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Digestive Health and Wellness

A Gutsy Girl Gives Hope to Women Struggling with Digestive Issues

Photo: Courtesy of Makayla Rae Photography

Four years after receiving a colitis diagnosis, Sarah Kay Hoffman endured a long and difficult IVF cycle that didn’t result in pregnancy. It was 2012 and she felt alone.

“I desperately wanted to create a community where women, even if they choose to sit in silence behind a computer screen, could feel a sense of belonging. I purchased agutsygirl.com and then continued on with a journey I could have never predicted. I was open, honest, and transparent about it all. Eventually, A Gutsy Girl became not only a community, but also a trusted resource.”

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Ending the stigma

Unfortunately, women are often embarrassed by their digestive problems. Hoffman says it was only through opening up that she was able to discover that IBS and IBD issues worldwide are common.

“They are normal, but the longer we wait to normalize them, the longer it will be for full healing to occur,” said Hoffman, who believes there’s no one way to see improvement.

“As women, we expect to be treated as individuals, so if we expect to be treated as an individual, then how can any specific template ever fit your healing journey?”

Achieving ultimate healing

To feel better, Hoffman said a proper diagnosis is critical. What you eat is also important, and that doesn’t have to mean fat-free, low calorie, paleo or vegan choices.

“I’m talking about the diet that is conducive for you and your own gut-healing journey.”


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Altering your lifestyle also plays a role but can be the most difficult challenge.

“This includes sleep, how you eat, managing stress, dealing with any past or present circumstances and emotions, household cleaning supplies, feminine products, etc.”

Understanding what works

In 2014, Hoffman experienced small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, resulting in fatigue, perioral dermatitis, and a bloated stomach. To fight it, she took specific herbs, supplements, and antibiotics and avoided high-FODMAP foods, such as apples. Now healed, she consumes greens and prebiotics, and does short, high-intensity interval workouts.

To keep track of gut healing and health, Hoffman maintains a journal. She follows a sensible  intermittent fasting routine, and practices meal spacing. Hoffman also takes four supplements each day and refuses to diet.

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“Though I don’t eat a ton of dairy and gluten, they are no longer forbidden food groups. I do intentional breathing, take long walks and never eat when I’m under a lot of stress.” 

Said Hoffman, “I believe, because I know first-hand, that when you heal your gut, you heal your life.”

Follow Sarah on Instagram at @agutsygirl.

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