It’s official. Summer is here.
The sunshine, the kids out of school, the pool parties, and the seasonal bounty of summer fresh and summer fun fruits and veggies. Yes, it’s summer, and that means that so much of the world is getting excited about summer food—berries and salads and melons—but for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis, summer food is usually a little cringe worthy.
Raw fruits? Raw veggies?
But here’s the thing. A lot of enjoying food you don’t think you can eat, is about putting those foods in a form that you can easily digest and absorb.
And that’s my IBD specialty.
Finding ways to help you enjoy IBD forbidden foods, especially in summer. So that’s what today’s episode is all about. Sensational summer gut healing foods you should definitely be getting lots of this time of year, all made in a way that you can enjoy them too!
Did I mention there’s recipes involved? Oh yeah, I’ve got you covered.
Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode
🌿 The secret to eating summer foods you thought you’d never be able to touch.
🌿 The digestive enzyme found in a summer favorite that can help you decrease gas, bloating, belly pain, and diarrhea after meals.
🌿 The glutathione rich veggie that can help heal your intestinal lining.
Connect With Karyn:
Summer Gut Lovin Had Me a Blast
Oh it’s official. Summer is here. Summer gut lovin’, had me a blast. The sunshine, the kids out of school, the pool parties, and the seasonal bounty of summer fresh and summer fun fruits and veggies. Yes, it’s summer, and that means that so much of the world is getting excited about summer food—berries and salads and melons—but for those of use with Crohn’s and colitis, summer food is usually a little cringe worthy.
Raw fruits? Raw veggies?
If you’re a Cheeky Podcast regular, you might remember I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. In fact, I’m going to repeat it over and over again because it’s just that capitol H HUGE.
A lot of enjoying food you don’t think you can eat, “Nope, I’m sensitive to that or No way, that food gives me gas and bloating,” is about putting those foods in a form that you can easily digest and easily absorb.
And that’s my IBD specialty. Finding ways to help you enjoy IBD forbidden foods, especially in summer. So that’s what today’s episode is all about. Sensational summer gut healing foods you should definitely be getting lots of this time of year, all made in a way that you can enjoy them too!
Did I mention there’s recipes involved? Oh yeah, I’ve got you covered. Cue the music.[MUSIC]
Hello my friend and welcome to The Cheeky Podcast. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, and I am so happy to connect with you on the bright sunshiny day. Especially today on an episode all about food—my favorite topic. Summer is here and it’s time to get your freak on. You know I’m all about eating seasonally to get the best nutrients out of the food you’re eating, and if that food has been shown to benefit your gut, oh, I’m all over that.
Today, I’m sharing 5 of the best gut healing, summer loving fruits and veggies you’ve got to make part of your diet this season. But best of all, I’m also sharing with you some gut friendly recipes you can try out to get these foods in, even if you thought they were off limits to you before.
Now I know, some of you listening do tolerate fruits and veggies in their more traditional form, so I’ve got you covered dear one. Summer lovin’ recipes for when your gut is happy and recipes for when your gut needs some extra love.
On the show, I’ll be telling you all about our 5-star sensational summer favorites for these recipes, I’ll highlight why they are so important for your gut health and what types of gut ailments they are best for. Then, if you want to take these food stars one step further and cook with them, you can get your hands on my Sensational Summer Recipes for Gut Love at karynhaley.com/summer.
OK, enough preamble, let’s just dive in with our first summer of gut love star—
Yes, love it or hate it, asparagus. Asparagus is a lot like Brussel sprouts. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em. But I have to challenge you here because just like Brussel sprouts, I’ve got to say that if you don’t care for them, it’s because you are not making them right. Gone are the soggy, slimy asparagus recipes from your mama’s kitchen or your grandmama’s time. Today’s asparagus is made in a way that brings out all the natural sweetness and if you thought you didn’t like asparagus, I’m begging you. Give it a chance with the recipes I’ve created for you. Then get back to me with your thoughts because I’m betting you are going to be changing your mind.
Did you know that there are actually more than 300 species of asparagus grown around the world. In American anyway and also in the UK, the color we see most often is the bright green. But have you ever had purple asparagus? I think that’s my favorite. That’s a French type of asparagus and then there’s the white variety which is more of a Spanish and Dutch variety.
Well if you can find it, the purple colored asparagus is especially healthy. It is filled with phytochemicals called anthocyanins just like the ones found in purple pigmented things like berries and red wine. Phytochemicals are all about boosting our immune system and cutting our inflammation down so go for it with purple asparagus.
All asparagus varieties in general are great sources of vitamins like vitamin K and vitamin A. They’re also a great source of iron and the B vitamin thiamine. Those B’s are fantastic for energy boosting which, let’s face it, we all need when we are moms with IBD. It’s also a great source of iron, again one of those minerals that needs a boost when we have Crohn’s and colitis, and it’s also a good source of vitamin C. And if you are you thinking about getting pregnant, or you are pregnant, asparagus has your name on it as well because it is a great source of folate.
Now we can’t leave asparagus behind until we talk specifically about it’s gut healing properties. Asparagus contains glutathione. It’s an antioxidant found in plants and animals and fungi and it’s essential for proper immune function and it helps us build and repair tissue. It also protects our body from damage to its cells caused by free radicals. So you can see how this glutathione would be really vital for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis. Healing damaged cells, protecting and repairing gut tissue, that’s huge for us!
To really bring this home IBD style, it’s important to note that studies have shown that glutathione is actually depleted in the mucosal and submucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract in people with Crohn’s and colitis. So there’s actual research out there showing that we really need to find ways to improve our glutathione levels since we are depleted. Asparagus is one of those ways to help increase our glutathione levels. I told you asparagus was all about summer gut lovin’.
Asparagus also contains prebiotic compounds and inulin which can help with bacterial balance. Now, if you are in the middle of a nasty flareup, I don’t always recommend pre-biotics. They can just be way too challenging on an inflamed digestive system. But if this is you, I highly recommend you check out my recipe for asparagus soup because it is made in a way that breaks the fibers of the asparagus down and makes it much easier to digest. Now you have put the asparagus in a form that your body can use to help your gut heal.
Now one last fun fact about asparagus because it is the elephant in the room that we have to mention, and that’s asparagus pee. Have you heard of asparagus pee? That interesting smell that happens in the bathroom after you eat asparagus. It’s because asparagus contains a chemical called asparagusic acid. You might think that everyone can smell it, but the latest research says that it’s more complicated than that. There’s three types of people when it comes to asparagusic acid. There’s those who produce it and smell it, there’s those who produce it and don’t smell it, and then there’s those who don’t produce it at all.
Which type are you? Just a little fun fact to ponder.
You can get your summer of gut healing started with my recipes that include asparagus as the star ingredient: There’s my unique take on roasted asparagus and also creamy asparagus soup. The first is best if you’re able to tolerate whole asparagus in the second if you are in flare mode or find asparagus challenging to digest. You can get those recipes at karynhaley.com/summer.
Next up is our star #2 in your summer of gut love.
Tropical, summer favorite, juicy, sweet pineapple.
The reason why I picked pineapple as a summer gut healing fruit above so many is because pineapple contains a gut loving compound called bromelain. Bromelain is a digestive enzyme and it’s found in the stem, in the core, and in smaller amounts in the fruit of the pineapple. So for this reason, I highly recommend buying your own fresh pineapple, they have them in abundance in the grocery store this time of year, and when you cut it, get as close to the core as possible because this is where extra Bromelain enzymes lye.
So what is this bromelain enzyme all about and how does it impact our gut health in a positive way? Well people with Crohn’s and colitis struggle with digestion. Especially the proper digestion of macronutrients in the food we eat– our fat, our protein, our carbohydrates, can all be a struggle for us. But digestive enzymes like bromelain can have a massive positive impact on helping us break down the nutrients in the food we eat. And remember broken down nutrients means we are digesting and absorbing more of the vitamins and minerals in the food we eat. And that equals a happier belly, and it equals increased energy, and it equals a more balanced immune system, and it equals lower inflammation in our body. So being able to properly break down and absorb the nutrients in the food you it is a huge step at controlling your gut troubling symptoms. Symptoms like gas and bloating and belly pain can all be alleviated when we have digestive enzymes on board. It’s just a little extra help to aid our digestive system in doing what it wants to do, and that’s to thrive and be healthy.
Pineapple is absolutely the best source of this digestive enzyme, bromelain. And of course you can absolutely supplement with a bromelain-based digestive enzyme and if you struggle with symptoms like bloating and gas and belly pain and diarrhea after eating, these types of supplements may be really beneficial for you. But also choosing to eat pineapple that contains bromelain can be positive for your gut challenges as well.
There have been several research studies looking at the benefits of this bromelain enzyme and when it comes to gut challenges bromelain has been shown to speed healing, help decrease inflammation, it’s also been associated with helping with candida, which is a yeast overgrowth in the digestive track.
Bromelain has also been associated with lowering stool fat excretion so again if you’re having challenges digesting fat this can really be a help for you. Bromelain has even been found to reduce the expression of TNF-alpha that’s associated with inflammatory bowel disease. You may have heard your doctor mention TNF-alpha because of a biologic medication that you’re taking or maybe you have researched its role in Crohn’s and colitis, but TNF-alpha is one of the highest pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body. Cytokines are those molecules of inflammation, so bromelain can play a big role and bringing that type of inflammation down.
Like I mentioned initially, if you really dealing with some of these things that I just mentioned by having active Crohn’s or colitis, experiencing candida, difficulty digesting fat, you’ll want to look into supplementation, but why not eat some pineapple to boost your bromelain naturally as well?
Beyond the bromelain benefit, pineapple is one of the best sources of vitamin C. It’s also really high in the mineral manganese and it also has good amounts of B vitamins like thiamine and B6. And hello to your moms to be again– pregnant mamas, and nursing mamas , pineapple is high in folate and folate is recommended for three months after pregnancy as well.
There’s nothing like just cutting open a fresh pineapple and eating it by the chunk, but if you aren’t ready for fresh whole raw pineapple just yet, you can check out my favorite gut friendly way to eat pineapple all summer long in my Pineapple Fresca recipe at karynhaley.com/summer
Summer of gut love star # 3 is:
Yes, strawberries. And I get it if you’re saying whoa, whoa Karyn, I was with you for asparagus. I was with you for pineapple. But there is no way I am going to eat a strawberry. I remember those days well myself. In fact these days, I never take eating a strawberry for granted because I know just how challenging it can be for those of us with Crohn’s and colitis.
Remember, eating foods like this is about preparing them in a way that your body can digest and absorb. It’s about finding a way to get all those nutrients in a gut friendly way and I’ve got you covered there so take my word for it while I tell you about all the amazing benefits of making strawberries a main part of your summer of gut love.
Strawberries are all about their anti-inflammatory antioxidants. When we talk about most fruit, I usually say it’s just not worth it. Most fruit is not worth eating, especially if you’re eating it without the peel because there just isn’t enough health there. It’s way too much sugar and not enough gut health benefit. But strawberries, strawberries, they are worth every bite.
Strawberries are super high in vitamin C so you’ve got your immune system support there. They are also a good source of manganese and folate and potassium. Remember those anthocyanins from asparagus? Strawberries have them too to help boost your immune system and lower your inflammation– two things us IBDer’s need for sure.
And the seeds of the strawberry are just as important as the strawberry itself, maybe even more important because the seeds are high in micronutrients, beta-carotene and also vitamin C. Antioxidants are your first line of defense against free radicals and inflammation and strawberries are just an absolute powerhouse when it comes to that.
One last note on strawberries that’s important for all of us moms to know is that we want to give our kids strawberries as well. Research from the Department of Food Science and the University of Massachusetts found that a daily ¾ cup of strawberries may forestall the onset of Crohn’s, colitis and other IBD’s.
As moms with Crohn’s and colitis, we are always looking for ways that we can decrease our kid’s chances of ending up with our chronic illness. This research shows the benefit of strawberries so go out and buy those strawberries for you this summer, buy them for your kids this summer, if you have the time go strawberry picking because it is a blast. And everything just tastes better when it’s right off the farm, not to mention the nutrient benefits.
No worries if you are struggling with strawberries, I have got you covered with my gut friendly strawberry recipe for strawberry jam. It is a no refined sugar recipe but it is not a no when it comes to taste. You are going to love it. And for those who are ready for a raw strawberry, my grain free strawberry shortcake recipe, complete with dairy or non-dairy whipped cream is waiting for you. And I just have to give you a sidenote about that strawberry shortcake recipe, if you really feel like you’re just not ready for a raw strawberry but you are excited about strawberry shortcake, go ahead and pop the berries in a sauté pan with a little bit of water heat them on medium for a few minutes to break down some of those raw fibers in the strawberry. It makes them so much easier to digest. There’s no law against cooking your berries a little bit before putting them in the shortcake. The taste is still delicious while protecting your gut for easier digestion and absorption of those strawberry nutrients. Win-win. You can get your strawberry recipes and the other recipes were talking about today at karynhaley.com/summer.
#4 on our list of summer of gut love stars is zucchini.
Zucchini, ripe and ready for you to eat, full of so much nutrition, zucchini is a vegetable you want to be eating this summer if you are in gut healing mode.
Zucchinis have been around for thousands of years. It’s believed that they were first cultivated over 10,000 years ago in South America. We talk about ancient grains and how healthy they are. But let’s take a moment to be impressed with ancient zucchini. Of course, over those thousands of years since, zucchinis have grown to be a much sweeter version than the original—no surprise there. But they are still delish and they are still oh so nutrish.
The summer promise of zucchini is in its anti-inflammatory properties and also it’s immune boosting properties. Again, two things we are always looking for when we have Crohn’s and colitis.
In the grocery store, you might see dark green, light green, or even spotted the zucchini. The nutrient profile for each a slightly different but know that they are all gut healthy. They may even be healthier for us than winter squash because they are lower in starch and lower in sugar content. So less disruption to the gut microbiome.
Zucchini is full of vitamin C, B6, manganese, and that wonderful B vitamin, riboflavin. It’s also high in potassium and folate (you go mama), so eating this versatile vegetable will help give you energy, an immune system boost, and help your baby’s health as well.
And I have to say it again, if you typically struggle with zucchini, if you think it’s not for you, I’ve got you covered with some amazing zucchini as the star ingredient recipes that are easier to digest and made with your gut health in mind.
When we get really specific with why those with gut struggles should consume zucchini, we look at gut struggles like diverticulitis because the zucchini is so hydrating that it helps balance electrolytes and nutrients for those suffering with this condition. Research is also shown it to benefit IBS, ulcer-type symptoms and also leaky gut. These are all things that many of us experience when we have Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
This is all great evidence to encourage you to eat zucchini, but I think the best gut loving reason is the benefit to our epithelial cells. With Crohn’s and colitis, we are often dealing with epithelial damage. Our epithelial cells line the surface of our intestine to help us digest and absorb our food and help protect us from microbial infections. But when these epithelial cells are damaged with Crohn’s and colitis, we are less likely to be able to digest and absorb our food and also we are more at risk for gut infections. Non-starchy veggies like zucchini can help lower inflammation in your gut for a stronger epithelial lining. A stronger epithelial lining equals better digestion and absorption of nutrients in our food. Bam. Drop the Mic. I don’t know about you but that sells me on eating zucchini.
In real gut health practical terms, zucchini is one of the only veggies that can help with both diarrhea and constipation because it is so easy to digest. It helps balance out either one of these challenges for a body. You can eat it soft and mushy, well-cooked, maybe without the skin for diarrhea and full skin on and lightly cooked for constipation. Now that is a versatile vegetable.
And just a real quick FYI before we move on, I’m talking about zucchini here but I also want to mention that yellow squash has many of the same benefits as zucchini so I always recommend eating both of them all summer long while they are in season. Why not get two you for the price of one?
If you’re looking for some unique and gut friendly ways to eat zucchini this summer, look no further than my sensational summer gut healing recipes. There’s delicious recipes for a zucchini omelette you are going to love and also my take on barbecue zucchini boats. Of course you can check those recipes out at karynhaley.com/summer
We have one last summer of gut love star. Are you ready for it? Our last gut healing star, one you should definitely be eating as much as you can this summer is #5 no our list:
Well it wouldn’t be summer without the taste of juicy, sweet, just eating it says summer, watermelon. Isn’t it great to know that when you eat watermelon you are giving your gut exactly what it needs to help it heal?
Watermelon in the summer is all about getting your antioxidants to help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation throughout your body. Watermelon is also a great summer hydrator since its water content is so high.
Watermelon was first cultivated in southern Africa. What they ate years ago was actually much more bitter, but now across the world, we’ve cultivated more than 1,200 different varieties of watermelon. Crazy cool right? Most of us eat the red part of the watermelon but you can actually eat the rind as well. It’s not toxic or dangerous, but I don’t usually recommend it for gut lovers like us unless you are fully masticating or blending it because it’s just too challenging for our sensitive digestive tract.
In terms of its nutrient profile, watermelon is a great source of vitamin C, hello immune system booster, it’s also high in vitamins A, potassium and magnesium. While I don’t think it’s the best source of your B energy vitamins, it does have smaller amounts of thiamine and B6.
I mentioned the potassium benefits of watermelon and that is not something to take lightly. Potassium is great for cleaning out toxins and helping prevent kidney stones, which is something that those of us with Crohn’s and colitis can be more prone to. It’s also a natural diuretic so that means it helps us pee more– fluid in/fluid out, which also helps decrease those kidney stones.
I mentioned that watermelon has a really high water content. No surprise there but did you know that watermelon is about 91% water. This makes it one of the best natural detoxifier’s out there. I’d much rather you detox with food like watermelon rather than a dedicated detox which can make many people with IBD feel really awful. Our sensitive systems just needs a much more gentle detox and eating foods that naturally detox our body is truly beneficial for us.
Interestingly enough, watermelon has also been used in some of the most popular gut healing diet out there, like GAPS, for example. That’s because watermelon is believed to reduce acid reflux symptoms as it soothes and helps protect our digestive tract. It also helps to regulate pH levels which can be out of balance when acid reflux is at play.
One last thing I want to mention about watermelon is that it is a higher FODMAP food so if you are following a low FODMAP diet this summer, you may want to keep watermelon to a minimum. That doesn’t mean it’s your forever, it just means it’s your now. Watermelon will be waiting for you when your time with low FODMAP’s is over.
Of course, you can find my favorite gut friendly watermelon recipes in your sensational summer gut healing recipes guide. My absolute favorite summer recipe, the one I make all the time, is my watermelon salad with mint and feta. It’s in there as is my creamy watermelon smoothie. You’re going love both no matter where you’re at with your gut healing right now. Of course that’s waiting for you right now at karynhaley.com/summer
So when it comes to summer, your best to gut healing stars are asparagus, pineapple, strawberries, zucchini, and watermelon. Which one are you ready to try today? The best way to find out which one works for where your IBD is at and which ones you like best is to check out my hot off the press sensational summer recipes. These gut friendly recipes will help you with eating seasonally, keep you eating gut healthy, and it will absolutely keep your taste buds happy this summer. And bonus, these recipes are absolutely kid friendly as well. Try them out and let me know what you think.
KarynHaley.com/summer for your free and fabulous recipes.
One last note before we wrap for today. You know I have a private health coaching practice where I help moms with Crohn’s and colitis find the balance between motherhood and IBD, explore options that can have a positive impact on how your illness shows up in your life, and take you by the hand, step by step, as you take big, bold leaps towards life transformational change.
It has been my privilege to serve clients in this way since 2010. From time to time, my practice fills up and I need to stop accepting new clients in order to give my best attention to the clients I currently have. I am very close to that place again and I’m anticipating needing to start my waitlist again real soon. So, do yourself a favor. If you have been struggling with finding ways to quiet your IBD symptoms, if you are feeling overwhelmed with what steps to take next, if you are just feeling lost, make this your call to action. Before I enact the waitlist again, get in with me for a free 30-minute consult.
Now is the time my friend. Put you first. Put your health first. When you do that, you can then be a better mom to those kiddos of yours. It’s really the most selfless act you can do. If you want that free 30-minute IBD consultation with me, if you want to hear how we can work together to make big, positive changes in your life, schedule your consultation now, before the waitlist goes up again. You can do that at karynhaley.com/consult. Super easy, just karynhaley.com/consult and you can book your session with me today.
OK my friend, it’s time to get out there and enjoy summer, gut love style. Summer, summer, summer… it’s like a merry-go-round. So many summer themed songs out there! Get your gut healing, gut loving recipes. They’re waiting for you at karynhaley.com/summer. And of course, if you are driving or I confused you with too many links, you can always find all the links mentioned in this episode in the show notes and Karynhaley.com/95
Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy gut healing 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.