How I Became An IBD Dietitian
Today we are introducing our newest dietitian, Danielle! Plus, stay tuned for a juicy Q&A.
Hi everyone! I’m Danielle, a Registered Dietitian with IBD. I’m excited to join this team at the Crohn’s and Colitis Dietitians and tell you how I became an IBD dietitian. ]Let’s dive in!
I Am An IBD Focused Dietitian with Crohn’s & Celiac Disease
I am originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I worked in foodservice in the Saskatoon hospitals for many years and loved the fast paced environment and my coworkers.
However, I always had an interest in dietetics and that interest came to fruition when I packed up my bags and drove across Canada to attend university in the small town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Q: What motivates you?
A: “I am motivated by people. I enjoy connecting with others, listening to their stories, and helping them in any way that I can. I also enjoy working in a fast paced environment as it helps keep me on my toes!”
Moving to a new province for school was not easy, but it made life exciting (and stressful), and gave me experiences I never thought I would have. Exploring Nova Scotia waterfalls, enjoying the fresh seafood, and spotting seals in the harbor were a nice change from the prairies of Saskatchewan.
It was through school that I connected with a dietitian blogger in Toronto who also taught other dietitians his craft. It was because of his social media that I found Ashley and the Crohn’s and Colitis Dietitians’ Instagram where I would learn more about IBD and eventually begin work with her and her team. My dream job, really!
Q: Do you have a morning ritual or routine?
A: I am currently taking baby steps to my ideal morning routine. I currently get out of bed by 615, immediately hit the start button on my coffee maker, slowly get ready for the day, and rush out of the house to head to work. I am working on getting out of bed by 6 am and adding a quick morning stretch session to get my day started.
My Diagnosis Journey
In 2011 I was told I was lactose intolerant. Like most memes on the internet show, I continued to consume dairy products and suffered gastrointestinal side effects. Fast forward a few years later and more side effects began to show up.
I felt pretty unwell; low in energy, multiple trips to the bathroom a day, and had significant weight loss. The doctors had a suspicion that I had Crohn’s Disease but wanted to complete blood work before confirming the diagnosis.
My neighbor also had Crohn’s so I was slightly familiar with the disease. I still remember the doctor confirming that I in fact did have Crohn’s. Of course, as a 14 year old girl who just learned she had a disease, I cried.
And the doctor asked me why I was crying. Empathy and understanding was something he did not possess that day. Years had gone by and for the most part, I had been able to control this disease through diet and medications.
Q: What’s one thing you want to change for the better for IBD patients?
A: “I want to make sure that the focus of any of their appointments is solely on them. It is my hope that all aspects of care are thought of – from symptom management to emotional support.”
I’ve experienced a few hospital stays, a few rounds of Prednisone (ugh), and my first colonoscopy (double ugh), before I was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease. From reading you can see that there is a lot going on in my guts!
However, my interest in the intestines, nutrition, and never wanting to treat a person the way my doctor treated me were the defining moments in moving across Canada to pursue dietetics.
Q: How has your diagnosis impacted your life? How has it helped you work with patients?
A: “My Crohn’s diagnosis has led me to my career path of becoming a dietitian. It has given me a lot of hardships through hospital stays and a tonne of low energy days but without it, I’m not sure if I would be where I am today. Having a chronic illness has helped me empathize with patients. I have been in their shoes, and I can help them through their journey with IBD.”
How Celiac Disease Helped Me Enjoy Cooking
Before I began university, it was my understanding that dietitians loved to cook and enjoyed everything about food. I liked to eat it, but cooking was often the last thing I wanted to do when I was home.
It wasn’t until I began learning more about food and with my Celiac diagnosis having to cook many things from scratch while I figured out gluten free eating that I began to enjoy it a little more. Plus, my husband is a pretty good at home chef, and I can’t have him stealing the spotlight from me! ;).
Q: Who is your IBD support buddy?
A: “My husband! He also has IBD (UC) and it is amazing to be able to connect with someone else who completely understands the hardships of the disease. Plus, it’s also entertaining to be able to chat openly and joke around about our bowel movements.”
Navigating the gluten free world has been interesting. There have been a few too many recipes gone wrong in the kitchen and finding a safe restaurant to eat at can be frustrating! Planning ahead, following gluten free groups, and always keeping a snack on hand has made the transition to gluten free easier.
If you need:
- Inspiration in the kitchen
- Gluten free recipes
- Help navigating the gluten free world
- Someone to chat to about the frustrations of your dietary restrictions, let’s connect!
Q: What have you changed your mind about recently?
A: The idea that your home has to be SPOTLESS before company comes over. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still want our home to look tidy and smell nice but it doesn’t have to be pristine.
Q: What’s been the best compliment a stranger has given you?
A: When I was on my honeymoon, multiple people complimented the jumpsuit I was wearing and it made me feel like my online shopping was definitely worth it haha.
Q: What’s something most people love that you dislike?
A: Warm seats! You know when you go and sit on a couch or chair and the seat is already warm? I absolutely hate it. I have talked to multiple people about this and they find it comforting and cozy. No, thank you! I will get up and move seats if it is warm.
Q: What has your IBD taught you?
A: “It has also helped me understand how resilient I am! IBD is a struggle, but I have learned to manage and live with a chronic disease while still enjoying so many things life has to offer. It has also taught me to learn more about what is going on in my body and to advocate for my health.”
Q: If there was a billboard for IBD patients, and you could add a 1 liner what would it be?
A: “IBD – forever choosing the softest toilet paper possible 😆”
How Can You Work With Danielle?
If you are experiencing a dual diagnosis like Danielle or are ready for more support and guidance on your IBD journey- we are currently accepting patients and would love to work with you. Book a free consultation call here!