Episode 45: Sylvia Tam, Ulcerative Colitis Warrior and Founder of Beviva Foods

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:

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Episode 44: Kiersten Thomson (@theformerfoodie) leverages the power of food to battle Crohn’s

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. 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.

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.

She’s now embracing a new path 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.

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Forgetting Crohn’s (almost…)

Some days, I almost forget that I have Crohn’s Disease. Honestly, I don’t think there’s been a single day since my diagnosis 13 years ago–or even since my first symptoms 17 years ago–that I haven’t thought about Crohn’s or digestive issues. But for the most part, my day-to-day life with Crohn’s is well managed…and although I do think about Crohn’s on a daily basis, there are moments during the day when I really do forget that I am battling a chronic illness, and always will be. Which is why this most recent appointment with my gastroenterologist was a bit of a shock back into reality for me. 

Continue reading “Forgetting Crohn’s (almost…)”

Episode 43: Shawn Bethea (ChronicallyStrong.com), IBD Warrior and Advocate


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. Continue reading “Episode 43: Shawn Bethea (ChronicallyStrong.com), IBD Warrior and Advocate”

Episode 42: Troy Parsons (@flaredupfitness), IBD Warrior and Advocate

Crohn's Fitness Food podcast cover image of Troy Parsons

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. Continue reading “Episode 42: Troy Parsons (@flaredupfitness), IBD Warrior and Advocate”

Episode 41: Alysa Johnsen–Healing Ulcerative Colitis with yoga, mindset, and plant-based nutrition

Crohn's Fitness Food Podcast cover photo of Alysa Johnsen

In today’s episode, Alysa shares how she’s been managing her Ulcerative Colitis through yoga, mindset, and plant-based nutrition. After being diagnosed with IBD and suffering from the side effects of Lialda, she sought the help of an integrative medical doctor. Continue reading “Episode 41: Alysa Johnsen–Healing Ulcerative Colitis with yoga, mindset, and plant-based nutrition”

Cystoscopy: My fears and anticipation vs. what actually happened

Photo of Stephanie Gish immediately after her cystoscopy

Do you ever find yourself loving Google, yet hating it at the same time? That was the case for me as I spent more and more time researching and looking up information during the two weeks leading up to my cystoscopy earlier this month. My last four urine tests all showed blood in the urine, which was actually part of the reason for my referral back to nephrology. And, although the hematuria is most likely due to IgA nephropathy, my doctors wanted to send me to urology just to make sure everything was good there, since–I later learned–all cases of repeated hematuria not caused by urinary tract infections should be referred to urology. Continue reading “Cystoscopy: My fears and anticipation vs. what actually happened”

Episode 39: Jenny Pascoe (@crohnieintheclassroom) talks travel, hypnotherapy, meditation, and fitness

Crohn's Fitness Food podcast cover image of Jenny Pasco

In today’s episode, Jenny Pascoe shares her Crohn’s story and how it took 10 years of battling symptoms before a capsule endoscopy confirmed a diagnosis of IBD. She struggled during those years trying to find ways to manage her symptoms, including numerous dietary changes, and even found herself wondering if it was all in her head, as many of her doctors suggested. Eventually, it took the persistence of her mother to tell her she wasn’t leading a normal life and finding the right doctor to determine Crohn’s Disease. Continue reading “Episode 39: Jenny Pascoe (@crohnieintheclassroom) talks travel, hypnotherapy, meditation, and fitness”

Episode 38: Kristen Furey, 11 Health Patient Coach and HOPE Conference Project Manager

Podcast cover image of Kristen Furey

In today’s episode, the first 11 Health Patient Coach, Kristen Furey, shares her Crohn’s journey. Diagnosed at age 12, Kristen has battled IBD for 13 years. She underwent her ostomy surgery in 2013 and had a total colectomy in 2015. Continue reading “Episode 38: Kristen Furey, 11 Health Patient Coach and HOPE Conference Project Manager”