Category Archives for Blog

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.