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

This day has been a long time coming.

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

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

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

🌿 Living in the uncomfortable reality of practicing what you preach

🌿 13 Things I know for sure about healing your IBD

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Karyn on Facebook

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Episode Transcript:

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Chat soon!

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

Your IBD story. My IBD story.

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

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

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

This is one to listen to with your partner.

Four Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

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

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Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Crohn’s & Colitis Friendly Condiments from the Condiment Queen

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

You bet you do!

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

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


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

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

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

We talk about:

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

And so much more!

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

Episode at a Glance:

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

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Mentioned in This Episode

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

Book Your 30-Minute IBD Consultation HERE

DM Me on Facebook

Episode Transcript:

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

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

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


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


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

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

And that’s condiments.

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

Mouth watering yet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBQ sauce is loaded with multiple types of sugar.

Many queso dips contain MSG.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make sense?

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

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

Let’s do condiments like only a mom can.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Chat soon!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Four Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

🌿  The best water filtration system on the market today.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in the Episode:

Your FREE Water Quality Resource Guide Cheat Sheet

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

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

The Berkey Water Filter

Episode Resources:

Is Water the Forgotten Nutrient?

Drinking Water Contaminants

Distilled Water

Can you Drink Distilled Water?

Purified Water vs Spring Water

Is Reverse Osmosis Water Good for You?

The Dangers of Refrigerator Water Filters

What is Alkaline Water?

Alkaline Water: Beneficial or All Hype?

What is Ionized Water?

Berkey Water Filtration Process

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

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

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

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

Let’s dive in.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in the Episode:

Simple Mills Soft Baked Bars

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Thrive Market

On Amazon

Purely Elizabeth

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Vitacost

On Thrive Market

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From the Ground Up:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Thrive Market

On Fresh Direct

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Epic Bone Broth:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Fresh Direct

On Vitacost

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Birch Benders:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Target

On Thrive Market

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Simple Mills Crackers:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Amazon

On Thrive Market

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Host Defense Mycobrew:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Pure Formulas

On Amazon

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Hu Chocolate:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Thrive Market

On Vitacost

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Siete Foods Tortilla Chips:

Purchase Information

On The Website

On Vitacost

On Hive

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve for Better Gut Health

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

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

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

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

Sometimes gut healing is hard.

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

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

Just simple steps you can start right away.

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

🌿  The link between singing and IBD healing.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in the Episode:

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

IBD Research Studies:

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

Mutaflor- E. coli Nissle 1917 Probiotic

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

Vagus Nerve Meditations:

Insight Timer: Vagus Nerve Stimulation by Chibs Okereke

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

Insight Timer: Vagus Nerve Half Salamander Practice by Chastitie Vallance

Episode Resources:

Gut Microbe to Brain Signaling: What Happens in Vagus

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

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

5 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve

Mind Body Green 11 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve

15 Ways to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve to Improve Gut Health

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Gut Healing Through Vagus Nerve Stimulation

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

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


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

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

Just simple steps you can start right away.

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#7 You can increase your vagal tone through meditation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#11 you can increase your vagal tone by gargling.

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

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

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


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

1-Gentle exercise

2- Breathing

3- Singing

4- Laughter is the best medicine

5- Side sleeping (right side)

6- Acupuncture

7- Meditation

8- Cold exposure

9- Specific bacterial strains

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

11- Gargling

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

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

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

Chat soon!

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

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

This episode is one of my favorite interviews to date.

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

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

Four Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

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

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

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

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

Summer “Gut” Lovin’ Had Me a Blast

It’s official. Summer is here.

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

Raw fruits? Raw veggies?

Not likely.

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

And that’s my IBD specialty.

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

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Summer Gut Lovin Had Me a Blast

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

Raw fruits? Raw veggies?

Not likely.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

#1: Asparagus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Pineapple.

Tropical, summer favorite, juicy, sweet pineapple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer of gut love star # 3 is:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chat soon!

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

You Are Not Your IBD Body

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

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

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

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Episode Transcript:

You are Not Your IBD Body

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why was I giving this illness so much power?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am not my illness.

I am not my body.

My identity is more than my IBD.

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

I am not my illness.

I am not my body.

My identity is more than my IBD.

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

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

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

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

#1: Who was I before my IBD diagnosis?

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

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

Who were you before your diagnosis?

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2: Do I make myself my illness?

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

My illness. My disability.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are not your illness.

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

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

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

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

You are not your body.

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

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

You are worthy of genuine care and emotion.

Your identity is more than the woman with IBD.

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

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

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

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

My diagnosis does not own me.

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

I am not my illness.

I am not my body.

My identity is more than the woman with IBD.

I will find light.

I will find hope.

I will find balance.

I will find health.

I will find me.

This is the perfect way to end today my friend. Come back to this when you need a reminder of all that you are, all that you are destined to be. It’s waiting here for you. Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy gut healing journey.

Chat soon!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

🌿  How to figure out what your personal food culprits.

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in the Episode:

Karyn’s Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System

Episode Resources:

The Eight Most Common Food Sensitivities


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

Food Problems: Is it an Allergy or Intolerance?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Overview

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

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

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

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

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

Let’s get into it.



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

  • Intestinal gas
  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea

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

Your food intolerance may show up as neurological symptoms like:

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

Or it may show up as an inflammatory response like:

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

It may even show up as a skin response with:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Less common, but also present sometimes:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Question #1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question #2 is: What are my symptoms?

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

What are my symptoms?

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

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

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

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

It’s time to ask yourself question #3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


#1- Food-Mood-Poop Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are my symptoms?

How long has this been going on?

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

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

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

Chat soon!

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

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

Are you like me?

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

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

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Connect with Vanessa:

Vanessa on Instagram

Mentioned in the Episode:

The Fit On App

The Balance App

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

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

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part III}

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

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

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

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

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

The nine root causes of IBD.

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

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

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

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Mentioned in This Episode:

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

Your Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System

Your Stress Management Toolbelt

Episode 89: Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part I

Episode 90: Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part II

Direct Labs: direct to consumer laboratory

Everlywell: direct to consumer laboratory

Episode Resources:

Leaky Gut:

What is Zonulin?

Top 11 Leaky Gut Supplements

Slippery Elm

Digestive Enzymes


Aloe Vera

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Treating Your IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part III

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

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

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

The nine root causes of IBD.

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

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

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

Here we go.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now let’s get to those roots.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ready for the 9 triggers?


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


So, those roots were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You deserve to heal.

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

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

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

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

Chat soon!

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

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part II}

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

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

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

This is going to be good!

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode 89: Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part I

Find an Integrative Medicine Provider Near You

Find a Functional Medicine Provider Near You

Find a Naturopath Near You

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

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part II

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Did you complete the homework assignment I gave you?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Which are you going to call on first?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Chat soon!

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

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part I}

Have you ever wondered, why me?

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

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

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

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

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

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

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

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

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

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

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

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part I}

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Freedom from IBD is a beautiful thing!

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


So, what does this information mean for you?

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

That’s very encouraging, isn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

Powerful stuff.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s just a couple of the specific probiotic strain studies going on. I, for one, hope this research really continues. Using targeted probiotic strains to help each of us individually with the IBD symptoms that plague us most. It would be a huge advancement in IBD root cause treatments.

So, genetics, now the microbiome… are you beginning to put together a picture of how this IBD came about for you? Why do you think your microbiome was malfunctioning? The reason for all of us can be different. For some, it’s diet. For others it can be stress, or hormones, or a virus or parasites… We are born with a microbiome so did the imbalance develop in utero? That could be a factor too. As research continues into this field, keep the health of your microbiome at the top of your mind. We’ll talk about ways you can strengthen it in Part II of this series.


I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, the straw that broke the camel’s back. Gene expression and your microbiome are one thing, but without the straw that breaks the camel’s back, without the stressor, or as I like to call it, the trigger, we don’t have Crohn’s or colitis.

This could be the reason why you get Crohn’s and your sibling doesn’t. Possibly the genetic makeup is there for both of you, but you got the trigger—lucky you. And often times, in fact most of the time, it’s not just one trigger. But a cascade of triggers, like a rolling snowball, it gets bigger and bigger until it becomes out of control.

Your trigger may be chronic life stress over a period of time. It may be a bacterial or viral illness that favors the gut, like the flu or like food poisoning. It may be a hormonal shift, like starting birth control or giving birth, or less likely but even going through the hormonal shift of menopause—that’s more likely to exacerbate your IBD that create it, but hormone shifts do play a role. Exposure to toxins, and pesticides, other autoimmune conditions… all of these things can be your trigger. The final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Most of my newly diagnosed IBD clients will tell me, “I felt this brewing for quite a while.” Or “I should have seen this coming.” They saw it coming through the events that were unfolding in their life, in hindsight of course.

When you use this information to start thinking about a more long term, root cause healing approach, think about the role these triggers played in your life to contribute to your diagnosis. And if you are struggling to figure out your trigger or triggers, get in touch. I’m happy to help process this with you. We’ll get to the heart of it together. You can email me at anytime. That’s what I’m here for.

Part of your IBD treatment plan (besides the medication, besides your diet, besides any supplements you take) should include ways to mitigate this trigger you are experiencing. It may be causing a physical stressor, or an emotional stressor, or a chemical stressor for your body through the toxins you are exposed to (maybe all three)—because if these are not dealt with, I’m telling you straight mama, you will never get the full healing you so desperately desire. The full healing you absolutely deserve.


How is this landing with you? It’s a lot to take in. I told you we were going deep today. And there’s no pressure to have it all figured out right now. Today, is just about getting a sense of what’s been contributing to your illness. How did you get here? It’s not the stuff your doctor typically talks to you about, but you not only have a right to know, like I said at the top of the episode, you need to fully appreciate how you got here, the why behind it all to help you develop your personal root cause treatment plan.

Next week, in Part II, we get into some ideas for what your plan might look like. Keeping in mind your personal 3-legged stool, you can begin to get to the heart of root cause healing. That’s where you’ll start.


So, I know I never do this to you, but this week, you get to be one of my clients. I give them homework and now I’m giving you homework too. Before we chat again next week, do some deep thinking about each leg of your autoimmunity stool: your genetics and even more importantly your epigenetics, your microbiome: What is the state of your gut bugs? Do you have leaky gut? What are your main symptoms right now? And lastly, what were those stressors, those triggers back when you were diagnosed? Are they still a factor in your life? Are there new stressors that have creeped up that are holding your healing back?

Have this information at the ready next week because next week, we are going even deeper to make positive change for your IBD in Part II of Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine. Can’t wait.

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

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

Crohn’s & Colitis Meal Planning in 5 Easy Steps

A lot of the time, as a mom with IBD, we have a general idea of what’s good for our gut and what’s not, but actually making it happen, sticking to the diet we have laid out for ourselves, now that’s a different story.

We have this idea in our head of what healthy looks like, but buying the right food at the grocery store, making it efficient so we don’t end up back at the store every other day, doing it on a budget, finding the time to make this wholesome gut healthy food we bought, figuring out how to get the kids help in the kitchen and fit it in with their hectic schedules and your hectic schedule…

All of it is daunting, so overwhelming, so not-gonna-happen.

If the practicalities of eating gut healthy and meal planning for your Crohn’s and colitis is what is standing in the way of your intestinal healing, this is the episode for you my friend.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 How many recipes you’ll want to have handy for the most effective meal planning strategy

🌿 The meal planning step you’re missing that’s leading to way too much food waste

🌿  Loads of ideas on how to involve your kids in gut healthy meal planning and prep to take tasks off of your plate (no matter the age of your kids)

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

5 Steps to Meal Planning Cheat Sheet

Your “Find the Best Gut Healing Diet for Me” Episodes

Episode 69: The New Year’s Resolution Every Mom with IBD Needs to Make

Episode 70: Using Whole Foods to Crush Your Crohn’s & Colitis

Episode 71: 2 Diets Tailor-Made for Crohn’s & Colitis: SCD and GAPS

Episode 72: Finding Crohn’s & Colitis Relief with the Autoimmune Paleo Approach

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Crohn’s & Colitis Meal Planning in 5 Easy Steps

A lot of the time, as a mom with IBD, we have a general idea of what’s good for our gut and what’s not, but actually making it happen, sticking to the diet we have laid out for ourselves, now that’s a different story. We have this idea in our head of what healthy looks like, but buying the right food at the grocery store, making it efficient so we don’t end up there every other day and doing it on a budget, finding the time to make this wholesome gut healthy food we bought, figuring out how to get the kids help in the kitchen and fit it in with their hectic schedules and your hectic schedule… all of it is daunting, so overwhelming, so not-gonna-happen.

If the practicalities of eating gut healthy and meal planning for your Crohn’s and colitis is what is standing in the way of your intestinal healing, this is the episode for you my friend.

Let’ get this gut loving party started.


Well, hello dear one. Karyn here with you on another episode of The Cheeky Podcast and it’s an honor to be with you again. It’s soccer tryouts time of year again. If you have kids in fall travel sports, you know what I’m talking about. I really dislike all the drama surrounding it. It seems so unnecessary and I’m looking forward for to it being done. Behind us. But on the upside, Mother’s Day just past and my kids gave me exactly what I needed—the option of rest and relaxation. It was perfect. How about you? I hope your day was filled with love from your kiddos and most of all, and good health.

Now, I’ve got some goodness coming your way today. Some super practical, tactical, actionable steps you can take to jump start the meal planning part of your gut healing foodie life. Like I said in the opening, I see so many mamas who have a general idea of the way they should eat, the foods that work for them and the foods that don’t, but so often getting started with these new foods or finding time to make them—that’s what stands in they’re way.

Now of course, that’s not every mom with Crohn’s and colitis. Some are still trying to figure out. They’re questioning, “What the heck is the best gut healing diet for me?” And if that’s you, don’t worry I’ve got you covered as well. Back in January, I did a series of episodes all about finding the best gut healing diet for your IBD. If you want some help figuring out what gut healing diets are the best options for you, check out Episodes 69, 70, 71, and 72. It’s a really detailed series. One that looks at the best, most researched gut healing diet options and literally walks you step by step as you figure out what works best for you.

So, know that those episodes are waiting for you if you’re in the “what’s the best diet for me” search and you can hear those episodes wherever you get your podcasts or you can also find them in the show notes. I’ll link to them there as well at No matter where you’re at with finding the best gut healing diet for you, one day you are going to need to take the knowledge you’ve gained about what foods work for you and which ones don’t and put those ideas into practice. I wish I could tell you that finding the diet that works best for you is the most challenging part, but it rarely is. The most challenging part is actually making the diet you choose a part of your daily life and a fitting it in with your family life as well.

The practicalities of gut healing, they trip us up every time.

But today, I’m hoping to solve the practicality dilemma for you and show you how to make gut healing eating a habits that are easy, repeatable, and work for your whole family. It’s all about meal planning and I’m going to show you how to do it in 5 easy steps. One last note to share is that I’ve got a cheat sheet for this episode, so if you find yourself writing furiously or you want a reminder, go ahead and download my Crohn’s & Colitis Meal Planning in 5 East Steps Cheat Sheet. Keep it as a resource as you are starting out on this path. And you can get your 5 Steps to Meal Planning Cheat Sheet at

Shall we dive in? Let’s go for it.

OK, Step 1 in meal planning with your gut health in mind is all about having the right gut healing recipes on hand.

Step 1: The Recipe Hunt

Many people think that meal planning starts with sitting down and planning the meals for the week, but planning your meals for the week is going to take extra long if you don’t have recipes and meal ideas at your fingertips. So, instead of starting with planning the menus for the week, we take one small backstep that will lead you into a giant leap of a time savings with Step 1: The Recipe Hunt. And the recipe hunt is exactly what it sounds like—a hunt for your recipes.

What are your go-to meals?

What are your favorite foods?

How about your kid’s favorite foods?

What foods seem to work best with your sensitive gut?

Write these down first—just make some preliminary notes.

Now, with this information in mind, it’s time to cast a wider net and turn these thoughts and ideas into recipes.

Go to your favorite cookbooks, family recipes that can be made gut friendly (and let me know if you need help with this because it’s my favorite thing to do), go to one of the many gut healing recipe websites and blogs (A Life of Happenstance, Nom Nom Paleo, The Mediterranean Dish, Wholesome Yum—just to give you a few ideas), go to Pinterest (fantastic for recipes) and pull out, print, write down, put the recipes in an app. Put them in a safe place… all the recipes that appeal to you.

And you’ll want to pay close attention to the 5 ingredient meals, 30-minute meals, sheet pan meals, instant pot and crock pot meals… these are the easiest to make on a busy weeknight. The gourmet meals and the longer prep time meals are great, for when you have extra time or want an extra special dinner for a birthday or a holiday, but for everyday meal planning, focus on easy.

I have all my favorites in a recipe binder the I created. In fact, I think I have 2 or 3 at this point. I like things I can touch and feel, and spill sauces on ;  ) So this works for me, but pick whatever method works for you. If this is your first time collecting recipes, finding ten would be an amazing B+ mom start. If you already have a few, then maybe shoot for about 20 total.

I’ve been recipe collecting to help me with meal planning for years now so I think I’ve accumulated about 100 go-to recipes, but that’s actually too many. 20-30 tops is all you ever need to put on rotation so you’re not feeling like you’re eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

Want a “Do it Like a Mom” BONUS TIP: At some point, when your collection starts to free up your meal planning time, start to categorize your recipes. You don’t need to do this at first. The important thing at first is to just do enough to take action. Later, meal planning can become much more streamlined this way. Soups, desserts, main meals, breakfast, etc… You’ll be so happy that you have this type of system in place.

Step 2: What’s Already in the House?

How many times have you gone to the grocery store and came home to put items away and found…one cucumber, two cucumber… “Huh? I forgot that was there!” We all do this. We forget what we already have in our house and stock up on too much, especially the perishables. Not it’s not the biggest deal to stock up on too many frozen carrots or another jar of ketchup, but fruit and veg that goes bad quickly—especially if you buy organic—not a good thing.

So do a quick once over before you even think about what you’ll be making for the week. See what you’ve got. See what you need.

Pantry, refrigerator, counter… When you first start doing this, it can seem a little daunting, but I promise you. You’ll get better at looking around to see what you’ve already got when you do this a couple times. It will become a very quick process.

Taking a peek to see what you already have means less food waste, but it also serves a second purpose. When you take a look at what you already have in your house before you make a grocery list, before you even decide on what to make for the week, you can plan your recipes accordingly. Do you have a lot of zucchinis in the refrigerator? Time for some zucchini boats or zoodles. Lettuce that’s getting on the older side? Plan for a cobb salad or a grilled chicken Caesar salad night. These are just ideas of course, but we all have food in our pantry or refrigerator that’s just waiting for a meal to be planned around it. Looking around before you decide what you’ll be eating for the week is always the best way to make gut healthy meal planning easy.

Want another “Do it Like a Mom” BONUS TIP: What foods can you combine to make 2 meals? Now we’re talking! You can make a roast one night and soup with the leftover meat and bones or you could do fish one night and fish sticks another night later in the week… now you are cooking with gas as mom always like to say.

Step 3: What’s on the Calendar?

Now that you’ve done a little bit of prep work, you have some recipes on hand, and you know what’s in the house so you don’t buy double to reduce food waste, it’s time to plan what you’ll be eating each night of the week. The best way to do this is to know what’s on the calendar for this week before you make your grocery list.

I like to plan for a week at a time. It’s manageable, it’s not too overwhelming like planning for two weeks or a month. It’s not too “fly by the seat of your pants” where you then end up at the grocery store daily… one week is enough to keep you on track.

So, your about to make a grocery list. What’s on tap for you and the kids for the week? My job has some night hours, so does my hubby’s, so I always keep that in mind when I’m deciding what to eat and when. Maybe you need to take this into account as well. How about the kids’ activities? Johnny has soccer on Tuesday nights, Katie has dance on Fridays… Think about all your evenings for the week. How will that affect how much time you have to make dinner?

If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge fan of kids learning to cook at a young age. Every kid, boy, girl, it doesn’t matter—every kid needs to learn how to cook. It’s probably one of the best skills your kid can leave the house knowing. And when your kids know how to cook, that can be considered into your weekly schedule as well, because they can help make dinner at least one night of the week.

In my house, we’ve had different incantations of this over the years. We used to do “Make it Mondays,” where each of my kids took turns making the meal for that day of the week. They got to go through my recipe list or the internet or cookbooks and pick out whatever they wanted (appetizer to dessert) then they were in charge of making it. That was fun.

Right now, we get the kids involved in meal planning, mostly with my youngest. He takes an online cooking class through Outschool. Are you familiar with that platform? It’s full of awesome online learning experiences for kids with every class you can imagine. Anyway, he takes a cooking class on Outschool every Tuesday. In class, he makes dinner for the whole family and it gives me and my hubby a break from cooking once a week. Shish kebabs, flank steak, salmon, pasta dishes… he’s made it all. We’re not talking kiddie food here. He even substitutes out some ingredients to make it more gut healthy like using honey instead of sugar or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce to stay away from gluten. His teacher is really helpful with food sensitivity substitutions.

He started this particular cooking class when he was ten, but there’s cooking classes on Outschool for kids that are even younger than that. Our kids are so much more capable in the kitchen than we give them credit for. And it’s best if we start them at a young age—right beside us as we chop, and measure, mix and whisk. Even the littlest tyke can help with making breakfast or lunch and grow into making dinner for the whole family.

A little digression from “What’s on the calendar for the week,” but if you find a way to make this tip work for your own family, you’ll take your kids planning a meal into account when you are planning your meals for the week. I always know that on Tuesday, dinner will be planned. All I have to do is print out the recipe and add it to the grocery list. Dinner served.

Plan your meals for the week keeping in mind where everyone will be at dinner time and who’s making the meal. It helps your meals go smoother during the week and it also helps everyone to eat healthier too because we all know that when we plan what we’ll be eating in advance, we always make it healthier.  

We rarely say to ourselves on Sunday, “I can’t wait to get a Big Mac on Thursday.” It just happens when we fail to plan.

And are you ready for another “Do it Like a Mom” BONUS TIP? Having a busy night doesn’t mean it’s a takeout night. Don’t shy away from home-cooked meals, even on busy nights. That’s the perfect night for the Instant Pot, the crockpot, sheet pan dinners where everything gets baked in one pan, or a leftovers night. Busy nights are what trips up many of the best intentioned gut loving mamas. Don’t let it derail you. Plan the nights you are eating out in advance when you plan your week and try your best so stick to it. Meal planning with this five-step method will really you stay focused and on track here.

OK, it’s time for Step 4 as you meal plan in five easy steps.

Step 4: Grocery List & Shop

In steps 1-3, you’ve done a lot of background work. You’ve set the stage for an easy peasy Step 4: Making your grocery list and going shopping. With all the time saving information you’ve gathered, it’s time to take some action.

Now I know the actual making of the grocery list can take so much time for some. Writing down each item you want individually. But also, so many moms have gotten away from that tedious task and I hope you have too.

If you really like a paper shopping list, one you can hold in your hand, and I have lots of clients that do, that’s OK. Just be sure it’s a pre-printed list of the things you normally buy. And that the list is separated by categories in order of the way you shop at the grocery store. That way you can follow it along in order as you go through the store. On grocery shopping day, all you have to do is circle your items or put a check mark next to what you need. Super time saving.

If you’ve never done a list like this before, it may take a little time to set it up on your computer, but it’s so worth it. You will love the easy breezy way you can make your list and shop at the grocery store when it’s all organized. Plus, you’ll be less apt to buy impulse items as well with a list that’s so structured.

Another way to rock step 4 (the grocery shopping step) is to buy in bulk. It saves time and it saves you money. Most grocery stores have bulk sections these days and it’s a great place to stock up on everything from nuts, to grains, to dried fruit, canned goods, salad dressings, paper towels… even fruit and veggies for those who are buying for big families. Buying in bulk whether it’s at your local grocery store or a discount bulk superstore like Costco or Sam’s can be an integral part of your meal planning process.

When you’re at the grocery store, you want most of the items in your shopping cart to come from the perimeter of the grocery store. We all know, this is where the healthy food lives. No cans, boxes, or packaged food on the perimeter. If you find yourself always in the middle of the aisles, it’s time to take stock of how gut healthy the food your bringing into your home is. Gut healthy food is about whole, fresh food. And of course, we are striving for B+ mom effort here so do the best you can.

One last way to simplify and streamline your grocery list and grocery shopping time is to ask yourself, “How can my kids help with this?” The answer to that we really depend on their ages.

Older kids can definitely help you keep track of food that runs out in your home. Keep a list on the frig or somewhere handy and encourage the kids to write down food that’s out or low. Find a day of the week when the kids are in charge of a meal or two. If you’re kids are old enough to drive, they’re old enough to help with the grocery shopping. In my house, I prefer to do the big once a week trip, but you better believe I’ve got those older ones heading to the grocery store for those mid week pick-ups if I have any. They can do it.

Get younger kids involved by helping you pick out items at the grocery store. I know it’s annoying shopping with the kids when they’re little. I certainly had my days where the kids would fight or throw a tantrum. We’ve all been there, but I’m so glad I kept taking them because over time, they learned to actually be helpful.

And when they got old enough, I would send them an isle or two over to find a product. That definitely made the grocery trip go quicker. Do yourself a favor if you have littles, every once in a while you do deserve to go to the grocery store alone, but also find some days when you feel up for it and take them with you. Show them the ropes, and before you know it, they’ll actually be helping you at the grocery store.

Step 4, your grocery list and grocery shopping step also has a “Do it Like a Mom” BONUS TIP: And that tip is to download a “grocery list” app on your phone. The one that I use is called Shopping List is perfect for me. It lets me keep track of multiple stores, it automatically puts my items in my pre-selected categories, and then deletes them as I go through the store. I’ve had it for years, but I was recently looked up grocery list apps for a client and I found that tons more have cropped up. If you don’t have a grocery list app, do a search on your phone and find one that suits your needs. And if you already have one, virtual high fives for you mama. Keep making that app work for you and for your meal planning needs.

OK my friend, you’ve done the recipe hunt, you know what’s in your pantry, you’ve incorporated the family calendar into your planning, you created a user-friendly grocery list (one that’s easily repeatable) and you’ve shopped for your items for the week getting some much deserved help from your kiddos. You are a rock star mama! What’s the last step in easy gut healthy meal planning?  You last step is meal prep.

Step #5: The Meal Prep

And again, you might be sensing a pattern here, but we’re getting the kids involved with meal prep as well. Start your gut healthy for the whole family meal prep from the place of, “How can my kids get involved?” I mentioned Make it Monday. I mentioned my son who takes a cooking class and is in charge of dinner one night of the week. I mentioned getting littles involved in the kitchen, even if it’s just purchasing a kid safe step stool from a company like One Step Ahead to get them used to being with you as you make your meals.

What’s your version of Make it Monday? What have I mentioned today that just sparks some ideas on your part? How can your kids pitch in with the meal prep? Definitely find a way to bring them into the mix. Remember, if you want your kids to eat it, get them in the kitchen making it.

For your part of the meal prep, you’ve got all your ingredients, now we just start putting them together so that the actual making of each meal during the week goes that much quicker. I like to do my grocery list, grocery shopping, and meal prep on Sunday. It doesn’t all have to take place on one day, but certainly having it planned out in advance will save you time and money. And we all want more of that!

Take a look at all your meals for the week. What can you wash, chop, put in containers together for easy weekday cooking? Go for it. I know at first it can seem daunting, but just get started. Even if you have a goal of meal prepping one or two meals a week, that’s a great place to start.

You can meal prep for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you choose to. I would definitely start with dinner at a minimum (even just 1 to 2 meals) to help your busy weeknights go smoother, but if you really get into meal prep, you can do it with all your meals. It’s completely up to you.

The one food of the day I see people forgetting to meal prep and the one that can create a downfall when it comes to gut health is your snacks. Don’t forget to prep for your snacks as well. If you’re doing raw fruit and veg, get some cut up and at the ready. If you’re doing all cooked, cook up some veggies and have them in separate containers in the frig ready for when the hangries hit.

During the week, I love meals that include roasted veggies. So on Sunday, my meal prep dedicated day, I’ll roast a couple sheet pans of veggies to have them ready to go during the week. It makes weeknight meals come together so much faster.

Meal prep is also a good time to freeze your bulk food and perishables you won’t use all of during the week. What can you freeze to help it last longer? Veggies, fruit, beans, breads whether they are gluten or grain free. Freezers were a great invention we’re they? The freezer helps your food last longer. Just take it out as you need it.

And Step 5 wouldn’t be an amazing step if it didn’t have a bonus “Do it Like a Mom” tip would it? Step 5 BONUS TIP: Mason jars were made for meal prep. I’m such a fan. I’ve got mason jars in all shapes and sizes. They go in the pantry, the refrigerator, the freezer. And they are clear and easy to label so you’ll always know what’s in them. Stock up on mason jars to make meal prep work for you.

So, there you have it. Crohn’s and colitis meal planning in 5 easy steps. What do you think? It’s doable, you can make it work for you at your own pace (starting with one step and adding on), and it’s definitely going to help you make that gut healing diet work for you. It will help you make gut healing eating a habit and challenge you to stick to what you’ve planned for you and for your family.

You can do this and of course you know I’m here to help. Reach out if I can help you in the meal planning department at Before we part for today, let me recap those five meal planning steps one last time.


Step 1: The Recipe Hunt (get your recipes together in one place so you don’t have to go searching for them or think of them every week)

Step 2: What’s in Your Pantry? (and your frig and on your counter). No more food waste and use what you’ve got to create what you’ll eat for the week.

Step 3: What’s on the Calendar? (for your kids and for you)

Step 4: Grocery List and Shop (this is the perfect place to get the kids involved)

Step 5: Meal Prep (you can meal prep any and all meals you’ll be eating to make the week go that much smoother)

Remember, if you want all of these steps in one place, if you want a handy dandy cheat sheet, grab my meal planning resource: 5 Steps for IBD Meal Planning. It’s a cheat sheet so it lays everything out in a concise, easy to follow format. You can get all this gut love by going to

Happy meal planning and meal prepping my friend. Trust me, it has the power to be life changing. And if it helps you stay true to your gut healing diet, it’s worth the initial effort to get these steps and organization in place. Because when you have a system, everything falls into place.

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

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

49 Date Night Ideas That Have Nothing to Do with Food

Think of all the date nights you and your partner have tried to have over the years.

Ones that got interrupted or ruined because after eating, you couldn’t get off the toilet, or you had stomach cramps, or loud belly gurgles, or bloating or you had so much smelly gassy after eating out.

Damn that Crohn’s and colitis!

Date night and spending time together alone is crucial to keep your partnership alive and date night doesn’t have to mean dinner.

Today, I’m going to prove it to you with 49 No-Food Date Night Ideas you are going to swoon over.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How to plan fun and fabulous date nights where food isn’t the star
  • The daredevil no-food needed date night where my hubby and I met
  • 7 At home no-food date nights you don’t even have to leave the house for

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

49 No-Food Date Night Ideas Checklist

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

49 Date Night Ideas That Have Nothing to Do with Food

OK, so I know I say this all the time. I love this episode. This is my favorite episode. Well, here’s another one I’m just over the moon, crazy about. You are going to love this one. Think of all the date nights you and your partner have tried to have over the years. Ones that got interrupted or ruined because after eating, you couldn’t get off the toilet, or you had stomach cramps, or loud belly gurgles, or bloating or you had so much smelly gassy after eating out.

Damn that Crohn’s and colitis!

Date night and spending time together alone is crucial to keep your partnership alive and date night doesn’t have to mean dinner. Today, I’m going to prove it to you with 49 No-Food Date Night Ideas you are going to swoon over. Yep, 49 fabulous no-food necessary date nights.

Did I mention I love this episode? Here we go!


Well, hello my friend. How are you today? I hope you are feeling well. I’m doing OK. I’m a little bit annoyed because I ate at a restaurant that didn’t agree with me the other day. Such a rookie move and I’m not a rookie, which shows it happens to all of us from time to time. I’ll try to make it through the episode, but that’s the beauty of this medium, it’s not live so I can stop if I need to and then start again. This episode is happening at the perfect time for me, having been burned eating out. I hope it’s happening at the right time for you as well. If you’re listening in REAL time, you know that Mother’s Day is around the corner in the U.S. Happy Mother’s Day my rock star mom friend!

What better gift for you this Mother’s Day than a “no kids” date night with your sweetheart. And on that date night, you don’t need to eat out to have fun. In fact, I would even go out on a limb and say the best dates are ones where no restaurant is involved at all because these dates are more creative, more imaginative, and just more fun.

I gotta give a shout out to my gut loving friend and fellow Gut Love Community member Karyn (and she spells her name with a y too) for giving me the idea for this episode. It’s a juicy one. If you’ve got an idea for an episode, send it my way at I can’t wait to hear what’s on your mind. And dear listener, would you also do me a favor and if you know another mama out there who needs some date night ideas, share this episode with her as well. Just give her the link: OK let’s just dive in, shall we.

In this episode, I’ve divided your 49 No-Food Date Night ideas into seven categories, and we’ll go category by category. The categories are: The Outdoorsy Date, The Adventurous Date, The Intellectual Date, The Traditional Date, The Artsy Date, The Double Date, and The At Home Date. Each one is completely different, and completely doable with no food required. Some dates could have a “bring your own food—the food you know works with your body” option, but that’s completely up to you. You can, if you choose to, do all of these with no food in them whatsoever.

One word of caution about this episode. While it doesn’t need an explicit rating, occasionally, since we’re talking about date night with your special someone, and since it’s date night, I might allude to s-e-x. Nothing is overt or graphic and it’s only a few times. This information will pass right over your little one’s ears, but if you have pre-teens or teens who might be impressionable with this type of information or if they think it’s gross to hear about parents being affectionate and prefer to believe the stork brought them to your door, you may want to listen to this one away from them.

OK, my friend, here’s your No-Food Date Night Ideas category #1: The Outdoorsy Date.


Outdoorsy dates are exactly what they sound like. They take place 100% outdoors so they’re best done when the weather cooperates. But getting outside is very freeing and also grounding so it’s good for our soul, good for our digestive system, and good for your partnership with your loved one.

#1: An open air market or outdoor flea market. Lots of cities have these. It’s one of the great community activities I think. Strolling arm in arm with your beloved, going booth to booth—so much conversation to be brought up. And depending on where you live, outdoor markets love to spring up in the spring and into the summer, so go check one out. Yes, there are food vendors there, but there’s also home décor, jewelry, art, scarves, crafts… all kinds of goodness. I like to buy honey when I see it at a local market. Yes, I know that’s food, but I’m not eating it there. I love chatting with the apiary folks. They are always so knowledgeable about how their honey is made and what to use it for in your cooking and baking depending on the flavor profile. Love that!

#2: How about a drink-nic—like a picnic, but with drinks only. Find a park on a sunny day, bring your blanket, maybe a book and cuddle up with your partner while you are sipping a green juice, a smoothie, a glass of wine, tea, fruit infused sparkling water… whatever is your drink of choice. Yes, you may have to go #1 after all that liquid but hopefully there won’t be a #2 in there as well since there’s no eats involved.

#3: Take a walking tour of your city. Yes, they have them! In America, you can check out your Chamber of Commerce to see who’s scheduling tours. Overseas, I’ve been to tourist information sites. They schedule tours. You just need to do a bit of digging (even online) to find a tour. I bet there’s loads you don’t know about your town or maybe a nearby city to where you live.

#4: Take it to the field with pro or semi-pro baseball, football, soccer, tennis, whatever sport you’re into game or match. If you have a local sports team, it’s so fun to go out and cheer for them. Being at a game vs watching on TV is such an exhilarating experience. Where I grew up in Buffalo NY, we were lucky to have several sports teams—The Bills, The Sabers, and even a minor league baseball team. I recently took my hubby back for a Bills game and we had so much fun! What a great date that was.

#5: How about the beach or the lake? I’m a lake girl myself, and everyone seems to have a favorite (beach/lake), but if you live near any body of water, you’ve got to take advantage of it for a date day out with your special someone.  Take a boat out, go kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, fishing, swimming. The beach or the lake is just so relaxing—something you need and deserve mama.

#6: If you’re looking for something chill and outdoors, there’s nothing better than a nature walk. The fall leaves, the spring flowers, the sunshine, the snow in the winter… We can all find a season to get out in nature. Again, this date night idea is fantastic because #1: no food, but also #2: there something about communing with nature that lets you let go of all your troubles for the moment. And if you don’t feel great, this is the perfect activity because it’s leisurely and slow and you set the pace.

#7: If you’re up for potentially a more strenuous date that’s outdoors, how about going for a hike? And strenuous is all relative here. Some hikes are on flat ground, while others involve lots of steep inclines. Some hikes are 10 miles long, while others top out at a half a mile. There’s a hike with you and your partners name on it. Go for it!

#8: My last outdoorsy no-food date option is to go stargazing. Wherever you live, for most of us, there’s bound to be a time of year when the stars seem to shine just a bit brighter, you can see more of them in the sky. Where I live, summer is the best time to see the stars. Wow, there are so many of them out in the country. We live on a pretty quiet street so my hubby and I will wait until everyone is settled in at night (remember my youngest almost 12 so that helps) but you can get a babysitter for this if you have to and just go stargazing with your mate. We downloaded this app during the pandemic that lets us point our phone at the sky. It points out constellations, planets, even the international space station as it orbits… it is so cool. It’s called SkyView Lite (absolutely free) and it makes night strolls extra special. A little romance and education at the same time. If you don’t have unobstructed views of the stars where you live, there’s no reason why you can’t go to an open air park or even go parking in your car. Ooohh, parking, and you’re not even a teenager anymore!

Real quick, before we go on to The Adventure Date, I have to ask you. Were you writing all that down or trying to type in your notes app—which I know can be tough to do because when I get excited about a topic I tend to talk fast—no need to write furiously with all these ideas because today, I’m giving you everything we’re talking about in a handy dandy checklist. It goes category by category, in a simplified form, everything we’re talking about today. If you feel like the checklist actually would help you while you are listening (maybe you want to make notes on it), go ahead and hit pause, download the your checklist and come right back or you can get it after the show. I promise to remind you at the end as well. Your 49 No-Food Date Night Ideas Checklist is waiting for you at


Are you ready for an adventure? Sometimes we need to shake up our dating life. Add some pizazz, something different. Adventure dates bring out the wild side in you. Let’s see if any of these adventure dates call your name.

Our first adventure date is a car adventure with a goal in mind. So not mindless driving, but driving with a purpose and you and your spouse get to pick the purpose. Like a driving date to see a covered bridge, or an abandon railroad track, or a hidden waterfall. You can even make a list of all the adventure spots in your community and make it a multi-day date plan. One of my friends who lives in Pennsylvania made a list of all the covered bridges in the state and she and her husband take date trips to each of them. I think they’re almost done with their list. How cool is that?

Another adventure date involves dusting off that bicycle you probably keep meaning to break out. Take a leisurely bike ride for your date, or if you are really adventurous, go mountain biking with your mate. I have another friend where she and her hubby have a tandem bike—you know the kind of bike that has two seats for two riders. I love hearing about all the adventures they’ve taken together on their tandem bike. Sounds romantic… and adventurous!

An adventure date that’s a classic is the day trip. Find a fun location about an hour away, maybe up to 3 hours, and make a day of it in a new town. Look at shops, stop for some tea or coffee, strolling around… You can even pack a lunch with foods you know agree with you.

An adventure date that’s sure to be thrilling is a trip to your local ice staking rink (inside or outdoors in the winter). Lots of towns have them. And if you’re a newbie ice skater, there’ll be lots of snuggle time as you hold each other up and try to stay upright. And then, tend to each other’s bruises when you get home. Not that I’m speaking from experience.

Alright, this one’s for you adventure mama. A rock climbing date. You can choose a real rock if you are really daring or have your adventure date at a local indoor gym. Lots of towns have indoor options with climbing walls for all skill levels.

Now for the mega adventurer in you, how about a skydiving date, with a reputable company of course. You might be surprised to hear this, but my hubby and I met while skydiving. No, neither of us had been before. But my husband was friends with my brother and he’s the one who invited us both to go skydiving. What a thrilling and bonding experience. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Let’s move on to an adventure that’s a bit tamer like a date to go to an exercise or a hot yoga class together. Super bonding, no-food, and with all the sweat you’re building up, you might just need a date night shower together after.

One of my favorite adventure dates that my hubby and on go on regularly is the spa date. He might get embarrassed that I’m telling you this, but he doesn’t listen to the podcast much anyway, so I’ll share with you that we love to go get pedicures together. We sit next to each other while we foot soak our troubles away. I get polish, he gets a leg massage. It’s always fun. We also will do get-away spa days together where we go to a retreat spa for a couples massage, maybe a wrap or other treatment. Very romantic, very stress relieving, and of course, no food required.

OK, maybe this next adventure date isn’t the most romantic, but it’s definitely bonding. How about volunteering together? Your local homeless shelter, serving food at a soup kitchen, doing a town clean up, volunteering with underprivileged youth. It might not feel “date worthy” but it will create a feeling that you are both giving back, together. And that creates a closeness like nothing else in the world.

It’s time for an adventure date your kids will want to get in on, but you’re going to say, go preceded by a no for a no-go. Have your date at an amusement park. Just go without the kids. Let the kid in your out as you ride the rides, see the shows, with no kids to look after. Just a carefree fun, adventurous day. I’m a huge fan of amusement parks and my hubby and I have been to many. And since this might be an all day adventure date, I’ll check out the park’s website or give them a call. Most have rules about whether you can bring your own food in, but they never say no to someone with true food challenges. Not once have I had a problem when I took care of this ahead of time. Yes, this one technically breaks the no-food rule, but if you bring your own food, the food you know you can eat and stay feeling well, I think we need to include it.

Our last adventure date is for the sporty adventurer in you. How about you and your mate join a rec league for your favorite sport. Nothing highly competitive, unless that’s your jam. Just something fun that’s co-ed and you can do together on a regular basis. Planned in advance, no-food dates like this rock because it’s not something that takes lots of effort. It’s on the calendar already so you will make it happen.

Ok, let’s move on to our next category—category #3. The Intellectual Date.


Some dates are just more cerebral than others. A good combo of outdoors, adventure, artsy, double dates, some intellectual dates is the is the way to keep your dating life fresh and fun and spicy. Planning a no-food intellectual date can be romantic and educational. It’s not for everyone, but I love a date that sparks my intellect and I bet you do too.

First up in the intellectual date night idea is bookstore browsing. I am a total book nerd and I love bookstore browsing. My hubby and I will go our separate ways, peruse, find some book  options and then meet together at a corner table or the bookstore café (with just tea or coffee—no food) and tell each other about what we found. Sometimes we find common ground and other times I’ll say, oh you’ll love that because I know my hubby’s taste in books. It’s fun, it’s different, it’s stimulating for the mind and the relationship.

Moving on to another intellectual idea for no-food date night, it’s the ongoing a club that meets regularly like a book club or a chess club or any other type of club. Just like the sports club from our adventurous dating ideas, this idea has a regular schedule so you’re more likely to commit. And it’s fun to have a hobby that you share together.

Another intellectual no-food date idea is to go to a museum. Museum of science, a war museum like WWII or a holocaust museum, a Native American museum, a museum of natural history, an art museum. Basically, any museum that’s not dedicated to children because we get enough of that in our mom life.

Another idea. How about going to a lecture. Some topic or speaker with ideas that engage you. Did you know that Ted-X talks are available in multiple locations in every state in America? Check out their website and see what’s coming your way. How about an author or public figure who’s touring and talking about their philosophies? Even college campuses have lecture series. These types of talks are so fascinating and always good date night conversation starters.

For the poetry lover, a good no-food intellectual date night might be going to a poetry reading. You’ll hear about these coming up at local coffee shops, newspapers, health food stores, on college campuses. Sure, some of the poems can be a little obscure and sometimes quirky, but that’s the fun of it. And if you write your own poetry, why not get up and recite some one of your creations.

One last no-food intellectual date night idea you may want to consider is an author signing at a book shop. If a book where you or your partner love the author is coming out, see if you can find out where a book signing is taking place. They usually happen in bigger cities so it will be easy to find if you live in one, but even if you don’t, sometimes the authors make their way to the smaller locations as well. You never know. Fun no-food date and a keepsake that will always remind you of your time together.

No-Food Date Night Category #4 is the traditional date.


Some of the dates we’ve talked about up until now can require a little outside the box thinking. Sometimes, all you want is a date that’s easy, traditional, no-fuss and involves little planning. That’s where the no-food traditional date night comes in handy.

Your first date night idea in this category can’t get any more traditional.  It’s going to a movie, only you skip the way overpriced, way unhealthy snacks available for purchase (trust me, you aren’t missing anything) and instead eat before you go or bring your “I know I can eat these because they have worked before” own snacks. I won’t tell if you won’t.

Your next traditional no-food date idea is to hang out at a tea or coffee shop, and you get extra points if it’s got character and charm. A local hangout, not one of those chain coffee shops… Starbucks. Easy peasy. Nothing to plan. Just some good old fashioned, hang out time with your spouse.

How about the Planetarium? I couldn’t believe it when I found out about a year ago that my little town has its own planetarium. Who knew? Yours might too and nothing is more romantic than looking at the stars with the one you love.

Another traditional idea– go clothes shopping and pick out outfits for each other. If your partner is like mine, they hate going clothes shopping for themselves, but if you go together and help them pick out something you love, now they might be into it. It’s a simple date, but my hubby and I do this at least once a year and we always have fun when we do it.

Our last traditional no-food date night for your consideration is another shopping date. Only this time, it’s about home décor shopping to upgrade a room in your house. For most, this won’t be a regular date. It’s more of a “take advantage of it when it’s time to upgrade” type of thing. My hubby and I have been in our home for almost 13 years now so we’ve been redoing things here and there. We always have so much more fun shopping at Lowe’s or Home Depot, or local home décor shops sans kids. We can take our time, bounce ideas off each other, and connect over a fun home improvement project.

OK, it’s time for another No-Food Date Night category– #5: The Artsy Date.


Do you appreciate the arts? Music, dancing, singing, painting… anything creative? If you do, you’ll love this next no-food date night category— the artsy date.

Go to a play or a musical. Now I am super biased here. I grew up doing musical theater. I love it, but I get that not everyone does. This may not be the date night idea for you. But the other thing I know is that even if you are not a “break out into song” music lover like me, there are plays that are really moving, or funny, or entertaining. Think of it like a live action movie. Be open here and you will find a play genre you both are into.

Another artsy idea for a no-food date night– go to a pottery studio and make something together. Pottery studios where you go and build your own creation have popped up in almost every city in America. You don’t have to be an artist to have a good time. I truly am appalling when it comes to pottery, but I still have fun and love the bonding time it creates for me and my mate. Plus, when we’re done, we get to take home our creation and display it so we always look at it and smile thinking back on our date.

Is there a budding singing sensation dying to come out in you? Karaoke date night is waiting for you. Get up and sing badly with your partner, sing an adorable duet. I’ve heard Endless Love and Ed Sheeran and Beyonce’s Perfect are popular karaoke duets. Or if you’ve got the pipes, do it solo. Can you imagine the love that will be pouring out of your partners eyes as they listen to you sing. Oh, so fun. Awkward and intimidating, sure. But fun, yes!

If you like music, but you’re not a singer, there’s nothing better for a no-food artsy date night than going to a concert, seeing a live band or even heading out to a music festival. Live music is good for the soul so it’s absolutely good for your relationship.

Ready for an evening full of laughs? Oh, laughter is so good for your gut health and your whole body. Go see a comedian. You know what they say. The couple that laughs together, stays together. Do they say that? Well, they should.

Next up, sing us the song you’re the piano man… check out a piano bar. Live piano music, dualling pianos, sing alongs with the audience? I’m there. Fun, no pressure to perform, and you don’t have to eat to have a good time.

For the serious arteest in you, the ballet is the date night option of choice. Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker… I’m a huge fan. My hubby not so much, but every so often I’ll drag him to a ballet and he almost enjoys it. That is if he doesn’t fall asleep. Kidding, mostly. But date night is about compromise and one ballet for me might equal and outdoorsy, adventure date for him. It all evens out.

Last up on our list of artsy date nights is taking a painting class together. Some galleries even offer date night painting sessions. Look in your local area for options. And again, you don’t have to be a painter to enjoy the class. Stick figures are my jam. You can keep your creation and get a good laugh out of it remember how much fun the two of you had on your no-food date night.

Next up is category #6 in our No-Food Date Night tour—The Double Date.


Some dates are just more fun with other couples. Here’s a list of no-food couples date night options for your consideration.

The 80’s called, and they don’t want their roller skates back. Instead, dust them off (or buy new ones—I just got some this past Christmas) and go roller skating with friends. No kids allowed. Just couples who are ready to have fun, laugh at themselves, and maybe fall on their bum a few times.

Date night bowling is always more fun as a double date. Get another couple or two and go play a few rounds of bowling. You can even put up the bumpers if it helps. No kids allowed on this one either.

Now escape rooms are fun—you know what I’m talking about right? You can “locked” in a room and you have to find your way out with the clues you are given—but they are so much more fun with other people. Date night escape room with other couples or friends is bound to bring out some thrills, some laughs, and some memories you’ll talk about for a long time to come.

Did you know that many towns in America (and overseas) have nighttime ghost tours? Heck they’re probably a whole lot better in other parts of the world because their ghosts have been their longer! But ghost tours (whether you believe in ghosts or not) are a fun no-food date night option and they are always more fun with friends.

Got a whole group of couples or friends looking for adventure. How about signing up for an adults only paintball experience. It isn’t just for kids, grown ups love getting out their aggression by shooting paint at each other too. For a little tamer experience, try laser tag instead. Same principle, less pain.

Lastly, our list of no-food double date options wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a couples book club. Maybe you already have a book club, but usually it’s not a partner event. How about asking your club if for one book, you bring in your mates? It will be fun reading the book together with your partner and then discussing it within the club. Of course, the only challenge will be to not talk about the book at home while you’re reading it. Or maybe that could be the fun part.

We’ve made it to our last category of No-Food Date Night Ideas. Category #7 is the At Home Date.


Sometimes it’s impossible to get a sitter and that’s no excuse to not make time for your partner. Your kids need your time and I bet you are trying your best and already doing it like a B+ mom rock star. You need YOU time. That’s important for your soul. But you also have to make time for your partnership, your marriage, your soul mate because if you don’t, where will you be when the kids leave home and you have nothing in common anymore. So, even if you don’t have a babysitter, do the at home date night thing and fit it in wherever, whenever you can.

At home no-food date night idea #1 is a little Netflix and chill. You know what I’m saying. And if you don’t, google it. You don’t even need a Netflix subscription.

At home idea #2, make a bonfire in the backyard. This is perfect for fall or spring nights when the weather is a little cooler. Just kick back, relax with the fire and enjoy chatting with your partner. Or just sitting in comfortable silence listening to the cracklin’ and the pops and smelling the smoky mist. If you don’t have a bonfire option at home, how about a fire in your fireplace? Whether it’s wood burning or electric, it’s just cozy to put the kids to bed and hang out in front of the fire.

Right about this time of year and into the summer, my hubby and I love to sit outside on the back deck and just listen to the crickets chirp or the frogs croak at night. Yeah, that is at home date worthy. There’s really nothing like that sound. You may not hear crickets or frogs, but what do you hear at your house? Sirens, planes, birds in the morning, the wind, nothing… get in tune with whatever you hear in your space and enjoy the peace and comfort these sounds bring.

To me, there’s nothing sexier than picking a book for my partner and I to read together. Actually read it together, not just at the same time. He reads a few pages, I read a few pages… snuggled up in bed, warm and cozy on a Saturday night or Sunday morning. No leaving the house and no food necessary. Or maybe we even listen to an audio book together. Oh, the conversations it starts. If you’ve done this before, you know just the act, in its simplistic nature, is date worthy. Try it with your mate. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Another at home date night idea is to buy or dig out a sexy board or card game. They exist and they can really add some spice to your at home together time.

And our 49th no-food date night idea is here!!! Our last idea in the at home category is to play a game with your partner. I just mentioned a sexy game, but this idea is about any game. A board game, cards, even a scavenger hunt. Games like this may bring out the competitive side in you, but remember it’s all in good fun and it’s all in the name of connecting with your partner. Just the two of you, to share fun, laughs, conversation, memories, and love.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need food to make date night fun. Just look at all these ideas I’ve shared with you today! 49 of them. If any of these ideas sparked something in you, you should definitely download my quick hit No-Food Date Night ideas Checklist. It’s got everything we talked about today in an easy peasy checklist format. Go to and it’s yours.

I highly encourage you to print out two copies. One for you and one for your spouse. Go through the list separately and check off at least 6 ideas that appeal to you. Exchange lists and see what you have the same and what’s different. Be open to what you’re partner is interested in. Also, let them veto one option on your list. They get to toss it out. No questions asked. If you each picked different ideas, you’ll have 10 no-food dates nights, pre-planned. How great is that?

Happy Mother’s Day to my friends in the U.S. May your kids shower you with all the love and the attention you deserve on your special day. Now, remember, after Mother’s Day, or maybe even a gift for you from your partner on Mother’s Day—give them the list as a hint– it’s time for a no-food date night. Let your partner plan it and you just enjoy the hell out of it.

Here’s to no-food date nights, your motherhood, and here’s to your gut health!

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

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

“I Was Just Diagnosed with IBD” 5 Step Roadmap

Is your Crohn’s or colitis diagnosis so fresh in your mind that you’re still playing the diagnosis conversation you had with your doctor over and over, almost like a record that’s skipping?

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with IBD, let everything else go except for 5 things I’m about to share with you. It’s your 5 Step Roadmap and it will help you get through all the initial overwhelm, the stress, and the anxiety that comes after being saddled with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease diagnosis.

And if you’re here today because you’ve had IBD for a while and you’re just stuck in overwhelm or indecision, rest assured you are also going to get lots of juicy nuggets as well from this podcast episode as well.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Why your best first response after getting an IBD diagnosis should be to take no action at all
  • How to move from your IBD starter plan to a fully formulated IBD healing plan (and how long you should give that plan to work)
  • The 2 must-do healing resources that successful IBD mamas choose to follow

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Your Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System

Your Stress Management Toolbelt Kit

Schedule Your Free 30-Minute IBD Consultation with Karyn

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Is your Crohn’s or colitis diagnosis so fresh in your mind that you’re still playing the diagnosis conversation you had with your doctor over and over, almost like a record that’s skipping? Coming up today on the podcast, if you’ve recently been diagnosed with IBD, let everything else go and do these 5 things first.


Hey there my friend, it’s so good to be here with you today. It’s a cool day in Maryland, but the sun is shining and that always warms my heart. How about you? If you are listening to this episode because you’ve just been given that lovely Crohn’s or colitis diagnosis, you’ve come to the right place because I’ve got your step-by-step plan right here. And I’ve got to tell you, sure I’m biased, but this is some juicy, life supporting information. Get your pen and paper ready.

And if you’re listening today because you’ve had IBD for a while and you’re just stuck in overwhelm or indecision, or just because you’re a long time listener, first of all, I’m so grateful for you and the connection we get to have each week, and rest assured you are also going to get lots of juicy nuggets as well from this episode.

So the first things first. I have to mention that this episode and these 5 steps are not about a particular dogma or treatment plan for IBD. There’s loads of paths to IBD health and wellness. In know it may not feel like it to you right now, but there are. It doesn’t matter what your path is or if you have no path at the moment because after this episode, you’ll have a lot more clarification on which path you’d like to choose to move forward. So no matter which way you decide is the way for you to heal and live your best remission filled life, as you’ll see as we go through the steps, you can apply each principle, no matter which direction you to go in.

So, good valuable info, for the healing modality or modalities (which is always my recommendation) that you choose.

Also, this is a road map so you’ll want to follow these 5 steps in order. It’s not a choose whatever step you want to take first road map. It’s a step-by-step road map so keep in mind, you’ll want to go step by step to get your best results.

OK, without further ado, let’s dive into your “I Was Just Diagnosed with IBD” 5 Step Roadmap

Step #1- As difficult as this diagnosis is to get, and so many of us don’t even have a clue what Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis is when we first hear those words, the most important thing to do first is breathe… breathe a sigh of relief because you now have a reason for your pain. You have an answer to all your questionable symptoms. And for most of us, it took way too freakin’ long, going to doctor after doctor, being passed off as having IBS or anxiety or stress.  And getting to where you are at this point took loads of persistence and gumption to challenge the system. You are a rock star for getting this far.

So step #1 is to breathe a sigh of relief.

You have a diagnosis. It’s almost centering in a way because you probably have felt so off, so out of balance for so long. You have an answer and you’re not crazy—so breathe a sigh of relief.

And as soon as that diagnosis comes down, everyone around you will be so rush rush… you must start this med, and do this procedure, and get poked and prodded with bloodwork…

But it’s ok, I’m giving you permission, to let the world stop spinning for a moment and let the dust settle. Take a beat to breathe and gather up strength because you are going to need it. Don’t let the medical establishment rush you here, unless there’s an immediate surgery necessary. Usually that isn’t the case, so give it a few days, a week, and just let this new diagnosis settle in.

What does this change in my life?
What does this not change in my life?

Go inward in this moment. Get help for your kids. Ignore the world, it doesn’t matter.

As moms, so often we hear about a challenge and we jump into fix it mode. It’s in our nature. It’s our natural reaction, but I really want you to fight that normal mom response to solve and let action take over.

Instead, when you get that diagnosis, go in. Sit with this. Feel all the feels deep in your soul. Let the news wash over you so that when you have rested your reserves and begin to accept the impact of how this will change your future, you will have the energy to come out swinging with hope, with resilience, with strength, and the knowledge that you will find your way. And you will still shine bright in your lifetime. And you will still shine your light and amazing spirit with the rest of the world, just like you did before IBD came into your life. You will get to that place once again. Before you move on to step 2, you must believe these things about yourself, and in order to truly get there and not fake it, you have to stop for a moment, breathe and take it all in.

Now that you’ve put your energy in the right place, in your reserves, it’s time to take some action. Step one was all about re-action and self-reflection. And now, we take the energy we’ve been storing (and its psychic energy or if you don’t want to get to woo-woo about it, it’s mental energy, because your physical energy is probably still very low) and we begin to pick up the pieces.

By now, you’ve been given a lot of information from you doctor. There may be pamphlets or notes from your doctor’s visit or patient portal information, test results and recommendations. Now it’s time to begin to put the pieces together in step 2.

In Step #2, You Formulate a Starter Plan.

Not a final plan. Not an end all be all plan. A B+ mom starter plan. One you can live with for now, knowing once the worst  of your symptoms are behind you, you will probably make tweaks. And that’s OK. In fact, it’s the best way forward. That can be hard for so many of us perfectionists out there, but you will be most successful in healing if you just imperfectly start with the goal of getting to your most pressing issue first.

It’s time to ask yourself, with all the information I currently have (because you are just in the initial stages here), keeping in mind where you’re at physically right now, is your disease in a mild, moderate, or severe state—and ask yourself, what plan makes the most sense for me right now? What should I be doing immediately to relieve my worst symptoms?

In order to be able to move forward, you’ve got to get some relief. You really can’t think of anything else until you do. We’ve all been in that place before where we get tunnel vision because what we are going through is so devastating and painful, that we just can’t move on until we fix that problem.

I’ve experienced this so many times in my long journey with Crohn’s— but the thing I remember most from my early, early days with IBD was these ulcers in my mouth. So many that I couldn’t count them all. 20-30 all at the same time… they were everywhere. Under my tongue, on my tongue, in my checks, the roof of my mouth, in my throat. I couldn’t eat or drink anything, or talk or swallow, or breathe without being in immense pain. There were so many symptoms for me in those early days, but that one was really a doozy and I knew if I could fix that, I’d at least be able to leave my home again.

That’s just one example of the things that can rock your world in the early days or even years into your Crohn’s and colitis. In your early days, forget the unsolicited advice from people coming out of the woodwork telling you eat this, don’t eat that. Forget people who tell you that you just need to manifest your health or meditate, or find gratitude, try reiki or acupuncture, of an infrared sauna…

While those things can be amazingly healing and I talk about all of them on this very podcast and at some point you should try to incorporate healing modalities like these, in step 2 of your “I was just diagnosed with IBD” 5 step road map, with symptoms that are initially so severe, like going to the bathroom 10-20 times a day, blood in the toilet, 20 mouth ulcers like me that hurt even when you drink water, fatigue that keeps you from even stepping out of bed… your day will be successful if for today, you can say today, I put one foot in front of the other.

In the beginning when you just need symptom relief to feel like a human being again, deal with your most pressing problems first. The ones that will eventually get you out of your four walls, even if it’s just for a short period of time.

Because that is something to truly celebrate.

Now when it comes to what to take for those kinds of challenges, I’m not a doctor so I’m not prescribing anything specific, but for you that might mean taking 8 Imodium a day, or moving to an elemental diet where the only thing you put in your body are nutritional shakes for a week, or taking steroids temporarily, or rinsing your mouth with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixture multiple times a day like I had to do.

Whatever gets you to a place where you ease your most pressing physical discomfort, that’s the plan you want to be making in Step 2 of your road map.

Make a plan for your most pressing challenges and be open to whatever action you need to take to get immediate relief so you can take back your life and begin to see you on the horizon again.

Once you are on semi-stable ground, once you have some symptom control in place, you’ll have the mental capacity to begin to learn about your illness, learn more about all that IBD entails. And that’s step 3 of your roadmap:

The Knowledge is Power Step.

Before this point, and I know it’s so hard to do, but I highly recommend that as much as you can, you stay off the internet. Don’t google Crohn’s or colitis. or go on Facebook groups or other social media sites.  You’ll only get more sick and more anxious. And you may even get sucked in with the drama of toxic people who try to bring you down with them.

But now that you have your immediate challenge/s sorted and quieted a bit, now it’s time to become a sponge and learn all you can.

Besides what your doctor is telling you, what other options are out there? And once you’ve soaked up as much as you can, you’re in a steadier state, you can ask yourself: Do I feel most comfortable with a medication only approach, a more natural approach or a combination of the two? What modalities sound intriguing to me? Now is a good time in stage 3 to peruse many of my episodes from the podcast to get ideas about what options are out there for you. There’s loads of information in the last 85 episodes. Like episode 26 where I talk about the benefits of far infrared light therapy or episode 45 all about good coffee substitutes, or episode 66 where I dive into gut healing herbal teas, or episode 75 it’s all about your IBD work life balance. So many good ones, and now is the time to start binge listening, soaking up all the information like a sponge.

And keep in mind, you’re still going for B+ mom status here. There’s no place for perfection when you’re trying to find ways to get into and maintain remission. You can pretty much assume that throughout your life, you will be making changes to how you care for your IBD from time to time. As life changes, so will your chronic illness. So the choices you make in stage 3, your knowledge step, these choices you are making can always be tweaked. You never need to feel like you are signing your life away. You’re just trying on possibilities here and that can be very exciting and very rewarding.

In step 3, with so much information out there on the internet and in friend groups and from well-meaning family members, and heck from our doctors too– if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or anxious, it’s OK to take a break. Step 3 doesn’t need to happen in one day or even in a week.

Little bits of information, in bite sized pieces is best if we want all this knowledge to say with us.

And as you research and think about all your options, a murky path will start to illuminate. You’ll start to feel pulled instinctively in a certain direction. Because there’s so much to consider and so many decisions to make in step 3, journaling during this time can be really helpful. Get your thoughts out and write whatever comes to your mind. For some, just the act of writing will help center your thoughts. You may never even need to read what you write. For others, re-reading what they write is the key to understanding, but journaling about anything and everything during this fresh, raw, and new time can be really profound.

And if you need it, if you wonder about how much weight you should give to each idea that you find, I highly recommend you get a second opinion. Not necessarily about your diagnosis, but about your treatment plan. Remember, every doctor is different. Contrary to popular belief, as much as medicine is a science it is also very much an art and your doctor is the artist. Find out what a different approach might look like if you’re feeling called to do that.

Then, when you’re ready, when you feel like you have enough knowledge, make a preliminary decision.

Meds only— you might say, let’s start small with anti inflammatories, the 5 ASA’s like Lialda, Pentasa or Apriso and see what happens. Or let’s go with the big guns and go straight to biologics like Stelara or Humira. Or you might decide it feels right to go natural all the way. Food, lifestyles, mindset… Or maybe a combination approach where you take medication and use an IBD healing diet as well.

There is no one size fits all answer. There’s only the one that fits for you. And it just has to fit for you right now. It doesn’t have to fit you for life.

Remember, it’s OK to move forward even if the path is murky. B + mom is where you want to be. You don’t need to have all the answers to begin.

Once you complete Step 3 on our IBD roadmap, you should begin to feel like you’ve taken some of your lost control and you’ve taken it back. When we gain knowledge and formulate a plan, we tend to feel more centered, grounded, and in control. Win or lose, that’s the power of Step 3 and fulfilling Step 3 is how we get to move on to step 4.

Step 4 is all about sticking with your plan and being patient.

Healing the gut takes time. Finding your path to initial remission can take time.

Over my years as a health coach I’ve seen clients who want to try something for one day or three days and then ditch it because they’ll tell me, it didn’t work for them. Gut healing doesn’t usually work that way. It’s very rare that it does.

That doesn’t mean it’s not possible or even that it’s not likely that healing will take place. But gut healing is about one step forward, two steps back. But over time, those one steps forward, they add up.

Patience and going tortoise slow are going to be your mantras during step 4.

Patience is my friend. Patience will guide me to success.

The tortoise wins the race in the end so I will be the tortoise.

I want you to practice patience and I want you to be the tortoise, but I don’t want you to feel like you are wasting your time. And this is where two incredible resources come into play. Two resources that if you cultivate now, you will be able to keep in your arsenal for the rest if your life.

#1 is your Food-Mood-Poop journal. This is the most critical piece that’s missing so often from this step because it’s tedious and it’s time consuming. If you are a Cheeky Podcast lifer, I’m hoping you’ll stay with me for just a sec while I catch up anyone who hasn’t heard me mention the power of the Food-Mood-Poop Journal before. In a very quick gut shell, your FMP Journal is the place you record what you eat, how it affects you, your mood, your poop and your other symptoms.

Now you may fancy yourself Wonder Woman, I certainly do from time to time. You might think I can remember what I eat. It’s all in my mind. I can remember what treats me good and what sends me to the porcelain throne or the bed in pain. I can even watch how these things change over time, but trust me mama, I’m going give it to your straight right now. You can’t. Even Wonder Woman has her limits. We moms have way too much going on in our lives to remember this type of minutia that isn’t written down.

Are journals are time-consuming? Yes, I’m not going lie. They can be. But keeping a journal like this (and mine is really streamlined) is very time limited and trust me, you will benefit so much from this now, and whenever you’re struggling down the road with a flare up. Devoting some time to your Food-Mood-Poop Journal now will get you to the finish line so much faster and then be able to get you off the journal that much sooner.

Food-Mood-Poop Journal. Do it. You will thank me for it. And Stage 4 is the place to begin. If you want to get started with a tried and true, client and Gut Love Community member tested FMP Journaling System that works, get your hands on my FMP journal. It’s free, it’s fabulous and it’s yours at

OK, I mentioned there are two resources you’ll want to adopt in Step 4. The second one is your Wheel of Wellness. Can I get an amen for the Wheel of Wellness?

Long time listeners, you know what I’m talking about. First time listeners, it’s time to begin the process of cultivating your Wheel of Wellness— your well-rounded support tools that encompass everything in your life that helps you feel your best—mind, body, and soul.

It won’t be anywhere near done when the stage is over, and that’s OK. That’s perfect actually. The goal here in Stage 4 is just to get you started. The good news is that you already have the first spoke in your wheel in place. Whether it was choosing gut healing food, or supplements, or a medication or a mixed approach… Remember you already did that back in Step 3. You are working that one thing, you are choosing patience and persistence to see how it works for you. Now it’s time to start putting some other pieces in place that support your current approach, your gut health and your overall health. There’s a reason we don’t start with your Wheel of Wellness from stage 1, right from the get go. Putting together a fully functioning Wheel of Wellness, with all its spokes and moving parts is just too overwhelming in the beginning stages. It’s too much. It will spread you to thin and leave you feeling like you’ve started all these projects you just can’t complete. And nothing frustrates our mom brains more than uncompleted projects!

So, we start here in Step 4 to add to the resources we’ve already gathered with more gut healing options that become the support system to keep your most important gut healing modalities working at their peak.

Think of your Wheel of Wellness it like a beautiful tiered wedding cake with the bottom layer being the strong support for the rest of the cake. Is it as beautiful as the upper most piece with all of it’s fancy decorations? Nope, probably not. But it is no less necessary, because without the strong support of that bottom layer, your wedding cake would fall flat.

Oh no, not on your wedding day!

Now, the cool thing about your Wheel of Wellness (and maybe the frustrating thing about it as well) is that no two IBDer’s wheels will look alike. What you put into your Wheel of Wellness will most assuredly be different that mine. We are all individual and what we need as our bottom layer support structure is different as well. This can be frustrating for some mamas who are looking for a cookie cutter option to squash their IBD, but I’ve been in the C + C trenches enough to know that we call have to carve out our own path.

But what I can do to help you connect with what might become an integral spoke or spokes in your Wheel of Wellness is to tell you about the types of things to consider when you are adding to yours.

Your support system—who are the people around you that you count on for IBD support? Your spouse, your friends, your mom, your co-worker, your online buddies? Keep that support system close to your heart, now especially in your early days with IBD. You need them now the most.

Your movement practice- we all need a movement practice, whether it’s competition level weight lifting or restorative yoga or walking in nature and everything in between. No matter what type of movement you choose, choose the one that’s best for you where you are currently at. For example, if you can’t get off the toilet in the morning, a get up and go morning kick boxing movement program is probably not the best option for you. Choose a practice that is right for where you’re currently at knowing you’ll add on to it as you get healthier.

Your stress management tool belt- Oh, stress. It’s a killer. Literally. It strips you from your ability to fully fight your Crohn’s and colitis. It even causes breakdowns that lead to flare ups. We all know how important it is to find ways to manage the stress in our life. Adding this spoke to your Wheel of Wellness is crucial. If you need help in this area, don’t forget, I’ve got a resource for that. You can download my free and fabulous Stress Management Toolbelt Kit. It’s got all kinds of great ideas to help you manage your acute stress as well as your chronic stress. Getting your toolbelt is super easy. Just go to and you’ll find it there.

Your spirituality or faith is another possible spoke in your Wheel of Wellness. I’ll tell you what, when the chips are down, when you just feel like you can’t take it one more day, your faith can be the one thing that pulls you through. I think I told you this before, but it bares repeating. When my mom was given 6 months to live with liver cancer, it was her faith and her indelible spirit that helped her last not just 6 months, but six years before passing away. Faith my dear, it’s a powerhouse spoke in your Wheel of Wellness.

Your Wheel of Wellness may also include supportive practitioners besides your main doctor like a health coach to help you engage fully with healing modalities you’ve chosen, or to educate you on supports you may not have thought about, and be your head cheerleader support system as you move through your gut healing journey. You supportive practitioners may also include an acupuncturist or a functional medicine provider that looks at root cause healing for your IBD. Maybe a Craniosacral Therapist or a Reiki practitioner. You don’t need every type of course, but find one or two that support your needs as you continue your healing journey.

I just want to mention two more ideas for your Wheel of Wellness before we move on. Because these are ideas that might spark some insight or motivation in you to act, no matter where you’re at on your path with IBD.

Your self-care practice is HUGE. Now listen, I almost gag when I say that phrase, self-care. It is so overused and so misunderstood that it’s lost its weight. But it is so overused for a reason. It’s important mama. And it’s something we suck at! Too much mom guilt, too many kid responsibilities, too many irons in the fire, too many multi-tasking moments. We need our time. We need to know who we are away from all the demands of our life. Overused or not, self-care is needed for you now more than ever and the positive impact it will have on your physical health when you take the time for you is astounding.

The last Wheel of Wellness idea I want to mention today is to include some form of meditation and/or also therapy. As a former mental health counselor myself, I’m biased in this area, but I can also tell you from personal experience how vitally important these two healing modalities have been in my life. Therapy—when I was first diagnosed, it was life changing. My mom took me to a therapist who practiced medical hypnotherapy. Forget what you know about stage entertaining hypnotists, this is not what it’s about. The right hypnotherapist can have a huge impact on your gut health. As can a therapist who practices cognitive behavioral therapy as well as dialectical behavior therapy and so many more types. Meditation came into my life much later, but I highly recommend that as well. Mediation doesn’t have to be about quieting your mom brain. It can be about focused visualizations to assist your digest system in doing what it wants to do… heal.

Those are just some of the options out there for your Wheel of Wellness. You may have something completely different in yours. Everyone’s wheel of wellness is different and everyone’s wheel of wellness will change over time. We are not stagnant in life, why should our Wheel of Wellness never change?

And that’s why during this step, Step 4 we are just thinking in terms of getting it started on this immense project. B+ work all the way! If you just get one or two spokes added to your Wheel of Wellness besides your main health hub, during Step 4, that would be absolutely freaking amazing.

So what’s the right amount of time here, how much time should you give this Step 4 to fully percolate? Usually 1 to 3 months before making any changes. Remember I said at the beginning of this step, I see lots of mamas saying I did it for 3 days (maybe a week) and it didn’t work so I’m moving on. Not so fast my speedy friend. Take the time, your body needs to catch up to your brain.

So let’s say you decided that diet was the key to finding remission, and you started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Give Stage 4 with your Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System and adding in one or two key Wheel of Wellness pieces, and give that one to three months before making any decisions about moving forward. That doesn’t mean that you are looking for “I am healed” in three months, that means that you see forward moving progress. Healing takes the body time to catch up to what’s going on in our mind. Same goes for approaches like medication only or supplements or even if you choose a mixed approach.

And the last but so important thing I’ll say on this subject is that when you’re taking into account that 1 to 3 months, be really honest with yourself and assess did I really do everything that I could do within my power and according to my plan that I put in place to help myself heal. If you were hit or miss, if you didn’t take your medicine some days and you took it other days, if you ate out at McDonald’s once a week… you didn’t really do your plan as planned.

It’s OK, we’re all human and we’re all in this together. No judgment. We’re not going for perfectionism, but we are going for maximum effort. So if you can’t say that you put forth maximum effort then absolutely give this stage a bit more time so you really know what works and what doesn’t before moving on.  

You’ve made it to Step 5 my friend.

In Step 5 it’s time to assess and tweak.

If a minimum of one month has passed or a maximum of three months has passed, it’s time to take stock. As I mentioned earlier, this method and these 5 Steps are not about a prescribed plan. It’s not about following a particular dogma or road to healing. It’s about following the road that best serves you for the time that you’re currently in. I can’t stress this enough mama.

I see so many ladies out there, grasping for the one true healing modality—following the path they’ve some guru or so called expert take, only to find themselves in the same miserable place they started in, or in some cases worse off. It breaks my heart when I see this.

The bad news is that there is no one perfect path to quieting your IBD symptoms, but on the flip side, the good news is that there are loads of individually proven paths that you can use to tweak and change and formulate as you design your own proven path to health. There are lots of ways to heal and in Step 5 of this process, and it’s time to celebrate because you made it to the assessing and tweaking phase.

So, in Step 5 we ask, how has that road been serving me? It’s time to figure that out. And you can access and process this thoroughly by asking yourself a few key questions.

#1 Am I better off or worse than when I started this plan?

It’s really that simple. We don’t have to overcomplicate it.

If your answer to this question is I’m not just better I am fantastic, I am great, I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life… keep doing what you’re doing and every so often, keep asking yourself this same question. Because I can almost guarantee that there will come a time in your life when you’re going to answer this question and the answer isn’t going to be I feel fantastic, I feel terrific, I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. As life moves on and as our life changes direction and stress and circumstances and things that are not under our control and all happen, your plan will need to be revised. And when that’s the case, I want you to continue on with my next question.

If your answer to question number one is yeah, I’m better but I’m not exactly where I want to be, either in this moment or over time, it’s time to ask yourself question #2.

# 2- What can make my plan better? What, in my heart, with the amazingly fined tuned intuition I know I have if I just trust and listen to my inner self, what is my intuition telling me that it’s not working for me? What about this plan that I created does work?

And when you have those tweaks in mind, ask yourself how can I fit these tweaks into my lifestyle? How can I best make a new plan to make the changes that I need to make a new habit to become part of my life? Because that’s the hard part, often times we know what we need to do but it’s about the actual planning and implementing that tends to trip us up. So don’t just ask yourself the question what’s working and what’s not working? Ask yourself how can I implement? How can I make these changes that I need to make a new habit in my life?

And lastly, if you’re answering these questions with thoughts like: I really don’t have the foggiest idea where to start or if your saying no, I am really no better off than when I started. I’m not in the right direction and I don’t know where to go from here. It’s time for question #3.

Question #3 is: Who can help me figure this out?

If you’re feeling like you need to make tweaks, but you’re just not sure where to start or what those tweaks even should be… or if you’re saying I’ve done everything I could for the last 1 to 3 months and it’s just not working for me, now it’s time to get some additional help.

And often times this is where I come in. Often times people will have done some version of steps one through five– maybe they’ve done it to a T or maybe they’ve done pieces and parts of it, but some version of the stages we just went over and they realize that they just need more support. They need an outsider and a guide, but also support from someone who gets it. Someone who has been in a similar IBD situation, someone who’s just a few steps ahead of them on their gut healing journey.

So if this is where you are at, it’s a really good time to get in touch because this is exactly what I do as a coach. I don’t prescribe meds like your doctor does. I help you process and weigh all of your options, and help you see some options you didn’t see before because sometimes you’re too close to the situation or don’t have access to all the resources or the latest research on what’s working in the field of Crohn’s and colitis. This is where I can be a great support for you and the beauty of it for me is that I get to witness and be a part of your journey and your transformation as you get to the bottom of what will work for you. It’s a beautiful thing and one of my favorite things in life!

If this sounds like the kind of support you need and if a free 30-minute IBD consultation with me where the focus is 100% on you and your specific challenges, you can book that with me at

Now maybe the services that I provide isn’t what you need. It does happen from time to time. What other options might be available to you? Is there a doctor in your area with a different approach than what you’ve been working towards so far? Maybe there’s a book or a class or a course… whatever helps you and gives you more knowledge that you can then turn that into help for your situation, that’s the direction to go in this tweaking stage.

Like I said, I’m here for you. It’s what I do, it’s my passion and mission in life to help others with IBD. To help lighten the load for as many IBD mamas as I can. But other healthcare professionals are available as well, so if you find that you get to Step 5 and you’re still lost, please don’t stop there. Help is still available. You’re hope should not be diminished. This is a monster of an illness and sometimes we need a couple go-arounds before we find our way. But find someone who can guide you. Someone who can keep things moving forward for you. That’s what it’s all about.

OK my love, those are your 5 stages, Your “I Was Just Diagnosed with IBD” 5 Step Road Map. If you’re newly diagnosed or if you’re just stuck feeling overwhelmed and anxious and stressed and sick and tired all the time, I hope that this gave you a roadmap forward. Let’s go over our 5 steps one last time. This is a good time to write them down so you’ll have this information at your fingertips whenever you need it.

Step 1- breathe a sigh of relief. You know what this is and that can be freeing. There’s hard work to be done so take a moment with yourself to center, get grounded, and gather your energy for the fight that’s coming.

Step 2- Formulate your starter plan. This is just your initial plan to get you out of your most pressing problem. It’s not your forever, but it needs to be a powerful enough treatment to get you living life again. And in this stage, be open to whatever works. Maybe you’re not a fan of meds, but they could really get you over the hump. Maybe you feel like all the foods bother you so why would you look at healing foods. Trust me, there are ones that bother you more than others, it’s about making a starter plan to start to figure it out. Your starter B+ plan. You can do it.

Step 3- The knowledge is power step. Now that you’ve got your barring’s and you’ve quieted your worst problem with whatever means necessary, you have the energy to do some research, dig deep into your options. Food, medicine, lifestyle… a combo approach. Whatever it is, get started here with imperfect awesome mama B+ effort.

Step 4- is probably the biggest, hardest step. It’s all about sticking with your plan and being patient while it plays out. During this time, you are putting in a solid effort for 1 to 3 months. You are using your Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System. You are just starting to cultivate your Wheel of Wellness with one or two spokes. You’re not changing every 3 days, you are in for the long haul.

Step 5- In Step 5, it’s time to assess and tweak. What’s working? What isn’t? If it’s all working, keep doing you mama. If there’s small parts to tweak or even large areas, it’s all good. It’s all just information you can use to help you move forward. If what you have done over the last 3 months isn’t working, you are not a failure, you are resilient, you are powerful, and you will keep searching for answers. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that there are answers. We just have to keep turning over stones to find them.

And if you are struggling, if you just feel like you are hitting your head against a wall repeatedly, it’s time to reach out. Let’s work together to see if we can put some of the puzzle pieces together for you. That’s my sweet spot. It’s what I do best. Remember there’s a link to book a free 30-minute IBD consultation call with me in the show notes, or you can also just go to to book there as well.

My friend, the early days of IBD are rough. I hope this information just helped you see that there is an illuminated path forward. Use these steps to shape your journey and know I’m here to help you along the way.

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

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

{#herIBDstory} That Stoma Life with Beth Coldrick

This week’s episode of The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD is extra special because it’s a #herIBDstory episode where I get to connect with real life IBD rockstars and highlight their inspiring stories.

Today’s story is full of the kind of inspiration we all need.

Beth Coldrick is an IBD gal, stoma rocker, skincare entrepreneur, and all around positive soul. You are just going to love her and relate to her story.

Beth is the Founder of BAO Skincare, and a long-time sufferer of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. And over the last 10 years she has been on and off steroids, managed her diet and lifestyle accordingly, and has had three life changing surgeries. She now lives with a permanent stoma bag after her final surgery in August 2020.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Beth’s step by step guide to what her stoma surgeries looked like
  • The importance of finding support in areas your doctor can’t help you with
  • The realities of working and living with IBD

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Connect with Beth:

Happy_Stoma_Life on Instagram

Bao Skincare on Instagram

Beth’s Website

Other Resources:

Hannah Witton’s YouTube Channel

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

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

IBD Q & A Giveaway #2

It’s IBD Q and A Giveaway #2 Day!

We did this over a year ago on the podcast, way back in Episode 20 so it’s been a while. I love doing this type of episode. It’s so fun and meaningful for me to connect with you on this level. So thanks for sending in your Q’s.

There were some juicy ones and ones I think we all can relate to so that’s the beauty of this. Even if it’s not your question being asked, you can still benefit.

Plus, there’s a giveaway attached to this Q and A episode so let’s keep it fun and light today to lift our spirits and let’s dive in with your most pressing Q’s.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • The 2 sneaky rules you should always break when you go the the hospital
  • Your best gut healing store-bought snack options (there’s loads of them!)
  • The gut healing remedies I never travel without

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Join our Gut Love Community

Get Your Stress Management Toolbelt Kit

Food-Mood-Poop Journal

Awesomely Easy On-The-Go Snack List

Episode 80: The Secret to Manageable, Tolerable, Even Enjoyable Colonoscopies

Episode 65: Eating Beyond Your 4 Walls Part IV: Gut Happy, Healthy Travel with Crohn’s and Colitis

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


Thrive Market

Find a Functional Medicine Provider

Find an Integrative Medicine Provider

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:


We did this over a year ago on the podcast, way back in Episode 20 so it’s been a while. I love doing this type of episode. It’s so fun and meaningful for me to connect with you on this level. So thanks for sending in your Q’s. So many of them, I was overwhelmed by all the responses. Well over 100 Q’s got folded up and went into my large wooden salad bowl to be picked at random to answer for you today. There were some juicy ones and ones I think we all can relate to so that’s the beauty of this. Even if it’s not your question being asked, you can still benefit. Plus, there’s a giveaway attached to this Q and A episode (love me a good giveaway) so let’s keep it fun and light today to lift our spirits (Lord knows we need it) and let’s dive in.


Hello, hello. Karyn with you again on The Cheeky Podcast and welcome to IBD Q and A Giveaway Day. I’ve got a spring in my step. An extra umph in my voice because this is a good one. I mentioned in the intro that this is our second time doing this Q and A style episode and I’m so looking forward to it. If this is the first you’re hearing about the Q and A episode then you must not be part of our free and fabulous Gut Love Community. That’s the place to be to get some extra special love and connect with me through our weekly updates, resources, and recipes I only share there. If you’ve got IBD and you are not part of our community yet, we’d love to welcome you. Join us at And when you do, I’ll be in touch. I can’t wait to meet you.

So this latest Q and A has a special Giveaway attached to it. I’m excited about this one because I’m doing it like a choose your own adventure novel where you get to pick where you go next. This is a choose your own Giveaway with prizes like the new and so delicious (I’ve tried every flavor) Hu Company assorted cookie basket. If you aren’t familiar with Hu, you are going to love this. Hu was a healthily made chocolate company, but in the last little bit they’ve branched out into gluten and grain free cookies and crackers and other yummies as well. So, part of our choose your own giveaway is a Hu gift basket. There’s also Danielle Walker’s latest book, “Food Saved Me.” Danielle is a food blogger and cookbook author for gut healthy recipes and in her latest book, she shares her story and struggle with Ulcerative Colitis. Very inspirational. Perfect if you don’t mind laughing and crying, and completely getting her story like only we can. And there’s also the giveaway option of a Wellbee’s gift card. Wellbee’s is an online health food store with amazing gut healthy options I know you’ll enjoy. I love supporting small businesses like this one because they are doing so much good for our IBD community.

So if you’re Q is answered on the episode today, you get to choose your own giveaway from the list I’ll sending your way. I want you to have the gift that says, “That’s Me,” so this choose your own giveaway gift is my way of doing just that and to also say thank you for being a part of the podcast and a part of our Gut Love Community. I couldn’t do any of this without you.

OK, now that we know the gift that might just be coming your way if you submitted a Q and it ends up on this episode, so let’s get to it. Let’s get to the Q’s.


Question #1 comes from Dominika in Hungry.

Dominika says:

Hi Karyn!

My name is Dominika and I’m originally from Poland, currently living and working in Budapest, Hungary and also flaring in Budapest, Hungary. Actually I’m being admitted to the hospital tomorrow so I can have an emergency intravenous iron as well as colonoscopy… which brings me to a question.

Dear Karyn, please give us a list of snacks we can pack for our hospital stay! Taking into consideration that colonoscopy may be involved. And there is no fridge available. 

You’re the best, your happy voice and positive attitude will be in my ears, helping me through this difficult experience in a foreign country! 

All the best,


Dominika, first of all, thanks for all the podcast love. It warms my heart. And secondly, I’m so sorry you are struggling right now. And in a foreign country, that’s the worst. I member back when I was in college, I was lucky enough to be part of a study abroad program. I became very constipated and impacted in Holland and was taken to a local hospital. The language barrier was a huge challenge, but all I remember was the doctor having his rectal probe in one hand (think of it like the speculum gynecologists use for a pap smear) and in the other hand, a jar of goo that could only be described as gelatinous snot. When he told me to bend over, I fled from the office in tears.

Dominika, I say this all just to bring some light humor to the situation you are in, not to scare you at all because I have no doubt that your experience will turn out much different from mine. I was young and didn’t know how to handle a situation like that. I know you will advocate for yourself and make sure you understand what is being asked of you.

Now, keeping in mind a colonoscopy is the goal for you, snacks will be limited to clear liquids so let’s start there. If there is no refrigerator available to you, there’s still lots of things you can bring in your suitcase that qualify as clear liquids. You’ll have to do some translation here, because I’m not sure how these things are available in Hungry, but hopefully you can find something similar. For colonoscopy prep, you can find small bottles of apple juice, white grape juice, cans of ginger ale, tea bags… in America there are some good quality bone broth companies that sell their broth in boxes—Kettle and Fire is one bring with you. Of course, water is key, but so is coconut water which you can also buy unrefrigerated. Rotating these clear liquids alone would get you through. Will it be fun? Probably not, but they will get you through.

There’s two other things though that I want to point out about when you are just allowed to have clear liquids. #1- if you are on clear liquids, the hospital should provide should provide you with unlimited clear liquids from broth to tea to juice to 7-up or ginger ale, jello… these are the things most hospitals have. Sure, you can bring your own healthier versions and that is ideal, but you’re in a flare right now and running all over to get clear liquids and snacks to bring to the hospital is just not where your energy will be best spent. And also, even though I follow a gut healing diet religiously, when it’s time for the colonoscopy prep, I don’t worry so much about what’s going in because it’s about to come out. Could I make my own broth, my own sugar free/dye free jello, my own lemon ice pops… of course I can. But would I rather just buy acceptable brands knowing I’ll be starting over as soon as the colonoscopy is done. For just those couple days, I let it go.

I mentioned there’s one other thing I want to share with you Dominika, and that’s that just because there are no refrigerators doesn’t mean you can’t bring cold things in to a hospital. I just had a Crohn’s related hospital stay in January and I knew I didn’t want to eat any of the hospital food, so I packed up a small cooler with some bone broth, some homemade yogurt, some well cooked veggies, some cooked chicken breasts… Just a few things that I could eat when I was allowed to have food.

Hospitals may not have refrigerators, but they do have ice. Along with the small cooler, I bring a package of freezer bags. I’d have by hubby switch out the ice a couple times a day, put it in the freezer bag and everything stayed perfectly cold.

Now, this is a good place to mention that when you bring that cooler into the hospital, you are going to walk in with it like you own the place, daring anyone to question it. You own that cooler and you’ll be damned if anyone is going to take it from you. If you know ahead of time (and this is definitely one of those situations where it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask questions) if you know ahead of time that you are not allowed to bring in your own food, just carry it in with a coat or a blanket over it. My hubby did this with that last hospital stay. He put it in my hospital room and no one ever said a thing about it.

Which brings me to one last piece of advice for hospital stays Dominika, if at all possible, have someone there with you. Your job at the hospital is to reserve your energy and rest. Their job is to be the lion at the door, making sure all your needs are being met. Having been in the hospital with Crohn’s multiple times now, I can tell you having a care partner with you is crucial. IV getting low—call the nurse. No one coming to help you to the bathroom (which we know happens)—they can help. Doctors not giving you what you need for pain—they advocate.

Have someone with you. This goes for you too dear listener. If you are going to the hospital for whatever the reason, have someone you trust explicitly as a designated advocate/helper so you can focus all your energy on healing.

Dominika, I know you might also be in the hospital when you are allowed to eat more than just clear liquids, so I’ll message you privately with some options for you there when I reach out about sending your giveaway prize to you in Hungry. That’s definitely the farthest and IBD Q and A prize has gone. I love it!

Above all, I’m wishing you a speedy recovery, remission soon, and a colonoscopy that is worth your efforts. And if you, dear listener are going through this too, I’m sending you healing vibes as well. This must be the time of year for colonoscopies because I’ve been hearing from you with Q’s about colonoscopies lately. It could also be because I just did an episode called The Secret to Manageable, Tolerable, Even Enjoyable Colonoscopies a few weeks back. It’s episode 80 if you want to check it out. It might be helpful for you as well Dominika. I’ll leave a link for it in the show notes at


Question #2 comes from Lisa in San Diego. Oh, I love sunny San Diego! My uncle lived there (in Alpine if you are familiar with the area) and I loved visiting him. He since passed but what a great city.

Lisa says:

I have been on and IBD flare diet and am now ready to start reintroducing foods.  What is the best strategy to do that?

I do not do well with added oils. 

Thanks.  Love reading/listening to your podcast.



Lisa, thank you for the podcast love. I appreciate you and I’m so happy to wrote in with this question because I know this is going to help so many going through this very thing.

It’s tough when you are moving out of a flare. Your situation is precarious to say the least. You don’t want to eat anything that would jeopardize what you’ve accomplished. First of all, I would say try to find ways to combat the stress and anxiety that this can bring up. Because as we all know, stress can be a trigger just as much as food. Now notice I said, find ways to combat the stress and not ways to get rid of. Stress is going to happen. The more we try to wish it away or not feel it, the worse things will get. With stress, it’s about finding ways to manage it.

The simplest and most in the moment way to positively impact stress is with deep breathing. I’ve talked about this technique many times before so I won’t go to heavy into it here, but a good 4-7-8 breath or a 4 X 4 breath works wonders in the moment. There’s other stress management tools I love as well and they are all in my stress management toolbelt kit. If you don’t have it yet, be sure to download it at It is a huge help when you’re moving into IBD maintenance life.

Next, when it comes to reintroducing foods after a flare, I always recommend going tortoise slow. I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s painful when all you want to do is go straight for the chocolate cake, but do yourself a favor and do it. You’re body will be so grateful you did. When you go tortoise slow, you can then go so much further with food because you gave your body the time it needed to adjust and assimilate. Now, what might this look like for you Lisa?

Introducing foods at a tortoise pace means starting with the easiest to digest foods possible. Cooked, de-seeded, skinned. Let’s see how you do this these foods first. Peel and cook that apple. Easy to digest squashes, yes please. And in the cooking process, stay away from those oils if you don’t tolerate. It’s really common for IBDer’s to not tolerate oils. Because of our inflamed angry intestines, or sometimes because we’ve had portions of our intestines removed, we don’t always digest fat so well. Taking digestive enzymes with your first bite of food can be really helpful, but if you know you don’t tolerate fat in the form of oils, and if you are seeing oil rings in the toilet when you go #2 or you are wiping and it feels greasy, this is a good sign you don’t tolerate fats so well, just stay away. You can cook and bake without using much oil at all.

Once you know cooked, deseeded, skinned food works, it’s time to move on to cooked food with skins and with seeds. If that goes well and you’ve given your body time to adjust, it’s time to see how raw food goes. Start with soluble fiber first—peas, beans, carrots, avocados, pears, apples and then move into the more insoluble fiber foods like celery, cucumbers, greens, berries, nuts, and seeds. If you are adding in grains, start with your ancient grains first. Quinoa is a great one to see if you digest. Basmati rice is easier to digest that other rices. Sweet potatoes are less starchy and so they’re better for our gut health than white potatoes.

While you are adding in all these foods, and it can take a few months to do it at a pace that’s best for your body, you’re also keeping up with good quality, organic if possible protein. Chicken, turkey, fish, bone broth if you tolerate it… Stick with whole foods, stick with healthy, low sugar, lower carb foods and go slow, slow, slow. Adding in a new food about every 3 days. Yes, it’s strict, but the result and getting your life back… absolutely worth it!

Sometimes you may come across a food that doesn’t agree with you. That’s OK. Set it aside and move on. You can always try it later when more gut healing has taken place.

One last piece of advice I’ll leave you with Lisa is to be keeping a food journal this whole time. A food journal to help you track what you are eating and how it’s impacting your body. This is capitol H HUGE during this time. Is it tedious and annoying, and time consuming… Yes, yes, and yes, it is. But you will be so much better off if you do this. I’m telling you from years of working with clients, the ones who keep a food log, set themselves up for success.

I’ve got my own Food-Mood-Poop journal I use with my clients. You are welcome to use that or find a phone app that works for you. There’s many ways to food journal. You can even just buy a blank journal and start there. But whatever method you choose, I highly recommend you start with my F-M-P journal so you can see what type of information is most important. I’ve seen many apps crop up with food journals like this, but they just don’t have all the necessary tracking mechanisms. You can get your F-M-P journal by going to and I’ll also leave a link for it in the show notes at

OK, Lisa I’ll be in touch about your giveaway prize. Thanks again for your question. It’s such a good one. Wishing you continued health and long-term remission. You’ve got this!


Question #3 comes from Natalie who’s from Texas. She is 19.

I remember being 19 with IBD. Natalie, I am sending you so much energy and healing vibes. Newly diagnosed is a rough time and my heart goes out to you. I know you have a question for me, but know that I’m here for you as you navigate all of this as well. Please reach out anytime.

If you’re newly diagnosed or struggling with gut healthy snacks, this is a question that will support you too I think.

Natalie says:

I was just diagnosed after a 7 day stay at the hospital with ulcerative colitis. 

I’m having a hard time figuring out what snacks I can eat that are ready made and bought from the store.

So what are some ready-made snacks that can be bought at the store? Like chips and stuff. I seem to be doing okay with baked chips.

All the research into what I can and can’t eat has been overwhelming. And I’m not sure how to put everything into a meal besides salads and wraps.

Oh, so many directions to go with this question. On the surface, it seems straight forward, but there’s so much to unpack here.

Let me start with this. One of the best things to learn early on about IBD is that what works for one person is not what works for someone else. We can drive ourselves crazy looking the one diet, the one supplement, the one medication, the one snack that works for all. Oh, there are people on the internet, people in Facebook groups, people on IG and TiKTok who will tell you there’s only one way, but do yourself a favor, don’t waste your precious time. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely worth it to peruse, to ask questions, to get suggestions… but then you’ll need to experiment to find what will become the best path forward for you.

The other thing I will say about food and especially with snacks is that we have to be careful with foods that seem to help us—or not hurt us, I’ll say. And there are foods that may seem to make sense in the moment, but that make our condition worse in the long run. Let me give you an example from my life with IBD. For 20 years after being diagnosed, I ate mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, garlic bread, pasta… all because it was bland. All because it was comfort food. I felt comforted when I ate it. And I didn’t know that slowly over time it was wreaking havoc on my intestines.

It didn’t send me to the bathroom right away so I didn’t know it was slowly changing the bacterial balance in my gut. That microbiome everyone talks about—was moving the good bugs out and the bad bugs in. In the long run, those supposed comfort foods were not worth it.

So when it comes to snacks, we need to be careful here as well. Many store bought snacks are unhealthy or worse, seemingly healthy, but actually it’s just a package of fire that inflames our intestines, whether we feel it in the moment or not. Whatever snacks you choose, my advice is to be mindful of that.

So with that said Natalie, I’ll definitely give you some gut healthy, store bought snack ideas, and these might work for you too dear listener, but also know that everyone with C + C is different. Experimenting with everything from food to medicine to supplements, to mindset techniques and lifestyle factors is part of our healing Crohn’s and colitis journey.

With store bought gut healthy snacks, the good news is that in recent years, lots of options have become available for us. You can find low FODMAP snacks, Paleo snacks, Whole 30 approved snacks and these are the types of store bought snacks I’d say are potentially the most anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial proliferating, and immune boosting for our digestive system.

I always have to start with the simplest, most pure snack and that’s fruit and veggies. Easy to buy at the grocery store, easy to have on hand. You can even dip your fruit like a ripe banana into some yogurt or dip some carrots into hummus or guacamole. And depending on where your digestive tract is at, those veggies can be cooked for easier digestion.

For packaged on-the-go snacks, my favorite brands are Simple Mills (they make crackers, cookies), Siete Foods (they have gut healthier options for tortilla chips and dips), Go-go squeeze makes fruit and veggie sauce packs like carrot apple pear or sweet potato berry. It might sound weird mixing your fruit and veg like that, but they’re actually delicious. A company called Bare makes apple chips that are delish, Manuvo Harvest makes these delightful dried tropical fruit packs like pineapple, mango, and passion fruit.

If you’re looking for some on-the-go protein snacks, Epic has super clean and delish jerky. Beef, pork, turkey, venison, chicken, in all kinds of flavors from sweet to spicy. For vegetarian protein, Eat the Change makes mushroom jerky. I know, it sounds different, but they really are good. My favorite flavor is maple mustard, but they have lots of options. You mentioned chips Natalie. For you and everyone else just a word of caution to be careful there, even with baked options because they sometimes still use unhealthy oils in baking like canola, cottonseed or soybean oil. Look for chips that are baked in avocado oil and I would eat that sparingly. Sweet potato chips are a healthier option or switch to the Siete foods tortilla chips I mentioned earlier.

That’s a few options to get you started. If gut healthy on the go snacks are something of a struggle for you, and finding gut healthy store-bought snacks can be challenging for all of us, you’ll also want to check out my Awesomely Easy On-The-Go Snack List. It’s got a bunch more options for store bought gut healthy snacking ideas as well as some recipes for on-the-go snacks too. If you go to, you can get it there.

One last thing that I think will be helpful for you Natalie, and you too, are some good options for purchasing your gut healthy snacks. In your own community, the health food stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or even better a local market, they will have all the options I’ve mentioned today and a whole lot more. Your standard grocery store might have a health food section too. That’s always a good place to look. If you want to shop online, look no further than Amazon (of course) Thrive Market (that’s an online healthy option grocery store with great prices) and also Wellbee’s (one of my favorite gut healthy sites). You can trust that every snacky food on that site is gut healthy for most. I’ll link to Wellbee’s and Thrive Market in the show notes at


Question #4 comes from Giovanna in Italy.

Dear Karyn,

Thank you for this opportunity, here is my question: it’s a thought that is struggling me right now.

This Easter, I’m planning to travel by train for a weekend to visit my sister, what are the most important things, apart from meds, to carry with me in my suitcase? The items that would really help in case of flare or the things and behaviors that would prevent them?


Giovanna (Italy)

Good question Giovanna! Travel, it’s a big one. Travel can be really stressful for those of us with IBD. Will a flare up happen when I’m gone? What will I do if it does– being in a place that’s different from my normal, natural environment. Where will I go for help if something comes up? That’s hard. And of course the stress we put on ourselves worrying about all of this before we even leave doesn’t help at all.

OK, let’s unpack this for Giovanna and for you too dear one. The truth is, most everything you need to stay healthy on a trip isn’t in your suitcase. It’s the before you go preparations. It’s the food you eat while you’re away and the pace you set for yourself while you’re there. It’s usually the stress, lack of sleep, and the hectic schedule that get that flare bubbling up so be careful of that.

But that said, there are a few things that always go in my luggage every time I travel. I always bring Imodium (Loperamide) quick help for diarrhea and I also pack a fleets enema for really bad constipation because those are the most common things that happen to us when we travel. I also usually bring a heating pad or hot water bottle you can fill. They are at least flat and easy to pack in a suitcase. Great for an upset belly. Hemorrhoid cream is good to have on had just in case you are get too much diarrhea or constipation and your bottom gets sore.

On a related note, it’s really important to go with immune boosting supplements because getting sick can induce a flare up as well. For me, that means apple cider vinegar (you can get it in these travel size bottles), Vitamin C, elderberry syrup, and zinc. I also like to have digestive enzymes on hand to help me with digesting the food when I eat out.

A couple other things I would say about traveling with IBD is that if you are traveling to a different country, be careful of the water you drink. And not just contaminated water, but water that’s different from what we are used to. That severe constipation incident I mentioned earlier from when I was in Holland, it happened because the water in Europe is just different than the water in the states. I’ve tested out this theory multiple times on my travels, and it always ends up being the case. Also, even more important than what you bring with you Giovanna is that you build yourself up before you go with probiotics or homemade fermented yogurt, or sauerkraut and collagen or bone broth to help strengthen your intestinal lining. Be well rested and as unstressed as possible before you travel is also key.

Remember to bring as much food with you as you can. I pack a carry on with food items I know work for my sensitive belly every time I travel by plane or boat or car… pretty much any way imaginable. I’ve talked about this already in Episode 65: Eating Beyond Your 4 Walls Part IV: Gut Happy, Healthy Travel with Crohn’s and Colitis so if you want further help with this question, go there. I’ll leave a link for it in the show notes as well.


Our last question comes from Jessica in Oklahoma City.

Jessica says:

Dear Karyn,

I found your podcast not that long ago and I’ve already binge listen to every episode from the first one. What a find! I’m really grateful for what you do.

I don’t think you’ve talked about my question yet.

I was diagnosed with colitis last year and it’s been an awful year. I’ve been in the hospital three times and my doctor isn’t any help. He keeps saying I have to give the medication I’m on a try. But I just know I’m not going in the right direction.

I know there are other kinds of doctors out there who help people with colitis but I don’t know where to look to find them. Who else helps people with IBD? Someone with a more natural approach?

Thanks– Jessica

Jessica, I love that you’ve binged all the episodes. That absolutely makes my day! I hope they have been helpful, almost like a snuggly blanket by your side during this challenging year you’ve had. This is such an important question and it shows you are already stepping into your IBD power center. You are questioning if there is another way. You are advocating for yourself and I love that. No matter what happens, the spirit will serve you well.

Even though you don’t mention it, I’m guessing the type of doctor you have seen up till now is a gastroenterologist. That’s the type of doctor most people go to first for Crohn’s and colitis. So I am going to assume that’s what you mean. If it isn’t, please email me and let me know.

I think many ladies with IBD or walking around in a daze feeling the same way too. I have this doctor, he/she tells me what to do, expects me to do it, and I feel in my bones that there may be better options, but I don’t know where to start.

The first things I want to say Jessica is don’t give up your doctor—your gastroenterologist. They are usually your best link to the medications, the procedures like endoscopy and colonoscopy, and also the hospital. Gastroenterologists definitely have a place in your IBD care. But you are also right that there may be other options worth exploring, ones that look more at root cause instead of symptoms relief medicine, the types of ideas your traditional doctor may not be familiar with.

Root cause practitioners usually fall under a few titles: functional medicine doctor, integrative medicine doctor, and also naturopath. Depending on where you live and I’m not really familiar with the practitioner situation in Oklahoma City, there may be lots of doctors or there may be only a few. And traditionally, doctors like this do not take medical insurance. Some do, it depends on the state (every state has different rules) but by and large these doctors have fee-for-service practice is. That doesn’t mean you can’t use your HSA account or submit to insurance yourself, that just means that you pay upfront and then see how much you can get reimbursed.

If you can afford it though, doctors like these usually have a very interesting and very thoughtful take on gut health. When that goes much deeper than your traditional doctor. I would say however, that if you are looking for a doctor like a functional, integrative, or naturopath, you look for someone with experience treating Crohn’s or colitis. Many of them will say, “I treat everyone,” and that’s really not of any help to you. Do you want someone with knowledge in IBD. Some practitioners will even only treat IBD patients which is ideal.

I also want to mention that it’s OK if the practitioner you find isn’t local. Nowadays, telemedicine is everywhere (oh and we can thank Covid for that) so your root cause doctor may be located in another state but has license your privileges in your state. It’s always a good idea to ask.

To get started finding a more natural practitioner, I would start by Internet searching something like “functional gastroenterologist in Oklahoma” or “integrative medicine doctor in Oklahoma.” You can widen your search as needed, remembering that you may be able to consult with a doctor out of state via telehealth. There’s also a few websites that I think are best when you’re searching for a more root cause specialist. The IFM website (the Institute for functional medicine) has a great provider search feature. The Andrew Weil Center for integrative medicine in Arizona also has a search feature to help you find a practitioner. There’s even a box you can check to find a TeleMed provider.

Those are the first two places I’d start. If you encounter any problems there, get in touch I am happy to help you find someone in your area.

Besides a root cause medicine doctor, some other practitioners that some of my clients have found helpful are an acupuncturist, and herbalist, a chiropractor, someone experienced in Reiki or craniosacral therapy, a homeopathic doctor… there’s so many options. If you’re looking for a more food and lifestyle focused practitioner, there’s always nutritionists or health coaches who specialize in Crohn’s and colitis. My coaching practice is 100% IBD clients and I’m always happy to chat with you and help you get the help you are looking for.

Remember we are all different and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another so keep experimenting and you will find someone or someone’s to add to your IBD health care team. They all can be valuable. It’s about finding the practitioner that you connect with and feel can help you.

Well we did it! Another IBD Q and A giveaway has come and gone. This was so fun. I love these episodes where we can connect with you in a more personal way. Thanks again for all your submissions. You have blown me away with your insightful questions. I promise, I will get to the mall. If you don’t hear from me in a couple weeks, please reach out again there were so many responses, I want to make sure none get lost in the shuffle.

I mentioned lots of resources today. Let me give you them one more time all at once. If you want to get a pen or open your Notes app to write these down, now is the time.

Join our Gut Love Community:

Get Your Stress Management Toolbelt Kit:

Food-Mood-Poop Journal:

Awesomely Easy On-The-Go Snack List:

There’s a couple other resources I also mentioned in this episode. Links to those can be found in the show notes at

Thanks for hanging out with me today. Thanks for being you. Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy gut healing journey. Chat soon!

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

7 Gut Friendly Spring Veggies and How to Prepare Them for Optimal Gut Healing

Do you eat seasonally or do you just buy whatever you see at your grocery store?

Heaven knows that pretty much everything we want is at our fingertips, year-round in American grocery stores. But the truth is, we can get so much more flavor and so many more nutrients out of our produce if we buy it when it’s just been picked, when it’s ripe, and in season.

Today, I’m sharing with you the top 7 seasonal veggies you’ll want to stock up on this spring and then we’ll get into my favorite part, how you can prepare each of these veggies no matter where you’re at on your gut healing journey.

It’s all about making them in a way that supports your body’s digestion and absorption, at whatever stage it’s at right now.  

It’s a spring veggie extravaganza and yes, I just get that excited over spring vegetables.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How to prepare spring vegetables for wherever you’re at in your IBD healing journey
  • The reason why some of these veggies may not have appealed to you before (and how to make them so they taste amazing)
  • Why and how to store your veggies properly for better nutrition and better taste

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Want to Get Cookin’ With the 7 Best Gut Healthy Spring Vegetables?

Artichokes Nutrition Benefits

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Chicken Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Shaved Artichoke Salad

Arugula Nutrition Benefits

Arugula Smoothie with Pineapple and Mango

Asiago Arugula Eggs

Arugula Salad with Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Beets Nutrition Benefits

Beet-Carrot-Apple Juice

Roasted Beet Hummus

Five Spice Beet Noodles with Fresh Herbs

Mint Nutrition Benefits

Easy to Digest Mint Water

Fresh Mint Tea

Mint Pesto

Asparagus Nutrition Benefits

Asparagus Soup

Perfect Roasted Asparagus

Quick and Easy Blanched Asparagus

Spring Peas Nutrition Benefits

Sweet Pea Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Minty Mushy Peas

Gluten Free Asian Spring Pea and Asparagus Salad

Spring Onions Nutrition Benefits

Vibrant Spring Onion Soup

Grilled Spring Onions

Chinese Chicken Salad with Spring Onions

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Do you eat seasonally or do you just buy whatever you see at your grocery store? Heaven knows that pretty much everything we want is at our fingertips, year-round in American grocery stores. But the truth is, we can get so much more flavor and so many more nutrients out of our produce if we buy it when it’s just been picked, when it’s ripe, and in season.

Today, I’m sharing with you the top 7 seasonal veggies you’ll want to stock up on this spring and then we’ll get into my favorite part, how you can prepare each of these veggies no matter where you’re at on your gut healing journey. It’s all about making them in a way that supports your body’s digestion and absorption, at whatever stage it’s at right now.  It’s a spring veggie extravaganza and yes, I just get that excited over spring vegetables. Here we go!


Hey there dear one. Karyn with you on another episode of The Cheeky Podcast. Spring is in the air. Can you feel it? A little late in my opinion. I was ready about a month ago, but I’m happy it seems to finally be settling in. Have you noticed more people out and about, with a little more energy and a little spring in their step, a little giddy maybe. There’s just something about spring that brings out a reawakening in us. It’s like we’re mirroring the grass getting greener, the trees growing leaves again and the flowers blooming.

Yep, I have to say that there’s an energy out there associated with each season and that’s why one of my favorite seasons is spring. Something I’ve learned about myself is that I’m really a creature of whatever season I’m in. Winter always makes me want to curl up in a warm blanket, start a fire, and hang out at home with a good book or watching a movie. But when spring comes, I feel this pull to get out, get moving again, doing things that energize me. Does any of that fit for you too?

For lots of people in the world, coming out to enjoy the energy of spring means it’s time to move from cozy, warming soups and stews to fresh, crisp veggies and big raw salads. But many of us with Crohn’s and colitis need a gentler approach for our food choices. Raw veggies and salads galore may not be on our spring table. So the question becomes, how can we embrace all the fun, healthy, delicious veggies spring as to offer in a way that supports our sensitive digestive tract and our IBD healing?

That’s our focus for today. Eating seasonally with all of nature’s and spring’s best produce, but eating it in a way that works for where we’re at with our gut health.

So that we’re both starting this conversation in the same place, I want you to know that I’m a huge advocate for eating seasonally—especially when it comes to produce. In America at least, our grocery stores are full of cantaloupes and strawberries in January even though they are at their peak much later in the year and fall squashes like butternut and acorn are available year-round. But if you want to get the best nutrients from the food you eat, if you want all those vitamins and minerals to benefit your gut. We’ve got to eat them when they are recently picked, ripe, full of nutrients and full of flavor.

Eating seasonally for spring means that some of my absolute favorite veggies are at their peak and it’s time to buy them at the grocery store, the farmer’s market, maybe even grow them in your garden.

Today, I’ve got 7 of the best spring veggies to share with you. I’ll tell you why they will benefit you to eat them in the spring, share with you how to prepare them for where you’re at on your gut healing journey and tell you how you can get your hands on multiple recipes with these veggies as their star ingredient to help you get started eating them as early as right after this episode.

Let’s start with one of my favorite spring veggies #1: artichokes.

Artichokes, some love them, some hate them. But I have to say that I think those who don’t care for them just haven’t found the proper way to prepare them. Because when they are prepared right and when you eat them in season, artichokes are delicious.

Nutritionally, artichokes are full of the B vitamin folate (great for you mama if you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. Artichokes are also full of vitamin C and other B vitamins as well as potassium and iron. Plus, they’re actually a good source of protein. Not many veggies can boast that.

If you’re struggling with your gut health, lots of inflammation, bacterial imbalance, you’ll want to eat your artichokes boiled or steamed so they are more on the cooked side. You can then dip the leaves in EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) which is really all they need to taste divine. You can also eat artichokes as part of an artichoke dip or even purred in a soup. If you’re Crohn’s or colitis is kind of middle of the road, you’re not in a full blown flare but you’re not in complete remission either, you can soften your artichoke and make it more digestible by grilling it. Have you ever had grilled artichokes? Oh, super flavorful and again, you don’t need a lot of seasoning. EVOO and the grill really bring out the flavor in the artichoke. The more cooked the artichoke, the easier it will be to digest so take that into account for your cook times. You could even do a quick steam before grilling it to break down the fibers even more. Now if you are in hard core remission, try your artichoke shaved in a salad. Lots of fiber, lots of ruffage but without inflammation standing in your way, your digestive system will say thank you.

If you want to try artichokes for the first time or you’re just looking for some new artichoke recipes, I’ve got you covered. I’ve rounded up my favorite artichoke recipes for beginners to advanced, for IBDer’s in a flare up to those in remission and they’re all in the show notes. To check out these recipes, go to Those recipes are there waiting for you there.

Let’s turn to one of the best and most often overlooked spring veggies, spring veggie #2: arugula. Some parts of the world call it rocket—I had never heard of it actually before I lived in England and it had to take some convincing for me to try it, but I’m so grateful I did because I love it. Arugula looks almost like a weed. It’s a leafy green with long scalloped leaves. Very earthy, but with a peppery flavor that gives it a little bite. If you’re not eating raw leaves or salads right now, you might think you need to give arugula a pass, but I dare you to give it a second look because I’m going to tell you how to prepare it.

First of all, know that arugula is high in Vitamins A and K and also that B vitamin, folate. It’s full of chlorophyll and fiber. Plus it’s a natural detoxifier and lowers inflammation levels in the body so it’s a winner in the gut health department, but how can we benefit from all that health without it going straight through us? Well, arugula isn’t just for salads. It’s actually very versatile. If you’re feeling inflamed, not up to solid food, arugula is fantastic in a smoothie. Just throw a handful of greens in the blender with your favorite non dairy milk, maybe a banana or some berries and you’ve got some power packed health in a digestible form. If you don’t’ need your arugula completely masticated, but still need it broken down, I highly recommend adding it to an omlette with some other veggies. Sauté it in a pan for a few minutes to break it down and make it easier to digest, add in your egg and you’ve got yourself a great, seasonal meal. I’ve also seen this same principle used with pizza. Top a bunch of arugula on your gluten or grain free pizza before you put it in the oven and it will wilt down a bit in so it’s easier for you to digest. Now probably the simplest but most fibrous use for arugula is in a salad. Just rocket salad, with a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar and EVOO. Maybe a little shaved parmesan and some fresh cracked pepper on top. Yum!

Are you intrigued by arugula? I’ve got your recipes in the show notes,

Our awesome spring veggie #3 is beets. Super nutrient dense in the spring. Now before you go fast forwarding through this one, I know you’re thinking about it. Karyn, I hate beets. Hear me out because there are ways to prepare beets that either cover up the earthy flavor if that’s not your thing or that sweeten them up to make them much tastier.

Why should beets be part of your gut healing spring regime? Beets are about one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are full of antioxidants that make them anti-inflammatory. They also gently detoxify the body and benefit your blood and your circulation—so you get more energy. Those reasons are definitely worth giving beets a second look.

One of the best ways to sweeten up a beet is by juicing it. I love juicing beets with oranges or apples. It really pairs well and juicing beets is a great way to get them in if you need a method that’s gentler on your sensitive belly. Also for sensitive bellies, beet dip in the form of a beet hummus is delicious. The beet is all broken down and creamy so it’s much easier to digest. You can then dip in cooked veggies or gluten or grain free bread and you are giving yourself some much needed spring health vibes in an easier to digest way.

If you can tolerate a more advanced version of beets, I highly recommending roasting them. It brings out all the natural sweetness and cuts some of the earthy flavor. I prefer beets in moderation, so I’ll mix them with some of my other favorite veggies when I’m roasting like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, maybe some onions.  It’s really tasty.

Before we move on from beets, I have to mention that my favorite part of the beet isn’t actually the red bulb at the end. It’s the greens on the top. Beet greens are one of the most delicious and nutritious of the greens so don’t throw out the greens on the top of this veggie. Add it to smoothies, salads, sauté the greens with some garlic and EVOO. Beet greens are awesome.

Want a fresh take on beets? Check out my beet inspired recipes in the show notes. Recipes for wherever you’re at on your healing journey at

If I had to pick just one spring food to be my favorite, it would be spring veggie # 4. And I’m cheating a little because it’s not a veggie. It’s actually an herb and it’s mint. Springtime is mint time. It’s probably the most abundant spring food out there. I once planted mint in my garden—once—and now it comes back every year, even though I turn the soil and haven’t planted it again in years. It just keeps coming back. I think the term grows like a weed was invented for mint, which is great for IBD gals because we need mint.

Think of mint as your go to digest aid. It helps with gas, nausea, bloating, gurgles in the belly, indigestion… It’s no wonder mint has been around for generations, even before toothpaste and mouthwash was invented. People used mint leaves to freshen their breath and release bacteria from the mouth. Mint is definitely something we want to get lots of year-round, but when it comes to the fresh leaves, spring is king.

Now mint is a medicinal herb so it’s not something you’re going to cook with, but mint infused water is wonderful, you can also use the leaves to make your own peppermint tea, you can add the leaves to your juice press and create a cucumber mint fresh pressed juice (my personal favorite) or if you want to use it with cooking, you can chop it and sprinkle it over your food like over lentils or couscous or a citrus salad. You can even add mint to pesto sauce for a unique refreshing twist.

Guess what? I’ve got you covered with mint recipes galore! Are you seeing a pattern here? Come over to the show notes and check them out.

Spring veggie #5 is another favorite of mine. It’s asparagus. Again, another one I didn’t used to like and another one I realized, I’d just been cooking it all wrong. Funny how that makes such a difference. I remember when I was a kid, my parents would boil asparagus and it would always turn out mushy and slimy—not too appealing. But once I discovered roasted asparagus, I was in love.  

Now, I look for every opportunity to eat asparagus (as long as it’s not boiled). In the spring, I probably eat it every day. My latest favorite recipe for asparagus is in omlettes with other sautéed veggies. If you’re in a flare up and you still want ways to get this gut friendly veggie in, you can eat your asparagus in a soup. Have you ever had rich and creamy asparagus soup? Mmm, that’s a great soothing way to get your gut healing asparagus benefits this spring. And of course, if you tolerate a crunchier asparagus, blanched asparagus is the way to go. It’s when you boil water and add the asparagus for 2-5 minutes only. It keeps it’s rich dark color, it still has a little bite and no overcooked slime.

One thing I want to mention about asparagus is how to store it because I see most people not storing it to help it last longer and then it goes bad before you even have time to use it. Once you get asparagus home from the store, take the whole bunch out of the bag and chop off ½ to 1 inch of stem at the bottom. Then place the whole bunch in a large mason jar filled about 1/3 of the way up with water. Cut side goes in the jar. Stalky part out. Put the jar in your frig and you’re asparagus will last a lot longer. It’s kind of like how you care for flowers when you get them home. Except for these, get stored in the frig.

Of course you know asparagus is healthy or I wouldn’t be mentioning it today. But the important things to know are that it’s filled with vitamin K, folate, copper and selenium, and research has shown that it has the power to reduce our colorectal cancer risk—that’s something near and dear to our heart and worth giving asparagus a second look.

Asparagus recipes especially curated for everyone with IBD (no matter which stage of healing you’re in) are in the show notes at (you guessed it)

Now we cannot complete a list of the best spring veggies without mentioning #5: spring peas. Have you had the pleasure of enjoying spring peas? Oh my! So delicious, especially when the are at the seasonal peak in the spring.

Spring peas are full of vitamins A, C, K, and those B vitamins like folate—you go pregnant mamas! Spring peas are a good source of manganese, phosphorus and even protein. Talk about anti-inflammatory. Now we just need to figure out how you can digest them best.

If you’re struggling to tolerate raw veggies, the best way to eat your spring peas is to cook or masticate them for easier digestion and absorption. If you choose to enjoy them cooked, you can add them to Asian cuisine—stir fry’s, rice, or noodle dishes. If you need them further broken down, think no further than a smoothie. Sounds weird to put peas in your smoothie, but there’s no reason why a green smoothie has to be made with leafy greens. Spring peas give you something a little bit different and richer tasting in a smoothie. Just add ½ a cup to your favorite smoothie recipe and watch as it turns green, but the flavor stays the same. Good stuff! And if you tolerate them out of the pod raw, pop them in a salad or just eat them straight as a snack. They’re very filling.

I think my favorite way to eat spring peas is England style mushy peas. I wish they would have come up with another name other than “mushy” because it doesn’t make it sound so appetizing, but mushy peas, when they are cooked properly, are actually quite delicious. And it’s really and IBD gal’s dream because they are pretty broken down and easier to digest than traditional peas.

You can check out my favorite mushy peas recipe and some other yummy spring pea recipes in the show notes.

We’ve made it to the best spring veggie #7: Spring onions. Not to be mistaken for scallions, spring onions are a bit different. Their green stalks are thicker than a scallion (or as some people call green onions) and they also have a larger (almost looks like a white onion) bulb on the bottom. There’s a good picture of what they look like in the show notes so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for when you purchase them.

Spring onions are the only veggie on our list today that boast natural antibacterial and antifungal properties—two things many of us with C + C struggle with. They also contain a compound known as allyl sulphide which helps prevent colorectal cancer. Another bonus for spring onions.

One word of caution about spring onions though, I don’t advise using the white part at the bottom if you are sensitive to FODMAP’s or if you get lots of bloating or gas eating onions. The green part at the top is actually a low FODMAP food so stick to the tops if that’s you.

If you can tolerate it, I think the best way to eat spring onions is by grilling them. I know, everyone is hauling their grills out this time of year. Well, turn up the grill and get those spring onions on. I know most people get them out about now, but in my family we grill year round. Weird, but we just love grilling. But if you’re like most and you’re hauling out your grill again this spring, get some spring onions for grilling. You don’t even need to season them too much. A little salt, pepper and EVOO and that’s it. If grilling is a little much for your belly right now, spring onion soup is delicious. There’s loads of ways to make it and I’m sharing a recipe with you for my favorite one in the show notes.

Other places where you can indulge in spring onions are in a fried rice dish—chop some up for either a white rice or cauliflower rice. Chop and sprinkle top of any protein—chicken, salmon—even on top of a dip like hummus. Or if you are feeling really saucy, chop some spring onions up and sauté and caramelize them to top on a burger or a gluten or grain free pizza or for a sandwich. OMG your tastebuds will be happy!

I’ve got some really delicious spring onion recipes ready for you in the show notes. One last time, the link for the show notes is  You can find recipes not just for spring onions but also for all seven of these best gut healing spring veggie options there.

One last time, super quick recap. Here’s your 7 gut friendly spring veggies, the ones you’ll definitely want to stock up on throughout the spring season and prepare in so many ways you’ll probably never eat them the same way twice (unless you choose to).

  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Mint
  • Asparagus
  • Spring Peas
  • Spring Onions

OK, that’s a wrap on spring veggies. Ones that at first glance you might think, I can’t eat that or I don’t like that. But remember, we can be more versatile and think outside the normal recipe box when it comes to veggies. With IBD, it’s about preparing our food in ways our body can digest and absorb. Go check out the recipes in the show notes. They will give you some spring veggie inspiration. I’ve got my eye on a spring pea recipe that’s calling my name.

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

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

11 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently When I Was First Diagnosed with Crohn’s

Mistakes and missteps. We’ve all made them in our life.

I’ve made plenty in my 35 years with Crohn’s.

Today, I’m sharing with you the top 11 missteps I made in my early days (and even into my not so early days) with Inflammatory Bowel Disease with the hope that my mistakes can help you can avoid some of these pitfalls and find your healing path much sooner than I did.

Here we go!

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • The #1 reason I finally have a great collaborative relationship with my doctor and what it took to get there
  • What prioritizing YOU really means
  • The truth behind why more doctors don’t prescribe food for their patients and the reason why (spoiler: it’s not their fault)
  • And much, much more. This episode is chock full of gut healing goodness!

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

How to Find an IBD Doctor You’ll Rave About

Episode Resources:

Time Spent Becoming a Doctor

Status of Nutrition Education in Medical Schools

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Mistakes and missteps. We’ve all made them in our life. I’ve made plenty in my 35 years with Crohn’s. Today, I’m sharing with you my top 11 missteps with the hope that you can avoid some of these pitfalls and find your healing path much sooner than I did. Here we go!


Hey there my friend. Welcome once again. I’m so happy to be sharing this space with you today. I’ve got lots to share with you this week as we take a walk down misstep memory lane so let’s go for it and just dive in.

This was an emotional episode for me to put together. Going back and looking at all my mistakes, everything I did wrong while I was finding my way with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. While I was going through and making notes and thinking of ideas to share with you, I often found myself welling up with tears, occasionally having to just stop and take a moment for the losses and the wasted time I spent along the way. So many missteps. So yeah, this one is personal, but I’m sharing it, warts and all, with the hope that it will give you insights and a-ha moments so you don’t needlessly suffer. We suffer enough with Crohn’s and colitis. Today, let’s see what we can do to ease some of that suffering for you.

So, keeping in mind this might come across a little bit shaky or emotional at times, here’s the 11 things I wish I’d done differently when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s and 11 things you can do differently too start from wherever you’re at on your healing journey today.

#1- If were to start over, I would start with food, not use it as a last resort.

The idea that food has nothing to do with how our Crohn’s or colitis shows up in our body is utterly preposterous! Why is this nonsense still being petaled by well-meaning, but under-educated doctors is beyond my comprehension. And it’s not their fault. As crazy as it sounds, medical students aren’t taught about the link between the state of the digestive tract and the quality of the food we put in our body in their gastrointestinal education. In their reported 40,000 hours of training doctors receive in United States medical schools, and according to the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, on average med students receive 23.9 hours in nutritional instruction. 23.9 hours out of 40,000 hours of medical training. If we’re going to be mad at anyone for this injustice, it’s the pharma happy and sometimes big pharma entwined medical schools that are going about this all wrong.

It’s no wonder your doctor’s first response for IBD is, “Let’s get you on some biologics.”

But just because that’s your doctor’s first inclination to put you on meds, doesn’t mean it’s the only path for you. I wish to God I would have known about gut healing food 35 years ago when I got this wrenching and life altering diagnosis. There was no internet back then. There was no one pointing me in a different direction.

Now there’s a lot I could say negative about the internet and social media. I often think about the struggles it’s creating for our children. But with the negative and darkness also comes the light. The amazing content, vocal voices for change, and regular people like you and me trying to make a difference in our IBD lives and help others in the process.

The internet has changed everything for our C + C life. We now have the power to see success stories, research studies, ideas, opinions all about food leading the way to intestinal healing—all at our fingertips. So, yeah, if I could start over again, I would do thinks differently. I would start with food, no matter what my doctor told me. And just let me say, huge point here so if you’ve started multitasking, come back to me. Starting with food doesn’t mean an only food approach and it doesn’t mean I’m anti-medicine.

Why can’t we do both?

And keep a goal of when your IBD is in remission, mainly using food to stay that way? Why not keep that in the forefront of your mind as your ultimate goal? I wonder, if I had had this information sooner, about the power of gut healing food, could I have saved myself from 3 bowel resections and the lasting impact that’s having on my life? I’ll never know. I started using food as my main healing source 20 years into my disease, not soon enough.

But you have the power now. You have the power and the resources to use food to help you heal. There is no one size fits all diet, but there is the diet that works best for you. Keep striving to find what that diet looks like for you. It’s a decision you will never regret. And if you start to feel overwhelmed by all the gut healing diet information that’s available to you, again, thanks to the internet, that’s where I come in. That’s what I’m here for, so reach out and we’ll get you the help you need to move forward with food as the star, instead of a last resort.

#2- If I were starting over again, just diagnosed with Crohn’s, I would make friends with others who have IBD.

Family is great. OK, family is supposed to be great. Blood is thicker than water, right? But even if you have the most supportive, understanding, compassionate, responsive family, if they don’t have IBD, it’s really hard for them to put themselves in your place—to truly get what you’re going through and give you the support you need.

We need to connect with people who get what we go through on a day to day basis. People who can laugh and cry with us over our trips to the bathroom, our challenges getting pregnant, or difficulties navigating IBD in the workplace, and motherhood and IBD—and that’s just a few of the things we have in common.

IBD friends give us the touchstone we need to feel like we are not alone and we are not crazy.

Very early on in my IBD journey, I couldn’t have been more than 17, my mom took me to a Crohn’s and colitis support group meeting. I was young and scared and a lot overwhelmed. When one woman took me aside and told me I should just end my suffering and get an ostomy bag, I freaked out. I didn’t even know what an ostomy bag was, she proudly showed me hers and, I’m embarrassed to say that it scared the crap out of me. I don’t know why. I think it just was too much for me in that moment, and then I never went back.

I wish I wouldn’t have stopped there. I wish I would have kept searching for a like-minded IBD pal who I could bounce ideas off of, cry with, fight this invisible disease with… someone who got me and the challenges I was experiencing.

It took years and years before I finally connected with another IBD gal who just got me, we were on a similar path with similar health goals and her support meant the world to me. This buddy was an IBD centered Health Coach and she is the reason I am in this field today, why I continue to help people who are struggling on their C + C journey, why it’s part of my DNA now to help others like me and no matter what life brings, will always be a part of me.

Find your IBD clan. They will help you more than you can even begin to realize. Remember, your clan doesn’t have to be local and live. There’s a big world wide web out there and you can get support even if you never meet in person. And if you don’t have anyone like-minded in your corner just yet, I’m here for you my friend. I love having IBD besties all around the world.

#3- If I were starting over with IBD, I would grow a backbone with my doctor sooner.

For 20 years I played the part of the good little girl. Take this medicine… sure, how much? Prednisone for a whole year? Why not! You need this intestinal surgery and by the way, while we were in there, we didn’t ask your permission, but we just took your appendix just in case. Really?

For 20 years I never questioned. And do you know what? Not one day in that 20 years did I feel better. Did I feel even close to OK. Anti-inflammatories, 5-ASA meds, steroids, immunomodulators, surgeries… and I was sick and tired every day.

It wasn’t until I started to ask questions, started to experiment with how much control I could exert over my life before I started to have days where I felt great. Gloriously great! Years of remission great!

Now a days, I still respect my doctor. I still see him as the expert that he is. And the reason I can feel that way about him is because I painstakingly picked him out. Doctor after doctor after doctor, I finally found a doctor I could communicate with. And if that’s been a challenge for you, I want you to go waaaaayyy back in the podcast, way back to Episode 10 and check out the episode titled “How to Find an IBD Doctor You’ll Rave About.” It will help you find the doctor of your dreams.

But even though I have found a doctor I like and trust, I know longer think of him as the end all, be all decision maker. He’s my consultant, he has more knowledge than me about the gastrointestinal tract, he’s my go-to on all things IBD procedure and medicine related. But he’s not the ultimate decider of my fate. He’s not my judge and jury.

We have an honest relationship and with that in mind, I tell him when I’m not going to follow his advice. And you know what? I think when he saw our relationship as a partnership and not me putting him on a pedestal of the “all knowing doctor,” he was relieved. It meant that he didn’t need to have all the answers all the time. We could work on things together and bat around ideas like any true and lasting collaboration works best.

Don’t be spineless with your doctor. Let them know where you stand. Appreciate their value, but at the same time, stand in your truth with your head held high and convictions strong. That’s what having a backbone with your doctor looks like.

#4- If I had to do it all over again, I’d prioritize me above all a lot sooner.

She doesn’t mean prioritize yourself above her kids, does she? Yes, I mean above your kids. Prioritize you over everyone. Because guess what? And this is particularly difficult for moms to hear because we are taught that our kids always have to come first. Well guess what? When you take care of you, I mean really do what you need to do in the self-care department, you are able to have the energy, the health, and the vitality you need to bring that love back to all those around you—especially your kids.

In my health coaching practice, I talk to moms about this over and over. It’s so hard for us moms. The guilt over putting ourselves first. It makes us feel ashamed, embarrassed, entitled. But the same moms who just can’t or won’t do it, are also never fully there for their kids. You’re have assing the birthday party, the activities, putting dinner on the table, the bedtime story… you’re never fully there because you feel like crap.

When you take the time for you, prioritize you, you will not believe how present and engaged you can actually be… and not just with your kids. With your partner, at work, with your friends, your parents, your neighbors, your pets… and the list goes on and on.

Prioritizing you though, I want to add that this is such an individual process. Only you know where you struggle in this department and where you could really use some “you” attention. For me, I spent way too many years putting everyone’s needs above my own and when I finally stopped being an under-educated doormat about my Crohn’s and decided that it had gotten me nowhere, that was when I declared I was starting the year of ME. That’s what started me down the path of self-care.

At the time, I had two young kids and they weren’t getting the mom they deserved. And I wasn’t living the life I deserved. The year of ME was about eating gut healing food, taking time for restorative yoga, setting up morning meditations (even if they were just 5 minutes) or my morning pages where I’d write about anything that was on my mind, making time to hang out with friends and engage deeply, meeting new IBD friends, and most importantly, taking time to breath. So many stress and anxiety management techniques out there, but prioritizing conscious deep breathing was probably the best decision I ever made for the health of my mind, body, and soul.

When you come up with your own priority plan, whatever that looks like for you, I highly encourage you to write it down. Declare it to yourself, declare it to your family, post it on social if you’re comfortable. But own it and hold yourself accountable to it. Prioritizing you won’t just make your life better. It will make life better for those around you as well.

#5- If I was starting over with IBD, I’d keep all copies of my patient records.

After 35 years, 8 moves, more procedures than I can count, lots of gastroenterologists and treatment plans, I wish I would have kept copies of my Crohn’s history. Even if you’re not moving to a different state, what if you just switch doctors? It’s been known to happen.

I can’t tell you how many times a doctor will ask me a question, and I just can’t remember the answer. If you’re newly diagnosed, you might think that sounds crazy, but for me this is year and years and my memory ain’t what it used to be. You’ll blink and it will be that long for you as well. For the last 10-15 years, I’ve done a much better job of keeping my records, much of it in paper format, so that not only do my doctors know my medical history, but I do as well. And that’s even more important in my opinion.

#6- If I had to do it over again and was just diagnosed with Crohn’s, I’d be more open and vulnerable about my illness with family and friends (and heck, strangers too).

Over the years, I’ve gotten much more comfortable talking about Inflammatory Bowel Disease. See, I can even say it without cringing. In fact, it’s not unheard of for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger and nudge something about IBD into the conversation. Knowledge is power and the more people who are aware of what IBD is, the better. We never know who has the financial ability to put money into researching remedies and cures for our important cause or who needs this information, maybe because they’ve had similar symptoms or a loved one with similar symptoms and bringing IBD out into the open shines a light for them.

But I wasn’t always this way. I was just a teenager when Crohn’s came into my life. I was young, insecure, and all I wanted to do was fit in. It’s hard to fit in when you’ve got Crohn’s or colitis. I makes you different. I didn’t want anyone to know I had a poop disorder. Afterall, I was the only in the world who pooped, right?

So I hid it. I hid my Crohn’s from boyfriends, my college roommates, my co-workers, my friends, lots of my family members. I pretended everything was fine after I spent 20 minutes in the bathroom. I said, “It wasn’t me,” when my smelly farts took over a room.

I was embarrassed. On the outside, I looked like a fresh faced co-ed with not a care in the world. I was the swan, looking calm and serene on the outside while I paddled furiously underneath the surface.

And all those closed walls, stoic energy, perfectionism, and denial got me nowhere. I started to resent those around me for not getting what I went through. I started getting angry at myself because I was the one who entrapped myself within these walls.

And then I met my husband. And he was the first person I opened up to about my struggles. Just a little chink in my armor, but little by little his patience and willingness to be there for me with no agenda and no judgment made my walls begin to crumble.

That’s how it started for me and ever since, I’ve slowly opened up more and more about this invisible illness and this is what I’ve learned in the process.

I learned that being vulnerable and honest is not weak. It’s about the strongest thing you can do.

Being vulnerable is being human and real honest human connection is the greatest gift we have in this life.

I learned that perfectionism is over-rated. I can have an abundant, rich life even when I strive for B+ every day.

You don’t have to let everyone in, but have a select group that you can be you with. Vulnerable, present, and beautiful. Your life will be richer for it.

#7- If I had to do it over again, I’d put more value on my own intuition.

We know ourselves so much more than we give ourselves credit for. We know when something’s wrong with our health. We know when the answers we are getting don’t add up. We know in our heart when we need to move in a different direction.

Trusting your gut instincts come with time. They come with learning about who you are and what makes you tick. The best advice I can give on this is to never be so caught up in the business of life that you never slow down to listen to that inner voice that tells you what direction you were meant to move in.

Many times, early on with Crohn’s, I thought to myself, this advice that I’m getting, it doesn’t sound right, but I ignored my inner knowing and went in another direction. Like when my doctor put me on what was supposed to be a month long course of steroids. That month turned into 3 months and I said, are you sure I can be on this so long? And that three months turned into 6 months and I questioned the doctor again, but still remained on steroids. And that 6 months became a year and finally it took my absolute rage, depression, suicidal thoughts by this point and my mom telling the doctor, “enough” for me to finally be taken off this toxic medication.

But over time, as I learned more about myself, about how I felt about root cause healing vs cover up short term support, I learned to trust myself and my instincts. So that when I was going through infertility and the doctor told me that nothing was wrong medically. I just wasn’t getting pregnant because I was too thin, I said uh-uh. There’s something else going on here and I was right. When I instinctively knew after 6 months on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that it was time for me to see how I’d do without meds, and I was right. It was time. And when my doctor was convinced my gallbladder had to come out, but I knew instinctively that with all the intestines I had had removed, I needed to figure out how to save my gallbladder and not take it out. I needed it to help me digest fat. And I was right.

Intuition is huge. Listen to your gut. We have more intuition in our gut than most. Your intuition will not steer you wrong.

#8- If I was just getting diagnosed with IBD, I’d set boundaries around worry and anxiety time and live a fuller life.

It seems like those of us with Crohn’s and colitis seem predisposed to feel anxiety and worry more deeply. There’s actually some interesting research on this very topic that shows that people with digestive disorders are more in tune with emotions like this. We feel them deeper and it’s not because we have a “nervous stomach.” It’s biological. Part of our make up.

But we can’t worry so much and stress so much that we miss out on life. Is it scary to leave the house when you’ve got IBD? It can be. I’ve met a lot of people who have become shut in’s due to this having this illness. It’s not uncommon. But we can’t let IBD create so much worry and anxiety in us that we let our life pass us by.

Early on, I worried and stressed about what my future would hold, what I was doing wrong, why this happened to me… I worried way too much. And I learned that while I might not be able to get rid of my anxiety completely, I had the power to decide that I was in charge, not my illness and not only that. I also decided that I wasn’t going to let this stress and anxiety keep me from living the full life that I deserved.

If worry or stress or anxiety are a struggle for you too, it’s not about getting over these emotions or even ignoring these emotions. It’s about allowing them a small space to take up in your life, and then putting them in an imaginary box so you can live the full and complete life you were meant to live.

A full life is going to look different for all of us, but just make sure you aren’t letting your fear get in the way of anything you want to do. You deserve to be happy. You may have to take a couple detours to get there, just make sure that you do get there.

#9- If I could go back in time, I’d cultivate my Wheel of Wellness a whole lot sooner.

If you’re a long time listener to the podcast, you’ve heard me talk about cultivating your Wheel of Wellness. It’s been instrumental in keeping my Crohn’s symptoms managed and it is crucial for you as well.

Your Wheel of Wellness is an invisible wheel (just like a bike wheel) with all the spokes bikes have. And each spoke represents something that supports our gut health and our overall health. Your Wheels of Wellness should absolutely have your doctor in a prominent spot. The gut healing food you eat is another spoke, medication may be a spoke as well. But other spokes are important too. Spokes that have to do with your mental and spiritual health like your faith or meditation and lifestyle factors like a good sleep regime and your stress management tool belt that helps you when life gets chaotic.

For a long time (20 years), I didn’t have a Wheel of Wellness. My support system consisted of my doctor and no one else. It took me a too long to learn that your doctor should be part of the equation, but not the whole equation. Autoimmune diseases like Crohn ‘s and colitis are absolutely impacted by our mindset and our lifestyle, and our support system, and the food we eat, and the kind of movement or exercise that supports our body. We need multiple spokes to create the life we want and the life we deserve.

If you want to adopt just one thing you’ve heard today, start here. At first, you might say, whoa, that’s a little ambitious to start, but when you come at your Wheel of Wellness from the B+ mom perspective, you know that you can take all the time you need to cultivate your Wheel of Wellness. In fact, I highly encourage you to just add one spoke at a time. Try them out, switch them out. Keep tweaking, changing, and growing your Wheel of Wellness and it will serve you for your lifetime.

#10- If I was just diagnosed with IBD now, I hope that I would take some time to learn everything I can about my disease and my options for healing.

It’s not enough anymore to just go through the motions and do what we are told. We don’t have the excuse of I don’t know where to look or there’s just no information out there. There’s information galore. All we have to do is start looking for it.

I have no doubt that you are much better at this than I was years ago. In the information age and technology age, everything we ever wanted to know about IBD, about it’s symptoms, treatments (both from a medical vantage point to a root cause natural vantage point) is available to us. So go out and do your research my dear. Then, you’ll be armed with information and be a true collaborator for your care and your well-being when it’s time for your doctor’s appointments and time to make a treatment plan for you.

#11- I saved my biggest IBD lesson for last. It’s my latest IBD ah-ha and one I probably only realized about 10 years ago. But man, was this one was a game changer. If I were to just be diagnosed with IBD again, I know that I’d stop asking everyone with C + C what works for them because the only thing that matters is what works for me.

I spent way too many years trying to copy what I was seeing others do. It worked for them so it’s got to work for me. She’s follows a vegan diet and her Crohn’s is in remission. That must be the way I’ll heal too. She swears by this particular brand of vitamins. If I want to heal, that’s what I have to buy. It’s like keeping up with the Jones’—IBD style.

And after SCD (the Specific Carbohydrate Diet) worked so well for me, I started out my IBD coaching practice by putting everyone on SCD. Big mistake! Guess what? It’s not the ultimate healing diet for everyone.

I wish I had a magic “one size fits all” cure. I wish there was one diet, one supplement, one medication, one lifestyle path that fit for everyone with IBD, but the truth is there’s not. Ways to find remission are as diverse as our microbiome. And I think that’s exactly what it is. It all comes back to our microbiome. Each one of us is made up of a diverse group of bugs—trillions of those microscopic creepy crawlers (appetizing, right?) and so what works for one microbiome is not what works for another. Finding healing and finding remission with Crohn’s and colitis is about gathering information from others, but then taking that information and personalizing it to find the healing path that works for you and your microbiome.

Just don’t give up because finding your healing path is complicated. Because I know that finding your way is possible. We all can do this. In the end might not look like what you thought it would and it might not be perfect, but you can find success. I firmly believe that.

OK my friend, that’s 11 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently When I Was First Diagnosed with Crohn’s. Which one of these resonate with you? If it’s not too late for me 35 years in, it’s not too late for you. You only have to pick up on one idea to start a revolution in your life.  What will that be for you? I’d love to continue this conversation with you.  E-mail me at and tell me. I can’t want to hear what stood out for you.

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

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

The Secret to Manageable, Tolerable, and Even Enjoyable Colonoscopies

What’s the first word that comes to your mind when I say colonoscopy? I’ll start… Dread.

OK now you go on the count of three. 1-2-3…

Don’t worry if I can’t hear you because it’s more important that you know your word. Plus, I’m feeling you cosmically because I’ve heard it all when it comes to the colonoscopy. I’ve heard clients and Gut Love Community members describe a colonoscopy with words like sucks, scared, pointless, gross, overwhelming, anxious, and of course the word prep, that one comes up a lot.

Oh the prep.

Like I said, my word is dread. And you’d think by now after having as many colonoscopies as I’ve had (and that number is way too high to count), you’d think it would be old hat and I’d be over the dread because it’s not like I don’t know what’s coming.  With a colonoscopy though, I’m not fearing the unknown, I’m fearing the known.

I’m not sure there’s a way to completely dissolve my dread over colonoscopies, but the good news is that after years of having them, I finally figured out the secret to having more than just negative emotions about colonoscopies. When you plan, and truly dial in your colonoscopy experience, there can be positive emotions and experiences mixed in there as well. Afterall, we’re women, with the right information we have no problem forming higher level, deeply faceted emotions.

Would I rather never have a colonoscopy again?

Hell yes, but for me with the stricturing type of Crohn’s (where your intestines love to cave in and collapse on themselves), that’s never going happen so at least I can say that I’ve discovered the secret (or should I say secrets because there’s lots of them) to more manageable, tolerable, and dare I say enjoyable colonoscopies.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • 11 tried and true tips to move your colonoscopy experience from horrible to manageable
  • This simple yet powerful step done two days before your procedure that’s game changing for every colonoscopy
  • The odorless, tasteless bowel prep that’s good enough for America’s top IBD hospitals

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Your Soups On Recipe Resource

Your Juicing and Smoothie Recipe Booklet

Episode Resources:

The Cleveland Clinic Colonoscopy Prep with Miralax

Optimizing Adequacy of Bowel Cleansing for Colonoscopy: Recommendations From the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer

Split-Dose vs Same Day Bowel Preparation for Afternoon Colonoscopies: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Split-Dose Bowel Preparation Improves Adequacy of Bowel Preparation and Gastroenterologists’ Adherence to National Colorectal Cancer Screening and Surveillance Guidelines

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:


I’ll start… Dread.

OK now you go on the count of three. 1-2-3… Don’t worry if I can’t hear you because it’s more important that you know your word. Plus, I’m feeling you cosmically because I’ve heard it all when it comes to the colonoscopy. I’ve heard clients and Gut Love Community members describe a colonoscopy with words like sucks, scared, pointless, gross, overwhelming, anxious, and of course the word prep, that one comes up a lot. Oh the prep.

Like I said, my word is dread. And you’d think by now after having as many colonoscopies as I’ve had (and that number is way too high to count), you’d think it would be old hat and I’d be over the dread because it’s not like I don’t know what’s coming.  With a colonoscopy though, I’m not fearing the unknown, I’m fearing the known.

I’m not sure there’s a way to completely dissolve my dread over colonoscopies, but the good news is that after years of having them, I finally figured out the secret to having more than just negative emotions about colonoscopies. When you plan, and truly dial in your colonoscopy experience, there can be positive emotions and experiences mixed in there as well. Afterall, we’re women, with the right information we have no problem forming higher level, deeply faceted emotions.

Would I rather never have a colonoscopy again? Hell yes, but for me with the stricturing type of Crohn’s (where your intestines love to cave in and collapse on themselves), that’s never going happen so at least I can say that I’ve discovered the secret (or should I say secrets because there’s lots of them) to more manageable, tolerable, and dare I say enjoyable colonoscopies.

It’s my 411 on all things colonoscopy related, especially the prep. Here we go!


Hey my friend, Karyn Haley with you today on the Cheeky Podcast. 80 episodes in. That’s how far we’ve come together. How have we not talked about this before? Colonoscopies are something that all of us deal with when we have Crohn’s and colitis. I have notes upon notes upon notes to help people when they’re going into a colonoscopy but for the podcast, I wanted to wait until one was really fresh in my mind so that I could give you my best most up-to-date insights. Information that could really help you the next time or the first time you go in for this procedure because it doesn’t have to be as scary or as horrible as it seems to turn out for so many of us.

Let’s bump up your colonoscopy experience and take it from horrible to at the very least tolerable and I’ll even tell you about the parts that you can actually enjoy.

In true “me” fashion, you know I love to get into the weeds and the details of our IBD topics, so in this episode, I’m taking you all the way through the colonoscopy experience because it’s not just about the procedure itself. It’s about the prep and the days leading up to the prep and the days and months after the procedure that still reverberate in our bellies. Oh, we’re getting into it all so buckle up, get something to write with and let’s get into it.

Now before we get to deep, it bears mentioning that when I’m talking about colonoscopies here, I’m mainly talking about my own experience coupled with client experiences as well. These experiences may not completely coincide with your colonoscopy experience, but I bet there will be tidbits that will fit for you. Things you can take away to help with your experience. If any of what we talk about today helps you out, then listening to this episode will be worth it.

You also know that I’m not a medical professional and I’m not talking about colonoscopies as a medical professional today. I’m talking about my experience from the patient side. You’ll always want to talk to your doctor about the specifics of your case before adopting the ideas mentioned today because we’re all different. There’s a couple scientifically researched ideas we’ll talk about regarding the various preps and how to best take them for the colonoscopy and you can see all of that research to make an informed decision for yourself in the show notes at

OK, sound good? Let’s start and we’ll go in order of the way things will happen for you if you are in a true colonoscopy situation. So we’ll start a few days before the procedure.

Chances are by a few days before, you’ve already been to your doctor. He or she has set a date and time for your colonoscopy and you have all the “what to do and when to do it” handouts from your provider. And let me just say as a side note, while we are on the topic of the date/time for your procedure, personally, I like to schedule my colonoscopies for the first thing in the morning. The first procedure of the day and yes, you can request this. As long as your procedure isn’t urgent or an emergency, they will make it happen for you. You just have to ask. After the prep, you might be exhausted, or not feel well, your bottom may be sore, you might be hangry by this time because you haven’t eaten in 24 hours. So my motto is, get it over with and get on with your life. When we talk about the prep, we’ll talk about other ways to think about this, other options for you to consider (and it’s crucial to tailor this to what works best for you), but for me, it’s first thing in the morning for the colonoscopy.

OK, so a few days prior, sometimes there are medications that need to be stopped and even some supplements that may need to be paused until after the procedure, but the biggest thing you’ll want to do a few days prior is get your supplies ready. As you’ll see, if you want to have a successful and tolerable and even somewhat enjoyable experience, there’s more to get ready than just the prep. And rushing around getting things together the day your prep is not the way to get through this thing calm, cool, and collected. So, keep calm with getting your colonoscopy supplies ahead of time and carry on. We’ll talk in greater detail about what those supplies will be, but planning is key here. Before the shi*t hits the fan (or the toilet), make sure you have everything you need for a successful prep.

Two days prior to your procedure is when things really rev up in the colonoscopy department. You have all your supplies including all your food and drinks and you’re ready to go. When I start my two days before with colonoscopy preparations, it ensures that I will be cleaned out for the procedure which means the doc can get a good look around (you definitely don’t want to be doing this again for quite a while, am I right?) and that I may not need all of the prep. Again, this is me personally. I’m tiny and size and weight does make a difference.

Food is a big part of the two days before your procedure and I’m going to get to that, but I also want to say that this is also a day to be as relaxed as possible. You’ve got a big day coming up tomorrow and the next day as well. Give your body the rest it needs to be to bring your best self to the table.  So that means, no appointments, no extra activities, have a normal day, try and let any negative events go—just think Zen two days before. Trust me, it’s a small thing, but it matters.

Now on to the most important thing I do two days prior to my colonoscopy (1 day before the prep). I change the way I normally eat so that my diet is very, very low residue. Now, if you’ve had a colonoscopy before, your doc may have told you, two days before, begin to eat a low fiber, low residue diet. No nuts, seeds, no popcorn, etc.

I once had a doctor who recommended taking this idea one step further. I’ve tried it several times since and it’s been a game changer for every colonoscopy experience since. The more in your digestive system when you start your prep, the more that needs to come up. The less in your digestive system, the less that needs to come out. So with the low residue foods I just mentioned, I also add to that two days prior, no meat, no dairy, no raw, no bread, no cereal… easy to digest food only. Foods that don’t stay in my body long and foods that my body doesn’t have to work hard to digest.

So what do I eat two days before? I eat eggs, well-cooked veggies… I might have a mashed banana, applesauce or pear sauce, and loads and loads of bone broth. Beef stock, chicken stock… so good and soothing for your gut and rich so it stays with you. If you’re a big meat and potatoes lady, this might make you feel hungry (eating this way) so the bone broth is important because it keeps you fuller longer. I also eat homemade pureed soups, and drink smoothies and fresh pressed juices.

See how all of this two days before is either drinkable or easy to digest. Make the prep easier on your digestive system. Two days before your procedure and one day before your prep, go low, low, low residue. If you want some help with smoothie idea, juicing ideas and soup ideas for this day, I’ve got you covered. Back in episode 22 and episode 24 of the podcast, I talked all about smoothies and juicing and about the gut healing power of soup. In these episodes, I offered extra recipe resources to help you get started and they are still available. To this day, these are two of my most downloaded resources I offer. Maybe you already have them. When it’s colonoscopy time, it’s time to dust them off or go get them ASAP. You can get your juice and smoothie recipes at and your soup recipes at All the soup recipes can be pureed so that’s a bonus because when all of this is behind you, you can go back and make some of the soups in their traditional form.

There’s one last but not least thing I must mention about two days prior and that is, in keeping with your Zen attitude, to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. You want to be well rested for tomorrow.

OK, that’s two days prior. Now lets’ look at the big day—the colonoscopy prep day. Because if you’ve been through this before, you know that this really is the big day. After this day, the colonoscopy procedure itself is a walk in the park. First, let’s talk food, or more to the point the non-food you’ll be consuming. Today is fasting, clear liquid day. You’ve already done lots of the work the day before with your low, low residue diet. Today, you are just taking it one step further.

Today is about clear liquids. Your doctor will give you a list of approved liquids, but I’ll also add in my two cents of some of my favorite beverages. The main liquids I consume on prep day are homemade or high quality commercial bone broth, tea, and water. These are my healthy go-to’s I drink with no limits. They are the driver’s behind staying physically strong, keeping my gut as happy as it can be that day, and knowing I’m still adding to my health. Other things I keep on hand are coconut water, apple juice, white grape juice, ginger ale, homemade jello (made with one of the clear juices I mentioned), fruit pops made with real fruit like mango or lemon (no dark colors like red or purple or blue), Italian ice (again lemon or mango) and I find that throughout the day, it’s helpful for me to rotate between a hot beverage and a cold beverage. It just keeps it more interesting and palatable.

So that’s pretty much what you’ll be drinking and can drink until midnight on prep day. Your list may be a little different than mine, but it’s all liquid and it’s all clear.

OK, now the next part of the day we should definitely cover are general prep day Tips. I’ve got  11 tried and true tips to get you through, as well as find enjoyable pockets in this challenging day. This is where little pieces of enjoyment can filter in. If the day is going to be crappy (pun intended) we might as well find ways to have enjoyable moments in there as well. We deserve it!

#1- Whatever prep you are given, make sure it’s super cold. HUGE. Make it cold.

#2- Drink through a straw. And put that straw to the back of the throat and just efficiently suck it down so you taste as little as possible. You want a tight suck here to avoid air, but the straw really helps you avoid all the bad taste.

#3- Have lemon wedges available to suck on after each gulp. Bite into it like you just downed a shot of tequila. In fact, close your eyes and pretend it’s tequila. It tastes better. Just be careful because you don’t want to swallow lots of pulp. You can avoid this by spitting it out after. Not pretty, but who cares?

#4- Another option instead of or in addition to the lemon wedge is to have a chaser. Again, like my reference to shots—much better than what you’re drinking and I am so not a shot gal! Your chaser should be different than what you are drinking your prep with. It could be lemonade, tea, apple jucie—but be careful with your choice because after this, you may not ever want to drink that juice again. It’s about the pared association and all that.

When you were a kid and you had the flu, did you ever not want to eat what you had right before you threw up? Same principle. I remember so vividly this one time throwing up after chewing grape huba buba gum. Do you remember huba buba gum? To this day, I can’t go near grape gum. Same principal so choose your chaser wisely.

#5- There’s several things I’m going to recommend you have on hand. One of those things is a heating pad or a hot water bottle pad. Very soothing when your belly is doing summersaults.

#6- Another thing that’s great to have handy just in case is sitz bath. I talk about this contraption all the time and I’m amazed by how many C + Cer’s don’t know what I’m talking about. A sitz bath is a round bucket you fill with warm water. It sits on your toilet and you can soak a sore bum in it. I got through my whole freshman year in college with a sitz bath. Look it up on Amazon. You’ll love it.

#7- Again, just in case, it’s a good idea to have a bucket or as my mom who was a nurse always called it, an emesis basin handy. Sometimes the prep can make you feel nauseous. You may never need it, but having it ahead of time and not needing it is better than running to puke in the toilet you just pooped in.

#8- Throughout the day, always have whatever you’re drinking close by. Remember, it’s clear liquids only today, so have that drink handy always. And keep sipping it so you stay as full as you can. You never want to go in search for something to drink when you are hangry. It doesn’t turn out well.

#9- When it’s time for your prep, whether it’s time for you to start going to the bathroom or not, this is your time. Once you start the prep, you are in YOU time and no one else’s time. This means that you create a space close to your bathroom. Ideally in your bedroom where a bathroom is close by. Gather up your electronics—streaming shows are going to be your best friend today. Thank God today we can help the prep time pass binge watching our favorite TV show. If you are a magazine gal, stock up on guilty pleasure magazines like Us or People. Maybe you’re into crafting or gardening or health magazines. I like to gather these up as well so I have options and they to give me something else to do when I get bored watching TV. Music and candles are a must too. They just bring peace and calm to any environment. Bring all of these things to your spot and hunker down when you start the prep, not when you start to go #2. The whole prep time is your time. Comfy blankets, even a boyfriend pillow (you may have had one when you were pregnant) is great. Dust that off get it out. Create your own safe YOU space. One that ideally has a bed or a couch and is close to the bathroom. Let your family know that during this time there’s no distractions other than the ones that you choose to take your mind off the prep. No work, no family obligations, no pets to take out, just you. Enlist the help of older kids, your spouse, your parent, a friend… whoever can make sure you don’t get disturbed—someone who can help you make it happen. Remember, it’s your time and you deserve it.

And when I talk about the enjoyment part of prep day, this is it. This is your enjoyment. All the creature comforts that will make this day all you. Yes, it can suck to have to keep getting interrupted to go to the bathroom, but then you can get back to your comfy space and know it’s all about you and it’s just for you.

#10- Along with comfy blankets and other creature comforts, make sure you are wearing clothes that say comfy to you. No zippers or tight fitting pants. Comfy is the name of the game.

#11- Last tip before we get into the lovely prep is that if you start to get anxious, know that it’s completely normal. Lots of people do. If your distractions don’t help, use the time to journal or go inward and visualize yourself in a different place. Wherever your happy place is. Deep breathing and meditation can help too. If you’re a long time listener, you know I love the free app Insight Timer. Download it on your app store. It’s great for anxiety during moments like this.

OK, that’s 11 tried and true tips you can use no matter what prep you choose. Now, today is all about the prep and it’s where I get the most questions and the biggest complaints from you so let’s spend some time here because I want this part, the worst part of it all, to be as annoyance and pain free as possible for you. Doing those 11 tried and true tips is part of it, but let’s dive a little deeper and talk specifically about your colonoscopy prep.

In terms of what you may be taking to get yourself cleaned out, there’s several options doctors prescribe. Some you will need a prescription for and some are over the counter. If you’ve never had a colonoscopy before, or if you’re wondering what else is out there (at least in the U.S.), these are the common ones. There’s Suprep which is not super tasting in any way shape or form. There MoviPrep, which is nothing like watching a movie, there’s also a particularly bad tasting prep called GoLYTELY. Are you serious? Go lightly? I beg to differ. I’ve had all of these at one time or another. But probably the worst tasting was GoLYTELY. Way back in the day, it was the only prep on the market. It comes in this huge jug. It looks like water, but it tastes worse than drinking gallons of ocean water.

I remember my first time with this prep. It was the summer before I went to college. I was living at home and my mom recruited all my brothers (I’ve got 3 older brothers) go come home and support me. We all sat around the kitchen table. Me with my go-not-so-lightly and my brothers, each with a can of beer. Every time I chugged a glass of GoLYTELY, they would chug a beer. Crazy as that seems, it was very sweet and very supportive. We sat around and laughed and played cards until the mixture sent me to the toilet, but I’ll never forget it. I never felt more supported by my older bros.

Fleets phosphosoda is an over the counter prep, but my favorite prep and the one that’s been a game changer for colonoscopies for me is the Miralax/Dulcolac prep. Sure, none of these preps are a walk in the park, but at least with this method, there’s no bad taste because when you mix the Miralax with your beverage of choice, if just tastes like your juice. It may not be as strong of a prep as some of the others I mentioned earlier and I think that’s why some doctors don’t prescribe it, but with my low, low residue diet the day the day before, there’s not that much in my digestive tract so it just cleans out what’s there.

And it’s not just my doc prescribing this prep method. The Cleveland Clinic, one of the premier IBD hospitals in the country has this protocol as a colonoscopy prep on their website. I’ll link to their info in the show notes so you can check it out and talk to your doctor if a better tasting, gentler prep is something that sounds good to you. Of course, like I mentioned earlier, everyone is different and this all needs to be approved by your doctor, but it’s certainly worth printing it out and asking your doctor if it’s a possibility for you because it’s so much more palatable than Suprep and the like.

Whatever prep you do, it won’t be the most fun part of your day, but as we all know, sometimes a colonoscopy is necessary. And remember, the prep is very time limited—maybe 12 hours of your life. You can do it. It will pass. And it’s scary to think about what your doctor might find. That makes all of this more nerve wracking as well. But it also can to give you and your doctor exactly the information you need to move forward. This is your official starting place so you can move forward with confidence you are on the right path.

When you get that packet of information from your doctor about your colonoscopy and the prep, chances are there will be times slated on what to drink and when to drink it. This is something you can also discuss with your doctor. Many of my preps have said to start at 5pm in the evening, but if I do that, I know I’ll be up all night going to the bathroom.  I’ll end up cranky, exhausted, angry, and hangry by morning. Personally, I like to start my prep at noon. That way, by 8pm I’m done, usually cleaned out and I can still drink fluids and relax until bedtime. I also like the earlier start time for me because it gives me some flexibility with the pacing of drinking the prep. If I start to feel a little nauseous and upset in my belly, I can slow it down a little because there’s no rush.

Another option to consider when it comes to prep timing is something called split dosing. It’s when you take ½ of the prep the night before and the other half in the morning. I’m seeing lots of my clients talking about their doctors using this method lately and it seems very interesting. I’ve pulled a couple research articles showing the benefits of split dosing to put in the show notes. One study found that split dosing of the colonoscopy prep improves the quality of the bowel prep. If this is something that’s of interest to you, you can print the studies out to share with your doctor to see if it’s a good fit for you.

In the case of having your procedure scheduled for after 12pm the next day, the split dosing option really makes sense to me. You can do part of the prep in the evening, hopefully get a good night’s sleep and then start again in the morning with the second ½ of the dose. The Cleveland Clinic literature about the colonoscopy prep talks about split dosing as a preferred method even if you are scheduled for your colonoscopy before noon the next day. I’m sure it’s because of this latest research showing that it improves the quality of the prep. Of course, let’s say you are scheduled at 9am the next day. This would mean getting up in the wee hours to do the second half of the prep. It’s not the way I prefer because I really value that good night sleep the night before, but isn’t it good to know that we have options? It’s about picking the one that’s best for you.

OK, we’ve covered a lot today about colonoscopies. Probably more than you ever even wanted to know about the days leading up to the colonoscopy procedure. We talked about a few days before ideas for success, how to eat a couple days prior, and some ideas for your clear liquids day, tried and true tips for the prep day, different types of procedure preps and time of day to consider taking them. So much for you to think about and hopefully it will help when it’s colonoscopy time for you again. Remember, as with all episodes, take what serves you and leave the rest behind.

For the colonoscopy itself, I’m going to leave you in the capable hands of your doctor. There’s choices to be made about whether to have it in a hospital setting or a clinic, whether to be put out, put in twilight sedation or given nothing at all. Lots to consider there, but that’s really a good conversation for you to have with your doctor. For the most part, by the time you get to the colonoscopy itself, the hard part is over. You did it the day before and the procedure itself will be a snap after all you’ve been through. There’s just one more part of the colonoscopy that far too few providers are talking about. The after part. Later that day, that week, next month… what happens after the colonoscopy, besides the treatment plan your doctor you and you discuss?

Here’s the deal with a colonoscopy. For the purposes of this episode, we are assuming you need the procedure. There is no way around it. You’re experiencing symptoms that make it necessary for it to happen. In my opinion, doctors can be alittle colonoscopy happy and I’m curious if colonoscopies are a little over prescribed, but that’s a topic for another episode. For today, we’re going with the theory that you needed this procedure. It brought about great information for you to move forward, but the problem now is that you’ve completely cleaned out your digestive tract—the good bugs, the bad bugs—all in rapid succession and then you had a procedure where the colonoscopy scope was inserted and as sterile as that can possibly be, it’s possible that there were some bad bugs introduced into your digestive tract as well. The whole thing from prep to finish is quite an assault on your body. So, how can you best serve your body now? How can you make sure you get back on track and with the healthiest digestion possible?

Well, first let’s talk about the right after. Like that day, after. That day, after your procedure, you’re going to want to rest. You may have been put under or even just with twilight sedation, you’re not going to be quite yourself. You aren’t allowed to drive after for a reason so resting is key. You might also feel ravenous. How long has it been since you’ve had solid food? Well, a while. But before you eat like a horse, it’s a good idea to start small and see if your body is ready for solid food again. A good after colonoscopy meal might be some mint tea, an egg, some bone broth or some soup… light, easy to digest foods. See how you do with that first.

If your first meal goes well, it’s OK to add more for the second meal. Just take it easy and build back up slowly. Many people experience gas, bloating, some loose stool after the colonoscopy procedure and eating in a way that supports your digestive system is helpful to get you back on track sooner.

After a day of rest and eating with your bowel’s needs in mind, it’s a good idea to get on a probiotic to start to restore your microbiome. Repopulate, rebuild, and re-balance your gut. Probiotics are a good way to get moving in that direction. If you eat fermented foods like homemade yogurt or sauerkraut, that can be helpful too.

Remember, this clean out and this procedure really wreak havoc on your digestive system. It will take time to get back on track. Be patient. It will happen. You know, one of the things I see clients for most is getting back on track after a colonoscopy. Clients will often say, “I was never the same after that colonoscopy.”

Not enough is being said about this. It’s not something we hear about from our providers, but gut dysbiosis after a colonoscopy is really common and needs to be handled carefully, patiently, but also deliberately. If this is you, if you’re struggling right now after a colonoscopy, know that it’s very normal. I hear about it all the time and it can get better. I’m here to help. Reach out at and we’ll figure it out together.

So after the colonoscopy, gentle gentle, gentle, on your system. Get back to your normal diet slowly. Try a probiotic to help repopulate the gut and if you’re still struggling, get in touch. I’m happy to help.

What did I miss? What did I not cover today with regard to the colonoscopy? Whatever questions or comments you have, I’m here for you. No one should feel like they are going into a colonoscopy afraid and alone. I did this episode because I want you to know that you are not alone. With Crohn’s and colitis, we all go through this at some point. And even though a colonoscopy will never be up there with your top life experiences, it doesn’t have to been horrendous either. You can get through it with a little planning and a lot of self care.

You’ve got this my dear. Now go conquer that colonoscopy!

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

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

5 Dairy Free Ways to Get Your Gut Bacteria Back in Balance

One of my favorite parts of having The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD is that I get to connect with you.

Lately I’ve had lots of questions about whether or not it’s OK to skip the yogurt on the SCD diet. More and more IBD gals are finding that dairy just doesn’t work for them in the form of the SCD yogurt, but they know just how important all the bacterial benefits of the yogurt are.

So the question I’m getting is, “Karyn, is there a way I can get bacterial benefits even if I don’t do the fermented homemade yogurt?”

And the answer is a resounding, “Yes, absolutely.

There are other ways to get your beneficial bacteria, those gut bugs, other than the traditional fermented yogurt.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • 4 never changing gut bacteria balancing guidelines
  • 5 non-dairy options that work to help balance the bacteria in your gut
  • How to decide which non-dairy bacterial balancing option is best for the stage you‘re at on your gut healing journey

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

From the Desk of Gut Love: Tomatoes: Yes or No?

From the Desk of Gut Love: Which Nut Butter Should I Choose?

SCD Yogurt Recipe Collection with FAQ

Visbiome Probiotic

Episode Resources:

Kefir Grains

How to Make Water Kefir

Kefir and SCD

The Kefir Guru Shares His Wisdom

Dairy Free Fermentation: Fermenting Without Whey

Fermentation Supplies

Fannetastic Food

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:


Before we get down to gut healing business, I want to tell you that this episode is brought to you by my new Crohn’s and colitis article series, From the Desk of Gut Love. This is a brand new endeavor for our Gut Love Community and it’s my way of taking what we’re doing here on the podcast, exploring all our gut healing options and lifting up moms with IBD in ways that are lacking from what we typically get from our doctors, but taking the spirit of the show into a new format—the written word—with lots more helpful information and lots of gut healing recipes.

The recipe part will be a huge piece. It’s something I always wanted to share with you, but it’s tough to do that through this podcast medium. Over the years of eating for my IBD, I’ve created and cultivated gajillons of recipes and this article series will be a great way for me to share them with you. Plus, I’ll also be highlighting well-known gut healing recipe developers there as well.

From the Desk of Gut Love Articles is 100% IBD centered—for example, this week’s topic is how to find the gut healthiest nut butters in a sea of grocery store options and included in the article are two gut healing and delish nut butter recipes I know you are going to love.

So, it’s real world IBD question we all have, mixed with recipes galore! Something for everyone in a format you can digest when it’s convenient for you.

Articles will come out every other week and if you want to know when they are released for all the eye opening, gut healing info as well as for the gut healing recipes, you’ve got to be a Gut Love Community Member. That’s where you’ll hear about every new article first.

So far in the series, two articles have been released. The first one is titled “Tomatoes: Yes or No.” Tomatoes are a big topic of conversation for those of us with C + C and this article will help you decide if tomatoes are something you can include in your diet. The answer might surprise you if you thought tomatoes were a “no” for you before, and it features a raw and cooked version of my Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes. I already mentioned the second article that just came out. It’s titled “Which Nut Butter Should I Choose?” This one is action-packed with everything you could ever want to know about the healthiest nut butters for you and of course it also has nut butter gut healing recipes for you to check out.

If you want to see what the series is all about and decide if this is a format you like as an additional IBD resource, you can check out Tomatoes: Yes or No? at and the latest nut butter article is at

I’ll leave these links in the show notes at but I wanted you to have the direct link as well.

If you like getting your IBD information when it’s convenient for you, reading it when you’re in line at the school pick up, in the doctor’s office, or even on the toilet, and if you like adding gut healing recipes to your stash, From the Desk of Gut Love Articles is for you. And remember, if you join us in the Gut Love Community and you’ll never miss when a new article comes out. There’s a link to join right in each article.

On with the show.


Hey dear one, how are you feeling today? It’s Karyn Haley with you and I hope you are doing well, but if not, know that I’m sending you love and light and good gut health vibes today and always. I’ve got my aromatherapy candle next to me. It’s called Stress Relief and it’s got eucalyptus and spearmint in it. It’s definitely giving me some stress relief that I deeply need today.

One of my favorite parts of having a podcast is getting to connect with you. I love hearing your courageous stories, and love getting your questions. You know I don’t always have the answer, but when it comes to Crohn’s and colitis, I’m like a basset hound, nose to the ground, researching, tracking information down and I won’t stop until I find answers for you, so keep your thoughts and ideas coming my way.

Lately I’ve had lots of questions about whether or not it’s OK to skip the yogurt on the SCD diet. More and more C + Cer’s are finding that dairy just doesn’t work for them in the form of the SCD yogurt, but they know just how important all the bacterial benefits of the yogurt are. So the question I’m getting is, “Karyn, is there a way I can get bacterial benefits even if I don’t do the fermented homemade yogurt.”

And the answer is a resounding, “Yes, absolutely. There are other ways to get your beneficial bacteria, those gut bugs, other than the traditional fermented yogurt.

Now, before we get into what those ways are, I want to say just a few important reminders about these gut bugs, the beneficial bacteria. You may know this already, but it’s always a good reminder and if you’re new to this world of filling your body with beneficial bacteria, it will give you a better understanding of the how’s and why’s of gut bacteria.


#1 You don’t need to be on SCD to benefit from good bacteria.

  • This isn’t just an SCD conversation. This is a conversation all of us with C + C need to be having.
  • Most people with gut challenges will benefit from some form of fermented foods, supplements, yogurt, etc… some form of good bacteria
  • And if you’re saying, “Well I’m that girl who doesn’t benefit!” I hear what you are saying. Some people, especially IBDer’s can really struggle introducing beneficial bacteria. It can really whack out your system at first. And there’s a myriad of reasons why this might happen. Undiagnosed infections, severe dysbiosis, food sensitivities, hormonal challenges… too many causes to mention. Just know it is completely normal to struggle with the introduction of beneficial bacteria, and this is why, when you incorporate bacterial balancing food and supplements, it’s good to work with someone who knows about the nuances of the microbiome so they can help you figure out the best way forward for you.
  • Even if you initially struggle, with proper care, I truly believe it can work out for you so don’t give up, just get help.

#2 Even if you are sensitive to dairy, you may still tolerate SCD style yogurt (24-hour fermented yogurt).

  • Many people skip the yogurt initially because they know they don’t tolerate cow’s milk.
  • And it’s OK to skip it for whatever reason—the fact that dairy can be inflammatory, the fact it’s not 100% lactose free, the fact that you just don’t like yogurt….
  • But here’s the thing about SCD type yogurt. It is virtually lactose free, so even if you don’t tolerate straight cow’s milk, you may tolerate this type of yogurt. Some even try it with goat’s milk or sheep’s milk (both dairy options) and tolerate it just fine. There’s lots of options here.
  • The fermentation process of 24-yogurt (unlike the 8-hour of most yogurts at the grocery store) allows it to add in the beneficial bacteria while at the same time, eat away at the milk sugar (the lactose) so by the time it’s done, most of the lactose is gone.
  • Now it’s important for me to mention here that there are two parts of dairy that tend to be a problem for us—lactose (the milk sugar) and casein (a protein found in milk). Like I said, the lactose is virtually nil, but the casein is still present. So, staying away from all dairy yogurt absolutely makes sense if you are sensitive to casein, but if it’s lactose you’re worried about, you may still want to give it a try.
  • Of course, like we are going to talk about today, there’s other non-dairy ways to get your gut bugs so, no sweat, but I just wanted to throw that out there to make sure you are staying away from the traditional yogurt for the right reasons.

#3 The non-dairy method you choose should be based on your symptoms because some work better for some symptoms than others.

  • As we talk about the non-dairy methods today, I’ll be sharing with you who they tend to work best for with regard to if diarrhea is your chief complaint vs constipation, also some are better for those in remission vs in a flare up.
  • I’ll give you all the details so you can decide with is best for you.

#4 Whatever method of fermented (bacterial balancing) you choose, always, always, always start low and slow.

  • Bacterial balancing is like walking on a tight rope. It’s tricky business.
  • I’ve seen so many fail on this path or give up too easily because they just didn’t go slow enough
  • We are not like everyone else who takes probiotic supplements or eats fermented foods so we can’t base our experience on what theirs is like. Our guts are more sensitive and have more dysbiosis so when you introduce any of the non-dairy options I mention today, go slow, slow, slow. Like tortoise slow.
  • I can’t stress this enough. I have clients who start with just a tiny drop on their tongue and stay there until they are ready to progress. It can be done, but don’t rush it.

OK, with that said, let’s dive in with:


#1 Non-Dairy Yogurt

We’ll start with the way that is most similar to your 24-hour fermented yogurt method and work our way out from there so #1 is non-dairy yogurt. 5-10 years ago no one was talking about non-dairy yogurt—we heard about yogurt with all its beneficial bacteria, but it was made from dairy options like cows, sheep, or goats. Today, almond milk and coconut milk and soy milk yogurts is everywhere. Now, I don’t recommend those store bought options for most because they just haven’t had the long fermentation time and the added ingredients are usually crap, and don’t get me started on the reasons why I’m not a fan of soy yogurt (that’s a topic for another episode) but you can make your own non-dairy yogurt using nut milks at home. The process is very similar to how you make homemade dairy milk. And if you’ve never done it before, it’s quick to pick up and relatively simple actually.

Personally, when we’re talking non-dairy yogurt as your beneficial gut bacteria option, I’ve had the most success with coconut milk yogurt. Almond and cashew milk yogurt are more delicate and I just don’t have the patience for them, but go for it with whatever way works for you.

If you’re interested in trying out homemade coconut milk yogurt as your non-dairy beneficial bacteria, I’ve got you covered with my SCD yogurt recipe collection. If you go to you can download the recipes and coconut milk yogurt is featured there with your step-by-step guide to make it in your own home in a yogurt maker as well as in an instant pot. It’s also got a fabulous FAQ section to answer all your yogurt making questions as you get started. I’ll leave a link in the show notes if you prefer to get it there, if you’re driving or can’t write the link down, but you can also get it at

OK so that’s non-dairy gut balancing bacteria idea #1. This one works best if your main symptom is diarrhea or if you go back and forth between diarrhea and constipation. It can be used in remission to keep the gut bugs balanced and happy or during a flare up to quiet the gut dysbiosis. Just remember, this is not a “let’s go crazy” with 2 cups a day to start thing. It’s a low and slow process, especially if you are in a flare-up or having gastro symptoms.

#2 A Probiotic Supplement

#2 on our list of non-dairy bacterial gut balancers is taking a probiotic. This is a pretty easy option. No yogurt to make, a lot of times found in capsule form. So it’s really your easiet and most convenient option. The only challenge with getting your gut bugs with probiotics is that the selection is so vast, most of it crap, that it’s easy to get taken advantage of with a worthless product that’s doing you no good.

Now there are different types of probiotics, there’s the spore type, there’s another type called saccharomyces boulardii, but today we are going to focus on the most widely used type—the lacto bifido strains of probiotic.

For Lacto Bifido Probiotics:

  • Always look at the added ingredients—so much filler and junk in many brands. And also, look for dairy. There are some brands that have dairy as an ingredient, completely defeating your desire to be non-dairy here.
  • Buy from companies who participate in random batch test testing, buy pharmaceutical grade probiotics. Usually the best places to buy these is online.
  • Buy a multi-strain probiotic. Yes, this goes directly against SCD protocol and in full disclosure, I took SCD legal probiotics only for my first 2 years on the diet, but the research is pretty clear now, mulit-strain are best for gut dysbiosis. Even cooler, are specifically targeted strains of probiotics for your symptoms, for your IBD and other ailments, but if you’re just getting started, buy one with a wide variety of bacterial strains—again unless you are following SCD to a T which I completely get. And then it’s acidophilus bacteria for you all the way.
  • When it comes to IBD and probiotics, go big or go home. Most store bought probiotics contain 1, 2, or 3 billion CFU (colony forming units) of bacteria. There haven’t been many studies on probiotics specifically for IBD, but those studies that have been conducted usually recommend probiotics like Visbiome—ones with very high CFU’s like 112 billion, 450 billion, and even 900 billion CFU’s. Big difference from that drug store brand, huh? Now, not everyone needs to be that high, but in general, and remember everyone is an individual here so check with your doctor on this first, it’s a good idea to start in low CFU range and bump up slowly and go as high as you need to, to find symptom relief. And that could get high up there, into the Visbiome range. One last thing I want to metion about Visbiome is that it specifically comes in capsule form and sachet powder packets. I really like the sachets for IBDer’s  because we can mix them with water or unsweetened applesauce for better absorption.

There’s a lot of debate about whether getting your bacterial strains in probiotic form is worth it since stomach acid may kill the bacteria. Since it’s not food grade, it doesn’t work. There’s also debate on storing it in the frig vs brands that say store at room temp and take with food or take without food. The bottom line for me is, if it helps go for it.  I take a probiotic and I eat probiotic rich foods. Both help in different ways so I do both.

#3 Sauerkraut

From non-dairy yogurt to supplementing with probiotics, we now move to one of my favorite ways to get non-dairy gut healthy bacteria in your body and that’s through sauerkraut—one of the world’s best fermented foods.

Now, I have to mention this because maybe you’re like I used to be. Maybe you’re thinking sauerkraut, oh yuck! It’s smelly and maybe your parents made you eat it, or maybe it just sounds gross. But I encourage you to take a second look, because sauerkraut, just like brussel sprouts are actually delish when you give them a second look as an adult.

Sauerkraut can be made at home with your own cabbage, but I prefer to buy mine. There’s just so many homemade things I do for my gut health, and I spend so much time in the kitchen, that if there’s something I can buy (which is a rarity for those of us on SCD), I will always buy it. But if you want to make your own, I say go for it! More power to you.

I have made my own at home before—a few times—and it was really much work at all. It’s just important to make sure mold isn’t growing in your cabbage as it ferments. You can always remove that part from the top, but it’s best to not have it there in the first place.

If you do choose to buy yours at the grocery store, it’s important to know that not all sauerkraut is created equal and not all sauerkraut has probiotics in it. So choose wisely.

Look for brands that say, “live cultures” or “probiotic” on the label. This will ensure you are getting the benefit you are looking for. Your sauerkraut should also be found in the refrigerator section of your grocery store, not on the canned food aisle—that’s dead giveaway that there’s not bacterial benefit. When you find your sauerkraut in the refrigerator section, look for a type that’s packaged in a glass jar or a bag—not in a can. It’s helpful to read the ingredients too to make sure sauerkraut is the first ingredient. It’s OK is spices and salt are in there as well, but vinegar is a no-no because it means the product has been pasteurized and preserved to increase its shelf life.

I really like Bubbies brand as well as Eden Foods for sauerkrauts in a jar. There’s another brand I buy occasionally called Farmhouse Culture. You’ll find that one in a bag.

The best way to take your sauerkraut is raw, and you don’t need a lot to get great benefit. Even just a couple spoonfuls a day is great. The reason you don’t want to heat it up is because heating kills off the beneficial bacteria and the whole reason you’re eating it in the first place.

Now, because the best way to eat sauerkraut is raw, and raw can be troublesome on an inflamed belly, I always recommend staying away from this option if you are in a flare-up. It likely won’t make the flare up worse, but it will make you feel worse with die off symptoms (which are just a toxin release in the body which results in symptoms of everything from brain fog to skin rashes to gut disturbances). Instead, stick with the non-dairy yogurt or probiotic supplement.

So, when is it a good idea to choose sauerkraut over non-dairy yogurt? This non-dairy probiotic option is great for those with constipation. It’s also a great option when a little bit of healing has taken place or you can also use sauerkraut to help you maintain gut balance in remission.

If you’re having a nasty flare and you are having lots of diarrhea and you still want to choose sauerkraut as your probiotic of choice, I highly encourage you to start with just the sauerkraut juice—maybe ½ tsp to start. Very small. You can even put it in a full glass of water to dilute it if you need to. Then slowly start working your way to lessening the water and increasing the juice until eventually you are ready for the real deal—the sauerkraut.

It can work, there is no one answer here. It’s about experimenting with all of the options I’m giving you today to help you decide which one is best for you.

#4 Kefir

We’ve come to #4 on our list of non-dairy bacterial balancing options and this one is kefir. Some call it kefir, I always say kefir so there you go. Same thing. If you’ve seen kefir in the grocery store, you’re probably seeing dairy kefir. Even if you are lucky enough to find a non-dairy option, I highly recommend you make it at home. Like the non-dairy yogurt options in the grocery store, it’s just not fermented long enough, it has added ingredients we don’t do well with, so it can make us feel really sick after consuming it. But, when kefir is made at home, you control everything that goes in and you make sure if ferments long enough.

Kefir is one of those non-dairy ferments that can be challenging due to the potency of the bacteria. The die off reaction can be much stronger, so if you really are in the throws of a flare, I would start with one of the earlier ideas I mentioned—preferably the yogurt or the probiotic supplements.

Your non-dairy kefir options are a kefir made from coconut water or even just water. You will need kefir grains to get started. Think of kefir grains as your starter. It’s a culture of bacteria and yeasts that help the coconut water or plain water ferment and grow beneficial bacteria.

One side note on kefir worth mentioning is that the coconut water kefir is not SCD legal since it contains coconut water made from the “young coconut.” Kind of like how we always want to choose the more mature or brown bananas on SCD because they contain less starch. The state of the food is just as important as the food itself.

Whether you choose coconut water and plain water kefir, as long as you have your kefir grains and a good recipe, it’s not that hard to make. It’s like any of these non-dairy fermented recipes we’re talking about today, once you have the recipe and you’ve practiced a time or two, you’ll have the formula for life.

I’ll leave links to my favorite kefir grains as well as link sto coconut water and water kefir in the show notes so you can get started experimenting with this bountiful bacterial beverage. Wow, how’s that for alliteration?

#5 Lacto-Fermented Veggies

The last non-dairy bacterial balancing idea we should talk about today is a more advanced method for when you’ve moved through all the previous non-dairy methods and you’re ready to kick bacterial balance and fermentation into high gear. And that last idea is lacto-fermented veggies. Pickles, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, garlic… honestly so many veggies can be lacto-fermented to give them more gut healing bacteria and more gut love for your body.

Because this type of veggies are raw and they pack a bacterial punch, it’s important to make sure you are ready before you dive in. But when you’re there my friend, definitely start experimenting at home here because again, it’s easy, it’s fun… so worth it for your continued gut health.

So you might be thinking, is this different than the fermented yogurt or the fermented sauerkraut we talked about earlier? Nope not at its core. The process is absolutely similar. Here, we’re just kicking it up a notch with veggies that aren’t as easy to digest so they are definitely best for when your gut has healed enough to really take in the health of these health foods.

With lacto fermented veggies, a lot of the recipes use whey as their fermentation starter. Well, if you know anything about whey, you know that it is not dairy free. Whey is the liquidy byproduct of milk, yogurt, cheese, etc… If you’ve ever bought commercial yogurt at the store and you opened the container to find a milky liquid floating at the top, that’s whey. Really healthy if you tolerate it, full of protein, but not dairy free.

But there are lacto-fermented veggie recipes that don’t use whey at all. Instead, they add completely dairy free salty brine to the veggies and over the course of a few days, the veggies grow beneficial bacteria just as they would if you used bacteria rich, but dairy friendly whey.

You see, all vegetables contain lactic acid bacteria. When we add brine to the veggies, we create a salty, acidic environment that’s strong enough to kill the bad bacteria but weak enough to keep the good. It’s so simple, yet so cool at the same time.

If you are dying to get stared with your salty brine and veggies to create some gut love in your belly, I’ve got you covered. I’ll leave you links in the show notes to my favorite lacto-fermented veggie recipe sites to help get you started.

OK my friend, how are you feeling now? Maybe before this episode you were thinking, I’ll never find some good quality non-dairy ways to feed my good bacteria bugs and make my gut healthy and strong. Or maybe you do consume fermented dairy, but you’re looking to branch out and try something new. At least now you know your best options for your gut healing and your gut health and how and when to use them. So, which do you think you’ll try? Let’s recap and I’ll remind you about your 5 non-dairy bacterial balancing options.


  • First there was non-dairy yogurt, great probiotic benefit, good for inflamed, achy, flare up bellies.
  • Then, there’s your probiotic supplements, but remember to go low and slow there. Good quality probiotic dosing for C + Cer’s can get high and we don’t want a die off reaction to set you back.
  • We also talked about my favorite fermented vegetable, sauerkraut. Delish and nutrish, especially if a little healing has taken place or your chief complaint is constipation.
  • After that, it was on to homemade kefir or kefir. Choose the coconut water or the plain water variety for a burst of non-dairy gut bacteria benefit. This is another one that’s best for further down the line after a bit of healing takes place because it really packs a bacteria punch.
  • Lastly, our most advanced non-dairy bacterial balancing maintenance comes from our lacto-fermented veggies. Cucumbers turning into delicious pickles, fermented carrots, and green beans… I don’t think there’s a veggie out there that you can’t ferment.


That’s a wrap my friend. A real quick reminder, if you want to check out my brand spakin’ new addition: From the Desk of Gut Love Article Series, you can go to either or, or hell check out both and see if it’s something valuable for you. Remember there’s recipes in each article and I won’t be offended if you just go for the recipes. I’m a sucker for a good recipe too!

There were lots of links mentioned today. The best place to catch them all is in the show notes at They will all lead you in the non-dairy bacterial balancing direction you want to go in.

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

Chat soon!

Episode Transcript:

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

Which Nut Butter Should I Choose?



When you were a kid, I bet PB & J was all the rage in your house. It was in mine.

Nut butter is a paradise for kids.

And what’s not to love? Gooey, creamy, salty peanut butter (just the right amount slathered on fluffy white bread) paired with your favorite sweet jelly (I always liked grape) giving your childhood tastebuds the perfect flavor profile that made you smile and say that profound one word all kids know, “Yum!”

Typically, my family bought Jiff. My mom always told us it was the best, but I wasn’t beholden to one brand or flavor. Peter Pan, Skippy, crunchy, creamy… it was all delicious to me.

Did your mom ever buy Smuckers Goober Grape?

It never showed up in my house (I think I remember my mom saying it was too expensive), but I definitely ran into it at my friend’s houses. Peanut butter and grape jelly piped into a pinwheel of goodness all in the same jar?

It’s got to be better if they’re put together!

As you got older, you might have thought you outgrew peanut butter. Afterall, there’s not many adults packing a PB & J for lunch (at least adults that admit it). But somewhere between 2005-2010, a nut butter explosion took over the world.

Move over childhood peanut butter.

Almond butter was the first unique nut butter incantation. Then, cashew, walnut, pecan, macadamia, and hazelnut butters stocked our grocery store shelves and today, your lunch and snacks may not be the stuff of your childhood world of peanut butter, but it’s most likely nut butter centered and our lives are richer and healthier for it.

With so many options to choose from in the nut butter category (have you seen the size of the nut butter grocery aisle these days?), and with us trying hard to make the best, most nutritious, gut healing choices to help our Crohn’s and colitis bellies, it’s hard to know which of these delicious nut buttery concoctions are the best for us to eat.

There’s a minefield of decisions to be made when you’re standing in the nut butter aisle. With questions like:

  • Is there one nut that’s healthier than the rest?
  • Are nut butters just nuts or are there added ingredients in there to look out for?
  • Do I have to buy the annoying “natural” nut butter with the oil on top I have to stir?
  • Should I even be eating nut butter at all? Is it making my IBD worse?

It’s questions like these that kept rolling around in my mind, so with an open heart and a gut full of inquisitive and nutty questions, I set out to get us some answers.

Five Things You’ll Learn in This Gut Love Spotlight Article:

  • The top 7 nut butters on the market based on gut health, taste, and versatility of use
  • How to avoid the annoying stirring and hardening of your refrigerated nut butter
  • My super simple “make at home” nut butter recipe
  • A super delish and gut nutrish nut butter cookie recipe
  • And the award for the best all around nut butter goes to…

Join our IBD mom tribe: The Gut Love Community of Moms


Well, maybe, and I promise I’ll get to that, but for the most part the healthiest nut butter depends on what you’re looking for.

  • Are you trying to gain weight with some high quality healthy fats?
  • Or are you trying to lose some weight with a lower fat nut butter?
  • Is high protein, low carb your goal?
  • Are you allergic or sensitive to legumes, tree nuts or seeds?

All of the answers to these questions will impact which nut butter you chose, and which one is healthiest for YOU.

With that said, there are some nut butters and seed butters that are considered healthier than others. I’ve outlined 7 of the best ones here so you can have all the information you need right at your fingertips. Hopefully with this nut butter knowledge and know how, next time you visit the endless nut butter aisle, you can get in and out in 3 second flat.

And of course, after I outline all 7 with their pros and cons, I’ll give you my top nut butter picks.



The OG of the nut butters actually got its start way back thousands of years ago as a nut in South America. But peanut butter, as we know it today in the United States was most likely invented by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (yep, the cereal) in 1895.* Americans have been enjoying peanut butter ever since.

Technically though, peanut butter isn’t a nut butter at all since peanuts are a legume and not a tree nut. That’s a bonus for you if you’re sensitive or allergic to tree nuts, but not so much if you’re sensitive to this legume.

Peanut butter can be used in practically every meal you can imagine. From cookies, to a snack dipper, to smoothies, and savory foods, or maybe even eating it straight from the jar (who, me?) peanut butter is used in all sorts of dishes.

The Pros:

  • It’s your cheapest option with peanut butter being less expensive than those other fancy nut butters
  • It’s high in essential vitamins like copper, manganese, iron, and folate
  • It’s a good source of protein (7 grams per serving)
  • If you’re looking for some healthy fats, PB has got a whopping 16 grams per serving, most of it monounsaturated and polyunsaturated

The Cons:

  • Peanut butter jars are typically filled with crappy ingredients from sugar to hydrogenated vegetable, cottonseed, or soybean oils, and don’t get me started on the added salt
  • Not great in the omega-3 department and has way too many omega-6’s, sure we need them but we’re already getting too many in the Standard American Diet so PB can pack on too many
  • Potential source of aflatoxins (natural toxin in peanuts and known carcinogen—esp liver cancer) but thankfully in the U.S. crops are tested and if they are over 20 parts per billion, they don’t get used
  • Peanut butter contains lectins—anti-nutrients that can be difficult for sensitive bellies (like ours) to digest

Which peanut butter brands are gut healthiest?

I really like Once Again (organic and salt free)

Santa Cruz makes an organic version (salt added)

Bottom line: There’s some good nutrition in peanut butter, but pound for pound it doesn’t have the nutrient punch of the other nut butters

*Interesting fun fact: A few years ago, the Consumers Union did a test to see how much aflatoxin was in store bought peanut butter and they found lower amounts in Skippy and Peter Pan than in the freshly prepared store-bought varieties.


Cashews were discovered in Brazil around 1558, but because the nut is surrounded by this really hard coating, they were thought to be inedible at first. Thankfully, they’re rich creamy taste was discovered inside the shell and we’ve had a love affair with them since.

Cashew butter is a great choice in nut butters because its taste is mild, so it blends into anything you add it to and you’re left with a rich, creamy taste that is all its own. From smoothies, to cooking and baking, cashew butter can be found in any dish that calls for nut butter.

The Pros:

  • Cashew butter is so creamy, it can replace milk or cream in recipes (yay if you’re dairy free)
  • It’s full of minerals galore: copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and biotin which is great for our hair and nails
  • 16 grams of fat per serving—80% of that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated—so it’s a good option if you are trying to gain or keep weight on
  • Low in carbohydrates

The Cons:

  • Doesn’t contain many omega-3’s to help us fight inflammation and improve our brain and heart health
  • That 16 grams of fat might be a little too much if weight loss is your goal, eat in moderation
  • Not as high in protein as other nut and seed butters—5 grams per serving
  • Cashew butter is pricey, much higher than peanut butter
  • Higher in oxalates than some nut butters (not as high as almond though), if you are sensitive to oxalates which are naturally occurring compounds in some plants, stay away due to their link to kidney stones, kidney disease, and gallbladder challenges

Which cashew butter brands are gut healthiest?

Jiva Organics Raw Cashew Butter (organic and raw- ‘nough said)

Julie’s Real has only one ingredient– cashews

Bottom line: Cashew butter is super versatile, full of healthy nutrients, and good fats. It’s a great option as long as high protein isn’t your goal.


Just like peanut butter, almond butter owes its auspicious start to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg.* The Journal of the American Medical Association mentions his almond butter in 1913. Even though Kellogg was experimenting with almond butter in the early 1900’s, it took another 100 years before this product became a household favorite for nut butter enthusiasts and those veering away from peanut butter in favor of something healthier.

Almond butter gets a gold star for all the amazing dishes it’s featured in. From smoothies to baking, dipping in apples or bananas to a post workout snack, even being the star of Asian dishes. This nut butter belongs in every gut healthy mamas’ home. You never know when a little almond butter will come in handy.

The Pros:

  • Almond butter is packed with fiber (not all nut butters can say that)
  • It’s high in calcium and magnesium so it’s great for bone health
  • It’s high in those anti-inflammatory, brain and heart boosting omega 3’s
  • Talk about mineral rich, almond butter is a great source of potassium, manganese, iron and Vitamin E
  • With 18 grams of “good” fat, 7 grams of protein and a low carbohydrate load, this nut butter gets an A+ in health class

The Cons:

  • Unfortunately, almonds are high in oxalates—that naturally occurring compound found in plants that dangerous for certain people, if you are prone to kidney stones, kidney disease, gallbladder issues, or you are sensitive to digesting foods with high levels of oxalates, almond butter is not the butter for you
  • For some the high but healthy fat content is a bonus, for others it’s a curse, not the best option if low fat is your goal
  • Almond butter isn’t cheap, it’s right up there with cashew butter on its hefty price tag

Which almond butter brands are gut healthiest?

MaraNatha Organic Almond Butter (yes it’s organic, and almonds are the only ingredient)

Wild Friend Classic Almond Butter (no palm oil, and just a dash of salt)

Bottom line: You just can’t get healthier than almond butter. It’s creamy, mild flavor makes it the nut butter of choice for every dish from appetizer to desserts.

*Interesting fun fact: Dr. Kellogg, who is credited with making the first almond butter in the U.S. was a nutritionist. Interesting field for someone in the nutrition-less market of cereal production.


Sunflower butter is the baby of the nut and seed butter industry. While we can trace peanut butter’s roots back thousands of years, sunflower butter is the new kid on the block. Developed as an alternative nut butter after peanut allergies began to crop up everywhere in the early 2000’s, sunflower butter quickly took up steam and began entering the hearts and bellies of nut and seed butter lovers everywhere.

If you are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, or you’re just looking to branch out with something new and exciting, sunflower butter is the perfect purchase. It’s great when it’s used simply, spread on toast, but its flavor profile is also complex enough that it can be used in any baking or cooking dish.

The Pros:

  • Sunflower butter takes the cake as our highest “healthy fat” butter on this list with a whopping 19 grams of fat per serving (mostly monounsaturated), sunflower butter is a great treat if weight gain or weight stability is your goal (it’s definitely a consideration for many of us with IBD)
  • It’s also high in protein—8 grams per serving while still being a low carbohydrate food
  • It’s high in nutrients like fiber, magnesium, niacin, Vitamin E and Vitamin A
  • And because the solids and the oils in sunflower butter don’t separate, you don’t need to stir it (that’ a relief)

The Cons:

  • Many IBDer’s like that seed butter is high in fat, but if you’re trying to watch out for fat grams or you don’t digest fat well, this one is too high
  • Because sunflower seeds can be a little bitter, many brands add sugar, they think it’s going to make it taste better but all it does it take away the delicious flavor of the seed and make it taste like candy
  • If you’re a peanut butter gal, this butter may take some getting used to, it’s got an earthy quality that makes it different from other nut butters, especially peanut butter

Which sunflower butter brands are gut healthiest?

Once Again makes my favorite sunflower seed butter (unsweetened and delish)

SunButter Organic Sunflower Butter (organic and no added ingredients)

Bottom line: Whether you are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, or you’re just looking for a nut butter alternative, sunflower butter is worth a try. I did a taste test switch-a-roo on my kids and they weren’t fooled, but they liked it nonetheless.


Walnuts originated in Persia (today’s Iran). They quickly became popular as an item to trade and spread throughout Europe and Asia. Some of the earliest English dishes recorded talk about using walnuts and grinding them into a paste with a mortar.

Walnut butter is different than other nut butters. It’s lighter in color but heartier in texture. It’s meaty flavor makes it the perfect accompaniment in savory dishes. As good as walnut butter is in dinner cuisine, it’s just as delicious in sweet foods like cookies and cake batter because of its high fat content.

The Pros:

  • Walnut butter is a good source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) from omega 3’s so it’s a great nut butter to use for its anti-inflammatory, brain, and heart health properties
  • Omega 3’s are highest in this nut butter over all others
  • Walnut butter is high in fat—14 grams per serving– to help you maintain your weight, not as high as some of our other contenders, but very high indeed, most monounsaturated but also some saturated fat as well
  • One of the highest antioxidants in the nut butter family

The Cons:

  • Not as high in protein as some of the other nuts, about 3 grams per serving
  • If saturated fat is a concern for you, walnut butter may not be your best option
  • Walnuts go rancid quickly, always keep refrigerated and smell before you use

Which walnut butter brands are gut healthiest?

Artisana Organics Raw Walnut Butter (organic and raw, superfood healthy)

Bottom line: We know walnuts are healthy and full of omega’s and antioxidants. Think of walnut butter as an extension of the walnut. Don’t be afraid to experiment with walnut butter in cooking and baking. It gives all your dishes a rich and intriguing flavor.


Pistachios have grown in the middle east for thousands of years. Just like walnuts, they got their humble beginnings in Persia (Iran). Pistachios were a favorite of the Queen of Sheba and Alexander the Great. Like walnuts, pistachios made their way into Europe by way of Greece, Italy, and Spain. Pistachio butter is a relative newcomer to the nut butter aisle, but it’s rich taste and decadent green color has all the makings of a hit as big as avocado toast.

Just like smashed avocados, pistachio butter is great on toast, but it’s also delish in cookies, green smoothies, and even in salad dressings. Talk about gourmet.

The Pros:

  • Pistachio butter is unique, it’s a different look and flavor from the more traditional nut butters
  • It’s high in protein making it a great energy boosting snack (6 grams per serving)
  • This nut butter is loaded with B vitamins (more energy please)
  • With 13 grams of fat, pistachio butter is a great option to maintain weight or help you put a little weight on
  • Pistachio butter is cholesterol free and has as much potassium as a banana

The Cons:

  • It’s pricey, not to worry though, I’ll tell you how to make your own below
  • Pistachio butter has a unique flavor so it’s best if you like pistachios, not everyone does
  • At first, it might seem like pistachio butter isn’t very versatile, but all you have to do is think outside the traditional nut butter box and you’ll see all the ways you can use this treat

Which pistachio butter brands are gut healthiest?

NutRaw Pistachio Butter (organic and raw, with a hint of vanilla that makes the flavor pop)

Il Colle Del Gusto Sicilian Pistachio Spread (delish, but does contain rice flour)

Bottom line: Pistachio butter is a new and exciting alternative to traditional nut butters like almond and cashew. Buy some or make your own and start experimenting. From pesto’s to salad dressing, cookies, to smoothies, pistachio butter is the unique flavor you’ve been missing.


Pecans are one of the most delicious and most loved nuts worldwide, but this nut is most popular in North America and its roots can be traced back to this part of the world in the 1600’s. The name “pecan” is Native American and used to be used to describe all nuts needing a stone to crack.

Pecan butter is a relatively new invention in the world of nut butters. It’s delicious, creamy texture makes it versatile in many foods. Pecan butter can be used as a dip, in cookies, other baking treats or anywhere you want to impart a super rich flavor that has depth.

The Pros:

  • Pecans have the highest phytochemical concentration of antioxidants of all the nut butters (400% more than almond butter and 566% more than peanut butter)
  • If weight gain or weight maintenance is your goal pecans are fantastic, with 20 grams of fat per serving (most of it from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats with a hint of saturated as well)
  • Vitamins and minerals galore, pecans are high in Vitamins A, B, and E and minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc
  • Pecans are a great source of choline—brain food—so you’re supporting your brain function as well as your gut function

The Cons:

  • Watching calories and fat? This is a nut for moderation due to its higher fat and calorie content
  • Not a stand out in the protein department (only 4 grams per serving)
  • The price: like some of the more unusual nut butters, you’ll pay for high quality pecan butter

Which pecan butter brands are gut healthiest?

Artisana Raw Pecan Butter (organic and raw, blended with cashews so it’s extra creamy)

Guidry Organic Farms Pecan Butter (100% organic pecans, does contain salt)

Bottom line: Pecan butter is a decadent choice, it’s different, it’s delicious, and it’s a welcome change up to some of the more traditional nut butters. And if you are eating it in moderation, it will last a long time. Pecan butter is made by truly artisanal brands so buying pecan butter is more than just filling your belly with something gut healthy, it’s a gastric experience.

Now you’ve got some nut butter options!

No more plain peanut butter for you. Sure, it’s a classic and deserves a spot in your frig, but now you have no excuses so start branching out.

Besides knowing all the pros and cons of the best nut butters around, there’s a few more things to keep in mind when you purchase this gut healthy treat.


#1 Know where to store your nut butter.

Nut butter (straight up nut and nut flours too) can go bad quickly, but storing them properly will increase how long you can keep it. Always store nut butter according to the directions on the jar. If it says, “refrigerate,” definitely refrigerate.

When nut butter goes bad it gets smelly, hard, and darker than normal. It can also have a dry appearance. Don’t chance it. Your nut butter has gone rancid. Throw it away.

#2 Just because it says peanut butter doesn’t mean that’s all that’s in it.

Always read the ingredients on your nut butter label. I used to think brands where transparent. I thought, if I’m buying orange juice, it’s just oranges. If I’m buying chicken broth, it’s just chicken broth.

Dead wrong!!!

Nut butters work the same way. Just because the label on the front says cashew butter doesn’t mean there’s only cashews in there.

Nut butter companies are notorious for added ingredients. Always, always read the back label before you purchase. Even on brands you trust because companies change ingredients to save money all the time.

Be on the lookout for sugar, salt, hydrogenated oils like palm, cottonseed, and soybean oils. Never buy a nut butter that says, “reduced fat.” And beware of the label, “natural.” The FDA has no regulations on this term. “Natural” could me anything and it doesn’t mean the product is healthier.

#3 When it comes to nut butters, organic is best.

I know, everyone says organic is better, and that is true for the most part.

But there are foods where organic is just down right necessary to protect your gut. When conventional nuts are grown, they are ladened with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Then, in the packaging of nut butter, artificial ingredients and more chemicals are added.

Not when it’s organic.

Pesticides and chemical fertilizers have been shown to have a direct negative impact on our gut health, keeping us from putting together all the puzzle pieces to find remission. Buying organic nut butter ensures you are putting quality ingredients in your gut.

#4 Like the groundhog, refrigerated nut butter needs to poke its head out before being used.

We all get annoyed by healthier, but trickier refrigerated nut butter. Trust me though. It is worth it and it is usually healthier. The trick to not go crazy while you spread is to take it out about 10-15 minutes before you use it. The oils in the nut butter soften at room temperature making it much easier to spread.

#5 The foolproof way to avoid the hard, solid mess at the bottom of the jar.

Have you noticed that before you refrigerate that nut butter, it’s smooth and creamy, and easy to spread? Yep, that’s because of the same principle I just mentioned in #4. The oils in the nut butter soften at room temperature.

Take advantage of the softness when you bring your jar home. Pop the top, scoop the nut butter out into a blender or a food processor—you can even keep it in the jar and stir with a knife or an immersion blender—whatever method you choose, stir it up before you place it in the frig.

We’ve all forgotten on occasion and what happens? It becomes a hard, solid mess when we go to use it. Avoid the extra annoyance and just mix it before you put it away. If you follow this tip and #4, you’ll love each and every experience your nut butter has to offer.

#6 Homemade is easier than you think (and cheaper with better ingredients).

We’re spending a fortune on store-bought nut butter. And why? When we could so easily make our own at home. All you need is some high quality nuts and a blender or food processor. Follow the simple steps below to get yourself started.



#1 Gather your RAW nuts or seeds (any amount will do- I usually use 2-3 cups).

#2 Unless you’re a purest, mixing nuts and seeds gives a more complex, richer flavor.

Nuts that mix well are almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, and sunflower seeds but use your imagination and make any combo you want.

#3 Optional but really important for the flavor is to give the nuts a quick roast in the oven.

Just set them on a sheet pan and pop them in a 350 degree oven.

Roast, times will vary depending on the nut, but usually 8-10 minutes is all they need.

Remove from the oven and let the nuts/seeds cool for a few minutes.

#4 Pour your nuts into a high speed blender or food processor and begin to process.

At first you’ll think nothing is happening, but be patient. It can take up to 10-15 minutes to get a really creamy nut butter.

#5 If the nuts are too dry while blending, consider adding water or oil, 1 Tbsp at a time, to keep it smooth and creamy.

Most nuts have plenty of their own oils and you won’t need to do this, but it’s good to know what to do just in case.

#6 At the end, when your mixture is creamy, now you can decide on your add ins.

Some options include: raw cacao, salt, vanilla, maple syrup, honey, a few chopped crunchy bits of nuts if you like it crunchy.

Pulse a couple more times to mix in your add in and you’re done.



All the nut butter options, the history of the nut, the pros, the cons, the brands, and the nut storage and usage tips are great, but I know what you really want to know…


After careful consideration of all the nuts we’ve explored, it’s time to reveal the TOP WINNERS.

The prize for the best PROTEIN PUNCH nut butter is… Sunflower Butter

The prize for the MOST UNIQUE nut butter is… Pistachio Butter

The prize for the MOST VERSATILE nut butter goes to… Cashew Butter

And our OVERALL WINNER in the nut butter category for its high fat, high fiber, high omega-3’s, high protein, with good amounts of calcium and antioxidants goes to…  


Walnut butter gets a second place in the overall winner category. It may not have all the health benefits of almond butter, but the omega-3’s in walnut butter just can’t be beat.


OK my friend, that’s a wrap on everything you need to know about nut butter—except for the best part—a delish and nutrish nut butter cookie recipe I know you are going to love.

This recipe is a staple in my house. There’s always Nut Butter Bliss Cookies in the freezer. They are the perfect treat that you can just take out and try to wait a few minute to thaw and pop in your mouth. Sometimes I don’t wait for the thawing and they’re just as good then too.

I chose this nut butter recipe because it’s so versatile. You could use any of the nut butters mentioned today and they would turn out delish. I’ve used the traditional peanut butter, but I’ve also experimented with cashew butter, pecan butter, even pistachio butter… all turned out amazing.

Experiment with your own nut butter of choice and see how they work out for you.





1 3/4 cups gluten free flour (I prefer finely ground almond flour)

¼ cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda 

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick butter, softened (ghee or coconut oil works too)

1/2 c honey 

1 c nut butter of your choice

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 pk of Enjoy Life  dark chocolate chunks or mini chips (optional)


Place the gluten free flour, coconut flour, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Add butter, honey, nut butter, vanilla and egg. Beat cookie mixture on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture resembles cookie batter.

Cover the batter with wax paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and preheat oven to 325°.

For traditional criss cross style cookies:

Using a cookie scooper, scoop the batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cookies should be 2-inch rounded balls. After cookies are placed on a baking sheet, flatten each cookie slightly with your hand. Next, take a fork and gently press a criss cross pattern in each cookie. Place cookies in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies are done when they are golden brown. Allow cookies to cool.

For traditional “nut butter kiss” style cookies:

Using a cookie scooper, scoop the batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cookies should be 2-inch rounded balls. After cookies are placed on a baking sheet, flatten slightly with fingers. Place cookies in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies are done when they are golden brown.  Immediately after removing the cookies from the oven, place one chocolate chunk in the center of each cookie. Allow to cool.

For nut butter mini chip style cookies:

After cookies are blended (before going in the frig) and ½ cup mini chips to the nut butter batter. Stir until the chips are combined. After removing the batter from the frig, using a cookie scooper, scoop the batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cookies should be 2-inch rounded balls. After cookies are placed on a baking sheet, flatten each cookie slightly with your hand. Place cookies in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies are done when they are golden brown. 

Allow cookies to cool. Dare you to try and eat just one!

*This recipe doubles really well. Also, I like to keep mine in the freezer and just pull out one or two at a time.

Resources To Take the Conversation Further:

Nut Butters General Guidelines:

Nine Best Healthiest Nut Butters to Spread on Everything According to Nutritionists

7 Healthy, Protein Packed Nut Butters

Soluble and Insoluble Oxalate Content of Nuts

Nut Butters: Which One is Healthiest

Peanut Butter:

Peanut Butter Nutrition and Health Benefits

Perplexed About Peanuts?

History of Peanuts and Peanut Butter

Once Again Peanut Butter

Santa Cruz Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter

Cashew Butter:

Cashew Butter Nutrition and Health Benefits

Nine Best Healthy Nut Butters

Jiva Organics Raw Cashew Butter

Julie’s Real Cashew Butter

Almond Butter:

Health Benefits of Almond Butter

The Rise of the American Almond Craze in One Nutty Chart

MaraNatha Organic Almond Butter

Wild Friends Almond Butter

Sunflower Butter:

Sunflower Seed Butter Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Sun Butter Makes Its Market Debut

Once Again Sunflower Butter

Organic Sun Butter

Pecan Butter:

Pecan Butter Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Raw Pecan Butter Has 400% the Antioxidants vs Almond, Peanut Butter

America’s Favorite Nut: A Brief History

Guidry Organic Farms Pecan Butter

Artisana Organics Raw Pecan Butter

Walnut Butter:

Walnut Butter Nutrition Facts

Artisana Organics Walnut Butter

Pistachio Butter:

History- Pistachio Origins

NutRaw Pistachio Butter

Il Colle De Gusto Sicilian Pistachio Butter

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

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



Are IBDer’s Being Left in the Covid Dust?

The good news is that Covid infections are down, hospitalizations are down, and the death rate is lowering in many areas across the globe.

And it’s about time.

Two years my friend. Wow, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

The challenging news for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis and others with autoimmune diseases and those who are immunosuppressed due to illness or medication is that while the risk may be lower for us to contract Covid, the risk is not gone.

So us IBDer’s, we’re left in our own personal battle of tug a war, feeling like we’ve just been left behind to fend for ourselves while everyone else goes out to unite and celebrate.

How can those with Crohn’s and colitis cope with the feeling of being left behind and what steps can we take to continue to feel cautiously safe in, yet again, another new normal. Let’s talk it out.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Why Covid freedom doesn’t necessarily mean freedom for us
  • 5 Ways to safely jump on the Covid freedom train while keeping your Crohn’s and colitis in a healthy place
  • Finding the balance between, “It sucks to be me” and moving on

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode 69: The New Year’s Resolution Every IBD Mom Needs to Make

Episode 70: Using Whole Foods to Crush Your Crohn’s & Colitis

Episode 71: 2 Diets Tailor-Made for Crohn’s & Colitis

Episode 72: Finding Crohn’s & Colitis Relief with the Autoimmune Paleo Approach

Force of Nature Cleaning Products

Episode Resources:

The Strategy of Boosting the Immune System Under the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:


The good news is that Covid infections are down, hospitalizations are down, and the death rate is lowering in many areas across the globe.

And it’s about time.

Two years my friend. Wow, what a long, strange trip it’s been.

The challenging news for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis and others with autoimmune diseases and those who are immunosuppressed due to illness or medication is that while the risk may be lower for us to contract Covid, the risk is not gone.

So us IBDer’s, we’re left in our own personal battle of tug a war, feeling like we’ve just been left behind to fend for ourselves while everyone else goes out to unite and celebrate.

How can those with Crohn’s and colitis cope with the feeling of being left behind and what steps can we take to continue to feel cautiously safe in, yet again, another new normal. Let’s talk it out.


Hello my friend, welcome to another episode of The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD. I’m your host Karyn Haley and today is a glorious day to be alive. Covid infections are down, the death rates are lowering, mask mandates are like poof, they’re going away, groups are congregating again, friends are calling saying, “Hey, let’s get together.” But while so much has changed with openings for so much of the population (mostly healthy population), the question remains, “What’s changed for us?”

With Inflammatory Bowel Disease, we’ve always dealt with a dysfunctional immune system. Our immune system is attacking itself. And so, if we are the luckiest of the lucky, we combat the disease with diet and lifestyle changes, maybe some supplements… and we move on, hoping the remissions holds. Not exactly cured, because even in remission, C + C loves to lurk in the back of our minds, doesn’t it? “Will it come back, what will I do if it comes back?” Still, with autoimmune challenges in there deep down, we think I’m OK, for now. As long as a 100 foot tsunami named Covid-19 doesn’t crash through my window and take me down.


And then there’s the C + Cer’s who aren’t in remission from diet and lifestyle alone. Those immunosuppressives and biologics and steroids, they can be a game changer. They can help us lead normal, functioning lives. Thank God for science and doctors. As long as a 100 ft tsunami named Covid-19 doesn’t crash through our window and take us down.

Well, that unfortunate tsunami came and it struck us down, whether we got Covid or not. Sure, if you contracted the virus, having Covid was probably one of the worst things that ever happened to you. It was scary and horrendous, but I’m guessing since you’re here with me right now, you made it through. But just like that healthy mama who’s in remission because the diet and lifestyle thing is working for her, just like that mama who’s got it pulled together with medication, or like many mamas out there who are still trying to figure all of this out… even 2 years later with pandemic restrictions lifting, we are all still living in fear of Covid.

And the toll it’s taken on us mentally. Holy cow! After being isolated for 2 freakin’ years. Anxiety and depression is real. As real as it gets. The mental toll can be just as damaging as the physical. And we’re not the only ones who felt it. Our kids have suffered greatly—no matter their age. Unattended play dates and pre-school time, Zoom school, missed graduations, parties, hanging out with friends and boyfriends and girlfriends, and after school activities.  All of their isolation being a further burden on us—feeling guilty because how much our kids are able to do is directly a result of our condition.


And now, in March of 2022, Covid hasn’t gone away completely, yet, our friends, our family members, our co-workers, maybe even our kids… they got to get back to living. And I don’t blame them. I want to get back to living.

But what about us? The autoimmune challenged. The further immune compromised by way of medication.

I don’t know about you but getting back out there in this “it’s still out here lurking in the shadows but there’s low Covid numbers and we’re sick and tired of being cooped up inside so we’re coming out world” mentality scares the hell out of me. It’s like the fear of public speaking, or putting yourself out there on a dating app, or jumping out of an airplane all rolled into one gigantic “AAAAAAAHHHHHHH.”

That’s what’s playing in my head most of the time.

But the world is moving on. I see it all around me. Do you see it around you?

Scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, you’d think hedonism took over. Friends traveling, getting together for parties. I keep looking at adorable pictures of friends with their arms around each other and all I can think is two things: #1 How can they stand so close to each other and not freak and #2 I wish I was with there.

Of course, I don’t begrudge anyone for these fabulous times they’re having. It’s fantastic! It’s the way it should be. But sometimes, don’t you get the feeling that those of us with C + C and those with other medical conditions are just getting a little left behind? We don’t live in the same world as our carefree friends. We live in a world where we are constantly monitoring our poops. “How many did I have today, what was the consistency, what score would that be on the Bristol Stool Chart? We label every stomach twinge, every belly ache. We worry when sniffles or fevers come along because we know they can lead to a weakened state that sets the stage for a flare up. And with Covid, these worries have doubled.


But before we go down a rabbit whole of woe is me, doesn’t it suck to be me, it’ not fair that we are getting left behind… you know that level of negativity is never going to be me. I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks now as things have been opening up in the U.S. Not giving lots of negative energy to it, but just thinking, huh, I’m so grateful the Covid numbers are down. Our country and our world needs this more than anything, but how is this affecting me? I’ve been checking in with myself on how I feel about this so that I can process, even feel sad a little and then find a healthy way to move on.

Well, the reason I’m taping this particular episode today is because I think I’ve figure this out and even though we need to allow ourselves to sit in, “Doesn’t that suck” for a beat. We do need to move on because it’s just not mentally healthy to live there all the time.

If you’ve been feeling a bit stung by everyone seeming like their moving on, where you’re still concerned about how Covid might impact you, and how you might navigate this new freedom and carefree spirit everyone is adopting, I’m here with some advice to help you feel the feels, but then press on just like we all do everyday. It’s like life with Crohn’s and colitis. We’re not getting rid of it, so how can we live our best life with it.

I know we can. Even with the world opening up when those of us with IBD still need to be careful, we will, and we must march on like only IBD moms can. Marching on, for us, may just look a little different. But we will get through this, we will walk through, just like we always do.

I’ve got 5 ways you can jump on the Covid freedom train, while staying true to your physical and mental health.


#1 If social media has become the bane of your existence lately with the faces of friends and family breaking free, going maskless, and partying like it’s 1999, it’s a good idea to take a social media break– for now, or more realistically, limit your use. How about to once a day? And of course you can temporarily hide posts from anything your finding triggering.

Remember though that taking a social media hiatus is not about cutting yourself off you’re your friends. We need connections now more than ever. If you’re still feeling like you’ll serve your health best by being a homebody, keep the Zoom friend calls going. Organize a group text with your besties. You probably already did that during the pandemic, so hop back on there and keep it going. The weather is warming up. Plan some outside hangouts. If you must go inside a restaurant, try to go at off hours when the risk of Covid exposure is lower.

And the silver lining with your social circle still remaining small is that you don’t have to interact with people you don’t want to– yet. Be intentional with the friends in your circle who are uplifting and positive and ones who don’t shame you for still needing to be protective of your health.  

#2 Even though states and businesses may be getting rid of mask mandates, you keep that N95 or KN95 mask on girl. I’m still keeping mine on. Uh oh, a few of you might be thinking. Plugging my ears.. la la la la…  She’s getting into masks and I’m not a masker. Yes, I’m a masker. If you’re not, hit the forward button a couple times and catch back up with us in tip #3. Anyhoo—Like I was saying, keep wearing that mask. In my state, I’d say I see about 40% with them still on and 60% with them off. And God bless them. If there are no health concerns for them and cases are way down where they live, I get it.  And also, that the 60/40 number I mentioned, I get that keeping the mask on isn’t too challenging for me, since I still see many others masking where I live, but if you live in an area where no one’s masking, that makes this idea of keeping your mask on more challenging. And I’ve got to tell you, this one is all about mental strength.

I remember last June (remember, we thought we’d seen the last of Covid?). My son was in a dance recital at a big theater. Of course, we didn’t want to miss his performance. It was his stage debut. He deserved to be there with his parents beaming (under masks) the whole time. So my hubby and I went to the theater donning our masks. Do you know we were the only ones with them on? In the whole theater. 100’s of people. I looked. Not another soul with a mask on. It felt a little weird, but I knew that for my health, it was important to stay vigilant about Covid. Mental strength. Hold out for just a little longer mama. I know happier days, and maskless days are ahead for us too.

#3 Take the time to educate those around you. Do you have friends who say, “Why can’t you just come to the book club?” or “Why are you still being so careful?” Remember, we live just a bit differently because we always need to put our health first. It’s always front and center in our mind. Life may not look like that for others. Most of the time, those friends mean well. They care about us. So why not take the time to explain why those precautions are still important for you. The more people we help to understand what Crohn’s and colitis is all about, the more people know what we go through on a daily basis.

Talking about C + C is one of my favorite things to do. My friends know that once I get started, I don’t stop. And unlike 35 years ago when I was diagnosed, IBD as a diagnosis is growing, so chances are your friends know someone with IBD. Explaining that your meds suppress your immune system or that you just need to be careful because Covid could be worse for you goes a long way to deepen your relationship with your friends.

#4 As much as you can, let it go. Now listen, Covid, our beliefs about how to keep ourselves safe, about masking, not masking, to vaccinate or not vaccinate is such a touchy subject. I’m just giving my own opinions here. I’d love to hear yours too. No judgement just an exchange of enlightened minds and ideas. So take this tip of letting it go—letting a bit of the tight Covid reigns we hold so dear, go, in whatever way this makes sense for you.

For me, I had to let go of some of the restrictions I had been following since early pandemic days and of my very insular world, just a bit even, though I knew it would put me at greater risk of contracting Covid. I’ve got two college age kids and one tween who wanted to go out, see their friends, have experiences, to enjoy life again. Their lives have been on hold far too long. With Covid rates going down and testing more rapidly availability than ever in the U.S., I had to let them begin to get back to life. So I let go, just a bit.

There’s still no one coming in my house that’s not a family member. My kids are still wearing masks when they are indoors, but they’re hanging out with friends more and trying to get back to life as much as possible. To help me feel more comfortable with all this, we’re Covid testing everyone on a regular basis so if one of us does get Covid, we’ll know it right away. And everyone in the family is trying to respect each other’s big circles.

I guess I have to explain that. In our family we think of thoughts and ideas as big and little circles. Little circles are thoughts and ideas where we are able to see both sides— it’s the grey in our world. But big circles are our thoughts and ideas that are pretty set in stone. Ones we don’t want to cave on. When it comes to letting go just a little, we try to respect each other’s big circles as best we can.

#5 To combat the feeling that the world is frolicking around and getting out and about more, keep yourself as healthy as you possibly can so that you can get out and about in the world more too. IBD healthy, immune system healthy, bacterial balance healthy, mind healthy. Assessing where you’re at with those things will tell you how open your world can be by how healthy you are feeling in the moment.

And the cool thing is that there’s no rule that says you have to make up your mind about how open you will be one day and then not change your mind the next. This is a fluid thing and where you’re at with your physical and mental health in the moment will dictate where you are with easing up on Covid restrictions.


So how can you do that? How can you be as healthy as you can be physically and mentally during this crazy time we’re living in? Well, you can:

  • Take supplements. Supplements that have been studied and research backed to help protect against Covid or help with inflammatory markers are things like Vitamin D3K2, Zinc, Curcumin, Elderberry, Cod Liver Oil or Fish Oil, Vitamin C, as well as probiotics. Which ones can you take to help keep your body physically healthy?
  • Get your Antibodies checked. If you’ve had Covid or if you’ve been vaccinated, get your antibodies checked. It will help you decide what level of risk you are currently at. We know that those on immunosuppressive medications and possibly those with autoimmune disorders may not build up antibodies like the rest of the population. Knowing your level will give you peace of mind or help you decide what steps you want to take next.
  • Eat IBD healthy—whatever that means for you. Find the Eating for IBD diet that works best for your symptoms and your lifestyle. It will always help to keep your IBD in a better place and give you peace of mind that you are doing everything you can do to be healthy, strong, and able to fight if a Covid infection comes along.

If you’re still trying to find that IBD healing diet for you, I have a great eating for your IBD series that I did a little while back. Those are some great episodes to check out. I will leave links to them in the show notes. If you’re looking on your podcast app right now, they were episodes 69, 70, 71, and 72. It’s a whole 4-episode series dedicated to helping you find the best gut healing diet for you, the one with your name on it, because that diet is different for all of us. I got a lot of great feedback from it so if you’re still looking for that IBD healing diet for you, that is the place to get information to help you get started.

Being as healthy as you can be also means keeping the germs away. Continue to wash your hands frequently, keep surfaces clean and free of viruses with whatever virus killer you have at home. I’m a huge fan of a company called Forces of Nature. I found them way back when Covid began and I’m still using their products to clean our home daily. So just keep your distance from others when possible and keep the germ bugs at bay.

  • Prioritize your sleep. This is definitely me not necessarily practicing what I preach, but I am a work in progress when it comes to sleep. It’s so difficult for moms to get the necessary amount of sleep. It’s like as soon as we give birth, even if we don’t have a little babies anymore, we’ve surrendered to not getting quality sleep for years and years to come. I wonder if when all of the kids are out of the house if good quality sleep comes back. But the good news about sleep is that it doesn’t have to be the perfect night sleep to count. It just has to be as quality as you can make it. No striving for perfection here, with sleep, it’s B+ all the way. Prioritize sleep.
  • Get your body moving. In whatever way that looks like for you. Maybe you’re a weightlifter and you I have no problem with strength training and heavy duty workouts. That’s getting your body moving for you. Maybe restorative yoga is more your jam. You’re just getting started moving your body and that’s great too. So move your body in whatever way that means for you and if you can get outside while you’re doing it, you get bonus points.
  • Lastly, when it comes to being as healthy as you can be, that means trying not to take unnecessary risks. And this gets us back to this idea of mental toughness. Sometimes we take risks that we just don’t need to take. Be strong. Stand in your power. And know that with that strength, you’re doing what is good of you, and also for the good of your whole family.


So there you have it, that’s five things that you can do to jump on the Covid freedom train, while staying true to your physical and mental health.

#1 Take a social media hiatus—part time or full time, for just a bit

#2 Don’t ditch that mask too soon, even when others do

#3 Teachers aren’t just found in the classroom, educate when you get the opportunity

#4 Let go—in whatever way letting go looks for you

#5 Be healthy, mind, body, and soul

What do you think mama?

This episode is one of those that’s going to make you think. Because opinions about Covid are so strongly held, you might think this IBD gal has gone off her rocker or you might think, yeah, I have been kind of feeling left behind too. I’m glad she brought it up. Either way, it’s all good. As I always say, take what you need and leave the rest behind.

I’d love to hear from you because agree or disagree, this is a conversation worth having. Email me at and let’s continue the conversation. I usually say message me on Facebook @theibdhealthcoach but you’re taking a break from that, remember. So email me and let’s talk it out.

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

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

How to Talk to Your Kids About the War in Ukraine

The world is watching, in horror and fear, as Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine. Our hearts are full of sorrow, but there’s also glimmers of hope. I think we all feel it– for the Ukrainian military, the countless civilians taking up arms to defend their country and of course, we are thinking about the defenseless children in Ukraine.

As moms, our thoughts can’t help but go to the children.

The children of Ukraine and our own children as well. How are our own kids coping with all of this? What do they understand about what’s going on, and how can we help them make sense of this senseless crisis?

As Cheeky Podcast moms know, even though we have IBD, we’re moms first and foremost, so this week we’re taking a break from our Crohn’s and colitis conversation to uncover the best ways to talk to our kids about what’s going on in Ukraine, at their level, for their age… to ensure that they feel heard and safe in a world that’s been out of control and chaotic for them for far too long.

It’s all about our kids today on The Cheeky Podcast.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Age by age tips for parents on what’s OK to say to your kids and what’s not during this crisis
  • The reason why one psychologist thinks this war in Ukraine is hitting our kids particularly hard unlike any other time in history
  • The #1 meaningful question to ask your kids about the war that will lead to a fire storm of engagement from them (no matter what age they are)

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Mentioned in This Episode:

Your Kids Are Hearing About Ukraine. Here’s How to Help Them Understand

A Delicate Balance: Experts Tips on Dealing with Ukraine Anxiety in Children

Common Sense Media: Explaining News To Our Kids

Convene the Council

How to Talk to Your Children About What’s Happening in Ukraine

Links for Further Investigation:


How to Talk to Kids About Ukraine

Ukraine Conflict: How to Help Yourself, Your Kids and Others

How to Talk to Your Children About the Invasion in Ukraine and Why Those Conversations are Important


The Ukrainian Red Cross

CARE International

UNICEF Ukraine

Help for the Ukrainian Army

Catholic Relief Services

Project HOPE

Sunflower of Peace



CNN 10

Dogo News

News for Kids


Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

The world is watching, in horror and fear, as Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine. Our hearts are full of sorrow, but there’s also glimmers of hope—I think we all feel it– for the Ukrainian military, the countless civilians taking up arms to defend their country and of course, we are thinking about the defenseless children in Ukraine.

As moms, our thoughts can’t help but go to the children. The children of Ukraine and our own children as well. How are our own kids coping with all of this, what do they understand about what’s going on, and how can we help them make sense of this senseless crisis. As cheeky podcast moms know, even though we have IBD, we’re moms first and foremost, so this week we’re taking a break from our Crohn’s and colitis conversation to uncover the best ways to talk to our kids about what’s going on in Ukraine, at their level, for their age… to ensure that they feel heard and safe in a world that’s been out of control and chaotic for them for far too long. It’s all about our kids today on the cheeky podcast.


Hey dear one, Karyn Haley with you on another episode of The Cheeky Podcast and I curious, have you been glued to the TV, to social media, to podcasts, and the internet this week as countless news outlets detail the horrific events in Ukraine? As a parent and as a human on this planet, I feel like it’s important for me to be informed about world events, but even I have felt like I’ve had to take a break from the constant coverage now and then. In America and in other parts around the world, most of us have the luxury of doing that. And it’s in those moments that I’m taking a break from the bombardment of the 24/7 news cycle that it just hits me, how are my kids doing with all this?

What are they making of what’s happening in our world?

Unlike what I can only imagine it was like to be a kid during WWII or 9-11 when the news was slower and social media didn’t invade a child’s every waking moment, today’s kids are different. And you might think I’m talking about teenagers. But not necessarily, even younger kids are not immune to hearing tidbits that they struggle to make sense of. I feel like during times of strife, it’s important for us to check in with our kids, meet them where they’re at, and help them try to make sense of their inner thoughts and feelings.

Having a background in mental health counseling, I can’t help but always think of situations from a psychological perspective. Seriously, you should be in my crazy brain that’s always humming with questions like: Why did she do that in that thing that way? What’s he thinking right now? What was the motivation behind that statement? It’s just how I’m wired. I’m sure I overthink things. But this overactive psychology brain of mine has been working overtime in last several days. Processing the how and why of Russia and Ukraine for myself, and then thinking about what my kids are possibly thinking about all this and how can I best approach this topic with them. For my younger kid, as well as my older kids—of course the way I broach this subject will be different because they are in different places developmentally—and even, thinking about how to tailor the conversation to the individual child no matter their age, that’s been top of mind.

We all know it. Parenting is hard.

It’s been harder over the last couple years. Even though, physically we may not have been moving about in the world as much in the last 2 years, our brains have still been moving about and have been working overtime, haven’t they? Our brains haven’t stopped. And in my heart, I know that the time that we are currently in, where an oppressive dictator decides to barbarically invade another country and the ramifications that will have for Ukrainians, for Russians who are speaking out against Putin, and all of us around the world, is a time when our brains need to continue to work overtime, to process what is happening so we can help our kids yet again, get through another challenging and confusing time.

So before I dove in, to have what turned out to be some really enlightening and thought provoking conversations with my kids, I thought it best to find out what the experts are saying about talking to your kids about the invasion of Ukraine. And I found some really insightful ideas on how to best approach this difficult conversation– talking to my kids about war. God, the difficult conversations are just never ending these days. I hope that this thought provoking information gives you comfort and confidence (I know I need to feel those things right now) because it’s necessary to have these tough conversations.  And it’s never one and done, but this will at least help you get started.

When I think about the vortex of reading I got sucked into here, I can’t even recall how many resources I perused—let’s just say lots—but I found that there were common themes that seemed to play over and over from the expert perspective when it’s time for tough conversations with our kids. First and foremost, experts alike agree that it’s important to talk to our kids about global events in a way that fits their age, maturity level, and in a way that fits with the questions they are curious about, but at the same time, we should try not to bombard our kids with too much information if they are not asking for it.  Experts also agree that cell phones, streaming services, the 24-hour news cycle, and social media make global events like war very overwhelming for our kids. They talk about how kids deserve to feel safe and how we need to find ways to help them feel safe as much as we can.


Common Sense Media—do you know this website? It’s fantastic. It’s a hub of information about movies, tv shows, books, gaming… and it gives you age recommendations, reviews, ratings, and commentary so you can make the most informed decisions for your kid for whatever activity they’re into. I love common sense media. When my kids were growing up, we’d use Common Sense Media as our age bible for everything. The kids would say, can we watch Harry Potter? What’s it say on Common Sense Media, we’d say? Can I read Hunger Games? Did you check out Common Sense Media? We were like autoboots repeating different versions of the same phrase over and over.

Sure, it’s a little bit of a cop out as a parent, but my husband and I got so sick and tired of always having to be the bad guy saying no—you’re 5 you can’t watch The Dark Night, but how about Bolt or Cars again?  Or always having to read, watch, and experience every last want of our kids before they could engage. We’ve got 3 kids my friend! Common Sense Media would give us an unbiased barometer to judge how good we were as parents—for better or worse, Common Sense Media parented us as parents.

So over the years, Common Sense Media has really grown to include some pretty informative articles to help us with most aspects of parenting. In one of the articles I perused to help me figure out the best way to talk with my kids about Ukraine, they mentioned several ways you can help your kids deal with the news in general and in common sense media fashion, they broke it down by age. Kids 7 and under. Kids 8-12. And Teens.


Common Sense Media says keep the news away. Do your news viewing away from your kids, especially when frightening pictures and images are involved. If kids this age happen to hear or see something, stress to them that your family is safe. If you have older kids and your younger kids overhear your conversation, or if your kids happen to see or hear something on the news, use the distance of this war to help reassure them and help them feel safe. Get out a map to show them the war is happening here and we live here. And above all, according to Common Sense Media, kids feel safe when they know they are not separated from you. Find time to spend together, listen when your kids talk, especially about their fears, use distraction techniques, provide physical comfort by snuggling with them, watching a happy program together, reading a book, or doing a fun activity.

I think this is a really great time to point out, for my sake more than yours because I’m sure you already know that every kid is unique. Maturity levels and age really need to come into play when deciding how much to talk about in situations like these. While I completely respect Common Sense Media’s thoughts and ideas here, I do think that even with kids under seven we can find ways to talk to them about global events in very simple terms that still help them feel safe.

Now of course, if I had a two-year-old, I am not going to be bringing up the war in Ukraine. But with a six-year-old or seven-year-old, depending on their maturity level, and of course their curiosity level, I may mention this event in passing. One country is being mean to another country and we are going to pray as a family for everyone’s safety or we are going to give to charity XYZ to help the families who live there. I might even get out a map and show them where the countries are.  Most kids who are five, six, or seven years old know what it’s like to have a friend who they perceive as being mean to them. When you put the conversation at this level, it just gently starts the process of making your kids aware that we live in a global, interconnected world. Pointing out the countries on the map shows them a bit of geography as well so it’s short, it’s not too scary, and it’s part of a conversation that’s a multi functioning learning process.

I do agree wholeheartedly with Common Sense Media though that the most important thing for children seven and under is that they feel safe and connected to us. I think that that is the key no matter how you approach what’s going on in Ukraine with children this age. I’m curious to know what do you think? Have you shared anything about the war with your seven and under kiddos? Remember there’s no right answer here because it depends on your family, your beliefs, and your individual children. And this is just food for thought to get the conversation started.


When global events are at stake, the news and war, Common Sense Media talks about considering your child’s temperament and maturity level for kids in this age group. Your child may be extra sensitive or an empath by nature. If this is the case you may want to keep them away from the news, TV, and dangerous images. I can give you an example for this because I have a child in this age group and he is very much an empath. He takes on others emotions so easily that sometimes it overwhelms him. So for my son, we are talking about Ukraine in terms that he can process and understand, but I’m not watching or listening to the news with him. Instead I listen and then filter my experience with all of this to him in a way that he can understand. I know that some of the graphic images may be too frightening for his sensitive temperament.

Again, every child is different so your child might not feel that way at all and want to watch the news as you watch. Common Sense Media also talks about being available for questions and conversations. This is where we mamas shine. Kids this age see things in black-and-white. This gives you insight into where they’re coming from but also a starting point for conversations about prejudice, bias, and how we need to be careful with generalizations.

Common Sense Media says that if your kids are online, try to be there with them, or monitor what they are exposed to, use programs to help control what URL’s you want your kids to stay away from. Let me tell you from experience that this is that age where if your kids are on social media or the Internet, things are going to pop up without them even searching for them. There’s so many things they cannot unsee, so this is a great time to have parental controls on their devices.


My favorite advice for this age group from common sense media is to have a conversation with your child that starts with the phrase, “What have you heard about Ukraine?” Because they probably already heard at least something about the war at school, from friends, possibly on the Internet or social media. Asking the question, “What have you heard about what’s going on in Ukraine?” helps you start the conversation with where they’re at.

What do you think about this advice? Does this fit for your child? How will you personalize it for their situation and their needs? I really like the advice that common sense media is giving for this age group. If fits really well for my child, but it’s up to you how are you take this information and what parts of it you take to help your child. Remember in the end, the goal is for them to feel heard and feel safe.


Oh teenagers. Mind of their own teenagers. When we’re talking about global events like a war with teenagers, we cannot underestimate the fact that they have opinions, they have access to information, and in most cases they are not shy about sharing what they know or think they know.

Common Sense Media says the most important thing to do with teenagers is to check in. Since teens are getting their information independently, it’s important for you to find out what they already know. This gives you as the parent of the opportunity to throw in the news you’ve been getting and give more context to what they already know.

Remember, teens tend to have strong opinions so don’t dismiss their insights. Validate them and use it as an opportunity to have an open conversation with them. That’s some seriously great advice from Common Sense Media because we know as soon as we shove our opinion down our teen’s throat, that’s when they shut down. Instead, we can say something like, “That’s a really interesting thought Jim. I haven’t really thought about it in that way. I saw XYZ on the news today and I thought this perspective was really interesting. What do you think?”

Common Sense Media says with teens, the most important thing is for them to feel like they can express themselves. Teens may personalize events like this, they may even know somebody directly impacted or involved in someway with the war in Ukraine. Especially with the global reach of social media. They might also be wondering, how much will this impact me? It’s important not to minimize or dismiss their concerns. If you do disagree with their take on what they’re hearing from their sources, it’s great to have a conversation with them about it. Open them up to the media outlets where you think there is valid unbiased information. Even though teens don’t tell us they value our insights and opinions, we know that deep down, we deep down, they do. Hopefully they will check out your resources out as well.

What do you think about this teen advice? I think Common Sense Media knows teens. They know how independent and stubborn they can be and they appreciate the value of conversation and connection with teens rather than preaching at them and telling them what they should think. Having been through teenager-hood with two kids I have really learned the value that connection conversation can bring. A question to ask yourself here is what fits for my teen and what doesn’t? It’s a good idea to have a sense of these things before broaching the conversation about Ukraine with your teen.

And of course, it’s multiple conversations, it’s about opening the door so that you can continue to have open dialogue. We have no idea what direction this conflict is going to take. We’re all figuring it out day by day, but when we have the door open to connection and conversation with our kids no matter what their age, the conversation becomes infinitely less difficult to initiate.


There’s another article that I read about talking to your kids about the war in Ukraine. I found it to be so chock-full of valuable information. Have you read the article from the Washington Post yet? It’s titled “Your Kids Are Hearing About Ukraine. Here’s how to Help Them Understand.” It’s been so popular that it’s making the rounds on social media. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you go to the show notes and check this article out. I will have it linked there at In fact, I’ve got lots of articles that we don’t have time to get into that are still filled with super valuable information on talking to your kids about what’s going on right now. You may want to check them out if this topic is something that’s been on your mind as well.

You can see all of the articles at

So this Washington Post article starts out by saying the best thing to do is ask that same question that common sense media mentions, “What have you heard about Ukraine and what’s happening?” Such a great jumping off point. So simple yet so poignant. I think it’s because it’s open ended and let’s the conversation take direction from the child.

But then, they have a follow-up question that I think is also so spot on and that question is, “How did you get your information?” Remember, especially for teens, this is not in an accusatory way, you’re just wondering where did they get their information from. With so much misinformation and half information out there for our kids to devour on Instagram and tik toc, you want to be able to give context to where they got their information and provide them with additional resources that may also help round out a more complete picture what’s happening.


I really like that the Washington Post article goes into one of the main emotions I think we’re all feeling right now—anxiety—whether we are in tune with it or not.  By now, with the last couple years we’ve had, we may be so numb that we’ve tuned some of our key emotions, like fear and anxiety because it’s so ever present in our lives. Think about how this constant state of anxiety might impact our kids.

According to Caroline Netchvolodoff, Vice President of Education at the Council of Foreign Relations, she says if tweens pick up on a smidgeon of the Ukraine story here and there, or they pick up on our anxieties, it might make them feel like we are headed to WWIII. And who would blame them for thinking that. I’ve heard that very sentiment on the news myself. How about you?

One of the anxiety busting ideas given in the article for tweens and teens is this cool website called Convene the Council. It shows how our government makes decisions. It’s interactive so your child gets to be a factor in the decision making process. I checked it out with my tween last night and he really liked creating a real-life government scenario around how policy is made to impact climate change. It took him through how likely the decisions he made were to happen and he saw the different channels policies like this go through to actually get passed into law.

Now, there wasn’t anything about Ukraine specifically on the site, but just seeing all the checks and balances for our government, seeing how each of the government arms work, helped my son see how in the United States, we have plans and plans for those plans, and that there is a well-oiled and capable machine within the government to help us stay safe. This interactive website is meant for older teens as well, but my 18-year-old checked it out and said, feh. Not a compliment at all for his generation. It’s recommended for 12 and up, but I think if you sat there with your child, a 10-year-old would get something out of it and enjoy the interactivity of it too. Probably somewhere around 15 or 16 your kid will say, nope boring. I’ll leave a link to Convene the Council if you’re interested.

The part of this recent Washington Post article I found most helpful was the part about how, thanks to the pandemic, finally some good news out of this awful situation, we are all in a state of “call to action.” You know, things like what you can do to help like “flatten the curve,” supporting our medical community and those at high risk for covid infection. For the most part, as a society did what we could in spirit and in action to help those in need. The same thing happened after 9-11 too. People responded to the crisis with their own “calls to action.” During this time of unease we are all experiencing, feeling anxious or scared, the article points out that now is the time to act because that action has the power to ease our anxiety. It makes us feel like we actually are having an impact and that we have some sense of control.

I’ve been thinking this very thing through the war on Ukraine. How can I help here in America?

What can little old me in the U.S. do to help. Thankfully, I was able to search out and vet some really good charities that help on so many levels. A friend of mine from Ukraine is asking for donations to help the Ukrainian military. We know they need support right now. The Ukrainian Red Cross is looking for blood donations, monetary donations, even humanitarian aid for the country, CARE International helps by way of care packages with food and hygiene kits as well as providing psychological services for military and families… that’s just a few options to consider and it doesn’t matter the age of your child here. We all can teach our children to be charitable in words, good deeds, and donations… in whatever way we can. Calls to action like these are good for everyone’s anxiety and our soul. Links to vetted sites I just mentioned and many more like these are in the show notes at if you want to see how you and your family can help make a difference for the people of Ukraine.


Before we wrap up the episode on how we can talk to our children to help them process what’s happening in Ukraine right now, I want to touch on what the psychologists are saying. As you can imagine, those in the mental health field are very busy fielding questions right now and I’ve got your cliff notes version of their best advice for parents. Dr. Tracey Alloway (sorry for the mispronunciation in the podcast), a clinical psychologist in Florida, sums up the best approaches for younger children. She says that during times like these, we can encourage a child’s curious nature and encourage questions from them. She talks about how younger children who may be fearful of the unknown have a very concrete way of seeing the world. So when we engage in conversations with our kiddos about the challenges in Ukraine, it’s important to remember to put our insights into situations and experiences that are known to them.

When we think about the kinds of experiences that are known to our children, that might be a situation like having a conflict over a toy at a playdate or feeling judged by a friend, or even just the feeling of sadness. Really young ones understand that feeling. Putting global information in terms they understand helps them to feel more in control and less fearful of the unknown. I thought that was really good information, especially for parents of younger ones. I hope that’s helpful for you.

When asked about how kids are handling this unstable world situation, forensic psychologist, Dr. Judith Wenban-Smith had an insight so good that I have to give it to you verbatim—in her exact words. Dr. Wenban-Smith is quoted in a recent article published by the Guardian saying,

“Every bomb will generate yet more headlines, and politicians will respond with ever more aggressive talk,” “The problem is that in the past two years, children have learned that the world is a dangerous place and that bad things can and do happen close to home because of Covid.”

So true. Our kids have been through a lot these last two years. I know with my younger son, I keep mentioning things we did prior to Covid and quarantining. Sometimes he remembers, but a lot of the things I mention to him, he’ll say I don’t remember that. It’s weird, it’s like there’s no memories for him prior to covid. And he’s not 6 or 7 so this is an interesting phenomenon. Does this have something to do with his age, is it dangerous world overload? Because of my health and other family member’s health challenges, our world became very small during Covid. Did he get so immersed in all that was going on that he just can’t remember our much bigger much bolder pre-covid world? I guess time will tell, but one thing’s is for sure, our kids have gotten way to use to bad things happening and we need to remember that as we help them navigate through this time in our lives.

When I try to process all I’ve learned in my deep dive into finding the best ways to communicate with our children about the war in Ukraine, there’s a few themes that I’m hearing over and over.


  • Help your child feel safe.
  • Ask them what they already know or think they know before diving into a conversation.
  • Ask open ended questions to really get valuable information from your kiddos.
  • Know where they are getting their information. Share where you get yours.
  • Validate your kids’ thoughts and their feelings at every age.
  • Process together.
  • Bust fear and anxiety with calls to action. And action doesn’t always mean money. There’s loads of ways to show we care.
  • Be mindful that our kids are already burnt out on bad things happening. That may impact how they react to this latest crisis.
  • Even when kids get older and they act like you don’t have anything valuable to share, Share your insights anyway. They may be listening more than you know.
  • Don’t keep your kids in the dark. Find kid safe news outlets where kids can learn about global events at their level. I’ve got a bunch of good ones I found to share. Check out the show notes at There’s also more links to taking with your kids about Ukraine articles and vetted humanitarian and charity sites there as well.
  • Above all, keep the conversation going. This crisis will not be a one and done talk with your kids.

That’s it my friend. That’s what I found. Let’s keep the conversation going. Let’s send out positivity and light to every Ukrainian citizen no matter where they are right now and let’s hold our own families close in gratitude and in solidarity that peace triumphs in the end.

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

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

The Simplest, But Most Often Overlooked Eating for IBD Strategy

When you’re dealing with Crohn’s and colitis, it feels like a constant state of eat this not that. Should I be gluten free or grain free? What are the ingredients in that? Can I have that ingredient? Am I having a reaction to that food? How do I know?

So much to consider when it comes to eating for your health in a way that supports and heals your Crohn’s or colitis.

Today we’re going in a completely different direction. A direction that doesn’t care what eating plan you’re on. A direction that has nothing to do with what you eat, but has everything to do with HOW you eat.

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How many times experts tell you to chew the food in your mouth before you swallow (this number is going to shock you)
  • The before, during, and after eating plan that gives your body what it need to digest food properly
  • The best way to get your digestion working effectively before you even take your first bite of food

Rate, Review and Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Links for Further Investigation:

Digestion in the Mouth

Carbohydrate Food List

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

When you’re dealing with Crohn’s and colitis, it feels like a constant state of eat this not that. Should I be gluten free or grain free? What are the ingredients in that? Can I have that ingredient? Am I having a reaction to that food? How do I know?

So much to consider when it comes to eating for your health in a way that supports and heals your Crohn’s or colitis.

Today we’re going in a completely different direction. A direction that doesn’t care what eating plan you’re on. A direction that has nothing to do with what you eat, but has everything to do with HOW you eat.


Hey now, welcome to the episode, take a load of and join me for a little while today while we sip some tea maybe and enjoy this time together. I’m grateful to have you here with me today. I’m in my podcasting space in my office, I’ve got my black sweatpants on with my Wicked t-shirt (you know the musical?) I can’t believe it but I saw Wicked in London with Indina Menzel (way before frozen) This must have been 2005, 2006…) I had no idea who she was but I knew she had the best voice I had ever heard in my life. Wow, what powerhouse, right? How about you, how’s your day going? Are you rushing about? Are you taking care of the kiddos or are you taking care of yourself with some downtime? Whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re doing it in comfortable clothes like me. Cause IBD gals deserve comfortable clothes.

Can I get an amen?

OK my dear, let’s get into it because we have a different episode today. You know the cheeky podcast is the place to be for all things IBD food related. And with all the gut healing diets we’ve talked about on this podcast, what more is there to say? Haven’t we covered it all? Well, first of all, I can’t imagine we could cover it all. There’s so much to say on the topic of food and IBD. But today I want to go in a completely different direction. A direction that doesn’t care what eating plan your on. A direction that has nothing to do with what you eat, but has everything to do with HOW you eat.

Because how you eat is just as important as what you eat. It’s a topic we’ve yet to dive into, but it’s a big one and it can have instant and profound effects on each and every one of your IBD symptoms. Top to bottom, inside to outside the body. And the important how you eat topic I want to tackle today is chewing.


OK, it’s not the sexiest topic. And I’ll start this episode off with a warning:  You’re going to hear words like saliva and mucus. I promise as little as possible, and I’ll also try to make this episode as short and sweet because no one wants to hear those words over and over. But when it comes to Crohn’s, colitis, and living as healthy as we can, just like that P word we have to dive into sometimes (you know the one), occasionally saliva has to come up in conversation too.

One thing I’ve learned in my 35 plus years with IBD is that the more comfortable we get with talking about digestion from mouth to anus, the healthier we will be. So we’ll grin and bear it together—because the chewing part of digestion (yes, chewing is actually a part of digestion) is just as important as the pooping part of digestion.

If you’ve taken biology in high school, or maybe even Anatomy and Physiology in college, you probably remember hearing that digestion begins in the mouth. But actually, if you want to get really technical about it, digestion starts before we even put something in our mouth.

Think about your favorite food.

What’s that food for you? For me, right now (because it tends to change) it’s a toss up between this amazing veggie omlette I can’t get enough of. It’s made from eggs, right from the chicken fresh, with all my favorite veggies or chateaubriand—this really great cut of steak that’s so tender, it melts in your mouth like butter. Just thinking about either of those foods gets my salivary glands working. What food does that for you?

Proteins, minerals, digestive enzymes and of course mucus (and I promise, that’s it for that word) are found in your saliva and are all the beginnings of digestion. Just this simple act of thinking about the food you love or smelling the aroma of food starts digestion in your body, before you even take a bite.

Salivary amylase (that’s one of those digestive enzymes) it helps breakdown food in your mouth to prepare it for its next stage on the journey to being used as nutrients and energy for your body.

Now, if you’re dehydrated when you eat, this process can’t work as efficiently as it normally would so tip #1 for mindfully chewing to help your IBD is to make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. It actually helps your mouth digestion breakdown your food more efficiently so you can then use those nutrients for health and energy.

Our bodies, being designed so amazingly, already know instinctively how to break down the fat, protein, and carbohydrates in our food to provide our body with the nutrients we need. Of course, this is a little more complicated when it comes to those of use with Crohn’s and colitis because the breaking down and absorbing of nutrients is more of a challenge for us, but our body in theory still knows what to do.

Of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, carbs take the most work which is why carbohydrate digestion and the starch breakdown of those carbs starts in the mouth. These broken down starches turn into sugar that our body can use for energy. The more we chew these foods, the sweeter they become. Definitely an incentive to chew your food well because we all like that sweet taste in our mouth.

Now if you’re thinking, all this talk about carbohydrates doesn’t pertain to me because I don’t eat carbs or I’m on a low carb diet like Paleo or SCD, or Keto, think again. Those of us on gut healing diets that don’t include grains like bread and pasta still consume carbohydrates. Nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables all contain carbohydrates. Sure some have less than others, but even on a gut healing diet, you’re eating some amount of carbohydrate. And the breakdown of that carbohydrate begins well before it enters your stomach or even your small intestine. It begins in the mouth. By the time you take your first bite of food, the saliva is there, ready to start processing and digesting even as you complete the simple action of chewing.

Now, I’m sure for you this has all been mildly interesting but you’re probably wondering what does all of this have to do with Crohn’s and colitis. The salivary glands, the digestive enzymes, the amylase… I’m so glad you asked because the answer is OH SO MUCH!

When we take the simple but overlooked process of chewing our food seriously and we give our body the time chewing deserves, we’ve already broken our food down, made less work for the rest of our digestive system (so it can focus on healing not fighting this inner digestion battle which can lead to more inflammation, bacterial imbalance, and then dysregulated immune function), instead with proper chewing, your food has the power to digest easier, more efficiently and then all those nutrients digestion creates have the power to become absorbed into your body so you feel healthy and strong, from the inside out.

It all starts with mindful chewing of your food, whatever food you eat. How you chew your food matters to the overall impact of how you experience your Crohn’s and colitis.

Make sense?

Just think about it. Let’s say you’re in a rush. The kind of rush we moms are often in. The after school but before soccer practice rush when the kids are hastily getting homework done, you’re trying to find the practice uniform and when you finally find it stuffed under (not in) their dresser. It’s smelly and dirty and you’re running it to a quick wash cycle in the washing machine all while cooking dinner and yelling out answers to questions from kids 2 rooms over. Questions like, “Hey mom, how do you spell stegosaurus?” And “Hey mom, when I divide 587 by 23, which number goes side the bracket?” The quick, but healthy chicken dish you lovingly prepared ends up sitting on the table 15 minutes before you need to rush out the door.

Picture that meal going down.

Large chunks of food barely hitting the mouth before moving into the esophagus (chewing, what’s chewing?), stressed eating environment, looking at the clock ever 2 minutes… “We’re gonna be late, we’re gonna be late.” Not pretty for your digestion or your IBD right?

So the first thing I have to say before we even get into the meat of this chewing topic is that I’m a busy mom too. I get it. I hear you yelling at your phone right now. How do I possibly have the time to chew mindfully? I get that life isn’t perfect and that our chewing sometimes needs to be rushed, but here’s the thing about gut health and really anything that needs improving in your life. We have to have insight first, and after insight we can strive to do the best we can do.

So after all of this information you’ll hear about proper, mindful chewing I’m sharing with you today, if you end up with insight (because let’s face it, for most people the quality of chewing their food and its impact of the health of their IBD is just not something most give much thought to) and if after today you make a promise to yourself to go for B+ mom chewing status, that’s seriously about the best any of us can hope for.

OK, so let’s say you’re living in a perfectly balanced bubble of a no rush world. I know, you don’t live there but we have to start somewhere, then you can adjust to what works for you and your situation and that may even change depending on the day. So in a perfect world, what would chewing your food to help your Crohn’s and colitis symptoms look like? Well, there’s 5 general guidelines we want to keep in mind when it comes to chewing our food mindfully and properly. And then there’s my before eating-during eating-and after eating tips to make sure chewing your food well becomes a habit for you before you know it.

First, let’s talk about your 5 chewing well, chewing mindfully, general guidelines.

  1. Ideally, when we’re talking about chewing, your aim is to strive for 30-50 chews for each bite of food. I know, that seems like a lot, but next time you to count it. I bet you chew more than you realize. When I have my clients try this experiment, they usually tell me that they find they chew about 15-20 times for each bite they swallow so 30 isn’t that much of a stretch. 50 is a lot. Remember, we’re striving for B+ here, not perfect.
  2. Chew until your food becomes liquidy in your mouth before you swallow. Have you ever paid attention to how liquidy your food is before you swallow? It’s something that takes conscious thought, at least initially. The more chewing, the more your food is broken down before you swallow. Super masticated food means less work for your esophagus, your stomach, and your small intestine and then more absorption of those much needed nutrients for those of us with IBD. So chew until your food is liquidy, then swallow.
  3. Eat as many meals as you can with family and friends. Studies show that when we eat with others, we actual improve our digestion. So maybe that hectic weeknight I mentioned earlier isn’t the best example of this, but think picnics with friends, Sunday brunches with family and as many family meal nights as you can manage. B+ work all the way.
  4. Listen to your mama’s wisdom and chew with your mouth closed. Less open mouth eating means less gas for you—out of both ends!
  5. This last tip is your saving grace when you’re in a hurry. I have to have one tip in there specifically for us busy mamas. When you are forced to eat fast, be sure you take deep breaths as you eat. This simple act makes you relax and take time to chew your food. You will not only get more nutrients from your food, but you’ll enjoy the taste of your food more too.

Now let’s talk specifics.

How can you make sure you are chewing your food slowly and mindfully throughout the whole meal?

First, before you eat:

  1. Wash your hands. Of course, you want to eat with clean hands before touching your food, but also the ritual of washing your hands before you eat signals to your mind that you are transitioning to a new task. One that has the potential to bring you health and wellbeing.
  2. Turn off the TV, no phones or other devices at the table. This is a great rule for mates as well as families. Turn your attention away from distractions and into each other while you prepare to eat. I don’t know about your kids, but our kids suck with transitions. To help them better transition from electronics to mealtime, we used to have our kids turn off devices 30 minutes before eating. It made a big difference in the energy they brought to the table. And their calm energy always benefits your digestion.
  3. Set a clean and quiet table to eat. No one wants to eat with books or papers piled around them. A clean table sets the tone for a calm meal.
  4. Light a candle and place it in the middle of the table—it could be for date night, but it could also work for Sunday dinner or just dinner if you like. I have a friend who always has candles lit when we go to her house for dinner. I’m a huge fan of candles anyway so I find it an extra special touch that just sooths me when it’s there. Be careful with your meal candles though, you don’t want an overpowering scent competing with the aroma of the food.
  5. Take a few deep breaths for yourself before you sit down. A good 4-7-8 breath works. You’re just calming your energy before you sit down.
  6. Say a prayer or have a moment of gratitude before you eat. Whether you are by yourself or with family and friends, having a moment of grace or gratitude before you eat changes your whole demeanor and sets you up for a well digested meal. I love it when we do a round of gratitude at our dinner table with my family. It’s a great jumping off point for conversation and always leads to a positive dinner experience, even for my rowdy boys.
  7. Lastly, when you sit down to eat, think about your posture. Shoulders hunched, slouched posture does not make for good digestion. Straighten your shoulders, align your posture and remember to breathe.

During the meal, here’s the best way to help yourself chew those 30 bites before swallowing:

  1. Place a bite of food in your mouth—not too big a bite.
  2. Then put your utensil down. Chew, chew, chew… making sure it becomes liquidy.
  3. It may even help to put your hands in your lap as you chew or clasp your hand together. It keeps you from taking another bite until you have swallowed the last one.
  4. Consciously breath as you eat. I don’t know about you, but I often think to myself as I’m eating, huh, I’ve stopped breathing. Reminding myself to breath, especially when I feel like I’m in a hurry always helps settle me down to better digestion.
  5. Be present—with the food (how does it taste, smell, feel on your tongue, what memories and emotions does it evoke?) and be present with those around you. (enjoy the conversation, the laughter, even the moments of silence with these people you care so much about).
  6. If you find yourself feeling distracted, deliberately look at your food or even close your eyes for a moment to feel fully present with this meal. I know that might sound weird or corny but I’ve tried it, it really does help.

After the meal is over:

  1. Say thank you to the cook (even if it’s yourself)
  2. Don’t be in such a rush to go your separate ways. When you have a few minutes, take that time to sit, chat, enjoy each others company for a bit. I have to say that this is a weird area in my house. Growing up in my big Italian family, we always sat after we ate. We’d sit and sit and just talk and laugh and tell stories— plates would sit until eventually my grandmother would give the marching orders for who would do what to help pick up. My husband’s family never lingered while he was growing up. It was eat and then get up. Sometimes when we eat with them I’m the only one left at the table because I eat so slow—30 chews per bite! Even though we’ve tried to come to a compromise with our own family, I can tell how antsy my hubby gets when my family is over. He tolerates it for a while, but eventually he’ll always get up. Thankfully it’s to start the dishes so it’s a win for everyone.
  3. Lastly, if you have time, take a walk or a stroll after you eat. It’s so good for your digestion and your IBD. Help your body to process, digest and then absorb the nutrients in the food you just ate by moving around. Of course I’m not talking a spin on the trampoline or cartwheels, this is strictly stroll time. Just enough movement to feel comforted. It really can help the gas and bloating many of us get after meals.

OK, that’s a wrap on chewing and intentionally eating in a way to help your body digest and absorb your food so it has a positive impact on your crohn’s and colitis. With all the gut healing diets out there, with all the hype about eat this not that, chewing and eating with mindfulness is something we so often overlook.

I started eating this way years ago and I have to tell you it was game changing. Capitol H huge. I don’t know how this lands for you. It may seem like just another daunting task to add to the already piled high list of things you’re doing for your IBD, but I promise you, just like the way I eat now, chewing and eating mindfully have become second nature to me. I never have to think to myself, how many bites did I have? It just happens. And I know it’s 100% habit because I’m always the last person to finish eating. It’s OK to be that person. In fact it’s awesome to be that person.

So chew well, chew mindfully, think about some of the tactics we went over today and watch how it has a positive impact on how you feel.

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

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

Tomatoes: Yes or No?

Do you eat tomatoes?

Raw, cooked, skin on, skin off, canned, tomato sauce, ketchup… although I’m not really sure ketchup qualifies as a tomato by that point.

Tomatoes are one of those things that some with Crohn’s and colitis eat with no issues and others run to the bathroom as soon as a tomato touches their lips.

I’m somewhere in the middle when it comes to tomatoes. I’ve had periods in my life when I’d eat raw tomatoes by the fist full.

No problems whatsoever.

But when my Crohn’s inflammation isn’t completely under control—Bam! Tomatoes are a go preceded by a no.

No way for the raw tomatoes.

One thing I most always seem to tolerate is tomato sauce and thank God, because my Italian family wouldn’t tolerate it if I didn’t eat my grandmother’s famous sauce recipe. And truth be told, I wouldn’t either because that sauce is heaven sent.

The secret to my Nana’s sauce (God rest her soul) was that she always added a touch of sugar to cut the acidity in the tomatoes. It definitely helped me tolerate her sauce when she made it. Now that I eat, sleep, and breath with my gut health in mind, I substitute out the sugar and replace it with honey.

Still works like a charm to cut some of the tomato-y acid that can give us heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, and an upset belly.

If the jury is still out on you and tomatoes, or if you’re like me and you waver back and forth, you’re going to appreciate this post that’s all about tomatoes.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to take away some valuable, unbiased information on the benefits and the risks of tomato eating with IBD.

And if you choose to partake, I’m sharing a tomato inspired recipe at the end. It’s got a cooked and raw version so it will fit for wherever you’re at on your gut healing journey.

Four Things You’ll Learn in This Post

  • Tomato health benefits specific to Crohn’s and colitis
  • Why you might think you can’t eat tomatoes and how you can change that
  • The reasons why tomatoes don’t work for everyone with IBD
  • A gut healthy and delish tomato recipe that’s so easy you can make it today

Join our IBD mom tribe: The Gut Love Community of Moms


Fruit or Vegetable? Oh, the great tomato debate!

Why are we so set on putting produce in the wrong category?  Tomatoes do have seeds so technically they’re a fruit, but for this post I’m going with vegetable. That’s what most of us call it anyway.

Just like in my Italian household where tomatoes were used liberally, tomatoes are at the heart of all Italian cuisine. In fact, Mediterranean’s alike love to use tomatoes whenever and wherever possible.

From paella to Greek salad, pizza to stews, tomatoes are incorporated into all sorts of dishes.

Tomatoes, part of the nightshade family, are believed to have originated in Mexico, but after the Spanish colonization of the Americas, tomato crops began popping up in a variety of places. Today, tomatoes are grown all over the world.

Tomatoes are an easy crop to plant, and when they grow, they proliferate like crazy. If you have a garden, you know tomatoes are one of those plants that grow with so much abundance that you’re either canning them for winter or giving them away to friends because you just can find a recipe for every batch you gather!


There’s lots to love about the nutritional make up of a tomato. They are really high in vitamins A, C, B, and K. But they are also glorious for their mineral make up with nutrients like magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, and copper.

That’s good news for all of us who are endlessly mineral deficient in America.

And if you are looking for fiber, tomatoes are a great option there too. With overall health benefits including heart health, better vision, lowering hypertension, better digestion, enhancing the skin, and reducing gallstones, tomatoes have a lot to brag about.

For this article, we’ll focus on the 3 main health benefits that are nearest and dearest to an IBDer’s heart:

  • Digestion
  • Heart health
  • Gallbladder disease

Can tomatoes help my digestion?

Yes and no.

If you’re looking for some great ways to get more fiber in your diet, especially if constipation is your digestive challenge (it’s more common in IBD than you might think), look no further than tomatoes. The insoluble fiber in the skin can really help keep you regular.

On the other hand, that same fiber in the tomato skin (that’s where most of the fiber is located), can cause many of us with Crohn’s and colitis to have challenges digesting it.

Seen any tomato pieces in your poop lately? Yep, that’s your IBD body saying, “Nope, not gonna digest it!”

But even if you do struggle to digest tomatoes, don’t write them off so fast because remember, it’s not about whether you think can eat a tomato or not. It’s about putting that potentially healthy tomato in a form that your body can digest and absorb.

But I’ve got IBD. What’s the best way for me to digest tomatoes?

  • Fresh pressed juice (add it to your juicer with some other veggies and fruit)
  • Canned tomatoes (because there’s no skin so it’s easier to digest)
  • Cooked tomatoes (because the fibers are broken down)

So go for it with tomatoes. Just be sure to put it in the best form for where your disease is at right now.

We can get so focused on our gut that we neglect our heart.

It’s easy to get side tracked with the digestive system. It rules everything we do from what we eat, to how we sleep, to the activities we are able to get involved with.

We may not even realize just how much our world is affected by the IBD colored glasses we wear. But next to our digestive system, the other big organ we’ve got to keep as healthy as possible is our heart.

That beautiful, blood pumping machine is vital to our overall health. Afterall, we don’t just function one organ at a time. We are a system that’s only as good as its weakest link. So keeping your heart healthy is just as important as our gut.

Tomatoes provide that heart healthy compound, lycopene.

One study found that eating foods high in lycopene was so important that it not only improved vascular function, it also played a role in preventing cardiovascular disorders. That’s because lycopene is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to heart, the antioxidant lycopene been shown to be anti-hypertensive, shown to reduce in arterial stiffness, and reduce plaque in the heart.

And here’s the best part about heart healthy lycopene.

If you’re one of those IBDer’s who say, I guess I’ll miss out on all those lycopene benefits because I can’t digest raw tomatoes—this is one of the rare and awesome times I get to say that cooked is better.

You get more lycopene from cooked tomatoes than from raw.

So no worries if your belly isn’t up to raw tomatoes, cook them in a stew or in a sauce. Easier to digest and more lycopene for you!

How’s your gallbladder doin’?

You know how Joey from Friends is always saying, “How you doin’?” Well, for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis, the question should go like this, “How’s your gallbladder doin’?”

We have notoriously bad gallbladder issues.

Did you know that the risk of gallstones for those with Crohn’s is double the general population? Oh yeah, we’ve got the gallbladder market covered.

While many with IBD do end up having their gallbladder removed, I highly recommend you turn over every stone before letting that happen.

Once it’s removed, you can’t get it back and although doctors like to make light of a cholecystectomy (that’s the fancy name for gallbladder removal) and claim it’s not a big deal, trust me it is a big deal. Living without a gallbladder that’s so important for the release of bile to help us digest fat in the food we eat is crucial for those of us with a digestive disorder.

Studies show that a diet high in fruits and veggies is good for your gallbladder. Of the veggies recommended, tomatoes get high marks.

That’s because tomatoes are high in vitamin C, as well as loads of other vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes help your gallbladder function at its peak. So if gallbladder challenges are impacting you, look to the incredibly healthy and versatile tomato.

Of course, the tomato alone isn’t going to cure your gallbladder disease, but every little bit helps and tomatoes (raw or cooked) are ready to play a role in your overall health.


For all that’s great about tomatoes, even for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis, there’s some things we need to keep in mind before diving in.

A little goes a long way.

When it comes to tomatoes and IBD (and for others as well), eating tomatoes in moderation is key.

You don’t want to go hog wild with tomatoes. Tomatoes are acidic by nature. So too many tomatoes can result in heartburn or a feeling of acid reflux or indigestion. If that happens, it’s a good idea to take a break from tomato consumption for a little while. Thirty days is a good recommended time to see if it makes a difference.

Trying again after a break is important too. It’s the best way to know if there’s a true cause between your love of tomatoes and the symptoms you’re having.

Skins and seeds may not be your friend.

Like I mentioned earlier, eating tomatoes and feeling well after may be all about how you prepare and eat those tomatoes.

Raw and fresh, isn’t the only way to eat a tomato.

People with IBD, especially those who are not in remission, are going to do better with tomatoes that are in fresh pressed juice, ones that are canned, and tomatoes that have been cooked. Cooking breaks down the fiber and reduces the acidic nature of the tomato.

The skin and the seeds are the hardest part of the tomato to digest. Once these components are broken down, tomatoes are much easier to digest and absorb.

And think of all that healthy lycopene you’re absorbing too.

Be careful of over processed tomato products like ketchup and sauces with sugar or additives. These can be just as harmful to our bellies as raw tomatoes. Look for tomato products in their natural state. Either grow and can your own, or choose organic, minimal ingredient products like Bionaturae, Raos, and Muir Glen.

There’s more than one creeper out at night: Nightshades

We can’t conclude our conversation about the potential challenges IBDer’s might have with tomatoes without mentioning nightshade intolerance. Many people living with Crohn’s and colitis are sensitive to a certain type of produce called nightshades. Examples of nightshades include:

  • Tomatoes
  • White potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Chilies
  • Some spices like cayenne pepper and paprika.

If you don’t tolerate these foods, a nightshade intolerance could be the culprit.

Why does this impact IBDer’s so much?

Well, one of the hallmarks of Crohn’s and colitis is food sensitivities. Many of us with IBD have them, but we aren’t sure which foods bother us, especially when our disease is in an active state.

When we’re in a flare-up it might seem like everything bothers you. But the truth is, we all have specific foods that don’t work for our sensitive bodies. Nightshades could be one of those foods for you.

How do I know if nightshades bother me?

Here’s a list of common nightshade reactions:

  • Arthritis/joint pain
  • Hives/skin rashes
  • Inflammation
  • Achy muscles
  • Bloating and gas
  • Heartburn
  • Itching
  • Excessive mucus

If you suspect a n