While you can find some great information about diet and nutrition online, the most qualified information comes from Registered Dietitians. In fact, your GI or surgeon may refer you to one if you’ve got any questions about nutrition (and they should!).
There are several reasons why someone with IBD or an ostomy would want to work with one.
A Registered Dietitian can (among other things):
- assess your nutrient intake and offer suggestions to help you avoid possible deficiencies.
- help you to create a meal plan that’s more appropriate for flares, strictures or a new stoma.
- offer you personalized dietary goals to help you lose weight (thanks prednisone!) or gain weight (thanks Crohn’s Disease!).
- help you transition to a plant-based diet by offering you healthy substitutes to animal products.
Unfortunately, not all dietitians have experience with helping people who have IBD or an ostomy, and the information they give may not even be very useful. So it’s important to find one who has helped someone like you, and you can do that by pre-qualifying them through various online databases.
Here are a few resources to help search for an RD in your area. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if dietitians are covered or if there are any special criteria that you need to meet before the service is offered/covered.
You can search through a national database on the Dietitians of Canada website at http://www.dietitians.ca/Find-a-Dietitian.aspx
In the United States:
There is a searchable database on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “Eat Right” website: http://www.eatright.org/programs/rdnfinder/
There is also a special site for vegetarian nutrition that includes featured dietitians who specialize in plant-based nutrition. The site is also part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics network, so the “Find a Registered Dietitian” link will take you back to the Eat Right page: http://vegetariannutrition.net/find-a-registered-dietitian/ I’ve contacted several of those dietitians to see if they work with people who have IBD, and some of them do.
In the UK:
Here is general information about finding a dietitian in the UK through a referral from your doctor:
You can also search for a private dietitian in the UK by accessing this site: http://www.freelancedietitians.org/
The Dietitians Association of Australia allows you to search for an Accredited Dietitian through this service: https://daa.asn.au/find-an-apd/
In New Zealand:
Dietitians NZ also allows you to search for a registered dietitian and you’re also able to filter the results for those who specialize in gastroenterology: http://dietitians.org.nz/find-a-dietitian/
For other countries (sorry, I can’t list them all!), you should be able to find online resources by doing a web search, but if you can’t then speak with your doctor (preferably your Gastroenterologist) about getting a referral to speak with one.