My Concerned Mom - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 04-07-2016, 05:08 PM
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My Concerned Mom

After being sick with various illnesses* my entire adult life (23 - 41 years old), and after my Mom's breast cancer diagnosis, I decided to be plant-based (entirely no animal products at all) for health reasons in July of 2015. I have noticed a huge difference in my health and my energy levels, and my family and friends can see the changes, too. Since then, I have transitioned away from using animal products as much as possible and almost feel comfortable calling myself a vegan.

In spite of the obvious improvements in my health, my Mom called today and needed to "pass on" her dearly beloved chiropractor's belief that not eating animal products is dangerous: supposedly I won't be getting the proper balance of amino acids! This woman (with absolutely no nutritional training as far as I know!) told my Mom that I will have a higher chance of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease because of my dietary changes (even though the studies I've read show exactly the opposite), and she decided to recommend an "appropriate" diet for me, which should include at least two eggs per week, at least two servings of chicken, and at least one serving of grass-fed beef.

I explained to my Mom that that's exactly the diet I was eating when I was at my sickest. I explained that the health difficulties in studies of vegans were not from lack of appropriate amino-acids, but because of improper omega 3 to omega 6 balance and that I am addressing that by eating 2 tablespoons of flax seeds every day in addition to not eating many processed foods and not using much added oil. I have two Masters degrees and I KNOW how to do research (from actual articles, not from slimy online mysterious "experts").

I feel confident in my choices (or at least I thought I did!), but I started shaking, and got all churned up inside. I didn't realize until I was typing this out that the emotion I'm feeling is absolute RAGE.

* Eating this way has made a bigger difference than anything else could have.

* I don't need the scary anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids and immunosuppressants my Gastroenterologist wanted to give me for Crohn's Disease.

* I can actually FUNCTION as a human being now because I have overflowing energy and positivity again (I got sicker and sicker until I had to fight every day to even get off the couch to take a shower. It was really sad).

* I don't have to obsessively count calories (as I was doing) to maintain a fairly thin frame and I have a healthy relationship with food AND my body.

I thought my Mom was seeing these same things. As I mentioned, she has already had breast cancer. She also is heavier than she'd like to be and has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and chronic back pain. My Dad is in a similar situation, but without the back pain; he has prostate symptoms instead and is constantly being monitored for prostate cancer. My parents are typical for the baby boomer generation with the chronic lifestyle-caused illnesses that are making life less pleasant and that will probably eventually kill them.

I was hoping that seeing the changes in me would encourage changes in them, but I know that they don't particularly WANT to change. They love food. They love going out to eat. They LOVE crap food, packaged food, easy food, quick food, and food with lots and lots of artificial everything ("because it tastes good!") even though they wouldn't admit that. It's all a treat, and every day should be a feast because they can.

I realize that I have changed the rules (again - first I was gluten-free due to Celiac Disease, then I veered away from GMOs and conventionally grown foods towards organics, now I'm plant-based). I realize that they bond over food in a way I don't and never really have. I realize they are significantly older than I am and that their habits are much more deeply ingrained, and I realize that they are afraid of change.

I suspect that this (irresponsible) chiropractor has just given my Mom grounds for not changing anything ever because she now thinks that all nutrition advice is just one person's opinion. And now I'm going to have to fight the "just one egg won't hurt" and "how could chicken be bad when so many doctors recommend it?" battles because of that bossy chiropractor who doesn't even know the science (Though to be fair, I would've given myself the same advice two years ago before I actually did the research myself). And this chiropractor's opinion will weigh exactly the same as my well-informed, evidence-based, factual approach. Actually, her opinion will probably weigh more because my parents don't want to change. But I have not based my dietary changes on OPINION. I have based them on proof, on science, on the majority of the evidence.

If it was truly out of concern for my well-being, I would have liked my Mom to ask, "So what about your amino-acids? I don't even know what they are, but my chiropractor was telling me how important they are and that they should come from meat and eggs. Where are you getting yours since you're not eating those things?" I could have answered that. But instead, to avoid conflict, she just put it out there that her chiropractor didn't think I was eating a healthy diet, and since her chiropractor is a "health professional," that automatically puts me in the wrong (though I believe I have more nutritional knowledge than she does!) And it leaves my Mom off the hook for being pushy or invasive (though she is really truly doing both, though I understand out of love and concern).

While I realize that there are a lot of competing ideas out there and most people don't like trying to figure things out for themselves, it's extremely frustrating to me that people seem to clamp their eyes together as hard as they can to avoid seeing what's right in front of them. All I can do is to keep living and eating how I believe is best and let other people do what they want.

I may send Dr. Greger's book ("How Not To Die") and The China Study to that chiropractor, though . . . but wish I didn't have to pay for them in order to educate someone else (who SHOULD be educating herself!)

I've only been at this for ten months. Anyone else farther down the path have thoughts or encouragement for me?

Thanks!

-Christie

* I have been diagnosed with endometriosis, Celiac Disease, hypothyroidism, Crohn's Disease
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#2 Old 04-07-2016, 05:41 PM
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I am a baby boomer, age 69, and have been a vegetarian for 26 years. I am nearly vegan now. Stick to your guns. I don't have most of the diseases that people my age have and I have none of the chronic diseases that most of my peer group have. I am on only one prescription drug for migraines (which have nothing to do with my diet). This year one of my eyes started a cataract. It is the only age-related problem that I have. I'm at my ideal weight of 130 lbs. and 5'7". I have low blood pressure, low cholesterol levels, no heart disease. Your mother is trying to find a reason to keep eating the SAD (Standard American Diet).
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#3 Old 04-07-2016, 05:53 PM
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Thank you very much for your encouragement and for your story! I want to be like you health-wise when I'm 69!
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#4 Old 04-07-2016, 06:03 PM
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Christie:

First of all, welcome to VeggieBoards. This is a very welcoming community of people who are ready to bend over backwards to help others discover the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based way of living.

Secondly, from your post it is obvious you are a very intelligent person who is familiar with all of the research which shows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a whole-food, plant-based (vegan) diet is the choice for those seeking optimum health. Stick to your guns and don't let anyone, much less uninformed "professionals" like your mom's chiropractor, talk you out of following the course you have set for yourself.

It is an unfortunate characteristic of human behavior that most people won't make major changes in their lives until they face a crisis. You can only do so much. If your parents have a subscription to NetFlix and are able to stream videos on their TV, you might try talking them into watching the documentary, Forks Over Knives. Although I was generally familiar with the idea that a WFPB diet could help with cardiovascular disease, Forks Over Knives introduced me to the research showing animal products play a huge role in promoting cancer and auto-immune disorders. This proved to be the tipping point to get me to go fully plant-based.

I understand your frustration. For Christmas last year I gave all of my siblings and my two adult nieces copies of Dr. Greger's book, How Not To Die, but none of them has made any significant changes in their diets or lifestyles because of it. I just hope it doesn't take a heart attack, stroke, death or illness from cancer, etc., to get one or more of these individuals to make the change which you or I know will vastly improve their health.
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#5 Old 04-07-2016, 07:29 PM
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BobJustBob, thank you for your response and for your welcome! I have already enjoyed browsing the forum for some time and everyone seems polite and helpful. I, too, knew about the heart disease stuff a little, but I really didn't think removing animal products would help with MY diagnoses. I am happy to have been wrong! As you say, it is often a serious scare that leads to change. I am thankful for the illnesses, because not only am I well now, but I believe that changing my lifestyle is preventing me from developing more illnesses. (I am surprised that my Mom's cancer wasn't that for her, but she doesn't allow herself a minute to sit still to think about anything.) Thanks again for your encouragement!
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#6 Old 04-07-2016, 08:07 PM
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Physicians receive very little nutrition education, as you've noted. All mainstream health organizations have stated that properly-planned vegetarian diets are healthy. If your mother's chiropractor doesn't know this, then they are indeed ignorant.

Although it may not help, you might try showing your mother these statements from mainstream, reputable organizations:


From the American Heart Association:

"You don't need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids, as long as sources of dietary protein are varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs. Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain both essential and non-essential amino acids. You don't need to consciously combine these foods ("complementary proteins") within a given meal."
Link: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Health...32_Article.jsp


From the American Diabetes Association:

"Protein is not a problem with a vegan or vegetarian diet when you eat a variety of the many plant foods that provide protein"
Link: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fit...d-protein.html


From the United States Department of Agriculture:

"Protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant-based foods. Combining different protein sources in the same meal is not necessary."
Link: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/tips-vegetarians



I've also had the misfortune of running into a physician who was ignorant about vegetarian nutrition. This physician was even a "lifestyle physician" - one who is supposed to be knowledgable about nutrition. This physician tried to tell me that legumes and grains had to be eaten together, at the same time, in order to supply all amino acids. I was stunned at her ignorance.

_________

“Under the twinkling trees was a table covered with Guatemalan fabric, roses in juice jars, wax rose candles from Tijuana and plates of food — Weetzie's Vegetable Love-Rice, My Secret Agent Lover Man's guacamole, Dirk's homemade pizza, Duck's fig and berry salad and Surfer Surprise Protein Punch, Brandy-Lynn's pink macaroni, Coyote's cornmeal cakes, Ping's mushu plum crepes and Valentine's Jamaican plantain pie."

from Witch Baby, Francesca Lia Block, 1991
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#7 Old 04-07-2016, 08:49 PM
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Thank you, David3, for your thoughts and advice! It's breathtaking how little these basic scientific facts are unknown!
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#8 Old 04-08-2016, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristieJP View Post
Thank you very much for your encouragement and for your story! I want to be like you health-wise when I'm 69!
Stick with your vegan diet and you will probably be healthier than I am.
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