When it comes to natural remedies to help your IBD symptoms, we’re used to feeling overwhelmed. As busy moms, we don’t have the time to figure out what’s worth trying vs what’s overhyped crap. We’re also afraid we’ll pick the wrong natural remedy and get even worse. And we’re even more afraid that our doctor won’t approve of anything labeled “natural.”
These are all real fears and challenges for us.
I happy to say that it’s time for you to stop searching in internet for answers and it’s time to stop looking over your shoulder in fear that others won’t approve.
In my 30 + years with IBD and 10 years coaching moms with IBD, I’ve combed through all the research, looked at case reviews, used my own experiences and those of my client’s, and I’ve come up with 7 of the best healing gems for Crohn’s and colitis that are actually worth your time and effort.
These are healing gems that actually lead to massive transformation when it comes to IBD.
No more wasted time, confusion, and anxiety over trying to figure out what’s worth your effort when it comes to treating IBD naturally.
In this episode, I’m breaking down the best healing gems that are worth checking out.
We’re talking about:
And so much more!
After the episode, be ready to stock up on healing gems that actually help your quiet your IBD symptoms.
Episode at a Glance:
Mentioned in This Episode:
Book your FREE 30-Minute IBD Troubleshooting Session with me HERE.
Episode #12 Your Top 10 SCD Yogurt Making Questions Answered
Links for More Information:
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.[music] [00:52] Welcome to the show mama. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, and whether it’s your fifteenth time with me or your first, I’m so honored you’re sharing this moment with me. Let’s make it count, shall we?
If you’re ready to take big leaps and make big strides on your IBD healing journey, this is the episode for you because I’m covering 7 healing gems that are going to transform the way you look at your IBD and your healing journey. These 7 gems are the stuff life transformation is made of. There’s lots of info here so if you don’t’ have something to write with, press pause and come straight back. I want to make sure you get everything down that I’m about to share. And I can’t wait to share these babies with you so what do you say we just dive it.
Let’s go for it!
[01:42] Healing Gem # 1: is the Mother of all honey’s: Manuka Honey.
Did you know that it’s not just a coincidence that many of the best gut healing diets, including the SCD and GAPS include honey on its approved list of sweeteners? And honey isn’t just a way to add sweetness to your food. REAL honey, especially raw honey, actually has medicinal properties—properties that help your gut to calm inflammation, improve immune function and increase diverse bacteria in your gut—all of the things we need to do to calm our Crohn’s and colitis. I love this about honey!
Everything about honey sounds promising right? It sounds like a no brainers, but before you run out a shop for honey, there’s a one thing I want you to be aware of. It’s important to know that most grocery store honey is pretty crappy. According to food safety news, about ¾ of the honey we buy in the American grocery store isn’t exactly what the bees produce. Due to the ultra-pasteurization with commercial honey, most honey gets heated, it removes contaminants and other particles.
But for gut healing, we need honey in its most natural, unheated state so the pollen and enzymes remain intact. And that’s where this most special type of honey called Manuka honey comes in.
Let’s go over just a quick background on Manuka honey. It’s produced in New Zealand and it get’s its name from where the bees pollenate—the manuka bush. And a while back, researchers discovered that manuka honey has considerably higher levels on enzymes that other honeys.
Here’s the key part: These enzymes work as a natural antibacterial agent—and these are the words that are music to our gut and our ears. Remember, when it comes to gut healing, it’s all about the bacteria in our gut and this honey is one way we can help to rebalance that bacteria.
And by the way, I know we’re talking about gut health here but it’s fun fact to know that manuka honey is also helpful for acne, eczema, burns, sore throats, coughs and allergies.
These days, you might even be able to buy manuka honey in your regular grocery store. It’s available in my beloved Wegmans grocery store. It should be stocked at your local health food store or, of course, online.
My favorite brand of manuka honey is Manuka Doctor, but there’s other good quality options out there.
Let’s wrap up our healing gem # 1 with how to use it to impart its healing properties for your gut.
First of all, it works best when you consume it daily. Just a tiny bit and thank goodness because it’s not the cheapest of products. Like ½ tsp. A little goes a long way with manuka. It also isn’t a panacea that’s going to be a like a miracle pill that works like magic the first time you use it. It works in conjunction with the other healing gems I’m mentioning today, and it works best when used over time. Remember it’s giving you healing enzymes and helping build beneficial bacteria in your gut. It’s a slow process, but it does work.
So, how to do use it daily? Well, you can eat it straight, stir it into your homemade fermented yogurt (and in case you’re new to gut healing yogurt there’s more on that in episode 12- l’ll link it in the show notes), in smoothies, in a morning detox drink that I’ll give you a recipe for in a few minutes, in tea… pretty much anywhere you put honey.
[07:06] Healing Gem # 2: Coconut Oil
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one. But I bet you’ve also heard mixed reviews. It’s a saturated fat, so gasp, many people talk about the horrors of these kind of fats.
Well, coconut oil is a saturated fat but it’s in a category all it’s own. It’s in a category of fats call medium chain triglycerides and they’re processed different that other fats. It’s really a true superfood and there’s about a bazillion (yep, I’m getting technical here with that number) a bazillion uses and health benefits for coconut oil.
Coconut oil actually has a number of benefits that have nothing to do with the gut (just like manuka honey), including brain health and energy production, it can help with fat burning and raise your good cholesterol (that HDL), it’s great for your skin and hair, but my favorite benefit of coconut oil is that it kills micro-organisms because this is how it positively impacts our gut.
Coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral… serious help for an IBD gal.
Just like with manuka and it’s got those natural antibacterial agents. These healing gems we’re talking about today are full of them!
When you’re purchasing coconut oil, you’ll probably see it labeled refined and unrefined. Have you seen these distinctions for coconut oil?
Refined coconut oil is a more processed coconut oil. It’s gone through a cleaning process to remove any impurities. The result is a much milder tasting oil so if you don’t like the coconut flavor and I know a lot of people don’t, this is your better option. My kids don’t really like the coconut flavor so the refined is a good option for them. I use refined coconut oil when I’m cooking. It has a higher smoke point than unrefined so that means that you can heat it up and not destroy its health properties.
Unrefined is coconut oil in a more untouched state. You might see it in the store as labeled virgin or pure. There’s definitely a bolder coco nutty taste with unrefined. The gut healing factor is greater here. It has more anti-inflammatory properties and more antioxidants. I like to use it in raw foods like smoothies, in a frothy topping for my chai tea. My hubby makes his own bullet proof coffee with unrefined coconut oil. As long as you’re not heating it, there’s lots of options for unrefined coconut oil.
[11:28] #3 Healing Gem: Curcumin
Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric, a root that looks quite similar to ginger root if you’ve ever bought that at the grocery store. Except turmeric root is orange on the inside. You can buy turmeric in it’s powered form and many people cook with it. I primarily use it in curry cooking and in this delish mango chutney that I love to make. It’s the base of my mulligatawny soup.
Many people think that to get enough curcumin to help the inflammatory aspects of their IBD, they just need to cook with turmeric, but the problem with this is that you have to eat so much turmeric that I don’t think you’d have room to eat anything else in your day. Research studies show that you need high amounts of curcumin to help conditions like IBD. You are never going to get enough in food form, although I’d use it in food too because it adds so much flavor to a dish. Most curcumin used to help Crohn’s and colitis is in supplement form. And in supplement form, curcumin has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant as it reduces free-radical damage, which increases immune function and lowers inflammation. Now that’s just a recipe for awesome sauce for healing IBD.
There’s so much positive research out there on curcumin supplements and their anti-inflammatory effects for IBD. I’ll link to a couple of the studies in the show notes for you if you’re a research geek like me. The most promising studies regarding curcumin and IBD suggest dosing anywhere from 1-5 grams a day and that’s a wide range. Since everyone has different needs and limitations, so it’s important with a supplement like this that you check you’re your doctor first. I just want you to be armed with all the information you need to take it to your provider.
One last thing I want to mention about turmeric and curcumin is that curcumin, the compound we are trying to get high quantities of to help our IBD, is difficult to absorb into our bloodstream. But, when we add black pepper to the turmeric for cooking or curcumin for supplementing, it increases the absorption from the intestine into the bloodstream. Cool little fact, right? In cooking form, just add black pepper when you use turmeric. In supplement form, look for a label that includes piperine. It’s the bioactive compound in black pepper.
[14:56] Healing Gem # 4: Therapeutic and Adaptogenic Teas
I’m not just talking about your average black tea or green tea, although they also have wonderful antioxidant benefits, but I’m actually talking about herbal teas with healing properties.
Tea in general is just calming and soothing and that’s what we want for your gut too, calm waters and soothing vibes. But the cool thing about herbal tea is that you can match the plant to your gut symptoms, Herbal tea is actually not tea at all. It’s herb plants and they actually work to help quiet your gut struggles, both in the moment and over time when used regularly.
Many of the healing gems I’m talking about today work when you use them over time. That’s the cool thing about therapeutic and adaptogenic herbal teas, they don’t have to be in your system for days to take effect.
Now, with this healing gem as well, keep in mind that herbal tea is an herb. Generally herbal tea is safe, but there are some herbs that interact with medications you may be taking or even interact with certain medical conditions so it’s always best to consult with your doctor before trying the teas I’m about to mention.
Here’s just a small sampling of the amazing benefits of therapeutic and adaptogenic tea:
Ginger- many are familiar with ginger tea for morning sickness and nausea, but ginger tea can also help stimulate digestive juices and help with bloating and gas. Ginger tea is also anti-inflammatory.
Peppermint- my favorite- for indigestion and to relax the muscles of the digestive tract, peppermint is my go to.
Chamomile– helps to reduce stress and anxiety—something we get a quadruple whammy in—having IBD is stressful enough, but add in kids and Covid-19, and the holidays, and we’re going to stress city. Chamomile is great in the evening to help wind down.
Fennel tea- great for gas, bloating, also it’s anti-inflammatory and is a good source of vitamin C which is great for boosting the immune system.
Licorice root tea– helps heal the lining of the intestine and keep cortisol in balance. Remember we talked all about cortisol and stress in episode 9 so jump back to that if you want more info about stress and IBD. I’ll link it in the show notes for you.
Nettle tea is wonderful— and yes it is made from the stinging nettle leaves and the root of the plant for those who may have had to endure a painful sting from this plant while you were out gardening or in the woods. But in tea form, it’s quite different. It helps with inflammation and helps prevent or treat diarrhea.
Dandelion root- I know, that horrible weed you want out of your yard, but dandelion root has fantastic healing properties, this root is known as a bitter, like other greens like kale and beat greens. In tea form it can help breakdown food in your system (something challenging for IBDer’s) and stimulate digestive juices.
OK, I could go on and on about using herbal tea therapeutically, but that’s a good place for you to get started. These are my favorites, and these herbs can be combined in many ways to make tea blends that not only taste great, but work in multiple ways at the same time.
Herbal tea is a fantastic healing gem and one you can get started with right away. Check with your doctor about any concerns with conditions or medications, but if you are good to go, this is one you can do today.
[21:21] # 5 Healing Gem: Bone Broth
Oh, the power of bone broth and meat stock. It just can’t be underestimated when it comes to these healing gems.
When I first started my natural gut healing journey back in 2008, bone broth was not a household name. Well, fast forward to today and not only do we have recipes to make this fabulous gut soothing broth, but we’ve got store bought options as well.
Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to bone broth and meat stock. What are we talking about exactly and what are the benefits for your Crohn’s or colitis?
First, why do I mention meat stock and bone broth? Are they different or are they the same thing? Meat stock is actually a little bit different than bone broth. Meat stock uses less water than a traditional bone broth with the water only going just above the meat. It’s also cooked a shorter amount of time than bone broth. Meat stock is cooked for 3 hours or less and bone broth is cooked 8-24 hours.
So, when should you use meat stock and when should you use bone broth? Well, you’ll definitely here different theories about this and honestly, I’ve seen both work for gut healing, but technically, the best way to do this to use meat stock when you are gut healing mode because it’s nutrients are more concentrated and save bone broth for maintenance and remission.
Now that we know what to drink when it comes to bone broth and meat stock, let’s touch on why this is such an important healing gem. It’s all about the collagen and gelatin that’s formed when we create a broth from animal bones.
There’s Huge Benefits in Meat Stock and Bone Broth
Collagen is a protein and a nutrient naturally occurring in our body. Collagen is also found in beef, chicken and fish. As collagen from these bones is cooked for a long period of time, it forms a natural gelatin (and if you’re thinking jello, you’re on the right track) and gelatin has some outstanding benefits for everyone, but especially those with gut challenges. Now, don’t run out and buy a box of jello flavored gelatin or even unflavored Knox gelatin, because that’s not what I’m talking about here. This gelatin is much richer and much more nutritious.
Gelatin from high quality bone broth has been shown to help with restoring the gut lining, fighting food sensitivities, growing probiotics in your gut and helping to reduce general inflammation. All that in one healing gem? Yep!
I can’t stress this enough. It’s time to jump on the meat stock/bone broth healing train! If you only try one healing gem from today, make it this one. Try for 1-5 cups of stock a day. Work your way up and move on to bone broth when you’re ready. Many of these healing gems I’m mentioning today have a learning curve. If you’re stuck, or if you don’t know how to add any of these into your daily routine, don’t hesitate to get in touch. And if you need a recipe for meat stock or bone broth, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I’m happy to share my recipes with you.
[26:39] # 6 Healing Gem: Your Morning Detox
Remember the turmeric and manuka honey we talked about earlier? It’s time to start bringing these healing gems together.
Enter: The morning detox drink.
Now, for the most part, I’m not a fan of detoxing, cleansing or fasting for mamas with Crohn’s or colitis is just too disrupting. Our guts are screwed up enough, especially when we’re in a flare. The benefit just doesn’t outweigh the risk. Cleanses and detoxes can be beneficial when you are in remission, but not during a flare.
But, in one area, I’m a huge fan of a so-called detox because it’s not really a detox like most of us think of. It’s more of a daily toxin releasing ritual that will benefit you, gently, every day.
And why do we do this in the morning? Well, during the night as we sleep, toxins build up in our body and in our bones. The morning is the perfect time to flush these suckers away for good. Releasing toxins in this small but mighty way is good for your gut and good for your entire healing pathway.
The ingredients in your morning detox are key:
You’ll start with 1 glass of room temp to lukewarm water (no cold water here, you want it the temp of your body). Drink this and the ingredients I’m going to tell you to put in it after waking in the morning. Before you put anything else in your body.
What you personally add might vary depending on your immune function and your level of inflammation. Here’s some options. You’ll want to work up to adding all of them and we’ll talk about how to do that.
The main ingredients in your morning detox drink:
1 glass room temperature water
¼-1/2 juice of a fresh squeezed lemon
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 pinch of black pepper (do you remember why we’d add that? It enhances the absorption of the turmeric)
1 tbsp quality apple cider vinegar (with the mother) like the Bragg brand
1/2 tsp manuka honey
You already know the benefits of turmeric and manuka honey. Let’s talk about the other key ingredient: Apple cider vinegar or ACV.
Now ACV is not something I recommend to anyone in a bad flare or if you have ulcers in your mouth. It’s an acid so it’s just too harsh on your system. Wait until the ulcers and inflammation calm down (and bone broth is a great way to do that) and then move into the ACV. You may need to start your morning detox with just water, lemon, and manuka honey. Maybe when you begin you even just start with water. Seriously. Just drinking a glass of room temperature water upon waking gets your detoxification pathways moving and gets your body ready for proper digestion and absorption.
When you’re ready for it, ACV is going to be a God send for you. It’s amazing benefits include being antiviral, antibacterial (there’s that word again), antifungal and antiparasitic. Bam! Drop the mic. Talk about a healing gem!!!
ACV helps resolve low stomach acid and goes straight to the heart of your detoxification process. In a word, ACV is awesome.
Lemon is also a fantastic addition to this morning drink, #1 because of the flavor it adds and #2 because it is high in vitamin C so it helps boost your immune system.
So, how does this morning concoction taste? Well, I love it! But people tell me I’m weird. I think it takes like a tart lemonade. It’s different and it’s possible that in the beginning, you’ll more than likely tolerate it. But I’m willing to bet that over time, you grow to love it just as much as I do.
Remember, take your time with this one. Add in one ingredient at a time and do it when you don’t have mouth ulcers and are so inflamed that you ach all over. In cases like this, start with just water or water and manuka honey. That’s absolutely fine. You’ll move forward with more additions when you’re ready.
[33:34] Healing Gem # 7
We’ve made it and I saved the best healing gem for last. It all goes back to that gut bacteria again. Healing gem # 7 is the ultimate gut balancer—it’s probiotics. In capsule form, in yogurt, in other fermented foods, probiotics are vital for bacterial balancing and gut health.
When it comes to quieting our Crohn’s and colitis symptoms, we have to talk about your microbiome. According to the global healing center, the microbiome is “The collection of microbes that live in and on the human body.” Our microbiome influences everything from our thoughts to our behaviors, to how our gut performs. In fact, research shows that our microbial genes outnumber our human genes by a factor of 100:1. Crazy right to think about all the critters (good and bad) just hanging out in our body.
In Crohn’s and colitis, one things for sure, our microbiome is out of wack and yes that’s the technical term. Probiotics in supplement and food form, can help to bring your own personal ecosystem back in balance.
Getting Your Probiotics from Food
Let’s talk about probiotic rich food first because ultimately, this is the place I want you to get all your probiotics from. Food, glorious food!!! Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh (fermented soy), kombucha (fermented tea), yogurt, sour cream, and other fermented veggies like carrots or pickles, beans or any veggie you can think of in fermented form are the perfect sources for probiotic rich foods.
These foods are fantastic sources of rich bacteria to promote balance in your digestive system, but with the exception of yogurt, they may be a little too strong as a starting place for you. Sometimes we need to take a step back from probiotic food sources and start with probiotics in supplement form.
I have to go back to the doctor warning here. I’m not a doctor, so it’s up to you and your doctor to figure out the best brand and dosing for you, but I do want you to go into your next doctor’s appointment armed with this information so here’s the deal.
Getting your Probiotics in Supplement Form
The two probiotics that have been researched the most when it comes to IBD are VSL #3 and Visbiome. Both are very similar, and both are very potent.
Let’s take a look at each one separately.
First up VSL #3. It comes in capsule and sachet form (which is just a packet with a powdered probiotic in it) dosing is exceptionally high ranging from 112.5 billion CFU’s (that stands for colony forming units, all the way to 900 billion CFU.
And let’s put this into perspective here. When you consider that most drug store probiotics are set at about 1 billion CFU’s, it just kind of blows your mind doesn’t it?
VSL#3 does have some added ingredients you’ll want to keep in mind if you are sensitive. The main ingredient that can be bothersome is corn starch. There’s only minimal amounts, but if you are sensitive to corn, this isn’t the probiotic for you.
Visbiome is again, very similar. The dosing is the same. The questionable ingredient in Visbiome is dairy. Both sachet form and capsule form contain dairy and the sachets contain “natural flavors”. These are two words, natural flavors, I really dislike in the ingredient world. The ingredient natural flavors is not regulated by the FDA and therefore could mean anything.
If you are on the SCD, neither of these probiotics are legal so you’ll want to decide if taking them is right for you.
By and large though, these are the best offerings for probiotics if you’re intestinal flora is in a state of dysbiosis. And if you’ve got IBD, you better believe this is something for you to think about.
The 900 billion dose is prescription only so definitely talk to your doctor before you order any of this type. These probiotics are potent, but sometimes they are the exact thing you need to get your IBD flare under control.
Other Probiotics Worth Considering
Lastly, I just want to mention a few other brands of probiotics that my clients have had success on. These are not as potent, with CFU ranges in the 10-25 range, but they are also less expensive. Klaire Labs, Pure Encapsulations and for SCD mamas
Kirkman labs has SCD legal probiotics.
[42:23] So there you have it.
Seven amazingly healing gems every IBD mama needs to know about. Although there’s more to IBD healing than these 7, and that may include medication, other supplements, and lifestyle and dietary changes too, these 7 gems are crucial in getting you where you want to go with IBD remission.
Before we wrap up, let me tell you how you’re going to Do it Like a Mom with these 7 gems.
#1- start small, you don’t need to start all 7 tomorrow. Pick one or two that are calling to you. Start there. Gut healing is never a sprint, it’s a marathon and the one who finishes last is just a much a winner.
#2- with most of these gems, you’ll never start out with the full recommendation all at once. Our guts are extra sensitive, and we need to treat them that way. It’s not unusual to have a reaction when you start any of these, even though over time they may prove to be beneficial. Start at low amount and work your way up. Take meat stock for example. I mentioned that you can drink up to 5 cups a day, but I’d never tell a client to start there. We have to let our body get used to anything new. Remember the slow marathon and be the tortoise, never the hare.
#3- Because of this fantastic longer form show that a podcast gives (and I love that because I can’t ever seem to stop talking) I was able to go into more detail than I normally about each of these healing gems. But believe it or not, there’s even more to cover on each one. If you want guidance on how to best implement these gems, I’m here for you with my free 30 minute 1 on 1 consultation sessions. If you’re looking to find out more and want to hear how we can work with a step by step plan to put all these healing gems into practice in your life, go to the show notes, click on the link, and schedule a session with me today. I can’t wait to connect with you.
Alright mama, that’s a wrap on these 7 healing gems. You’ve got the info. What you do with it is up to you. I know you can do this. You’re already a rock star mama. Who better to take control, take the reins on your IBD than you? Keep me posted on how it’s going. I love connecting with you.
Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.
[46:47] 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.
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.