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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:09 pm 
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Anek wrote:
I'm glad she sorted out her health issues and found a way to be true to her values and get healthy.

I find it incredible that her MD didn't order her blood tested: it doesn't sound like it was a mysterious illness, just a need to readjust her diet. Any blood test would have shown that. And in my opinion the sad part is that there is then some truth in the "you just need to eat meat to get better": she was lacking something that could have easily come from meat, which would have been "the easy way out". That she found a way to stick to her veganism and get better is wonderful, but I'm afraid it might actually play into the hands of the detractors of veganism. If I am making any sense?


Makes complete sense--had she listened to her doctor, she would have felt better pretty quickly because meat is a really efficient way to get protein and cholesterol. She could have thought veganism was the problem, in that case...but she still wouldn't have known what the actual cause of her ailments was. I don't know why her doctor didn't order bood tests other than she was being dismissive of the vegan. I wonder if she would have failed to order blood tests for an omnivore?

If it hadn't been for her doc not ordering blood tests, I could see where you're going with your question of it eliciting opposition to veganism. But I thought it was pretty clear that the primary reason she suffered for so long was because she didn't have a diagnosis that could have been easily obtained through bloodwork.

I am curious as to the seed regimen her naturopath prescribed, if only because it would be useful to know which seeds might have a hand in cholesterol production. I doubt the lunar cycle part is doing anything but the author also acknowledged that she was skeptical of that. I'm sure a lot of readers might discount her experience because a naturopath found the solution--but I would hope that instead, the reaction would be to look for why the naturopath's guesswork turned out to be spot-on.

The thing I really liked about this article is that it reminded us that yeah, vegans CAN be protein deficient (much as we'd like askers of annoying questions to be wrong all the time)--and then she offered a real-life solution that wasn't meat.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:16 pm 
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tinglepants! wrote:
The thing I really liked about this article is that it reminded us that yeah, vegans CAN be protein deficient (much as we'd like askers of annoying questions to be wrong all the time)--and then she offered a real-life solution that wasn't meat.

Yeah, that's what I liked about it, too. I don't necessarily believe the seed thing and homeopathic stuff, but the idea that she got blood work done and was found to need more fat and protein in her diet and then added that stuff and felt better makes sense to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:20 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
tinglepants! wrote:
The thing I really liked about this article is that it reminded us that yeah, vegans CAN be protein deficient (much as we'd like askers of annoying questions to be wrong all the time)--and then she offered a real-life solution that wasn't meat.

Yeah, that's what I liked about it, too. I don't necessarily believe the seed thing and homeopathic stuff, but the idea that she got blood work done and was found to need more fat and protein in her diet and then added that stuff and felt better makes sense to me.


That's what I took from it, too. Especially since she was doing mostly raw and low fat, and on the surface that sounds super healthy. I've never heard of anyone having low cholesterol! But it's important to know that it could be a factor. Also, I think she just appreciated that someone was actually willing to listen to her and take her seriously, which the naturopath did.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:45 pm 
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IJDI - Naturopaths may receive no formal training, and what training they do receive is not necessarily science-based. Certification of naturopaths varies widely by state--in some states the designation is completely unregulated. Where there is some certification process, it may only apply to certain terms like "Doctor of Naturopathy" or "Naturopathic Doctor" and not naturopath, meaning anyone could claim to be a naturopath.

I've reread the part about her visits to the MD, and nowhere can I find the MD recommending that she eat meat. Not that it doesn't happen, but in this case it was her father, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, who recommended meat, not an MD. Maybe I missed something, though.

Recall that the author was breast feeding over at least some of this time, which could explain at least part of the missed periods. There are many reasons that women have irregular periods, including PCOS, and getting one period after taking some seeds doesn't mean she is cured and certainly doesn't prove that the seeds did anything.

The issue of protein deficiency is still mysterious to me. It is certainly possible to suffer consequences of low protein intake, but "protein" levels in blood do not indicate this. Albumin and prealbumin are the appropriate tests for nutritional status. She may very well have been malnourished as a result of her raw vegan diet after the increased nutritional requirements of pregnancy and breastfeeding, but from what I can tell it is still not clear that the confirmatory bloodwork was ever done, either by her MD or naturopath.

From what she wrote, she saw her MD twice. While it is certainly possible that he blew her off, we should also consider that that is written retrospectively, with the belief that in the end the naturopath was right and the MD really screwed up. Consider that she came in with vague complaints that can be very difficult to sort out. What if the MD had given her a list of warning symptoms and a timeline for followup, which she ignored because she was frustrated and didn't "click" with him? What if appropriate testing was indeed done at that time, and showed absolutely nothing wrong? She might have left that part out, or she might not recall it.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:33 pm 
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Beanitarian wrote:
IJDI - Naturopaths may receive no formal training, and what training they do receive is not necessarily science-based. Certification of naturopaths varies widely by state--in some states the designation is completely unregulated. Where there is some certification process, it may only apply to certain terms like "Doctor of Naturopathy" or "Naturopathic Doctor" and not naturopath, meaning anyone could claim to be a naturopath.

I've reread the part about her visits to the MD, and nowhere can I find the MD recommending that she eat meat. Not that it doesn't happen, but in this case it was her father, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, who recommended meat, not an MD. Maybe I missed something, though.

Recall that the author was breast feeding over at least some of this time, which could explain at least part of the missed periods. There are many reasons that women have irregular periods, including PCOS, and getting one period after taking some seeds doesn't mean she is cured and certainly doesn't prove that the seeds did anything.

The issue of protein deficiency is still mysterious to me. It is certainly possible to suffer consequences of low protein intake, but "protein" levels in blood do not indicate this. Albumin and prealbumin are the appropriate tests for nutritional status. She may very well have been malnourished as a result of her raw vegan diet after the increased nutritional requirements of pregnancy and breastfeeding, but from what I can tell it is still not clear that the confirmatory bloodwork was ever done, either by her MD or naturopath.

From what she wrote, she saw her MD twice. While it is certainly possible that he blew her off, we should also consider that that is written retrospectively, with the belief that in the end the naturopath was right and the MD really screwed up. Consider that she came in with vague complaints that can be very difficult to sort out. What if the MD had given her a list of warning symptoms and a timeline for followup, which she ignored because she was frustrated and didn't "click" with him? What if appropriate testing was indeed done at that time, and showed absolutely nothing wrong? She might have left that part out, or she might not recall it.


It's entirely possible that she "forgot" that her dr. actually did listen to her, did ask for her participation in her treatment, did get testing done that missed the things it's designed to test for. However. While it is not irrational, and is even frequently helpful to consider alternative perspectives to a given anecdote, it is usually pointless to consider "what if it's the opposite of the facts given?"

Yes, she only saw her Dr. three times (once "a couple months" after giving birth, once 6 months after that, and once over a year and a half in) from what she wrote, and yes, her complaints don't immediately register to any of us as cholesterol and protein deficiency. However, and she quotes her Dr (I know, I know, she didn't take a tape recorder in with her, so how can we trust it, amirite?), as saying it's "typical new mom stuff." If they first think it's a virus, and later say it's "typical new mom stuff" that goes on for over year and half into the symptoms, I wonder how long it's supposed to last?

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:32 pm 
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I didn't say anything was the opposite of what she said. I was talking about recall bias, meaning details might be forgotten or remembered differently depending on the outcome.

Another issue is that if she didn't feel she was being taken seriously by her MD, she could have sought a second opinion from another MD.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:39 pm 
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Beanitarian wrote:
I didn't say anything was the opposite of what she said. I was talking about recall bias, meaning details might be forgotten or remembered differently depending on the outcome.

Another issue is that if she didn't feel she was being taken seriously by her MD, she could have sought a second opinion from another MD.


But the recall bias you mention is "what if, instead of her Dr ignoring her, she had actually ignored her Dr.?"........which is the opposite of what she said/recalls. And yes, in hindsight, she should probably have gotten a second opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:13 pm 
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It doesn't really matter what made her feel better. She's not a scientific study. She's a person who has chosen to share a very personal story about staying vegan under difficult circumstances.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:02 pm 
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mollyjade wrote:
It doesn't really matter what made her feel better. She's not a scientific study. She's a person who has chosen to share a very personal story about staying vegan under difficult circumstances.


yes!

i thought her post was very powerful.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:10 pm 
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I’ll avoid picking at the details of the blog post in hopes of not sounding too much like a judgmental meanie.

It’s a good thing that she wrote the blog post to help people (vegans or otherwise) who share the same approach she does, but as a different-minded vegan, I’ll just say that I tended not to identify with the author.

There’s a set of assumptions at work that parallels many ex-vegan tales due to dietary struggles that tend to raise more questions than conjure any concern for my own vegan eating habits. The deviation from the ex-vegan narrative was that Chinese medicine advice was ignored and that an actual honest-to-Isa blood test was administered.

Perhaps I’m being hubristic, but I feel far less at risk of developing some sort of dietary issue because I don’t assume that a specific style of plant-based eating is a one-size fits-all ultimate-health diet in the first place, a lesson she learned the hard way.

Good for her that she’s still vegan, but unfortunately, I don’t think she’s entirely shifted out of certain thought modalities.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Citizen Ritson wrote:
I’ll avoid picking at the details of the blog post in hopes of not sounding too much like a judgmental meanie.

It’s a good thing that she wrote the blog post to help people (vegans or otherwise) who share the same approach she does, but as a different-minded vegan, I’ll just say that I tended not to identify with the author.

There’s a set of assumptions at work that parallels many ex-vegan tales due to dietary struggles that tend to raise more questions than conjure any concern for my own vegan eating habits. The deviation from the ex-vegan narrative was that Chinese medicine advice was ignored and that an actual honest-to-Isa blood test was administered.

Perhaps I’m being hubristic, but I feel far less at risk of developing some sort of dietary issue because I don’t assume that a specific style of plant-based eating is a one-size fits-all ultimate-health diet in the first place, a lesson she learned the hard way.

Good for her that she’s still vegan, but unfortunately, I don’t think she’s entirely shifted out of certain thought modalities.



I'm fairly certain there was no intent whatsoever to make anyone develop concern for their vegan eating habits, and was instead for people to hold strong in the face of adversity to look at all the factors.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:42 pm 
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Squeak wrote:
Citizen Ritson wrote:
I’ll avoid picking at the details of the blog post in hopes of not sounding too much like a judgmental meanie.

It’s a good thing that she wrote the blog post to help people (vegans or otherwise) who share the same approach she does, but as a different-minded vegan, I’ll just say that I tended not to identify with the author.

There’s a set of assumptions at work that parallels many ex-vegan tales due to dietary struggles that tend to raise more questions than conjure any concern for my own vegan eating habits. The deviation from the ex-vegan narrative was that Chinese medicine advice was ignored and that an actual honest-to-Isa blood test was administered.

Perhaps I’m being hubristic, but I feel far less at risk of developing some sort of dietary issue because I don’t assume that a specific style of plant-based eating is a one-size fits-all ultimate-health diet in the first place, a lesson she learned the hard way.

Good for her that she’s still vegan, but unfortunately, I don’t think she’s entirely shifted out of certain thought modalities.



I'm fairly certain there was no intent whatsoever to make anyone develop concern for their vegan eating habits, and was instead for people to hold strong in the face of adversity to look at all the factors.


She stated pretty clearly in the beginning that she wasn't moralizing, nor was she trying to offer proof of alternative medicine being the end answer. She remained, in the end, skeptical of non-science and even said she has no idea why/how the regimen (part or whole) may have worked.

I, too, think her raw diet was probably the culprit but that is beside the point of the article. The only hard-and-fast point she wanted to make is that, whatever the culprit of a vegan's health issues, there exists one other than meat deficiency and that doctors don't always listen beyond the point of "vegan." We already know that to be true--she was making the point for people who still don't believe that it's possible to remain healthy as a vegan. The narrative itself was summary of what happened to her--she didn't interject much bias.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:05 pm 
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Squeak wrote:
Citizen Ritson wrote:
I’ll avoid picking at the details of the blog post in hopes of not sounding too much like a judgmental meanie.

It’s a good thing that she wrote the blog post to help people (vegans or otherwise) who share the same approach she does, but as a different-minded vegan, I’ll just say that I tended not to identify with the author.

There’s a set of assumptions at work that parallels many ex-vegan tales due to dietary struggles that tend to raise more questions than conjure any concern for my own vegan eating habits. The deviation from the ex-vegan narrative was that Chinese medicine advice was ignored and that an actual honest-to-Isa blood test was administered.

Perhaps I’m being hubristic, but I feel far less at risk of developing some sort of dietary issue because I don’t assume that a specific style of plant-based eating is a one-size fits-all ultimate-health diet in the first place, a lesson she learned the hard way.

Good for her that she’s still vegan, but unfortunately, I don’t think she’s entirely shifted out of certain thought modalities.



I'm fairly certain there was no intent whatsoever to make anyone develop concern for their vegan eating habits, and was instead for people to hold strong in the face of adversity to look at all the factors.


She stated pretty clearly in the beginning that she wasn't moralizing, nor was she trying to offer proof of alternative medicine being the end answer. She remained, in the end, skeptical of non-science and even said she has no idea why/how the regimen (part or whole) may have worked.

I, too, think her raw diet was probably the culprit but that is beside the point of the article. The only hard-and-fast point she wanted to make is that, whatever the culprit of a vegan's health issues, there exists one other than meat deficiency and that doctors don't always listen beyond the point of "vegan." We already know that to be true--she was making the point for people who still don't believe that it's possible to remain healthy as a vegan. The narrative itself was summary of what happened to her--she didn't interject much bias.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:35 am 
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ndpittman wrote:
That's what I took from it, too. Especially since she was doing mostly raw and low fat, and on the surface that sounds super healthy. I've never heard of anyone having low cholesterol! But it's important to know that it could be a factor. Also, I think she just appreciated that someone was actually willing to listen to her and take her seriously, which the naturopath did.


I don't think she specified in her post, but I'm guessing - just guessing! On the internets I'm totally a doctor! - it was her HDL ("good" cholesterol) and not her LDL ("bad" cholesterol). I've gotten low HDL blood test results before and I was totally surprised. Happily this means more avocado for me!


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:42 am 
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Seemed like a cautionary tale to me -- if your MD blows you off, a naturopath will fix you right up!

Also, I think it would be silly to stick doggedly to any diet if you think it is causing you harm, no matter how important the philosophy behind it. I would not encourage anyone to stick to veganism in such a case, nor do I think it is admirable. It is curious that she chose to see a naturopath rather than a registered dietitian if she thought her woes were diet related.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:44 am 
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It was inspiring for me. I let myself get deficient in iron and B vitamins and I'm always feeling really judged by meat-eaters when I explain why I am kind of sick, have lost a lot of weight, and show very visible signs of anemia. I think it is beautiful that she shared so honestly. Who of us actually admit to making mistakes with our diets that create health issues? My feeling is few. It can feel really shameful to be an unhealthy vegan because we want so badly to set the healthy course for others--but most people will come across challenges with any dietary path.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:24 am 
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i think it's totally fine if people weren't as affected by it as others and some people went "naturopath......meh"
everyone is different and has different thoughts and beliefs, etc. even though we all share this tiny percentage of the population we're still radically different people.

i think the important thing is not to bash her or tear her down for sharing her story.

i think the overall message has nothing to do with alternative medicine or naturopaths but more that vegans do get sick and it's normal to question if your lifestyle is making you sick and question your morals.
it's a hard thing to go through.

i really like what vijita said:

" It can feel really shameful to be an unhealthy vegan because we want so badly to set the healthy course for others--but most people will come across challenges with any dietary path."

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:47 am 
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Beanitarian wrote:
It is curious that she chose to see a naturopath rather than a registered dietitian if she thought her woes were diet related.


She didn't ever say that she thought her issues were diet related. In fact, she kinda goes on and on about how shocked she was to find out that they were.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:50 am 
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Fee wrote:
Beanitarian wrote:
It is curious that she chose to see a naturopath rather than a registered dietitian if she thought her woes were diet related.


She didn't ever say that she thought her issues were diet related. In fact, she kinda goes on and on about how shocked she was to find out that they were.

From the post:
Quote:
I would have done almost anything to feel better. Anything. And when you’re vegan, eventually you start to wonder if your diet is part of the problem. Or maybe, everyone else wonders for you. But I couldn’t help it – I wondered too. I talked to my father, who is a well-respected doctor of Chinese Medicine. He advised eating meat. My Qi was weak, he said. “Just a little bone broth?” or, “Maybe some fish?”

“No” I repeated over and over. “Dad, I can’t do that. I’m vegan.” It became a point of contention in our relationship. He saw his daughter suffering and he wouldn’t accept my refusal of his solution. I felt like I was suffering and he couldn’t step outside his narrow paradigm to try to help me. But I’ll admit, his words and the words of everyone else wiggled in, and I worried that they were right. Was I making myself sicker because I was stuck in this ideology?
...
There were other symptoms as well, things that at the time seemed like maybe they were “normal” (in that new-mom sort of way), but as the year wore on and they all got worse, a bigger-picture of the problem began to emerge. My skin was often itchy and dry. I had these extreme mood swings. EXTREME. Often they seemed related to food, which was part of what prompted The Great Grand Diet Trial of 2011. I would get hot flashes, too. Clammy skin. Intense sugar cravings. And of course, anxiety and depression. Lots of anxiety, lots of depression. And eventually by the end of it, complete self-loathing.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:56 am 
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I'm going to mod here because there's a very good chance that the author of this post will see this and I feel like we're getting kind of mean at this point. We have plenty of other threads where we debate various types of medical treatment and that's fine. This is one person's story, though, not a scientific study. We can't really argue with the fact that she feels better now. Let's just try to imagine she's reading this thread and be nice.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:25 am 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
I'm going to mod here because there's a very good chance that the author of this post will see this and I feel like we're getting kind of mean at this point. We have plenty of other threads where we debate various types of medical treatment and that's fine. This is one person's story, though, not a scientific study. We can't really argue with the fact that she feels better now. Let's just try to imagine she's reading this thread and be nice.

It's silly for people to keep saying "this is a personal story, not a scientific study." Obviously no one thinks this blog post was supposed to be a scientific study. However, this is information available for each of us to evaluate. Whenever someone posts something on the Internet, they are inviting discussion and criticism. It's not mean to disagree. I haven't been bashing the author personally, and I haven't noticed anyone else doing so either. I wouldn't be embarrassed for the author to read my posts, and if she is so fragile that she can't handle a little criticism, she shouldn't have a blog on the Internet. There are much scarier and meaner people than me out there. But, if you want this thread to only be for people who think this blog post is the best thing ever, that's fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:28 am 
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But if someone came here and said their MD brushed them off several times over before they went to someone that ultimately helped them, would you really say "well there's a possibility that you just remember it that way" or anything like that?

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:29 am 
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Beanitarian wrote:
ijustdiedinside wrote:
I'm going to mod here because there's a very good chance that the author of this post will see this and I feel like we're getting kind of mean at this point. We have plenty of other threads where we debate various types of medical treatment and that's fine. This is one person's story, though, not a scientific study. We can't really argue with the fact that she feels better now. Let's just try to imagine she's reading this thread and be nice.

It's silly for people to keep saying "this is a personal story, not a scientific study." Obviously no one thinks this blog post was supposed to be a scientific study. However, this is information available for each of us to evaluate. Whenever someone posts something on the Internet, they are inviting discussion and criticism. It's not mean to disagree. I haven't been bashing the author personally, and I haven't noticed anyone else doing so either. I wouldn't be embarrassed for the author to read my posts, and if she is so fragile that she can't handle a little criticism, she shouldn't have a blog on the Internet. There are much scarier and meaner people than me out there. But, if you want this thread to only be for people who think this blog post is the best thing ever, that's fine.


Word to the wise, defensive reactions are not the right way to react to the (very gentle) PPK modding. Idji was just suggesting that maybe we change the tone of the discussion.

Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:41 am 
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Chip Strong

Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:40 pm
Posts: 967
Fee wrote:
But if someone came here and said their MD brushed them off several times over before they went to someone that ultimately helped them, would you really say "well there's a possibility that you just remember it that way" or anything like that?

Sometimes reassurance that nothing serious is wrong can feel like you are being blown off. So, yes, I might suggest the possibility. But the reason that I suggested there might be recall bias is that the author has already gotten her perceived solution from the naturopath, so she is less likely to recall any good things that her MD did. She didn't specifically say, "the MD didn't do any further testing or give me any plan for followup," so I was suggesting the possibility that those things may have been forgotten over the relatively long time since her visit with the MD.

There are bad MDs that blow people off, as well as systemic factors that leave MDs with too many patients and not enough time, so I'm not discounting the possibility that things went awry, but if someone told me they felt like their MD wasn't taking their concerns seriously, I would suggest finding another MD they feel more comfortable with as an appropriate next step.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:46 am 
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Vegan Since Before There Were Vegetables
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:30 pm
Posts: 10632
Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Fee wrote:
But if someone came here and said their MD brushed them off several times over before they went to someone that ultimately helped them, would you really say "well there's a possibility that you just remember it that way" or anything like that?

Exactly. I have no family MD and I haven't had the slightest bit of luck going to walk-in clinics with my weird health issues. I've been dying to see a naturopath because they take absolutely everything into account and spend a great deal of time getting to the root of the problem, but my insurance doesn't cover it so I've been wrestling with the idea of whether or not I should do it. I've settled on a nurse practitioner at a clinic known for holistic care, but I have to wait a few months for my intake because this clinic understandably gives priority to drug-dependent women, victims of violence, and homeless women.

I think Sayward was incredibly mature and thoughtful in her decisions. You have to understand too, that when you are sick, it affects everything. You don't always make the most logical decisions, and I think she really did. I don't always take the best care of myself, though I probably would if I had kids, which is really a wake-up call to get help.


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