acid, alcohol, or acetic acid. This lowers the pH of the food, preventing harmful bacteria from growing.

Proliferate Good Bacteria: The proliferation of these beneficial bacteria increases the probiotic content of the food, which, when consumed, adds to the diversity and health of the gut microbiome.

Produce Beneficial Compounds: Fermentation produces various compounds, including SCFAs (short chain fatty acids), peptides, and vitamins, which can nourish gut cells, reduce inflammation, and support overall gut health.

Reduce Antinutrients: Fermentation can also reduce antinutrients (like phytates) that bind minerals and prevent their absorption, thereby enhancing the nutritional profile of the food.

Enhance Digestibility: The breakdown of complex food components (such as lactose in milk) during fermentation makes the food easier to digest, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with compromised gut function like those with IBD.

With general fermentation benefits like these, the right kinds of fermented foods, tailor-made for where you're at on your IBD healing journey, you'll also see your IBD begin to thrive. Some of the IBD benefits when you eat the right type of fermented food include:

  • A Healthier Microbiome: The bacterial makeup of fermented foods can help restore the balance of gut flora, which is often disrupted in IBDer’s
  • Improved Digestive Health: The probiotics in some fermented foods can enhance digestion by breaking down food components more efficiently, reducing the symptoms associated with IBD like the all too common bloating, gas, and irregular bowel movements.
  • A Strengthened Gut Barrier: Fermentation produces substances like short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are pivotal in strengthening our gut barrier. A stronger gut barrier reduces the risk of pathogens entering our bloodstream. When we reduce pathogens, we lower our inflammation levels– that’s a BIG IBD win.
  • Immune System Modulation: The gut microbiome plays a critical role in the immune system. Fermented foods have the power to help modulate our immune response, reducing immune system overreactions.
  • Increased Nutrient Absorption: Fermentation can increase the bioavailability of nutrients in food, making it easier for the body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with IBD who may struggle with nutrient absorption due to intestinal inflammation.

With All of These Benefits, Fermented Yogurt Has to Be the Answer, Right?

Not so fast, dear one. While fermented food as a whole is a great thing for improving digestive health in most individuals, not all fermented foods are the best option for an IBD belly.  For example if you are in a horrible flare-up— 5 or more trips to the bathroom per day, unbelievable belly achiness, smelly gas, bloating after you eat, unimaginable fatigue— normal life for an IBD’er in a flare-up, the last thing I would recommend is lacto-fermented veggies, sauerkraut or store bought yogurt.

The high residue fiber of fermented foods like sauerkraut and raw lacto-fermented veggies are just too powerful to soothe and heal your gut. And the store bought yogurt option, while smooth and creamy going down, may contain so much sugar, additives, preservatives, and lactose to provide any relief whatsoever.

We must meet our belly where it’s at.

Our ultimate goal is to eventually heal and seal our gut so we can move on to healthy fermented foods like  sauerkraut and lacto-fermented veggies– they rock to keep an IBD belly in remission), but the path to gut repair, restoration, and rejuvenation and finding long term remission is a whole different story. 

When it comes to the absolute best fermented food for an unhappy IBD belly, you can’t beat 24-hour fermented yogurt (dairy or nondairy depending on your food sensitivities and tolerances).

Unlocking Gut Healing: The Power of 24-hour Fermented Yogurt

Transitioning to homemade 24-hour fermented yogurt, instead of flocking to the grocery store on your doctor’s recommendation, can be a game-changer, especially for those navigating the complex nature of IBD. Here's why this yogurt variation stands out as the ultimate gut repair solution:

  • Gentle on the Gut: Give me the probiotic goodness without the harshness of other gut healing ferments. The longer fermentation process of a 24-hour homemade yogurt works its magic, breaking down lactose into lactic acid. Translation? Less stress on your sensitive digestive system and more healing, soothing, love for a belly on fire. It's like giving your whole digestive system a big, comforting hug during a nasty flare-up.
  • High Probiotic Power: Say hello to your new gut BFF! Thanks to that extended fermentation time in 24-hour fermented yogurt, this belly soothing concoction is bursting at the seams with beneficial bacteria. These little critters are like the superheroes of your microbiome, swooping in to save the day by calming inflammation and restoring balance down below.
  • Lactose-Light: IBDer’s can wave goodbye to FODMAP woes! Because this yogurt is virtually lactose-free, you can bid adieu to all that discomfort that often comes with store bought dairy. No more belly rumbles or cramps—just smooth sailing all the way.
  • Smooth and Soothing: Ahh, the creamy goodness of 24-hour fermented yogurt. After trying 24-hour fermented yogurt for the first time, many of my clients comment on how soothing and comforting this gut healing food is. No harsh textures here—just pure, velvety comfort.

Easy Does It: Whether you're eating it straight, serving it with a fruit compote, drizzling with a dash of honey, or blending it into a refreshing smoothie, 24-hour fermented yogurt is as versatile as they come. It plays nice with all sorts of dietary preferences and restrictions, making it a no-brainer addition to your daily routine.

Do it Like a Mom: The Boss Mom's Blueprint for Homemade Yogurt

Now that you know why 24-hour fermented yogurt is the best option for its gentle, yet effective gut healing probiotic power, let’s dive into how to seamlessly integrate the magic of this gut loving superfood into your bustling mom life. As moms with IBD, we're no strangers to multitasking, juggling, and finding creative solutions to life's challenges. 

Making homemade yogurt might seem daunting at first. I know it seemed that way for me. Way back when (probably some time in 2008), I remember trying to make yogurt at home for the first time. I sent the whole family out of the house so I could concentrate without distractions. But even after making my homemade yogurt the first time, I remember thinking, it’s that easy?

Why haven’t I been doing this my whole life? 

So fear not, because making 24-hour fermented yogurt is not as daunting as it sounds. I promise, we are going to tackle it with all the grace, resilience, and savvy of moms who've conquered the trenches of motherhood, and did it all while managing IBD at the same time.

So, let's roll up our sleeves, gather our kiddos (they're gonna love it), and explore some practical tips and tricks to incorporate this gut-healing magic elixir into our daily routines, because if anyone can do it like a boss mom, it's you.

Doing 24-Fermented Yogurt Like the Badass Boss Mom You Are:

  • At First, Go Slow: No matter which type of probiotic it is, pill or food form, we always want to add it in slowly. Adding in the gut healing probiotics of 24-hour fermented yogurt is a good thing, but it tends to set up an environment that crowds out the bad guys at the same time. To minimize the challenges this chain reaction is creating, we always go slow with yogurt. Start out with just a spoonful a day (some IBD gals even need to start with less than that and that’s perfectly fine). As long as you are moving forward at a snail's pace, you are where you're supposed to be.
  • Wait Until the Time is Right: Along with going slow, waiting until the time is right is also a baller IBD mom move. Some of my clients are ready for 24-hour fermented yogurt from Day 1 while others need a little bit of space before introducing fermented foods. For some, even the gentle, soothing 24-fermented yogurt is a struggle in the beginning stages of gut healing. If you’ve ever tried homemade yogurt before and felt awful after, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t for you, it just means a little more gut healing needs to take place before you fully commit. We are all at our own pace in the world of gut healing. Listening to your body intuitively will tell you all you need to know about when the time is right for 24-hour fermented yogurt.
  • Set a Yogurt-Making Schedule: Once you’ve made your first batch, you’ll want to establish a regular time each week to make yogurt, ensuring it becomes a consistent part of your routine and never leaving you without this gut-healing elixir.
  • Involve the Kids: Turn yogurt making into a fun activity for the whole family, teaching kids about healthy eating and fermentation while spending quality time together.
  • Keep it Simple and Sweet: Start with basic ingredients and recipes, embracing the learning curve and trusting that with practice, yogurt making will become second nature.
  • Embrace the Journey: Not every batch will be perfect, and that's okay! You might forget to shut the yogurt maker off (been there, done that) or you might get distracted and let the starter milk boil over on the stove (oh yeah, been there too). But each batch is a step toward healing and understanding what works best for your tastebuds and health needs. Embrace the little imperfections as part of your journey toward better gut health.
  • Lean on Your Community: Remember, you're not alone on this journey. Share tips, successes, and even the not-so-successful attempts with your community of fellow badass IBD warrior mom friends. I love hearing yogurt stories (good and bad). Sometimes, just knowing there's someone else out there who gets it can make all the difference.

Are You Ready To Make Your Own 24-Hour Fermented Yogurt? Transform Your Gut Health with Your Very Own Yogurt Recipe Collection

As we wrap this post up in a nice, tidy bow, I want to leave you with my most important message: you're stronger than you think. I know from first hand that living with IBD is no walk in the park, but guess what? You've already conquered so much, and mastering homemade yogurt is just another item to check off your B+ IBD badass mom list.

With the right tools in hand—like my Yogurt Recipe Collection—we can tackle this journey together with confidence.

So, let's dive in and harness the incredible healing power of homemade yogurt together. You can get your very own yogurt making recipes below— from dairy to non-dairy, made with a yogurt maker or an instant pot— I’ve got you covered!

And while it’s dubbed the "SCD" Yogurt Recipe Collection, rest assured, it's designed with all our gut healing journeys in mind—this yogurt is compliant with GAPS, Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo, and Low FODMAP diets. 

Grab your free 24-fermented yogurt making recipe resource now and let's kickstart this journey hand in hand, turning challenges into victories, one spoonful at a time.

Remember mama, you've got what it takes, and I'm here to cheer you on every step of the way. Let's rock this journey like the warrior moms we are—filled with love, strength, and a whole lot of homemade yogurt magic.

The Missing Piece on Your IBD Healing Journey

Explaining the Invisible Battle: How to Talk About IBD with Your Co-Workers, Friends, & Family

Living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) takes a physical and emotional toll.

It's a constant battle, and one of the most significant challenges is explaining to others what you're going through. Unless they’ve been there, they just don’t get what it’s like to be in your shoes.

And because it’s so hard to connect with others who have IBD (I mean, how many people do you personally know with the disease?), it leaves us out in the cold, grasping at straws, searching for miracles on the internet, and yearning for “the answer” to our problems. But the truth is, there is no one size fits all approach to healing Crohn’s or colitis and the biggest thing I’ve learned over my 35 year journey with IBD is that healing takes a village.

And your IBD healing village is a multi-pronged approach that keeps your IBD in long term remission.

Those who've found lasting success in managing their IBD are the ones who have developed this multi-faceted approach to healing. This approach enables you to delve deeper into the root causes of your individual disease to maintain longer, healthier periods throughout your life. In this article, I’ll be introducing you to the concept of your "Wheel of Wellness," your personalized IBD healing framework that provides multiple angles to tackle Crohn's and colitis effectively.

Why Healing IBD is Never About Just One Thing

The human body is incredibly intricate, and IBD is a complex condition where the healing modality that fits one patient is different from the healing modality that fits another. Relying solely on medication or a single method like a one-size-fits-all dietary change makes IBD healing out to be a problem with a simplistic solution when it’s really a multifaceted problem. 

It's like trying to build a house with just a hammer – you need an entire toolbox.

The beauty of a multi-faceted approach to healing IBD is that it addresses the condition from multiple angles. It acknowledges that IBD manifests differently in each person and recognizes that various factors contribute to its onset and persistence. By addressing these factors simultaneously, you have the power to create an empowered, badass mom, comprehensive action plan that’s always at your fingertips to help you achieve remission.

That’s where your Wheel of Wellness comes in.

Your multi-faceted, mom-centered approach to healing IBD is what I like to call your "Wheel of Wellness." Imagine it like a bicycle wheel with various spokes, each representing a different aspect of your healing process. These spokes encompass various elements, such as dietary choices, exercise, mental health, treatments, and lifestyle adjustments.

For instance, your Wheel of Wellness spokes might include:

  • Following a specific diet like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).
  • Regularly practicing yoga to reduce stress and promote physical well-being.
  • Attending therapy or counseling sessions to address the emotional toll of IBD.
  • Incorporating alternative treatments like infrared sauna sessions into your routine.
  • Taking prescribed medications like Stelara.
  • Prioritizing quality sleep with a consistent 9-hour nightly schedule.
  • Practicing breathing techniques twice a day to reduce stress.
  • Including a daily probiotic supplement in your regimen.

Wait a minute, I have to do all that to help my IBD?

The good news is that all of these example spokes may not be necessary for you. Everyone’s Wheel of Wellness will look different, and you only need on spoke to get started today

Starting small, adding one spoke at a time.

Don't feel overwhelmed when thinking about building your Wheel of Wellness. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your Wheel of Wellness doesn’t need to be constructed overnight. The key to long-term success is adding in one new spoke at a time.

Begin with a single element that resonates with you or aligns with your current needs. Once it becomes a habit, you can focus on introducing another spoke. Don't rush the process, and don't worry about creating the perfect Wheel of Wellness from the start. Your personalized approach will evolve over time, reflecting your ever-changing needs and lifestyle.

If you find yourself unsure about what to add to your Wheel of Wellness, consider my "5 Pillars of Gut Healing," which I refer to as my F.L.U.S.H. Formula Framework:

  1.  Food: Focus on dietary choices that support gut health and minimize inflammation.
  2.  Lifestyle: Incorporate practices that reduce stress, improve sleep, and enhance overall well-being.
  3. Unconventional Treatments: Explore alternative therapies like infrared sauna sessions or acupuncture.
  4. Supplements: Include supplements specific to your symptoms or probiotics that promote gut health.
  5. Higher Mindset: Cultivate an insightful mind/body connection and engage in relaxation techniques that speak to you.

Using these five pillars as a guide can help you brainstorm ideas for your own personal Wheel of Wellness. Remember, there's no rush, and there's no need to stress. Building your Wheel of Wellness is a gradual, ongoing process.

The role of motherhood in your healing journey

As a mom living with Crohn’s or colitis, it's vital to recognize that your journey may progress differently from others due to the demands of motherhood. Embrace the pace of the tortoise, slow and steady, as you work on developing your Wheel of Wellness.

It’s the tortoise who wins in the end.

Find creative ways to incorporate your kids into your wellness routine. Perhaps they can join you for meditation sessions or help you prepare nutritious meals together. Seek help and support from your spouse, parents, or friends to ensure you can maintain your Wheel of Wellness amidst the responsibilities of motherhood. Don't hesitate to ask for assistance when you need it, whether it's getting a babysitter for some much-needed self-care or delegating tasks to lighten your load.

It’s Time to Put This Baby Into Action.

If you're eager to begin crafting your personalized Wheel of Wellness to boost your chances of healing from IBD, you're in luck. Right now, you can grab my free resource, the "Guide to Your Personalized Wheel of Wellness." This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating your own Wheel of Wellness, tailored to your unique needs and preferences.

Grab Your Very Own Wheel of Wellness Builder Today!

Remember, your Wheel of Wellness is a powerful tool that will evolve with you over time. It's a reminder of the hard work you're putting into keeping your body at its peak. With your Wheel of Wellness, you're not just managing IBD; you're thriving with it.

Don't wait any longer – start your journey towards a multi-faceted approach to healing and embrace the vibrant, well-balanced life you deserve.

Decoding the Maze of Probiotics: From Confusion to Clarity

Explaining the Invisible Battle: How to Talk About IBD with Your Co-Workers, Friends, & Family

In the world of gut health, the probiotic scene is ever-changing, and it's a rollercoaster ride for folks like us dealing with Crohn's and colitis. The sheer abundance of probiotic products out there can feel like diving into a sea of confusion, with each one claiming to be the magic solution.

But for us, navigating through this maze without clear guidance can leave us feeling lost in the wilderness. We're bombarded with conflicting advice on which strains work best, how to take them, and even whether more CFUs mean better results. And let's not forget the scientific mumbo-jumbo and marketing hype that only adds to the fog of uncertainty. Plus, there's the ongoing struggle between wanting the best quality but not wanting to break the bank. It's a tough call for us - do we invest in pricey supplements that may or may not work, or do we settle for cheaper options that might not deliver the results we need?

These frustrations are all too familiar for those of us who just want some clarity and guidance on our gut health journey.

Probiotic Evolution: From One-Size-Fits-All to Personalized Solutions

Gone are the days when popping a probiotic pill was seen as a cure-all for every gut woe under the sun. You see, the way we think about probiotics today is like comparing a flip phone to a smartphone - it's evolved, and boy, have we learned a lot along the way!

Back in the day, probiotics were often touted as a one-size-fits-all solution, kind of like a daily multivitamin for your gut. But let's be real, our guts are as unique as snowflakes, and what works for one person might not measure up for another.

Remember when picking a probiotic felt like playing darts blindfolded? You'd grab any ol' bottle off the shelf, hoping it would magically fix everything from bloating to immunity. But the truth is, probiotics aren't a one-stop shop. We now know that our gut microbiomes are as diverse as a jungle ecosystem, and what we need is a personalized approach tailored to our individual needs. No more taking shots in the dark - it's time to shine a light on what really works for us.

Probiotics Unveiled: A New Generation of Trends and Recommendations

Quality is king in this new era of probiotics. Forget about those sky-high CFU counts plastered on every bottle. We're more interested in the viability of the strains and their proven effectiveness. It's about matching the right probiotic with the right symptom, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck. And speaking of bucks, yes, quality does come with a price tag, but trust me, it's worth it.

So what do you need to know next time you go probiotic shopping so that you don’t waste your hard earned cash? It’s all about picking the perfect match for your gut.

Here's what to keep in mind when selecting your probiotic sidekick:

  1. Symptom-Strain Matching: First and foremost, think about your own personal symptoms and health concerns. You want a probiotic that's tailored to address your specific issues. Look for strains that have been researched and proven effective for the ailments that are most present in your life like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, intestinal integrity, boosting immunity, decreasing inflammation, etc… It's all about finding the right combination of bacteria buddies for your gut's unique needs.
  2. Probiotic Quality is Queen: Next up, quality matters. Opt for pharmaceutical-grade probiotics if you can swing it. These babies are manufactured under strict standards, ensuring they're pure and potent. You want a product that's been batch tested for potency and purity, so you know you're getting exactly what's on the label – no more, no less.
  3. More Doesn’t Mean Better: Don't get too caught up in the CFU count game. While higher colony-forming unit counts may seem impressive, it's more about the quality of the bacteria than the quantity. Sometimes, a lower CFU count of the right strain can pack a bigger punch than a generic mix with a sky-high count. And make sure your probiotic has a survival plan for navigating the treacherous journey through your stomach's acidic environment. Look for enteric coatings or other technologies that ensure the bacteria reach your intestines intact and ready to work their magic.
  4. Know Where Your Probiotic Should Hang Out: Storage matters too. Some probiotics need to chill in the fridge to stay potent, while others are fine hanging out on the shelf. Just make sure you can meet the storage requirements to keep your probiotics in tip-top shape. And always check the expiration date to ensure your probiotics will still be kicking when it's time to take them.
  5. Check Out the Research First: Take a peek behind the curtain and check out the company producing your probiotics. Transparency is key, so look for brands that are upfront about their research, production processes, and quality control.
  6. Keep Your Sensitive Belly in Mind: And lastly, steer clear of probiotics with unnecessary additives or fillers – your sensitive gut will thank you for it. Taking the best strains in the world will be no good to you if the probiotic is filled with additives your body can’t tolerate. Check the full label of ingredients, not just the probiotic strains. 

Do Probiotics Like a Mom: A Personalized Approach

Navigating probiotics as a mom with IBD can feel like traversing a maze, but fear not—I'm here to help you "do probiotics like a mom." 

  1. You want to start your probiotic shopping journey by tuning into our symptoms, focusing on areas such as inflammation, immune function, and digestion. Specific issues like bloating, diarrhea, or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), etc… can guide you toward the right probiotic path.
  2. Now, it's decision time: Do we want to primarily get your probiotics from fermented foods, supplements, or a combination of both? This choice sets the stage for our journey. While food-based options are ideal, determining the exact CFUs (colony-forming units) in foods like yogurt or sauerkraut can be challenging. Supplementing offers precise strains and strengths, but it's not as natural. If you opt for both, proceed cautiously, adding one at a time to accurately monitor your progress, especially during gut healing mode.
  3. Seeking guidance from a specialist well-versed in IBD is crucial. They can offer tailored advice based on your unique health history and the latest research.
  4. Additionally, maintaining a probiotic journal helps track symptoms, strains, and changes over time. This personalized data empowers informed adjustments to your regimen, grounded in your firsthand experience.
  5. Lastly, remember the mantra: slow and steady wins the race. Introduce new probiotics gradually, listening closely to your body's cues. For those with IBD, these gut bugs might initially worsen symptoms before improvement sets in. Embrace the tortoise mentality—it may take time, but the journey toward gut health is worth the patience and perseverance.

Your Best Next Step: Take Control with My Probiotic Q & A

After diving deep into the world of probiotics and understanding the ever-changing landscape, it's time to take your next step. Finding the right probiotic for your specific symptoms and needs can feel overwhelming, but you don't have to navigate this journey alone.

With my free resource, Probiotic Q & A with Symptom-Strain Matching, you'll gain clarity on which specific probiotics are best suited for your gut issues. Whether you're dealing with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, this resource will help you match your symptoms with the right strains and species.

But it doesn't stop there. You'll also learn how to take your probiotic effectively, including the best time of day and whether to take it with food or on an empty stomach. Plus, you'll discover how long probiotics last in your system, ensuring you get the most out of your supplementation.

Don't let confusion and overwhelm hold you back from optimal gut health. Empower yourself with knowledge and take the next step towards finding the best probiotic for you.

Click the link below to access my Probiotic Q & A with Symptom-Strain Matching and embark on your journey to better gut health today.

Conquering IBD Food-Induced Fear So You Can Eat with Confidence Again

Explaining the Invisible Battle: How to Talk About IBD with Your Co-Workers, Friends, & Family

Living with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis presents a unique set of challenges, particularly when it comes to the food we eat. For many with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), mealtime isn't about nourishment or enjoying a meal with loved ones– it's about feelings of anxiety and fear. If you find yourself hesitant to eat or you’re skipping meals because you’re worried about the pain or discomfort it has the potential to cause, it’s vital that you know you are not alone. Food-induced fear is an all too common experience among those with IBD, and understanding its underlying causes is the first step toward overcoming it.

The Fear of Food: Understanding Its Roots

Food-induced fear in those with digestive challenges like IBD can stem from various factors:

Association with Pain: Most patients with IBD have experienced pain or discomfort after eating and oftentimes, it’s hard to know what the culprit is. It’s not uncommon in my coaching practice to have a client say to me, “I have no idea which foods bother me. It seems like every time I eat, I feel awful!” As a result of these intense negative reactions after eating, there's a natural tendency to associate food with painful and bothersome outcomes, leading to anxiety, stress and avoidance of a certain food or even avoiding eating all together.

Confusion and Overwhelm: With so much conflicting information about IBD diets available online, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure about which foods are safe for you to eat. Uncertainties about what actually works and what’s worth trying can contribute to a generalized fear of food and eating and it can be quite debilitating and it can impact the quality of your daily life.

Misinformation: The internet is filled with self-proclaimed "experts" promoting their own dietary approaches as the best solution for IBD. As an example, one gut healing diet’s main goal might be to eat minimal amounts of meat, while another gut healing diet guru claims the “IBD cure” is to eat lots and lots of meat. It’s conflicting advice like this that can leave us feeling confused and afraid to deviate from what we perceive as the "correct" way to eat.

Expectations of Quick Fixes: In our society, we're often conditioned to seek quick solutions to our problems. “Give me a pill. Give me a bandaid cover up so I can go on with my life.” When patients with IBD don't see immediate results from a new diet or a new treatment, they might become discouraged and give up too soon, perpetuating a cycle of fear and frustration because nothing you try seems to work. Of course the problem may lie in not giving it enough time to make a difference in your life. It took a long time for your illness to bring you to this place and it takes a long time to heal. Although it’s hard, patience and time are our friends to be embraced on your healing journey.

Lack of a Clear Action Plan: So often we hear about the latest, greatest gut healing diet fad and we leap without thinking through if it’s the best option for our personal case and without creating a step by step, long term plan. Without guidance from healthcare professionals who are not only educated on the specifics of IBD, but also on the nuances of your particular illness, it can create a challenge for you to develop a clear action plan for managing your dietary needs. This lack of direction can inflate the way food-related anxiety and uncertainty shows up in your life.

Breaking the Cycle of Fear

Food fear doesn't have to control your life. By taking proactive steps to understand your body's needs, by developing a plan that works for you, and by seeking support when it’s needed, you can reclaim your relationship with food and enjoy greater freedom and confidence. Remember, you're not alone in this journey. Together, when we rely on others who’ve been there and who understand what we are going through, we can overcome food-induced fear and thrive despite the challenges of IBD.

The Impact of Food Fear on Daily Life

If the goal of getting over food-induced fear is to break the cycle of the fear, then we need to understand and acknowledge how it’s showing up in our everyday lives. Food-induced fear can have a profound impact on the quality of your daily life. It extends beyond mealtime, affecting everything from grocery shopping to social interactions, to how comfortable you are traveling away from home, as well as how much you are able to participate in everyday activities many people take for granted. Here are some common ways in which food-induced fear manifests:

  • Grocery Shopping: People with Crohn’s and colitis may feel overwhelmed or anxious while navigating the aisles, unsure of which products are safe to buy. This can lead to prolonged shopping trips (something moms with littles have no time for) or avoidance of certain food categories altogether (even if you don’t know for sure if they bother you).
  • Meal Planning: Planning meals and meal prep can become a source of stress, as you worry about finding dishes that won't trigger symptoms. Some may even resort to repetitive or overly restrictive meal plans in an attempt to minimize risk. And if you’re adopting that meal plan for your whole family too, it can be impacting them as well.
  • Social Events: Dining out or attending social gatherings can be fraught with anxiety for people with food-induced fear. You might feel self-conscious about dietary restrictions or you might have a fear of being judged by others for your eating habits. I’ve definitely had my share of social anxiety when it comes to eating in front of others to the point where I avoided it in the past because I was embarrassed and anxious that everyone was looking at me when I brought my own food to social outings.
  • Family Dynamics: Food-related anxiety can also impact family dynamics, particularly for moms with IBD. You might struggle to balance your own dietary needs with those of your children, leading to feelings of guilt or inadequacy as a mom. We all want to be the best mom we can be to our kids and when our IBD and how we feel after we eat threatens our ability to be a good mother, it’s emotionally crushing.
  • Emotional Well-being: The constant fear of food-related symptoms can take a toll on your emotional well-being, leading to feelings of isolation, frustration, or depression. When this happens, it’s common to withdraw from social activities or struggle to find joy in everyday life.

Empowering Moms to Conquer Food Fear

As a long-time IBD mom myself, I understand the unique challenges that mothers with IBD face when it comes to food fear. However, I also know that it's possible to overcome this fear and develop a positive relationship with food. Here are some strategies to help you overcome your food challenges and adopt a more healthy relationship with food:

  1. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to reach out to a health psychologist, a dietitian, or a health coach who specializes in disordered eating. Someone who has experience with IBD and digestive disorders is best positioned to serve you. They can provide personalized guidance and support to help you navigate your food-related fears.
  2. Educate Yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about IBD, your personal dietary triggers, and how your disease shows up in your body. Educating yourself doesn’t just mean read books or go to the internet. It means learn as much as you can about how IBD shows up personally in your body. The more you understand about how Crohn’s or colitis affects you,, the better equipped you'll be to make informed decisions about your diet and your lifestyle– not through fear, but through confidence and clarity.
  3. Experiment in a Safe Environment: Instead of avoiding all foods out of fear, try experimenting with different ingredients and cooking methods in a controlled manner. You can do this by remembering to always go slow. Be the tortoise when figuring this out. Keep a food diary like my food-mood-poop journal to track your symptoms and identify patterns. This information is massive to help you figure out the food your body loves, as well as the food that just doesn’t work for you at all.
  4. Practice Mindfulness: Mindful eating techniques can help you tune into your body's hunger and pain cues, allowing you to eat more intuitively and with less fear. Eat in a calm environment, away from the TV and away from driving in the car to maximize your ability to tune in with yourself while you eat. We all know we should hold to this rule, but as a mom we just don’t take the time to put this step into practice. Trust me, when you tune inward to what’s going on while you eat, when you slow down your eating and chew thoroughly before swallowing, it will help you tune into what’s happening inside your body.
  5. Focus on What You Can Eat: Shift your focus from the foods you're avoiding (the ones that are perpetuating that fear and anxiety about eating) to a focus on the foods that support your health and well-being. Foods that fill you up and make your belly say, “Ahhhhh, thank you!” Not just in that moment, but 30 minutes later; 24 hours later as well. Celebrate small victories and progress, no matter how minor they may seem. Pat yourself on the back, tell your family so they can congratulate and celebrate with you. Go out with some friends, take a bubble bath… whatever small celebratory step you can take.

Food-Induced Fear was a Well-Worn Path in my Life

As an IBD gal with bowel resections, I have less intestine to digest and absorb the food I eat. I always need to be careful about what I put in my body. Does it have too much fat, too much acid, too much fiber, too much spice? All of these things can wreak havoc on my bowels and send me into a tailspin of bloating, abdominal pain, trips to the bathroom, a sore bottom, and fatigue. The struggle is real for me too and it could definitely create a case of food-induced fear for me.

For a long time, it did.

For a while, I lived in this vicious cycle of being afraid to eat. Through lots of trial and error, I learned 2 important things that I still hold dear to this day: #1: I had to have a plan. I couldn’t fly by the seat of my pants when it came to the food I eat. I needed to get serious about figuring out my culprits and figuring out what my body loved. #2: I needed to give myself the time and grace to figure this out. I had to take the blame and shame and stigma away from this challenge. I needed some good old-fashioned self-care to allow myself the time and space to figure this out. When I embraced figuring this out, and even as a health coach, I don’t know it all, especially when it comes to my own body. I worked with a trusted professional on this too. One who gave me the space and time to gain insight and intuition about how my body functioned best. And when I did all that, my world opened up and I started to heal– physically and emotionally. Best of all, I was able to shed my food-induced fears and anxiety.

Moving Forward with Confidence & Clarity

Despite the challenges that can be put upon you by food-induced fear, it's possible to regain control and move forward with confidence and clarity. Let’s sum up everything we’ve discussed today.

Education: Take the time to educate yourself about your specific IBD, especially how it shows up in your body, not what books and the internet are telling you in general terms, but how IBD shows up for you. Learn about your dietary triggers and the role of nutrition in managing symptoms. And if this is a struggle for you, to put the puzzle pieces together, know that you are not alone and help is available through many sources to get you started: a health psychologist, a health coach, a dietitian… Knowledge is power, and understanding how IBD impacts your life can help you make more informed choices about your best gut healing dietary approach. 

Support: Don't hesitate to reach out to other healthcare professionals, support groups, or online communities for guidance and encouragement. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide valuable emotional support and practical advice. Support like this can be life transforming.

  • Mindful Eating: Practice mindfulness techniques to cultivate a more positive relationship with food. Focus on savoring each bite, paying attention to how different foods make you feel. Honor what your body is telling you in that moment and in the later moments as well– 30 minutes later, 24 hours later... Use a food-mood-poop journal to help you track how the food you’re eating is impacting you in positive and negative ways.. 
  • Gradual Exposure: Gradually expose yourself to the foods you fear or situations that give you anxiety in a controlled manner. Baby steps are the best type of steps to take. If food-induced fear is a reality in your life, you wouldn’t want to start by eating at a large office gathering before you break bread (so to speak) with your loved ones. Gradually increasing exposure over time as you begin to feel more comfortable eating in social situations is your key to confidence and clarity about what you eat. 

Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself throughout the process of overcoming food fear. It's normal to experience setbacks or moments of doubt. You are not alone. We’ve all been there. I’ve been there. What matters isn’t the negative experience you might have, it’s how you respond to it. Practice self-compassion and celebrate your progress, no matter how small your steps forward. Remember small steps lead to big leaps and big leaps lead to life affirming transformation.

You're Not Alone

Food-induced fear is a common challenge for those of us with IBD, but it doesn't have to define your life. By taking the time to understand the root causes of your food-induced fear, paying close attention to how it shows up in your body, by seeking support from healthcare professionals and peers, and adopting practical strategies for managing your anxiety, you can regain control and embrace a healthier relationship with food. Remember, you are not alone on this journey. You are part of a collective of IBD mamas, all doing the best they can in any given moment. 

Your Next Best Step: For Moms Serious About Ditching Food-Induced Fear

Are you ready to put food-induced fear behind you for good? Take the next step and put some action steps in place in your life. Get your hands on one of my favorite IBD mom resources– No More Food-Induced Fear: 10 Anxiety Busting Rockstar Mom Tips. It’s there to help you put everything you learned today into action in your life.

You could leave behind this information and say, “that was interesting,” or you could decide that today is the day that you do something about it. If you’re ready to take action to put food-induced fear behind you, check out the link below to help you get started now.

Explaining the Invisible Battle: How to Talk About IBD with Your Co-Workers, Friends, & Family

Explaining the Invisible Battle: How to Talk About IBD with Your Co-Workers, Friends, & Family

I don’t need to tell you that navigating life with IBD can be challenging, and one the most difficult aspects is explaining what you’re going through to friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances who may have never heard of IBD (or maybe only heard of it from an annoying commercial jingle).

When you're in conversation and drop the term "Crohn's Disease" or "Ulcerative Colitis," only to be met with blank stares, it can be a bit overwhelming. You already deal with so much. Adding on explaining what IBD is should not be the stressor that sends you into a flare-up.

So, how do you explain what IBD is and what it means in your life?

Let's dive into it.

Understanding What You’ve Got

In the past, explaining IBD used to be an uphill battle because no one had any clue what it entailed. But in recent years, thanks to commercial jingles and awareness campaigns, some have heard about it, though they might not grasp how it impacts your life. With half-truths and misinformation clouding the way, you’re probably confused about what exactly IBD is too-- especially knowing that the chances of your doctor taking the time to talk to you about the in’s and out’s of IBD exceedingly rare.

Before we delve into explaining IBD to the important people in our lives, it's crucial for us to recognize that the definition of IBD has evolved a great deal lately and it will continue to evolve over time as scientists continue to look for a true cause and a lasting cure.

IBD is a complex condition, especially because the way it shows up for me and the way it shows up for you, may be completely different.

So, what is IBD in simple terms?

The Evolving Cause of IBD

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is often misunderstood. Previously, it was labeled an autoimmune disease, like Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) or Lupus, and many doctors are still labeling it this way, but that's not the full picture of what IBD is caused by. It can take 18-20 years for scientific studies to impact the way your doctor practices medicine—yep, that long!

But thanks to our ability to access the latest research data bases, we don’t have to wait to get empowered and knowledgeable about IBD in our own lives. In fact, I think it’s imperative that we all have a basic understanding of what’s going on in our body when IBD is at play.

Without an understanding of the full picture, how can we effectively tell others what’s going on with us and advocate for ourselves at the doctor’s office?

Recently, the prevailing theory about the cause of Crohn’s and colitis has begun to move away from the “autoimmunity” theory in favor of the idea that IBD is an “immune-mediated” disease.

Great, but what the heck does that mean and what’s the difference?

Immune-mediated means that while it’s still believed that the immune system plays a strong role in the development and continuation of the disease, the primary cause of the immune response and the subsequent inflammation in the gut starts not with the body attacking itself, but rather with a bacterial imbalance in the gut.

In other words, once the bacteria in the gut is unstable, the immune system then struggles to combat these imbalances effectively, which results in digestive imbalances and systemic challenges that have the ability to move beyond the G.I. tract. Skin changes, gallbladder and kidney issues, eye inflammation, joint pain, arthritis, even neurological changes have all been noted when IBD is at play.

The good news about these recent findings is that it’s changing the way IBD is treated and giving more attention to our illness that desperately needs a major breakthrough.

Scientific studies have revealed significant differences in the gut microbiomes of those with and without IBD. Those with IBD tend to have less diversity in their gut bacteria, often with an abundance of pro-inflammatory strains.

Adding anti-inflammatory bacteria to the digestive system is believed to be beneficial for managing Crohn's and colitis. Two specific anti-inflammatory bacterial strains that are currently in the early stages of study are Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (try saying that one 3 times fast ; ) and Akkermansia muciniphila. Each have shown promise in their own right. These strains have the power to create a healthy gut barrier and mucosal lining, help with short chain fatty acid production to aid in boosting immune function as well as decreasing inflammation. Plus, they also have the ability to play a significant role in growing healthy intestinal cell tissue.

Sounds amazing, right?

With all good news, of course there’s caution. It’s important to note that when scientists study the G.I. tracts of those with IBD, they do not see one single bacterial profile that fits all patients. This is why there will probably never be a one size fits all approach to healing from digestive disorders.

Everyone's situation is unique but finding the right combination of probiotic strains to add to your already established treatment plan-- now that’s something to plan for in 2024 for sure!

Explaining IBD on Your Own Terms

The challenge for you, now that you know the latest regarding where the science is stacking up on IBD, is how to translate this complex information into a concise elevator speech for friends, family, or coworkers.

When I have the opportunity to address a new person who is unclear about what IBD is and how it impacts me, I have a pretty standard elevator speech I give:

"IBD is a chronic medical condition where my immune system and gut are out of balance. This imbalance can lead to inflammation and pain throughout my body. There isn't a single cause or cure for IBD because it varies from person to person. My healing process involves combining various healing pillars, which I call my 'Wheel of Wellness.'"

If this explanation feels right for you, free to steal my speech, tweak it and make it your own.

You never know when the “What’s IBD?” question is going to come up so I find it helpful to have something in my back pocket. That way, I don’t get nervous or flustered when I’m asked to talk about what I go through with IBD.

I see it as my privilege and my mission in life to spread the word about what Inflammatory Bowel Disease is and what it isn’t. The more people who understand and care about what we go through, the more money that goes into funding research. And as my very first IBD doc told me when I was in my late teens, “We don’t have a cure yet, we don’t really even know a lot about what causes this. But I’m willing to bet that in your lifetime, we will.”

From his lips to God’s ears.

Every day since then, I’ve hung on to that hope and with the groundbreaking new research that’s evolving every day, I am still hopeful we’ll get there.

One Thing’s for Certain, We Won’t Heal IBD with One Magic Pill (or Food)

One key takeaway I want to make sure you leave this article with is the understanding that living flare free with IBD is rarely just about one method or one treatment. I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve met with UC who changed just one thing and never looked back. And, for sure, I don’t know anyone with Crohn’s in this boat.

Managing IBD often takes a village.

It’s a multi-disciplinary approach that brings you the long-term success you’re hoping to achieve. Sure, maybe a pill can quell your symptoms for a few months or even a year, maybe changing your diet only will work for a year or two, but trust me, these “do only one thing” plans don’t last.

I learned this IBD-sized lesson the hard way.

Since IBD manifests differently in each person, and since there’s more than one root cause for this illness, a one-size-fits-all treatment plan doesn't exist. This is where a holistic, root cause perspective comes into play. Functional and integrative IBD practitioners stress the importance of addressing the root of your IBD and exploring various avenues for long-term remission. A comprehensive approach considers many key healing modalities.

After 14 years of working with clients in my coaching practice, I’ve developed a multi-disciplinary healing plan that takes into account all areas that have the potential to impact your health. It’s called The F.L.U.S.H. Formula Framework and it includes the key healing and remission maintaining areas of: Food, Lifestyle, Unconventional Treatments, Supplements, and Higher Mindset. When each of these areas are addressed, your chances of finding long-term flare free living increase.

When You Empower Yourself, You Empower Others

On your journey with IBD, it's essential to empower yourself with knowledge about your condition. Understanding the basics of IBD and being able to explain it in simple terms can foster more open and honest conversations with friends, family, and coworkers.

Remember, you are not alone in this battle. Many others are navigating the complexities of IBD, and together, we can share our experiences and insights to support one another. It's a journey that involves taking small, manageable steps toward healing while facing the demands of our mom life with IBD.

Your Next Best Steps

If you’re ready to delve deeper into this idea of what immune-modulated IBD is all about and you’re ready to explore a multi-faceted approach to healing, be sure to grab my free resource: "Immune-Mediated IBD & A Pillared Approach to Healing." You can find the link for that resource, just below this article.

Above all, remember that talking about IBD doesn't have to be daunting. By understanding your condition and effectively conveying what you’re going through to others, you can build a support network that aids you on your journey toward being the mom, co-worker, friend, and family member you always knew you could be.

One for the Road: The Best IBD Advice I Ever Gave

This day has been a long time coming.

It’s me pressing pause on The Cheeky Podcast. Today I’m telling you why I’ve made this hard decision to put the show on pause for a little while, what’s coming up next that I’m excited about (that I hope you’ll be excited about), and my final words of wisdom.

After 35 + years with Crohn’s, it’s 13 Things I know for sure about healing your IBD in my heart and in my soul. This one is going to be a little emotional for me, fair warning.

I hope you’ll join me in support today so have to go through this one alone.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 3 reasons why now is the time to hit pause on the podcast

🌿 Living in the uncomfortable reality of practicing what you preach

🌿 13 Things I know for sure about healing your IBD

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Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

One for the Road: The Best IBD Advice I Ever Gave You

This day has been a long time coming. It’s me pressing pause on The Cheeky Podcast. Today I’m telling you why I’ve made this hard decision to put the show on pause for a little while, what’s coming up next that I’m excited about (that I hope you’ll be excited about), and my final words of wisdom. After 35 + years with Crohn’s, it’s 13 Things I know for sure about IBD in my heart and in my soul. This one is going to be a little emotional for me, fair warning. I hope you’ll join me in support today so have to go through this one alone.


Hey, hey my loyal friend, my fellow IBD mama. It’s great to connect with you on this gorgeous day. And yep, you heard it right at the top of the show. The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD is going on pause for a little while. This is a decision I didn’t make lightly, it’s a decision that frankly I’m not all that happy about, but sometimes in order to grow, we need to take a step back to take stock, to make changes so that we can move forward even stronger, even better than before. My hope is that by taking a break from the show, I can do just that.

You know I fancy myself Wonder Woman, able to do it all, lasso and invisible jet on hand, but lately I’ve felt like maybe at this time in my life I can’t do it all. I know I preach this to you all the time and it’s time that I listened to my own advice.

I don’t want to go out without an explanation though. And there isn’t just one explanation because life never happens in a bubble, there’s always multiple factors at play. And it’s this confluence of factors that has led me to make this decision from my head and also from my heart. 


#1- If you listened to the whole episode last week, the one where my hubby and I talk about being an IBD couple and what our life journey has been like, if you listened to the end (and I know it was a long one), you heard me open up about some health struggles I’ve been having lately. I’ve tried, since January of this year to do it all—keep up with my health, my job, my kids, helping to take care of my elderly dad… and because I wasn’t focused enough on all the balls in the air, I found that most of the time the ball that was dropping was my health.

You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything—your health is the most important thing in this world so it’s time to practice what I preach. It’s time to put my health first again. You also might remember me sharing that back in 2008, when I finally decided I was the one in charge of my health, I declared it the year of ME. One year focused on doing everything I could to make me as healthy as possible, inside and out. I’m about to do that again. Thankfully this time, I don’t think it will take a year, but I do need to put in some focus time on me and so that is what I am going to do.

#2- With the health challenges that have creeped up for me lately, it’s really inspired me to continue my health and nutrition education so I’m about to go back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Nutrition. First up, are classes like Anatomy and Physiology and Organic Chemistry—classes I really need to give my all to. So this break from the podcast will also allow me the opportunity to learn more about the nutritional approach to healing IBD and I can’t wait to share all the knowledge I gain with you.

#3- Lately there’s been this nagging feeling in me, that I’ve been playing too small when it comes to helping people with their Crohn’s and colitis. That there are so many more people out there that I want to share this empowering message with. So part of this break from the podcast, I’ll also be oiling the hinges of my message and how I serve you, with the intention of figuring out how to make an even bigger impact in the world of Crohn’s and colitis. I’m really excited about this last piece and I don’t exactly know what The Cheeky Podcast 2.0 will look like but I know it will have interviews with cutting edge IBD providers and I know I’ll be sharing more of your inspiring stories, and I know there will be a book in there as well. I want to shout IBD so loud that everyone in the universe hears us, takes freakin’ notice, and it moves them to finally get off their assess and develops a cure. That’s my goal for the future of IBD.

So with all of those life factors and goals in mind, spending some time focused on my health, going back to school, and thinking about how we can make a bigger IBD impact, I’m going to take some time to do just that with the goal of bringing The Cheeky Podcast back in a bigger and bolder way to support you on your gut healing journey.


But of course, I don’t want to leave you hanging. I will never leave you hanging and I want you to keep moving forward on your personal healing journey. My passion and my mission in life is to serve those with IBD, and I’m not abandoning that mission. During this podcase hiatus, it might be a great time to go back and catch up on some of our past 100 episodes, all dedicated to livin’ your best IBD mom life. From crazy healing modalities you may never have heard of to eating for your own gut health needs, to IBD supplements, colonoscopies, interviews with experts and IBD gals, there’s too many topics for me to mention. It’s basically a A to Z of all thing C + C related and there’s lots of uncharted territory to discover. Go back and take a listen to some of the oldies but goodies on our play list. I’ll be sending out a list of the most popular, most commented on Cheeky Podcast Episodes to our Gut Love Community members so you can check out what you might have missed, so stay tuned for that.


And speaking of our free and fabulous  Gut Love Community, the place to be for all things IBD healing and motherhood related, we’ll still be rockin’ over there during this podcast break and  I’ll still be in touch with you in the community with how to’s, recipes, my take on the latest research studies, I’ve got some brand new hot off the press gut healing protocols to share, a couple of surprise challenges we’ll be taking on together in the community, and so much more. I’m super excited about that.

There’s never been a more important time to join the Gut Love Community if you haven’t already. Join us at It’s our free and fabulous community of IBD mamas all with the same goal of finding our way to health and happiness, while we raise our kids.  If you are already with us in the GLC, hang tight, I’ll be in touch soon. If you haven’t join yet, here is your engraved invitation. Join us in the GLC to keep up with your gut healing while the podcast takes this much needed pause.

OK, my friend, that’s it in a gut shell. That’s the haps on why it’s time for me to take a pause on the podcast and for this episode today, this last episode for a while, I want to leave you with

13 Things I Know for Sure About IBD in My Heart and in My Soul.

Keep this list with you in your heart, save/bookmark it on your computer. It’s at Re-read it, re-listen to it every time you need a reminder of why you are working so hard to achieve your IBD goals. This is why. This is your motivation to keep going.

So, let’s end today right with my best advice. A culmination of what I’ve learned in 35 +years with Crohn’s. Here we go with 13 Things I Know for Sure About IBD in My Heart and in My Soul.

#1 I know that there is no one-size-fits-all diet for IBD, but there is a diet for you, and it’s not the diet for everyone. It’s the diet for you. It’s the Karyn diet. It’s in the Stephanie diet, it’s the Jessica diet, it’s the Giovanna diet. There is an eating plan that works best for your sensitive belly. Finding out what that food is takes time, but it is the best investment you’ll ever make.

#2 I know that your doctor matters. Keep doctor shopping until you find a doctor you connect with and can be open and honest with, a doctor who sees you as an equal on your healing journey. Your doctor can have a profound positive influence or they can suck you into a vortex you never get out of. Choose a doc who know about root cause medicine, not the one who wants to suppress your symptoms and your spirit.

#3 I know that it’s never selfish to carve out YOU time. It’s imperative for your health, your healing and your well-being. Mom guilt is powerful, but just remember how much love and energy and fun you can give your kids when you have filled your cup first. I give you permission, get rid of the mom guilt. It doesn’t serve you or your Crohn’s or colitis.

#4 I know that you should never lose your faith or you will lose your way. Believe in the power of you and in the power of healing. There is no greater strength than this. Keep telling yourself: this may be my now, but this is not my forever.

#5 I know that healing isn’t just about finding the right eating plan. If you ignore the stress in your life or your terrible chronic sleep patterns you have or other lifestyle factors like anxiety and depression, you will never get all the way to health. There will always be something standing in your way.

#6 I know that if you want healing that lasts, you need to believe in the power of your mind. The gut brain connection is real and it’s profound and it can have an impact in both positive and negative ways. To help your gut and brain communicate more effectively, stimulate your vagus nerve—that neural pathway between your gut and your brain. It’s one of the most important links in your body.

#7 I know that you can’t go through Crohn’s and colitis alone. Find your support and support doesn’t always mean family. Find your IBD tribe of mamas and be vulnerable and real with them. Let them help you when you are in need and help them when they are down. There’s no greater sisterhood than an IBD sisterhood.  

#8 I know that we need to stop apologizing, whispering I have Crohn’s or I have colitis, stop feeling embarrassed because your disease takes you to the bathroom. Shout IBD from the rooftops. It’s the path to how we will eventually find a cure.

#9 I know that you can’t give IBD so much power in your life that dictates your mood. You are more than your physical body. You are more than your body.

#10 I know that eating out, going to friends’ houses, parties, and traveling does have your name on it. It may take a little bit more effort and you may need to curtail some of your activities, but never let IBD take away your life, your freedom, or the happiness you experience by being with others.

#11 I know that when it’s time to decide on a particular medication, a diet, lifestyle factors or supplements, and mindset approaches, the most important decision maker is you. You have intuition and wisdom greater than you know. Listen to your inner wisdom, it will always lead you in the right direction.

#12 I know that you absolutely, positively need to cultivate your wheel of wellness. All the healing modalities at your disposal, the ones that improve the quality of your life. Healing is never about one thing and no one is going to cultivate your wheel of wellness for you. It is up to you to figure out the doctor, the movement practice, the food, the spiritual journey, the therapy, mind-body medicine approach, the supplements etc, etc, etc… your wheel of wellness is just as unique as you are. Build it slowly and assess its strength often. When it’s built solid, your wheel of wellness will stay with you forever.

#13 Lastly, I know that you need to find something to be grateful for every day, even if all you can come up with in the beginning is “I’m grateful that the day is over.” Gratitude begets gratitude, begets gratitude, and gratitude is a healer.


I am grateful for you dear one. You are the reason I do what I do. You are the reason I keep fighting for and educating and empowering because together we are the difference makers. No one cares more about eradicating Crohn’s and colitis than us. I’m grateful for you, that you have taken up this cause for your own body. Keep fighting for you, keep fighting for health. You will get there, this I know to be true.

Don’t forget, if you want to continue this IBD conversation while the podcast is on hold, take this time to re-listen or listen for the first time to some of the 100 episodes in our Cheeky Podcast feed and join us in the gut love community where you’ll be supported, heard, and embraced as I take the time to heal, to learn, and to reimagine what’s possible to serve you even better.

I say this every time I sign off from the podcast, but today it certainly has more meaning than ever before. Until we meet again, and I know we’ll meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy gut healing journey.

Chat soon!

{#theirIBDstory} Karyn + Bill: A Couple Perspective on IBD

Your IBD story. My IBD story.

If these walls could talk, what as story they would tell.

I bet your mate has been on quite a journey with your Crohn’s or colitis as well.  We never experience IBD in a vacuum, or in a bubble. They are by our side, living IBD in their own way. What’s it like for them to live with a partner who as Crohn’s or colitis?

Today, on this very special 100th episode of The Cheeky Podcast, Bill and I are pulling back the curtain to let you in on our IBD story.

This is one to listen to with your partner.

Four Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 Why it’s so hard to be vulnerable and honest with your partner about how IBD impacts your life.

🌿 Using your diagnosis to help your kids be as healthy as they can be (at least until they reach their teen years ; )

🌿 Couples Communication IBD style: The pitfalls we fall into and the communication strengths we gain from having a chronic illness.

🌿  Why stepping into your Crohn’s and colitis power is the must do step for lasting healing to take place.

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Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Crohn’s & Colitis Friendly Condiments from the Condiment Queen

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

You bet you do!

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

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


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

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

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

We talk about:

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

And so much more!

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

Episode at a Glance:

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

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Mentioned in This Episode

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

Book Your 30-Minute IBD Consultation HERE

DM Me on Facebook

Episode Transcript:

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

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

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


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


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

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

And that’s condiments.

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

Mouth watering yet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBQ sauce is loaded with multiple types of sugar.

Many queso dips contain MSG.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make sense?

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

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

Let’s do condiments like only a mom can.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Chat soon!

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

Could Your Water Source Be Harming Your Crohn’s or Colitis?


It’s something we all take for granted. In the United States and in most countries, we turn on the facet in our home and we’ve got fresh, clean, pure, hydration right at our fingertips, right?

Actually, it turns out this isn’t always the case.

Often times our tap water and even our bottled water can be filled with odorless, tasteless contaminants, irritants, hormone disruptors, gut disruptors—all invisible. We don’t see it. We don’t taste the problem so we keep drinking, thinking we are doing our body good.

Today on the podcast, I’m sharing the challenges with most tap water and even many of the most common water filtration systems, ones you might even have in your home right now. And I’ll be sharing with you how you can make one small water change to positively impact your life.

For your IBD health, for you kids health, this is an important episode to check out.

Four Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 Two key factors that determine if your water is gut healthy and whole body healthy.

🌿 The best water check resource to see where your tap water stacks up.

🌿 Why reverse osmosis may not be all it’s hyped up to be (and don’t get me started on the filtered water that comes from your refrigerator).

🌿  The best water filtration system on the market today.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in the Episode:

Your FREE Water Quality Resource Guide Cheat Sheet

EWGs Tap Water Database (how safe is your tap water?)

Consumer Reports: Find Out What’s in Your Bottled Water

The Berkey Water Filter

Episode Resources:

Is Water the Forgotten Nutrient?

Drinking Water Contaminants

Distilled Water

Can you Drink Distilled Water?

Purified Water vs Spring Water

Is Reverse Osmosis Water Good for You?

The Dangers of Refrigerator Water Filters

What is Alkaline Water?

Alkaline Water: Beneficial or All Hype?

What is Ionized Water?

Berkey Water Filtration Process

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Could Your Water Source Be Harming Your Crohn’s or Colitis?

Water. It’s something we all take for granted. In the United States and in most countries, we turn on the facet in our home and we’ve got fresh, clean, pure, hydration right at our fingertips, right? Actually, it turns out this isn’t always the case. Often times our tap water and even our bottled water can be filled with odorless, tasteless contaminants, irritants, hormone disruptors, gut disruptors—all invisible. We don’t see it. We don’t taste the problem so we keep drinking, thinking we are doing our body good.

Today on the podcast, I’m sharing the challenges with most tap water and even many of the most common water filtration systems, ones you might even have in your home right now. And I’ll be sharing with you how you can make one small water change to positively impact your life. For your IBD health, for you kids health, this is an important episode to check out.

Let’s dive in.


Hello my friend, welcome to The Cheeky Podcast. It’s great to be with you again. Summer is flying by as it always does. The weather is hot, hot, hot, and we are all reaching for some water to stay hydrated. I thought that it was the perfect time, when we’re all drinking more water, for us to have a candid, open conversation about what’s really in your drinking water and what you can do to make sure you have the best water source at your fingertips, in summer especially, but all year long.

So, most of the time when we talk about water, we talk about how much water you should be consuming. What’s a healthy amount and how can you make sure you get it in throughout the day. But before we even get to that conversation, before we talk about how much water to consume, we need to address an even bigger question. And that question is: What’s the best water source for you? Because without good, clean, quality water, you can drink and drink and end up doing more harm than good.

Clean, pure water is important for everyone, but like many things, when it comes to Crohn’s and colitis, we need to be especially careful about the water we consume because of the challenges of our compromised intestinal system. Research by the American Gut Project shows that the source you pick for your water is a key factor in the variation of gut bacteria in your microbiome. The simple act of picking the right source can make a big difference in diversifying your bacteria, the bacteria in your gut, for better digestive health—and frankly, better health overall.


We’ve talked up and down, this way and that, endlessly about how food impacts our gut health on this podcast, but what about water? The problem of not talking about where our water is sourced from starts at the very top. I mean way at the top, at the institution level, the government level. Was water part of the food pyramid of our youth? Remember the food pyramid we learned about in health class? No, it wasn’t. Is water a part of the latest dietary guidelines in the My Plate chart. Nope. And this omission is causing many scientists to classify water as the “forgotten nutrient.”

Our government and national healthcare agencies may not be talking about the importance of your water source, but the research is clear, the water source you choose will positively or negatively impact your microbiome. In an recent study, participants who drank well-water had higher microbiome diversity in their stool—over tap water, bottle water, or even filtered water.

Of course we don’t all have access to well-water, let alone good quality well-water and if you’re like me, you can have well-water and still struggle if it’s not potable or drinkable. You should see the number of filters our water has to go through, just to pass inspection. That cannot be good for our family’s health.

So, if you don’t have access to well-water or you’re well-water is less than desirable, what can you do to make sure you are using the highest quality filtration system to get the best benefit for your gut health and your overall health as well? There’s so many choices out there… spring, distilled, mineral, reverse osmosis, ionized water…

What’s the best water for our sensitive bellies, the one that will give us a healthier microbiome, more diverse bacteria, and aid us as we combine all the other gut healing modalities we’re using to combat our Crohn’s and colitis. And if you’re anything like me, you want to keep this water decision, easy peasy. You spread enough time on food, supplements, medications, lifestyle factors. Your water source needs to be an easy decision, and an easy set up.

Let’s see if we can simplify all your water choices. I’m going to tell you the absolute best water source for you, for your endocrine system (your hormones), your metabolism, your connective tissue, and of course your digestive system.

On the way there, we’ll evaluate your current water sources—ones you might be using right now, so you can see which ones make the grade and which ones might just have to go. For each of the options, there’s two specific goals we have to keep in mind when it comes to water: purity and mineral content. Water, in many cases can be contaminated with pathogenic microorganisims—heavy metals, pesticides, and endocrine and gut disrupting chemicals. We need to demand water that’s as pure as possible for our own health, and also for the health of our kiddos.

And minerals—why do we want minerals in our water? Well, our whole body can benefit from maintaining minerals in our water sources. Especially in America, we are mineral deficient, we’re afraid of salt, we don’t eat enough mineral rich sea vegetables, but our digestive system and our other organs benefit from minerals. Minerals found in quality water sources like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. High quality water sources include minerals and we don’t want a water source that excludes these vital nutrients.

Just to recap before we move on, quality water is about #1 purity (no contaminants that can disrupt your microbiome and in turn your Crohn’s and colitis) AND #2 the presence of trace minerals that positively impact not only your digestive system, but also your endocrine system, metabolism, neurological pathways and the connective tissues in your body.


If you want to get the full picture on water quality—broken down in a one-page format, that gives you the load down on all the filtration methods (the pros and the cons)—what we are talking about today, but in a handy dandy condense version, I have a one-page cheat sheet I’ve created just for you, You can go to It’s my Water Quality one-page PDF and it will give you all the deets you need to get the best water filtration system for your home.

So, yes, I’ve got the cliff notes version all ready for you to grab, but if this has really been a question in your mind, if you want to make the best decision with your whole family’s health in mind, want to have what you need to make the most informed decision, stick around because I’m about to give you the full scoop on choosing the best water source for your home.


OK let’s start with our most common source of water, the water that comes straight from our facet at home, tap water. Remember, we are looking for purity and minerals. So how does tap water stack up? Well, the good news is that tap water has the potential to be full of healthy minerals. Nothing has been filtered out so the minerals that are in the water are there to benefit you.

The problem with tap water though is in it’s purity rating. Many tap water sources contain microorganisms like E. coli, giardia, noroviruses, inorganic chemicals like arsenic, nitrates, lead. And organic compounds that are hard to pronounce like glyphosate and tetrachloroethylene.

Of course, in America, our tap water is regulated by the FDA and the EPA. They wouldn’t allow any of the crap in our water, would they? Unfortunately, there are levels of these known contaminants that are considered safe and allowed by the FDA. Plus there have been several case studies, news reports (I’m sure you’ve heard about them), where contaminants in tap water have reached concerning levels. Let’s take lead for example, a known toxic substance. That’s one that I’m sure you’ve heard about as being of concern in certain cases.– in the home where you deserve safe drinking water. This is especially challenging in children as they are still developing but also concerning for those with immune disruptions as well. People like us.

Other contaminants that have been known to seep into tap water include fertilizer, livestock manure, human sewage. Also, some tap water contains nitrates, nitrites, arsenic, parasites, and bacteria. Now, of course these are extreme cases and these may not be substances that are in your tap water. Let’s hope not.

If you are wondering about your tap water right now, for my folks in America, you can get all the information you need through the EWG’s website. That’s the Environmental Working Group. The watchdog company for all things food, environment, and health related. They have a tap water database and you can type in your zip code to see how the water coming out of your faucet stacks up.

I put in my zip code in as prep for this episode and was surprised to find a total of 12 contaminants in my tap water. Seven of them exceed the EWG’s health guidelines. Yikes! This is in my own tap water that I’ve had tested and is supposed to be safe. Thank goodness I have a water filter I trust. I don’t want to expose my kids to that. You might want to check out your own water purity if you use tap water in your home. I’ll leave a link in the show notes to the EWG’s tap water database so that you can type in your own ZIP Code and find out what’s going on with the water in your area. The show notes can be reached at /99. The link will be there.

Now, many of us are aware of the pitfalls of tap water because we hear about it all the time, this is the reason why the bottled water industry has boomed into such a powerhouse. Filtered water, distilled water, mineral water… All the things that make our water pure and clean… supposedly. But how are these methods really stacking up? Let’s find out.


So first we’ve got distilled water. Distilled water is created when tap water is boiled into a vapor and then condensed back into a liquid. That sounds promising right with all that boiling it’s got to be really pure. And yes, indeed, it is really pure. No microorganisms to upset our G.I. tract. Problem is, it also purifies out so much of the minerals and salts that our digestive system benefits from. That’s definitely not a good thing.

And not only that, but distilled water also pulls in properties of anything it touches. So put that in a plastic bottle and guess what it’s leaching? Yeah, it’s leaching plastic and then you are drinking it so for the most part if you’re looking for a drinking water, I have to give distilled water a thumbs down. Yes it’s pure but it’s missing some vital nutrients that our body needs.


Now how about spring water? We all know about spring water and so many of us consume it when we drink bottled water. It comes from a spring so we’re thinking babbling brooks and nature and water that is in a peaceful environment. With all that goodness, it must be healthy.

First, let’s get on the same page with what exactly were talking about when we’re looking at spring water. Does Springwater actually come from babbling brooks? Well, spring water is ground water. It’s ground water that lives underground in an aquifer. It sits below the earth’s natural water table. Sounds good so far, but the problem here is that getting information on how a particular brand or product is made (about its purity and mineral content) is really tricky. The companies that make spring water aren’t required to give us this information, so we are left with variable purity ratings and variable mineral ratings.

That’s not to say that all spring water is bad, the problem is we really just don’t know. Some are probably good and some are lacking. Without any real transparency in the bottled water industry, the authenticity of the water source becomes really murky.

There is, potentially some good news on the spring water front though. If you’re like so many Americans and you have come to rely on a particular brand of spring water… maybe it’s Daissini or Fiji or Deer Park—my brother only drinks Deer Park and swears by it. He swears that if he drinks any other bottled water he hast to run to the bathroom. I definitely think there’s a psychological component going on there. What do you think? But there is a way to find out about the specific nutrient and purity information about a particular bottled water company.

Consumer Reports has a online spring water database where you can click on a particular brand of spring water and check out all of the nutrients and purity levels in that product. You may not be getting the full picture about your particular spring water, but at least it’s more than the information you’ll find on the bottle . I’ll leave a link for you to check out that website in the show notes as well.


Now I know there is some of you out there listening saying Karyn, I never drink my tap water and I definitely don’t drink bottled water. I know that the purity and the mineral content is very variable and I don’t want to drink out of plastic bottles. I know all of this so that’s why I have a reverse osmosis system in my house. Let’s talk about that filtration system for a moment because I know it’s really popular and several people have that type of system in their house.

Reverse osmosis, most of the time called RO, is a purification process that uses a semi- permeable membrane to filter out contaminants like sediment, chlorine and microorganisms. The good news about RO is that it’s great if you live in an area where the water is really contaminated because it’s definitely removing those contaminants. But, how much of the contaminants it’s actually removing really depends on your RO system because there’s a ton of variability in these systems.

Also we definitely need to talk about the mineral content with reverse osmosis. After having heard about the other options we’ve talked about so far in seeing how RO works with its purification process, you can probably guess that there’s a problem here. All that purification is also removing the good trace minerals that we need for better digestive health. Iron, magnesium, manganese, and so many more.

And there’s more when it comes to RO filtration systems. If you’re using an RO system in your home that connects to your water faucet and you use that water for all the cooking in your home, here’s where trouble can happen. This demineralized water removes the vitamins and minerals in the food as it’s cooked. That’s because water bonds to everything it comes in contact with so the nutrients from the food you’re cooking gets leeched into the water and then you throw all those nutrients away when you strain your food.

Even the WHO, the World Health Organization is concerned about RO filtration stating that, “It has a definite adverse influence of the animal and human organism.” Not a good look RO!

OK, so so far we’ve talked about tap water, lots of negatives with that one. We’ve covered spring water with so much variability you really just don’t know what you’re getting and we just covered the pros and cons of reverse osmosis. Some positives when it comes to purity, but lots of negatives with the removal of all those much needed trace minerals.


Let’s move on and talk about one of the filtration systems most of us have in our kitchen. That’s carbon filtration. This is really common if you have a refrigerator that has a water spout built in. These type of refrigerators usually use a carbon filter. The bottom line with carbon filtration is that they can be really variable in their effectiveness with both purity and minerals.

First of all, the good news, they remove contaminants that we can taste and smell, but other contaminants do remain. Secondly, some studies have shown bacteria like salmonella can still be present in carbon filtered water. And of course there’s the problem of changing the filter enough. How many of us remember to do that? And to make matters worse, the constant water formation on the surface of the spout encourages mold and yeast growth. So that yeast and mold is getting into your water glass and then into your body every time you take a sip.

I remember one time, a babysitter who was at our house taking care of the kids saying to me have you looked up inside your refrigerator water spout? There’s all kinds of mold growing in there. I was mortified and terrified of what we had been drinking for so long. I tried repeatedly to clean the area with bleach and get the mold away, but no matter how hard I tried, that mold was just not going anywhere so we stopped using the refrigerator water now we don’t have that refrigerator anymore, so good riddance.

The bottom line on carbon filtration is variable purity and variable minerals at best. Not the best water source for our health or our family’s health either.

Now, so far we’ve talked about water filtration systems that have the potential to be threatening to our health, let’s turn the page and talk about some possible options for us when it comes to healthy, pure, mineral rich drinking water. There’s two of them, and I would call these my honorable mentions when it comes to quality drinking water.


One option is alkaline water. You might’ve heard about an alkalizing diet, eating with less acidic foods, finding a better pH for your body, eating food that is more basic (as opposed to acidic) for your overall health. A healthy digestive system is the main focus for an alkaline diet because the predominant thought is that disease cannot survive in an alkaline state.

Just like alkalizing foods, water can be alkaline as well. Alkaline water boasts of higher mineral content like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Right now it’s all the rage. But is it better? Well the jury is still out on that. I will say that alkaline water certainly has potential. One recent study actually found that alkaline water was better for bone health (largely due to the mineral content) and another study found that it did reduce acid reflux symptoms which isn’t surprising since it is less acidic. As aging women we all need to think about better bone health. And of course as women with Crohn’s and colitis, acid reflux is something we may deal with as well. So that’s promising.

All and all, I’d give alkaline water a halfway thumbs up for purity and a thumbs up for mineral content. Yes the studies I’ve read look good, but I just think we need to have this type of water filtration system out a little bit longer before we can definitively say it’s a go.


The second honorable mention it’s worth mentioning, is ionized water. The best news about ionized water is that you can be sure it contains minerals. The whole filtration process starts with electromagnetism that separates positive charged minerals and sets them off to one side from negative charged bicarbonate that gets separated off to another side. Ionized water can also be alkalized so now you are drinking water with a higher pH, meaning less acidic, more basic water and water that has been proven to have a high mineral content. That definitely is promising.


So I’d say alkaline water and ionized water definitely have benefits and are worth looking into for a pure and mineral rich drinking water that’s good for your whole body and your family’s health as well. But I have to say, that there is an even better option on the market today. Let me tell you about that option now. This is my favorite overall option when it comes to drinking water, it’s the system we’ve had in our house for the last seven or eight years. I’m a huge advocate of this type of water, but right now I am not an affiliate for the company. That may change in the future because I just can’t say enough about this filtration system, but as of right now I’m just telling you this out of my research and my experience with the product.

I’m talking about the Berkey filtration system. Is this a filtration product you’ve heard about before? It’s definitely gaining in popularity because it’s been reviewed by scientists and consumer groups alike. And everyone is raving about the quality of the water it produces.

Berkey filters work on a filtration system that uses gravity fed filtration. It’s high in purity and high in the mineral department. I really like that with the Berkey filtration system, that it doesn’t require anyone coming in your house and work on all of the pipes and change all of the inner workings of your tap water. It’s just a canister that sits on your kitchen counter and pound for pound it’s in definitely a cheaper option than many of the filtration systems on the market.

So I mentioned gravity fed filtration. How does all of this work? The Berkey water filtration system starts with microfiltration of your own tap water. So no special water needed. It gets rid of the microorganisms in your tap water. So we’re talking about a 99.9% of the arsenic and bacteria and chlorine. It’s also removing huge amounts of E. coli and fluoride, as well as glyphosate, heavy metals, etc… All those microorganisms that can have a negative impact on our digestive health.

Then, the Berkey filtration system ionizes the water. Just like the ionic process I mentioned earlier, it’s the same principle. Contaminants attract to contaminants and then get absorbed by the filter. Contaminants don’t get past the filter in into your drinking water.

Lastly in its filtration process, the Berkey purifies by removing submicron (that’s teeny tiny—if you want to be technical about it), viruses from the water. This is B Big because most water filters can’t accomplish this task without the use of toxic chemicals.

If you’ve seen a Berkey filters before, maybe on someone else’s counter or maybe on your own, you know what it looks like. It looks like one of those metal coffee urns with a spout on the bottom. You see them at events and in hotel lobbies. Do you know what I’m talking about? The Berkey company makes different sizes of this urn and the one that you get depends on your needs and the size of your family. Like I said earlier, pound for pound this is really an economical option. There is an upfront cost for the Berkey that may seem high to you, but when you think about the fact that the filters in the Berkey only get changed every two years, and I always change mine during the holidays because that’s when they have their super sales, in the long run it’s a much cheaper and definitely it’s a much healthier option than any we’ve talked about so far today.

The Berkey water filter, big thumbs up for purity, big thumbs up for mineral content. You won’t be disappointed with this water filtration system. Just make sure you get a size big enough for your needs because my family made the mistake of getting what’s called the Big Berkey and I think we probably could’ve used a size bigger. I use it for everything, for drinking water, for cooking water, for the pets water and I’m filling the water more often than I’d like. One day we are going to upgrade. But if you have a smaller family, I’m sure the Big Berkey would be the right size for you.

So that you have it. My favorite water filtration system the Berkey and the honorable mentions that almost measure up plus the methods you should absolutely think twice about before you make a long-term commitment. If you want more Berkey info, if you want to check this water filtration system out for yourself, I will leave some links for you in the show notes. Remember that if you want my recap, the cliff notes version of everything we talked about today, go to Everything you need to know about quality water in a one-page PDF version. And if you’re not in the market for a water filtration system today, you can keep that on hand for when you are.

OK my friend, how did that information land for you? What questions do you have about getting quality water in your life? Which system seems to fit best for you? You know my opinion, there are some honorable mentions out there but they just do not meet the quality standards of the Berkey water filter. I’d love to know your thoughts though. Come on over to the show notes at and let me know what you think.

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

9 New & Noteworthy Gut Healthy Snack Foods {no baking necessary}

Thanks to gut healing diets like Paleo, FODMAPs, Keto, gluten free, even to some extent the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, we’ve seen store-bought snacks rise to the occasion.

Gone are the days when we have to go without or suffer through the long hours of making our own snacks at home.

Today’s gut healthy store-bought snacks are all about flavor. They’re all about saving you time in the kitchen. And they’re all about ingredients that work best for your sensitive belly.

Raise your hands in the air like you just don’t care if that’s got your name all over it.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 The one brand of gut healthy snacking goodies that covers everything you ever wanted to snack on.

🌿 The best snacks to satisfy your salt cravings and your sweet tooth.

🌿  The family who turned an autoimmune disease into a gut healthy, thriving snack business.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in the Episode:

Simple Mills Soft Baked Bars

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Thrive Market

On Amazon

Purely Elizabeth

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Vitacost

On Thrive Market

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From the Ground Up:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Thrive Market

On Fresh Direct

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Epic Bone Broth:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Fresh Direct

On Vitacost

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Birch Benders:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Target

On Thrive Market

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Simple Mills Crackers:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Amazon

On Thrive Market

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Host Defense Mycobrew:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Pure Formulas

On Amazon

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Hu Chocolate:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Thrive Market

On Vitacost

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Siete Foods Tortilla Chips:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Vitacost

On Hive

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve for Better Gut Health

When we deal with challenges like Crohn’s and colitis, we feel its impact daily. The digestive system and other parts of our body seem to fail us at every turn.

What if we could use our gut-brain connection and our vagus nerve pathway, (this amazing super communication highway between our brain and our microbiome) to our IBD benefit?

And what if it was amazingly simple? What if there were no-brainer, easy peasy ways that increase our vagal tone and ultimately create a positive impact for our gut?

Reducing symptoms like inflammation, boosting our immune system, reducing our stress response, balancing our mood with less anxiety and depression, healing the lining of our digestive tract.

Sometimes gut healing is hard.

Sometimes we need to take drastic, challenging steps to heal. And sometimes gut healing modalities are so simple that they are right at our fingertips.

No side effects, no toxic pills, no special diets to follow.

Just simple steps you can start right away.

Well, grab a and pen and paper, get out the notes app on your phone because today is all about some simple, no brainer steps you can take right now to improve your gut health and it’s all thanks to our amazing, often undervalued vagus nerve.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 The specific bacterial strain that’s been found beneficial in helping IBDer’s achieve remission.

🌿 How vagus nerve stimulation therapy is being used to help those with IBD find relief from mild to moderate symptoms.

🌿  The link between singing and IBD healing.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in the Episode:

Episode 6: Use The Gut-Brain Connection to Your IBD Advantage

IBD Research Studies:

The Probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 Reduces Pathogen Invasion and Modulates Cytokine Expression in Cao-2 Cells Infected with Crohn’s Disease-Associated E. coli LF82

Mutaflor- E. coli Nissle 1917 Probiotic

Non-Invasive Vagal Nerve Stimulation to Treat Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis in Children and Young Adults

Vagus Nerve Meditations:

Insight Timer: Vagus Nerve Stimulation by Chibs Okereke

Insight Timer: Vagus Nerve Breathing Meditation by Camilla Sacre-Dallerup

Insight Timer: Vagus Nerve Half Salamander Practice by Chastitie Vallance

Episode Resources:

Gut Microbe to Brain Signaling: What Happens in Vagus

The Vagus Nerve: Gastroparesis, Vasovagal Syncope, and Other Health Conditions

Vagal Tone: The Gut-Brain Axis and The Vagus Nerve

5 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve

Mind Body Green 11 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve

15 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve to Improve Gut Health

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Gut Healing Through Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Gut instinct, gut feeling, even butterflies in your stomach… You might think these thoughts in your head, but you’re feeling them in your gut. That’s the gut/brain connection in action and its pull is strong. You can think of it like this: Maybe you have a friend or a family member who you chat with all the time, you know each other so well that you finish each other’s sentences, the two of you never run out of things to talk about… that’s the connection between the brain and the gut. It’s solid and no one is tearing it apart.  This glorious link, this super communication pathway is all made possible by a part of the central nervous system called the vagus nerve. It travels down the back of your body and connects these two body systems so they can talk like two young girlfriends who stay up all night at a sleepover.

Now let’s bring IBD into the equation. When we deal with challenges like Crohn’s and colitis, we feel its impact daily, where the digestive system and other parts of our body seem to fail us at every turn. What if we could use this gut brain connection, this vagal pathway, this amazing friendship and connection, to our IBD benefit? And what if it was amazingly simple? What if there were no-brainer, easy peasy ways that increase our vagal tone and ultimately create a positive impact for our gut?


Reducing symptoms like inflammation, boosting our immune system, reducing our stress response, balancing our mood with less anxiety and depression, healing the lining of our digestive tract.

Sometimes gut healing is hard. Sometimes we need to take drastic, challenging steps to heal. And sometimes gut healing modalities are so simple that they are right at our fingertips. No side effects, no toxic pills, no special diets to follow.

Just simple steps you can start right away.

Well, grab and pen and paper, get out the notes app on your phone because today is all about some simple, no brainer steps you can take right now to improve your gut health and it’s all thanks to our amazing, often under-valued vagus nerve.


Hello my friend, welcome back to The Cheeky Podcast. It’s a treat to be with you today, talking about one of my favorite gut healing topics that just doesn’t get enough attention—it’s the vagus nerve. I just stimulated mine right before I hit record on this episode so I am feeling energized and ready to tell you all about it.


Before we dive into the juicy details, I want to leave you with one final reminder… you might remember me talking about this at the end of the last couple episodes—my private health coaching practice is about to hit pause for new clients. I’m booking my last consult calls before I’m enacting my waitlist on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. If you and I are already working together, this won’t impact you at all. You are still good to go and it’s my honor to be by your side on your gut healing journey. But from time to time, I reach my client limit and in order to best serve the clients I do have, I need to press pause on taking any new clients.

One of those pauses is about to happen so if you’ve been thinking about how health coaching might be just what you need to get some clarity on getting your IBD into remission, if you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut, spinning your wheels and getting nowhere with your current IBD healing plan, or if you just feel overwhelmed with all your healing options and you don’t know where to start—hop on a client call with me. My 30-minute consults are completely free and we’ll chat about how your IBD is impacting your life, we’ll make a plan to get you started on the right path and we’ll talk about how we can work together to help your gut healing goals become your reality.

After these sessions, the comment I always get is “Wow, I don’t feel as overwhelmed anymore. Now I have a plan and a path forward.” That’s the best thing to hear for me. It truly lights me up. After all these years with Crohn’s, giving back in this way really feeds my soul. You know if you are a long time listener, supporting you on your IBD healing journey is my mission in life. I suffered for way too long before finally finding ways to help put my IBD symptoms in their place and I don’t want you to suffer like I did. There’s just so much that can be done to help. Sometimes, we just need someone to take us by the hand and walk with us as we figure things out.

Did I mention an IBD consult call with me is absolutely free? What are you waiting for? Now is the time mama. If you’re ready to take big, bold, IBD-sized action steps, I’m here to help. Go to to book your session with me today. Remember, it all goes away on July 12th, 2022 so take advantage of this opportunity before then.

OK my friend, it’s vagus nerve time and we are about to talk about some simple action steps you can take today, ones that can have a positive impact on your gut and the rest of your body. And let’s be honest here, this might seem like an episode that you want to skip because it’s not the sexiest topic and it may not be something you’ve heard about before so you’re not sure if it’s worth your time. Let me tell you my friend, you should definitely stay for this one because I’m about to share with you things that your doctor probably has never talk to you about before. You are not going to believe how profound and how simple some of these steps are that really can help with your Crohn’s and colitis symptoms.

But let’s take a quick step back before I share with you 11 simple ways that you can engage in stimulate your vagus nerve for better gut health because in order to fully embrace the simple action steps I’m going to lay out for you today, you’ll want to understand exactly what we’re talking about here and why this vagus nerve and the gut/brain connection has anything to do with your IBD.


Now, we’re not going to get too detailed here, because there’s already a Cheeky Podcast episode about the gut/brain connection out there. It’s an oldie and for me it’s cringy to listen to, but the information is valuable so I’m going to swallow my pride and dread of you going there and taking a listen to remind you that it’s episode 6. We are up to 97 at this point, so please be kind. I hope the flow has improved since that one. But if you’re looking to expand your knowledge about the gut/brain axis, this episode is really intriguing to you, that’s the episode for you. It’s a good companion episode for this one. So go check that one out as well, but in this episode we are going to move beyond what the vagus nerve connection is and talk more about how to stimulate it for better gut health. Let’s just do a quick refresher of how this connection works and why it matters especially for those of us with IBD.

So, if you remember studying anatomy and physiology in school (and who doesn’t), you might remember just how amazing our body systems are (that part I do remember). The fact that they work in such harmony to keep us alive is truly astounding. The vagus nerve is one of those body systems. It’s part of (as the name suggests) the central nervous system or the CNS. The CNS breaks into different types of nerves and the vagus nerve is part of a CNS system called the parasympathetic nervous system. Its opposite counterpart, the sympathetic nervous system is the fight or flight part of our anatomy we need in dangerous situations and when we see that there is no real danger, it’s up to the parasympathetic nervous system and our vagus nerve to kick in and calm us down.

The cool thing about this system is that it’s autonomic. We don’t have to think about it to make it work—our breathing, our heat beat, our digestion.  All parts of this system are well-oiled machines that don’t take conscious thought to work. Well, the vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, this calming system and it starts at the base of our skull and travels down our back with nerve endings moving into our heart, our immune system, and our digestive system.

When we talk about this nerve, we talk about it connecting the gut and the brain, but we really should include the microbiome in there as well. That’s the gut connection. Those trillions of tiny microorganisms, gut bugs if you will, play a crucial role here as well. You can think of this connection like an information superhighway and even though it contains no wi-fi, or dial up internet connection, it’s even faster connection than the world wide web, and definitely a more important because it connects all these major organs in you.

To keep our amazingly well-crafted bodies going, our organs need to be in constant communication with each other in for us to maintain homeostasis—or balance. And this communication is bi-directional so these are not one-way streets. The vagus nerve is not just the brain sending information one way down the road and the gut sending one way as well. It’s constant information going both ways all the time. Talk about a complicated system! Because of this complicated, constant communication, the vagus nerve gets to plays a roll in our food intake, our hunger, our satiety or feeling full when we eat, but also our physiology and even our behavior. Even just simple thoughts and feelings we’ve gotten used to when we have IBD are linked to this vagus nerve. The feeling of a rumbly, gurgly belly, feeling nauseous or queasy, even how your mouth waters when you think of your favorite food. It’s all about the gut/brain connection.


So far so good? Well, the this is where, in my opinion all this complicated anatomy gets interesting because it turns out that the health of the vagas nerve and the communications we are having between our microbiome and our brain actually have links to all kinds of illnesses, when the communication isn’t working at its peak. Autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, major depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS… research shows major connections to disrupted vagas nerve communication and because this nerve ending also plays a role in our fight or flight response, it also plays a huge roll in our stress response (how we experience stress and anxiety) and also in how inflammation shows up in our body.

See why if we could, we’d all want to find ways to have our vagas nerve working at its peak, why we’d want to stimulate it so it’s working to its fullest? Because when the vagas nerve is happy, the inflammation in our digestive track is lower, our stress response is more regulated and balanced, and we are at decreased risk for the other illnesses I just mentioned—both physical and mental health challenges.


A couple minutes ago, I said that this is where it gets interesting, the vagus nerve and its strong connection to disease and illness, hold on to your hat mama and get ready to geek out with me, because if that was interesting, it’s about to get fascinating. Everything I’ve mentioned so far has been information that’s been around for a while, but lately this gut, brain, microbiota connection, all through the vagus nerve has gotten even more fascinating because lately researchers have found that when we take specific bacterial strains (think probiotics, prebiotics), we can change the course of some of these types of illnesses.

So, it used to be that scientists would say, we know that probiotics are important for your gut health, but we’re not exactly sure which probiotic you should take. Take a multi-strain one because I’m sure one of the bacterial strains will help. But now, researchers have been able to pinpoint specific bacterial strains and say, “This one helps for depression, this one helps for Parkinson’s, this one helps for IBD.” And through treatment options like these, we are stimulating the connection between the gut and the brain through our microbiome for a healthier vagus nerve connection and a healthier whole body for you.

Now there’s a long way to go with this research, but it’s coming along more rapidly now that ever. Just think, if we could use very specific strains of bacteria on our own body, imagine how much more effective they’d be to control our Crohn’s and our colitis symptoms. For example, some new research has studied a bacterial strain called E. coli Nissle 1917 and it’s been shown to be beneficial for patients with both Crohn’s and colitis. Have you heard about this strain? I actually have some clients who swear by this probiotic as an integral roll in their Wheel of Wellness. Of course, everyone is individual and more research needs to be conducted, especially more human trials (so far it’s mainly been animal studies), especially before you know if it’s the best approach for you, but it’s an exciting start and I think it’s really going to move the IBD needle in a positive direction. Hopefully in our lifetime.

If you want to read more about this specific bacterial strain, the E. coli Nissle 1917 and see the research for yourself, go to the show notes at and you can check out the research for yourself.


Thanks to all the new research currently being conducted, we can also get really specific with conditions that can be helped by stimulating our vagus nerve. Medical centers like The Cleveland Clinic have been treating gastroparesis (where food stops moving from the stomach to the intestines) and vasovagal syncope (basically fainting) with vagal nerve stimulation or VNS as it’s called. Those are more traditional uses for VNS, but information put out by the Cleveland Clinic also shows indications for VNS for other health challenges like cluster headaches, PTSD, and guess what other condition near and dear to our heart—yep, you guessed it VNS has been used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

And here’s where we get to the most useful part of this whole conversation today. We now know the why. Why the link between the brain, the gut, the microbiome, and IBD so important. Now we get to the how. How can you stimulate the vagus nerve to help as a healing tool for your Crohn’s and your colitis. Well, one way is through medical VNS (vagal nerve stimulation) I just mentioned.

So far, there have only been a few human studies looking at medical uses for VNS in IBD. In one study, patients with IBD had the VNS device inserted cervically and the device was implanted  internally. This study did show promising results. But in a newer study the VNS devices were being used in a non-invasive way (not inserted inside the patients). One research study in 2021 I looked at showed a younger set of IBD patients, 10-year-olds to 21-year-old. They all had mild to moderate Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and they didn’t respond to conventional treatment. The people in the study also had calprotectin levels of 200 or higher. I know most of us if not all of us are familiar with the lovely calprotectin level. It’s an IBD measurement tool through a stool sample that looks at IBD inflammation in our body. And level of 200 would be considered active inflammation.

So the young people in this study were either given VNS treatment externally through their left ear or externally on their lower leg. And although this was a small study, it at least was a human study and it definitely showed promising results for several of the patients—inducing remission for many. This is definitely prompting more research in the area of vagal nerve stimulation to help with IBD symptoms. We’ll have to see if this ends up as a treatment in our doctors’ offices. Wouldn’t that be cool?

So that’s what’s happening medically. That’s what’s happening with gut brain vagus nerve stimulation with research and possibly at some point, an option for treatment in your doctor’s office. But what can you do right now? What can you do to help increase your vagal tone right at home so that you can find gut healing benefits for you as well?

I mentioned the at the top of the episode that activating and stimulating your vagus nerve for better gut health is simple and something you can do right away. And as I give you these examples today, you’re going see just how accessible and easy this process is. Here’s 11 ways you can stimulate and increase your vagal tone to help you control inflammation, boost your immune system, heal mucosal lining, decrease your stress response and your feelings of anxiety, modulate your mood (especially for depression), become more resilient, and enjoy so many more of the benefits of this vagus nerve gut/brain connection.

Vagal tone, or a well-stimulated vagus nerve, is accessed by looking at your heart rate and your breathing rate. We want there to be a difference between your inhalation heart rate and your exhalation heart rate. Your breath should speed up when you breath in and slow down when you breath out. And this means higher vagal tone means which equals a healthier gut/brain connection.


So let’s increase your vagal tone, all with ways we don’t need to go to the doctor’s office for. All with easy ways that need no special equipment, shall we?

#1: You can increase your vagal tone with gentle exercise.

And I think you’ll find that gentle exercises like yoga is especially beneficial here as there are lots of twisting your torso exercises in this type of practice. Twisting exercises help with smooth muscle contractions and smooth muscle contractions aid in digesting your food. Gentle impact exercise stimulates your vagus nerve for better digestion.

#2: You can increase your vagal tone with deep breathing exercises.

Deep breathing promotes the parasympathetic nervous system’s state of relaxation, calm, and peace. There’s several ways you can incorporate deep breathing into your day. I’m a huge fan as you already know of the 4-7-8 breath. This is the breath where you breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, you hold it for 7 seconds, and then you breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds. It’s a breath you can do anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

I’m also a huge fan of taking three slow, deep intentional breaths in the morning before I get out of bed. And also taking three slow, deep intentional breaths before I go to bed at night. It’s just very calming and soothing and a lovely way to start and end the day and good for that vagal tone.

Alternate nostril breathing is also a wonderful breathing exercise to stimulate the vagus nerve. It involves blocking off one nostril, while breathing in and then taking turns closing the other nostril as you breath out. You can repeat this breathing exercise on both nostrils 10-20 times playing with how slow or fast you complete the cycle.

The most important part about deep breathing is no matter how many seconds you decide to make the breath last, when you breathe in and then breathe out, try to make your exhalation breath double the time of your inhalation. So if you breathe in for four seconds, you’ll want to breathe out for eight seconds. And if you choose to breathe in for three seconds you’ll want to breathe out for six seconds. Continue to try to lengthen the time of your deep breathing and you’ll be sending signals of calm and relaxation to your vagus nerve.

#3: You can increase your vagal tone by singing.

Yes, you heard that right singing. Whether you’re tone deaf or you sing like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, it doesn’t matter. Just the act of singing is all you need for this vagus nerve stimulator. This is my favorite way to stimulate my vagus nerve. It works because vibrations in your body from singing gives your vagus nerve a workout. There’s no fight or flight response while we are singing. Just lots of rest and digest which is all part of the parasympathetic nervous system and the vagus nerve.

#4 You can increase your vagal tone by side sleeping.

Are you already a side sleeper? If you are, that is a bonus and if you are sleeping on your right side that’s a double bonus. Right side sleepers are stimulating their vagus nerve and increasing their vagal tone while they sleep. It couldn’t be simpler than that.

Now if you are a back or tummy sleeper, you can always use a pillow to help. You know one of those long pillows or U-shaped pillows. I always called it my boyfriend pillow. They’re those long body pillows you probably remember from when you were pregnant. I would always tell my husband, my boyfriend’s coming to bed with us tonight. Totally bad joke but he always laughed at it which is how I know I picked a keeper. If they laugh at your bad jokes, they are a keeper. If you prop that type of pillow behind your back, it can help you stay on your right side while you sleep.

#5 Speaking of laughing with your spouse, you can increase your vagal tone by laughing.

Laughter truly is the best medicine. Laughter stimulates your vagus nerve and increases vagal tone. So often as moms, we forget to laugh. We’re so busy running our household and taking care of our health that laughter gets left behind. I was definitely the victim the cheerless mom. So, this year I made a pact with myself that I would have a huge belly laugh at least once a day. I love to watch comedians (Jim Gaffigan is a personal fav, he always makes me laugh), but I’ll also watch funny YouTube videos, and I’ve asked my older teens to send me funny animal memes on my phone because they always crack me up. It’s my goal to laugh hard, get in a true belly laugh, at least once a day and getting my family involved in it helps me stick to my goal.

Not only am I stimulating my vagus nerve here, but I feel like laughter is just good for my whole body, mind, and soul.  

#6 You can increase your vagal tone by getting some acupuncture.

Great if you already have an acupuncturist, I don’t know if I would go out and get one just for this benefit because there are so many other options here. But if you already have an acupuncturist, you might want to let them know that you are interested in stimulating your vagus nerve for better gut-brain health. They are trained in increasing your vagal tone and will definitely be able to help you out.

#7 You can increase your vagal tone through meditation.

And you know I am not a “make your mind blank” type of meditator. So you know that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about active mind visualizations that help strengthen your gut-brain connection. Meditations like this not only improve your vagal tone, but they can also improve the quality of your sleep, how you express pain in your body, it can help decrease anxiety, as well as your G.I. symptoms.

My favorite meditation app is insight timer, it’s full of free meditations and they even have great vagus nerve stimulation options. I put my top three favorite in the show notes so if you’re interested in using meditation to stimulate your vagus nerve, go check it out at

#8 You can increase your vagal tone with cold exposure.

Have you tried this before? This is something I’m really getting into lately, and I’m not going lie, I’m really struggling with it. I’m not going to give up though because I know just how beneficial cold exposure can be. Cold situations like a cold shower, a cold plunge pool, an ice bath… people swear by these and research shows that it benefits our vagal tone as well.

If you’re new to all of this like me with cold therapy, you might want to just start by drinking a glass of cold water or splashing cold water on your face. That can be a baby step and can help get you moving in the right direction with this vagus nerve stimulator.

#9 You can increase your vagal tone by taking specific bacterial strains.

We talked about this earlier in the episode, this new research showing that specific bacterial strains rather than multi strain probiotics may be a direction that can help your Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Remember E. coli Nissle 1917? That’s one in the research that  is promising for Crohn’s as well as colitis.

There are also several bacterial strains that have been shown to benefit the vagus nerve. Another one is Bifidobacterium longum. That has been found helpful for those with anxiety. So if that something that you experience, you might want to check out the research on that as well. I’ll leave the links for that in the show notes as well.

#10 You can increase your vagal tone by cutting down on sugar.

What ailment can’t be helped by cutting out sugar? This is a no-brainer. Sugar causes chronic inflammation, and it impairs your vagus nerve pathways. Inflammation of the mucosal lining is also present when there’s too much sugar in the diet. It disrupts the microbe communication between the brain and the gut. So as best you can, get rid of the sugar. It will help your gut brain connection.

#11 you can increase your vagal tone by gargling.

Yep, simple gargling. Getting a bunch of warm water and gargling it in the back of your throat. This option works much like singing because it is all about the vibrations it creates in your body. Those gargly vibrations stimulate your vagus nerve. It’s like in giving the vagus nerve a work out.

For a highly effective IBD gargle and swish, especially to keep the mouth sores away which are so common with Crohn’s and colitis, I highly recommend adding into your warm water a touch of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Now you’re helping the health of your mouth and stimulating the vagus nerve at the same time. Win, win.

I told you those were simple right. We’re not talking about rocket science here. These are things that all of us can do right now, today, to help with the health of our gut. I know you can do at least four or five of these right away. Maybe more!


Let’s recap increasing your vagal tone ideas real quick before we go.

1-Gentle exercise

2- Breathing

3- Singing

4- Laughter is the best medicine

5- Side sleeping (right side)

6- Acupuncture

7- Meditation

8- Cold exposure

9- Specific bacterial strains

10- Cut down on the sugar. You are sweet enough.

11- Gargling

Right now, the ones I’m most actively working on are deep breathing, singing, laughter, meditation, and cold exposure. All of them probably play some sort of roll for me, but those are the ones that I think are most important for me right now. How about you? Which of these are you currently actively engaged in or which ones do you feel like you could do more of? As always I want to hear from you. Let’s connect so you can tell me what vagal tone exercises you’ll be trying. There’s a comment section at the bottom of the show notes. Tell me what one or two vagal tone strategies you are going to start right away. Ones that will help not only your Crohn’s or colitis, but your whole body as well. I can’t wait to hear from you. The gut-brain connection, it always makes me feel lucky and grateful for all my body does for me.

Don’t forget, you’ve got only a few days to book your free IBD consult with me and for us to work together with me by your side as you find your best IBD healing path. My free consultations and private 1 on 1 health coaching sessions are hitting pause. It all goes away on July 12, 2022 so book your free consult at

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.

{#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.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

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.

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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.

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part III}

The problem with the way most providers approach treating Crohn’s and colitis is that they treat us with a top/down, the outside/in perspective instead of finding IBD where it starts—at the root.

The top/down approach is great when symptom relief is your goal, but not so good when you are ready to move beyond medicine and tackle this illness from the inside/out.

This backwards way of treating IBD that we have become so accustomed to smothers our IBD flame for a short stint, but doesn’t put the fire out for long periods of time, it negates the roots that caused our illness in the first place, and discounts the body’s innate and truly amazing ability to restore balance when given the proper tools.

In this Treating IBD series (this is Part III), we’ve been talking about a whole new approach—a re-imagining of how we see our Crohn’s and colitis, from the way that it came into our lives, to providers who can help us dig deep to find longer lasting answers.

And today, as we wrap up this Treating IBD series, we’re putting the final piece of the puzzle in place. The one that’s waiting for you to put all this information together.

The nine root causes of IBD.

Chances are you don’t have all 9, but when you know your 3-5 roots, you can be armed with the clarity and power you need to finally make big, bold leaps at truly quelling your IBD.

Together, in Part III of our Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine series, we’re going to nail down your roots and get you moving on a gut healing path that leads to remission.

Can I get a yes, yes, yes!!!!

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 When and why probiotics and pre-biotics (both in food and supplement form) can make you feel awful and do more harm than good.

🌿 The definitive way to know if you have leaky gut (not everyone with IBD has it). And then I’ll tell you what to do about it if you’ve got it.

🌿  How to get in touch with 10 IBD Experts that have practices dedicated to Crohn’s and colitis root cause healing so you can continue this conversation and thrive in your life.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

IBD Experts List: Provider list for when you are ready to move beyond medicine

Your Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System

Your Stress Management Toolbelt

Episode 89: Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part I

Episode 90: Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part II

Direct Labs: direct to consumer laboratory

Everlywell: direct to consumer laboratory

Episode Resources:

Leaky Gut:

What is Zonulin?

Top 11 Leaky Gut Supplements

Slippery Elm

Digestive Enzymes


Aloe Vera

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Treating Your IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part III

The problem with the way most providers approach treating Crohn’s and colitis is that they treat us with a top/down, the outside/in, perspective instead of finding IBD where it starts—at the root. The top/down approach is great when symptom relief is your goal, but not so good when you are ready to move beyond medicine and tackle this illness from the inside/out.

This backwards way of treating IBD that we have become so accustomed to smothers our IBD flame for a short stint, but doesn’t put the fire out for long periods of time, it negates the roots that caused our illness in the first place, and discounts the body’s innate and truly amazing ability to restore balance when given the proper tools.

In this Treating IBD series, we’ve been talking about a whole new approach—a re-imagining of how we see our Crohn’s and colitis, from the way that it came into our lives, to providers who can help us dig deep to find longer lasting answers. And today, as we wrap up this Treating IBD series, we’re putting the final piece of the puzzle in place. The one that’s waiting for you to put all this information together.

The nine root causes of IBD.

Chances are you don’t have all 9, but when you know your 3-5 roots, you can be armed with the clarity and power you need to finally make big, bold leaps at truly quelling your IBD.

Together, in Part III of our Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine series, we’re going to nail down your roots and get you moving on a gut healing path that leads to remission.

Can I get a yes, yes, yes!!!!

Here we go.


If autoimmunity was a tree, it would have nine roots. Nine roots that all lead back to one place. Your trigger. Hey there my friend, Karyn Haley with you again on The Cheeky Podcast and I hope you are having a promising day. It may not be great. We all know days with IBD can be a hit or miss, but it’s episodes like this one that have the power to give hope and support, to help you move forward, armed with life transforming knowledge. Knowledge you can then run with.

And this is definitely a notes episode, one that will give you so much information, you’re going to want to have a place to jot some of these ideas down. This episode is Part III in what has turned into a 3-part series all about how you can move beyond medicine to add other treatment modalities to your IBD healing regime.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, medicine may be part of your plan. I’m certainly not promoting taking away what you already have in place. What we’re talking about in this series is finding other ideas to add to your Wheel of Wellness besides medicine, to diversify your healing, get to the root of why you got here in the first place. And if it’s your goal, to help you completely move beyond medicine when the time is right for you.

Only you and your doctor will know when the time is right for that, but in the meantime, lets focus on adding to your treatment options so that you can find the healing and the path to the life that you absolutely deserve.

Last week in Part II, Episode 90, do you remember that was the episode where we talked about all your provider options when you’re ready to truly explore all the healing modalities open and waiting for you. Options and ideas your traditional doctor is probably not telling you about. If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, go check it out. It’s got loads of really solid information on other providers that can help when you are ready. You might also remember me saying that I’ve got an awesome resource for you, with my favorite IBD experts in each of the areas we discussed. IBD experts who are in the thick of gastrointestinal issues and have great information and knowledge to offer. Some you may have heard of, some may be completely new to you.

If you want to get your hands on my IBD Expert List, you can get your hands on it at Wherever you are in the U.S. or other parts of the world, this list is going to be valuable for you because many of these providers offer telemedicine options and others have ongoing information they are publishing regularly regarding gut health—information you don’t want to miss out on.

I’ll remind you about the link one last time before we wrap up and of course, it will be linked in the show notes as well at

Now let’s get to those roots.

Back in Part I of the Treating IBD series, I mentioned your 3-legged stool. Do you remember the legs and are you still holding on to how they pertain to you? The first leg of your stool is your genetics—the DNA you are born with. Is it as fixed as we once thought? Nope, it’s changeable. According to the field of epigenetics it is, but were we born with the DNA for IBD? Yes, indeed.

The next leg of your stool is your microbiome or the trillions of bacteria living inside of your body, whose balance or imbalance, possibly intestinal permeability, is key to the trajectory of your IBD.

If all of this is confusing, don’t fret, go back and check out Episode 89. It will catch you up in a simplified way, and then you can jump back in with us for this episode, Part III.

Now the last leg of your stool, do you remember that one? It’s your trigger leg—the mind, body, or soul stressor or stressors that caused a volcano in your body named Crohn’s or colitis to slowly begin to ooze. Or even cause a catastrophic eruption like a Pompeii sized blast. Everyone is different here. How did your IBD show up for you? It’s these stressors, the triggers for you– this is where we begin our treating IBD story today.

So in Part I we talked about the 3-legged stool and how one of the legs is your trigger, and at the end, I gave you a homework assignment to think about what those stressors might have been for you. Today, we get to put your homework to the test with 9 possible autoimmunity triggers. Let’s see if your triggers fall into one or more of these categories.

Like I said at the top of the show, most people with autoimmunity, like IBD, fall into 3-5 of these root cause triggers. Maybe you’ll confirm what you already know and you’ll feel more confident about what brought your IBD about or maybe you’ll add a couple triggers to your insights and be that much more armed with great information to take to your provider and into your future healing.

With each trigger, I’ll be giving you some ideas to help get you started on a healing path as well. I’ll point out some of the ways medical professionals look at, assess, and treat these nine roots. This is definitely not a substitute for a good medical provider. We’re really looking at this from a high view, general perspective today, but it will still be good information so that you can fill in your specifics and at least know which practitioner to start with depending on the triggers you are presenting with.

Ready for the 9 triggers?


Is this one of your triggers? Maybe, maybe not. Everyone who’s heard of leaky gut and has gastrointestinal challenges tends to think they have leaky gut. This isn’t always the case and you can’t make a definitive assessment based on symptoms alone.

If you were with us for Part I in our Treating IBD series, you might remember I mentioned a clinician and researcher named Dr. Alessio Fasano. He’s the man who started this whole leaky gut conversation. Thanks to his research, we know that there is a protein that regulates leaky gut in our body. That protein is called zonulin and there are some really good tests in medicine today, tests ordered by functional and integrative medicine providers, that look to see if you have high levels of zonulin in a blood or stool test.

A high level of zonulin is a good indicator that you do in fact have leaky gut, one of the root triggers behind autoimmunity and IBD.

Let’s say zonulin testing has been conducted by your provider and you know leaky gut is at play as one of your root causes. Now what? Well, there’s a few options root cause providers are using for their patients, and of course it’s one part of a comprehensive approach because it must go hand in hand with other root cause solutions, but first and foremost, we grab the low hanging fruit and address your diet. Eating in a way that supports the health of your digestive system and the lining of the intestinal track is paramount.

We know that everyone is different here, but some changes you may want to consider are eating gluten free, dairy free, possibly eliminating gut disrupting foods like corn and soy. These types of foods may be one of the things at the root of your IBD and we’ll talk about specific food sensitivities in a moment, but this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to foods that create an environment for leaky gut. Healing leaky gut can also include adding in foods like bone broth. Basically, the bottom line with leaky gut is to eat in a way that supports your GI tract so that you have the power to digest and absorb the food you eat. Sounds like digesting and absorbing nutrients should be automatic, but for those of us with IBD, it’s not.

Besides food, what other options can help heal your leaky gut? Supplements and herbs for starters. Digestive enzymes, probiotics, an amino acid supplement called L-glutamine, licorice root, slippery elm, aloe vera, marshmallow root. And of course, I’m not saying you need to take all of these. Absolutely not. These are just options to consider—ones you can work with your “moving beyond medicine” provider to tailor a plan that works best for your needs.


Dysbiosis is a bit of a fancy medical word, but it just means that there’s an imbalance of bacteria your digestive system. An imbalance of bacteria is one of the hallmarks of IBD. Many of us fall into this root cause. How about you? How does this one land for you?

Gut dysbiosis is one of those ailments best looked at in your stool, but it’s not going to be found in the traditional stool tests you might at your GI office. Thankfully, there are functional labs like Diagnostic Solutions and Genova Diagnostics that offer quality stool testing for gut dysbiosis. It’s great if you have a provider who can order these types of labs, but if you don’t, the good news is that now you can order labs like these on your own, through reputable direct to consumer sites. I always prefer for a doctor to be able to help you interpret the results, but it’s good to know that tests like these, that were once only offered by certain providers are now offered to the masses. I’ll leave some links in the show notes at to some of the best direct to consumer lab companies.

Healing gut dysbiosis all starts with diet. See how much you can accomplish with diet? It’s truly amazing if we only put a little energy into finding out the foods that work for our body. Your first steps here will be to cut out the crappy food (you know what I’m talking about—the fast food, the canned, boxed, packaged food with way too many ingredients that no one can pronounce). Replacing the junk with healthy food—remembering that healthy is different for everyone. Again, it’s about eating the food your body can digest and absorb. Providers like the ones mentioned last week in Part II can help you figure this out.

After a diet clean up, we want to start adding in probiotic rich foods like 24-hour fermented yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchee, fermented veggies, kombucha, kefir, pickles, apple cider vinegar. All the good bacteria that can really begin to repopulate your digestive tract.

When you are able to tolerate pre-biotics, foods like dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic—these are great options.  But again, after some healing and restoring of the digestive tract has taken place. If you’ve ever just jumped into probiotics or prebiotics because you heard they were the answer for IBDer’s only to feel bloated, gassy, have diarrhea, etc., it’s because your gut just wasn’t restored enough for this step yet. Again, working with one of the providers I mentioned last week will help you figure out when the time is right for you.

Besides probiotic foods, probiotic supplements made from high quality pharmaceutical grade ingredients through brands like VSL#3, Visbiome, Kirkman labs, and Pure Encapsulations, and Klaire Labs can be helpful as well.


SIBO, Candida, C-diff (clostridium difficile), salmonella, E coli, H pylori… so many gut infections and as hard as it is to believe, much of the time we don’t know we have these infections at the root of our IBD because we are so used to having gut challenges. It becomes normal to us. And no one is testing for it.

Bloating, gas, diarrhea, back and forth between diarrhea and constipation, sugar cravings, heart palpitations, anxiety, brain fog, poor concentration, skin rashes… all of these can be symptoms of undiagnosed GI infections. With infections like these, the only way to really treat them with accuracy is to test for them first. SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is one of these infections that you’ve probably heard of, but most gastro’s aren’t testing for it. Or when they do test for it, they aren’t using the best test available to them. I see client after client only able to get limited SIBO testing. It is so frustrating. But integrative, functional, and naturopathic physicians who specialize in IBD are usually knowledgeable about the best SIBO and other GI infection testing options.  Again, there’s probably tests you can order direct to consumer, but having a trained professional to read your results is always preferable.

When treating gut infections, sometimes an antibiotic is needed. Other treatment options may include herbal remedies like allicin (compound in garlic) or natural antibacterials and antifungals like oil or oregano or neem oil. The type of infection you have along with your doctor’s gut infection protocol (they all seem to be a little different) will determine what you take and for how long.

Food should always be a part of an intestinal infection treatment plan. Diets like Low FODMAPs and SCD can be prescribed to help because they are low in sugar, low in fermentation, and low in carbs.

GI infections will always trump adding in probiotics for gut dysbiosis. This is a clear case when some restoration of the GI tract needs to come first. After some healing has taken place, then it will be safer to start adding in probiotics in the form of fermented foods or supplements again.


Oh yeah, mama, you know if this is you. This was me when I finally decided I wanted to move beyond medicine. This was my biggest culprit. Back then, my days were filled with pasta, white bread, cereal, white mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese… so called comfort food. that’s all I ate. So much so that when I finally changed the way I was eating and embraced a low carb diet, I went into carbohydrate withdrawal. Yes, it’s a real thing it is no joke.

Changing up your diet when you are a sugar and carb junkie can be real tough, especially when you see others eating this way, seeming to have no consequences at all. Not fair, right? This is where the genetics comes into play unfortunately, but as my clever integrative gastro told me once, yes you have the IBD genes, but eating that will always catch up with you. So while others are struggling with heart disease, Type II Diabetes, strokes, and neurological challenges, your future, thanks to eating healthy, looks much brighter.

Your genetics that may have set all of this up in the first place, can actually be a positive here because it’s what is giving you the motivation to eat with your gut in mind; to eat healthy so you can avoid all those later in life challenges so many are plagued with.

The even better news about trigger #4 is that when one of your root causes to IBD is an unhealthy diet, the treatment doesn’t require a procedure, a test, bloodwork, or even a stool sample. Instead, it requires a commitment to figuring out what gut healing foods work best for your body. This is a good place to enlist the help of a qualified nutritionist or a health coach specializing in IBD. Not a calorie counter, bland food diet promoter, but someone who understands the impact of food on the digestive tract. And if they mention following bland diet, remember that’s your cue to run.


This can be a big unknown trigger for autoimmune conditions like IBD because so much of the time, we never know where our vitamins and mineral stand. Who’s getting vitamin and mineral profiles checked? As an IBD patient, it’s not something that comes up often in traditional settings. But when digesting and absorbing nutrients is at play and it’s not going well, you better believe it’s going to show up as a GI challenge.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies may show up as weak bones, fatigue, decreased immune function. Any of this sound familiar? So many of us are saying yes. This could be a root cause for you and it’s time to get it checked out. Like I said, vitamin and mineral testing is not a standard part of your bloodwork. Maybe a vitamin D level if you’re lucky, but other nutrients like your B vitamins (like B12 and folic acid), zinc, calcium magnesium, Vitamin C, potassium… Or how about your macronutrients like how well you digest fat, protein, and carbohydrates. All of these levels will have an impact on your C + C. And no one is looking for it.

Testing and then correcting for vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to huge transformations for the way your Crohn’s or colitis shows up for you. A functional/integrative provider may start looking at your vitamin and mineral count by checking out your bloodwork, but then they good deeper with urine, saliva, possibly hair sample testing—tests that can detect the micro and macro nutrient deficiencies in your body. Then, they can give you a personalized vitamin and mineral plan that includes food as well as supplements that are actually worth taking.

Let’s take your B-12 level for example. Most traditional docs may prescribe B-12 injections if they find you are low in B-12 (common in ileal Crohn’s). Low levels of B12 may show up as fatigue, brain fog, muscle aches, joint pain, weakness… Most doctors end up prescribing a form of B12 call cyanocobalamin. But another form, methylcobalamin, the methylated form of B12 is the active form of B12, so no conversion of the vitamin is necessary for your body. Many IBDer’s are unable to convert into the active form so they are just wasting their time with a B12 supplement that never helps their levels rise.

Let’s take one that’s more common—vitamin D. We’ve all heard of that one. Many with IBD are deficient, but are you getting the right test with your blood serum labs? Make sure you ask your doctor for the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test and when in comes in be sure you look at your values as well. Many traditional providers will say, “You’re level is around 30 so you’re OK, when functional and integrative providers warn that your D level really needs to be higher than that. Sure, we can ward of the most serious of sickness with a low normal level, but to function at our peak, our D levels need to be much higher. Providers like the ones I mentioned last week will look at your labs differently to help you function at your best, not just survive.


This is a big one for us. Capital H HUGE. It’s amazing what knowing your food sensitivities and avoiding those foods can do for you. Have you ever spent the time to figure this out for yourself? If you have, I know you are shaking your head saying, “Oh, yeah, it’s huge!” I’ve personally witnessed a 180 degree turn around in client after client when they figure out what foods work for them and what foods don’t. And these type of food reactions may not be your typical food allergy with an anaphylactic reaction, but they cause troubles nonetheless.

Common root cause sensitivities we tend to see in those with IBD are foods like gluten, dairy, foods that contain histamines or fructose, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, sometimes caffeine…  And the way these sensitivities show up for each of us will be different. From gut challenges to body aches to brain fog to sleep disturbances to skin reactions… food sensitivities show up in a myriad of ways. Figuring out what these foods are and how they show up in your body is the key to quelling this root cause challenge.

There’s many ways to assess food sensitivities. One way is through food sensitivity tests like one called LEAP (learning, eating, and performing test) or the ELISA test—Everly Well has an at home version of a food sensitivity test, Genova Diagnostics has a version as well. While these tests are by no means perfect when it comes to catching every food sensitivity, they can give you valuable information to start making changes to what you eat.

If you don’t have access to food sensitivity testing, you can still make strides at figuring out your food sensitivities by tracking your food, your mood, your symptoms and your poop with a food journal in an app or with my Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System. Methods like this usually take more time and dedication, but they can work to figure out how the food you eat is impacting the systems in your body—especially the GI tract. If you’re looking for a way to track yourself so that you can begin to uncover what you’re food sensitivities are, go to the show notes at I’ll leave a link for you there to get my F-M-P Journaling System completely free.


Toxins are something most of us rarely think about. Sure, we think poisons and hazardous materials as something to avoid. Carbon Monoxide, asbestos… You might even remember the Mr. Yuck sticker our parents would place on products throughout our home if it was something we weren’t supposed to touch because it had chemicals in it. Are you old enough to remember Mr. Yuck or is it just me?

But all toxins aren’t that obvious and some have the potential to hide, creep in, in places where think you are safe. Chemical, environmental, and physical toxins are lurking in everything imaginable. And these toxins may have played a significant role in shaping the way your IBD shows up today.

Everything from toys, to make up, shampoo, water bottles, our clothes, carpets, furniture, paint for our walls, mold, heavy metals, poor air quality… pretty much everything we come in contact with has the potential to contain toxins. In fact, according to toxin experts, most humans are walking around with about 700 toxins in their body, toxins that are not supposed to be there, at any given moment. 700!

And remember, not all toxins are man-made chemicals either. Natural toxins, like ones in our food also play a role in the demise of our digestive health. Toxins like lectins in legumes, mycotoxins in dried fruit and nuts, and biotoxins in certain kinds of fish can cause damage to many parts of our body, including the digestive system.

Besides natural toxins, some of the most common chemicals that you may still be in contact with in your home are ones like parabens found in shampoos, shaving gel, and toothpaste. Also formaldehyde which is usually on new things you bring into your home like a mattress or a new car… even clothing. If you ever say to yourself, wow that has a “new” smell, you can thank the formaldehyde. Periflorinated chemicals are also ones we probably come into contact with daily. Fast food containers, flooring, paint all may contain these PFC’s that have been linked to damaging our immune system.

There’s too many toxins here to list, but chances, even if we have the cleanest, greenest, most organic home with stuff and food, we are still exposed to toxins and toxins were most certainly present in the home where you grew up.

So, what can you do about this autoimmune root cause challenger?

There are some conventional blood tests that look for toxins in the body—complete blood count, liver enzymes, inflammatory markers… these can all be helpful. Functional and integrative doctors may take this testing one step further with an organic acid test that looks at toxins in your urine. They may also do more blood and saliva testing.

If it’s found that the toxins in your body are creating challenges for your immune function, your inflammatory pathways, and your digestive system you can work with your provider to create a plan to gently rid your body of these toxins. The plan will really depend on what toxins are present.

I don’t recommend you do a detox on your own. First of all, detox’s in general can be very taxing on and IBD gut, but the other problem is that detoxification releases toxins into your body to be flushed away. If you’re flushing organs like your liver, your kidneys, or your colon are not in good working order, you can be creating more problems than you are helping.

So do yourself a favor, if you feel like toxins are one your root cause culprits, work with a trained detox provider who is very familiar with Crohn’s and colitis to help you detox naturally and slowly so you avoid a lot of discomfort and don’t create more problems than the toxins themselves.


The mother of all triggers, the one we truly struggle to get under control is stress. Can you honestly say you have no stress? Me either. This is a trigger we can all use help with. But especially when IBD is at play, with this huge gut/brain connection, we can’t afford to ignore our stress anymore.

In my practice, stress is usually the last thing people want to tackle. People are much more willing to change their diet, try supplements, before they want to look at stress. And that’s because it’s hard. Dealing with the stress in your life is harder than adopting a completely new way of eating.

Right here, right now, let’s ask some questions to bring this topic of stress front and center for you, once and for all. Are you ready? I know just these questions alone can be anxiety provoking so let’s take a deep breath together and let it go. This is a safe space and we are just asking the right questions to get to the heart of your stress. Here we go.

  • What kind of stress were you under just before your IBD diagnosis?
  • Is that stress still a factor in your life today?
  • What are the 3 biggest stressors that you are struggling with right now? What three things are weighing on your mind when you get up in the morning, when you try to go to bed at night?
  • Are you more prone to the type of stress that lingers and festers for long periods or do you experience bursts of stress at home or in your work life that challenge you in the moment?
  • The kind of stress that lingers—finances, a long-term illness, long term relationship stress, long term insomnia—this is what we call chronic stress.
  • The kind of stress that comes fast and goes away just as fast like a time-centered deadline at work, a blow-up with your spouse you didn’t see coming but fizzles out quickly, a surprise when a deer jumps out in front of your car while you’re driving—these are all types of acute stress.

OK, you did great with that. Let’s just shake it off. Literally give your hands, your body a shaky shake, maybe a little deep breath and just let it go for the moment.

Good, now we manage these types of stressful situations (notice I said manage, not get rid of) in our life differently. Knowing the kinds of things that are stressing you out, knowing the type of stress that’s plaguing you (acute or chronic) is the first step in getting control of the stress that’s impacting your IBD. It’s insight, and insight is half the battle.

So congrats to you, you already to a big, bold IBD leap today.

Now it’s time to take some action. If stress is an IBD trigger for you, or if stress is in your life right now and you’re ready to take action to finally do something about it, I want you to get your hands on my stress management toolbelt. It’s your guide to managing stress so it doesn’t mange you or wreak havoc on your IBD. Going into this resource knowing if you fit into the acute, chronic, or both category (often times we have both) will be really helpful because you’ll now be able to hone in on the stress management techniques that will best serve you. A link to your free stress management toolbelt is in the show notes at


The last autoimmune trigger that’s a biggy with women is hormones. Hormones play a large role in all of our body systems, especially our digestive system. And if our hormones are out of balance, it creates a cascade of symptoms that can impact your gut.

Let me really bring this home with a really concrete example for you. When you have your menstrual cycle, if you’re still in menses, or think back if you’re not anymore, what happens to your bowels? There’s a change there during that time of month isn’t there. Some women experience severe constipation while others have looser stools, even diarrhea. The hormones responsible for initiating your period don’t just work during your time of the month. They also are interacting with you and your digestive tract all day, all month, all year long.

This gut-hormone connection isn’t just reserved for your period. How about when you were pregnant, what did your IBD do then? How about after you gave birth and your hormones changed again? What about menopause? If you’ve been through that, how did it impact your IBD?

See, hormones and IBD will always go together. One impacts the other greatly. If you suspect hormone imbalances at the root of your IBD, proper testing is key. And like with many of these triggers, your conventional doctor may not be asking for tests that will really give a full picture into your hormone function. When it’s time for hormone testing, don’t just stick with the standard TSH and T4 bloodwork. Be sure to ask for more detailed testing or see an integrative or a functional medical provider who can steer you in the right direction.

  • Functional hormone testing usually includes:
  • TSH and T4
  • Total T3
  • Free T4
  • Free T3
  • Reverse T3
  • Thyroid Antibodies

See how much more comprehensive we need to be when determining if there’s a hormone challenge at the root of your IBD?

Like with our possible IBD trigger #7: Toxins, the route you take to help your hormone challenges and your IBD will depend on what results come back. You may need targeted medications or supplements. There’s even certain foods that support various hormonal pathways like for our adrenals or our thyroid levels.

If you suspect hormone challenges at play, start with good functional hormone testing and let your practitioner steer you into some of your best treatment options.

Woo-Wee, we made it! Nine triggers. Nine possible root causes for your IBD. Which ones fit for you? Let’s recap our list one last time. Remember, we may be talking root causes here, but it’s only to get clearer on your best path to healing. We must know where we came from to know where we are going in life, and in IBD treatment as well.


So, those roots were:

  • Leaky gut
  • Gut dysbiosis
  • GI infections
  • High sugar/high carbohydrate intake
  • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
  • Hidden food allergies/sensitivities
  • Toxins
  • Stress
  • Hormone imbalances

Where do all roads lead for you? Did you pick out a couple that may be a factor? 2, 3, 7 roots? Instead of feeling daunted by this, I want you to pant yourself on the back and say, “Thank you body. Thank you for steering me in the right direction. Now I’m ready to take action like never before.”

As we wrap up this Treating Your IBD series: Moving Beyond Medicine, what did you learn?

Do you have a good handle on your personal 3-legged stool?

Do you have an idea of the types of providers that can help you when you are ready for healing from the inside out?

Are you thinking about what you’re 3-5 (it’s OK if there’s more or less) triggers are that contributed to your diagnosis and what’s still contributing to keeping your disease active?

That’s where I’d love for you to be right now. With clarity for those few things. It’s a lot, yes, it’s a lot. But if you’re feeling lost, confused, overwhelmed right now, I’m here to help you make sense of it all. You can also use your new IBD Experts List to help you seek out providers who can help. Remember that list is yours for hanging out with me during this series, it’s yours for being part of this lovely and courageous community of IBD mamas and it’s yours because you deserve it.

You deserve to heal.

You deserve to be as healthy as you can be. I know the providers my IBD Experts List can help get you started. It’s waiting for you at These are truly some remarkable, some of the smartest people I’ve had the pleasure to meet or learn from over the years. You are going to love hearing about the work they are working on and how they can help serve your IBD at its root.

And If you know anyone in a similar situation, please share everything we’ve talked about in the last couple weeks with them. This is powerful, life changing information. Share these episodes with them so they can find peace and thrive in their life too.

That’s a wrap on our three-part Treating Your IBD series I just want to say thanks for joining me. It’s been quite a ride. We’ll be back again this Thursday with an interview episode I know you are going to love.

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.

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part II}

Last week was the start a series of episodes all about treating your IBD at the root cause level.

When you’re ready to move beyond medicine, with so many options out there, all of them touted as THE ONE WAY TO HEAL, how do you go about carving out your best gut healing path? The one that will move mountains and create life transforming results for you in huge, impactful ways.

That’s what this series is all about. This week, we are continuing our moving beyond medicine conversation. It’s time for Part II in the series.

This is going to be good!

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 Big shocker ~ the best provider to help you with a “food is medicine” approach isn’t your doctor. But who is?

🌿 What is the difference between an Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Naturopathic Doctor (and who is best suited to help your IBD)?

🌿  The reason why you might just need more than one IBD root cause provider.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode 89: Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part I

Find an Integrative Medicine Provider Near You

Find a Functional Medicine Provider Near You

Find a Naturopath Near You

Episode 10: How to Find an IBD Doctor You’ll Rave About

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part II

Last week was the start a series of episodes all about treating your IBD at the root cause level. When you’re ready to move beyond medicine, with so many options out there, all of them touted as THE ONE WAY TO HEAL, how do you go about carving out your best gut healing path? The one that will move mountains and create life transforming results for you in huge, impactful ways. That’s what this series is all about. This week, we are continuing our moving beyond medicine conversation. It’s time for Part II in the series. This is going to be good!


Hey there my friend, Karyn here with you on The Cheeky Podcast and if you are listening to this in real time, it’s May and May signifies IBD awareness month. Raising awareness for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis is a job I take very seriously. I’ve been shouting I’VE GOT IBD from the rooftops for years now because the more people who are aware of who we are, the struggles we go through, that we are strong, and resilient, and bold, and that we have an invisible chronic illness worth fighting for, the further we will get in finding compassion, understanding, and a cure.

So as this month comes to a close, will you please commit to spending its last few days talking about your illness more than you usually do? Will you spread the word to your family and friends and neighbors and co-workers? “I’ve got IBD and this is how it impacts me.” You never know where you are going to spark an idea that will help us find peace in our lifetime.

You deserve it. We deserve it. We deserve understanding, and attention for what invisible, largely un-talked about, even whispered about illness looks like.

OK dear one, I have to start this episode with a bit of an explanation. If you were with me last week, you might remember that I was creating a two-part series all about treating your IBD in ways that move us beyond medicine. Medicine is great. It’s here for us when we need it, but long-term toxic medications with myriads of side effects do not need to be our life long goal anymore. There’s too many natural options available to us now. Thanks to the internet and social media and podcasts, we hear about our options now more than ever before.

Well, Part I was great. It went off without a hitch. We focused on why it’s absolutely valuable and necessary to move beyond medicine. Why it’s tough to do this when you’re only source of professional and medical IBD information is your traditional gastroenterologist. They have a warm place in my heart and they are so valuable, but they are not the only path we should be following. We focused on knowing where your IBD comes from and why having that knowledge is the biggest, badest, most necessary first step to take when you’re figuring out your next healing IBD move.

Remember the 3-legged stool from last week? Genetics, your microbiome, and the stressor or the trigger that explodes or slowly burns your IBD path in motion. These three legs of the stool are the key to your personal autoimmunity story.


Did you complete the homework assignment I gave you?

Did you take some time to figure out what your 3-legged stool looks like? If you did, you will definitely have a “leg up” on this episode. Use the information you have in your mind now to help you as we continue to move forward and put the IBD treatment puzzle pieces together.

Now, if you are just joining us for Part II of the series, that’s OK. This episode can really stand alone, but you’re going to get so much more out of your Crohn’s or colitis healing journey, to figure out what works best for you, check out Episode 89 as well.  You can get it wherever you get your podcasts and I’ll leave a link for it in the show notes at

But what I realized in creating Part II in this series, which was supposed to be the last part, is that this topic of moving beyond medicine is too big to constrain into two parts. If I want to really give you the knowledge to take with you and run, to give you the kind of step by step, detailed information I strive to give each week, I needed to make this series in three parts.

In Part I, we dug deep, all the way to the root of IBD. This week in Part II, our focus is on where to go to get help once you have this knowledge and deep understanding of our illness, and then Part III will be the wrap up to all of this knowledge—We’ll wrap our Treating IBD series up in a pretty purple bow (purple for IBD awareness) as we get to the most common 9 root causes for IBD and I’ll be telling you how you can use those 9 roots to get out of the dregs of IBD into a life of being the mom, the wife, the friend, the family member, the worker, the human you always wanted to be.

Let’s do this shall we? Let’s get into Part II: Moving Beyond Medicine with practitioners at the heart of autoimmunity and root cause medicine. When you begin to understand that you can and deserve to cast a wider net to help your IBD symptoms, the question often becomes now what? Who can help me move beyond medicine? Well, I’m so glad you asked.


So, you know the how and the why behind your IBD. Again, it’s all there in Episode 89. Now, it’s time for us to move into the what part of our IBD equation. What can you do to help your IBD besides medicine? Your gastro has you covered there, but what else is out there for your treatment options? Today’s episode is all about your options. It’s not about creating a treatment plan for you. It would be way beyond my scope to create a specific treatment plan, but it’s absolutely essential that you work with a qualified professional because autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s and colitis have several different pathways to healing. That God for that because we are all manifesting our IBD in different ways. As we learned last week, there are several different sneaky culprits at play when it comes to IBD.

In Part III, we’ll delve into the 9 most common ones, but even with that information, you’ll still need an amazingly qualified provider to help you get the most out of treating those roots. And by the way, Part III is coming out sooner rather than later because I want you to have all this information at your fingertips. So if you are listening when this episode goes live on Thursday, the next episode, Part III will be coming out on Monday (this coming Monday) so be on the lookout for that.

So, now we ask the question, what can you do? Who should you seek out to get the moving beyond medicine care you need.  Lets’ start with the Integrative Medicine provider. Integrative medicine—have you heard that term before? It’s a popular medical term in the U.S. It might be called something slightly different to you lovely listener if you are outside the U.S., but these days every country has providers who specialize in integrative medicine.

An integrative medical provider could be an MD, or a DO, or even a PA, or a nurse practitioner. Integrative medical providers come from all backgrounds in the medical field. You’re looking for one who specializes in IBD. The father of integrative medicine is Dr. Andrew Weil. Have you heard of him or read any of his books? Really brilliant man. I got to be taught by him in my health coach training program which was pretty cool. If you are not familiar with him and you go look him up after this episode, think “Yogi Santa Claus.” Just a little visual for you smile over.


According to the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, integrative medicine is “a healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person, including all aspects of life.”

I think of IM as the best combination of East meets West. Integrative Medicine uses whatever modality is best for the patient so that could be medication, it could be herbs, or supplements, acupuncture, more cutting edge IBD treatments like Fecal Microbiota Transplant or Rectal Ozone Therapy, or stem cell therapy, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a medical provider by your side who is able to pull from all types of healing modalities whether they are conventional or more natural? Integrative medicine practitioners provide this and are well-versed in getting to the bottom of what’s causing and impacting your autoimmune illness and then spending time in partnership with you to carve out a treatment plan that works for not just your symptoms, but your lifestyle as well.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Integrative medicine doctors are found all over the world. I’ll leave a link in the show notes to a comprehensive IM provider directory so you can find an integrative medicine provider near you.

What other options are available to you when you are ready to move beyond medicine? How about a functional medicine practitioner? Again, a functional provider can be from all walks of healthcare. From and MD, to PA, nurse, to a nutritionist. I consider myself a functional health coach because I look at Crohn’s and colitis from a root cause, healing perspective rather than a symptom relief model.


According to the Institute for Functional Medicine, FM is a “systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.” Functional medicine providers can really help when you are ready to go all in on healing—not covering up your illness. Nothing against cover up medicine. Sometimes when we are suffering, that’s exactly what we need in that moment. I’ve been there myself; too many times but it’s not a place to thrive. We need to have that fire in our belly that says, “I deserve more.” Constantly covering up my symptoms was how I blinked and 20 years of IBD hell had gone by with nothing good to show for it. Take it from me, you don’t want to turn down that dark path.

You can find a functional medicine trained practitioners all over the world. To locate one in your area, or hell through telemedicine these days, I’ll leave a link to the Institute for Functional Medicine’s practitioner directory in the show notes. That way, you can find someone to connect with if you are ready.


I want to round out your medical practitioner options with one last field to consider. It’s one that’s been tremendously helpful for me. And that’s the field of naturopathy. Naturopaths are physicians. They are trained and educated at accredited medical colleges and according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, “They learn how to, diagnose, prevent, and treat acute and chronic illness to restore and establish optimal health by supporting the person’s inherent self-healing process.”

I love that “self-healing process.” Self- healing, did you catch that? Inherent in the core belief of a naturopath is the belief that the body has the ability to heal itself. When given the right tools, naturopaths believe the body wants to reset, wants to find health and balance. We just need to have the treatment plan in place that gives our body a nudge.

There’s a whole range of naturopathic physicians working in the U.S. and most of them specialize, just like a traditional doctor so try to find someone who works with gastrointestinal issues. That’s the best type of naturopath that’s best suited to serve you. I’m working on creating a list of all of the types of providers I mentioned today with provider names for you to check out. And the naturopath I’ve got on that list is stellar. I mean, amazing and really cutting edge in the work she’s doing for IBD patients. I’ll have that done and ready to share by Part III of this series, so be on the lookout for that.

If you’re looking for a naturopathic physician where you live, in the U.S. the best place to start is with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. There website has a directory of providers and of course, I’ll link to it in the show notes at I have no doubt there’s some type of field similar in non-U.S. countries. They may even be called a naturopath. Do a search and see what you can find where you live.


Now if you are seeking a food-based approach to healing, and I don’t blame you because gut healing food is medicine, a dietitian or a nutritionist can really help with getting you versed in a gut healing-based diet. Usually they are also helpful with supplement recommendations. Some even do root cause digestive testing that your traditional doctor doesn’t know about. Be careful though, there’s a wide variety in paradigms and schools of thought with dietitians and nutritionists. What you don’t want, is calorie counting, nutrition facts panel centered help. That might be needed for weight loss (that’s a strong might), but we are looking at transforming our digestive system into a gut healing machine.

Calorie counting is not the answer. And you don’t want to work with a nutrition expert who tells you, “Just eat bland and you be fine. Pasta, bread, mac and cheese… bland, bland, bland.” If that’s what you are hearing from them, run, don’t walk to find a new provider. Dieticians and nutritionists come in the integrative and functional variety as well. That type of provider is best suited to help and fulfill what you are looking for. Look for someone with digestive disease experience because they have the gastrointestinal tract experience to keep that in the mix.


One last option for your consideration when you are ready to move beyond medicine is to look for a Health Coach. Health Coaching used to be a small field and no one really knew what they did, but Health Coaches are everywhere now—around the world and they can be very helpful in providing you with ideas, resources, support, and accountability on your health journey. Plus, they are not the “15 min in and out” type of provider so with a health coach, you get to delve deeper and really feel heard and understood. It’s a safe space to sort out the challenges in your life.

Most Health Coaches, by nature, are mind/body, root cause, wholistic minded, but check their philosophy before getting started to make sure. You already have enough traditional and conventional wisdom in your life through your G.I. For this provider, you are seeking someone with a more natural, open minded approach to healing. All you have to do is ask about their healing philosophy and they’ll tell you.

One of the things Health Coaches do better than any of the providers I’ve mentioned today is engaging in the support, encouragement, and also providing you the accountability we all sometimes need to make change happen. A good health coach will help you weigh all your options, know what your options are, encourage you to have open, honest conversations with your doctor and in the end, respect your decisions without judgement. They really hold your hand and walk you step by step through your whole gut healing journey.

Just like all of the providers we discussed today, Health Coaches specialize. If you are looking for someone to help with your IBD challenges, you don’t want a weight loss coach or an exercise and fitness coach. Sure, some of these types of goals can be part of your health coach experience, but you’ll want a coach who is very familiar with IBD. Of course, you know I’m one of those coaches and I’d love to chat with you to see if we are a good fit to work together, but there are others as well. Don’t hesitate to interview them to find the coach that works best for you.

In fact, with all of these types of providers, an interview is a great idea. Most offer 15-min free phone chats to see if they work with the types of issues you are bringing to them. A while back I did an episode all about finding the best doctor for you. Before you seek out one of these providers we’ve talked about today, you might want to give that episode a listen or a re-listen to help you find the best provider or providers for you.

Remember, healing takes a village. Surround yourself with all the help you can get. If you want to check out that episode, where I help you find a doctor you’ll rave about, that’s Episode 44. I’ll link to it in the show notes.

Now the good news about all of the practitioners I mentioned today, ones that can help you further understand your personal 3-legged stool, can give you suggestions for how to move forward with true and lasting healing, is that they don’t practice cover up medicine. It’s their goal, 100%, to get underneath the surface to bust open a healing regime that works—long term works. Isn’t your life worth that?


Let’s review your provider options for beyond medicine healing one last time before we wrap up.

The integrative medicine doc who combines the best of western medicine with the best of eastern wholistic treatments.

The functional medicine provider who really looks under the hood to appreciate all the root causes that went into your current status, they look at you as a whole person, not just one organ.

The naturopath who is a trained physician believing in your body’s inherent ability to heal.

The dietician or nutritionist who specializes in a gut healing approach to food and supplements.

The health coach who helps you sort out all your options, gives you ideas to consider regarding IBD healing through food, lifestyle, and mindset and then supports you unconditionally when you choose your own path to healing.


Which are you going to call on first?

Check out the links in the show notes to help you get started and remember that all of these providers can work as a team to help you heal. You may have a functional medicine doctor and a nutritionist. Or you mind have an integrative medicine provider and a health coach. Find the best combination that works for you.

I’ll leave you with this—we all need a gastro—they are another valuable member of our team. You might be an IBD gal who relies on your biologic or your immunosuppressive therapy. But it doesn’t have to be the end all be all for you. I’ll argue that if you just rely on that, you are missing out on so much that life has to offer.

We’ve got to grab your IBD at the root and give a good shake to truly find lasting healing and lasting peace. These types of providers can help you get there.

In this now three-part series, we’ve tackled what got you here in the first place. It may have seemed weird for us to start there, we’re talking about IBD treatment! But trust me, you can’t move forward with treatment effectively until you know how you got to where you are today. The 3-legged stool.

In Part II, we talked about the providers you’ll want to seek out to become your partners on this transformative journey. Next up, getting released this coming Monday, it’s time for Part III it’s the last part of the equation. The 9 possible root causes you’ll want to bring to the attention of these providers when you reach out. Do you have all 9? The chances are crazy slim. I’m willing to bet that. In my experience with my clients, most people with autoimmunity and IBD have anywhere from 3-5 root causes. Next episode, I’ll go over the nine with you and help you figure out which are playing the biggest impact in your life. I’ll also give you some general guidelines on how you can begin to tackle some of those big root cause challenges. That way you’ll be well on your way when you seek out a provider who can help you clear it all out—all of those roots.


I’ll see you Monday. Don’t forget, that’s when I’m also releasing your Moving Beyond Medicine Provider Directory. The one with Crohn’s and colitis tested providers who are ready to help you get started. Can’t wait for that. You’re going to love it! Be sure to download and listen to Episode 91 to get your hands on that.

Until me 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.

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part I}

Have you ever wondered, why me?

Why was I diagnosed with Crohn’s? Why am I saddled with colitis?

Of course you have. We all say, “why me” from time to time. It’s completely natural. Most of the time, we mean it in a WHY ME kind of way. Putting it out to the universe because there’s no real answer to this question.

But what if you really asked why? What if you actually knew the why behind your IBD? Imagine what knowing why you get this illness would do for how you treat you it—at the root cause level.

Today, we are going deep my friend. We are taking it to the root, to the why behind your IBD so you can use this information to create a personalized healing plan tailored for just you.

Are you ready for a big, bold, episode? Fasten your seat belt and get ready for some big revelations.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 For all the gifts your doctor has, why they may not be the best teacher of root cause medicine

🌿 What IBD and a 3-legged stool have in common (turns out, alot)

🌿  Why knowing what’s at the root of your Crohn’s or colitis is the key to unlocking your personalized IBD freedom plan

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode 31: You’ve Got IBD, Will Your Kids Get it Too?

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part I}

Have you ever wondered, why me? Why was I diagnosed with Crohn’s? Why am I saddled with colitis? Of course you have. We all say, “why me” from time to time. It’s completely natural. Most of the time, we mean it in a WHY ME kind of way. Putting it out to the universe because there’s no real answer to this question. But what if you really asked why? What if you actually knew the why behind your IBD? Imagine what knowing why you get this illness would do for how you treat you it—at the root cause level.

Today, we are going deep my friend. We are taking it to the root, to the why behind your IBD so you can use this information to create a personalized healing plan tailored for just you.

Are you ready for a big, bold, episode? Fasten your seat belt and get ready for some big revelations.


Hey there, Karyn here with you on The Cheeky Podcast and it’s time we have a good, juicy chat. Get your cup of tea, coffee if you must (I’ve got some lemon lavender mint and a candle by my side). Let’s take a deep collective breath, and let it out, get centered, grounded, and feel open to learn everything you can about why IBD came knocking on your door.

Our conversation today has to start with a disclaimer to your doctor. Thank God for gastroenterologists. After all their academic smarts (cause let’s face it, you have to be smart to get into medical school) and then getting through medical school, and then specializing in gastroenterology, hopefully getting board certified even, they have the medical and scientific knowledge to help us treat our Crohn’s and colitis with state of the art medications when everything else has failed and we just can’t get out that nasty a flare up.

Thank God for colorectal surgeons who are just as smart as gastroenterologists, and again went through all the medical school rigor, board certifications, and have to remain steady and clear headed as they perform intricate and complicated bowel surgeries so we can function in life again.

We need medical professionals like this in our life when we have IBD. I always tell my clients, make sure you keep ties with a qualified gastro (a surgeon if you have stricturing disease or massive colon involvement) because you never know when you’re going to need them.


But the problem with always focusing on what the gastro gives you as treatment options and on that type of treatment regime, the medication only approach is that:

#1 It discounts so many other ways available to us to heal our digestive tract—ways that don’t include risks like a suppressed immune system or lymphoma.

#2 It doesn’t take into account that Crohn’s and colitis are highly impacted by the food we put into our body.

#3 Our IBD, it doesn’t ever really heal. Instead, it covers it up. It’s like when you know have friends over and you shove all the crap laying around your house into a nearby closet and hope know one looks in there. Your Crohn’s and colitis, it’s still there. It’s just not initially seen at a first glance.

And again, I am so grateful for medication for IBD, but in this time, in this day and age, with so much additional information at our fingertips, if you are not pairing your medication with more natural, more root cause approaches, if you’re not looking for ways to spend significant amounts of time away from your medication only approach, you are really missing the boat on what it is to truly find freedom from this devastating illness. Freedom that can give you your life back. And you, dear one, deserve to get your life back. You deserve it. And your family deserves to have all of you well.

Freedom from IBD is a beautiful thing!

So, when we are talking about Crohn’s and colitis, and other ways to find impactful healing, you’ve most likely heard about approaches other than medicine. If you’re a Cheeky Podcast regular, you definitely have heard about other ways to heal that use food, or supplements, or lifestyle tools like finding ways to managing the stress in your life.


But why do approaches like these work and why should you try them? Today, I want to take you back just a little bit, and go a bit deeper with you to help you truly understand the “how” and the “why” behind  natural, root cause medicine because it’s one thing to practice it—to go on that gut healing diet (gluten free, dairy free, SCD, autoimmune paleo…), it’s one thing to take the supplements you see touted on the internet as something that helps IBD (maybe vitamin D, turmeric, or gut repair powders…), but it’s a whole other thing to really, at a deep level, get the how and the why behind natural approaches like this.

Knowing why these approaches work can help you tailor them to best suite your needs and help the approaches you pick work best for you. It’s so important that you don’t just go out and try that diet or supplement everyone is talking about because when you don’t understand your own make up and what you try doesn’t work, you think—“Oh, everyone is wrong. Natural remedies don’t work.” Or you think, “What’s wrong with me? Why do things like this work for everyone else but not me?”


You see, IBD mamas who really get the why’s and the how’s behind a more natural way of healing, now those are the mamas who know so much about their body, what works for it and what doesn’t, that they become unstoppable.

To get this conversation started, we need to remember that Crohn’s and colitis are autoimmune diseases—diseases where for some reason, the immune system begins to attack itself. Lots of people in the world suffer with some sort of autoimmunity. Almost 4% of the world’s population has one of 80 known autoimmune conditions. And according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, as many as 50 million Americans are living with an autoimmune disease. 50 million! And the cost of treating it in America alone is $86 billion dollars a year. A year!

Many don’t even know they have autoimmunity. They know that they don’t feel well, but they don’t know why. They rush from doctor to doctor, never getting a proper diagnosis. Often times being told that if they just calmed down, if they just got over their anxiety or their stress, and often if feels like we are getting a verbal a pat on the head by the doctor about being “good girl” and maybe the problem will go away. You may have been in that place yourself, maybe even for a long time before getting the diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Well, at least after all the crazy, wanting to pull your hair out moments, at least we know what autoimmune disease we have. We know we have Crohn’s or colitis or maybe both. And I should say, at least we know one of our autoimmune conditions because if you know anything about how autoimmunity works, you know that autoimmunity likes to travel in multiples. It’s not uncommon for IBDer’s to also have other autoimmune conditions like thyroid disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and so on.

To really become a bad ass IBD mama, to really take control of your own healing destiny, it’s time that you got a behind the scenes look at your autoimmunity and what’s causing your IBD. That’s actually the place where root cause healing begins to take shape. When we want to move beyond medicine to help treat our symptoms at the root level, we start there, in the why and the how, with what’s created all this gut chaos in the first place.

The really cool thing about autoimmunity is that in the last 10-15 years is that the research has exploded. So much more is known about why we get Crohn’s and colitis than ever before. I remember 35 years ago when I was first diagnosed, no one knew anything. Literally I remember my doctor telling me, this is what you have, and we have no idea why it happens. But in your lifetime he said, I bet we figure it out and I bet we find a cure. Now, finally, the research is coming in droves.

Unfortunately, the phenomenal research that’s coming out hasn’t changed the way doctors treat IBD yet. Did you know that when new research comes out, the kind that can be replicated and really put to unbiased rigor to test it out, it often takes about 20 years from that point to put those new ideas into practice by doctors. Talk about a trickle-down effect. It’s like a clogged faucet, coming out in 1 drip every 7 days. Can you imagine if your shower worked that way? Frustrating, I know. But trust me when I tell you, it is coming. Medical practices and doctors are beginning to catch up with the science. We are getting there.

So what is the research telling us about IBD and about the why’s and the how’s of autoimmunity? What do we know about why this autoimmune disorder is plaguing us? It all has to do with a 3-legged stool. Yep, a 3-legged stool.


Picture a bar stool. It’s round on the top with 3 legs underneath to hold you up as you sit your behind on it. Perfectly balanced, those 3 legs have got you supported. But what would happen if one of those legs broke? Can a 3-legged stool hold you up with 2 supports? With 1 support? Absolutely not. With even just one leg of the stool missing, the stool collapses.

And this is how autoimmunity works. Autoimmunity is like a 3-legged stool. Each leg of the stool represents a factor that greatly contributed to your IBD diagnosis. If we can begin to strengthen even one leg of the stool, we can have profound positive impacts on weakening the strength of this IBD monster. Rebuild two of the legs, even bigger power, and all three, now you’ve made strides that will have a profoundly positive impact on the rest of your life.

Now, you might be thinking, wow Karyn has really put together an amazing analogy here. The 3-legged stool. How insightful of her. But nope, I’m just the messenger. Researchers, scientists, and some doctors have been talking about the 3-legged stool approach to autoimmunity since the early 2000’s. I’m just relaying this information as I understand it best. So many have batted around this idea, but I think it first came from Dr. Alessio Fasano, a researcher, a clinician, and an MD working in the field of digestive disease and autoimmune disorders.

And I want you to really get the why’s and the how’s of the rungs of the autoimmune 3-legged stool so you can start to put the puzzle pieces of your own illness together. What are your main culprits, your main factors? They are different for all of us, but knowing yours will help you begin to formulate the best root cause (get IBD at its roots and rip them out) treatment plan for you.


So what are the legs of this autoimmunity stool? The three legs are:

  1. Genetics
  2. The Microbiome/Intestinal Permeability
  3. The Stressor

One more time, it’s genetics: your DNA, your gene expression that you were given at birth. It’s the health and the strength of your microbiome: the trillions of bugs that inhabit our digestive tract and determine if you are healthy or in gut dysbiosis. And #3, it’s the stressor, the trigger that causes everything to collapse.

OK, so now you know what each leg of the autoimmunity stool represents. Let’s dive in just a bit deeper here so you can begin to put your own why’s and how’s, and ultimately your own root cause treatment plan together.

We’ll start with genetics. Your DNA. This is what is given to you at birth, and you can’t change it right? It’s just who you are destined to be. If Crohn’s or colitis is in your make up, you’re screwed. Well, if you’ve heard anything at all about an emerging field of research called epigenetics, you know that what we learned as kids is about our genes being unflinching is dead wrong. In fact, our genes aren’t as stable as we once thought. They may actually be more malleable, and this is great news for those of us with IBD—those of us who’s genes predestined us to this disease.

Epigenetics says that just because your parent(s) gives you a gene for autoimmunity or cancer or Alzheimer’s (fill in your disease of choice) doesn’t mean we will get it. How mind blowing is that? We have the power to change our genes for the better—or the worse, depending on the choices we make in life, and depending on our life factors—ones we have control over and ones we don’t.

The Human Genome Project has been looking into our DNA and has concluded that we have the power to turn on gene expression and turn off gene expression. This is the work of the field of epigenetics. Fascinating right? Is it just my nerd brain exploding here? It’s pretty cool, right?


So, what does this information mean for you?

It means that just as your genes played a role in contracting IBD in the first place, they can also play a role in your root cause healing. It means that you may not be doomed to a life of nothing but sickness for the rest of your life.

That’s very encouraging, isn’t it?

At the cellular level, we can make positive change happen. When we remove the source of the damage, we give the tissue time to heal, we restore energy to your cells so that immune function can get back on track and as a result inflammation can heal, we are literally changing our genetic make-up.

We’ll get into more specific ideas on what some options might be for you to consider and how this can be accomplished in Part II of our Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine series, but for today, just revel in the fact that epigenetics is a thing and the genetics part of your autoimmunity stool has the power to become strong again.

One last note I have about this whole topic—genes and epigenetics—I don’t know about you, but for me, when I talk about having IBD and I know there’s a gene link, it always makes me think about my kids. Does it do that for you?

While raising my kids, knowing IBD has been such a huge factor in my life, knowing that my kids don’t have to be destined to a life of IBD, I always think about what I can do to make sure this insidious illness doesn’t take over their body. If this topic makes your mind go there as well, go check out Episode 31 of the podcast: You’ve Got IBD. Will Your Kids Get it Too? It’s got some great ideas for you to give your kids the best start and maybe even have an impact on their genes too. I’ll leave a link in the show notes.

OK, we talked about the first leg in our 3-legged stool of autoimmunity. Are the wheels turning for you about how your genetic makeup may have played a role in developing this illness, but also how you have the power to say, “No. This is where I am, but this does not mean this is where I’ll always be.”

Powerful stuff.


Now let’s talk about the second leg of your stool, the microbiome and possibility intestinal permeability. So we know all about the microbiome. It’s a hot research commodity, I’ll tell you that. Lots of studies are being conducted about the health of the microbiome and how it plays in the diagnosis of Crohn’s and colitis. I’m so thankful for this because I think it’s the start of scientists finding a cure.

What we know about the microbiome is that it plays a vital role in all of the organs, systems, and pathways in our body. It plays an especially big role in how our digestive system operates. A healthy microbiome with a diverse range of bacteria leads to a healthy gut and that filters into other areas of our body too. But an unhealthy, unbalanced gut bug ratio, now that leads to an imbalance of bacteria and this state of imbalance leads to chinks in our immune function. And in the case of IBD, the immune system begins to attack itself.

We often think of our gut bugs as just a part of our gut, but the bacteria of your gut will have a huge impact on many functions of your body.

Once the immune system begins attacking itself, inflammatory pathways begin to light up because the immune system regulates inflammation.  See how the microbiome, our immune system, and our inflammation are all intricately related? As our immune system begins to wage war against itself, our inflammatory pathways turn on and begin to wreak havoc on our digest system. The perfect IBD storm and it can all be traced by to the balance of your microbiome.

Now the same doctor who first started talking about this 3-legged stool analogy for autoimmune disease, Dr. Alessio Fasano, is the same man who also was the first to bring up the idea of intestinal permeability or leaky gut. And we just cannot talk about the microbiome, about IBD, and not mention leaky gut.

If you’re really familiar with this topic, bear with me for just a sec because it’s important we are all on the same page when we’re talking about leaky gut. And of course, a refresher is always good too. Leaky gut starts with the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. The barrier between what goes into our bloodstream and what stays in the digestive tract. The mucosal lining of the gut is what we call, semi-permeable. Some things pass through and some stay out. We want the nutrients in our food and water to pass through, but we don’t want large food particles or other foreign substances getting in.

When autoimmunity strikes, our bacterial system can be out of balance, so our intestine becomes inflamed, and it’s not unusual for the tight junctions of the mucosal lining to open wider so that food particles and toxins breech the barrier and enter the bloodstream. This is what is coined as intestinal permeability or leaky gut.

Now, just because you have IBD doesn’t mean you have leaky gut, but many do and it can lead to other autoimmune diseases, food sensitivities, hormone challenges, metabolic disorders… you name it. And all of it started with the second leg of your autoimmune stool—your microbiome.

Now again we’ll be getting into some ways you can help your microbiome to restore its balance in the Part II of this series, but I do want to share with you what new emerging research is looking into with gut dysbiosis and balancing the bacteria in your digestive system.

There’s been a great deal of research into probiotics helping in this area. There’s even a specific multi-strain probiotic that’s been shown to have a positive impact for those with IBD. And that’s VSL#3 or Visbiome. These high quality, high dose probiotics have shown in research studies to be very effective in aiding our microbiome to balance out.

But what’s even cooler, is the latest research targeting very specific probiotic strains to help those with IBD to bring their gut dysbiosis back into balance. For example, there’s research showing the positive effects of LA1- lactobacillus acidophilus. It’s been shown specifically to improve intestinal barrier function. So if you have leaky gut, this particular strain can prove beneficial. Another probiotic strain, Bifidobacterium lactis, has been researched and is now associated with lowering colonic inflammation and it’s also been beneficial in regulating T cells in the body. That’s huge because excessive activation of T cells has a large role in the expression of IBD within our body.

That’s just a couple of the specific probiotic strain studies going on. I, for one, hope this research really continues. Using targeted probiotic strains to help each of us individually with the IBD symptoms that plague us most. It would be a huge advancement in IBD root cause treatments.

So, genetics, now the microbiome… are you beginning to put together a picture of how this IBD came about for you? Why do you think your microbiome was malfunctioning? The reason for all of us can be different. For some, it’s diet. For others it can be stress, or hormones, or a virus or parasites… We are born with a microbiome so did the imbalance develop in utero? That could be a factor too. As research continues into this field, keep the health of your microbiome at the top of your mind. We’ll talk about ways you can strengthen it in Part II of this series.


I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, the straw that broke the camel’s back. Gene expression and your microbiome are one thing, but without the straw that breaks the camel’s back, without the stressor, or as I like to call it, the trigger, we don’t have Crohn’s or colitis.

This could be the reason why you get Crohn’s and your sibling doesn’t. Possibly the genetic makeup is there for both of you, but you got the trigger—lucky you. And often times, in fact most of the time, it’s not just one trigger. But a cascade of triggers, like a rolling snowball, it gets bigger and bigger until it becomes out of control.

Your trigger may be chronic life stress over a period of time. It may be a bacterial or viral illness that favors the gut, like the flu or like food poisoning. It may be a hormonal shift, like starting birth control or giving birth, or less likely but even going through the hormonal shift of menopause—that’s more likely to exacerbate your IBD that create it, but hormone shifts do play a role. Exposure to toxins, and pesticides, other autoimmune conditions… all of these things can be your trigger. The final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Most of my newly diagnosed IBD clients will tell me, “I felt this brewing for quite a while.” Or “I should have seen this coming.” They saw it coming through the events that were unfolding in their life, in hindsight of course.

When you use this information to start thinking about a more long term, root cause healing approach, think about the role these triggers played in your life to contribute to your diagnosis. And if you are struggling to figure out your trigger or triggers, get in touch. I’m happy to help process this with you. We’ll get to the heart of it together. You can email me at anytime. That’s what I’m here for.

Part of your IBD treatment plan (besides the medication, besides your diet, besides any supplements you take) should include ways to mitigate this trigger you are experiencing. It may be causing a physical stressor, or an emotional stressor, or a chemical stressor for your body through the toxins you are exposed to (maybe all three)—because if these are not dealt with, I’m telling you straight mama, you will never get the full healing you so desperately desire. The full healing you absolutely deserve.


How is this landing with you? It’s a lot to take in. I told you we were going deep today. And there’s no pressure to have it all figured out right now. Today, is just about getting a sense of what’s been contributing to your illness. How did you get here? It’s not the stuff your doctor typically talks to you about, but you not only have a right to know, like I said at the top of the episode, you need to fully appreciate how you got here, the why behind it all to help you develop your personal root cause treatment plan.

Next week, in Part II, we get into some ideas for what your plan might look like. Keeping in mind your personal 3-legged stool, you can begin to get to the heart of root cause healing. That’s where you’ll start.


So, I know I never do this to you, but this week, you get to be one of my clients. I give them homework and now I’m giving you homework too. Before we chat again next week, do some deep thinking about each leg of your autoimmunity stool: your genetics and even more importantly your epigenetics, your microbiome: What is the state of your gut bugs? Do you have leaky gut? What are your main symptoms right now? And lastly, what were those stressors, those triggers back when you were diagnosed? Are they still a factor in your life? Are there new stressors that have creeped up that are holding your healing back?

Have this information at the ready next week because next week, we are going even deeper to make positive change for your IBD in Part II of Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine. Can’t wait.

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.

Crohn’s & Colitis Meal Planning in 5 Easy Steps

A lot of the time, as a mom with IBD, we have a general idea of what’s good for our gut and what’s not, but actually making it happen, sticking to the diet we have laid out for ourselves, now that’s a different story.

We have this idea in our head of what healthy looks like, but buying the right food at the grocery store, making it efficient so we don’t end up back at the store every other day, doing it on a budget, finding the time to make this wholesome gut healthy food we bought, figuring out how to get the kids help in the kitchen and fit it in with their hectic schedules and your hectic schedule…

All of it is daunting, so overwhelming, so not-gonna-happen.

If the practicalities of eating gut healthy and meal planning for your Crohn’s and colitis is what is standing in the way of your intestinal healing, this is the episode for you my friend.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 How many recipes you’ll want to have handy for the most effective meal planning strategy

🌿 The meal planning step you’re missing that’s leading to way too much food waste

🌿  Loads of ideas on how to involve your kids in gut healthy meal planning and prep to take tasks off of your plate (no matter the age of your kids)

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

5 Steps to Meal Planning Cheat Sheet

Your “Find the Best Gut Healing Diet for Me” Episodes

Episode 69: The New Year’s Resolution Every Mom with IBD Needs to Make

Episode 70: Using Whole Foods to Crush Your Crohn’s & Colitis

Episode 71: 2 Diets Tailor-Made for Crohn’s & Colitis: SCD and GAPS

Episode 72: Finding Crohn’s & Colitis Relief with the Autoimmune Paleo Approach

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Crohn’s & Colitis Meal Planning in 5 Easy Steps

A lot of the time, as a mom with IBD, we have a general idea of what’s good for our gut and what’s not, but actually making it happen, sticking to the diet we have laid out for ourselves, now that’s a different story. We have this idea in our head of what healthy looks like, but buying the right food at the grocery store, making it efficient so we don’t end up there every other day and doing it on a budget, finding the time to make this wholesome gut healthy food we bought, figuring out how to get the kids help in the kitchen and fit it in with their hectic schedules and your hectic schedule… all of it is daunting, so overwhelming, so not-gonna-happen.

If the practicalities of eating gut healthy and meal planning for your Crohn’s and colitis is what is standing in the way of your intestinal healing, this is the episode for you my friend.

Let’ get this gut loving party started.


Well, hello dear one. Karyn here with you on another episode of The Cheeky Podcast and it’s an honor to be with you again. It’s soccer tryouts time of year again. If you have kids in fall travel sports, you know what I’m talking about. I really dislike all the drama surrounding it. It seems so unnecessary and I’m looking forward for to it being done. Behind us. But on the upside, Mother’s Day just past and my kids gave me exactly what I needed—the option of rest and relaxation. It was perfect. How about you? I hope your day was filled with love from your kiddos and most of all, and good health.

Now, I’ve got some goodness coming your way today. Some super practical, tactical, actionable steps you can take to jump start the meal planning part of your gut healing foodie life. Like I said in the opening, I see so many mamas who have a general idea of the way they should eat, the foods that work for them and the foods that don’t, but so often getting started with these new foods or finding time to make them—that’s what stands in they’re way.

Now of course, that’s not every mom with Crohn’s and colitis. Some are still trying to figure out. They’re questioning, “What the heck is the best gut healing diet for me?” And if that’s you, don’t worry I’ve got you covered as well. Back in January, I did a series of episodes all about finding the best gut healing diet for your IBD. If you want some help figuring out what gut healing diets are the best options for you, check out Episodes 69, 70, 71, and 72. It’s a really detailed series. One that looks at the best, most researched gut healing diet options and literally walks you step by step as you figure out what works best for you.

So, know that those episodes are waiting for you if you’re in the “what’s the best diet for me” search and you can hear those episodes wherever you get your podcasts or you can also find them in the show notes. I’ll link to them there as well at No matter where you’re at with finding the best gut healing diet for you, one day you are going to need to take the knowledge you’ve gained about what foods work for you and which ones don’t and put those ideas into practice. I wish I could tell you that finding the diet that works best for you is the most challenging part, but it rarely is. The most challenging part is actually making the diet you choose a part of your daily life and a fitting it in with your family life as well.

The practicalities of gut healing, they trip us up every time.

But today, I’m hoping to solve the practicality dilemma for you and show you how to make gut healing eating a habits that are easy, repeatable, and work for your whole family. It’s all about meal planning and I’m going to show you how to do it in 5 easy steps. One last note to share is that I’ve got a cheat sheet for this episode, so if you find yourself writing furiously or you want a reminder, go ahead and download my Crohn’s & Colitis Meal Planning in 5 East Steps Cheat Sheet. Keep it as a resource as you are starting out on this path. And you can get your 5 Steps to Meal Planning Cheat Sheet at

Shall we dive in? Let’s go for it.

OK, Step 1 in meal planning with your gut health in mind is all about having the right gut healing recipes on hand.

Step 1: The Recipe Hunt

Many people think that meal planning starts with sitting down and planning the meals for the week, but planning your meals for the week is going to take extra long if you don’t have recipes and meal ideas at your fingertips. So, instead of starting with planning the menus for the week, we take one small backstep that will lead you into a giant leap of a time savings with Step 1: The Recipe Hunt. And the recipe hunt is exactly what it sounds like—a hunt for your recipes.

What are your go-to meals?

What are your favorite foods?

How about your kid’s favorite foods?

What foods seem to work best with your sensitive gut?

Write these down first—just make some preliminary notes.

Now, with this information in mind, it’s time to cast a wider net and turn these thoughts and ideas into recipes.

Go to your favorite cookbooks, family recipes that can be made gut friendly (and let me know if you need help with this because it’s my favorite thing to do), go to one of the many gut healing recipe websites and blogs (A Life of Happenstance, Nom Nom Paleo, The Mediterranean Dish, Wholesome Yum—just to give you a few ideas), go to Pinterest (fantastic for recipes) and pull out, print, write down, put the recipes in an app. Put them in a safe place… all the recipes that appeal to you.

And you’ll want to pay close attention to the 5 ingredient meals, 30-minute meals, sheet pan meals, instant pot and crock pot meals… these are the easiest to make on a busy weeknight. The gourmet meals and the longer prep time meals are great, for when you have extra time or want an extra special dinner for a birthday or a holiday, but for everyday meal planning, focus on easy.

I have all my favorites in a recipe binder the I created. In fact, I think I have 2 or 3 at this point. I like things I can touch and feel, and spill sauces on ;  ) So this works for me, but pick whatever method works for you. If this is your first time collecting recipes, finding ten would be an amazing B+ mom start. If you already have a few, then maybe shoot for about 20 total.

I’ve been recipe collecting to help me with meal planning for years now so I think I’ve accumulated about 100 go-to recipes, but that’s actually too many. 20-30 tops is all you ever need to put on rotation so you’re not feeling like you’re eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

Want a “Do it Like a Mom” BONUS TIP: At some point, when your collection starts to free up your meal planning time, start to categorize your recipes. You don’t need to do this at first. The important thing at first is to just do enough to take action. Later, meal planning can become much more streamlined this way. Soups, desserts, main meals, breakfast, etc… You’ll be so happy that you have this type of system in place.

Step 2: What’s Already in the House?

How many times have you gone to the grocery store and came home to put items away and found…one cucumber, two cucumber… “Huh? I forgot that was there!” We all do this. We forget what we already have in our house and stock up on too much, especially the perishables. Not it’s not the biggest deal to stock up on too many frozen carrots or another jar of ketchup, but fruit and veg that goes bad quickly—especially if you buy organic—not a good thing.

So do a quick once over before you even think about what you’ll be making for the week. See what you’ve got. See what you need.

Pantry, refrigerator, counter… When you first start doing this, it can seem a little daunting, but I promise you. You’ll get better at looking around to see what you’ve already got when you do this a couple times. It will become a very quick process.

Taking a peek to see what you already have means less food waste, but it also serves a second purpose. When you take a look at what you already have in your house before you make a grocery list, before you even decide on what to make for the week, you can plan your recipes accordingly. Do you have a lot of zucchinis in the refrigerator? Time for some zucchini boats or zoodles. Lettuce that’s getting on the older side? Plan for a cobb salad or a grilled chicken Caesar salad night. These are just ideas of course, but we all have food in our pantry or refrigerator that’s just waiting for a meal to be planned around it. Looking around before you decide what you’ll be eating for the week is always the best way to make gut healthy meal planning easy.

Want another “Do it Like a Mom” BONUS TIP: What foods can you combine to make 2 meals? Now we’re talking! You can make a roast one night and soup with the leftover meat and bones or you could do fish one night and fish sticks another night later in the week… now you are cooking with gas as mom always like to say.

Step 3: What’s on the Calendar?

Now that you’ve done a little bit of prep work, you have some recipes on hand, and you know what’s in the house so you don’t buy double to reduce food waste, it’s time to plan what you’ll be eating each night of the week. The best way to do this is to know what’s on the calendar for this week before you make your grocery list.

I like to plan for a week at a time. It’s manageable, it’s not too overwhelming like planning for two weeks or a month. It’s not too “fly by the seat of your pants” where you then end up at the grocery store daily… one week is enough to keep you on track.

So, your about to make a grocery list. What’s on tap for you and the kids for the week? My job has some night hours, so does my hubby’s, so I always keep that in mind when I’m deciding what to eat and when. Maybe you need to take this into account as well. How about the kids’ activities? Johnny has soccer on Tuesday nights, Katie has dance on Fridays… Think about all your evenings for the week. How will that affect how much time you have to make dinner?

If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge fan of kids learning to cook at a young age. Every kid, boy, girl, it doesn’t matter—every kid needs to learn how to cook. It’s probably one of the best skills your kid can leave the house knowing. And when your kids know how to cook, that can be considered into your weekly schedule as well, because they can help make dinner at least one night of the week.

In my house, we’ve had different incantations of this over the years. We used to do “Make it Mondays,” where each of my kids took turns making the meal for that day of the week. They got to go through my recipe list or the internet or cookbooks and pick out whatever they wanted (appetizer to dessert) then they were in charge of making it. That was fun.

Right now, we get the kids involved in meal planning, mostly with my youngest. He takes an online cooking class through Outschool. Are you familiar with that platform? It’s full of awesome online learning experiences for kids with every class you can imagine. Anyway, he takes a cooking class on Outschool every Tuesday. In class, he makes dinner for the whole family and it gives me and my hubby a break from cooking once a week. Shish kebabs, flank steak, salmon, pasta dishes… he’s made it all. We’re not talking kiddie food here. He even substitutes out some ingredients to make it more gut healthy like using honey instead of sugar or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce to stay away from gluten. His teacher is really helpful with food sensitivity substitutions.

He started this particular cooking class when he was ten, but there’s cooking classes on Outschool for kids that are even younger than that. Our kids are so much more capable in the kitchen than we give them credit for. And it’s best if we start them at a young age—right beside us as we chop, and measure, mix and whisk. Even the littlest tyke can help with making breakfast or lunch and grow into making dinner for the whole family.

A little digression from “What’s on the calendar for the week,” but if you find a way to make this tip work for your own family, you’ll take your kids planning a meal into account when you are planning your meals for the week. I always know that on Tuesday, dinner will be planned. All I have to do is print out the recipe and add it to the grocery list. Dinner served.

Plan your meals for the week keeping in mind where everyone will be at dinner time and who’s making the meal. It helps your meals go smoother during the week and it also helps everyone to eat healthier too because we all know that when we plan what we’ll be eating in advance, we always make it healthier.  

We rarely say to ourselves on Sunday, “I can’t wait to get a Big Mac on Thursday.” It just happens when we fail to plan.

And are you ready for another “Do it Like a Mom” BONUS TIP? Having a busy night doesn’t mean it’s a takeout night. Don’t shy away from home-cooked meals, even on busy nights. That’s the perfect night for the Instant Pot, the crockpot, sheet pan dinners where everything gets baked in one pan, or a leftovers night. Busy nights are what trips up many of the best intentioned gut loving mamas. Don’t let it derail you. Plan the nights you are eating out in advance when you plan your week and try your best so stick to it. Meal planning with this five-step method will really you stay focused and on track here.

OK, it’s time for Step 4 as you meal plan in five easy steps.

Step 4: Grocery List & Shop

In steps 1-3, you’ve done a lot of background work. You’ve set the stage for an easy peasy Step 4: Making your grocery list and going shopping. With all the time saving information you’ve gathered, it’s time to take some action.

Now I know the actual making of the grocery list can take so much time for some. Writing down each item you want individually. But also, so many moms have gotten away from that tedious task and I hope you have too.

If you really like a paper shopping list, one you can hold in your hand, and I have lots of clients that do, that’s OK. Just be sure it’s a pre-printed list of the things you normally buy. And that the list is separated by categories in order of the way you shop at the grocery store. That way you can follow it along in order as you go through the store. On grocery shopping day, all you have to do is circle your items or put a check mark next to what you need. Super time saving.

If you’ve never done a list like this before, it may take a little time to set it up on your computer, but it’s so worth it. You will love the easy breezy way you can make your list and shop at the grocery store when it’s all organized. Plus, you’ll be less apt to buy impulse items as well with a list that’s so structured.

Another way to rock step 4 (the grocery shopping step) is to buy in bulk. It saves time and it saves you money. Most grocery stores have bulk sections these days and it’s a great place to stock up on everything from nuts, to grains, to dried fruit, canned goods, salad dressings, paper towels… even fruit and veggies for those who are buying for big families. Buying in bulk whether it’s at your local grocery store or a discount bulk superstore like Costco or Sam’s can be an integral part of your meal planning process.

When you’re at the grocery store, you want most of the items in your shopping cart to come from the perimeter of the grocery store. We all know, this is where the healthy food lives. No cans, boxes, or packaged food on the perimeter. If you find yourself always in the middle of the aisles, it’s time to take stock of how gut healthy the food your bringing into your home is. Gut healthy food is about whole, fresh food. And of course, we are striving for B+ mom effort here so do the best you can.

One last way to simplify and streamline your grocery list and grocery shopping time is to ask yourself, “How can my kids help with this?” The answer to that we really depend on their ages.

Older kids can definitely help you keep track of food that runs out in your home. Keep a list on the frig or somewhere handy and encourage the kids to write down food that’s out or low. Find a day of the week when the kids are in charge of a meal or two. If you’re kids are old enough to drive, they’re old enough to help with the grocery shopping. In my house, I prefer to do the big once a week trip, but you better believe I’ve got those older ones heading to the grocery store for those mid week pick-ups if I have any. They can do it.

Get younger kids involved by helping you pick out items at the grocery store. I know it’s annoying shopping with the kids when they’re little. I certainly had my days where the kids would fight or throw a tantrum. We’ve all been there, but I’m so glad I kept taking them because over time, they learned to actually be helpful.

And when they got old enough, I would send them an isle or two over to find a product. That definitely made the grocery trip go quicker. Do yourself a favor if you have littles, every once in a while you do deserve to go to the grocery store alone, but also find some days when you feel up for it and take them with you. Show them the ropes, and before you know it, they’ll actually be helping you at the grocery store.

Step 4, your grocery list and grocery shopping step also has a “Do it Like a Mom” BONUS TIP: And that tip is to download a “grocery list” app on your phone. The one that I use is called Shopping List is perfect for me. It lets me keep track of multiple stores, it automatically puts my items in my pre-selected categories, and then deletes them as I go through the store. I’ve had it for years, but I was recently looked up grocery list apps for a client and I found that tons more have cropped up. If you don’t have a grocery list app, do a search on your phone and find one that suits your needs. And if you already have one, virtual high fives for you mama. Keep making that app work for you and for your meal planning needs.

OK my friend, you’ve done the recipe hunt, you know what’s in your pantry, you’ve incorporated the family calendar into your planning, you created a user-friendly grocery list (one that’s easily repeatable) and you’ve shopped for your items for the week getting some much deserved help from your kiddos. You are a rock star mama! What’s the last step in easy gut healthy meal planning?  You last step is meal prep.

Step #5: The Meal Prep

And again, you might be sensing a pattern here, but we’re getting the kids involved with meal prep as well. Start your gut healthy for the whole family meal prep from the place of, “How can my kids get involved?” I mentioned Make it Monday. I mentioned my son who takes a cooking class and is in charge of dinner one night of the week. I mentioned getting littles involved in the kitchen, even if it’s just purchasing a kid safe step stool from a company like One Step Ahead to get them used to being with you as you make your meals.

What’s your version of Make it Monday? What have I mentioned today that just sparks some ideas on your part? How can your kids pitch in with the meal prep? Definitely find a way to bring them into the mix. Remember, if you want your kids to eat it, get them in the kitchen making it.

For your part of the meal prep, you’ve got all your ingredients, now we just start putting them together so that the actual making of each meal during the week goes that much quicker. I like to do my grocery list, grocery shopping, and meal prep on Sunday. It doesn’t all have to take place on one day, but certainly having it planned out in advance will save you time and money. And we all want more of that!

Take a look at all your meals for the week. What can you wash, chop, put in containers together for easy weekday cooking? Go for it. I know at first it can seem daunting, but just get started. Even if you have a goal of meal prepping one or two meals a week, that’s a great place to start.

You can meal prep for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you choose to. I would definitely start with dinner at a minimum (even just 1 to 2 meals) to help your busy weeknights go smoother, but if you really get into meal prep, you can do it with all your meals. It’s completely up to you.

The one food of the day I see people forgetting to meal prep and the one that can create a downfall when it comes to gut health is your snacks. Don’t forget to prep for your snacks as well. If you’re doing raw fruit and veg, get some cut up and at the ready. If you’re doing all cooked, cook up some veggies and have them in separate containers in the frig ready for when the hangries hit.

During the week, I love meals that include roasted veggies. So on Sunday, my meal prep dedicated day, I’ll roast a couple sheet pans of veggies to have them ready to go during the week. It makes weeknight meals come together so much faster.

Meal prep is also a good time to freeze your bulk food and perishables you won’t use all of during the week. What can you freeze to help it last longer? Veggies, fruit, beans, breads whether they are gluten or grain free. Freezers were a great invention we’re they? The freezer helps your food last longer. Just take it out as you need it.

And Step 5 wouldn’t be an amazing step if it didn’t have a bonus “Do it Like a Mom” tip would it? Step 5 BONUS TIP: Mason jars were made for meal prep. I’m such a fan. I’ve got mason jars in all shapes and sizes. They go in the pantry, the refrigerator, the freezer. And they are clear and easy to label so you’ll always know what’s in them. Stock up on mason jars to make meal prep work for you.

So, there you have it. Crohn’s and colitis meal planning in 5 easy steps. What do you think? It’s doable, you can make it work for you at your own pace (starting with one step and adding on), and it’s definitely going to help you make that gut healing diet work for you. It will help you make gut healing eating a habit and challenge you to stick to what you’ve planned for you and for your family.

You can do this and of course you know I’m here to help. Reach out if I can help you in the meal planning department at Before we part for today, let me recap those five meal planning steps one last time.


Step 1: The Recipe Hunt (get your recipes together in one place so you don’t have to go searching for them or think of them every week)

Step 2: What’s in Your Pantry? (and your frig and on your counter). No more food waste and use what you’ve got to create what you’ll eat for the week.

Step 3: What’s on the Calendar? (for your kids and for you)

Step 4: Grocery List and Shop (this is the perfect place to get the kids involved)

Step 5: Meal Prep (you can meal prep any and all meals you’ll be eating to make the week go that much smoother)

Remember, if you want all of these steps in one place, if you want a handy dandy cheat sheet, grab my meal planning resource: 5 Steps for IBD Meal Planning. It’s a cheat sheet so it lays everything out in a concise, easy to follow format. You can get all this gut love by going to

Happy meal planning and meal prepping my friend. Trust me, it has the power to be life changing. And if it helps you stay true to your gut healing diet, it’s worth the initial effort to get these steps and organization in place. Because when you have a system, everything falls into place.

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.

49 Date Night Ideas That Have Nothing to Do with Food

Think of all the date nights you and your partner have tried to have over the years.

Ones that got interrupted or ruined because after eating, you couldn’t get off the toilet, or you had stomach cramps, or loud belly gurgles, or bloating or you had so much smelly gassy after eating out.

Damn that Crohn’s and colitis!

Date night and spending time together alone is crucial to keep your partnership alive and date night doesn’t have to mean dinner.

Today, I’m going to prove it to you with 49 No-Food Date Night Ideas you are going to swoon over.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How to plan fun and fabulous date nights where food isn’t the star
  • The daredevil no-food needed date night where my hubby and I met
  • 7 At home no-food date nights you don’t even have to leave the house for

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

49 No-Food Date Night Ideas Checklist

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

49 Date Night Ideas That Have Nothing to Do with Food

OK, so I know I say this all the time. I love this episode. This is my favorite episode. Well, here’s another one I’m just over the moon, crazy about. You are going to love this one. Think of all the date nights you and your partner have tried to have over the years. Ones that got interrupted or ruined because after eating, you couldn’t get off the toilet, or you had stomach cramps, or loud belly gurgles, or bloating or you had so much smelly gassy after eating out.

Damn that Crohn’s and colitis!

Date night and spending time together alone is crucial to keep your partnership alive and date night doesn’t have to mean dinner. Today, I’m going to prove it to you with 49 No-Food Date Night Ideas you are going to swoon over. Yep, 49 fabulous no-food necessary date nights.

Did I mention I love this episode? Here we go!


Well, hello my friend. How are you today? I hope you are feeling well. I’m doing OK. I’m a little bit annoyed because I ate at a restaurant that didn’t agree with me the other day. Such a rookie move and I’m not a rookie, which shows it happens to all of us from time to time. I’ll try to make it through the episode, but that’s the beauty of this medium, it’s not live so I can stop if I need to and then start again. This episode is happening at the perfect time for me, having been burned eating out. I hope it’s happening at the right time for you as well. If you’re listening in REAL time, you know that Mother’s Day is around the corner in the U.S. Happy Mother’s Day my rock star mom friend!

What better gift for you this Mother’s Day than a “no kids” date night with your sweetheart. And on that date night, you don’t need to eat out to have fun. In fact, I would even go out on a limb and say the best dates are ones where no restaurant is involved at all because these dates are more creative, more imaginative, and just more fun.

I gotta give a shout out to my gut loving friend and fellow Gut Love Community member Karyn (and she spells her name with a y too) for giving me the idea for this episode. It’s a juicy one. If you’ve got an idea for an episode, send it my way at I can’t wait to hear what’s on your mind. And dear listener, would you also do me a favor and if you know another mama out there who needs some date night ideas, share this episode with her as well. Just give her the link: OK let’s just dive in, shall we.

In this episode, I’ve divided your 49 No-Food Date Night ideas into seven categories, and we’ll go category by category. The categories are: The Outdoorsy Date, The Adventurous Date, The Intellectual Date, The Traditional Date, The Artsy Date, The Double Date, and The At Home Date. Each one is completely different, and completely doable with no food required. Some dates could have a “bring your own food—the food you know works with your body” option, but that’s completely up to you. You can, if you choose to, do all of these with no food in them whatsoever.

One word of caution about this episode. While it doesn’t need an explicit rating, occasionally, since we’re talking about date night with your special someone, and since it’s date night, I might allude to s-e-x. Nothing is overt or graphic and it’s only a few times. This information will pass right over your little one’s ears, but if you have pre-teens or teens who might be impressionable with this type of information or if they think it’s gross to hear about parents being affectionate and prefer to believe the stork brought them to your door, you may want to listen to this one away from them.

OK, my friend, here’s your No-Food Date Night Ideas category #1: The Outdoorsy Date.


Outdoorsy dates are exactly what they sound like. They take place 100% outdoors so they’re best done when the weather cooperates. But getting outside is very freeing and also grounding so it’s good for our soul, good for our digestive system, and good for your partnership with your loved one.

#1: An open air market or outdoor flea market. Lots of cities have these. It’s one of the great community activities I think. Strolling arm in arm with your beloved, going booth to booth—so much conversation to be brought up. And depending on where you live, outdoor markets love to spring up in the spring and into the summer, so go check one out. Yes, there are food vendors there, but there’s also home décor, jewelry, art, scarves, crafts… all kinds of goodness. I like to buy honey when I see it at a local market. Yes, I know that’s food, but I’m not eating it there. I love chatting with the apiary folks. They are always so knowledgeable about how their honey is made and what to use it for in your cooking and baking depending on the flavor profile. Love that!

#2: How about a drink-nic—like a picnic, but with drinks only. Find a park on a sunny day, bring your blanket, maybe a book and cuddle up with your partner while you are sipping a green juice, a smoothie, a glass of wine, tea, fruit infused sparkling water… whatever is your drink of choice. Yes, you may have to go #1 after all that liquid but hopefully there won’t be a #2 in there as well since there’s no eats involved.

#3: Take a walking tour of your city. Yes, they have them! In America, you can check out your Chamber of Commerce to see who’s scheduling tours. Overseas, I’ve been to tourist information sites. They schedule tours. You just need to do a bit of digging (even online) to find a tour. I bet there’s loads you don’t know about your town or maybe a nearby city to where you live.

#4: Take it to the field with pro or semi-pro baseball, football, soccer, tennis, whatever sport you’re into game or match. If you have a local sports team, it’s so fun to go out and cheer for them. Being at a game vs watching on TV is such an exhilarating experience. Where I grew up in Buffalo NY, we were lucky to have several sports teams—The Bills, The Sabers, and even a minor league baseball team. I recently took my hubby back for a Bills game and we had so much fun! What a great date that was.

#5: How about the beach or the lake? I’m a lake girl myself, and everyone seems to have a favorite (beach/lake), but if you live near any body of water, you’ve got to take advantage of it for a date day out with your special someone.  Take a boat out, go kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, fishing, swimming. The beach or the lake is just so relaxing—something you need and deserve mama.

#6: If you’re looking for something chill and outdoors, there’s nothing better than a nature walk. The fall leaves, the spring flowers, the sunshine, the snow in the winter… We can all find a season to get out in nature. Again, this date night idea is fantastic because #1: no food, but also #2: there something about communing with nature that lets you let go of all your troubles for the moment. And if you don’t feel great, this is the perfect activity because it’s leisurely and slow and you set the pace.

#7: If you’re up for potentially a more strenuous date that’s outdoors, how about going for a hike? And strenuous is all relative here. Some hikes are on flat ground, while others involve lots of steep inclines. Some hikes are 10 miles long, while others top out at a half a mile. There’s a hike with you and your partners name on it. Go for it!

#8: My last outdoorsy no-food date option is to go stargazing. Wherever you live, for most of us, there’s bound to be a time of year when the stars seem to shine just a bit brighter, you can see more of them in the sky. Where I live, summer is the best time to see the stars. Wow, there are so many of them out in the country. We live on a pretty quiet street so my hubby and I will wait until everyone is settled in at night (remember my youngest almost 12 so that helps) but you can get a babysitter for this if you have to and just go stargazing with your mate. We downloaded this app during the pandemic that lets us point our phone at the sky. It points out constellations, planets, even the international space station as it orbits… it is so cool. It’s called SkyView Lite (absolutely free) and it makes night strolls extra special. A little romance and education at the same time. If you don’t have unobstructed views of the stars where you live, there’s no reason why you can’t go to an open air park or even go parking in your car. Ooohh, parking, and you’re not even a teenager anymore!

Real quick, before we go on to The Adventure Date, I have to ask you. Were you writing all that down or trying to type in your notes app—which I know can be tough to do because when I get excited about a topic I tend to talk fast—no need to write furiously with all these ideas because today, I’m giving you everything we’re talking about in a handy dandy checklist. It goes category by category, in a simplified form, everything we’re talking about today. If you feel like the checklist actually would help you while you are listening (maybe you want to make notes on it), go ahead and hit pause, download the your checklist and come right back or you can get it after the show. I promise to remind you at the end as well. Your 49 No-Food Date Night Ideas Checklist is waiting for you at


Are you ready for an adventure? Sometimes we need to shake up our dating life. Add some pizazz, something different. Adventure dates bring out the wild side in you. Let’s see if any of these adventure dates call your name.

Our first adventure date is a car adventure with a goal in mind. So not mindless driving, but driving with a purpose and you and your spouse get to pick the purpose. Like a driving date to see a covered bridge, or an abandon railroad track, or a hidden waterfall. You can even make a list of all the adventure spots in your community and make it a multi-day date plan. One of my friends who lives in Pennsylvania made a list of all the covered bridges in the state and she and her husband take date trips to each of them. I think they’re almost done with their list. How cool is that?

Another adventure date involves dusting off that bicycle you probably keep meaning to break out. Take a leisurely bike ride for your date, or if you are really adventurous, go mountain biking with your mate. I have another friend where she and her hubby have a tandem bike—you know the kind of bike that has two seats for two riders. I love hearing about all the adventures they’ve taken together on their tandem bike. Sounds romantic… and adventurous!

An adventure date that’s a classic is the day trip. Find a fun location about an hour away, maybe up to 3 hours, and make a day of it in a new town. Look at shops, stop for some tea or coffee, strolling around… You can even pack a lunch with foods you know agree with you.

An adventure date that’s sure to be thrilling is a trip to your local ice staking rink (inside or outdoors in the winter). Lots of towns have them. And if you’re a newbie ice skater, there’ll be lots of snuggle time as you hold each other up and try to stay upright. And then, tend to each other’s bruises when you get home. Not that I’m speaking from experience.

Alright, this one’s for you adventure mama. A rock climbing date. You can choose a real rock if you are really daring or have your adventure date at a local indoor gym. Lots of towns have indoor options with climbing walls for all skill levels.

Now for the mega adventurer in you, how about a skydiving date, with a reputable company of course. You might be surprised to hear this, but my hubby and I met while skydiving. No, neither of us had been before. But my husband was friends with my brother and he’s the one who invited us both to go skydiving. What a thrilling and bonding experience. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Let’s move on to an adventure that’s a bit tamer like a date to go to an exercise or a hot yoga class together. Super bonding, no-food, and with all the sweat you’re building up, you might just need a date night shower together after.

One of my favorite adventure dates that my hubby and on go on regularly is the spa date. He might get embarrassed that I’m telling you this, but he doesn’t listen to the podcast much anyway, so I’ll share with you that we love to go get pedicures together. We sit next to each other while we foot soak our troubles away. I get polish, he gets a leg massage. It’s always fun. We also will do get-away spa days together where we go to a retreat spa for a couples massage, maybe a wrap or other treatment. Very romantic, very stress relieving, and of course, no food required.

OK, maybe this next adventure date isn’t the most romantic, but it’s definitely bonding. How about volunteering together? Your local homeless shelter, serving food at a soup kitchen, doing a town clean up, volunteering with underprivileged youth. It might not feel “date worthy” but it will create a feeling that you are both giving back, together. And that creates a closeness like nothing else in the world.

It’s time for an adventure date your kids will want to get in on, but you’re going to say, go preceded by a no for a no-go. Have your date at an amusement park. Just go without the kids. Let the kid in your out as you ride the rides, see the shows, with no kids to look after. Just a carefree fun, adventurous day. I’m a huge fan of amusement parks and my hubby and I have been to many. And since this might be an all day adventure date, I’ll check out the park’s website or give them a call. Most have rules about whether you can bring your own food in, but they never say no to someone with true food challenges. Not once have I had a problem when I took care of this ahead of time. Yes, this one technically breaks the no-food rule, but if you bring your own food, the food you know you can eat and stay feeling well, I think we need to include it.

Our last adventure date is for the sporty adventurer in you. How about you and your mate join a rec league for your favorite sport. Nothing highly competitive, unless that’s your jam. Just something fun that’s co-ed and you can do together on a regular basis. Planned in advance, no-food dates like this rock because it’s not something that takes lots of effort. It’s on the calendar already so you will make it happen.

Ok, let’s move on to our next category—category #3. The Intellectual Date.


Some dates are just more cerebral than others. A good combo of outdoors, adventure, artsy, double dates, some intellectual dates is the is the way to keep your dating life fresh and fun and spicy. Planning a no-food intellectual date can be romantic and educational. It’s not for everyone, but I love a date that sparks my intellect and I bet you do too.

First up in the intellectual date night idea is bookstore browsing. I am a total book nerd and I love bookstore browsing. My hubby and I will go our separate ways, peruse, find some book  options and then meet together at a corner table or the bookstore café (with just tea or coffee—no food) and tell each other about what we found. Sometimes we find common ground and other times I’ll say, oh you’ll love that because I know my hubby’s taste in books. It’s fun, it’s different, it’s stimulating for the mind and the relationship.

Moving on to another intellectual idea for no-food date night, it’s the ongoing a club that meets regularly like a book club or a chess club or any other type of club. Just like the sports club from our adventurous dating ideas, this idea has a regular schedule so you’re more likely to commit. And it’s fun to have a hobby that you share together.

Another intellectual no-food date idea is to go to a museum. Museum of science, a war museum like WWII or a holocaust museum, a Native American museum, a museum of natural history, an art museum. Basically, any museum that’s not dedicated to children because we get enough of that in our mom life.

Another idea. How about going to a lecture. Some topic or speaker with ideas that engage you. Did you know that Ted-X talks are available in multiple locations in every state in America? Check out their website and see what’s coming your way. How about an author or public figure who’s touring and talking about their philosophies? Even college campuses have lecture series. These types of talks are so fascinating and always good date night conversation starters.

For the poetry lover, a good no-food intellectual date night might be going to a poetry reading. You’ll hear about these coming up at local coffee shops, newspapers, health food stores, on college campuses. Sure, some of the poems can be a little obscure and sometimes quirky, but that’s the fun of it. And if you write your own poetry, why not get up and recite some one of your creations.

One last no-food intellectual date night idea you may want to consider is an author signing at a book shop. If a book where you or your partner love the author is coming out, see if you can find out where a book signing is taking place. They usually happen in bigger cities so it will be easy to find if you live in one, but even if you don’t, sometimes the authors make their way to the smaller locations as well. You never know. Fun no-food date and a keepsake that will always remind you of your time together.

No-Food Date Night Category #4 is the traditional date.


Some of the dates we’ve talked about up until now can require a little outside the box thinking. Sometimes, all you want is a date that’s easy, traditional, no-fuss and involves little planning. That’s where the no-food traditional date night comes in handy.

Your first date night idea in this category can’t get any more traditional.  It’s going to a movie, only you skip the way overpriced, way unhealthy snacks available for purchase (trust me, you aren’t missing anything) and instead eat before you go or bring your “I know I can eat these because they have worked before” own snacks. I won’t tell if you won’t.

Your next traditional no-food date idea is to hang out at a tea or coffee shop, and you get extra points if it’s got character and charm. A local hangout, not one of those chain coffee shops… Starbucks. Easy peasy. Nothing to plan. Just some good old fashioned, hang out time with your spouse.

How about the Planetarium? I couldn’t believe it when I found out about a year ago that my little town has its own planetarium. Who knew? Yours might too and nothing is more romantic than looking at the stars with the one you love.

Another traditional idea– go clothes shopping and pick out outfits for each other. If your partner is like mine, they hate going clothes shopping for themselves, but if you go together and help them pick out something you love, now they might be into it. It’s a simple date, but my hubby and I do this at least once a year and we always have fun when we do it.

Our last traditional no-food date night for your consideration is another shopping date. Only this time, it’s about home décor shopping to upgrade a room in your house. For most, this won’t be a regular date. It’s more of a “take advantage of it when it’s time to upgrade” type of thing. My hubby and I have been in our home for almost 13 years now so we’ve been redoing things here and there. We always have so much more fun shopping at Lowe’s or Home Depot, or local home décor shops sans kids. We can take our time, bounce ideas off each other, and connect over a fun home improvement project.

OK, it’s time for another No-Food Date Night category– #5: The Artsy Date.


Do you appreciate the arts? Music, dancing, singing, painting… anything creative? If you do, you’ll love this next no-food date night category— the artsy date.

Go to a play or a musical. Now I am super biased here. I grew up doing musical theater. I love it, but I get that not everyone does. This may not be the date night idea for you. But the other thing I know is that even if you are not a “break out into song” music lover like me, there are plays that are really moving, or funny, or entertaining. Think of it like a live action movie. Be open here and you will find a play genre you both are into.

Another artsy idea for a no-food date night– go to a pottery studio and make something together. Pottery studios where you go and build your own creation have popped up in almost every city in America. You don’t have to be an artist to have a good time. I truly am appalling when it comes to pottery, but I still have fun and love the bonding time it creates for me and my mate. Plus, when we’re done, we get to take home our creation and display it so we always look at it and smile thinking back on our date.

Is there a budding singing sensation dying to come out in you? Karaoke date night is waiting for you. Get up and sing badly with your partner, sing an adorable duet. I’ve heard Endless Love and Ed Sheeran and Beyonce’s Perfect are popular karaoke duets. Or if you’ve got the pipes, do it solo. Can you imagine the love that will be pouring out of your partners eyes as they listen to you sing. Oh, so fun. Awkward and intimidating, sure. But fun, yes!

If you like music, but you’re not a singer, there’s nothing better for a no-food artsy date night than going to a concert, seeing a live band or even heading out to a music festival. Live music is good for the soul so it’s absolutely good for your relationship.

Ready for an evening full of laughs? Oh, laughter is so good for your gut health and your whole body. Go see a comedian. You know what they say. The couple that laughs together, stays together. Do they say that? Well, they should.

Next up, sing us the song you’re the piano man… check out a piano bar. Live piano music, dualling pianos, sing alongs with the audience? I’m there. Fun, no pressure to perform, and you don’t have to eat to have a good time.

For the serious arteest in you, the ballet is the date night option of choice. Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker… I’m a huge fan. My hubby not so much, but every so often I’ll drag him to a ballet and he almost enjoys it. That is if he doesn’t fall asleep. Kidding, mostly. But date night is about compromise and one ballet for me might equal and outdoorsy, adventure date for him. It all evens out.

Last up on our list of artsy date nights is taking a painting class together. Some galleries even offer date night painting sessions. Look in your local area for options. And again, you don’t have to be a painter to enjoy the class. Stick figures are my jam. You can keep your creation and get a good laugh out of it remember how much fun the two of you had on your no-food date night.

Next up is category #6 in our No-Food Date Night tour—The Double Date.


Some dates are just more fun with other couples. Here’s a list of no-food couples date night options for your consideration.

The 80’s called, and they don’t want their roller skates back. Instead, dust them off (or buy new ones—I just got some this past Christmas) and go roller skating with friends. No kids allowed. Just couples who are ready to have fun, laugh at themselves, and maybe fall on their bum a few times.

Date night bowling is always more fun as a double date. Get another couple or two and go play a few rounds of bowling. You can even put up the bumpers if it helps. No kids allowed on this one either.

Now escape rooms are fun—you know what I’m talking about right? You can “locked” in a room and you have to find your way out with the clues you are given—but they are so much more fun with other people. Date night escape room with other couples or friends is bound to bring out some thrills, some laughs, and some memories you’ll talk about for a long time to come.

Did you know that many towns in America (and overseas) have nighttime ghost tours? Heck they’re probably a whole lot better in other parts of the world because their ghosts have been their longer! But ghost tours (whether you believe in ghosts or not) are a fun no-food date night option and they are always more fun with friends.

Got a whole group of couples or friends looking for adventure. How about signing up for an adults only paintball experience. It isn’t just for kids, grown ups love getting out their aggression by shooting paint at each other too. For a little tamer experience, try laser tag instead. Same principle, less pain.

Lastly, our list of no-food double date options wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a couples book club. Maybe you already have a book club, but usually it’s not a partner event. How about asking your club if for one book, you bring in your mates? It will be fun reading the book together with your partner and then discussing it within the club. Of course, the only challenge will be to not talk about the book at home while you’re reading it. Or maybe that could be the fun part.

We’ve made it to our last category of No-Food Date Night Ideas. Category #7 is the At Home Date.


Sometimes it’s impossible to get a sitter and that’s no excuse to not make time for your partner. Your kids need your time and I bet you are trying your best and already doing it like a B+ mom rock star. You need YOU time. That’s important for your soul. But you also have to make time for your partnership, your marriage, your soul mate because if you don’t, where will you be when the kids leave home and you have nothing in common anymore. So, even if you don’t have a babysitter, do the at home date night thing and fit it in wherever, whenever you can.

At home no-food date night idea #1 is a little Netflix and chill. You know what I’m saying. And if you don’t, google it. You don’t even need a Netflix subscription.

At home idea #2, make a bonfire in the backyard. This is perfect for fall or spring nights when the weather is a little cooler. Just kick back, relax with the fire and enjoy chatting with your partner. Or just sitting in comfortable silence listening to the cracklin’ and the pops and smelling the smoky mist. If you don’t have a bonfire option at home, how about a fire in your fireplace? Whether it’s wood burning or electric, it’s just cozy to put the kids to bed and hang out in front of the fire.

Right about this time of year and into the summer, my hubby and I love to sit outside on the back deck and just listen to the crickets chirp or the frogs croak at night. Yeah, that is at home date worthy. There’s really nothing like that sound. You may not hear crickets or frogs, but what do you hear at your house? Sirens, planes, birds in the morning, the wind, nothing… get in tune with whatever you hear in your space and enjoy the peace and comfort these sounds bring.

To me, there’s nothing sexier than picking a book for my partner and I to read together. Actually read it together, not just at the same time. He reads a few pages, I read a few pages… snuggled up in bed, warm and cozy on a Saturday night or Sunday morning. No leaving the house and no food necessary. Or maybe we even listen to an audio book together. Oh, the conversations it starts. If you’ve done this before, you know just the act, in its simplistic nature, is date worthy. Try it with your mate. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Another at home date night idea is to buy or dig out a sexy board or card game. They exist and they can really add some spice to your at home together time.

And our 49th no-food date night idea is here!!! Our last idea in the at home category is to play a game with your partner. I just mentioned a sexy game, but this idea is about any game. A board game, cards, even a scavenger hunt. Games like this may bring out the competitive side in you, but remember it’s all in good fun and it’s all in the name of connecting with your partner. Just the two of you, to share fun, laughs, conversation, memories, and love.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need food to make date night fun. Just look at all these ideas I’ve shared with you today! 49 of them. If any of these ideas sparked something in you, you should definitely download my quick hit No-Food Date Night ideas Checklist. It’s got everything we talked about today in an easy peasy checklist format. Go to and it’s yours.

I highly encourage you to print out two copies. One for you and one for your spouse. Go through the list separately and check off at least 6 ideas that appeal to you. Exchange lists and see what you have the same and what’s different. Be open to what you’re partner is interested in. Also, let them veto one option on your list. They get to toss it out. No questions asked. If you each picked different ideas, you’ll have 10 no-food dates nights, pre-planned. How great is that?

Happy Mother’s Day to my friends in the U.S. May your kids shower you with all the love and the attention you deserve on your special day. Now, remember, after Mother’s Day, or maybe even a gift for you from your partner on Mother’s Day—give them the list as a hint– it’s time for a no-food date night. Let your partner plan it and you just enjoy the hell out of it.

Here’s to no-food date nights, your motherhood, and here’s to your gut health!

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.

“I Was Just Diagnosed with IBD” 5 Step Roadmap

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.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Why your best first response after getting an IBD diagnosis should be to take no action at all
  • How to move from your IBD starter plan to a fully formulated IBD healing plan (and how long you should give that plan to work)
  • The 2 must-do healing resources that successful IBD mamas choose to follow

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Your Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System

Your Stress Management Toolbelt Kit

Schedule Your Free 30-Minute IBD Consultation with Karyn

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

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.


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

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 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

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 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.

{#herIBDstory} That Stoma Life with Beth Coldrick

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

  • Beth’s step by step guide to what her stoma surgeries looked like
  • The importance of finding support in areas your doctor can’t help you with
  • The realities of working and living with IBD

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Connect with Beth:

Happy_Stoma_Life on Instagram

Bao Skincare on Instagram

Beth’s Website

Other Resources:

Hannah Witton’s YouTube Channel

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.

IBD Q & A Giveaway #2

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

  • The 2 sneaky rules you should always break when you go the the hospital
  • Your best gut healing store-bought snack options (there’s loads of them!)
  • The gut healing remedies I never travel without

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Join our Gut Love Community

Get Your Stress Management Toolbelt Kit

Food-Mood-Poop Journal

Awesomely Easy On-The-Go Snack List

Episode 80: The Secret to Manageable, Tolerable, Even Enjoyable Colonoscopies

Episode 65: Eating Beyond Your 4 Walls Part IV: Gut Happy, Healthy Travel with Crohn’s and Colitis

Episode 10: How to Find a Doctor You’ll Rave About


Thrive Market

Find a Functional Medicine Provider

Find an Integrative Medicine Provider

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:


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 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.

Dominika says:

Hi Karyn!

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


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.

Lisa says:

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 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 and I’ll also leave a link for it in the show notes at

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.

Natalie says:

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, 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


Question #4 comes from Giovanna in Italy.

Dear Karyn,

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?


Giovanna (Italy)

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.


Our last question comes from Jessica in Oklahoma City.

Jessica says:

Dear Karyn,

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?

Thanks– Jessica

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.

Join our Gut Love Community:

Get Your Stress Management Toolbelt Kit:

Food-Mood-Poop Journal:

Awesomely Easy On-The-Go Snack List:

There’s a couple other resources I also mentioned in this episode. Links to those can be found in the show notes at

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.

7 Gut Friendly Spring Veggies and How to Prepare Them for Optimal Gut Healing

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.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How to prepare spring vegetables for wherever you’re at in your IBD healing journey
  • The reason why some of these veggies may not have appealed to you before (and how to make them so they taste amazing)
  • Why and how to store your veggies properly for better nutrition and better taste

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Want to Get Cookin’ With the 7 Best Gut Healthy Spring Vegetables?

Artichokes Nutrition Benefits

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Shaved Artichoke Salad

Arugula Nutrition Benefits

Arugula Smoothie with Pineapple and Mango

Asiago Arugula Eggs

Arugula Salad with Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Beets Nutrition Benefits

Beet-Carrot-Apple Juice

Roasted Beet Hummus

Five Spice Beet Noodles with Fresh Herbs

Mint Nutrition Benefits

Easy to Digest Mint Water

Fresh Mint Tea

Mint Pesto

Asparagus Nutrition Benefits

Asparagus Soup

Perfect Roasted Asparagus

Quick and Easy Blanched Asparagus

Spring Peas Nutrition Benefits

Sweet Pea Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Minty Mushy Peas

Gluten Free Asian Spring Pea and Asparagus Salad

Spring Onions Nutrition Benefits

Vibrant Spring Onion Soup

Grilled Spring Onions

Chinese Chicken Salad with Spring Onions

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

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!


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 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,

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

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)

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  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).

  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Mint
  • Asparagus
  • Spring Peas
  • Spring Onions

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!

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.

11 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently When I Was First Diagnosed with Crohn’s

Mistakes and missteps. We’ve all made them in our life.

I’ve made plenty in my 35 years with Crohn’s.

Today, I’m sharing with you the top 11 missteps I made in my early days (and even into my not so early days) with Inflammatory Bowel Disease with the hope that my mistakes can help you can avoid some of these pitfalls and find your healing path much sooner than I did.

Here we go!

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • The #1 reason I finally have a great collaborative relationship with my doctor and what it took to get there
  • What prioritizing YOU really means
  • The truth behind why more doctors don’t prescribe food for their patients and the reason why (spoiler: it’s not their fault)
  • And much, much more. This episode is chock full of gut healing goodness!

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

How to Find an IBD Doctor You’ll Rave About

Episode Resources:

Time Spent Becoming a Doctor

Status of Nutrition Education in Medical Schools

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Mistakes and missteps. We’ve all made them in our life. I’ve made plenty in my 35 years with Crohn’s. Today, I’m sharing with you my top 11 missteps with the hope that you can avoid some of these pitfalls and find your healing path much sooner than I did. Here we go!


Hey there my friend. Welcome once again. I’m so happy to be sharing this space with you today. I’ve got lots to share with you this week as we take a walk down misstep memory lane so let’s go for it and just dive in.

This was an emotional episode for me to put together. Going back and looking at all my mistakes, everything I did wrong while I was finding my way with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. While I was going through and making notes and thinking of ideas to share with you, I often found myself welling up with tears, occasionally having to just stop and take a moment for the losses and the wasted time I spent along the way. So many missteps. So yeah, this one is personal, but I’m sharing it, warts and all, with the hope that it will give you insights and a-ha moments so you don’t needlessly suffer. We suffer enough with Crohn’s and colitis. Today, let’s see what we can do to ease some of that suffering for you.

So, keeping in mind this might come across a little bit shaky or emotional at times, here’s the 11 things I wish I’d done differently when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s and 11 things you can do differently too start from wherever you’re at on your healing journey today.

#1- If were to start over, I would start with food, not use it as a last resort.

The idea that food has nothing to do with how our Crohn’s or colitis shows up in our body is utterly preposterous! Why is this nonsense still being petaled by well-meaning, but under-educated doctors is beyond my comprehension. And it’s not their fault. As crazy as it sounds, medical students aren’t taught about the link between the state of the digestive tract and the quality of the food we put in our body in their gastrointestinal education. In their reported 40,000 hours of training doctors receive in United States medical schools, and according to the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, on average med students receive 23.9 hours in nutritional instruction. 23.9 hours out of 40,000 hours of medical training. If we’re going to be mad at anyone for this injustice, it’s the pharma happy and sometimes big pharma entwined medical schools that are going about this all wrong.

It’s no wonder your doctor’s first response for IBD is, “Let’s get you on some biologics.”

But just because that’s your doctor’s first inclination to put you on meds, doesn’t mean it’s the only path for you. I wish to God I would have known about gut healing food 35 years ago when I got this wrenching and life altering diagnosis. There was no internet back then. There was no one pointing me in a different direction.

Now there’s a lot I could say negative about the internet and social media. I often think about the struggles it’s creating for our children. But with the negative and darkness also comes the light. The amazing content, vocal voices for change, and regular people like you and me trying to make a difference in our IBD lives and help others in the process.

The internet has changed everything for our C + C life. We now have the power to see success stories, research studies, ideas, opinions all about food leading the way to intestinal healing—all at our fingertips. So, yeah, if I could start over again, I would do thinks differently. I would start with food, no matter what my doctor told me. And just let me say, huge point here so if you’ve started multitasking, come back to me. Starting with food doesn’t mean an only food approach and it doesn’t mean I’m anti-medicine.

Why can’t we do both?

And keep a goal of when your IBD is in remission, mainly using food to stay that way? Why not keep that in the forefront of your mind as your ultimate goal? I wonder, if I had had this information sooner, about the power of gut healing food, could I have saved myself from 3 bowel resections and the lasting impact that’s having on my life? I’ll never know. I started using food as my main healing source 20 years into my disease, not soon enough.

But you have the power now. You have the power and the resources to use food to help you heal. There is no one size fits all diet, but there is the diet that works best for you. Keep striving to find what that diet looks like for you. It’s a decision you will never regret. And if you start to feel overwhelmed by all the gut healing diet information that’s available to you, again, thanks to the internet, that’s where I come in. That’s what I’m here for, so reach out and we’ll get you the help you need to move forward with food as the star, instead of a last resort.

#2- If I were starting over again, just diagnosed with Crohn’s, I would make friends with others who have IBD.

Family is great. OK, family is supposed to be great. Blood is thicker than water, right? But even if you have the most supportive, understanding, compassionate, responsive family, if they don’t have IBD, it’s really hard for them to put themselves in your place—to truly get what you’re going through and give you the support you need.

We need to connect with people who get what we go through on a day to day basis. People who can laugh and cry with us over our trips to the bathroom, our challenges getting pregnant, or difficulties navigating IBD in the workplace, and motherhood and IBD—and that’s just a few of the things we have in common.

IBD friends give us the touchstone we need to feel like we are not alone and we are not crazy.

Very early on in my IBD journey, I couldn’t have been more than 17, my mom took me to a Crohn’s and colitis support group meeting. I was young and scared and a lot overwhelmed. When one woman took me aside and told me I should just end my suffering and get an ostomy bag, I freaked out. I didn’t even know what an ostomy bag was, she proudly showed me hers and, I’m embarrassed to say that it scared the crap out of me. I don’t know why. I think it just was too much for me in that moment, and then I never went back.

I wish I wouldn’t have stopped there. I wish I would have kept searching for a like-minded IBD pal who I could bounce ideas off of, cry with, fight this invisible disease with… someone who got me and the challenges I was experiencing.

It took years and years before I finally connected with another IBD gal who just got me, we were on a similar path with similar health goals and her support meant the world to me. This buddy was an IBD centered Health Coach and she is the reason I am in this field today, why I continue to help people who are struggling on their C + C journey, why it’s part of my DNA now to help others like me and no matter what life brings, will always be a part of me.

Find your IBD clan. They will help you more than you can even begin to realize. Remember, your clan doesn’t have to be local and live. There’s a big world wide web out there and you can get support even if you never meet in person. And if you don’t have anyone like-minded in your corner just yet, I’m here for you my friend. I love having IBD besties all around the world.

#3- If I were starting over with IBD, I would grow a backbone with my doctor sooner.

For 20 years I played the part of the good little girl. Take this medicine… sure, how much? Prednisone for a whole year? Why not! You need this intestinal surgery and by the way, while we were in there, we didn’t ask your permission, but we just took your appendix just in case. Really?

For 20 years I never questioned. And do you know what? Not one day in that 20 years did I feel better. Did I feel even close to OK. Anti-inflammatories, 5-ASA meds, steroids, immunomodulators, surgeries… and I was sick and tired every day.

It wasn’t until I started to ask questions, started to experiment with how much control I could exert over my life before I started to have days where I felt great. Gloriously great! Years of remission great!

Now a days, I still respect my doctor. I still see him as the expert that he is. And the reason I can feel that way about him is because I painstakingly picked him out. Doctor after doctor after doctor, I finally found a doctor I could communicate with. And if that’s been a challenge for you, I want you to go waaaaayyy back in the podcast, way back to Episode 10 and check out the episode titled “How to Find an IBD Doctor You’ll Rave About.” It will help you find the doctor of your dreams.

But even though I have found a doctor I like and trust, I know longer think of him as the end all, be all decision maker. He’s my consultant, he has more knowledge than me about the gastrointestinal tract, he’s my go-to on all things IBD procedure and medicine related. But he’s not the ultimate decider of my fate. He’s not my judge and jury.

We have an honest relationship and with that in mind, I tell him when I’m not going to follow his advice. And you know what? I think when he saw our relationship as a partnership and not me putting him on a pedestal of the “all knowing doctor,” he was relieved. It meant that he didn’t need to have all the answers all the time. We could work on things together and bat around ideas like any true and lasting collaboration works best.

Don’t be spineless with your doctor. Let them know where you stand. Appreciate their value, but at the same time, stand in your truth with your head held high and convictions strong. That’s what having a backbone with your doctor looks like.

#4- If I had to do it all over again, I’d prioritize me above all a lot sooner.

She doesn’t mean prioritize yourself above her kids, does she? Yes, I mean above your kids. Prioritize you over everyone. Because guess what? And this is particularly difficult for moms to hear because we are taught that our kids always have to come first. Well guess what? When you take care of you, I mean really do what you need to do in the self-care department, you are able to have the energy, the health, and the vitality you need to bring that love back to all those around you—especially your kids.

In my health coaching practice, I talk to moms about this over and over. It’s so hard for us moms. The guilt over putting ourselves first. It makes us feel ashamed, embarrassed, entitled. But the same moms who just can’t or won’t do it, are also never fully there for their kids. You’re have assing the birthday party, the activities, putting dinner on the table, the bedtime story… you’re never fully there because you feel like crap.

When you take the time for you, prioritize you, you will not believe how present and engaged you can actually be… and not just with your kids. With your partner, at work, with your friends, your parents, your neighbors, your pets… and the list goes on and on.

Prioritizing you though, I want to add that this is such an individual process. Only you know where you struggle in this department and where you could really use some “you” attention. For me, I spent way too many years putting everyone’s needs above my own and when I finally stopped being an under-educated doormat about my Crohn’s and decided that it had gotten me nowhere, that was when I declared I was starting the year of ME. That’s what started me down the path of self-care.

At the time, I had two young kids and they weren’t getting the mom they deserved. And I wasn’t living the life I deserved. The year of ME was about eating gut healing food, taking time for restorative yoga, setting up morning meditations (even if they were just 5 minutes) or my morning pages where I’d write about anything that was on my mind, making time to hang out with friends and engage deeply, meeting new IBD friends, and most importantly, taking time to breath. So many stress and anxiety management techniques out there, but prioritizing conscious deep breathing was probably the best decision I ever made for the health of my mind, body, and soul.

When you come up with your own priority plan, whatever that looks like for you, I highly encourage you to write it down. Declare it to yourself, declare it to your family, post it on social if you’re comfortable. But own it and hold yourself accountable to it. Prioritizing you won’t just make your life better. It will make life better for those around you as well.

#5- If I was starting over with IBD, I’d keep all copies of my patient records.

After 35 years, 8 moves, more procedures than I can count, lots of gastroenterologists and treatment plans, I wish I would have kept copies of my Crohn’s history. Even if you’re not moving to a different state, what if you just switch doctors? It’s been known to happen.

I can’t tell you how many times a doctor will ask me a question, and I just can’t remember the answer. If you’re newly diagnosed, you might think that sounds crazy, but for me this is year and years and my memory ain’t what it used to be. You’ll blink and it will be that long for you as well. For the last 10-15 years, I’ve done a much better job of keeping my records, much of it in paper format, so that not only do my doctors know my medical history, but I do as well. And that’s even more important in my opinion.

#6- If I had to do it over again and was just diagnosed with Crohn’s, I’d be more open and vulnerable about my illness with family and friends (and heck, strangers too).

Over the years, I’ve gotten much more comfortable talking about Inflammatory Bowel Disease. See, I can even say it without cringing. In fact, it’s not unheard of for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger and nudge something about IBD into the conversation. Knowledge is power and the more people who are aware of what IBD is, the better. We never know who has the financial ability to put money into researching remedies and cures for our important cause or who needs this information, maybe because they’ve had similar symptoms or a loved one with similar symptoms and bringing IBD out into the open shines a light for them.

But I wasn’t always this way. I was just a teenager when Crohn’s came into my life. I was young, insecure, and all I wanted to do was fit in. It’s hard to fit in when you’ve got Crohn’s or colitis. I makes you different. I didn’t want anyone to know I had a poop disorder. Afterall, I was the only in the world who pooped, right?

So I hid it. I hid my Crohn’s from boyfriends, my college roommates, my co-workers, my friends, lots of my family members. I pretended everything was fine after I spent 20 minutes in the bathroom. I said, “It wasn’t me,” when my smelly farts took over a room.

I was embarrassed. On the outside, I looked like a fresh faced co-ed with not a care in the world. I was the swan, looking calm and serene on the outside while I paddled furiously underneath the surface.

And all those closed walls, stoic energy, perfectionism, and denial got me nowhere. I started to resent those around me for not getting what I went through. I started getting angry at myself because I was the one who entrapped myself within these walls.

And then I met my husband. And he was the first person I opened up to about my struggles. Just a little chink in my armor, but little by little his patience and willingness to be there for me with no agenda and no judgment made my walls begin to crumble.

That’s how it started for me and ever since, I’ve slowly opened up more and more about this invisible illness and this is what I’ve learned in the process.

I learned that being vulnerable and honest is not weak. It’s about the strongest thing you can do.

Being vulnerable is being human and real honest human connection is the greatest gift we have in this life.

I learned that perfectionism is over-rated. I can have an abundant, rich life even when I strive for B+ every day.

You don’t have to let everyone in, but have a select group that you can be you with. Vulnerable, present, and beautiful. Your life will be richer for it.

#7- If I had to do it over again, I’d put more value on my own intuition.

We know ourselves so much more than we give ourselves credit for. We know when something’s wrong with our health. We know when the answers we are getting don’t add up. We know in our heart when we need to move in a different direction.

Trusting your gut instincts come with time. They come with learning about who you are and what makes you tick. The best advice I can give on this is to never be so caught up in the business of life that you never slow down to listen to that inner voice that tells you what direction you were meant to move in.

Many times, early on with Crohn’s, I thought to myself, this advice that I’m getting, it doesn’t sound right, but I ignored my inner knowing and went in another direction. Like when my doctor put me on what was supposed to be a month long course of steroids. That month turned into 3 months and I said, are you sure I can be on this so long? And that three months turned into 6 months and I questioned the doctor again, but still remained on steroids. And that 6 months became a year and finally it took my absolute rage, depression, suicidal thoughts by this point and my mom telling the doctor, “enough” for me to finally be taken off this toxic medication.

But over time, as I learned more about myself, about how I felt about root cause healing vs cover up short term support, I learned to trust myself and my instincts. So that when I was going through infertility and the doctor told me that nothing was wrong medically. I just wasn’t getting pregnant because I was too thin, I said uh-uh. There’s something else going on here and I was right. When I instinctively knew after 6 months on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that it was time for me to see how I’d do without meds, and I was right. It was time. And when my doctor was convinced my gallbladder had to come out, but I knew instinctively that with all the intestines I had had removed, I needed to figure out how to save my gallbladder and not take it out. I needed it to help me digest fat. And I was right.

Intuition is huge. Listen to your gut. We have more intuition in our gut than most. Your intuition will not steer you wrong.

#8- If I was just getting diagnosed with IBD, I’d set boundaries around worry and anxiety time and live a fuller life.

It seems like those of us with Crohn’s and colitis seem predisposed to feel anxiety and worry more deeply. There’s actually some interesting research on this very topic that shows that people with digestive disorders are more in tune with emotions like this. We feel them deeper and it’s not because we have a “nervous stomach.” It’s biological. Part of our make up.

But we can’t worry so much and stress so much that we miss out on life. Is it scary to leave the house when you’ve got IBD? It can be. I’ve met a lot of people who have become shut in’s due to this having this illness. It’s not uncommon. But we can’t let IBD create so much worry and anxiety in us that we let our life pass us by.

Early on, I worried and stressed about what my future would hold, what I was doing wrong, why this happened to me… I worried way too much. And I learned that while I might not be able to get rid of my anxiety completely, I had the power to decide that I was in charge, not my illness and not only that. I also decided that I wasn’t going to let this stress and anxiety keep me from living the full life that I deserved.

If worry or stress or anxiety are a struggle for you too, it’s not about getting over these emotions or even ignoring these emotions. It’s about allowing them a small space to take up in your life, and then putting them in an imaginary box so you can live the full and complete life you were meant to live.

A full life is going to look different for all of us, but just make sure you aren’t letting your fear get in the way of anything you want to do. You deserve to be happy. You may have to take a couple detours to get there, just make sure that you do get there.

#9- If I could go back in time, I’d cultivate my Wheel of Wellness a whole lot sooner.

If you’re a long time listener to the podcast, you’ve heard me talk about cultivating your Wheel of Wellness. It’s been instrumental in keeping my Crohn’s symptoms managed and it is crucial for you as well.

Your Wheel of Wellness is an invisible wheel (just like a bike wheel) with all the spokes bikes have. And each spoke represents something that supports our gut health and our overall health. Your Wheels of Wellness should absolutely have your doctor in a prominent spot. The gut healing food you eat is another spoke, medication may be a spoke as well. But other spokes are important too. Spokes that have to do with your mental and spiritual health like your faith or meditation and lifestyle factors like a good sleep regime and your stress management tool belt that helps you when life gets chaotic.

For a long time (20 years), I didn’t have a Wheel of Wellness. My support system consisted of my doctor and no one else. It took me a too long to learn that your doctor should be part of the equation, but not the whole equation. Autoimmune diseases like Crohn ‘s and colitis are absolutely impacted by our mindset and our lifestyle, and our support system, and the food we eat, and the kind of movement or exercise that supports our body. We need multiple spokes to create the life we want and the life we deserve.

If you want to adopt just one thing you’ve heard today, start here. At first, you might say, whoa, that’s a little ambitious to start, but when you come at your Wheel of Wellness from the B+ mom perspective, you know that you can take all the time you need to cultivate your Wheel of Wellness. In fact, I highly encourage you to just add one spoke at a time. Try them out, switch them out. Keep tweaking, changing, and growing your Wheel of Wellness and it will serve you for your lifetime.

#10- If I was just diagnosed with IBD now, I hope that I would take some time to learn everything I can about my disease and my options for healing.

It’s not enough anymore to just go through the motions and do what we are told. We don’t have the excuse of I don’t know where to look or there’s just no information out there. There’s information galore. All we have to do is start looking for it.

I have no doubt that you are much better at this than I was years ago. In the information age and technology age, everything we ever wanted to know about IBD, about it’s symptoms, treatments (both from a medical vantage point to a root cause natural vantage point) is available to us. So go out and do your research my dear. Then, you’ll be armed with information and be a true collaborator for your care and your well-being when it’s time for your doctor’s appointments and time to make a treatment plan for you.

#11- I saved my biggest IBD lesson for last. It’s my latest IBD ah-ha and one I probably only realized about 10 years ago. But man, was this one was a game changer. If I were to just be diagnosed with IBD again, I know that I’d stop asking everyone with C + C what works for them because the only thing that matters is what works for me.

I spent way too many years trying to copy what I was seeing others do. It worked for them so it’s got to work for me. She’s follows a vegan diet and her Crohn’s is in remission. That must be the way I’ll heal too. She swears by this particular brand of vitamins. If I want to heal, that’s what I have to buy. It’s like keeping up with the Jones’—IBD style.

And after SCD (the Specific Carbohydrate Diet) worked so well for me, I started out my IBD coaching practice by putting everyone on SCD. Big mistake! Guess what? It’s not the ultimate healing diet for everyone.

I wish I had a magic “one size fits all” cure. I wish there was one diet, one supplement, one medication, one lifestyle path that fit for everyone with IBD, but the truth is there’s not. Ways to find remission are as diverse as our microbiome. And I think that’s exactly what it is. It all comes back to our microbiome. Each one of us is made up of a diverse group of bugs—trillions of those microscopic creepy crawlers (appetizing, right?) and so what works for one microbiome is not what works for another. Finding healing and finding remission with Crohn’s and colitis is about gathering information from others, but then taking that information and personalizing it to find the healing path that works for you and your microbiome.

Just don’t give up because finding your healing path is complicated. Because I know that finding your way is possible. We all can do this. In the end might not look like what you thought it would and it might not be perfect, but you can find success. I firmly believe that.

OK my friend, that’s 11 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently When I Was First Diagnosed with Crohn’s. Which one of these resonate with you? If it’s not too late for me 35 years in, it’s not too late for you. You only have to pick up on one idea to start a revolution in your life.  What will that be for you? I’d love to continue this conversation with you.  E-mail me at and tell me. I can’t want to hear what stood out for you.

Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and 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.

The Secret to Manageable, Tolerable, and Even Enjoyable Colonoscopies

What’s the first word that comes to your mind when I say colonoscopy? I’ll start… Dread.

OK now you go on the count of three. 1-2-3…

Don’t worry if I can’t hear you because it’s more important that you know your word. Plus, I’m feeling you cosmically because I’ve heard it all when it comes to the colonoscopy. I’ve heard clients and Gut Love Community members describe a colonoscopy with words like sucks, scared, pointless, gross, overwhelming, anxious, and of course the word prep, that one comes up a lot.

Oh the prep.

Like I said, my word is dread. And you’d think by now after having as many colonoscopies as I’ve had (and that number is way too high to count), you’d think it would be old hat and I’d be over the dread because it’s not like I don’t know what’s coming.  With a colonoscopy though, I’m not fearing the unknown, I’m fearing the known.

I’m not sure there’s a way to completely dissolve my dread over colonoscopies, but the good news is that after years of having them, I finally figured out the secret to having more than just negative emotions about colonoscopies. When you plan, and truly dial in your colonoscopy experience, there can be positive emotions and experiences mixed in there as well. Afterall, we’re women, with the right information we have no problem forming higher level, deeply faceted emotions.

Would I rather never have a colonoscopy again?

Hell yes, but for me with the stricturing type of Crohn’s (where your intestines love to cave in and collapse on themselves), that’s never going happen so at least I can say that I’ve discovered the secret (or should I say secrets because there’s lots of them) to more manageable, tolerable, and dare I say enjoyable colonoscopies.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • 11 tried and true tips to move your colonoscopy experience from horrible to manageable
  • This simple yet powerful step done two days before your procedure that’s game changing for every colonoscopy
  • The odorless, tasteless bowel prep that’s good enough for America’s top IBD hospitals

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Your Soups On Recipe Resource

Your Juicing and Smoothie Recipe Booklet

Episode Resources:

The Cleveland Clinic Colonoscopy Prep with Miralax

Optimizing Adequacy of Bowel Cleansing for Colonoscopy: Recommendations From the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer

Split-Dose vs Same Day Bowel Preparation for Afternoon Colonoscopies: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Split-Dose Bowel Preparation Improves Adequacy of Bowel Preparation and Gastroenterologists’ Adherence to National Colorectal Cancer Screening and Surveillance Guidelines

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:


I’ll start… Dread.

OK now you go on the count of three. 1-2-3… Don’t worry if I can’t hear you because it’s more important that you know your word. Plus, I’m feeling you cosmically because I’ve heard it all when it comes to the colonoscopy. I’ve heard clients and Gut Love Community members describe a colonoscopy with words like sucks, scared, pointless, gross, overwhelming, anxious, and of course the word prep, that one comes up a lot. Oh the prep.

Like I said, my word is dread. And you’d think by now after having as many colonoscopies as I’ve had (and that number is way too high to count), you’d think it would be old hat and I’d be over the dread because it’s not like I don’t know what’s coming.  With a colonoscopy though, I’m not fearing the unknown, I’m fearing the known.

I’m not sure there’s a way to completely dissolve my dread over colonoscopies, but the good news is that after years of having them, I finally figured out the secret to having more than just negative emotions about colonoscopies. When you plan, and truly dial in your colonoscopy experience, there can be positive emotions and experiences mixed in there as well. Afterall, we’re women, with the right information we have no problem forming higher level, deeply faceted emotions.

Would I rather never have a colonoscopy again? Hell yes, but for me with the stricturing type of Crohn’s (where your intestines love to cave in and collapse on themselves), that’s never going happen so at least I can say that I’ve discovered the secret (or should I say secrets because there’s lots of them) to more manageable, tolerable, and dare I say enjoyable colonoscopies.

It’s my 411 on all things colonoscopy related, especially the prep. Here we go!


Hey my friend, Karyn Haley with you today on the Cheeky Podcast. 80 episodes in. That’s how far we’ve come together. How have we not talked about this before? Colonoscopies are something that all of us deal with when we have Crohn’s and colitis. I have notes upon notes upon notes to help people when they’re going into a colonoscopy but for the podcast, I wanted to wait until one was really fresh in my mind so that I could give you my best most up-to-date insights. Information that could really help you the next time or the first time you go in for this procedure because it doesn’t have to be as scary or as horrible as it seems to turn out for so many of us.

Let’s bump up your colonoscopy experience and take it from horrible to at the very least tolerable and I’ll even tell you about the parts that you can actually enjoy.

In true “me” fashion, you know I love to get into the weeds and the details of our IBD topics, so in this episode, I’m taking you all the way through the colonoscopy experience because it’s not just about the procedure itself. It’s about the prep and the days leading up to the prep and the days and months after the procedure that still reverberate in our bellies. Oh, we’re getting into it all so buckle up, get something to write with and let’s get into it.

Now before we get to deep, it bears mentioning that when I’m talking about colonoscopies here, I’m mainly talking about my own experience coupled with client experiences as well. These experiences may not completely coincide with your colonoscopy experience, but I bet there will be tidbits that will fit for you. Things you can take away to help with your experience. If any of what we talk about today helps you out, then listening to this episode will be worth it.

You also know that I’m not a medical professional and I’m not talking about colonoscopies as a medical professional today. I’m talking about my experience from the patient side. You’ll always want to talk to your doctor about the specifics of your case before adopting the ideas mentioned today because we’re all different. There’s a couple scientifically researched ideas we’ll talk about regarding the various preps and how to best take them for the colonoscopy and you can see all of that research to make an informed decision for yourself in the show notes at

OK, sound good? Let’s start and we’ll go in order of the way things will happen for you if you are in a true colonoscopy situation. So we’ll start a few days before the procedure.

Chances are by a few days before, you’ve already been to your doctor. He or she has set a date and time for your colonoscopy and you have all the “what to do and when to do it” handouts from your provider. And let me just say as a side note, while we are on the topic of the date/time for your procedure, personally, I like to schedule my colonoscopies for the first thing in the morning. The first procedure of the day and yes, you can request this. As long as your procedure isn’t urgent or an emergency, they will make it happen for you. You just have to ask. After the prep, you might be exhausted, or not feel well, your bottom may be sore, you might be hangry by this time because you haven’t eaten in 24 hours. So my motto is, get it over with and get on with your life. When we talk about the prep, we’ll talk about other ways to think about this, other options for you to consider (and it’s crucial to tailor this to what works best for you), but for me, it’s first thing in the morning for the colonoscopy.

OK, so a few days prior, sometimes there are medications that need to be stopped and even some supplements that may need to be paused until after the procedure, but the biggest thing you’ll want to do a few days prior is get your supplies ready. As you’ll see, if you want to have a successful and tolerable and even somewhat enjoyable experience, there’s more to get ready than just the prep. And rushing around getting things together the day your prep is not the way to get through this thing calm, cool, and collected. So, keep calm with getting your colonoscopy supplies ahead of time and carry on. We’ll talk in greater detail about what those supplies will be, but planning is key here. Before the shi*t hits the fan (or the toilet), make sure you have everything you need for a successful prep.

Two days prior to your procedure is when things really rev up in the colonoscopy department. You have all your supplies including all your food and drinks and you’re ready to go. When I start my two days before with colonoscopy preparations, it ensures that I will be cleaned out for the procedure which means the doc can get a good look around (you definitely don’t want to be doing this again for quite a while, am I right?) and that I may not need all of the prep. Again, this is me personally. I’m tiny and size and weight does make a difference.

Food is a big part of the two days before your procedure and I’m going to get to that, but I also want to say that this is also a day to be as relaxed as possible. You’ve got a big day coming up tomorrow and the next day as well. Give your body the rest it needs to be to bring your best self to the table.  So that means, no appointments, no extra activities, have a normal day, try and let any negative events go—just think Zen two days before. Trust me, it’s a small thing, but it matters.

Now on to the most important thing I do two days prior to my colonoscopy (1 day before the prep). I change the way I normally eat so that my diet is very, very low residue. Now, if you’ve had a colonoscopy before, your doc may have told you, two days before, begin to eat a low fiber, low residue diet. No nuts, seeds, no popcorn, etc.

I once had a doctor who recommended taking this idea one step further. I’ve tried it several times since and it’s been a game changer for every colonoscopy experience since. The more in your digestive system when you start your prep, the more that needs to come up. The less in your digestive system, the less that needs to come out. So with the low residue foods I just mentioned, I also add to that two days prior, no meat, no dairy, no raw, no bread, no cereal… easy to digest food only. Foods that don’t stay in my body long and foods that my body doesn’t have to work hard to digest.

So what do I eat two days before? I eat eggs, well-cooked veggies… I might have a mashed banana, applesauce or pear sauce, and loads and loads of bone broth. Beef stock, chicken stock… so good and soothing for your gut and rich so it stays with you. If you’re a big meat and potatoes lady, this might make you feel hungry (eating this way) so the bone broth is important because it keeps you fuller longer. I also eat homemade pureed soups, and drink smoothies and fresh pressed juices.

See how all of this two days before is either drinkable or easy to digest. Make the prep easier on your digestive system. Two days before your procedure and one day before your prep, go low, low, low residue. If you want some help with smoothie idea, juicing ideas and soup ideas for this day, I’ve got you covered. Back in episode 22 and episode 24 of the podcast, I talked all about smoothies and juicing and about the gut healing power of soup. In these episodes, I offered extra recipe resources to help you get started and they are still available. To this day, these are two of my most downloaded resources I offer. Maybe you already have them. When it’s colonoscopy time, it’s time to dust them off or go get them ASAP. You can get your juice and smoothie recipes at and your soup recipes at All the soup recipes can be pureed so that’s a bonus because when all of this is behind you, you can go back and make some of the soups in their traditional form.

There’s one last but not least thing I must mention about two days prior and that is, in keeping with your Zen attitude, to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. You want to be well rested for tomorrow.

OK, that’s two days prior. Now lets’ look at the big day—the colonoscopy prep day. Because if you’ve been through this before, you know that this really is the big day. After this day, the colonoscopy procedure itself is a walk in the park. First, let’s talk food, or more to the point the non-food you’ll be consuming. Today is fasting, clear liquid day. You’ve already done lots of the work the day before with your low, low residue diet. Today, you are just taking it one step further.

Today is about clear liquids. Your doctor will give you a list of approved liquids, but I’ll also add in my two cents of some of my favorite beverages. The main liquids I consume on prep day are homemade or high quality commercial bone broth, tea, and water. These are my healthy go-to’s I drink with no limits. They are the driver’s behind staying physically strong, keeping my gut as happy as it can be that day, and knowing I’m still adding to my health. Other things I keep on hand are coconut water, apple juice, white grape juice, ginger ale, homemade jello (made with one of the clear juices I mentioned), fruit pops made with real fruit like mango or lemon (no dark colors like red or purple or blue), Italian ice (again lemon or mango) and I find that throughout the day, it’s helpful for me to rotate between a hot beverage and a cold beverage. It just keeps it more interesting and palatable.

So that’s pretty much what you’ll be drinking and can drink until midnight on prep day. Your list may be a little different than mine, but it’s all liquid and it’s all clear.

OK, now the next part of the day we should definitely cover are general prep day Tips. I’ve got  11 tried and true tips to get you through, as well as find enjoyable pockets in this challenging day. This is where little pieces of enjoyment can filter in. If the day is going to be crappy (pun intended) we might as well find ways to have enjoyable moments in there as well. We deserve it!

#1- Whatever prep you are given, make sure it’s super cold. HUGE. Make it cold.

#2- Drink through a straw. And put that straw to the back of the throat and just efficiently suck it down so you taste as little as possible. You want a tight suck here to avoid air, but the straw really helps you avoid all the bad taste.

#3- Have lemon wedges available to suck on after each gulp. Bite into it like you just downed a shot of tequila. In fact, close your eyes and pretend it’s tequila. It tastes better. Just be careful because you don’t want to swallow lots of pulp. You can avoid this by spitting it out after. Not pretty, but who cares?

#4- Another option instead of or in addition to the lemon wedge is to have a chaser. Again, like my reference to shots—much better than what you’re drinking and I am so not a shot gal! Your chaser should be different than what you are drinking your prep with. It could be lemonade, tea, apple jucie—but be careful with your choice because after this, you may not ever want to drink that juice again. It’s about the pared association and all that.

When you were a kid and you had the flu, did you ever not want to eat what you had right before you threw up? Same principle. I remember so vividly this one time throwing up after chewing grape huba buba gum. Do you remember huba buba gum? To this day, I can’t go near grape gum. Same principal so choose your chaser wisely.

#5- There’s several things I’m going to recommend you have on hand. One of those things is a heating pad or a hot water bottle pad. Very soothing when your belly is doing summersaults.

#6- Another thing that’s great to have handy just in case is sitz bath. I talk about this contraption all the time and I’m amazed by how many C + Cer’s don’t know what I’m talking about. A sitz bath is a round bucket you fill with warm water. It sits on your toilet and you can soak a sore bum in it. I got through my whole freshman year in college with a sitz bath. Look it up on Amazon. You’ll love it.

#7- Again, just in case, it’s a good idea to have a bucket or as my mom who was a nurse always called it, an emesis basin handy. Sometimes the prep can make you feel nauseous. You may never need it, but having it ahead of time and not needing it is better than running to puke in the toilet you just pooped in.

#8- Throughout the day, always have whatever you’re drinking close by. Remember, it’s clear liquids only today, so have that drink handy always. And keep sipping it so you stay as full as you can. You never want to go in search for something to drink when you are hangry. It doesn’t turn out well.

#9- When it’s time for your prep, whether it’s time for you to start going to the bathroom or not, this is your time. Once you start the prep, you are in YOU time and no one else’s time. This means that you create a space close to your bathroom. Ideally in your bedroom where a bathroom is close by. Gather up your electronics—streaming shows are going to be your best friend today. Thank God today we can help the prep time pass binge watching our favorite TV show. If you are a magazine gal, stock up on guilty pleasure magazines like Us or People. Maybe you’re into crafting or gardening or health magazines. I like to gather these up as well so I have options and they to give me something else to do when I get bored watching TV. Music and candles are a must too. They just bring peace and calm to any environment. Bring all of these things to your spot and hunker down when you start the prep, not when you start to go #2. The whole prep time is your time. Comfy blankets, even a boyfriend pillow (you may have had one when you were pregnant) is great. Dust that off get it out. Create your own safe YOU space. One that ideally has a bed or a couch and is close to the bathroom. Let your family know that during this time there’s no distractions other than the ones that you choose to take your mind off the prep. No work, no family obligations, no pets to take out, just you. Enlist the help of older kids, your spouse, your parent, a friend… whoever can make sure you don’t get disturbed—someone who can help you make it happen. Remember, it’s your time and you deserve it.

And when I talk about the enjoyment part of prep day, this is it. This is your enjoyment. All the creature comforts that will make this day all you. Yes, it can suck to have to keep getting interrupted to go to the bathroom, but then you can get back to your comfy space and know it’s all about you and it’s just for you.

#10- Along with comfy blankets and other creature comforts, make sure you are wearing clothes that say comfy to you. No zippers or tight fitting pants. Comfy is the name of the game.

#11- Last tip before we get into the lovely prep is that if you start to get anxious, know that it’s completely normal. Lots of people do. If your distractions don’t help, use the time to journal or go inward and visualize yourself in a different place. Wherever your happy place is. Deep breathing and meditation can help too. If you’re a long time listener, you know I love the free app Insight Timer. Download it on your app store. It’s great for anxiety during moments like this.

OK, that’s 11 tried and true tips you can use no matter what prep you choose. Now, today is all about the prep and it’s where I get the most questions and the biggest complaints from you so let’s spend some time here because I want this part, the worst part of it all, to be as annoyance and pain free as possible for you. Doing those 11 tried and true tips is part of it, but let’s dive a little deeper and talk specifically about your colonoscopy prep.

In terms of what you may be taking to get yourself cleaned out, there’s several options doctors prescribe. Some you will need a prescription for and some are over the counter. If you’ve never had a colonoscopy before, or if you’re wondering what else is out there (at least in the U.S.), these are the common ones. There’s Suprep which is not super tasting in any way shape or form. There MoviPrep, which is nothing like watching a movie, there’s also a particularly bad tasting prep called GoLYTELY. Are you serious? Go lightly? I beg to differ. I’ve had all of these at one time or another. But probably the worst tasting was GoLYTELY. Way back in the day, it was the only prep on the market. It comes in this huge jug. It looks like water, but it tastes worse than drinking gallons of ocean water.

I remember my first time with this prep. It was the summer before I went to college. I was living at home and my mom recruited all my brothers (I’ve got 3 older brothers) go come home and support me. We all sat around the kitchen table. Me with my go-not-so-lightly and my brothers, each with a can of beer. Every time I chugged a glass of GoLYTELY, they would chug a beer. Crazy as that seems, it was very sweet and very supportive. We sat around and laughed and played cards until the mixture sent me to the toilet, but I’ll never forget it. I never felt more supported by my older bros.

Fleets phosphosoda is an over the counter prep, but my favorite prep and the one that’s been a game changer for colonoscopies for me is the Miralax/Dulcolac prep. Sure, none of these preps are a walk in the park, but at least with this method, there’s no bad taste because when you mix the Miralax with your beverage of choice, if just tastes like your juice. It may not be as strong of a prep as some of the others I mentioned earlier and I think that’s why some doctors don’t prescribe it, but with my low, low residue diet the day the day before, there’s not that much in my digestive tract so it just cleans out what’s there.

And it’s not just my doc prescribing this prep method. The Cleveland Clinic, one of the premier IBD hospitals in the country has this protocol as a colonoscopy prep on their website. I’ll link to their info in the show notes so you can check it out and talk to your doctor if a better tasting, gentler prep is something that sounds good to you. Of course, like I mentioned earlier, everyone is different and this all needs to be approved by your doctor, but it’s certainly worth printing it out and asking your doctor if it’s a possibility for you because it’s so much more palatable than Suprep and the like.

Whatever prep you do, it won’t be the most fun part of your day, but as we all know, sometimes a colonoscopy is necessary. And remember, the prep is very time limited—maybe 12 hours of your life. You can do it. It will pass. And it’s scary to think about what your doctor might find. That makes all of this more nerve wracking as well. But it also can to give you and your doctor exactly the information you need to move forward. This is your official starting place so you can move forward with confidence you are on the right path.

When you get that packet of information from your doctor about your colonoscopy and the prep, chances are there will be times slated on what to drink and when to drink it. This is something you can also discuss with your doctor. Many of my preps have said to start at 5pm in the evening, but if I do that, I know I’ll be up all night going to the bathroom.  I’ll end up cranky, exhausted, angry, and hangry by morning. Personally, I like to start my prep at noon. That way, by 8pm I’m done, usually cleaned out and I can still drink fluids and relax until bedtime. I also like the earlier start time for me because it gives me some flexibility with the pacing of drinking the prep. If I start to feel a little nauseous and upset in my belly, I can slow it down a little because there’s no rush.

Another option to consider when it comes to prep timing is something called split dosing. It’s when you take ½ of the prep the night before and the other half in the morning. I’m seeing lots of my clients talking about their doctors using this method lately and it seems very interesting. I’ve pulled a couple research articles showing the benefits of split dosing to put in the show notes. One study found that split dosing of the colonoscopy prep improves the quality of the bowel prep. If this is something that’s of interest to you, you can print the studies out to share with your doctor to see if it’s a good fit for you.

In the case of having your procedure scheduled for after 12pm the next day, the split dosing option really makes sense to me. You can do part of the prep in the evening, hopefully get a good night’s sleep and then start again in the morning with the second ½ of the dose. The Cleveland Clinic literature about the colonoscopy prep talks about split dosing as a preferred method even if you are scheduled for your colonoscopy before noon the next day. I’m sure it’s because of this latest research showing that it improves the quality of the prep. Of course, let’s say you are scheduled at 9am the next day. This would mean getting up in the wee hours to do the second half of the prep. It’s not the way I prefer because I really value that good night sleep the night before, but isn’t it good to know that we have options? It’s about picking the one that’s best for you.

OK, we’ve covered a lot today about colonoscopies. Probably more than you ever even wanted to know about the days leading up to the colonoscopy procedure. We talked about a few days before ideas for success, how to eat a couple days prior, and some ideas for your clear liquids day, tried and true tips for the prep day, different types of procedure preps and time of day to consider taking them. So much for you to think about and hopefully it will help when it’s colonoscopy time for you again. Remember, as with all episodes, take what serves you and leave the rest behind.

For the colonoscopy itself, I’m going to leave you in the capable hands of your doctor. There’s choices to be made about whether to have it in a hospital setting or a clinic, whether to be put out, put in twilight sedation or given nothing at all. Lots to consider there, but that’s really a good conversation for you to have with your doctor. For the most part, by the time you get to the colonoscopy itself, the hard part is over. You did it the day before and the procedure itself will be a snap after all you’ve been through. There’s just one more part of the colonoscopy that far too few providers are talking about. The after part. Later that day, that week, next month… what happens after the colonoscopy, besides the treatment plan your doctor you and you discuss?

Here’s the deal with a colonoscopy. For the purposes of this episode, we are assuming you need the procedure. There is no way around it. You’re experiencing symptoms that make it necessary for it to happen. In my opinion, doctors can be alittle colonoscopy happy and I’m curious if colonoscopies are a little over prescribed, but that’s a topic for another episode. For today, we’re going with the theory that you needed this procedure. It brought about great information for you to move forward, but the problem now is that you’ve completely cleaned out your digestive tract—the good bugs, the bad bugs—all in rapid succession and then you had a procedure where the colonoscopy scope was inserted and as sterile as that can possibly be, it’s possible that there were some bad bugs introduced into your digestive tract as well. The whole thing from prep to finish is quite an assault on your body. So, how can you best serve your body now? How can you make sure you get back on track and with the healthiest digestion possible?

Well, first let’s talk about the right after. Like that day, after. That day, after your procedure, you’re going to want to rest. You may have been put under or even just with twilight sedation, you’re not going to be quite yourself. You aren’t allowed to drive after for a reason so resting is key. You might also feel ravenous. How long has it been since you’ve had solid food? Well, a while. But before you eat like a horse, it’s a good idea to start small and see if your body is ready for solid food again. A good after colonoscopy meal might be some mint tea, an egg, some bone broth or some soup… light, easy to digest foods. See how you do with that first.

If your first meal goes well, it’s OK to add more for the second meal. Just take it easy and build back up slowly. Many people experience gas, bloating, some loose stool after the colonoscopy procedure and eating in a way that supports your digestive system is helpful to get you back on track sooner.

After a day of rest and eating with your bowel’s needs in mind, it’s a good idea to get on a probiotic to start to restore your microbiome. Repopulate, rebuild, and re-balance your gut. Probiotics are a good way to get moving in that direction. If you eat fermented foods like homemade yogurt or sauerkraut, that can be helpful too.

Remember, this clean out and this procedure really wreak havoc on your digestive system. It will take time to get back on track. Be patient. It will happen. You know, one of the things I see clients for most is getting back on track after a colonoscopy. Clients will often say, “I was never the same after that colonoscopy.”

Not enough is being said about this. It’s not something we hear about from our providers, but gut dysbiosis after a colonoscopy is really common and needs to be handled carefully, patiently, but also deliberately. If this is you, if you’re struggling right now after a colonoscopy, know that it’s very normal. I hear about it all the time and it can get better. I’m here to help. Reach out at and we’ll figure it out together.

So after the colonoscopy, gentle gentle, gentle, on your system. Get back to your normal diet slowly. Try a probiotic to help repopulate the gut and if you’re still struggling, get in touch. I’m happy to help.

What did I miss? What did I not cover today with regard to the colonoscopy? Whatever questions or comments you have, I’m here for you. No one should feel like they are going into a colonoscopy afraid and alone. I did this episode because I want you to know that you are not alone. With Crohn’s and colitis, we all go through this at some point. And even though a colonoscopy will never be up there with your top life experiences, it doesn’t have to been horrendous either. You can get through it with a little planning and a lot of self care.

You’ve got this my dear. Now go conquer that colonoscopy!

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.

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