The 4 R’s in Gut Healing - How to Heal IBS


You have heard it from me time and time again that the gut has a huge influence on the rest of our body, especially our immunity, our hormones, our mental health and skin health. Many common symptoms that I see in my practice start in the gut. Whether you have an issue with depression, eczema, an autoimmune condition or simply been diagnosed with IBS, this system to treat the gut is a great place to start. 

IBS - The Umbrella Term:

IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is an umbrella term covering MANY issues that could be going on including leaky gut. With more questioning, a proper abdominal exam and perhaps more testing, we can usually determine the underlying cause of your IBS symptoms. Have you been told you have IBS and you just have to live with it? Fear not, as there IS something you can do. 

What is leaky gut?


Your digestive tract is lined with a thin layer of cells called enterocytes that are connected by tight junctions. These cells regulate what gets absorbed from your digestive tract into your systemic body. When these cells and tight junctions are damaged, from medication, stress, an imbalance in bacteria, irritating food, etc., they are no longer able to regulate proper absorption and either local or systemic problems arise. 

Some signs of Leaky gut: 

  • IBS symptoms
  • eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or other chronic skin conditions
  • autoimmune conditions 
  • seasonal allergies 
  • chronic fatigue 
  • joint pain 
  • anxiety or depression 
  • diagnosed with Candida or SIBO

4R’s in Gut Healing:



It is important to take away the issue first, at least until the gut is healed. This could be stress, food sensitivities, determined by an elimination diet, or bacteria or yeast that has run rampant in your gut. Some testing such as a comprehensive stool analysis or SIBO test may be necessary. 


 It is common with prolonged stress or use of antibiotics or other medications digestive enzymes and stomach acid are low. In order to aid in proper digestion it is important to stimulate these digestive juices. Simple foods hacks may work such as warm water with lemon and ACV (in small amounts), or a complete digestive enzyme may be necessary. 


This means adding the good bacteria, or probiotics, back into your gut, especially if you have been on antibiotics. A good quality probiotics with specific strains is helpful and/or eating fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. I love the local company The Cultured Coconut Kefir. 


This is often the step that is missed most but I find is the most important in maintenance of proper digestion. Even if we take away the initial cause, if the cells are still damaged you will have to continue to be very careful with your diet and lifestyle. I focus on supplements and herbs such as omega 3s, glutamine, collagen, aloe, DGL and zinc. These are taken for up to 6 months for some. 


If we have taken you through these 4Rs in practice and you are still having digestive issues, or systemic issues for that matter, that is an indicator that more testing may be needed to determine the cause and a more specific treatment plan is necessary. 

Have you been diagnosed with IBS or have any of the above symptoms and do not know what to do? Come in for a free consult to decipher whether a protocol like the 4Rs would be helpful for you. 

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: 3pm Hangry Peanut Butter Bites

 Many stollen already ;)

Many stollen already ;)

Hangry anyone? I definitely was before writing this which prompted me to share one of my favourite go-to snacks. When life is a little busier around here it is important for me to have healthy snacks on hand to keep my blood sugar up and my sugar intake down. These peanut butter energy bites fits the bill perfectly. What is great about these is they have protein, fat and fibre in them to balance blood sugar and you can still tweak them to your liking. Are you doing my seed cycling protocol to balance your hormones? Swap the flax seed around with other seeds for the 2nd phase of your cycle. Are you sensitivity to peanut butter or are on a candida cleanse? Swap the peanut butter for almond butter. Since I have to be dairy free I use Enjoy-Life dairy-free mini chocolate chips, which work perfectly. Finally, if you are limiting carbs or grains replace the oats with other ground nuts (process into a flour) or check out my chai-spiced energy bites instead. 


  • 1.25 cups oats (ground into a flour) 
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or ground almonds into a meal)
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed 
  • 2-3 tbsp organic all natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips


  1. Process oats and/or almonds into flours separately and set aside. 
  2. Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and 2 tbsp peanut butter to a bowl and mix until well combined. 
  3. Add oat flour and almond flour and mix. Then add coconut, flax seed and salt and mix. If mixture is too dry add a little more peanut butter. The consistency should be slightly dry but wet enough to form into balls and hold its shape. Finally, mix in chocolate chips.
  4. Roll the dough into balls, approximately 1 tbsp each (or small golf ball) and set on a parchment lined plate. Place the plate in the freezer for about 10 minutes and voila!
  5. Store the energy bites in the freezer and take out for an quick snack or breakfast on the go. 

Do you have a favourite energy bite recipe? Let me know in the comments below! 

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen