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 Post subject: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:11 pm 
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I couldn't see that this had been posted already; apologies if I missed it. As I noted in the comments (some of which are wholly predictable; most of them not), I think this was an enormously intelligent and refreshing pushback against the automatic "ZOMG YOU HAZ TO EAT A COW RIGHT NOW!" rhetoric that so many vegans face if we so much as catch a cold. I was reminded of Jonathan Safran Foer relating his Holocaust survivor grandmother's explanation of why she refused an offer of pork, "not even to save [her] life," because "If nothing matters, there's nothing to save." It's nice to see someone arguing worth doing whatever possible to find ways of addressing issues without forsaking one's ethics/morals/ideology/insert-life-informing-concept.

http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2013/01/facing-failing-health-on-a-vegan-diet/

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:03 pm 
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That's a really inspiring article. I love her determination and how it paid off.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Thanks for the link Desdemona. I'm so happy she made that post. It's something I thought about a lot when I was dealing with post-Indian parasite issues (2009-2011), and again with hormonal problems last year. Her 'crisis-of-faith' and then re-dedication (and healing! woo!) are inspiring, make me feel better about the way I dealt with my own health issues, etc. etc. I'm really happy she had the courage to write that and broadcast it to the vegan community. So awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:37 pm 
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Thank you so much for sharing this. So much of what I've gone through in the past two years is paralleled in that story, including low cholesterol. Ultimately, I wound up "cheating" to see if adding some dairy helped me. It didn't, but it did manage to strengthen my resolve.

I've gotten on the road to better health, thanks to some pharmaceutical help, but I'm still not quite where I would like to be. Her story is inspiring and gives me a lot to think about.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:01 pm 
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wow. that's awesome that she shared her story. I also think it's a good story of how all types of medicine have their place. in her case, MDs didn't listen to her and that really sucks, but I believe there's a place for all types of medicine to be used together and separately and this shows that seeking out different types of treatments can be really helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:05 pm 
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Fantastic article. I couldn't imagine what I would do if I was ever faced with a health problem like that especially since the support system here would not be great at all from health professionals.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:51 pm 
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You'd think that someone who bangs on & on about how important veganism is to them would at some point have taken the time to make sure their diet wasn't completely atrocious.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:03 pm 
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JimXVX wrote:
You'd think that someone who bangs on & on about how important veganism is to them would at some point have taken the time to make sure their diet wasn't completely atrocious.
Well, that was helpful; cheers for that thoughtful and sensitive response. If you actually take the trouble to read her blog, you'll see that the author eats very well and mindfully; her issues were fairly specific to her own body. In fact, I believe her point in telling her story is that even if we encounter health issues, there are ways to get (and be, and stay) well within the paradigm of ethical veganism, and that it's worth exploring what those are instead of immediately caving to the automatic response of most mainstream health care professionals: "Oh, you'd better eat some eggs/fish/cheeseburgers because your body needs them."

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:04 pm 
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JimXVX wrote:
You'd think that someone who bangs on & on about how important veganism is to them would at some point have taken the time to make sure their diet wasn't completely atrocious.

So, what do we get to bang on and on about if we get sick despite having a healthy diet? Veganism is not an immediate guarantee of perfect health. You could be a vegan, eat well, exercise, and still develop a serious health condition.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:07 pm 
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JimXVX wrote:
You'd think that someone who bangs on & on about how important veganism is to them would at some point have taken the time to make sure their diet wasn't completely atrocious.

What bad diet are you referring to?

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:52 pm 
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I read this a few days ago and absolutely loved it. I am so glad the author is feeling better. I can't imagine how scary and frustrating it all must have been, and I'm truly awed and inspired by her resolve. Hate to say it, but I was tempted to forward it to another blogger that stopped being vegan for "health reasons." To each his own on that, but I'm glad to know that it's do-able.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:13 pm 
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Wow, what a great story! I think this will be a really important story in the world of veganism--that it's possible to have health issues, resolve them without resorting to eating animals, and that we need to be more transparent as a community about these types of problems instead of denying them or victim-blaming.

I like the incorporation of both science and natural remedies to help figure out what was going on. It sounds like the issue was needing to incorporate more fats and proteins in her diet while abstaining from certain foods for a while to allow her liver to focus on making cholesterol. It doesn't sound like her diet was bad at all. She did say she is a very active person, was a new mom, and frequently ate high-raw . It seems perfectly reasonable that this combined with perhaps her body's genetic predisposition to need higher amounts of certain macronutrients could lead to illness. I'm really surprised the doctor didn't order any blood work, that was a huge oversight!

I remember listening to the podcast ep she referenced and I do wish there was more compassion for people who folks who don't feel tiptop on a vegan diet. I know I tend to be skeptical because some people go vegan for 2 weeks and then decide they feel awful and that colors my view of people who may have legitimate problems. It's a reminder that we need to be more understanding and helpful instead of condescending.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:27 pm 
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I'm glad she posted it. I think it's a good message to anyone trying to go vegan and having a hard time of it. A vegan diet isn't one size fits all.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:36 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
Wow, what a great story! I think this will be a really important story in the world of veganism--that it's possible to have health issues, resolve them without resorting to eating animals, and that we need to be more transparent as a community about these types of problems instead of denying them or victim-blaming.
This was my feeling as well. Omnivores eat well and carefully, get enough exercise, etc. sometimes become ill despite their best efforts to take care of themselves, and I think it's important for people who follow a vegan diet to feel "allowed" to talk about health issues that may arise without being immediately brushed off with "oh, well, it's because you need to eat animal products" or - even worse - being afraid of stigmatization by their own community. This woman was brave enough to step up and address that issue by sharing her own experience, and I admire her for doing it.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:57 pm 
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Amazing story. I'm so glad she recovered from her health crisis while staying true to her beliefs.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:40 am 
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Which markers for protein deficiency is she talking about? My urea is low according to some reference ranges. Doctors aren't worried.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:56 pm 
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wow thanks for sharing that. that was really powerful.
i really related to a lot of it even though i have not experienced health issues quite to that degree.
i feel like all the time anytime i get like the sniffles or the slightest illess that people are looking at me like "oh the sick vegan again. that diet is so bad for you. look at her she's always so sick"

the fact of the matter is i have a shitty immune system. was that way for years and years before i went vegan. every winter i get whatever cold/flu is going around and i get it really bad. my immune system just sucks.

i also havent gained much weight during my pregnancy and i get shiitake for it constantly at work. my dr says im totally fine and is not worried but people at work seem to think i should be much fatter. i just know they are dying to say im not getting enough food or nutrients because im vegan. even the other vegetarian in the office badgers me. she's constantly trying to cram protein down my throat. i feel like walking around with a sign around me that says "my doctor says im fine" or "everyone's body is different"

so i totally feel her when she says the bit about feeling like you always need to be a glowing shining example of "the cause"

i also really identified with how she felt completely marginalized by doctors and waved off like "oh that's just new mom stuff"
that kind of shiitake drives me insane. ive had that happen to me several times in my life.
ive had some wonderful amazing drs in my life and ive also had a bunch that did nothing but make things worse and peas me off. it's so hard to know something is wrong and not be listened to by people who are supposed to be helping you.

im so glad she got her health problems straightened out and is feeling better!!!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:16 am 
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JimXVX wrote:
You'd think that someone who bangs on & on about how important veganism is to them would at some point have taken the time to make sure their diet wasn't completely atrocious.


I just love your contributions.

Mat.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:25 am 
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This is a really great article. I went through something similar in 2010, I ended up not being vegan and going back to omnivore because I was so tired of being iron deficient. I know what it feels like to just want answers and to be willing to do anything to help yourself feel better. Turns out, Vitamins M (meat!), D (dairy!) and E (eggs!) didn't help me at all, in fact quite the opposite. It felt great to return to a vegan diet, and just work harder on making sure I get everything I need for my bodies needs. I got my iron checked a few months ago, and I'm not even in the low range anymore! I'm at optimal! Hurraw.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:43 am 
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matwinser wrote:
JimXVX wrote:
You'd think that someone who bangs on & on about how important veganism is to them would at some point have taken the time to make sure their diet wasn't completely atrocious.


I just love your contributions.

Mat.


Well you know what they about sarcasm.

Some folk may like this article & find it empowering; in which case great, you're very welcome to say so. I just found it a little attention-seeking & self-indulgent.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:47 am 
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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?

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:48 am 
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I have to admit, the article is much too long to hold my interest. I thought from the title that the "health issues" would not be stemming from diet itself, but rather something like Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, lupus, cancer, etc. The author's embracement of pseudoscience and quackery is most unfortunate.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:53 am 
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Quote:
The author's embracement of pseudoscience and quackery is most unfortunate.


Yes, I felt the same way.

Quote:
If I am making any sense?

You are. And again, I felt like this while reading her post.

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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:57 am 
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Anek wrote:
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?

The thing is, at least as far as I could tell from my quick skim of the post, no credible medical professional ever found her to be "sick" in the first place. Now she is taking a variety of unproven supplements and remedies and has made dietary changes, and feels "better." We shouldn't forget about the placebo effect.


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 Post subject: Re: Coping with health issues while adhering to a vegan diet
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:07 pm 
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well, the did blood work and found that her cholesterol was super low and also protein, though i'm not sure what markers they used, but if they used albumin then that should be pretty valid. I'd say getting blood work done is something a credible medical professional would do. homeopathic remedies aside, a naturopath has to go through some pretty intensive training and doing blood work is something that should have been done by an MD, but wasn't because no one believed her about not feeling well. Also, she got her period after 2 years, so that's not the same as just thinking you feel better because of the placebo effect.

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