Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine {Part II}

Last week was the start a series of episodes all about treating your IBD at the root cause level.

When you’re ready to move beyond medicine, with so many options out there, all of them touted as THE ONE WAY TO HEAL, how do you go about carving out your best gut healing path? The one that will move mountains and create life transforming results for you in huge, impactful ways.

That’s what this series is all about. This week, we are continuing our moving beyond medicine conversation. It’s time for Part II in the series.

This is going to be good!

Three Things You’ll Learn in This Episode

🌿 Big shocker ~ the best provider to help you with a “food is medicine” approach isn’t your doctor. But who is?

🌿 What is the difference between an Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Naturopathic Doctor (and who is best suited to help your IBD)?

🌿  The reason why you might just need more than one IBD root cause provider.

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Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode 89: Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part I

Find an Integrative Medicine Provider Near You

Find a Functional Medicine Provider Near You

Find a Naturopath Near You

Episode 10: How to Find an IBD Doctor You’ll Rave About

Connect With Karyn:

Karyn on Facebook

Schedule Your FREE 30-Minute IBD Consult

Episode Transcript:

Treating IBD: Moving Beyond Medicine Part II

Last week was the start a series of episodes all about treating your IBD at the root cause level. When you’re ready to move beyond medicine, with so many options out there, all of them touted as THE ONE WAY TO HEAL, how do you go about carving out your best gut healing path? The one that will move mountains and create life transforming results for you in huge, impactful ways. That’s what this series is all about. This week, we are continuing our moving beyond medicine conversation. It’s time for Part II in the series. This is going to be good!


Hey there my friend, Karyn here with you on The Cheeky Podcast and if you are listening to this in real time, it’s May and May signifies IBD awareness month. Raising awareness for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis is a job I take very seriously. I’ve been shouting I’VE GOT IBD from the rooftops for years now because the more people who are aware of who we are, the struggles we go through, that we are strong, and resilient, and bold, and that we have an invisible chronic illness worth fighting for, the further we will get in finding compassion, understanding, and a cure.

So as this month comes to a close, will you please commit to spending its last few days talking about your illness more than you usually do? Will you spread the word to your family and friends and neighbors and co-workers? “I’ve got IBD and this is how it impacts me.” You never know where you are going to spark an idea that will help us find peace in our lifetime.

You deserve it. We deserve it. We deserve understanding, and attention for what invisible, largely un-talked about, even whispered about illness looks like.

OK dear one, I have to start this episode with a bit of an explanation. If you were with me last week, you might remember that I was creating a two-part series all about treating your IBD in ways that move us beyond medicine. Medicine is great. It’s here for us when we need it, but long-term toxic medications with myriads of side effects do not need to be our life long goal anymore. There’s too many natural options available to us now. Thanks to the internet and social media and podcasts, we hear about our options now more than ever before.

Well, Part I was great. It went off without a hitch. We focused on why it’s absolutely valuable and necessary to move beyond medicine. Why it’s tough to do this when you’re only source of professional and medical IBD information is your traditional gastroenterologist. They have a warm place in my heart and they are so valuable, but they are not the only path we should be following. We focused on knowing where your IBD comes from and why having that knowledge is the biggest, badest, most necessary first step to take when you’re figuring out your next healing IBD move.

Remember the 3-legged stool from last week? Genetics, your microbiome, and the stressor or the trigger that explodes or slowly burns your IBD path in motion. These three legs of the stool are the key to your personal autoimmunity story.


Did you complete the homework assignment I gave you?

Did you take some time to figure out what your 3-legged stool looks like? If you did, you will definitely have a “leg up” on this episode. Use the information you have in your mind now to help you as we continue to move forward and put the IBD treatment puzzle pieces together.

Now, if you are just joining us for Part II of the series, that’s OK. This episode can really stand alone, but you’re going to get so much more out of your Crohn’s or colitis healing journey, to figure out what works best for you, check out Episode 89 as well.  You can get it wherever you get your podcasts and I’ll leave a link for it in the show notes at

But what I realized in creating Part II in this series, which was supposed to be the last part, is that this topic of moving beyond medicine is too big to constrain into two parts. If I want to really give you the knowledge to take with you and run, to give you the kind of step by step, detailed information I strive to give each week, I needed to make this series in three parts.

In Part I, we dug deep, all the way to the root of IBD. This week in Part II, our focus is on where to go to get help once you have this knowledge and deep understanding of our illness, and then Part III will be the wrap up to all of this knowledge—We’ll wrap our Treating IBD series up in a pretty purple bow (purple for IBD awareness) as we get to the most common 9 root causes for IBD and I’ll be telling you how you can use those 9 roots to get out of the dregs of IBD into a life of being the mom, the wife, the friend, the family member, the worker, the human you always wanted to be.

Let’s do this shall we? Let’s get into Part II: Moving Beyond Medicine with practitioners at the heart of autoimmunity and root cause medicine. When you begin to understand that you can and deserve to cast a wider net to help your IBD symptoms, the question often becomes now what? Who can help me move beyond medicine? Well, I’m so glad you asked.


So, you know the how and the why behind your IBD. Again, it’s all there in Episode 89. Now, it’s time for us to move into the what part of our IBD equation. What can you do to help your IBD besides medicine? Your gastro has you covered there, but what else is out there for your treatment options? Today’s episode is all about your options. It’s not about creating a treatment plan for you. It would be way beyond my scope to create a specific treatment plan, but it’s absolutely essential that you work with a qualified professional because autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s and colitis have several different pathways to healing. That God for that because we are all manifesting our IBD in different ways. As we learned last week, there are several different sneaky culprits at play when it comes to IBD.

In Part III, we’ll delve into the 9 most common ones, but even with that information, you’ll still need an amazingly qualified provider to help you get the most out of treating those roots. And by the way, Part III is coming out sooner rather than later because I want you to have all this information at your fingertips. So if you are listening when this episode goes live on Thursday, the next episode, Part III will be coming out on Monday (this coming Monday) so be on the lookout for that.

So, now we ask the question, what can you do? Who should you seek out to get the moving beyond medicine care you need.  Lets’ start with the Integrative Medicine provider. Integrative medicine—have you heard that term before? It’s a popular medical term in the U.S. It might be called something slightly different to you lovely listener if you are outside the U.S., but these days every country has providers who specialize in integrative medicine.

An integrative medical provider could be an MD, or a DO, or even a PA, or a nurse practitioner. Integrative medical providers come from all backgrounds in the medical field. You’re looking for one who specializes in IBD. The father of integrative medicine is Dr. Andrew Weil. Have you heard of him or read any of his books? Really brilliant man. I got to be taught by him in my health coach training program which was pretty cool. If you are not familiar with him and you go look him up after this episode, think “Yogi Santa Claus.” Just a little visual for you smile over.


According to the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, integrative medicine is “a healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person, including all aspects of life.”

I think of IM as the best combination of East meets West. Integrative Medicine uses whatever modality is best for the patient so that could be medication, it could be herbs, or supplements, acupuncture, more cutting edge IBD treatments like Fecal Microbiota Transplant or Rectal Ozone Therapy, or stem cell therapy, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a medical provider by your side who is able to pull from all types of healing modalities whether they are conventional or more natural? Integrative medicine practitioners provide this and are well-versed in getting to the bottom of what’s causing and impacting your autoimmune illness and then spending time in partnership with you to carve out a treatment plan that works for not just your symptoms, but your lifestyle as well.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Integrative medicine doctors are found all over the world. I’ll leave a link in the show notes to a comprehensive IM provider directory so you can find an integrative medicine provider near you.

What other options are available to you when you are ready to move beyond medicine? How about a functional medicine practitioner? Again, a functional provider can be from all walks of healthcare. From and MD, to PA, nurse, to a nutritionist. I consider myself a functional health coach because I look at Crohn’s and colitis from a root cause, healing perspective rather than a symptom relief model.


According to the Institute for Functional Medicine, FM is a “systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.” Functional medicine providers can really help when you are ready to go all in on healing—not covering up your illness. Nothing against cover up medicine. Sometimes when we are suffering, that’s exactly what we need in that moment. I’ve been there myself; too many times but it’s not a place to thrive. We need to have that fire in our belly that says, “I deserve more.” Constantly covering up my symptoms was how I blinked and 20 years of IBD hell had gone by with nothing good to show for it. Take it from me, you don’t want to turn down that dark path.

You can find a functional medicine trained practitioners all over the world. To locate one in your area, or hell through telemedicine these days, I’ll leave a link to the Institute for Functional Medicine’s practitioner directory in the show notes. That way, you can find someone to connect with if you are ready.


I want to round out your medical practitioner options with one last field to consider. It’s one that’s been tremendously helpful for me. And that’s the field of naturopathy. Naturopaths are physicians. They are trained and educated at accredited medical colleges and according to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, “They learn how to, diagnose, prevent, and treat acute and chronic illness to restore and establish optimal health by supporting the person’s inherent self-healing process.”

I love that “self-healing process.” Self- healing, did you catch that? Inherent in the core belief of a naturopath is the belief that the body has the ability to heal itself. When given the right tools, naturopaths believe the body wants to reset, wants to find health and balance. We just need to have the treatment plan in place that gives our body a nudge.

There’s a whole range of naturopathic physicians working in the U.S. and most of them specialize, just like a traditional doctor so try to find someone who works with gastrointestinal issues. That’s the best type of naturopath that’s best suited to serve you. I’m working on creating a list of all of the types of providers I mentioned today with provider names for you to check out. And the naturopath I’ve got on that list is stellar. I mean, amazing and really cutting edge in the work she’s doing for IBD patients. I’ll have that done and ready to share by Part III of this series, so be on the lookout for that.

If you’re looking for a naturopathic physician where you live, in the U.S. the best place to start is with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. There website has a directory of providers and of course, I’ll link to it in the show notes at I have no doubt there’s some type of field similar in non-U.S. countries. They may even be called a naturopath. Do a search and see what you can find where you live.


Now if you are seeking a food-based approach to healing, and I don’t blame you because gut healing food is medicine, a dietitian or a nutritionist can really help with getting you versed in a gut healing-based diet. Usually they are also helpful with supplement recommendations. Some even do root cause digestive testing that your traditional doctor doesn’t know about. Be careful though, there’s a wide variety in paradigms and schools of thought with dietitians and nutritionists. What you don’t want, is calorie counting, nutrition facts panel centered help. That might be needed for weight loss (that’s a strong might), but we are looking at transforming our digestive system into a gut healing machine.

Calorie counting is not the answer. And you don’t want to work with a nutrition expert who tells you, “Just eat bland and you be fine. Pasta, bread, mac and cheese… bland, bland, bland.” If that’s what you are hearing from them, run, don’t walk to find a new provider. Dieticians and nutritionists come in the integrative and functional variety as well. That type of provider is best suited to help and fulfill what you are looking for. Look for someone with digestive disease experience because they have the gastrointestinal tract experience to keep that in the mix.


One last option for your consideration when you are ready to move beyond medicine is to look for a Health Coach. Health Coaching used to be a small field and no one really knew what they did, but Health Coaches are everywhere now—around the world and they can be very helpful in providing you with ideas, resources, support, and accountability on your health journey. Plus, they are not the “15 min in and out” type of provider so with a health coach, you get to delve deeper and really feel heard and understood. It’s a safe space to sort out the challenges in your life.

Most Health Coaches, by nature, are mind/body, root cause, wholistic minded, but check their philosophy before getting started to make sure. You already have enough traditional and conventional wisdom in your life through your G.I. For this provider, you are seeking someone with a more natural, open minded approach to healing. All you have to do is ask about their healing philosophy and they’ll tell you.

One of the things Health Coaches do better than any of the providers I’ve mentioned today is engaging in the support, encouragement, and also providing you the accountability we all sometimes need to make change happen. A good health coach will help you weigh all your options, know what your options are, encourage you to have open, honest conversations with your doctor and in the end, respect your decisions without judgement. They really hold your hand and walk you step by step through your whole gut healing journey.

Just like all of the providers we discussed today, Health Coaches specialize. If you are looking for someone to help with your IBD challenges, you don’t want a weight loss coach or an exercise and fitness coach. Sure, some of these types of goals can be part of your health coach experience, but you’ll want a coach who is very familiar with IBD. Of course, you know I’m one of those coaches and I’d love to chat with you to see if we are a good fit to work together, but there are others as well. Don’t hesitate to interview them to find the coach that works best for you.

In fact, with all of these types of providers, an interview is a great idea. Most offer 15-min free phone chats to see if they work with the types of issues you are bringing to them. A while back I did an episode all about finding the best doctor for you. Before you seek out one of these providers we’ve talked about today, you might want to give that episode a listen or a re-listen to help you find the best provider or providers for you.

Remember, healing takes a village. Surround yourself with all the help you can get. If you want to check out that episode, where I help you find a doctor you’ll rave about, that’s Episode 44. I’ll link to it in the show notes.

Now the good news about all of the practitioners I mentioned today, ones that can help you further understand your personal 3-legged stool, can give you suggestions for how to move forward with true and lasting healing, is that they don’t practice cover up medicine. It’s their goal, 100%, to get underneath the surface to bust open a healing regime that works—long term works. Isn’t your life worth that?


Let’s review your provider options for beyond medicine healing one last time before we wrap up.

The integrative medicine doc who combines the best of western medicine with the best of eastern wholistic treatments.

The functional medicine provider who really looks under the hood to appreciate all the root causes that went into your current status, they look at you as a whole person, not just one organ.

The naturopath who is a trained physician believing in your body’s inherent ability to heal.

The dietician or nutritionist who specializes in a gut healing approach to food and supplements.

The health coach who helps you sort out all your options, gives you ideas to consider regarding IBD healing through food, lifestyle, and mindset and then supports you unconditionally when you choose your own path to healing.


Which are you going to call on first?

Check out the links in the show notes to help you get started and remember that all of these providers can work as a team to help you heal. You may have a functional medicine doctor and a nutritionist. Or you mind have an integrative medicine provider and a health coach. Find the best combination that works for you.

I’ll leave you with this—we all need a gastro—they are another valuable member of our team. You might be an IBD gal who relies on your biologic or your immunosuppressive therapy. But it doesn’t have to be the end all be all for you. I’ll argue that if you just rely on that, you are missing out on so much that life has to offer.

We’ve got to grab your IBD at the root and give a good shake to truly find lasting healing and lasting peace. These types of providers can help you get there.

In this now three-part series, we’ve tackled what got you here in the first place. It may have seemed weird for us to start there, we’re talking about IBD treatment! But trust me, you can’t move forward with treatment effectively until you know how you got to where you are today. The 3-legged stool.

In Part II, we talked about the providers you’ll want to seek out to become your partners on this transformative journey. Next up, getting released this coming Monday, it’s time for Part III it’s the last part of the equation. The 9 possible root causes you’ll want to bring to the attention of these providers when you reach out. Do you have all 9? The chances are crazy slim. I’m willing to bet that. In my experience with my clients, most people with autoimmunity and IBD have anywhere from 3-5 root causes. Next episode, I’ll go over the nine with you and help you figure out which are playing the biggest impact in your life. I’ll also give you some general guidelines on how you can begin to tackle some of those big root cause challenges. That way you’ll be well on your way when you seek out a provider who can help you clear it all out—all of those roots.


I’ll see you Monday. Don’t forget, that’s when I’m also releasing your Moving Beyond Medicine Provider Directory. The one with Crohn’s and colitis tested providers who are ready to help you get started. Can’t wait for that. You’re going to love it! Be sure to download and listen to Episode 91 to get your hands on that.

Until me meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy gut healing journey.

Chat soon!

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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