What influenced your interest in becoming a dietician?
The biggest influence was my passion for food. I’ve been a big food lover ever since I was a little kid! I also learned about the importance of health at a young age. Since I was 13 years old I’ve had chronic headaches and it inspired me to want to work in health care. One day in high school I learned what a dietician is — someone who uses food to help people be healthy. From that day on, I knew I was going to become a registered dietitian.
At what age were you diagnosed with IBS?
I was diagnosed 7 years ago when I was 21 years old. I had just started my Masters degree to become a dietician when I caught a bad stomach bug. I was sick for over a week, and afterwards, my gut was never the same. My doctor diagnosed me with IBS soon after and I learned how to manage my symptoms while being a full-time grad student.
Living with IBS, what advice do you have for people struggling to cope with their diagnosis?
You don’t need to suffer alone or be ashamed of talking about IBS. It’s a very common digestive disorder and there are many options for managing symptoms! Nutrition plays a major role in IBS. Get your IBS nutrition tips from a registered dietitian who specializes in digestive health. Consider trying the Low FODMAP Diet, which is a medical diet designed to help people identify which foods trigger their IBS symptoms. The Low FODMAP Diet changed my life and helped me feel well enough to finish school and achieve my dream of becoming a dietitian.
Anything else you would like to share with Canadians?
If you are trying the low FODMAP diet, check out my website for free recipes, tips and a printable low FODMAP grocery list. Low FODMAP Canadians is a free Facebook group that is run by my admin team of Canadian digestive-specialist dietitians. My cookbook The 28-Day Plan for IBS Relief: 100 Simple Recipes to Soothe Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is available at Amazon and Indigo/Chapters.