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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been quiet for a long while, and that is because I have a serious health problem. Thanks to that, I had to have gastrectomy, and the consultant told me that once I'm able to eat food again I must give up veganism and eat at least 100g meat daily, as my severely smaller stomach won't be able to get all the nutrients my body needs from the very small amounts of vegetables I'm now able to eat.
Of course I wanted a second opinion, but was told the same thing.

I really don't know what to do. I don't want to give up my veganism, but on the other hand my health is very important to me as well.

Has anybody been through a similar problem and what did you do about it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Oh, not nice!. Sorry to hear that CM


A Google on 'gasterectomy vegan' found this though ..

Quote:
The most easily absorbed is the iron in red meat. If you are a vegetarian, you will probably need to take iron tablets. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron from food. So eat an orange, drink fresh orange juice or take vitamin C tablets with iron rich foods or iron tablets.
Dark green, leafy vegetables and liver also contain folic acid. Folic acid is another vitamin needed to keep your red blood cells healthy. You may need extra folic acid if you have had stomach surgery.

http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.o...tomach-surgery
It does seem to imply that you can be vegetarian after a gastorectomy.

Google didnt bring up much else though. I would imagine that this could be because gasterectomies on vegans (because vegans are less likely to be morbidly obese or to get stomach cancer) are very rare.

Maybe search a little bit further still before giving up?
 

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I don't know much, but as far as I understand it, juices contain quite a lot of nutrients for a relatively small volume, so maybe adding veggies/fruits juices could be a way to have loads of the nutrients needed without having to go back to eating meat?

Just a thought, which could be wrong, so wait for other better informed veggieboarders.

Good luck anyway.
 

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Without trying to minimize the seriousness of your medical situation, I can't imagine that you would need to, specifically, eat meat. I had a friend who had a portion of her stomach removed and she was able to eat eggs, cheese, beans, etc., all good sources of protein. A protein shake is also a good option. I understand that this would mean you would no longer be vegan, but I would opt for vegetarian over going back to eating meat.
Again, I am not in your shoes, and everyone's situation is different. Bottom line, I suppose you will have to go with what your doctor advises. Perhaps it will only be short-term and you can go back to a vegan diet once you have recovered fully. And getting a third opinion might not be a bad idea, either. Best of luck to you and be well!
 

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First of all I'm sorry for you health problems and I hope you are healing well from the surgery. I don't know much about your situation but I'm assuming your drs are saying this so you get enough protein? What about lentils (easiest bean on the stomach), nuts, peanut/nut butters, hummus, soy meats, beans, tofu, and milk alternatives (almond,soy,coconut, etc) ?

I did some online research and found that there are indeed many people who remain vegetarian/vegan after their surgeries. In fact if anything there seems to be a great number of people who have very bad reactions to meat/eggs/cheese/milk and therefore they are "forced" to become vegan. According to some, their doctors even told them to avoid meat/dairy. This makes more sense to me actually because I would assume one's body would have a rough time digesting those things following the surgery.

I'm sure every situation varies though and your health is the number one priority. Maybe you could do some research online and bring the information to your doctor to see what he/she says?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fadeaway1289 View Post

What about lentils (easiest bean on the stomach), nuts, peanut/nut butters, hummus, soy meats, beans, tofu, and milk alternatives (almond,soy,coconut, etc) ?

I'm sure every situation varies though and your health is the number one priority. Maybe you could do some research online and bring the information to your doctor to see what he/she says?
Excellent ideas!
 

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Doctors are very biased towards meat, like it contains some super secret special nutrient only meat contains. When questioning my fellow doctors about it though it usually comes to "Well, I don't know that much about nutrition" so I've learnt to take everything a physician says about nutrition with a grain of salt.

Go for a vegan-friendly nutritionist if you can get hold of one.
 

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Sorry you're having to go through this. Your health is the most important. Must of the nutrient absorption of food (if I remember my A&P correctly) occurs below the stomach and the stomachs primary purpose is to break it down before passing it through the intestines where absorption of nutrients can occur. What "nutrients" are they talking about that are so abundant in meat and not plants? Is it protein? Your protein needs as you heal are going to be high but perhaps down the road not as much. Are you able to absorb smoothies and vegan protein shakes? Vega makes some good products (but they are expensive), and perhaps some of Sports ones may be helpful to you. How about vegan protein bars? Do you have access to these kinds of things?

It's a bit disheartening to hear from surgeons that are doing gastric surgery and post-surgical counseling that you can't get proper nutrition without meat as this myth has been disproven time and time again. More than the rest of us though you will have to concentrate on nutrient dense foods and this includes not only protein but fats. Smoothies that include green leafies, fresh whole fruits and veggies, along with some good quality vegan protein might be more beneficial to you than a steak, but that's my opinion.
 

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Find a vegan/vegetarian doc and get their opinion, if they still say you need to eat meat, I would do it.

Also: We are NOT doctors. We have NOT been to medical school, the doctors are the experts. You *need* to listen to them more than us, at the end of the day.
 

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^ That is true, but doctors don't always have a lot of common sense and only know what they've been taught, in their area of expertise. A surgeon is probably not that knowledgeable about nutrition. I'm not sure what credentials a consultant has.

There are health boards, where you can talk to people going through, or have been through, exactly what you are going through and that might be helpful to you.

I hope you won't feel bad about it, if you have to give up veganism, as it is clearly not your fault.
 

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I'd ask to be referred to a nutritionist/dietician for a third opinion. If you do have to go back to eating meat I imagine it would be very hard, but I would agree that your health comes first. Get healthy, THEN go back to veganism if you can. Have they said any particular type of meat you need to eat? You could try to find the most 'ethical' meat you can if that makes you feel a tiny bit better.

I hope you are doing well, and recover as fast as you can.
 

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when you are dealing with gastrectomies, depending on how much has been left, there may be a very small pouch (or none at all) and any large volume at all of foods, are going to dump into the small intestine, without being properly digested. You definately need to find a dietician to work with,and even if you can't find a vegan one themselves, tell them they NEED to find a way for you to maintain your dietary preferance, unless there is no other way. also pills may go right through your system. If you need iron, you'd probably be better off with a liquid preparation, but you need to put it in the back of your mouth, so as not to stain the enamel on your teeth.

it's not uncommon for gastic bypass patients to become malnurished due to lack of absorption of nutrients. Eating frequent small portions becomes some people's jobs, because of the physical amt of food that can be ingested at any one time.

I wish you luck! and hope you can find a dietician who can help you out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you everyone for caring and advice.


I will book an appointment with my GP and ask for a referral for a dietitian. Fingers crossed that I get one who understands veganism, since being on NHS it depends a bit on luck. I will certainly make sure that I mention that I'm vegan.

I'm recovering all right, though I have to avoid sudden movements still and exercise is out of the question for the moment.
 

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Google didnt bring up much else though. I would imagine that this could be because gasterectomies on vegans (because vegans are less likely to be morbidly obese or to get stomach cancer) are very rare.
 

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Here's a link that talks about iron-rich vegan foods: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.htm

I hope that helps! I also want to echo two previous comments made:
- Juicing greens, veggies, and fruit may help as a quicker, more efficient absorption of nutrients, including iron.
- I would definitely consult a veg-friendly nutritionist or holistic healer for a second opinion. It sounds like nonsense for your doctor to tell you to eat meat after recovering from that kind of surgery, since meat is difficult to digest compared to plant food sources.
 
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