Quick Gut Healing Wins for Crohn’s and Colitis

Oh, the New Year’s resolutions!  They’re flying around everywhere.  Can you see them?

  • Lose Weight
  • Gain Weight
  • Manage Stress
  • Be Mindful
  • Exercise More
  • Relax More
  • Eat Less

It’s a yo-yo of more or less isn’t it?

And if you’ve got Crohn’s or Colitis, I bet at least one of those resolutions you made is to quiet your gut struggles.

But gut healing takes time. It takes patience.  It takes perseverance and lots and lots of trial and error. Yes, true gut healing takes time.  We’ll get there mom friend.  I promise you. Don’t forget, 2018 is your year of healing.

But here’s the thing and I know it to be true because I’ve been there too…

You want to feel better NOW.

I want you to feel better now.

That’s why even though I know you’re going to be working enormously hard this year on true and lasting healing, I still want to give you some “out of the gate” feel better right now tools.

I’ve come up with 7 things you can start today to give your gut some much needed relief.

Are these tips going to move mountains and open the heavens so your Crohn’s or Colitis goes away this week?

Probably not.

But these tips are the kind of tools you can put in your wheel of wellness to get the healing juices moving.  Best of all, it won’t take weeks for you to start feeling the positive effects.

Cue up the Cool & the Gang and let’s get this gut healing party started—

(kudos and air hugs if you get my party song reference) 😉

*Quick side note: There are several links used in this blog post.  These are mentioned as a jumping off point only.  In no way, shape or form am I giving medical advice.  Just mom to mom advice for you to share with your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s advice first. Also, I am in no way affiliated with any of the products mention.  I get no kickbacks or commissions if you click on the links or purchase the products.  Again, it’s just some good old-fashioned mom to mom sharing.

# 1 Breathe

We all breathe, right?  But this tool isn’t just about the unconscious breathing we all do.  Although I promise, this idea is only slightly more complicated. You’d be surprised what a little targeted, conscious breathing can do for your digestive system. This technique is called the 4-7-8 breath and I have to tell you that I’m a huge fan. This simple breathing exercise has had a huge impact on my Crohn’s and I’ve seen it do wonders for those I’ve shared it with.

Dr. Andrew Weil, the father of Integrative Medicine, talks about the 4-7-8 breath a lot.  In fact, I was lucky enough to see him demonstrate it live a few years back.

Here’s how it works: Take the tip of your tongue and place it on the roof of your mouth, against the back of your top teeth.  After your tongue is in place, start your breath by exhaling with a shooshing noise (that’s the technical term) from your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.  Next, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale through your mouth with the same shooshing noise for 8 seconds.  Be sure to keep your tongue in placed through the entire breath.  Repeat 4 times and try to do this breath technique twice a day.

If I’ve confused you with my description of how this works, don’t worry, I’ve got you converted.  This breath technique is much better when you can see it.  Here’s a great video showing exactly what to do.

I love this tip because you can do it anytime, anywhere.  And if you keep your shooshing noise quiet, no one even knows your doing it. Work meeting? Parent-teacher conference? Grocery check out line? No problem.

Are you familiar with Dr. Weil’s work? If not, I highly recommend you check him out. He has some cutting-edge ideas on natural healing treatments for gut issues.

# 2 Eat Coconut 

Although I could probably write a 5000-word essay on all the foods that can help to quiet your gut symptoms, coconut would be way on top of my list. Coconut is amazing for gut health because of it’s affect on diarrhea.  Want a quick gut healing win in a flash? Coconut to the rescue.

With so many forms of coconut, it’s hard to decide which is best.  I’ve seen good results with coconut water to put back electrolytes lost because of diarrhea.  Coconut water like this one can be a great way to ditch the diarrhea fast.  There’s also been promising research showing that using coconut oil like this one can help control diarrhea symptoms. And although I haven’t seen studies to back up controlling diarrhea by getting your coconut macaroon cookie fix, I’ve heard tons of  stories where a macaroon (or two) a day keeps the diarrhea away.

When it comes to macaroons, I encourage you to make it at home so you know exactly what the ingredients are.  Trust me, even if you’re a non-baking mama, macaroons have so few ingredients and are so simple to make, I know you can do it.  If you want to try this quick diarrhea busting tool, try out this amazing coconut macaroon recipe.  It’s delish! 


#3 Replenish 

I don’t have to tell you about the benefits of drinking enough water.  This is a quick win and a gut healing no brainer.

But there’s 2 very important reasons I’m including water in this post. #1- Forget boring water!  It doesn’t have to always be water that replenishes and sooths your gut and # 2- I know why (even though you know this tool works) you’re still not drinking enough.

Let’s take #1- It doesn’t always have to be boring water. I get it. You get sick of water all the time. Isn’t there something else you can drink?  Well, yes there is! How about tea? So many varieties of tea are incredibly gut healing. Peppermint, ginger, green and licorice, just to name a few. These teas not only taste good, but they sooth heartburn, ease nausea, settle your stomach and give you antioxidants to help your inflammation.  Trust me, jump on the tea train.  You won’t regret it and your gut will say a quick symptom quieting “thank you.”

Now for # 2- I know why (even though you know you should be) you’re not drinking enough water.  It’s not that you don’t want to.  It’s not that you don’t have the time.  It’s because drinking more water is about forming a new habit and new habits are like new shoes—they have to go through an achy and annoying period while you’re breaking them in, but finally, they fit just right. 

So, how do you get through the achy and annoying period while you’re getting used to this new quick gut helping habit? You pair drinking water with something you already do.  Here’s what I mean—you already get out of bed in the morning don’t you? How about putting a glass of water at your bedside table?  When you get up to turn your alarm off, grab the glass of water and start drinking.  You already brush your teeth, right? Keep a bottle of water next to your sink and start linking teeth brushing with water drinking.  Get the idea?

Bottom line here: If you want to form a new habit (like drinking more water), link it to a habit you already have and that habit will become old hat too.

#4 Digestive Enzymes 

If your gut troubles flare up every time you eat, digestive enzymes may be the quick relief you need.

I remember a while back when my Crohn’s was in flare mode, someone asked me, “How are you feeling?” My response was, “Well, I’m fine as long as I don’t eat.”

Does this sound familiar?

If you’re dreading mealtime because you know you’re going to feel crappy after, think about adding digestive enzymes to your eating routine.  They’re a fast and super effective way to help your body digest and absorb nutrients in your food. These nutrients  are easy to digest in a normal digestive tract, but almost impossible for all of us with gut problems.  When we have these vital enzymes to aid in the breakdown of food, the result is more nutrition for our body and less stomach upset after each meal.

Enzymes in supplement form usually contain lipase, amylase, trypsin and protease (among others) that are needed for the breakdown of  food we eat.  As you can imagine, this can be challenging for many with IBD.  Digestive enzymes like this one or this one are my personal favorites, but there’s many on the market to choose from.

*Remember, not a doctor here.  Just a supportive mom friend who’s been there. This supplement isn’t for everyone.  Check with your gastro doc first so see if there’s any reason why this tip and quick symptom quieter isn’t for you.

# 5 Sleep 

We could take a lesson on sleep from our furry pets, right?  They take sleep to a whole new level.

Before we get too deep into this quick gut healing win, I want to be honest with you mom friend. I struggle with this one too. Motherhood and sleep just don’t go together. Whether you have a newborn or teenagers, there’s always a reason to be awake at night. 

Can I get an Amen?

But I’m going to tell you this straight (and it’s as much for me as it is for you).  There’s soooooo much going on when you sleep.  So much gut restoration, that we absolutely need to put getting enough sleep down on top of our quick gut healing wins list.

It doesn’t have to be forever, but if you want gut healing now, you’ve got to find ways to get more sleep now.

  • Enlist your partner’s help (and stop feeling guilty about it). A well-rested mama makes a happy home.
  • Create a sleep journal and record your sleep habits for a week. Keep track of bedtimes, wake up times, quality of sleep, number of times sleep is interrupted by kids or bathroom breaks.  Once you have all the information, look for patterns and places where you can make changes.
  • Decide that you’re worth it—Facebook or Netflix or that last chore or whatever is keeping you awake is not.
  • Remember, it’s time limited. It’s not forever.  Can you commit to a week? Two weeks? A month?

Every little bit you can do (even 30 more minutes at night) will quickly have a positive effect on your gut symptoms.

# 6 Bone Broth

Your grandmama and great-grandmama and every mama relative before her knew the benefit of a good healing broth.  And if you want a quick gut healing win, there’s nothing better than bone broth.

I’m saying that a lot, aren’t I? There’s nothing better than this tool or that tip…  I’m just so passionate about these tools because they work.  They’re incredible at helping you feel better right away.

The best bone broth is the one you make in your own kitchen.  You just can’t do better than that.  I’m hearing the groan you’re giving me right now ; ) but I promise you, it’s so much easier than you think.  It does take time—usually around 8-24 hours, but there’s only about 30 minutes of work in that amount of time! I promise.

Why the huge range in the amount of time it takes to make bone broth? Well, it really just depends on how much time you have.  The longer it simmers, the more gut healing benefits you’ll get from the broth.

If you want to get started today, there’s no better recipe than right here in video form or right here is the written word if that’s more your styleBut if you’re still thinking there’s just no way I have time to make that, no problem.  In the last couple years, super high-quality bone broth has crept up in supermarkets everywhere. I always keep a couple of this one on hand.  Hey, if I don’t feel well from a cold, flu or a Crohn’s flare, the last thing I want to be doing is making soup! I definitely keep 1 or 2 in the deep freeze for such an occasion. Here’s one more brand I highly recommend.  There’s loads of options out there.  Just make sure you choose one with the highest quality ingredients you can afford.

Do you have a favorite bone broth brand? Hop on Facebook and leave a comment to let us know. It’s awesome when we can all learn together!


# 7 Cut Out NSAIDs

The research is out on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and it’s not looking good.  Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and many others under this blanket NSAID term are wreaking havoc on our small intestine.  Not good for all of us with Crohn’s and Colitis.  Hell, it isn’t good for anyone.  Just last week, my mother-in-law had to have surgery to stop a bleed in her small intestine.  The culprit according to her doctor? Years of taking NSAIDs that did a number on her gut.

We already have a compromised digestive system since we have IBD.  We need to stop adding to the chaos down there.

I know this is a tough one.  We have pain. We have inflammation.  We need relief. But trust me when I tell you, NSAID’s are not the relief you want in the long term.  Not only do they create problems for the GI tract, according to Dr. Josh Axe, a well-respected practitioner in the natural medicine space, NSAIDs have also been linked to high blood pressure, headaches and liver problems.

Thankfully, Dr. Axe also recommends some natural treatments we can use instead– natural painkillers if you will.  He mentions things like Epsom salt baths, bone broth and spicy foods like washabi (if you can tolerate hot hot hot- unfortunately, I can’t).  Personally, I love curcumin as a natural anti-inflammatory for the small intestine.  There’s been a good amount of research to back up this claim, and I’ve seen curcumin make a huge difference in a short period of time with clients I work with. Here’s a brand I really like when it comes to curcumin supplements.

Next time you’re in search of a quick win for your gut in the form of a pain reliever, think about these anti-inflammatories instead.

You know you want quick gut healing wins.  I want this for YOU! 

So, how do you DO IT LIKE A MOM?

First of all, I have to get this out of the way. You made it through the post.  Amen, sista friend!

Are you overwhelmed at this point?  Take a deep 4-7-8 breath and stick with me because there’s no need for hair pulling cray-cray we just don’t have time for.

Deep breath done? Good, because here’s how you Do it Like a Mom:

Pick ONE.

Yep, I just want you to pick one of these little quick gut healing tools.  One you think you could start today.  One that calls out your name.

Do you hear it? It’s calling you…

  • Bone broth?
  • Digestive Enzymes?
  • Sleep?

These tools are awesome at bringing you relief quick and a quick win is exactly what you need and deserve to get the momentum going in 2018 mama!

Will they put an end to your gut struggles forever?

I’m guessing not.

But give them time, because when you put these tools together, little by little, and you give them enough time… WHAM! You’ve got a gut healing, mind blowing, stunning, winner on your hands.

What’s it going to be mom friend?

Which ONE will you choose?

I want to know.

You know how to get in touch!

Hop on over to our Gut Love Facebook page and tell us what ONE tool you will start right away.  And if you want to chat with me privately about anything in this post, shoot me an email hello@karynhaley.com  I respond to each and every email because I want you to know that I’m here for you every step of the way.

Give yourself the gift of accountability, community and a judgement free zone to put this kind of gut healing to work for you.

You can do it lady! I know you can.

Let’s get started today.


References used for this post:
4-7-8 Breath Technique
Antimicrobial effects of virgin coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids on Clostridium difficile
Coconut Defeats Debilitating Diarrhea
Using Digestive Enzymes to Battle Crohn’s Disease
Absorb More Nutrients with Digestive Enzymes
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs and the Small Intestine
The pathophysiology of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced mucosal injuries in stomach and small intestine
The Dangers of NSAIDs











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