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annoying health professionals
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Thread: annoying health professionals

  1. #1
    gooberboggle's Avatar
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    Jul 2010

    Default annoying health professionals

    Just need to get something out.

    Saw my psychiatrist today, I ended up telling her about my veganism...as soon as she heard she told me that she'd like me to get a blood test.

    I even explained to her that I'm pretty healthy anyway (the only thing I know I'm lacking in is vitamin D, as I hate the sun) and that I try to eat foods fortified with b12 - cereals, vegan veggie patties etc.

    I'm sick of people thinking I must be the unhealthiest person in the world because I don't get as much of one little vitamin that you actually don't need that much of anyway!

    I remember reading here somewhere that b12 comes from the soil, animals eating the vegetation which has the b12, so that's how people get it from animals.

    So basically we just need to eat organic veggies rather than animal carcasses! Am I right? Or did I just get that totally mixed up with something else?

    Uh it's been one of those weeks, everyone is bugging me about my choices.


  2. #2
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Default Re: annoying health professionals

    Hmm, the unwashed vegetable option isn't that appealing to me considering some of the other things you might get in the soil But if you are eating fortified foods regularly you ought to be fine I would have thought.

    No harm in having a blood test, I don't suppose, though it is annoying that that's the first thing she thought of.

  3. #3

    Default Re: annoying health professionals

    Actually in a way I'm quite impressed that the psychiatrist knows that there *could* be a connection between vitamin deficiency and (some) mental health issues, most of them don't think beyond handing out medication!.

    I do get what you're saying though, it's very irritating that people do the veggie/vegan=B12/Iron (etc) deficiency sum right away. I'd be very interested to see a comparison chart between the blood scores of 'average' meat-eaters vs 'average' vegans as a matter of fact. Hrm.

  4. #4
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Default Re: annoying health professionals

    I'm sick of people thinking I must be the unhealthiest person in the world
    Show her the link we have about non-vegans being deficient in more nutrients than vegans.

    But we can't really blame the health professionals, as long as there still are vegans out there who are having the same kind of prejudices...
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  5. #5
    Sidhariel's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Amersfoort, Netherlands

    Default Re: annoying health professionals

    I am vegan but I take b12 supplements because when I was omni I got depressions because I had b12 and vit D shortage! It's not a bad thing to be checked at all, if you have a b12 or vit D shortage it can make you feel MUCH better when you get those supplements. I am the living example of this. Since getting supplements for both conditions I have not been depressed or anything for five months now. And my blood is perfectly fine now. Please take her advice in consideration. It might really help you.

  6. #6
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Default Re: annoying health professionals

    I reread gooberboggle's post, and she actually seems to take both vit. D and B12. But "try to eat foods fortified with b12" isn't good enough, especially not for someone who start off with too low levels, and the 'try to' part isn't really convincing either...

    Having said that, the only person around me that I'm aware of (and trust me, I talk with a lot of people about B12, encourage them to take B12 tests and tell me the results....!) that have documented, high B12 levels is my son - who never have had consumed an animal product ever. I of course give him B12 supplements, there's no need to expose a child regular checkups/blood tests, and the reason I give him B12 is that the answer to the following question is... no!

    So basically we just need to eat organic veggies rather than animal carcasses! Am I right?
    That could have been true if you'd live in some forest, drinking water from rivers and exclusively eat fresh plants from good soil - and so on. But even then... we know that there are eg. flame retardants found in mother's milk and all kinds of chemicals everywhere. One of three persons will get cancer at some point, and someone just told me that cancer patients' urine now may represent an environmental problem - the chemicals used in chemotherapy sooner or later ends up in rivers, oceans and otherwise good soil.

    More about water here and here.

    The organic plants you eat may have been exposed to chlorinated water several times before they reach your intestines. They may be more than four days old when you eat them, so if they had any B12 to start with, the levels have already started to decline. While organic is great, it's no guarantee for the nutrient levels in food. And maybe the plants you eat don't even belong to the group of plants and plant products that are claimed, by some, to contain B12.

    There are people who have been living well on a vegan diet for decades without problems, and there are people who B12 deficient (or insufficient) when they go vegan. And if you 'hate the sun', as you say, you have a B12 absorption problem anyway, because B12 needs vitamin D and calcium for absorption.

    B12 comes from bacteria, but bacteria aren't what they once were. Our bodies contain more bacteria than cells, but humans constantly try to kill them - both the good and the bad ones. 'Antibacterial' is everywhere. And all the antibacterial products we use sooner or later end up in water/soil. Ironically, many (circa 40%) of those who eat products that we know contain B12 have low B12 levels as well, even if they eat a lot of food with B12 in it.

    B12 is "the vegans' folate"...: circa 90% of all non-vegans have low folate (B9) levels according to the last study I saw, and an equal number of vegans who don't take supplements have low B12 levels. The difference is that while many non-vegans also have low B12 levels, few vegans have low folate levels.

    There's a very valid reason for vegans not having good B12 levels: our sanitized and denaturalized society. The reason all these non-vegans have low folate levels is that since they eat animal products, there's simply not enough room/hunger for them to also eat the amount of plants products they need to get good folate levels. The average mixed diet/"SAD" (standard American diet) just doesn't provide enough folate and other nutrients they need.

    Some facts from Wiki: Folate deficiency is such a massive problem that eg. Australia started to fortify all flour from 2009. New Zealand may do it as well. The UK Food Standards Agency has also recommended a general fortification. Folic acid food fortification became mandatory in Canada in 1998, with the fortification of 150 g of folic acid per 100 grams of enriched flour and uncooked cereal grains. In 1996, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published regulations requiring the addition of folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, corn meals, pastas, rice, and other grain products.

    The types of reasons many countries now fortify flour etc are rather similar to the concerns vegans have with too low B12 levels: risk of neural tube birth defects, too high homocysteine levels and so on. And back in the day, when organic plants of the right type probably would have been all we needed to get enough of both B12 and B9, the topic wasn't really an issue for anyone: not only didn't humans know what B6 and B9 was bak then, but there was no such thing as food that wasn't organic. Humans have been eating non-organic food for only a tiny fraction of our evolutionary history.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  7. #7
    Tish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: annoying health professionals

    Hi Gooberboggle,
    I understand your feelings about the psychiatrist asking that. It can be frustrating when you feel things are wrongly attributed to your veganism.

    In saying that, they always tend to look at everything to rule out any physical causes (e.g. vitamin deficiencies, urinary tract infections etc.) so I think he/she was maybe just trying to make sure they were getting you the right care and not overlooking anything.

    Best of luck

  8. #8

    Default Re: annoying health professionals


    I can definitely understand your feelings, how right away the dr. heard you were vegan and wanted you to get bloodwork. I don't think a lot of people realize that many vegans are very educated about nutrition and how we stay on top of our diets to make sure that we're getting all the vitamins/minerals we need. I guess a lot of people just assume we cut out animal products and that's that, that we don't pay a lot of attention to how healthy we're eating. Which couldn't be further from the truth in a lot of cases... at the same time I also think that's good that she asked too, because it shows that she's a good doctor and ruling out any potential problems..

    Since you aren't a big fan of the sun, are considering taking vegan vit D supplement? From what have I learned so far, I think that being deficient in Vit D can cause a low immune system, depression, etc...

    IMO I don't think it would be a bad thing for vegans to check their bloodwork every once in awhile to check for b12, vit D, iron, etc.. its not just vegans that need to check these things because any type of diet can be deficient..I think depending on the doctor some of those tests are common when anyone gets their yearly checkup, they like to see your bloodwork. Although I can definitely understand why you got annoyed though. I like Korn's idea, you could print out a page or two of the studies showing non-vegans as more deficient than vegan and bring it in next time..

  9. #9

    Default Re: annoying health professionals

    As a vegan AND macrobiotic practitioner I don't believe in supplements...if AT ALL possible. We should be able to balance our systems with zero processed foods and supplements if we try hard enough to understand our personal needs and work on them.
    All I'm saying is not to be lazy about balancing your system. I think far too many people know that supplements are out there so they opt for the quick fix rather than doing the work.
    I often try and check myself from time to time to be sure I'm not getting complacent about my health needs.
    To understand the Yin/Yang..or balancing act is vital to your mind and body. http://macrobiotics.co.uk/yin.htm

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