This article is sponsored by VSL#3. All opinions are my own.

Something you may not know about me (unless you’ve been following along here on The Healthy Apple the last few years) is that I’ve had IBS for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall being five years old at birthday parties and eating the ice cream and pizza in the 80’s and being stuck in the bathroom. Then it was my 8th grade graduation day where I was in an awful belly bind, followed by my senior year in high school prom where I had to call my mother to go home early and hundreds of other instances where I was doubled over with a bloated belly in the bathroom too sick to move. I was always getting Upper GI’s, Lower GI’s and colonoscopies as a kid and no one ever found anything other than IBS so I just dealt with it. Not fun!

My belly has always been ‘puffy’ and bloated. It’s just been something that I dealt with since I was a kid, and I tried to ignore the pain for many years. In college, over 10 years ago, I started using probiotics to help with my gut bloating and IBS belly aches and have seen huge improvement since then. Fast forward a few years when I landed in the hospital with C-diff colitis, which is deadly, and was given 24 hours to live. After that, you can imagine how messed up my gut was. I could barely eat a thing without being in pain. So, I had to start over from square one like a little baby and eat pureed bland foods. Exciting, right?

That’s when I started diving into learning about the health of my gut (where the majority of our immune system lives) and how to get my gut back in tip top shape so that I could start eating like a human being again.


When I got out of the hospital and was so weak, I needed something to boost my good bacteria and support my body on a daily basis. Many doctors and friends recommended VSL#3 probiotics to me so I had my mother go to the pharmacy to purchase some ASAP. This probably sounds so silly but I fell in love with the packet powder form (by that time in my healing journey I was done with taking pills and was excited to try something in a non-pill form). Honestly, you’re going to laugh at me but I actually looked forward to eating the packets everyday. Probably because they tasted good and it was like ‘food’ for me since I could barely eat anything without being in pain. Each packet consists of 8 strains of live freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria and can be mixed with any cold, non-carbonated beverage or any cold food such as yogurt, my coconut milk ice cream recipes in my cookbook or applesauce. I liked to think of it as Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on my food. And yes, I liked the taste and still do to this day. Call me crazy but I do! The best part is that each packet contains 450 billion live probiotic bacteria. Yes, you read that correctly: 450 billion live probiotic bacteria. Wow, right? Pretty impressive.


So, let me tell you a little bit about this serious probiotic that you totally need to check out.

VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food that’s clinically proven in the dietary management of the serious digestive issues irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis (UC) and ileal pouch and this probiotic must be used under medical supervision. As I mentioned above, when I discovered VSL#3, I had already immersed myself in the health world, but I hadn’t really discovered a probiotic that was strong enough to help whip me back into shape after c-diff colitis. Until VSL#3 came into my life. It’s so powerful that it’s kept in the refrigerator behind the pharmacy counter, so ask them if you’re looking to pick up some. I used VSL#3 everyday for an entire year after c-diff colitis and I cannot even begin to tell you what a profound change I saw in my entire body, especially my gut health and my immune system. Then, came Lyme disease and PCOS and awful hormonal imbalances, which pretty much screws up the gut and bloats the heck out of anyone, so I was back to square one and spent the next few years trying to heal my gut. I sort of forgot about my gut for a bit, even though I was eating super clean and taking very good care of myself. So, when VSL#3 reached out to me last month to try a three week ‘test’ with their potent probiotics, I said YES, YES, YES!!! A little too excited? Maybe. I’ve gone on and off probiotics in general to give my body a break throughout the last few years but I’m ready to start a consistent schedule with the VSL#3 for three weeks. The best part is that I’m going to record a video of my experience to share with all of you and talk to you about how I’m feeling, what’s changing, what’s different and how I’m seeing results with the VSL#3.

Living with IBS

Living with IBS has it’s ups and downs. Before college it was all downs but I’ve gotten better about keeping it under control because I don’t eat fried foods or gluten or dairy or soy or sugar or cold foods or anything else that would trigger me immediately to run to the bathroom and be doubled over in pain. Yeah. Not so fun. So, I’m excited to try VSL#3 for three weeks and report back to you on how I feel. To keep track of my progress, I’ll be journaling how I feel every day and taking notes on the process. Throughout my 10 years of chronic health issues, I always had a small journal where I’d write about how I was feeling but I never documented how I felt on a probiotic so I’m really excited about starting this journey and share it with all of you. I hope to gain some insight into how my gut really works and what’s going on in there when I start taking a serious probiotic like VSL#3. I’ve never JUST done a probiotic without any other supplementation or without trying anything else at the same time so I’m interested to see what I come up with and how my belly feels, of course!

I’m a “scientist” when it comes to my own health- that’s pretty much the only way to heal and see HUGE improvements in your health because every body and everyone is SO different. My best advice is that you’ve got to take notes on what makes you feel good, what makes you feel lousy and what causes reactions. Trust me here. This is so important. I had about 10 journals that documented my daily trials and tribulations but I never even considered using probiotics as a stand-alone ‘test’ so this is really exciting for me. I want you to feel free to ask me questions about VSL#3, the three week journey that I’ll be taking and anything else that crosses your mind. I’m here for you and really want to address the concerns you have about IBS and gut health so feel free to email me or comment below with anything that comes to mind! Additionally, for more information on IBS you can check out my IBS Program. 


IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

You can talk with your healthcare provider about VSL#3, the high-potency probiotic medical food supported by more than 170 published studies and reviews. VSL#3 has the scientific evidence that shows it is a serious probiotic that works, which is why health care professionals recommend it to their patients who suffer from IBS. To manage IBS, doctors recommend using a high-potency probiotic medical food like VSL#3 to get the necessary amount of live bacteria to make a difference in your gut health. As many of you already know, probiotics work in three areas of the gut: the microbial barrier, chemical barrier and physical barrier, which is why it’s so important to take probiotics for overall health and gut health.

If you have Ulcerative Colitis

I’ve never had ulcerative colitis (UC) but I have many clients who have been diagnosed and VSL#3 has helped them tremendously. UC is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the inner lining of the large intestine, which includes the colon and the rectum. The inflammation causes erosion of the lining of the colon, leading to bleeding, production of pus, diarrhea, and severe abdominal discomfort. Ulcerative colitis affects more than 1 in every 1,000 Americans and mostly starts between the ages of 15 and 30. In cases of ulcerative colitis, patients, have been shown to benefit when adding VSL#3® medical food to traditional therapies.



For more information on VSL#3, you can visit their website here. Join VSL#3 on Facebook for giveaways and exclusive offers on Facebook. Check out their series of videos including helpful info about managing IBS & UC on YouTube.


*VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food and must be used under medical supervision.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food for the dietary management of IBS, UC and ileal pouch and must be used under medical supervision. Please speak with your healthcare provider for any specific questions. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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  1. My gastro gave this to me years ago when my IBS was first detected, but I was on so many different medications (mostly trial and error) that I refused to take another thing!

    Ironically enough 10 years later and I’m still battling with IBS, as well as thyroid issues, blood issues, and just overall yuck! I’m bloated constantly – regardless of what I eat even though it’s 90% clean eating! Every time I’m at the pharmacy refilling my thyroid meds, I always see the coupon for the VSL3…I’ve even gone as far as taking a coupon off the counter. I just hesitate out of fear trying anything new because I’m afraid of the “effects” that comes with it (and that’s with anything I take or eat!) I’d be interested in seeing how you feel the first few days and how long it takes to adjust. I too have gone on and off probiotics (I use Jarrows – the Ideal Bowel Support for IBS), I recently just stopped after almost a year because I felt like it was working against me and I needed a break. I even just stopped my digestive enzymes to see how I do without them. Definitely will be following for updates! Good luck!

    1. Hi Ashley, I hear you! So great to hear from you and your journey with IBS, as well. So glad you’re listening to your body. That’s key! Sending you a big hug. xx

  2. Hi Amie, I suffer from UC and am in a terrible flare right now. I came across your book (and bought it) and also your experience with VSL #3. I’ve been on a probiotic for a number of years but it looks like VSL is much more affective. I live in Canada and the only place I can buy VSL is through Costco (they will order it in). None of the whole foods (or health) stores here have it or order it. I’m wondering in your experience has it helped during a flare of your IBS and how long were you on it for? I am a firm believer in achieving good gut flora but I also want to be on a probiotic that will deliver all that good stuff!

    1. Thank you Dawn; thank you for purchasing my cookbook! Yes VSL#3 is amazing. It’s been a game changer for me. YES it helps but my best advice is to start the probiotic long term; you can’t use probiotics only when you have IBS issues. The goal is to populate good bacteria in your gut so that it’s a balance between your beneficial and non-beneficial bacteria so that you do not get unwanted symptoms. Let me know if that makes sense. Big hugs from NYC. xx

  3. Thank you Aimee for sharing VSL #3 ! This was a game changer for me in my treatment for Ulcerative Colitis. I tell everyone who I think can benefit from it as compared to over the counter probiotics and so worth the higher cost. I just want to know what the vsl stands for lol!

  4. Thanks Amie for your comment, totally makes sense. I’ve been on a Probiotic for the past 3 years, Just not VSL #3. I’m starting VSL today. Do you recommend taking in the morning on an empty tummy or before bed?

  5. Hello. A worthy consideration is to read Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha McBride. Well researched and thought provoking. I recommend for anyone to read.

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