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How One Woman Ditched Diet Coke and Found a Diet that Worked for Her

September 16, 2019

Mary Ellen Miller*, resident of Durham, NC was experiencing digestive issues and low energy. She was concerned that her diet and habit of drinking several Diet Cokes a day were contributing to her health concerns. Unsure of what to do or where to start, she sought care at Duke Integrative Medicine. Mary Ellen saw Integrative Dietitian/Nutritionist Jill Brown, MS, RDN, IFNCP, CLT. Jill was able to help Mary Ellen modify her diet to meet her health goals in just a few visits. Read more about Mary Ellen’s story and discover how an appointment with a Duke Integrative Medicine nutritionist could help you.

1. Why did you choose Duke Integrative Medicine nutrition services?

I expressed concern about my diet to my primary care physician at Duke and my doctor asked me if I would be interested in talking with a nutritionist. I had never been to one, but I readily agreed. My doctor referred me to Duke Integrative Medicine.

2. What did you like about the Duke Integrative experience? Please describe.

Firstly, upon entering the facility, I was immediately pleased with the environment. The space is neat, clean, peaceful, and secure. Secondly, I did not feel rushed. My Integrative Dietitian/Nutritionist Jill Brown took time to listen to my concerns and addressed each one until I was completely satisfied and understood her feedback and recommendations. She suggested incorporating supplements into my diet that would stabilize my digestive system, and recommended two follow-up appointments. She kept them to a minimum, because she understood that my insurance company did not cover my appointments and I was paying out-of-pocket to see her.

What is Integrative Nutrition?

3. What health goals did you have when you came to Duke Integrative Medicine, and how did your care provider work with you to achieve these goals?

When I came to Duke Integrative Medicine Nutrition Services, I had three primary objectives:

  1. Wean myself off a daily habit of drinking more than 46 ounces of Diet Coke.
  2. Incorporate more kidney-friendly foods into my diet.
  3. Establish a balanced diet that I could easily maintain.

Jill and I discussed each of these goals. I was particularly concerned because I do not like to cook. She helped me think about replacing foods that were not creating a positive impact with ones that would result in a positive outcome for my three goals.

4. How has the integrative approach positively affected your health?

By incorporating the integrative approach into my daily eating, drinking, and supplemental habits, I have more energy throughout the day, I sleep better at night, and I suffer less from digestive complaints. I concentrate on eating fruits and vegetables that are kidney-friendly, like blueberries, chicken, bell peppers, hummus, pineapple, and cauliflower.  I have added an afternoon snack like peanut butter and crackers to give me energy when I typically begin to have low energy. I now sleep better at night by eliminating the evening snack I used to eat, and the magnesium-citrate and probiotic supplements have helped my digestive system.

Read how Integrative Nutrition Helped Ruby Moore Relieve Health Conditions Through a Personalized Diet

5. Can you give an example of how Jill brought a health concern to your attention and the process for the next steps they recommended? How are you doing with this health concern today?

Jill suggested a number of things, but three specifically have helped change my poor nutritional habits:

  • I traded Diet Coke for water. I really wanted to break my soft drink habit, and Jill suggested I reach for water instead. I thought it would be a difficult transition, but it was not. Every time I opened the refrigerator for the Coke, I would think, “water” and immediately fill a glass to drink. Now I drink about 48 ounces of water per day and I rarely drink Diet Coke. “I even still have two bottles of 12 oz. Diet Coke in the refrigerator that I bought before my first appointment with Jill.” Even if I open a bottle now, it takes me two or three days to finish it.
  • I eat dinner later. Jill suggested I eat my evening meal later than I was normally eating between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. By eating later between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m., I tend not to snack before going to bed, and I sleep better.
  • I now supplement my diet with magnesium-citrate and probiotics. As a result, my digestive system is better regulated and I feel better.

6. If you were to recommend Duke Integrative Nutrition Services to a friend or family member, what would you say to them?

My experience at Duke Integrative Nutrition Services was very positive and well worth the expense, especially since my insurance company did not cover the cost of my visits (other insurance companies may cover or partially cover the services). Jill was an excellent sounding board for my concerns and her feedback was simple and comprehensive. Her recommendations were not too difficult to incorporate into my daily routine, which helped me have success.

Duke Integrative Medicine provides customized patient-centered healthcare that combines conventional medicine with complementary care like nutrition. Integrative Dietitian and Nutritionist Jill Brown, MS, RDN, IFNCP, CLT is available to see patients at Duke Integrative Medicine. Jill holds a BS in Education from Texas Woman’s University and MS, Nutrition Science, Meredith College. She is an Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner (IFNCP) and an IFN Academy and a Certified Leap Therapist (CLT) for food sensitivities and intolerances. Jill’s specialty area is Nutrition counseling for specific conditions including but not limited to autoimmune, gastrointestinal, ADHD, depression, migraines, hypertension, hormones, high cholesterol, weight management, chronic fatigue, and food sensitivities.

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Questions about Cost and Insurance? Contact the Guest Services Team

*Results may vary individually. 


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