3 Things Moms Who Successfully Use Food to Heal Their IBD Do Differently

Are you about to get started on a special diet to help your IBD?

Maybe you’ve already tried to use food to help quiet your symptoms or get you out of a flare up and it just didn’t go the way you hoped. If you’re in either of these camps, you’re going to love hearing about the 3 things moms who successfully use food to heal their IBD do differently.

Let’s face it, one of the most life-changing things you can do to help with the bloating, the gas, the quick trips to the bathroom after you eat, the belly aches that can plague us, the acid reflux, the heartburn, the joint pain… you name it, is to find out what foods trigger your IBD and what foods help you feel better. If you want to be successful when you start or re-start any eating plan tailored for IBDer’s, this one’s for you

We talk about:

  • How to find a mentor who can help you when you need someone who’s been there, done that
  • How the big, bold, and slow plan takes you to the finish line first every time
  • Why all of the IBD healing diets aren’t all that different from one another (and how that’s OK)
  • Why making your food, everyone’s food is the key to your gut healthy diet staying power

And so much more!

After this episode, you’ll have everything you need to start or restart your gut healing diet with the mindset for flare busting success today.

Episode at a Glance:

  • [09:21] How to find a mentor who can help you when you need someone who’s been there, done that
  • [13:58] The strong connection successful IBD moms have with Dorothy and Toto
  • [17:05] How the big, bold, and slow plan takes you to the finish line first every time
  • [18:13] Why all of the IBD healing diets you can choose from really aren’t all that different from one another (and how that’s OK)
  • [20:07] The role of food journaling on your “Eating for IBD” journey and how you can get my journaling system absolutely free
  • [25:15] How your gut healing diet will make your whole family healthier
  • [23:55] Why making your food, everyone’s food is the key to your healthy diet staying power
  • [33:19] A few insights from my own “Eating for IBD” healing journey (hint: perfectionists welcome)
  • [38:20] The best way to take your IBD healing journey to the next level.

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Karyn’s Food-Mood-Poop Journaling System

Episode Transcript:

Are you about to get started on a special diet to help your IBD? Maybe you’ve already tried to use food to help quiet your symptoms or get you out of a flare up and it just didn’t go the way you hoped. If you’re in either of these camps, you’re going to love hearing about the 3 things moms who successfully use food to heal their IBD do differently.

Let’s face it, one of the most life-changing things you can do to help with the bloating, the gas, the quick trips to the bathroom after you eat, the belly aches that can plague us, the acid reflux, the heartburn, the joint pain… you name it, is to find out what foods trigger your IBD and what foods help you feel better. If you want to be successful when you start or re-start any eating plan tailored for IBDer’s, this one’s for you.


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.


Hey there mama, Karyn Haley here with you on another episode of the cheeky podcast. I hope you have either already found some YOU time today or that you are going to later today. When we’re moms with IBD, we especially need to carve out that time. It’s crucial to our healing. Today, before taping this episode, I took a bubble bath with chamomile Epsom salt and Dr. Teals green tea and matcha foaming bath. No kids, door locked, 20 minutes of me time. Where can you find YOU time today? 20 might be too much when it’s last minute. So how about 5 minutes? I know you can find 5 minutes. Maybe listening to this podcast is your relaxation time. Trust me, it’s important for your health and healing. No guilt mama. You need it. You deserve it.

OK, now on with the show.

I’m excited about this one because normally, I give you an action plan, a step by step how-to for your Crohn’s or colitis, with but today is all about mindset. I know some might tune out when they hear that word—mindset. We want to think healing is all about our actions, but I gotta tell you, it’s not. Just because you have the knowledge it doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. Today is all about developing critical mindset skills every mama has the power to use. And trust me, these successful mom attributes aren’t complicated, they’re just often overlooked. But after this episode, you’re going to know the most important mindset hacks successful moms use to make sure their IBD healing diet works to reduce IBD symptoms and finally achieve lasting remission.


Let’s dive in with #1 on our list of things successful moms do differently when it comes to IBD gut healing diets.

And I have to start this mindset shift with a question. Have you ever seen a chef create a recipe on the food network or on a youtube video and thought, that looks delish and easy, I could make that. You may even have all the ingredients, but your dish just didn’t turn out anywhere close to the chef’s version.

Or maybe you’re a DIY gal and you find a home improvement project to spruce up your bathroom or kitchen in 5 easy steps. “Bring your kitchen from drab to fab with thrift store finds in one weekend.” Your thrift store doesn’t have half of what the expert found in theirs. Instead of looking sheik, your modge podge vase look like it’s melting, the marble contact paper that was supposed to easily cover your microwave looks like an unfinished art project your 1st grader made, and your kitchen table staining results are so cringe worthy that you know you could never invite anyone over to eat with it looking like that.

For me, my moment of “I saw an expert to it so I can do it too” downfall is painting. I’ll see something like an old Bob Ross video and think, I can make happy little trees, only to get all the paint, get out the easel, and then decide my trees look more like abstract art.

We’ve all been there with ideas and projects that seem so simple, but without someone there with you, leading you by the hand, giving you step by step cues, someone you can ask questions to in the moment and give you direct feedback, your initial good intentions quickly turn to resentment and feelings of failure, and then just throwing in the towel and giving up.

Using food to heal your IBD works much the same way. You can read all about the diet you want to try, you can find recipes no problem—cookbooks, the internet… you can even make your own plan for success. And can you do it on your own? Of course you can, I know you can. But successful IBDer’s do it faster, and with a lot less bumps and stumbles in the road when they have a mentor by their side, someone who goes through the whole process with you.

A mentor offers you the option of:

Getting questions answered quickly without having to go down a 2-hour internet rabbit hole to find the answer.

Systems and frameworks for your specific diet

Recipes at your fingertips that are tailor-made for your sensitivities and tastes

Someone to send a quick text to when you’re at the grocery store wondering which almond milk to buy

Mentors have been where you are right now. They know the pitfalls and little known tricks that help you succeed quickly. And when it comes to finding IBD remission through a nasty flare up that’s taking you away from work, family, friends, things you love to do… everyday counts.

What does an eating for IBD mentor look like? The good news is that there isn’t just one type of person that can help you.

[09:21] I know it’s rare because we’re all searching for IBD buddies, because how many of us have people with Crohn’s or colitis right in our immediate circle, but maybe you have a friend or a family member who’s been there before. It does happen occasionally. They have Crohn’s or colitis and they’ve used food to help their symptoms too. If you have access to a mentor like that, I say always say start there. It’s not the perfect scenario because as you know, everyone’s IBD experience is different and what they can eat and what you eat, may not be the same. But it’s a good starting place and you already have a built-in connection with this person, which can be a great motivator.

Where else can you find a mentor to help you successfully use food to help your IBD symptoms?

Well, you know I’m a health coach and I am a mentor for people with IBD who use food as one of their healing tools. I’ve been where you are on my Crohn’s journey, over my years coaching I’ve had the pleasure of working with moms all over the world. I’m absolutely here as a mentor if you need me, you know how to get in touch, but there may also be a health coach who lives in your area. There are also health coaching directories you can find online. If you search for health coach directories, I’m sure you can find many and maybe even one who lives near you.

Other mentors that specialize in IBD and diet include nutritionists, dietitians… some nurses specialize in diet management. Practitioners like this have many different areas of expertise so just look for someone who specializes in IBD and the diet you are thinking of trying. For example, they specialize in IBD and eating gluten free or IBD and eating on the SCD.

With the world of healing being so global and virtual now, there’s no need to find a generalist. There’s lots of IBD specialists out there with the training you need for your particular case and needs.

Personally, on my IBD healing journey, I’ve worked with my own Health Coach and nutritionists along the way to help me find and maintain remission too. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but it was a health coach who was my initial mentor and the experience was so profound in transforming my life that that’ why I became a health coach too!


Let’s talk about the 2nd mindset shift successful moms who use food to heal their IBD know. These bold, bright shining stars figure out a way to go big and slow at the same time.

At first, it might seem like those two philosophies, going big and slow, are diametrically opposed. But if you think about it for just a second, you’ll realize that they’re not. Moms who are serious about using food to help quiet their IBD symptoms make big bold plans and take big, bold leaps when it comes to finding the right IBD diet for them. They don’t make minor food tweaks.

[13:38] And when we’re talking about big bold plans in the eating for IBD department, we’re talking major diet shifts. The kind that, in all honesty, for a moment, upend your whole life, Dorothy and Toto in the tornado style upend, before the house gets set back down right where it was meant to be all along.

In practical terms, that means gut healing diets that change the way you grocery shop, possibly even the grocery stores you go to, diets that change everything you eat in your house and at a restaurant and at your friend’s house and when you travel. Big bold changes that challenge everything you knew before, but also offer life changing, amazing healing transformation on the other side.

What kind of diets are the “go big” diets?

We’re talking diets like the specific carbohydrate diet, the GAPS diet, the IBD-AID diet, the autoimmune Paleo diet. Each of these diets has subtle differences, but at their core these diets are about eating unprocessed whole food, removing gluten, removing lactose… they are very low in sugar, there’s a lot of home cooking involved and staying away from the pantry with boxed, canned, and packaged foods.

Like I said big, bold. Diets like these are not for the faint of heart. They are for mamas who are ready to try something completely new. Diets that take you on a beautifully life transforming journey. And it takes so much courage, trust in the process, and stamina to make these diets work for you.

[17:05] There’s so much stamina involved because when moms who are successful on IBD healing diets do it right, they don’t just go big, they also go slow. They don’t dive into the diet all at once hoping for a miracle. They introduced the foods on these eating plans tortoise slow. They understand that it took their body a long time to end at this place of pain and suffering, of inflammation and altered immune function and bacterial imbalance. A place where diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloody stool is the norm, not the exception. A place where you wake up every day afraid of leaving the house because you don’t know when or where you’ll need to find a bathroom. I know you know this place well, mama.

When you trust in the process of the diet and you have staying power on your side, you understand the need to go slow. Like I said, we didn’t end up in this place overnight and it takes time for the digestive system to repair and heal. Going super slow while going big with these diets at the same time takes extra courage, but it also gives your body the time it needs to heal and seal the gut. So that one day, eating fresh ripe strawberries, salads, apples… it’s your new normal.

 With successful gut healing diets, the tortoise wins the race every time.

Going big and going slow at the same time also means that you’re not diet hopping every few days. It means trusting in the process and sticking it out. I’m going to tell you something that many of the creators of these gut healing diets don’t want you to know. They don’t want me to tell you that there really isn’t that much difference between one of these “go big” diets over another. At their core, they’re all very similar and they all work to help bring your body back into balance. All of these diets like to tout that they’re the best in town. Only they work!

I’m here to bust that myth today mama. They all work. Sure, there’s tweaks here and there that everyone needs to make for their own individual body, but because they are so similar at their core, it doesn’t really matter which one of these big bowl diets you get started on. They all will help your Crohn’s or colitis to one degree or another.

When you pick your big, bold, IBD healing diet, stay the course. Go all in and make it work for you. Down the line, you can make those tweaks and changes that suit you best. But in the beginning, the best thing you can do is don’t overthink which one is best, because they all have great gut healing power.

Going big and bold and slow on a gut healing diet also means tracking how it’s going for you. That’s how we know which tweaks to make and when. Moms who are successful on IBD healing diets track their progress through food journaling. Journaling is the way we figure out those peppers we ate yesterday gave us heartburn, or the way we figure out that the lack of sleep we’ve had for the last two nights is making our colitis symptoms flare up, or the way we figure out that 24-hour fermented yogurt doesn’t work for us because it leads to arthritis in our joints. By the way, these are all things my clients recently found out by journaling through their own eating for IBD process.

It’s amazing the connections in the patterns you will see when you food journal through this life-changing, gut healing diet process. And there’s a lot of ways to journal. I know without a shadow of a doubt there’s one that will work for your personality and your lifestyle. I know I’ve mentioned it a couple times on different episodes, but I have a journaling system I created a few years back for my clients and you’re welcome to swipe it and try it out in your own life. If you go to karynhaley.com/journal you can get my food-mood-poop journaling system absolutely free. Journaling, it’s the key to big, bold and slow gut healing success when you’re eating for your IBD.

Going big bold and slow with your IBD healing diet has lots of components so let’s do a quick recap. Moms who are successful on their IBD eating plan go big. They choose diets that might have a big learning curve in the beginning but also hold big possibilities for life transforming healing. They don’t overthink their diet choice because they know that there’s something gut healing with every big, bold option. Moms who are successful on their IBD healing diet go tortoise slow. They don’t diet hop, they stay the course and let the diet work for them to truly repair from the inside out.

And through it all, moms who are successful on their IBD healing diet journal. They track their progress and they look for patterns in the way that the food they’re eating, the way that they’re feeling, and the way that they are sleeping affects their physical health—within the gut, but also through other part of the body too.


[23:55] The third and last thing successful eating for IBD moms do is they integrate their diet with what the whole family eats. I see it happen over and over again in my practice when moms try to appease everyone in the family. They start out making their own food, something different for their spouse, and then on top of that, something else for the kids.

It’s a nightmare for mom and it never works.

Being a short order cook is not a sustainable model for your family and will always, always lead to burn out and ditching your IBD healing diet. You just can’t keep up with it. The time alone that you’re spending making different meals for everyone in your clan will keep you away from keeping the gut healing focus on you.

Do yourself a favor mama, be successful right from the get go and cook your food for everyone in the family. IBD healing food, and that means any of the diets I mentioned today, is healthy for everyone. Eating quality protein, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, eating whole foods and good quality fats is healthy for everyone.

And a really cool byproduct of cooking your food for everyone in your household is that everyone in the family gets healthier.

Now there’s just two caveats I want to point out that are important to mention here. Number one, if you are taking big bold steps and you are going tortoise slow, in the beginning of your diet you may not be eating exactly what your family eats because you need to, for example, peel and deseed your fruits and vegetables while your digestive lining is in repair mode. You might also be cooking your food longer in the beginning. With these beginning stages that are so absolutely crucial for your success, it’s really important to have help in the kitchen and emotional support from your family, in those beginning few weeks. But after the initial repair the flare phase of eating, when you progress to normal cook times and eating veggies with the skin on, get everyone on the same page when it comes to eating.

Getting in the habit of cooking like this (making your food everyone’s food) will preserve your sanity, lessen your stress, and in the long run it will help you find remission sooner. We know, the research shows us, that hectic schedules and chronic stress lead to physical ailments. Those physical ailments often show up in your gut. The place where we’re having problems already. One way to decrease your stress and time spent in the kitchen with a gut healing diet is to put everybody on the same page. Trust me mama, I’ve seen it many times before where people who do not do this fail to stay on a gut healing diet. They give up before they even put the time in to see results.

Make your food, everyone’s food.

I mentioned that there are two caveats for this point, and the second caveat is that even though you’re cooking the same food for everyone in the family, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an add-on for your kids and spouse. For example, if I’m eating grilled Hawaiian chicken with green beans, carrots, and some sliced mangos, that doesn’t mean I can’t add a side of basmati rice or quinoa or roasted sweet potatoes for the rest of the family. It’s much easier to add a simple side dish for your family than to make a completely different meal for you that adds on to the time you’re already spending in the kitchen. Unless you’re a chef and there’s nothing you love more than hanging out in the kitchen, adding a side dish to round out the family meal is the way to go.

So when it comes to meals, keep them super simple, don’t make separate meals for everyone because let me tell you what will end up happening. The person who will always get left of the equation is you. The person who won’t eat at all or who will grab for the mac & cheese you just made for the kids is you. Successful eating for IBD moms know that for this to work in a sustainable, healthy way for all, everyone in the house eats what you eat with the exception of adding a side dish or something else extra special like dessert so that they feel like they are eating with some sort of normalcy and in a way that’s tasty too.


[30:42] Let’s do a quick recap of the 3 things moms who successfully use food to heal their IBD do differently.

#1 They get a mentor (a friend or family member whose been there, health coach, nutrition professional of some kind). Someone to show you the ropes and be your idea bouncer in real time because questions always come up.

#2 Successful moms go big and slow at the same time. Go big with your diet change—SCD, GAPS, Autoimmune Paleo, IBD-AID. And this, by no means downplays other smaller actions you can take like eat gluten or dairy free. These are great initial steps and I see them work, up to a point. If you want big bold, lasting remission, the transformational diets are the way to go. And when you choose an eating plan, always channel your inner tortoise. Take it slow. When you think you’re going slow go slower. Give your digestive system the time it needs heal and repair before you move on to eating quote/unquote “normal” foods again.

#3 Make your food everyone’s food. Your food is healthy, it’s healthy for everyone in the family. This may not work initially as you’re eating food that is well cooked and possibly without the skin or deseeded, but very soon you will be able to eat the food your family is eating. Have everyone on the same page when it comes to what’s for dinner. Add a side dish and you’ve got a meal that makes everyone happy (and healthy).

[33:19] Before we wrap up I’m want to leave you with just a couple quick hit bonus tips for a successful eating for your IBD journey. These are tips straight from my personal experience with success on the SCD.

Within the diet and you choose, be ready for lots of trial and error. We all know in the world of Crohn’s and colitis, there is no one size fits all magic pill or even diet plan. Within the diet you’ve chosen—the one you’re staying with long enough to see if it works, be open to seeing what works for you and what doesn’t. You’re going to make mistakes along the way. Lord knows I made lots and lots of unintentional mistakes at the beginning. Knowing that mistakes are part of the journey and accepting this upfront can be a huge weight off your shoulders. Your food-mood-poop journal will be your guide to help correct these missteps quickly so use it wisely to help you make adjustments, tweaks, and even to help you experiment and find out what works best for your body. Once I started used a journaling system in my early days of eating for IBD, it was a game changer.

Basically what I’m saying in a nutshell, going in with trial and error in mind, going in know there will be mistakes… is to try to avoid perfectionism at every turn. Ooohhh, I said that word! I know that is a hard ask for all of us with Crohn’s and colitis.

Recovering perfectionist Karyn raising her hand proud!

Those of us with IBD, we tend to be women who want to do everything we can perfect the first time, but I encourage you, as you begin a new gut healing diet, be OK with mistakes. Mistakes are what lead us to the path of great results. Successful eating for IBD ladies know this and use their mistakes as learning and growth opportunities.

Remember you can find my food-mood-poop journal by going to a karynhaley.com/journal. Feel free to use it as is or use it as a jumping off point to create your own journaling system. Maybe you love freehand journaling in a dedicated notebook, maybe you like to type notes on your phone or even selfie videos. Use the information from my journaling system, but find the method that works best for you.

Well, that’s a wrap on 3 things moms who are successful on IBD eating plans do differently. What do you think? Are you getting ready to go for it with eating for your IBD? DM me on Facebook and I’ll share with you 3 more awesome tips to help get you started on your best foot when it comes to making your gut healing diet work for you. On Facebook, I’m @theIBDhealthcoach.

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

Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.

[38:20] One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N H-A-L-E-Y.com and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.

My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at karynhaley.com. Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.

Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.

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

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