Recently I had the chance to sit down with Tamara Duker Freuman, registered dietician and GI nutrition expert. I interviewed her for my podcast, Crohnically Mom, and she provided helpful insight into navigating nutrition and IBD. You can listen to the interview here.
How I was introduced to Tamara was through her newest book “REGULAR”. It is one of the most helpful books about GI symptoms I have ever encountered. Many books focused on addressing GI symptoms focus on things you are doing wrong – the wrong diet, not getting enough sleep, eating “bad” foods, etc. This is demeaning for a reader, especially one with IBD. A lot of the time we have tried everything and it hasn’t worked so the generalized assumption that people with GI issues can “do something about it” is incredibly frustrating. “REGULAR” has a totally different tone that I would describe as empowering.
Tamara starts the book by providing a thorough, yet completely understandable, explanation of how your digestive system works. This is one of my favorite parts of the book and we were only in the first few pages. She breaks down the anatomy in a way that doctors rarely do during a 15 minute appointment or if they do, it usually isn’t communicated in a way that is, excuse my pun, digestible. This knowledge is so crucial because it allows someone experiencing GI symptoms to accurately explain to their doctor what they are experiencing. It also saves them from hours of Google research and perusing through unverified information. This is straight to the point, reliable information about what the heck is going on in your digestive tract.
After the helpful introduction, Tamara guides you through a quiz. The quiz allows you to answer questions about your symptoms and narrow down the chapters that could be most relevant to you. Most people are reading this book not for their interest in GI disorders, like me. They are looking for help, a solution. This quiz helps them get to the most relevant information quickly and because of that, I love this style of book for non-fiction reads. The chapters address a range of GI symptoms/issues from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, to pelvic floor dysfunction, to Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
The IBD section was where I spent most of my time. I was looking forward to hearing Tamara’s recommendations, but I admit at first I was a bit nervous. Usually I get nervous reading any book that mentions “diet”. So often they are filled with unrealistic overhauls of your current lifestyle that put foods into categories of “good” and “bad”. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder in the past, this can be very triggering and also just not helpful. “REGULAR” is refreshing as it doesn’t do either of these things. Tamara explains how foods navigate through your system and how they are absorbed. She never says “do not eat this.” Instead she suggests ways to make certain foods more tolerable (e.g. changing their consistency). You will hear in our conversation, how passionate in her practice Tamara is about providing customized nutrition counseling. She isn’t about just throwing a blanket “fix all” meal plan out there and hoping it works, so she doesn’t do that in “REGULAR” either.
Overall, this book is full of fresh takeaways even for someone who is not new to being a GI patient. Tamara’s approach is meant to leave the reader feeling empowered, whether it’s speaking to their provider, looking for answers to their symptoms, or exploring a type of food they always thought was out of reach. This will now be a “go to” recommendation from me for anyone suffering from a GI condition.
You can hear my in depth conversation with Tamara on this week’s episode of Crohnically Mom. You can also grab Tamara’s book, “REGULAR”, on Amazon.
Mental health advocate.
Sharing my raw and real journey through motherhood and navigating Crohn’s Disease. CrohnicallyBlonde is a place where I serve up my unfiltered commentary on chronic illness, mental health, pregnancy, and motherhood alongside lighter lifestyle content like beauty product reviews, travel tips, and book recommendations. My hope is that by authentically sharing my story I can help others going through similar situations not feel so alone and maybe even laugh along with me.