The intricate relationship between how food and nutrients interact with the digestive tract captured my attention early on during my dietetics training, and I realized that nutritionists can play an essential role in helping people managing a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders. I think every gastroenterology practice should have an expert GI dietitian on staff, and research confirms that patients with functional GI disorders who have access to multi-disciplinary care (including dietitians) have better quality of life outcomes compared to patients who only have access to their gastroenterologist alone. Most people with digestive issues recognize that certain foods or eating patterns can make their symptoms better or worse, though they often don’t know why. Even people who have a clear diagnosis are often given lists of all the things they *shouldn’t* eat, but have a hard time knowing what they *can* eat. I love helping people and I love talking about food, so working with patients on navigating their food options to land on the healthiest, most enjoyable diet that they comfortably tolerate is incredibly rewarding for me.
What are your areas of special interest and expertise within gastroenterology?
I am an evidence-based practitioner who specializes in helping patients manage bloating and other symptoms of functional gastrointestinal disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia (FD) and chronic constipation. I have expertise in helping identify and manage non-allergic food intolerances, both common ones and less common ones. These include carbohydrate intolerances—sucrose, fructose, lactose and other FODMAPs—as well as food chemical sensitivities like histamine or salicylate intolerance. I happen to have celiac disease myself, so I’m also pretty expert in the ins-and-outs of the gluten-free diet.
Do you have any special honors, recognition, or achievements in your medical career that you would like to share?
I’m the author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer (St. Martin’s Press), which is the first-of-its-kind self-help book for people suffering from chronic bloating aimed at helping readers identify the cause of their symptom and adjust their diet to manage symptoms. When the book launched, I appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and Live with Kelly & Ryan, and got to explain to Ryan Seacrest why airplane travel makes him feel so bloated! As a nationally known expert in GI nutrition, I lecture frequently at national, state and local dietetics conferences on a variety of topics related to clinical nutritional management of digestive disorders.
What do you and your family enjoy doing during your spare time?
Between work and raising two children in elementary school, there never seems to be enough “spare time”! Our family’s happy place is at the beach in Rhode Island, and we love spending summer weekends there with our extended family cooking up a storm and getting ice cream after a long day playing in the sun. During the year, I spend a lot of time volunteering in my community, and am particularly involved with the local immigrant and refugee populations in Rockland County and New York’s Capital District. I also love to read, and belong to several book clubs at any given time. Historical fiction and science/non-fiction are my favorite genres.