In today’s episode, Ryanne Sullivan, shares her 20-year journey with IBD. Diagnosed with both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, she’s learned to manage her symptoms and achieve remission through nutrition and lifestyle. At age 14, she started treatment with medications, like many others, using steroids and 6MP to try and control inflammation and symptoms. But, she often found the side effects of medications to be worse than the IBD itself.
Over the years, Ryanne has found stress to be a major trigger of her flare ups. Right out of high school she started working full time and living on her own, but the stress brought on yet another flare. Remicade helped to put her back into remission, however, it was short lived and soon after she was back to battling Crohn’s symptoms.
After the Remicade failed, her aunt introduced her to “The Maker’s Diet” by Jordan S. Rubin. It focused on bringing nutrition back to the basics of real food, grown in nutrient-dense soil and improving the microbiome. The book kicked off her journey to discovering how she could control inflammation from within. Since then, Ryanne has only had a few flare ups due to the stress from each of her three pregnancies and with the knowledge and experience she’s gained over the years (and continues to gain!), she was able to get right back into remission.
Ryanne focuses her diet around foods and supplements that help reduce inflammation, including plenty of fruits and vegetables and grass-fed meats. Her family eats the same and follows a healthy lifestyle with her, though she does try to let her kids be kids and enjoy the occasional bowl of ice cream and Goldfish crackers :) She’s learned to listen to her body and knows what the first signs of a flare up are for her, which gives her a chance to head off a full-blown flare up by sticking to the basics and giving her gut a chance to heal. Her go-to methods and supplements include intermittent fasting/gut rest, aloe vera capsules (or juice), Protandim® Nrf2 and Nrf1, prebiotics and probiotics, easy-to digest foods and soups, golden milk (made with almond milk, turmeric, black pepper, ginger, and cinnamon), and dandelion tea.
As many of us with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis know, genetics play a role in IBD. Recently, Ryanne’s 8-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s and they’re working together to help give her the same level of control and quality of health. Ryanne talks about what it was like to have open and honest conversations about taking a holistic route with her daughter’s pediatrician and gastroenterologist. While medications are not off the table, they are hoping to avoid them. Ryanne’s advice for other parents with children diagnosed with IBD: keep a food journal, learn everything you can about the disease, learn to talk to doctors openly, and get involved in the community!
To keep up with Ryanne and her IBD journey, follow her on Instagram at: