When a Nutritionist May Help More Than a Doctor


Ever since I got sick in Spain four years ago, my digestive system has not been the same. For a while, I treated it on my own by cutting out food groups such as dairy. Slowly, there were other foods I was having trouble tolerating and I started to notice my digestive issues would affect my mental state, energy levels, and overall immunity.

My experience working with a Gastroenterologist.

I knew it was time to see an expert so I scheduled a few appointments with a GI doctor. I went through a few tests and procedures but nothing concrete came out of them so my doctor was adamant on doing more tests to find the real issue.

She was really looking for a serious IBD like Crohn’s, Celiacs, etc. and she was looking for all the right reasons. However, my gut feeling (no pun intended) was telling me that we may need to take a step back as the issue may be a bit more subtle.

I wanted to talk about lifestyle changes and diet modifications before I went through more invasive procedures but the one time my doctor and I discussed nutrition, all she did was hand me a list of 50 foods I should try eliminating from my diet (aka a low FODMAPs) diet. I was so overwhelmed and discouraged.

I felt like it was time to consult a nutritionist.

When I finally began seeing a nutritionist.

There’s so much information out there on nutritionist and it’s hard to find someone who is right for your personal goals. Luckily one of my friends recommended me to see Mary Vance in San Francisco. While researching Mary’s practice, I could tell Mary was extremely passionate and well-informed about holistic nutrition. She even listed on how she helps people overcome digestive issues so I could tell she was the right person for me.

The first step to working with Mary was to fill out a detailed questionnaire about diet, symptoms, lifestyle, and mental health.All of these factors can affect the gut and she really wanted to see the big picture. I spilled my heart while answering her questions because all of it seem so fitting in terms of what I was going through.

The biggest contrast between working with a doctor vs. a nutritionist is the time you get the spend with the two. A visit with my doctor would be no longer than 10-15 minutes. My first visit with Mary was an hour and a half long! Nutritionists can take more time to get deep and truly understand what can be causing the issue. I’ve learned that gut health is complicated and there is no cure that fits all.

The Initial Remedy

I’ve been instructed to cut out coffee, dairy, gluten, and soy for at least a month to reduce inflammation. I was skeptical about cutting out gluten because I had always assumed for the general population, gluten-free diets were a fad. But I was ready to listen to almost anything to feel better.

Mary knows what she’s talking about because I am already starting to see a difference in my gut health. It’s only been a few weeks and sure I’m not feeling perfect yet, but I feel like I’m getting one step closer to the truth and to finding the right balance for myself.

When I wrote my last post on anxiety and my health problems a lot of you told me how you were able to relate. I’ll definitely keep you all updated with my progress in the hope of providing you a little bit of guidance!

*A nutritionist is a great addition to a doctor but please consult your doctor first if you are experiencing health issues. Please note my opinions and experiences may differ from your own – there’s no one perfect solution!

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