Panelist: Erin Slater, RD
Episodes in which Erin Slater, RD appears
I am a Registered Dietitian and IBS-Patient Advocate.
My interest in Dietetics was born out of necessity when I was a sophomore in College at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. I had become quite ill with IBS and Functional Abdominal Pain at 17 years old, a time when one’s life is just beginning.
I had chosen to major in Pharmacy, hoping that I could discover the magic bullet to cure what had taken over my life. More and more often, I found myself evaluating the food that I was eating. What if it was too much gluten? Too much fat? Too much sugar? What were sugar and fat and gluten? It would be one of the best decisions of my life to change course. In my sophomore year, I changed schools and changed subjects. I studied Dietetics through the eyes of someone with severe IBS, abdominal pain, and bloating.
Every day was a struggle to survive. What could I eat? By my senior year I was 20 lbs lighter and suffering. I had gotten scurvy from lack of vitamin C and I had lost pounds of muscle mass. I had to get back on my feet. After teaming up with a wonderful medical team I was on the road to recovery, but not yet out of the woods.
My pain had diminished and my other IBS symptoms began to calm, but I was no longer the person I had been 5 years before. I had been eating the same six foods for two and half years. I had retired my social life, had not eaten in front of anyone the entire time. I hadn’t even gone shopping for any foods other than my six staples for two years. I didn’t know how to order at a restaurant or deli counter. I didn’t know how to choose fresh fruits and vegetables. I hadn’t eaten Thanksgiving Dinner or celebrated a birthday party with my family since I was 16 years old.
This is where my Dietetics Training came in handy. I learned that no foods were off limits forever, but I would have to devise a plan that was tailored to me. I made lists of food I knew I could eat, I made lists of food I wanted to eat, and I made lists of food that I knew would be automatic triggers.
It took 24 months and a lot of hard work, but I did it!
I can eat most foods, with just a handful that are off limits. I have no problem eating out with friends and family.
My struggle and my story is just one out of millions! We all believe there is no hope and yet hope may be just around the corner. It’s all about finding the right professionals. My medical team did wonders for my pain and IBS. The only component lacking was a Registered Dietitian.