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Nutrition Update with Guest Blogger and Nutritionist Brittany

PSC Partners Seeking a Cure


Hello PSC Community!

I’m Brittany, a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and former All-American collegiate swimmer living with ulcerative colitis (UC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). I will be guest blogging for PSC Partners with the mission of empowering others to alleviate symptoms of their disease by making simple dietary and lifestyle changes to dramatically improve their quality of life.

When I was diagnosed with UC at the age of 14, I was 20 pounds underweight with severe iron-deficiency anemia and my entire colon and part of my small intestine contained inflammation. At the time, I didn’t know what to eat because I felt like I was always getting sick no matter what I ate. I remember eating a spicy chili my father made that, while delicious in the moment, I quickly regretted eating as I was running to the bathroom for the next 24 hours with diarrhea. Because UC had such a significant impact on my childhood, I decided to pursue a career in nutrition to learn more about which foods might make me feel better and which I should avoid.

Looking back, I wish I would’ve had a dietitian who could have helped me avoid foods that were clearly aggravating my symptoms and who I could have relied on to help me choose foods that reduced the risk of flare ups. Now, as a registered dietitian, I’m making it my mission to share my knowledge and experience with those who need it most. If this blog helps even one person make dietary changes and feel better, then I’ll have done what I’ve set out to do.

Diet changes 

I have dramatically improved my diet-related symptoms of UC since high school by making modifications to my diet. For example, I used to get terrible migraines almost every day but once I started drinking significantly more water (more than the daily recommended value) I became migraine-free. These migraines were caused by dehydration which only became apparent when I took into account all of the fluid I was losing from sweating during swim practice as well as the water-loss from my daily 20+ loose stools.

Every year, since changing my diet, my colonoscopies have shown decreasing inflammation throughout my colon. I attribute this to taking my medication religiously and the dietary and lifestyle changes I’ve made. My last colonoscopy showed that most of my colon is colitis-free and is actually healthy!

Primary sclerosing cholangitis 

Just as I felt comfortable that my UC was under control, I was diagnosed with PSC in the spring of 2016. It felt like the rug was pulled out from under me because it’s scary not knowing what challenges lie ahead. After the initial shock of diagnosis and going through somewhat of a grieving process, I decided to change the negative perspective I had and instead leverage my education and focus my energy on helping others with gut and liver conditions make healthy dietary changes just as I have done. While a healthy diet may not cure me, good nutrition can help reduce symptoms and improve my disease outcome. My mission is to share my knowledge and experiences with others who are suffering with UC and PSC and encourage them to take control of their disease and improve their lives.

Future blog posts

Stay tuned for a “how to” guide for nutritious eating for people with UC and PSC and for some of my favorite recipes. I’ll also share my personal experiences with making the dietary changes I recommend. If you’re interested in a particular topic or want to share your thoughts, I invite you to please write a comment below. I would love your input on blog topic ideas!

Eat well, be well,

B

Brittany Roman-Green is a licensed dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer.  She is the owner of her private practice in Boston, Massachusetts and specializes in gut and liver conditions.

 

 

18 thoughts on “Nutrition Update with Guest Blogger and Nutritionist Brittany”

  1. Susie says:

    I eat a very healthy diet and work in the food industry. Always looking for more tips . Was diagnosed 2 and a half years ago and also have colitis since 2008 .

    1. Billie jo says:

      How can we follow your blog

      1. Hi Billie Jo,
        I’m currently only posting as a guest blogger for PSC Partners but plan to start blogging on my website in the near future. You can also follow my instagram @FuelYourPhysique for nutritious meal ideas if you’re interested.
        Brittany

    2. Hi Susie,
      Thanks for sharing! Keep up the good work!
      Brittany

  2. Coramaye says:

    Had UC for 40years and PCS (diagnosed officially now about 10 yr) no one, I repeat NO ONE, (sorry sore subject with me) sadly has ever talked about how changing up a meal plan could make me feel better..did so on my own a year ago and feel much better. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say

    1. Hi Coramaye,
      I feel your pain! Good for you for taking control of your condition and noticing the changes diet has made. Keep up the great work!
      Brittany

  3. Sharon Porterfield says:

    Our daughter was diagnosed with PSC two years ago. She is 36 years old. She also has hashimotos thyroiditis and some Crohn’s disease. I have been helping her by encouraging her to eat healthy. I am very interested in your blog.

    1. Hi Sharon,
      Oh no! Your poor daughter! You’re making good recommendations though. All three of her conditions can be effected by nutrition. She’s lucky to have you!
      Brittany

  4. Karl says:

    Occasionally I have diarrhea accompanied by maybe 20 jelly bean size dark green pellets. A lot of online crackpots think they are gallstones. I know, or strongly suspect, they are just stool. But why? I can cause the pellets by drinking a little olive oil. It only takes about an hour to form. I’m sorry for such a gross question, but I can tell by reading online that no one knows what this is.

    1. Hi Karl,
      I’m a dietitian so I’m always talking about poop! I’m not a physician so I highly recommend that you talk to your gastroenterologist and hepatologist about this. I think they will likely have you take a stool sample so that they can assess the content of the pellets. To me, it sounds like it could potentially be bile and malabsorption, but again, I’m not a physician, so I would definitely call your specialist so they know what’s going on. I hope everything works out!
      Brittany

  5. Cathy says:

    My son was diagnosed at 13. He’s 24 now . He does not eat a very healthy diet mainly because there are ver few things that do not cause nausea. Any suggestions on transitioning over time into healthier options?

    1. Hi Cathy,
      I’m so sorry to hear he’s not feeling well. I always recommend to make slow transition changes to make it easier to transition to a healthier diet. For instance, when I went to college, I was drinking 2% milk and I slowly transitioned to fat free milk by mixing 2% with 1% and then 1% with fat free. I don’t drink cows milk anymore but I believe this method is a great way to work towards a healthier diet. Another example is if he eats chicken (or any other meat), look at the percent fat he currently eats then slowly move towards leaner meats until you get to the leanest cuts you can find, eventually to 99% fat free- if you can find it. Then, you can flavor it with lemon juice and water (instead of oil), and bake it in the oven with some fresh rosemary for some added flavor. I hope this helped!
      Brittany

  6. Hara says:

    Since there is research pointing towards the gut microbiome being altered in PSC patients, what can be done to normalize the microbiome bacteria? Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kombucha etc) are often highlighted, but which ones are best or most important? And are there others food that would help or support or prevent a healthier microbiome?
    Thanks so much for starting this blog! I’ve consulted a couple dieticians before and they really knew nothing about PSC. Not their fault! But it did make it harder for them to help 🙂

    1. Hi Hara,
      Excellent question!! You obviously keep up to date on the latest PSC research. Unfortunately, there’s not enough research to give a definitive answer to that question. The research is currently stating that people with PSC and UC have low bacterial diversity. What I can recommend is that in order to promote a healthy gut microbiome, introduce as many different types of probiotics and fibers as possible; keep in mind that if you’re in a flare up, you’ll definitely need to reduce the fiber content in your diet! Try eating all different types of foods containing probiotics and prebiotics (bananas, asparagus, oats, etc.) to create a symbiotic relationship, so that the good bacteria will survive over the bad bacteria. This might be a good topic for a blog post because I feel like I could talk about gut bacteria and the microbiome for days haha! I hope this helped!
      Brittany

  7. Nikhil Sehgal says:

    Hello Brittany, thank you for starting this blog. Looking forward to reading about your experiences with diet. My fiancee has PSC and we are switching to the diet outlined by the book The Paleo Approach. Hopefully, you can tell us how helpful can that be and how to tweak it if necessary.

    1. Hi Nikhil,
      Thanks for reading my post! I haven’t read that specific book but I’m familiar with the paleo diet in general. I love that the paleo diet recommends eating less processed foods and less refined sugar and more fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I’ve slowly started eating more vegetarian and vegan meals myself because I get sick from meat but your fiancée might have a different reaction to meats if he doesn’t have colitis. I’m happy to answer any specific questions you may have!
      Brittany

  8. Sally Hughes says:

    Hello, my husband has had UC for 20+ years and now just been diagnosed ( in rather blase way ) with psc. I have been reading these posts trying to get as much info as poss. Thanks to everyone out there- feels better knowing we’re not alone.

    1. Hi Sally,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your husbands diagnosis. You and your husband are not alone. If you’re on facebook there are a few different support groups that I only recently found out about and they definitely help me feel the strength of our PSC supportive community. Although it’s a rare disease, I think the fact that there are less of us, strengthens our connection to one another. You can ask questions to the facebook support groups and get a ton of responses (http://pscpartners.org/support-groups/). You guys are not alone!
      Brittany

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