Ep 21: A Gut Friendly Valentine’s Meal for the Whole Family

Do you and your partner celebrate Valentine’s Day? And how has that celebration changed since having kids? If the cute and lovely, heartfelt Valentine’s gifts you used to give to your partner has changed into school Valentine’s cards exchanges and candy hearts for your kids, this episode is for you.  We’re including the whole family in this Valentine’s celebration and we’re doing it all with a gut healing, but oh so tasty, made with love meal, everyone can enjoy!

Imagine a delicious meal for this special holiday that’s super easy to make, gut friendly (even for SCDer’s and GAPSer’s), it’s kid friendly, and everyone will eat it.

That seems like a no brainer, right?

If you’re a mom or one in the making, if you’ve got IBD, if those gut and non-gut challenges are keeping you from having the energy to plan a Valentine’s meal, and if you’re in the kidz zone (you know what I’m talking about), this episode is for you.

We’re talking about:

  • An SCD, GAPS, and Paleo compliant meal that will make your Valentine’s dinner even sweeter
  • Collaboration recipes from SCD rock stars Jennifer from A Life of Happenstance and Erin from No More Crohn’s
  • A way to make both your partner and your kids happy this Valentine’s Day

And so much more!

After the episode, you’ll have everything you need for Valentine’s Day 2021, except the ingredients. And just a quick trip to the grocery store will solve that problem and put you in the Valentine’s spirit in no time.

Episode at a Glance:

  • [03:11] Valentine’s Day, holiday of love or commercial cash grab?
  • [06:25] Show your Valentine’s love with food.
  • [09:03] A sneak peek into a Valentine’s themed meal that is great for those in gut healing, those who want an easy meal to make, and those who want a meal that everyone in the family will eat.
  • [11:28] From soup to nuts, what’s on the menu for you this Valentine’s Day.
  • [15:45] Erin from No More Crohn’s for Me shares her SCD legal curry powder recipe.
  • [19:35] Jennifer from A Life of Happenstance shares her recipe for No Bake Strawberry Pie.
  • [21:16] Collagen peptides vs gelatin. What to use and when.
  • [25:15] The best way to take your IBD healing journey to the next level.

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Mentioned in This Episode:

GET THE VALENTINE’S FAMILY MENU: Your Gut Friendly and SCD Legal Holiday Recipes HERE

A Life of Happenstance

No More Crohn’s

Eden Food’s Dried Cherries

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

10 Valentine’s Traditions from Around the World

Episode Transcript:


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.


[00:50] Hello dear one, welcome to the cheeky podcast. I’ve got a question for you today. Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? I don’t mean does your country celebrate the holiday. I know that from all the incredible mamas in countries around the world who listen to the podcast, and this gives me an opportunity for a quick shout out to my super listeners in Belgium, England, Russia, and Hungry, and of course the good ole US of A– just to name a few of the amazing places I see we hit in the broadcast—wow, isn’t it cool that countries so diverse are all connected around the world with our little podcast of hope for IBDer’s?

Just shows you that no matter what the media tells us, we all have bigger connections that we know. But what I mean with this question is, do you and your partner celebrate it? Do you have Valentine’s traditions? Do anything special for Valentine’s Day?

When I was thinking about this podcast, I did a little research on Valentine’s days around the world and it was so interesting to hear how the holiday is celebrated in different countries. Like according to Huff Post, in Denmark, sweethearts exchange pressed white flowers called snowdrops. And in Wales, a centuries old tradition exists of men carving a wooden spoon into an intricate design and giving it to the woman of their affection. It seems as though the gifts given might be different depending on where you live, but the sentiment remains the same. Valentine’s day is a day to celebrate the ones you love.

In the United States, nothing says Valentine’s Day like candy hearts or chocolates and flowers. Maybe a cute stuffed bear, or if you’re a little saucy, some sexy lingerie. Oooh-la-la!


But the question still remains, with all the traditions, do you and your partner get into this holiday at all? Is it an extra special day for you or do you and your partner trash Valentine’s Day, saying it’s too commercial and too much of a cash grab for big companies who gouge us by tugging on our heartstrings?

I’m really curious about this because it seems like everyone has an opinion about the big V Day, whether it’s positive or negative.

And the even bigger question is, how has Valentine’s Day changed for you and your partner since having kids? Yikes, right?

My hubs and I have been together for 25 years. When we were first dating, I remember us going all in on the holiday for lovers. I’d write him these super corny poems with conversation hearts to fill in the blanks like, I knew early on I wanted you to “kiss me” or what I’m wondering now is will you “be mine”. So silly, but so lovey dovey at the same time. After a few years, and two kids in diapers, the conversation heart poems and handmade gifts turned into store bought gifts, and a few years later, then with 3 kids, our Valentine’s Day slipped off the face of the Earth and in came a kid’s version of Valentine’s Day with Valentine card exchanges at school and gifts for the kids instead of each other.

In recent years, my kids have gotten older and for the most part, the obligatory Valentine’s cards for the school class have disappeared which left me thinking, I wonder if the hubs and I should start remembering our cutesy, coupley Valentine’s Days of year’s past again. The last couple years, we reclaimed Valentine’s Day as a holiday for us as a couple again, which has actually been really nice. I even made a throwback conversation heart poem for my hubby last year. We definitely had a good laugh about that. But with 3 kids still living at home, I felt like I still wanted to celebrate my love for them too. Just because they’re getting older now, doesn’t mean we love our kiddos any less.


[06:20] Last year, was the best Valentine’s Day for everyone in the family. Hubs and I got our Valentine’s date night, but we still gave a shout out to our love of the kids. And we did it in the best way to reach our growing boys—with food. Because to me, breaking bread together, or breaking grain free bread together as it goes in my house- is the best way that I know to connect, enjoy each other’s company, and show them my love. I’m Italian, what can I say?


This Valentine’s Day, I’ve created another from the heart menu made with love for our family to enjoy together. The hubs and I will still have our Valentine’s night out, which, with Covid will actually be more of a night in together. We’ll probably put on a Netflix movie, and I’ll probably fall asleep halfway through the movie, but at least I’ll be snuggled up close to him while I drift off.

If the family meal part of our Valentine’s plan sounds like a good idea, you’re going to love this episode, because I’m about to share with you our complete Valentine’s dinner, now your complete Valentine’s dinner, and one that the whole family will love, from start to finish.

This episode and this Valentine’s meal menu is for you if:

  • You’re a mom (or parent—shout out to the dads that recently wrote to me saying they listen too)
  • You’re dealing with IBD (Crohn’s or colitis), and all the gut and non-gut struggles that keep you from having the energy to plan a meal like this (and man I’ve been there too), plus not only that but you’re looking for a gut friendly menu—I’m talking SCD and GAPS compliant—YAY-ES to that!
  • And this episode is especially for you if you’re in the kid zone—where you’re little kids are either completely taking over your life or you’re like me and you’re moving out of the little kid zone, but you still want to include your kids in the Valentine’s celebration.

So while I’m probably not the best person to plan your Valentine’s date night, remember my affinity for falling asleep on a Netflix and chill night? I can help you plan your V-Day family night with a meal that meets everyone’s needs.

[09:02] This meal is:

  • Easy to make
  • It’s gut friendly, even for SCDer’s and GAPSer’s
  • It includes the kids
  • And everyone will eat it

How often does that happen?

Plus, as a last added bonus, this Valentine’s Family Meal is about food, family, and love, not material gifts that cost money and lack imagination. So it’s especially great if you’re also trying to escape the commercialism of the holiday.

Let me tell you about this gut lovin’, tasty meal that I know your whole family will love.


First off, it’s a collaboration meal. Last year was good with me planning the entire menu, but this year, I really wanted to reach new heights and I knew that meant getting some recipe help. So, I reached out to my fellow SCD experts and asked them if they would mind sharing some recipe love with us for this special heart and family centered meal– Jennifer from A Life of Happenstance and Erin from No More Crohn’s for Me. Each of these ladies has a fantastic SCD centered website and if you haven’t been there, these ladies rock in the SCD kitchen. I’m hooked their creative and delicious recipes.

I’ve been a huge fan of Erin and her mom Robin’s SCD legal recipes for years. Their I Want to Thrive recipe collection has been a staple in my kitchen for as long as I’ve been on SCD. And I recently came across Jennifer’s website while I was searching for a new SCD dessert. And trust me, it did not disappoint. Yum! Jennifer tackles our V-Day dessert on this family friendly menu and everyone in your fam is going to plotz over it. My family certainly did!

If you want to check out all the interesting recipes from these ladies, I’ll link to their websites in the show notes. Go check them out.

For our Valentine’s Family Meal, here’s what’s on the menu.

[11:28] We’ve got:

  • Cherry Roast Pork
  • Smashed Carrots
  • Curry Roasted Cauliflower
  • Grain Free Dinner Rolls
  • No Bake Strawberry Pie

We’re going to dive into each menu item in more detail, but if you want to get your hands on the full recipe collection with more tips for your cooking, all you have to do is go to karynhaley.com/valentine. I’ll put a link for the recipes in the show notes too.


So, our main event, the star of the meal is the Cherry Roast Pork. The thing that sets this dish apart from other roast pork mains is its combination of sweet cherries with a tangy pork glaze that comes together beautifully. My taste buds actually started to water as I said that! This dish looks like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen, but it literally takes minimal work on your part. I picked this recipe as the main course because of the dark red cherries. It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. One note to keep in mind, it does have chopped almonds as a topping. Feel free to omit these or even replace them with a different nut if you can’t do almonds. And I highly encourage you to omit the nuts altogether if you’re in the early stages of gut healing. The pork still tastes great without it.


Our menu moves on to side dishes with the delectable smashed carrots. This is a great addition because it suites the taste bud needs of kids and parents alike. Kids love carrots for their sweetness, but parents usually want something a little jazzier. I created this SCD legal smashed carrot recipe to fit the parent bill as well your picky eaters’ tastes. The complexity of the simple flavors like fresh orange zest, cinnamon, butter, and honey. Delish, but tasty for kids too.

There’s a topper on this dish as well—dried cherries—and in the recipe booklet, I give you a link for an SCD legal (no sugar) brand which can be hard to find normally, but I’ve got you covered. Again, like with the almonds for the pork, I recommend you skip the dried fruit in early stages of gut healing. Trust me, they’ll still taste great. Sometimes I have cherries on hand, and I use them. Other times, I don’t. It’s good either way.


Your other side dish for this meal is Curry Roasted Cauliflower. Obviously with a name like Curry Roasted Cauliflower, there’s got to be some curry in there. Remember I mentioned that the website No More Crohn’s for Me helped with our Valentine’s menu. Here’s where Erin and Robin’s culinary skills come in.

[15:45] Normally, this wouldn’t be a dish that’s SCD legal because grocery store curry is a no-no. Now, that’s because curry isn’t just one spice, it’s a combination of spices, and often times when spices are combined into one mixture and sold at the grocery store, like curry powder, anti-caking agents like flour and corn starch are added to prevent clumping. Flour and corn products are not allowed on SCD, but thanks to No More Crohn’s, we’ve got you covered with their very own SCD legal curry powder. I’ve used they’re recipe for years. And it definitely tastes better, and fresher than anything you’d buy in the market. I highly recommend it for this dish and any other curry dish you choose to make.

The secret in getting your kids to eat this dish is all in the roasting. Even if you’re kids aren’t fans of raw or steamed cauliflower, this is a veggie worth having them try again. When we roast a vegetable, it brings out all the natural sugars. It gets a robust, sweet flavor that kids tend to love.

The roasting, combined with the exotic flavor brought in by the curry makes this a winner recipe for your Valentine’s family feast. Trust me, if I can get my skeptic children to try and like it, your kids will too.


Now, no special holiday meal (no matter the holiday) is ever complete without bread. Come on, you know I’m right. The good news that even though most traditional bread is bad for IBDer’s due to its high carbohydrate content which equals too much sugar and bacteria in the gut, grain free flours like almond and coconut flour make delicious bread that’s much healthier for us to eat. The dinner rolls in your Valentine’s Family Meal menu are rich and full of flavor and will leave everyone at the table happy. I usually make a double batch and freeze rolls to heat up with leftovers.


One note about your Valentine’s dinner rolls, they’re made with one of those grain free flours I was mentioning—coconut flour. If you’ve never worked with coconut flour, know that it is a bit different than any of the other flours so be prepared for a different experience. Coconut flour is highly absorbent, but at first, your batter might seem too wet. The absorption process takes a bit to fully take effect so that’s why the recipes has you mix the ingredients and then wait just a few minutes to let the moisture fully absorb before baking. Trust me, it’s not complicated, just different. Once you master coconut flour, you’ll go back to it again and again. If you’ve never used it before, Valentine’s Day may just be the opportunity you’re looking for to try it out.


[19:35] OK, it’s time for the pias de resistance of your Valentine’s Family Meal menu… dessert. And this one, the no bake strawberry pie really is the best part of the meal. Creating recipes to bake is definitely not my forte. A baker who dutifully follows a recipe, absolutely. But a creator, no. Thankfully, ladies like Jennifer from A Life of Happenstance are there to give us some help. SCD or not, everyone in the family will love this dessert. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, and creamy, and rich flavor to add Valentine’s friendly strawberries to your special day. This recipe doesn’t have to be baked. Instead, it uses gelatin to help it set in the frig. Just make sure you pick the right type of gelatin. Not collagen peptides—gelatin. I recommend the beef gelatin from Vital Proteins (it’s the one with the green label), but vegan gelatin is also an option. I’ll link to the Vital Proteins gelatin in the show notes.

So that’s your Family Valentine Menu.


All you have to do is go out and get the ingredients. So, yes, it’s a complete menu—soup to nuts as they say. But remember that you don’t have to use the complete menu. Swap out, omit, change it up. Make it your own. Use this Valentine’s menu as your jumping off point to create a Valentine’s meal that suits your gut healing needs and your families desires as well.

Your Family Valentine Menu with all the ingredients, the directions for each recipe, tips to make it your own and colorful pictures of each dish (cause what’s a recipe without a picture) is waiting you. All you have to do to get the complete list of dishes and recipes is go to karynhaley.com/valentine

I have to give one last special thank you to our recipe contributors, Jennifer from A Life of Happenstance and Erin at No More Crohn’s for Me for rounding out this Valentine’s menu beautifully. Remember you can find out more about what these ladies are up to by going to their website. It’s all linked in the show notes.


Just a couple final thoughts before we part. No matter what stage of life you’re in, pre-kids, in the mix with littles, or kids moving up in age, try to find some space with just you and your partner this Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours, don’t let it slip off your radar like it did for me and my hubby during those crazy kid years. We need connection with our partners now more than ever. Who else can go through this crazy, uncertain time with us.

I’m so glad that in recent years the hubs and I made time for it again—overhyped commercial holiday or not, you can make it a special one for you and your partner. No matter how you choose to celebrate the day, I hope the meal I shared with you today will give you an excuse to spend time with your loved ones. That’s what this holiday means to me. Finding another way to show my hubs and my kids that even though I have an illness that can take me away from being there at times, I still care. And any day you can say I love you to your mate, or I choose you in the midst of the kid chaos, in the midst of this IBD chaos, in the midst of life chaos- or sandwich generation chaos—I choose you is a special day.

Happy Valentine’s Day my love. To you, to your family, to your gut health, and to your future! Let this gut friendly meal be the start of a healing journey for you.

Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy 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.

[25:15] 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.T his is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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