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What sub-specialist do I speak with to get a dietary plan together?
January 25, 2014 2:51 PM   Subscribe

After years of stomach issues I believe I have found the one food that makes me do a #2 once a day like a normal person. I assume I should talk to a dietician in order to get more information about this success, and to get further recommendations on a long-term diet plan. But is there some sub-specialty of dietician that deals only with these types of digestive issues I should be speaking with?

I'll go easy on the details, but suffice it to say that for many years I have been way too regular in my morning movements. Twice before work is typical; sometimes followed by a third in the afternoon. A few years ago I did an elimination diet where I discovered I was lactose intolerant. Removing dairy stopped the bloating but the movements kept on moving. I'm an otherwise healthy person at above average fitness for my age. Probiotics didn't seem to help either.

The food that appears to be doing wonders is mâche lettuce. Not only is it regulating my output but I can apparently consume dairy at the same time with no ill side effects. I have more than one data point on these results and I've attempted to control for confounding factors.

Given this information is there a sub-specialist I should speak with in the dietary discipline that can infer a complete diet plan for me based on my positive response to mâche?
posted by quadog to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have been way too regular in my morning movements. Twice before work is typical; sometimes followed by a third in the afternoon.

Actually, medical professionals consider normal bowel movement frequency to be anywhere from three times per day to once every three days. By all means, speak to a nutritionist or other specialist...but your BM habits are not weird or unhealthy. Sources here, here and here. I know the first link takes you to a very 1990s site...but it's sponsored by UMass which gives me some confidence.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 3:30 PM on January 25


I think it's super-unlikely that any reputable medical professional is going to be able to deduce a diet for you based on your mâche lettuce experience. If mâche makes you feel good, eat it. Maybe experiment with other lettuces and greens.
posted by mskyle at 3:39 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I don't think the OP is asking for info on how many bowel movements per day is considered "normal." I think the OP is dissatisfied with going to the bathroom so frequently, has found some success in controlling the number of bowel movements they have when eating mâche greens, and wants to know what type of medical professional they should consult to find more foods that will help them achieve that result, whether a dietetics specialist or someone else. Any suggestions along those lines?
posted by limeonaire at 4:18 PM on January 25


That's why I suggested a nutritionist, the medical professional that I think would be best suited to OP's case.

The other part of my comment was made merely because OP sounded somewhat worried/concerned to me, and I wanted to assuage those concerns to the best of my ability. Additionally, because OP's BM habits are within the normal range, I think it might be a big challenge finding any professional willing to develop a special diet, unfortunately.

Awfully sorry, all...

posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:35 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


This is all good information. I don't get the opportunity to talk about this stuff IRL and doing so semi-anonymously on the internet is offering some perspective on what might be considered 'normal'. Or likewise, what a specialist can realistically induce from a reaction to a specific food type.

For example, 1 cup of mache has:
- 80 percent of daily requirements of folate
- 2 grams of fiber
- 4 milligrams of iron
- 250 milligrams of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids

So my question to a specialist might be: which of these could be having a positive effect on my digestion? Thanks for the feedback, everyone.
posted by quadog at 5:02 PM on January 25


Go here, click "Search by expertise" and check the box next to "Digestive disorders," then enter your zip code up top. That's the specialist you're looking for. I don't know what to say about the lettuce, other than it's possible it contains some soluble fibre or something else that is helping you. Lactose intolerance is a funny thing; it can be worse for a time and then improve. I don't know if it has anything to do with the lettuce, or if it's coincidental, but those are good questions for a RD.
posted by Ouisch at 6:14 PM on January 25


Why not start with your GP?

It sounds to me like you're in the range of normal.

It doesn't seem to me that one particular variety of lettuce would have that strong of an affect on your digestive system. I doubt it's anything specific to mache lettuce as opposed to leafy greens of any type.

But talk to your doctor about it. You are unlikely to have a digestive disorder, since from everything you've said, your digestion is perfectly normal.
posted by Sara C. at 6:45 PM on January 25


My intuition with foods that improve digestion is that it's the fibre. But only when the fibre hits the sweet spot which gives it exactly enough bulk to get the right texture of bolus in your guts, and is the right amount of indigestable to feed your gut bacteria.

I have the same foods which work for me for varying lengths of time. Avocados seem to have lost their magic on this front for me.
posted by ambrosen at 2:32 AM on January 26


I can't vouch for his expertise, but paleo guru Robb Wolf is all about digestion and diet.
posted by callmejay at 9:11 PM on January 27


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