Health, fertility and fighting to be vegetarian - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-11-2015, 12:11 PM
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Health, fertility and fighting to be vegetarian

So I'm posting this in the general health forum because I've had a rather difficult couple of weeks.

Some of you know I've been struggling with fertility issues but that I also have a number of other on going health issues most of which I have been successfully managing through a vegetarian diet (about 80% vegan).

I've been to see ab ivf clinic and it's pretty invasive and a lot of chemicals (and I have bad experiences of conventional medicine). We've therefore also looked at some of the alternative options.

Last weekend I went to see a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner (TCM) along with my other half. One of the things that she wanted me to change was the amount that I eat (she's right - I do still need to gain weight) but her recommendation is that I eat meat - at every meal. Because I am not veg*n for either moral or religious reasons she did not think there was any good reason for me to not eat, of all things bone broth, ideally made with beef. BEEF!?!! Beef is the the meat that is guaranteed to trigger a flare up of my psoriasis and creates some sort of insane immune response in my body that causes my joints to swell up. I also needed to include meat (10% of every meal) at every meal and of course eggs for breakfast every day (can I say eggs give me terrible gas - I can have eggs like once a week tops).

Last week I thought about this a lot. I really want a family. More than anything. But I can't eat meat - so I just ate nothing much of anything last week. The lovely fiance made me chicken soup that I could not eat. I can't eat meat because acupuncture doesn't negate all the scientific proof that shows that red meat and beef in particular is really really bad for you. Pork hasn't got massive of upsides either. I eat no meat and no fish because all of it makes me worse. I don't have faith in acupuncture - I don't believe it will make this go away.

I have spent a week researching the everloving daylights out of this because I can't do this. I can't jeopardise everything I have gained these last 5 years - because I won't be much use as a parent if I can't raise my arms over my head.

I have managed to gain more weight and keep it on without meat - I have had a healthy BMI for the longest time ever in my life.

Really this saved my life. It's changed my outlook. I had not realised that along the line somewhere this had become a part of my identity. There's also the bizarre experience of having my life choices dismissed as invalid because they weren't either moral or religious.

So the search continues. I think I have found another place offering alternative and conventional medicine in conjunction - but that will support me continuing this diet.

And I've found a vegan alternative to bone broth that's bubbling as I write.
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#2 Old 10-11-2015, 12:47 PM
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I wouldn't go back to meat, and you do have a medical reason if it makes psoriasis flare up and you feel healthier/are a healthier weight as a vegetarian. I would continue looking for a doctor who you feel comfortable with. Not every doctor is a great one, nor is every 'natural healer'.

Not a medical professional, but I know a lot of women start taking prenatal supplements for some time BEFORE trying to get pregnant (not sure if you have been or not). There are vegan ones out there. You could also try upping your protein and fat at every meal, just using vegan sources (that may be what the doctor was getting at).

I hope your vegan bone broth substitute helps and that you are able to conceive soon!
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#3 Old 10-11-2015, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Shallot View Post
Because I am not veg*n for either moral or religious reasons she did not think there was any good reason for me to not eat, of all things bone broth, ideally made with beef. BEEF!?!! Beef is the the meat that is guaranteed to trigger a flare up of my psoriasis and creates some sort of insane immune response in my body that causes my joints to swell up. .
This doctor has recommended the very food that makes you sick!

Ask the doctor to explain, in concrete terms, how and why beef broth will improve your fertility. And don't accept any answers in terms of Yin and/or Yang.
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Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 10-11-2015 at 04:01 PM.
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#4 Old 10-11-2015, 03:58 PM
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Last week I thought about this a lot. I really want a family. More than anything. But I can't eat meat - so I just ate nothing much of anything last week. .
You might find it useful to make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian. They are experts in human nutrition, and they do not prescribe any chemicals or drugs. You can select a Registered Dietitian that can help you to improve your vegan diet, your health, and your fertility.

In the U.K., you can find a local Registered Dietitian on the Freelance Dietitians website: http://www.freelancedietitians.org/ . On this website, you can see which Dietitians specialize in vegetarian diets and women's health. I just checked this website - it shows 43 Dietitians in the UK that specialize in both vegan nutrition and conception/pregnancy health.
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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 10-11-2015 at 05:45 PM.
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#5 Old 10-11-2015, 07:01 PM
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Sadly most TCM practitioners in the west dont even have a functional understanding of TCM. The schools here just teach them the applications of patent TCM medicines and a little basic theory.
There are quite a few animal based medicines in TCM, but in most or all cases (all cases I've seen) herbal alternatives could be formulated. Beef isnt even regarded as specifically pro-fertility, its actions are more general 'Tonify the spleen and stomach, replenish qi and blood, strengthen the tendons and bones.'.
If the practitioner knew that beef triggers psoriatic arthritis in you then they are not only under educated, but dangerously incompetent.
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#6 Old 10-12-2015, 03:18 AM
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Thanks all.

I think part of the problem here is that the fiance chose this place. Perhaps he didn't do quite as much research ahead of time as I do before making a decision. I'd probably have called ahead and checked that they do cater to those who don't want to eat meat at every meal (come on! even as an omni I didn't eat meat at every meal).

I'm trying to not rant too much about this but the experience rather knocked me for six. And left me feeling rather despondent.
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#7 Old 10-12-2015, 04:37 AM
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Traditional Chinese medicine may call itself medicine, but that doesn't mean there is any evidence that it works. It is not based on science and, in fact, is based on a complex belief system: https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org...nese-medicine/ The fact that the practitioner is recommending animal products should be a red flag -- what magical properties could beef broth really have that would bring fertility? What is the mechanism? Is there any scientific evidence that it works (in the form of randomized controlled trials)? You'll find in most cases the supposed treatments are just fancy placebos (equivalent of a sugar pill). If I'm going to take a placebo, I'd rather take one that no one had to die for.

I can understand the frustration with doctors -- sometimes you just don't click with someone, and there are some bad doctors and clinics out there. This is a good reason to find a new doctor. Perhaps there is a different fertility clinic in a nearby community?
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#8 Old 10-12-2015, 06:11 AM
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Hi Shallot,

Thanks for sharing your experience here.

First of all I am not a medical professional, but I cant help but feel that this so-called professional has let you down some.

The thing is (and I have experienced it myself) whenever someone has become aware of me being sick - it's because I'm vegan.
Headache - its coz you're vegan
Flu - Its coz you're vegan
I even had an ear infection, and someone said it was because I wasn't eating enough eggs?


Vegan/Vegetarian..... Its just seems to be so mind blowing to some people, that they cannot get past this one attribute. It's like they hear the term and its like "well there you go...that's your problem". Like they all of a sudden understand the meaning of life since uncovering this one tiny detail.

I wonder if you hadn't of told this TCM you were veggie would they have still advised you to eat more meat??

There is a serious issue present out there, and its caused by ignorance. Parents/Friends/Online Forums/(TCM in your case) giving incorrect diagnosis because they think that NOT eating meat is such a "red flag" that it must surely be the cause of all issues.
No what is unhealthy is ignorant people who give bad advice because they cannot see past this one attribute. There could be some genuinely critically ill people out there simply getting told to eat meat - when really they may need the assistance of a doctor, a scan, a blood test.

I am sick far less than others in my family and friends. I haven't had a day off work sick for well over a year - yet my veganism and this fact is regularly overlooked.


I feel bad for you OP. I have a Son, and another child on the way. I decided to have a baby when I hit 27. We tried for a year and a half without a glimmer of success. I genuinely felt that I may be infertile and I felt myself becoming depressed.


In the back of my mind I was scared to go to the doctor to find out if I was/wasnt, because it was a double edged sword. I would have been so upset to find out I was infertile, but if I was fertile and had no problems I would have been upset too because I would have felt that my partner would have instantly thought it was her fault.
So I didn't go the doctor. This was a mistake.

I spent another 3-4 months, taking advice from others, reading forums and stories out the back of magazines. I tried - but no luck, I was down and depressed and though "whats the point".

Enough was enough - eventually we went to the doctors, bit the bullet and both got checked out. It was wonderful news to find out we were both fertile. We both felt like the world had been lifted off our shoulders and felt re-energised to start up again. It's amazing how a small piece of good news can lift your spirits. We felt re-energised and the fear had gone.

Within 3-4 months of that date, we found out we were expecting baby number one, and we were both delighted.

But OP, I fully understand where your coming from. I wasn't a Vegan then, but if I had been and some ignorant uneducated idiot had of told me that not eating meat was the reason for not finding success I don't know what I would have done.
I would have certainly become upset and depressed, because I would have felt like my ethical choice was preventing me from having a family.

But here's something positive to take with you. When I wasn't vegetarian/vegan and it took us two years to fall pregnant with our first - however I was vegan for 3 months, tried again and we fell pregnant almost straight away.

So yeah, ignore the naysayers. There are plenty of vegan/vegetarian parents out there so fertility hasn't got anything to do with meat.

But do seek the advice of a Qualified Doctor who has expertise on a variety of diets. Get your blood levels done. Check you both have compatible blood types.
Good advice, based on solid fact is invaluable.
Uneducated advice can destroy lives and send you into a whirlwind of depression.

Spirits up and plenty of "cough cough"
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Last edited by roark; 10-12-2015 at 06:14 AM.
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#9 Old 10-12-2015, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by runnerveggie View Post
Traditional Chinese medicine may call itself medicine, but that doesn't mean there is any evidence that it works. It is not based on science and, in fact, is based on a complex belief system... what magical properties could beef broth really have...
Its not fair to discount an entire medical system just because you dont agree with one practice. There is VAST evidence of the efficacy of chinese medicines, I have literally read hundreds of scientific papers on the subject because most of their medicinal plants will grow in my climate. Someone just won the nobel prize in medicine for adapting a TCM drug to western medicine application!
It may be a 'complex belief system' but so is western science. Science requires tremendous faith, even. When calculating the quantities of reagents in a reaction I dont re-prove atomic theory every time, I pick up a book and look up the molecular weights. Chinese medicine uses a conceptual framework that is difficult for the western mind at times, but most well established medicines do prove to be effective to some degree. The biggest area of inaccuracy is in drug preparation, often times the drug is like stir baked with honey or something when such treatment produces no improvement of drug action.
As to what magic properties meat may have. Meat is a complex substance that does contain pharmacologically active compounds, many of which we dont even understand yet. Avoiding it by manifesting a belief that its ineffective is unwise, as someone may then scientifically prove its effective. I avoid it by manifesting a belief that its unethical, which no one can scientifically disprove.
Anyway... end rant. lol
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#10 Old 10-12-2015, 11:18 AM
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Its not fair to discount an entire medical system just because you dont agree with one practice. There is VAST evidence of the efficacy of chinese medicines, I have literally read hundreds of scientific papers on the subject because most of their medicinal plants will grow in my climate. Someone just won the nobel prize in medicine for adapting a TCM drug to western medicine application!
It may be a 'complex belief system' but so is western science. Science requires tremendous faith, even. When calculating the quantities of reagents in a reaction I dont re-prove atomic theory every time, I pick up a book and look up the molecular weights. Chinese medicine uses a conceptual framework that is difficult for the western mind at times, but most well established medicines do prove to be effective to some degree. The biggest area of inaccuracy is in drug preparation, often times the drug is like stir baked with honey or something when such treatment produces no improvement of drug action.
As to what magic properties meat may have. Meat is a complex substance that does contain pharmacologically active compounds, many of which we dont even understand yet. Avoiding it by manifesting a belief that its ineffective is unwise, as someone may then scientifically prove its effective. I avoid it by manifesting a belief that its unethical, which no one can scientifically disprove.
Anyway... end rant. lol
Science is not a "belief system." Faith is believing in something without evidence. Science has evidence. If there is evidence that a scientific hypothesis is incorrect, scientists generally do not go on believing that false information. I would love to see your "hundreds of papers." There have been many meta analysis of traditional Chinese medicine, which show either no effect, or a very weak effect: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21440191

Also, the Nobel prize was not awarded for traditional Chinese medicine. It was award for an effective anti-malarial drug which happened to be in used within traditional Chinese medicine. Its effectiveness was not proven by "Chinese medicine" clinical trials. Its mechanism of action does not require invoking "qi" or any other such concept. Many Chinese medicine practitioners are indeed upset about this Nobel prize because of the scientific methods used in the study of the drug. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/wo...-medicine.html
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#11 Old 10-12-2015, 11:25 AM
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Science is not a "belief system." Faith is believing in something without evidence. Science has evidence. If there is evidence that a scientific hypothesis is incorrect, scientists generally do not go on believing that false information. I would love to see your "hundreds of papers." There have been many meta analysis of traditional Chinese medicine, which show either no effect, or a very weak effect: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21440191

Also, the Nobel prize was not awarded for traditional Chinese medicine. It was award for an effective anti-malarial drug which happened to be in used within traditional Chinese medicine. Its effectiveness was not proven by "Chinese medicine" clinical trials. Its mechanism of action does not require invoking "qi" or any other such concept. Many Chinese medicine practitioners are indeed upset about this Nobel prize because of the scientific methods used in the study of the drug. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/wo...-medicine.html


Shallot, I'm so sorry that you're struggling but so proud of you for sticking to your beliefs. Meat has no magic properties and beef won't boost your fertility, but don't lose hope. I know couples who conceived naturally after years of unsuccessful fertility treatments. Sometimes it just happens, and I sincerely hope that it will for you.
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Last edited by no whey jose; 10-12-2015 at 11:31 AM.
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#12 Old 10-12-2015, 12:40 PM
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I work with pregnant women, and I have talked with several who have overcome fertility problems with acupunture. One patient had been through three unsuccessful in vitro fertiliztion attempts. None mentioned any meat intake, but I didn't think to ask since they were omnis anyway.

If I were going to look for an acupuncturist, I would seek out a person who was trained in China, as they have a much more detailed and longer program than those in the US.

I know many physicians, and most do not scoff at nontraditional medicine, especially when in combination with western practices. My health insurance even covers acupuncture.

Last edited by LedBoots; 10-12-2015 at 12:54 PM.
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#13 Old 10-12-2015, 01:28 PM
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I dont want to derail this thread with TCM versus 'science' so I'll only comment in brief unless a new thread is started for it.
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Science is not a "belief system."
Science, unequivocally, is a belief system. Just look up the definitions of the term belief.
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If there is evidence that a scientific hypothesis is incorrect, scientists generally do not go on believing that false information.
I see your not a scientistBut yes, that is the ideal and the same has happened in TCM for all of the last 4,000 years, though admittedly refinement has tended to be a bit slower it does happen.
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I would love to see your "hundreds of papers."
Then come on over. I just scanned my personal archive where I save papers I may need to refer back to. There are 18,929 scientific papers in it, and herbs used in TCM are one of the more common things I read about.
Terms like qi, energy meridians, and the philosophical spleen [which has nothing to do with a spleen, lol] is merely their nomenclature for understanding the mechanics of medicines. Different ways of thinking doesnt negate the possibility of rational thought.
But yeah, any more on TCMs ultimate value would deserve a separate thread.
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#14 Old 10-12-2015, 01:53 PM
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So a bit of back ground on the TCM place - the lady who runs it trained in Beijing and came to the UK via Hong Kong a number of years ago.

The acupuncture was insane (one of the odder experiences in my life) and some of the stuff she said absolutely resonated. It was the acupuncture that I was going for primarily - because I've seen it have amazing effects, it helped my father recover from his stroke (after conventional medicine had written him off as a vegetable). The rest of the stuff - well I didn't realise it was going to be a full on diet & lifestyle consultation.

I think I just needed to hear from someone other than myself that meat isn't "magic" (thanks no whey jose). And that my sudden doubt and crisis isn't crazy (thanks roark). I also live with a very committed omni who worries about me (I was scary thin again last year and I think it freaked him out a bit) and what I eat - so eating more of anything is good in his eyes.

This morning I had home made bircher muesli with almond milk and coconut yoghurt. It was so good and did not give me wind (stupid eggs). So I'm feeling like I'm on more of an even keel again. Perhaps these experiences aren't the universe trying to teach me things but the important thing is that I've taken something from this. I'm certain, just so certain, that I am right. Meat doesn't make me happy - and I'm such a hippy about these things - it's just got bad vibes man. I don't need bad vibes or karma in my life. I want to be surrounded by vibrant positive energy - not a greasy pall of death.
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#15 Old 10-12-2015, 02:58 PM
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Sending you love, lady
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#16 Old 10-12-2015, 03:09 PM
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Sending hugs and good wishes your way, Shallot.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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#17 Old 10-26-2015, 11:32 PM
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Wow... really wonderful thread I have found here... everybody has shared the informative stuff.... This thread helped me lot....
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