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Vegan Nutrition with Jill Nussinow, MS, RD

Jill NussinowJill Nussinow is a Registered Dietitian, culinary educator, cookbook author, speaker and consultant and all around proponent of a plant-based diet. She teaches vegetarian and vegan cooking at Santa Rosa Junior College in California and other places around the US. She has a son who is almost 15. One of her greatest joys is sharing her enthusiasm for vegetables and pressure cooking with anyone who will listen.

I write on behalf of my wife.  We have recently made the transition from vegetarian to almost total plant-based diet although we eat eggs about once a month.  My wife, 57, is enjoying, for the first time in her life, actual weight loss!  It is slow but steady.  However she has begun to suffer from diarrhea on a regular basis and she has a small patch of annoying rash on her lower back.  She is healthy apart from these two problems and continues to work etc.  Her mother, sister and niece all have bowel problems similar to her which is usually diagnosed as "irritable bowel syndrome" (which I have heard described by an allergist as a symptom rather than a syndrome).  Is this a common problem for vegetarians? 

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Irritable bowel syndrome is often associated with stress but in your wife's case, it sounds to me as if she may be having a reaction to something that's now in her diet that was not before. Many problems like the ones that you describe can come from intolerances to foods.

The best way to figure this out, without going to a doctor or Registered Dietitian, is to keep a record of what your wife is eating. You may be able to correlate certain foods with the diarrhea, unless it is now consistent. She may have intolerances to wheat, soy, peanuts, or other common allergens that she wasn't eating as much of before. A gluten-free diet might help.  

The first step in any of this, whether or not, you see a health professional is an assessment so keeping track  of everything that she eats will be beneficial.

Good luck with this, and congratulations to your wife on the weight loss.

Visit Jill's website TheVeggieQueen.com and her blog theveggiequeen.blogspot.com.

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Disclaimer: The advice given here is for eductional purposes only. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
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