Any vegetarian medical professionals out there? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-03-2014, 04:10 PM
 
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Any vegetarian medical professionals out there?

Just curious if we have any doctors or other medical professionals out there who are practicing vegetarians? Your story would be appreciated.
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#2 Old 10-03-2014, 06:45 PM
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My doctor and his wife, who is a chiropractor, are either strict veg or Vegan, I am not sure which. I have never asked, but I assume they are raising their daughter the same way.
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#3 Old 10-03-2014, 07:41 PM
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My degree is in nutrition, though due to some complications with my own health prior to going veg I can't practice. I actually went veg because of my degree :P
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#4 Old 10-04-2014, 08:49 AM
 
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I'm going to school to become a naturopathic doctor and can't wait to start practicing. I had considered just going with nutrition since I'm not exactly young anymore, but I've decided to stick with medicine. By the time I'm done with school, I'll be too old to start having kids of my own, but I can help out my nieces and nephews and maybe even be a foster parent, but that's a hard job.

I've always been interested in health, but didn't always pay attention to my own health. My mom died of cancer in 2004 and I also had my own health problems. I took over as a full-time caregiver to my grandparents until they passed away at the end of 2008 and early 2009. During that time, I was eating a lot of fast food and junk food, not getting any exercise and gained a lot of weight. Then my husband lost his job and we lost our home. I then took the first job that came along which was a live-in caregiver and got to go home once a week if I was lucky. I took care of a mean, nasty, miserable woman who raved to everyone how wonderful I I was and would hate to see how she treated people she didn't like. I was completely miserable and wasn't losing any weight despite eating healthier. I believe this was due to the extreme stress I was under. The woman ended up going into the hospital and I found a normal schedule. I started losing a little bit of weight and taking better care of myself.

One day I was looking at a package of shredded cheese I was using and was surprised at the amount of cholesterol in it even though it was low fat. I had always associated cholesterol with fat and assumed there wouldn't be much cholesterol since there wasn't that much fat. I decided to stop using cheese and switched to vegetarian cheese since my husband seemed to be slightly lactose intolerant anyway.

Not too much later, I saw an Oprah show with Kathy Freston and her vegan challenge with Oprah's staff. I found it interesting and bought her book, Veganist, and then decided to give veganism a try. I planned on still eating meat and dairy occasionally, but just cutting way back. Veganist had a reference to The China Study. I had been doing some research on cancer prevention and had seen other references to The China Study, so I got that and read it. Then I looked at that research and the peer reviews. And then I looked up all the references in The China Study. That's when I decided that full fledged vegan was the healthiest choice I could make.

The weight came off rapidly and my health problems went away. I felt like a new person and shared my experience with just about everyone. I was surprised that my dad supported me and even bought me a Vitamix and a dehydrator to help me out. He hasn't gone completely vegan, but has cut back on meat and dairy and eats more vegan meals.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of people that didn't see the validity of a vegan diet. They already thought I was crazy for recommitting to living a Christian lifestyle, attending a Bible college and maybe becoming a missionary, and for switching to only all natural foods and products. Going vegan was just the icing on the cake. I was now full fledged crazy. People quickly forgot my own results. Sadly, the ones that think I'm the most crazy are also the most unhealthy. One is a really good friend who I'm afraid isn't going to be around much longer if he doesn't do something, but he refuses to listen to me.

Whenever I would recommend something based on what I've learned from reading just about everything on health and nutrition out there, looking at the research and the peer reviews, and from my own experience, someone would always retort with, "Well my doctor told me this..." or "My family member is a doctor and they do this..." People don't realize that most doctors don't know health and nutrition; they know medicine. It made me want to scream. That's when I decided to become a doctor, so I can have the credibility for people to listen.

I didn't know there was such thing as a naturopathic doctor until I decided to become a doctor but use nutrition and natural cures when possible. I was excited to find out about becoming an ND because it doesn't take quite as long as becoming a regular MD since there isn't as much surgical training. I don't want to be a surgeon anyway, and am not looking forward to having to remove people's moles and lipomas as it is.
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#5 Old 10-04-2014, 12:24 PM
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I'm a vegan RN and lactation consultant. I'm in a position to teach some nutrition and healthy eating to newly pregnant women, who are often very receptive because they want the best for the baby. And when I get the rare veg*n patient, I can be encouraging because I have knowledge of veganism.
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#6 Old 10-04-2014, 05:04 PM
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I'm in behavioral health. I was veg because I couldn't afford meat. I always hated eating meat but thought it was essential for health.

For years, the hospital would not allow patients in the eating disorders program to be vegetarian. They said it was part of their ED. Finally they allowed it but made them eat 1 cup of beans plus milks and cheeses at every meal to make up for not eating meat. They said that was the amount of protein needed. (In their defense, these folks were extremely nutritionally compromised.) I couldn't stand eating that much so I thought once I could afford meat I'd go back to it (and hopefully not die of malnutrition by then).

Then I found a book called Diet for a Small Planet. Unfortunately it contained pseudoscience about combining proteins, but the rest of it was great and I felt I had "permission" to be vegetarian.

Beanitarian.
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#7 Old 10-05-2014, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineaa View Post
I'm in behavioral health. I was veg because I couldn't afford meat. I always hated eating meat but thought it was essential for health.

For years, the hospital would not allow patients in the eating disorders program to be vegetarian. They said it was part of their ED. Finally they allowed it but made them eat 1 cup of beans plus milks and cheeses at every meal to make up for not eating meat. They said that was the amount of protein needed. (In their defense, these folks were extremely nutritionally compromised.) I couldn't stand eating that much so I thought once I could afford meat I'd go back to it (and hopefully not die of malnutrition by then).

Then I found a book called Diet for a Small Planet. Unfortunately it contained pseudoscience about combining proteins, but the rest of it was great and I felt I had "permission" to be vegetarian.
Becoming Vegetarian and Becoming Vegan are far more accurate with their nutritional recommendations, though if you really are worried, talk to a professional
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#8 Old 10-05-2014, 06:30 AM
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Diet For A Small Planet was written in the 80's and it contained the best known information at the time, and at the time "protein combining" wasn't psuedoscience but what vegan nutritionists knew at the time to be best. Nutritional science is always changing and growing, which often leads to confusion among lay people and vegetarians alike.

About myself. It would be so cool to work in the field of health and wellness/nutrition. I'm a Registered Nurse working in med-surg nursing in a conventional hospital. We are to teach healthy diet and eating and suggest to our patients to maintain a healthy weight after joint replacement and other surgeries. I emphasize to them the importance of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and if every the subject comes up, will talk about vegetarian.

I became ovo-lacto vegetarian about 25 years ago, and primarily vegan over seven years ago. I say "primarily" because I'd like to say I'm strict but I'm not, esp. when eating out. I do cook and eat 100% vegan at home which is 95% of the time. I do claim "plant based eating".

it's hard not to sound vain, and perhaps it is a little vain, but I like to hold myself up as a living laboratory of long-term plant based eating. I'm 55, have no health issues at all, no nutritional deficiencies, no chronic illnesses that plague my generation like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, digestive issues, cancer or any aches and pains, and have nice skin. My grey hair ages me, but I still get the "you don't look 55" sometimes. There are no guarantees, but I'm betting my lifestyle will serve me well as I age.
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#9 Old 10-05-2014, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by seedgirl View Post
I'm going to school to become a naturopathic doctor and can't wait to start practicing.
Seedgirl, that is terrific - my doctor is an ND and I used to be an associate member of our local ND association! That is the coolest thing! What school are you going to? What a great story!
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#10 Old 10-05-2014, 09:55 AM
 
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Seedgirl, that is terrific - my doctor is an ND and I used to be an associate member of our local ND association! That is the coolest thing! What school are you going to? What a great story!
I'll be going to Bastyr in Seattle in another year. Getting ready to move in with one of the in-laws in a few weeks so I can fix my credit and can get a decent house out there. I've got a lot of hospital bills to pay off. I'm glad to say I haven't been sick since 2011 when I went vegan, not even so much as a cold. I'm tempted to find my old doctors and say, "Look at me now!" One of them told me to find a new doctor if I didn't want to do things his way. I decided not to see any doctors anymore and healed myself.

Rocket, how did you end up becoming a member of your local ND association? I'll have to look into doing the same.

Last edited by seedgirl; 10-05-2014 at 10:03 AM.
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#11 Old 10-05-2014, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tweety View Post
Diet For A Small Planet was written in the 80's and it contained the best known information at the time, and at the time "protein combining" wasn't psuedoscience but what vegan nutritionists knew at the time to be best. Nutritional science is always changing and growing, which often leads to confusion among lay people and vegetarians alike.
Maybe you're thinking of a different book.

Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé was written in 1971. Rather than repeating common beliefs prevalent at the time, this book was the origin of the protein combining myth, which then spread as urban myths do.

Lappé was not a scientific or medical professional--she was a sociologist and environmentalist. She had read 1950s publications about amino acids and extrapolated that "complete" amino acids in meals were necessary because they were in meat. Because they were in meat. Yeah, that's where it all started. She believed you needed meat or its equivalent and then presented an untested idea as fact. Quote from a subsequent edition of the same book:
Quote:
In 1971 I stressed protein complementarity because I assumed that the only way to get enough protein
In 1988, a peer-reviewed paper from the American Dietetic Association asserted there had never been a scientific basis for protein combining. The author tried to find out where the idea had even originated, and said:
Quote:
There was no basis for [protein combining] that I could see.... I began calling around and talking to people and asking them what the justification was for saying that you had to complement proteins, and there was none.
More here.

Beanitarian.
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#12 Old 10-05-2014, 02:45 PM
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Rocket, how did you end up becoming a member of your local ND association? I'll have to look into doing the same.
I got involved after I'd been seeing my ND for a couple of years and then discovered that the practice was (at that time) illegal in my area. Technically, he could be arrested for practicing medicine, for the simple reason that the state medical practice act demanded that doctors have degrees from MD schools or DO schools - it did not include ND at all. There were some problems here and there with NDs being harassed for practicing, and we had one doctor who had a lawsuit brought against him that dragged on years. My doctor had revolutionized my health and helped me out of some really ugly health problems, and he also taught me so much. The idea that he could be put in jail just made me sick, so I went on the warpath. At times it's been ugly - a few years ago, a state rep who had supported us received death threats! Yes, death threats!

We passed a law last year to license NDs, finally, with the traditional medical establishment fighting us tooth & nail the whole way.

This problem is still quite common, by the way, and you will likely hear a lot about it at Bastyr... I wish you tremendous luck. It's a great practice!
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#13 Old 10-05-2014, 03:12 PM
 
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We passed a law last year to license NDs, finally, with the traditional medical establishment fighting us tooth & nail the whole way.

This problem is still quite common, by the way, and you will likely hear a lot about it at Bastyr... I wish you tremendous luck. It's a great practice!
I've seen the list of states and provinces that license NDs, but was under the impression that it was still legal to practice in other states since we have NDs practicing in mine. I'll definitely have to look into that, but I don't plan on moving back to Missouri anyway.
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#14 Old 10-05-2014, 09:39 PM
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Maybe you're thinking of a different book.

Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé was written in 1971. Rather than repeating common beliefs prevalent at the time, this book was the origin of the protein combining myth, which then spread as urban myths do.

Lappé was not a scientific or medical professional--she was a sociologist and environmentalist. She had read 1950s publications about amino acids and extrapolated that "complete" amino acids in meals were necessary because they were in meat. Because they were in meat. Yeah, that's where it all started. She believed you needed meat or its equivalent and then presented an untested idea as fact. Quote from a subsequent edition of the same book:
In 1988, a peer-reviewed paper from the American Dietetic Association asserted there had never been a scientific basis for protein combining. The author tried to find out where the idea had even originated, and said:
More here.
Yes, in the early 1970s I went vegetarian with Diet for a Small Planet, the Moosewood Cookbook, and one skinny paperback with some vegetarian recipes. I was a huge protein combiner, but it was pretty easy, rice and beans etc. I was veg for a year or two and don't really remember why I went back to meat eating.
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#15 Old 10-06-2014, 06:50 AM
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I've seen the list of states and provinces that license NDs, but was under the impression that it was still legal to practice in other states since we have NDs practicing in mine. I'll definitely have to look into that, but I don't plan on moving back to Missouri anyway.
It depends a bit on how the medical law is worded in the individual state. Where I live, by law you could not call yourself a physician, nor could you purport to "diagnose and treat," unless you were an MD or DO (or a dentist or chiropractor). That rules out virtually anything an ND could do except have a casual conversation about "Gee, Vitamin C is really nice isn't it!" And technically, yes, a person could be prosecuted for it (at least one of our NDs was). This, even though we had some 100 NDs practicing in the state... They were doing it under the radar, hoping no one would pursue them or cause a problem. By and large they got away with it.

But that invites some trouble too - because yes, someone could open a clinic (under the radar) and say, "Hey, I'm a naturopathic doctor!" But if there is no regulation of what a "naturopathic doctor" is, or what they can do, then literally anyone could hang out a shingle and claim to be one. The general public doesn't know squat about qualifications, or ND medical schools, etc. There was a case here about 10 years ago of a guy who called himself a naturopathic doctor (in fact he had a correspondence school certificate saying he was trained, not to mention he had diplomas and certificates from bogus organizations). He ended up killing 3 people that anyone actually heard about, there may have been more. But it was really hard to prosecute him until the family of one of his victims finally pressed murder charges. He ended up going to prison for manslaughter... for 3 years. 3 years for killing a 16-yr. old kid - I won't say how, it was apparently pretty horrible...

Anyway, that is definitely something to think about when you graduate and decide to set up practice.
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#16 Old 10-06-2014, 07:14 AM
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Maybe you're thinking of a different book.

Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé was written in 1971. Rather than repeating common beliefs prevalent at the time, this book was the origin of the protein combining myth, which then spread as urban myths do.

Lappé was not a scientific or medical professional--she was a sociologist and environmentalist. She had read 1950s publications about amino acids and extrapolated that "complete" amino acids in meals were necessary because they were in meat. Because they were in meat. Yeah, that's where it all started. She believed you needed meat or its equivalent and then presented an untested idea as fact. Quote from a subsequent edition of the same book:
In 1988, a peer-reviewed paper from the American Dietetic Association asserted there had never been a scientific basis for protein combining. The author tried to find out where the idea had even originated, and said:
More here.
Thanks so much! The copy I have (that I got for 50 cents at a yard sale) was one of the anniversary editions published in the 80's. Nonetheless the point that it contained outdated information is what I was after, and you clarified that much better than me.
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#17 Old 10-06-2014, 10:04 AM
 
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But that invites some trouble too - because yes, someone could open a clinic (under the radar) and say, "Hey, I'm a naturopathic doctor!" But if there is no regulation of what a "naturopathic doctor" is, or what they can do, then literally anyone could hang out a shingle and claim to be one. The general public doesn't know squat about qualifications, or ND medical schools, etc. There was a case here about 10 years ago of a guy who called himself a naturopathic doctor (in fact he had a correspondence school certificate saying he was trained, not to mention he had diplomas and certificates from bogus organizations).

Anyway, that is definitely something to think about when you graduate and decide to set up practice.
I did run into that problem when looking for a naturopathic doctor. So I had a list of the actual medical schools and the agency that certifies them in front of me while looking. I found a lot of people with bogus certificates that probably didn't know any more than I did.
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#18 Old 10-11-2014, 12:00 PM
 
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I recently saw a ND. In order to protect himself, he has his patients sign documents which acknowledge that he is part of an Indian Nation (church) and because of that is outside the bounds of state regulation. A very unique approach indeed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket View Post
I got involved after I'd been seeing my ND for a couple of years and then discovered that the practice was (at that time) illegal in my area. Technically, he could be arrested for practicing medicine, for the simple reason that the state medical practice act demanded that doctors have degrees from MD schools or DO schools - it did not include ND at all. There were some problems here and there with NDs being harassed for practicing, and we had one doctor who had a lawsuit brought against him that dragged on years. My doctor had revolutionized my health and helped me out of some really ugly health problems, and he also taught me so much. The idea that he could be put in jail just made me sick, so I went on the warpath. At times it's been ugly - a few years ago, a state rep who had supported us received death threats! Yes, death threats!

We passed a law last year to license NDs, finally, with the traditional medical establishment fighting us tooth & nail the whole way.

This problem is still quite common, by the way, and you will likely hear a lot about it at Bastyr... I wish you tremendous luck. It's a great practice!
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