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Vegan Uncensored! We Need More Vegan Doctors!

At Vegan Mainstream issues to do with veganism, and bringing it into the awareness of everyday people are central. What are the obstacles we face? What are the stereotypes we need to challenge? What do we need to make living a vegan lifestyle easier to live? How do we best get the ‘whys’ of the vegan message “out there”?

This column will be a weekly space where people can bring interesting topics of discussion to do with veganism to the fore. Being vegan in a non-vegan world can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. To those of us who have ascribed to this lifestyle for years, it’s second nature. It’s not hard to be vegan – it’s not difficult to cook tasty vegan food or find vegan clothing or personal care products when you have been doing it for a while. However, what can be difficult is eating out, or constantly having to explain why being vegan is in fact the healthiest, and the kindest way to eat. Defending yourself for living a compassionate lifestyle can get tiring. Vegan Uncensored is a place to explore the issues. Read it, respond to it, pass it on to your friends – vegan and non-vegan – through Facebook, Twitter, or by sending them a link to this blog…let’s get started.

We need more vegan doctors!

I have a friend (non-vegetarian) who has, for several years, been slowly cutting down on the meat in her diet. She understands the health issues related to eating a diet high in red meat, and has been learning, through a variety of vegan friends, all the other reasons to be vegan. Recently her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and they were told by their doctor that he should be eating red meat every day to keep his iron levels up. She has noticed a huge difference in the way she feels, so on her last trip to the doctor she mentioned that she wasn’t feeling great, and thought it might be due to the fact that she has been eating so much more meat. She was expecting the doctor to tell her that she should cut down, but the opposite thing happened…the doctor (who is right out of med school) told her that she should be eating meat every day, and that that couldn’t be the problem. I learned a long time ago to watch out for my own nutritional health, after learning how little doctors are required to know about nutrition, and most vegans are likely of a similar mindset. Plenty of respected doctors – Dean Ornish M.D. and  John A. McDougall M.D. among them – have done groundbreaking research about the benefits of a healthy vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. But it seems that many family physicians still warn people off of this way of eating, claiming that it is unhealthy and dangerous. This has to be a huge barrier to veganism becoming mainstream – and to our society becoming a much healthier one. How should we respond to doctors who tell us veganism is unhealthy? How do we encourage more vegan doctors? How do we challenge the stereotype that veganism is unhealthy?

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  • Scigrrl

    i tend to seek out doctors from cultural traditions that have at least a vegetarian population, they are more sensitive to the subject.

  • Gnewvegan

    I think it still stems from education, culture and socialization. Health care practitioners regularly update with the latest changes and news. So maybe having a nutrition course and various diets would be of help.

  • http://happyrabbitguide.blogspot.com diana

    Of course. Doctors are generally trained to treat diseases, not to help us live health lifestyles. “Health care” in the U.S. is really “disease care.” Also, too many people take the word of a doctor as the absolute truth. Use them as a guide, but do what's right for you.

  • Havhrt
  • Emma

    I completely agree with all these sentiments. I think a fundamental change in the way we, as a society, regard health is needed. It should be mandatory for doctors to be trained in preventative measures, including a real, true look at nutrition – and people should be encouraged and empowered to learn more and know more about their own health – and to question their doctors when they don't agree. Does anyone have examples of how people have successfully done this relating to nutrition?

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