Introducing: Stephanie Bird, Nutrition & Food Science, Gut Thinker, and Mission Statement

Stephanie Bird - Gut ThinkingI thought I’d update some info about myself, in case you’ve stumbled across this blog on a random journey through the internet. I contribute information infrequently, and also post on Facebook on the Gut Thinking group. I am currently back in school, completing a degree in Nutrition and Food Science, Dietetics, and am in the process of starting my job search, as I plan on starting a career as a food technologist in June, 2013.

Please find my career portfolio (in progress) online here. 

My mission: To compassionately help people with a variety of health concerns find better living through diet changes and supportive strategies including recipes and sharing of knowledge, with a dash of humor if it helps. 

Gut is my co-pilot. Most people know what it’s like to have a “gut feeling.” We work on instinct to make decisions based on what we know to be true

I have spent my life trying to get my diet right because I discovered along the way that what I eat definitely impacts how I feel that day, up to several days after. Sure, I’d heard the whole “you are what you eat” bit growing up, but I hadn’t realized until my late 20s how literal that message is.

For me, that meant the things I was eating weren’t adding up to a healthy-feeling me. In order to change that, I have been on a quest since 1999 to figure out what types of food make me feel good without feeling bored or punished.

This also meant I had to do a lot of research on my own, as I discovered that even most of the health professionals I talked with weren’t aware of the various problems people suffered as a result of eating foods not suited for their best health. Sure, doctors and dietitians knew that if you were diagnosed with celiac disease, you needed to avoid gluten. If they knew about interstitial cystitis, they may have found some of their patients/clients respond well to a low-acid diet. And to those fortunate enough to have a food allergy they tested positively for, as opposed to a food intolerance or other adverse food reaction, then they knew to recommend a diet without that food in it, and could prescribe antihistamines or other treatments to ease symptoms.

However, functional conditions such as dysphasia (difficulty swallowing) or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) aren’t as cut and dried. Dysphasia could be related to eosinophilic esophagitis which is related to allergy (back to not knowing again!) and IBS could be triggered by food or just be the way the gastrointestinal tract misfires.

I have had a fairly restricted diet for the last 13 years and have been challenging that since May of 2012 in order to intensify reactions so that testing will be more conclusive about my condition(s). I have personal experience with sensitivities to many different foods, including gluten and nightshades, as well as seasonal allergies.

I have been studying Nutrition and Food Science, with emphasis in Dietetics, so I can ultimately work with media, researchers, and food companies to help develop and provide information to others who have health issues they may not realize are related to their diets. The didactic program I am enrolled in is at California State University at Chico, and I have also studied sciences at Huntington College of Health Sciences of Knoxville, TN; California State University at Sacramento; and University of California at Santa Cruz. I am currently certified in ServSafe and HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points).

See my LinkedIn profile for more information.

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2 thoughts on “Introducing: Stephanie Bird, Nutrition & Food Science, Gut Thinker, and Mission Statement

  1. I came here googling for “Thinking from guts”. When I try to think hard about anything, like when playing chess for example, I experience a lot of pressure on my stomach muscles. I was wondering if this is some kind of chronic condition, some sort of “mental” deficiency. Does your field of research cover such condition also ?

    • Jerome – I am trying to make these kind of connections myself because I know there is one since there is such a strong physiological connection between the gut and the brain. However, I have yet to find solid evidence of how they are connected. I would start looking into “epigenitics” since there seems to be information as to why we would present with understanding of processing of information differently through our body and why foods affect this. I just learned that dopamine can be affect what appear to be unaffected limbs in people with fibromyalgia so that they cannot effectively use their fingers to use keys and pick up paper, etc., which is not related to your question at all but also seems completely interesting and unusual in the way that things seemingly unconnected actually are. I’ll keep looking into it – that’s something worth studying. Take care! :)

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