Crohn’s Fitness Food
Solocast with Stephanie Gish: Meditation, Fasting, Fitness (E51)

Solocast with Stephanie Gish: Meditation, Fasting, Fitness (E51)

February 17, 2020

In today's episode, I'm sharing an update on what I've learned over the past few months about meditation, fasting, supplementation, and how it all affects my Crohn's.

After our vacation in November, I went off the rails throughout the holiday season with regard to my diet and fitness routine...and I learned a few lessons in the process. Since then, I've been increasing the types of foods I eat, discovering what fasting window works best for me (alternate daily fasting vs. one meal a day), and started a daily meditation practice.

I talk about the benefits I've noticed from meditation and fasting; how a combination of fasting, CBD oil, and Intestinal Fortitude supplements have once again relieved my first signs of a flare up; I share a few of my favorite resources (from supplements to meditation); and extend an invitation to join us in the Vivante Health Community. 

Links & Resources from the episode:

Intestinal Fortitude Supplements (Anti-Inflammatory, Probiotic, Gut Lining Repair)  

Vivante Health Community (focused on gut health, lifestyle, and microbiome)

Heart Wisdom Podcast with Jack Kornfield

Joy On Demand by Chade-Meng Tan

Mind Hacking Happiness by Sean Webb


Aras Toker, Crohn’s Warrior and Vivante Health Community Host (E50)

Aras Toker, Crohn’s Warrior and Vivante Health Community Host (E50)

February 3, 2020

In today’s episode, Aras Toker shares his journey with Crohn’s Disease. For six years he battled flare ups with numerous medications and sought the help of three different doctors. But his symptoms only progressed. In 2014, he developed a fistula that connected to his sacrum and left him unable to stand for more than 10 minutes at a time due to the pain. The fistula required surgery, which included rerouting his intestines to give that portion of the bowel time to heal and an ostomy.

It was after his surgery, when his last doctor presented him with medication options for continued treatment, that Aras knew he needed a different path. Having tried other biologic drugs with no success, the last medication available also came with severe potential side effects, including brain tumors. It was then that he began researching holistic options and found a naturopathic doctor in his area.

In 2015 Aras met with his new doctor, who immediately started him on an intense, six-month plan that focused on four main pillars of nutrition, stress management and mindset, movement, and social connection. He methodically completed elimination diets, removing and reintroducing foods back into his diet, and made practices like meditation, mindfulness, and journaling a part of his everyday life.

His inflammation markers dropped, his energy and quality of life came back, and in 2016 he was healthy enough to have his ostomy reversal surgery. With the success of his own personal healing journey, Aras wanted to share his experiences. He began blogging about his story, connecting with other people who battled chronic illnesses, and ended up building an entire community and network of patients, caregivers, and experts in autoimmune diseases.

While he still shares his experiences and writes for Medium, he’s finally taking his passion for gut health and community to the next level. In 2019, Aras partnered with Vivante Health where he’s now building an online community of members who are interested in incorporating nutrition and lifestyle changes into their healing journeys.

Aras Toker

Vivante Gut Health Community
Interested in making nutrition and lifestyle changes a part of your healing journey? Join like-minded patients, caregivers, and experts in the free Vivante Gut Health Community:

Episode support:
Cellercise Rebounder:
Intestinal Fortitude Supplements:
(10% OFF use code CFF10)

Michael Simmons, Crohn’s Warrior and Food Challenge Competitor (E49)

Michael Simmons, Crohn’s Warrior and Food Challenge Competitor (E49)

January 20, 2020

In today’s episode, Crohn’s Warrior and food challenge competitor, Michael Simmons, shares his IBD story. From his first Crohn’s symptoms in 2008 to his ileostomy surgery in 2017, he’s now not only raising awareness for ostomy patients, but also raising the bar for eating without a colon.

From Remicade infusions that put him into anaphylactic shock to medical marijuana, Michael talks about the various treatment options he’s tried and what led to his decision to finally have his ileostomy surgery. He tried various diets over the years, from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to the Low FODMAP Diet, in combination with medications, but never reached remission.

During his hospital stay after his ileostomy surgery in 2017, Michael had the idea to start doing food challenges. Having had such a restrictive diet over the years, it was a fun way to start enjoying food again and to show others that surgery didn’t mean continued sacrifice with food. He immediately began advocating for ostomy patients and started his Instagram account to show what life after an ostomy was like and to raise the bar for eating without a colon.

Just five months after his surgery, Michael did his first food challenge. Since then, he’s been documenting his #bagvsfood challenges. From giant stacks of pancakes, burritos, and pizza to the Lulu’s “Texas Ranger” Chicken Fried Steak Challenge right before his interview with me, he’s showing that an ostomy doesn’t have to hinder life. Though he doesn’t let anything stop him from trying a food challenge, there are a few obstacles that are difficult to overcome. Speed eating is off the table, since it’s critical to chew food with an ostomy, and he always listens to his body. The goal, he says, is to have fun, not end up in the emergency room.

Surgery has given him control of his life and put food back on the table! In addition to his Instagram, Michael has just started a YouTube Channel to go into greater detail about ostomy life and even document his food challenges.


Instagram: @mic_flare
Watch the Lulu's Challenge on my CrohnsFitnessFood IGTV! 


Mic_flare ostomy collage


Episode support:
Cellercise Rebounder:
Intestinal Fortitude Supplements:
(10% OFF use code CFF10)

Renee Taylor balances western and holistic medicine in her Crohn’s journey (E48)

Renee Taylor balances western and holistic medicine in her Crohn’s journey (E48)

January 6, 2020

Describing her Instagram as “a young gal’s adventures with Crohn’s Disease & other chronic illnesses,” Renee Taylor continues her IBD advocacy on today’s podcast where she shares her Crohn’s journey and how she’s seeking to find the balance between western and holistic medicine.

Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease while a junior in college, Renee shares her many ups and downs over the past two years. Renee was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis as a child, so she’s no stranger to battling chronic illness. But, since being diagnosed with IBD, she’s faced some of her biggest challenges yet, including flare-ups and erythema nodosum episodes that are so severe that she can’t walk.

Renee talks about her medication history, from her first few (and only) days on prednisone to finding immediate relief with Remicade. But relief was short lived as she failed out after a few months and then switched to Humira. Once again, however, she started to reject Humira and it was then, around July 2019, that she decided to get serious about her lifestyle and began focusing on changing her diet and reducing her stress levels to help manage Crohn’s.

While fitness has always been a part of Renee’s life, she stresses the importance of re-evaluating what fitness looks like after being diagnosed with IBD. As she describes in the interview, sometimes fitness must be put on hold during intense flares. She talks about how she’s learned to celebrate the small daily victories and reminds herself that the flares are temporary. Overall, she feels better when she gives her body the chance to sweat and move and fitness gives a much-needed routine and structure to life with a chronic illness.

During flares, she tries to hold on to a sense of normalcy, even if it’s just reading a book or connecting with a friend. She’s learned to adapt her diet to include foods she tolerates and avoid common inflammatory foods like corn, soy, and gluten. Renee has also found the power of investing in her interests and not being afraid to follow her passions, one of which is advocating for IBD patients.

Through her advocacy, she has found a sense of normalcy and connection to those fighting the same battles. This month, she’s starting a collaboration with Avery Rosenbloom from @talktummytome on Instagram called “What the F Wednesdays.” They’ll be diving into the abyss that is early adulthood in a series of Instagram live videos. The first episode just launched yesterday, January 5th, on her Instagram (@killinitwithcrohns) and future episodes will be recorded every Wednesday evening.

Follow Renee on Instagram: @killinitwithcrohns


Cellercise Rebounder:

Pineapple Clothing Leggings:
(20% OFF with code: STEGIS)

Stella Rose Carr shares her Crohn’s journey and positive outlook (E47)

Stella Rose Carr shares her Crohn’s journey and positive outlook (E47)

December 23, 2019

In today’s episode, Stella Rose Carr shares how she’s managed to keep a positive outlook and a good sense of humor while battling Crohn’s Disease for most of her life. Officially diagnosed at eight years old, she recalls what it was like to face her first colonoscopy as a child and how IBD impacted her life from elementary school through college.

At 13 years old, she had six inches of her small intestine removed. While things did improve after that, she still found herself sick often from a compromised immune system. Stella opens up and talks about her recent decision to come off of the Humira she was taking in order to try different medications that could offer less frequent injections. Her body struggled for about a year when she switched from Humira to Stelara and she eventually went back to Humira, without the same relief as before, and is now hoping to find remission with Entivyo.

Still battling flare ups and symptoms, Stella shares how she’s been able to keep both her sense of humor and overall positive outlook while battling Crohn’s. She gives a lot of credit to The Painted Turtle–a camp for kids with serious medical conditions–and how the opportunity to attend helped her build her confidence and made her comfortable talking about her disease and how to explain it to others.

Though she’s always been active, Stella talks about how the role of fitness has evolved in her IBD journey. When Crohn’s prevents her from giving 100%, she incorporates meditative bodywork, breathing, and low-intensity activities like hiking, yoga, or just stretching into her days when her body is run down. She also shares her tips and the importance of communicating your disease needs with your supervisor or co-workers and how she focuses on making it through flare ups.

Stella’s advocacy for IBD began when she was just a child. While attending The Painted Turtle helped her practice explaining what IBD is to other people, she used opportunities like her elementary school science projects and high school projects to talk about Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. During high school, she was also recognized as the Honored Hero for her local Take Steps walk. Today, she continues talking about IBD using social media and online platforms to share both general information and her own personal story and what daily life is like with Crohn’s.

Keep up with Stella at: @stellar.carr
Podcast: Trust me I’m funny


Intestinal Fortitude Supplements: 
(10% OFF use code CFF10)

Cellercise Rebounder: 
($80 Bonus Coupon Holiday Special)

Stephanie Gish on the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast with Gin Stephens

Stephanie Gish on the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast with Gin Stephens

December 9, 2019

I recently had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed on the Intermittent Fasting Stories Podcast with Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. Fasting has been one of the things that has truly been life changing in my never-ending quest to manage Crohn’s Disease. Practicing it gives my gut time to rest; allows my body to heal and repair itself; has given me a better relationship with food; and–in an unexpected twist–it has also taught me patience, appreciation for quality, and a desire to remove more clutter (emotional and physical) from my life. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle.

In this interview, I talk with Gin and share how my diet has evolved from childhood to where it’s at now. We talk about how I went from eating nearly all processed foods to focusing on a bodybuilding/figure competition diet and how everything changed when I had to start juggling what I could tolerate with Crohn’s. My dietary journey has taken me down keto, carnivore, and now intermittent fasting–where I’m finding joy eating food again and keeping both my health and weight in check.

I share how my fasting journey evolved from an unfocused approach that was difficult at first to the clean-fasting approach I take now that allows me to easily go 24-36 hours without eating. I enjoy more foods now than I ever have before and don’t have to worry about counting calories, macros, carbs, fat, protein, or anything at all. Fasting has actually released the control that food had on me. I no longer obsess about being on a diet or how something will affect my metabolism, and every day I’m incorporating more foods that were previously off limits because of Crohn’s.

I hope you enjoy this interview with me and Gin as we dive deep into my fasting journey and how it’s playing a critical role in my Crohn’s management today!

Learn more about Gin Stephens and the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast:

Sylvia Tam, Ulcerative Colitis Warrior and Founder of Beviva Foods

Sylvia Tam, Ulcerative Colitis Warrior and Founder of Beviva Foods

November 25, 2019

In today’s episode, Sylvia Tam shares her journey with Ulcerative Colitis and how it led her to starting Beviva Foods, a gut-friendly snack company centered around IBD patients. She spoke about her decision, after a colonoscopy in 2011 confirmed Ulcerative Colitis, to focus on her mindset, dietary changes, and family traditions in Chinese medicine that has allowed her to avoid medications in the management of her IBD.

Over the years, Sylvia has relied upon herbs–such as ginger and turmeric–to help control symptoms during flare ups and has learned to balance life and manage stress through practices such as meditation and qigong. After being diagnosed, she focused on her diet and eliminated inflammatory foods and foods that were hard to digest–raw vegetables, legumes, tomatoes, seeds, dairy, and (eventually) gluten–and found relief with a simple trick of eating little and often.

As a wife and mom of three, she plans meals around the foods that she and her family can all enjoy and keeps things simple and fast with air fryers and all-in-one appliances. She also teaches her children the importance of good nutrition and how to cook–each one has their own specialty in the family!

In learning to juggle all the demands of life, children, and IBD, Sylvia lives by the four Bs of success: Body, Being, Balance, and Business. She sets realistic habits for her body, going to the gym, walking the dog, or just being active during the day. She uses meditation to focus on being and finds creative ways to communicate with her family–from text messages to notes in her children’s lunch boxes–during their busy schedules. The final B of Business is about discovering and declaring; learn something and tell someone. Which leads into her own personal fifth B, Beviva Foods!

In 2018, Sylvia launched her company Beviva Foods. She focused on what the consumer wanted, did market research, focused on ingredients that were good for the gut, and just re-launched her brand this summer with her PURPO all-in-one cereal, sweet potato chips, and granola. She’s created “food with PURPOse” that gives consumers a convenient snack on the go made from real food and quality ingredients focused around the purple sweet potato.

Sylvia lets her favorite quote by Vivian Greene guide her through the ups and downs and challenges she faces with IBD, “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain.” And to her, IBD doesn’t simply stand for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, it means Incredibly Brave and Determined.


Beviva Foods: (Use code CFF15 for 15% off your order)

Social Media:

Links from the interview: (purple fleshed sweet potato grower in CA) (functional food research) (recommendation from gut health coach) (free guided meditation app)

Pineapple Clothing (Use code STEGIS for 20% off your order)


Kiersten Thomson (@theformerfoodie), leverages the power of food to battle Crohn’s

Kiersten Thomson (@theformerfoodie), leverages the power of food to battle Crohn’s

November 18, 2019

In today’s episode, Kiersten Thomson shares her journey with Crohn’s Disease and how she leans on the power of food to help manage her symptoms. Diagnosed in 2017, she described herself as stubborn and decided against taking the medications her doctor prescribed after a colonoscopy confirmed Crohn’s. Her doctor, at the time, was adamant that food did not play a role in managing IBD, yet her instincts kept telling her different.

Not willing to accept the idea that food didn’t matter, she sought the help of a functional medicine doctor. For the next year, she did well. She cut out inflammatory foods like sugar and gluten and kept to a strict diet. But despite her best efforts, in late 2018, she developed a microtear in her colon. The intense pain sent her to the hospital and she was informed she would need immediate surgery.

In a surprising twist however, on the day of her surgery–just minutes before–her surgeon came in and recommended that she not have the surgery. Instead, he told her that she could avoid the surgery if she took medications and followed exactly what he said; she took his advice and followed his plan. Kiersten went on a round of steroids and was then able to start Humira injections, with the help of her first doctor who was able to assist her with the paperwork for Humira’s patient assistance program since she and her husband were self employed and didn’t have traditional insurance.

Humira helped her symptoms to calm down for most of the past year, but toward the end of that first year, the effectiveness was already starting to lessen. Kiersten shares her recent decision to come off of medication–from insurance to family planning–and talks about her renewed effort in focusing on her diet and adhering to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. While food has always been a passion for Kiersten, it also became a part of her identity. She talks openly how Crohn’s has challenged her emotionally and created difficulty in figuring out who she was...a former foodie.

She’s now embracing a new path, a new reality that has been shaped by Crohn’s. She’s sharing more of her journey, advocating for those with IBD, sharing research and information on her social media, and now revamping her blog to focus on what lies ahead with new SCD recipes and life with IBD.

Follow Kiersten at:


Intestinal Fortitude Supplements:

Cellercise Rebounder:

Shawn Bethea (, IBD Warrior and Advocate

Shawn Bethea (, IBD Warrior and Advocate

November 11, 2019

In today’s episode, Shawn Bethea shares her IBD story from her first diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis in 2009 to an eventual diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease this year. She’s been through medications, surgery, and countless diets and has finally learned to navigate life with IBD.

Shawn talks in depth about her ostomy surgery, describing the full year of research she did and countless back-and-forth decisions on whether to move forward. Finally–among all her searches–she found someone online in 2014 sharing her own personal ostomy story. It was then that she reached a point of comfort with her decision and was ready for her own.

In 2015 Shawn had her ostomy surgery and six months later had her j-pouch surgery. It was finally after the surgery that she had her life back and began to live again. Before the surgery, Shawn didn’t have any “safe” foods. Everything was a trigger for her, it was only a question of how severe. Though she doesn’t have any limitations on what she eats now, she looks at life differently and says, “you only get one j-pouch!”

Seeking ways, in addition to medication and surgery, to feel her best, Shawn follows a pescatarian diet, focuses on her mindset and has learned to listen to her body and accept support from others when she needs it. She is now an active IBD advocate, regularly attending conferences, serving on patient panels, blogging, and openly sharing her journey. Shawn encourages all IBD patients to build their support system, to ask for help when you need it, and to always aim for better!

Instagram, Twitter, Youtube

Facebook, Chronicallystrong


Troy Parsons (@flaredupfitness), IBD Warrior and Advocate

Troy Parsons (@flaredupfitness), IBD Warrior and Advocate

November 4, 2019

Today’s guest is Troy Parsons, Crohn’s Warrior and IBD advocate. Diagnosed 10 years ago at the age of 17, Troy has faced adversity, enjoyed accomplishments and successes, and suffered failures. But, through it all, he has continued learning, seeking health, and is ready to face any challenges that the next 10 years may bring.

Since a young age, Troy has always been into sports and nutrition for performance. But after his diagnosis, food became less about enjoyment and more about fueling his body. He shifted his mindset away from eating for pleasure to learning how to best manage his Crohn’s while providing his body with the most nutrition possible. His mantra, “nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.”

It’s taken him years of trial and error to discover what his trigger foods are and how to prepare other foods so they are more digestible. His healthy lifestyle, combined with surgery and medication, finally has him in a good spot with his disease under control.

Troy shares his experiences with elimination diets, meditation, fasting, and other tools he turns to during a flare up, such as bone broth, liquid diets, and smoothies. He also talks about how he’s learned to listen to his body over the years–resting when necessary and using practices like yoga or meditation when his body isn’t up for an intense workout. No matter what you do, however, he encourages everyone to find an activity that is fun and keeps you active and to do something you enjoy single every day.

After starting his blog and sharing his journey online, Troy became involved with Oshi Health and has been continuing to raise awareness for IBD.

Oshi Health: IBD Tracker & Magazine
Track your IBD symptoms and medication schedule, read IBD articles, and ask the experts your IBD questions in the Q&A section.

Follow Troy:
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook: @flaredupfitness