Arm Your Arsenal! and Go to the Doctor?
I’ve done my best to debunk some of the myths surrounding veganism here in Veganland. But we’ve all encountered our fair share of them either through accusatory questions about our protein or vitamin sources or raised eyebrows. But what about the people who are responsible for our health and well-being? What about the medical professionals who are supposed to be educated on health in all of its iterations and forms?
For me, I’ve encountered the worst of the vegan-based discrimination at the doctor’s office. All of the traditional Western physicians I’ve seen since being vegan (and since vegetarianism hit at age 13) have grilled me about how I get nearly all of what they consider to be vital nutrients. How do you get your: iron? protein? B12? Omega 3′s? Insert a vitamin that most people are deficient in here?
I’ve been reflecting on veganism in the face of the medical industry lately because of a positive experience rather than yet another negative one. I recently went to our local Women’s Birth and Wellness Center in neighboring Chapel Hill for my yearly check up. My Nurse Practioner was like an angel sent from heaven, and for once I didn’t get any of the harsh questions or rude glances, and for once when I left I felt good about myself rather than guilty, uncomfortable, frustrated, and patronized. Instead of asking how I got a lot of my nutrients, she asked “So I see here that you’re vegan. That’s great! Do you like nutritional yeast? It’s soooo good right?” When I answered that yes of course I love it, she replied that it’s a wonderful source of B12s and that being vegan is wonderful and just to as long as I eat nooch I’m good to go! What a wonderful feeling to feel validated rather than patronized by a health guru.
So vegans, arm your arsenal! When your doc asks you the pesky questions I had to face until now, here are some replies you can give them:
Iron? Leafy greens! Especially chard, kale, and spinach!
Protein? The same place that those precious animals you eat get theirs from: the earth! Plants are loaded with good nutritional proteins!
Calcium? Quinoa FTW!
Of course they won’t ask about any thing as magical as good fats that come from things like nuts, avocados (yet another reason to eat guacamole!) or antioxidants that come from nearly everything a vegan eats. And if they try and grill you about your cholesterol or blood pressure, don’t even blink an eye! The vegan diet is the only one in the world that is naturally cholesterol free! By eating lots and lots of delicious organically sourced foods we’re just as healthy as can be!
What have you learned from your medical interactions as a vegan?