Over the last two weeks I have had 5 meetup members write to me about a similar question, one that I think is very prevalent and important, so I thought i would share some thoughts with this community. (i've changed member names to protect their privacy)
Each one of these new vegetarians/vegans emailed to tell me that in their discussion with their health care practitioner ( ND, MD, chiropractor, acupuncturist etc.), they were told that they needed to eat animals and/or their by products to maintain optimal health. Eric was told that he could not get the proper balancing of amino acids on a vegan diet (total myth). Another was told that her "chi" was not meant to only eat plants. Kevin was told that his constitution required concentrated sourced of protein (total myth) and Judy's practitioner was emphatic that she would become anemic if she didn't include animal flesh in her daily meals. All of these members were sincerely concerned and stressed that they were not going to be able to stay on the vegan path and wanted advice and input/support- why this meetup exists.
While I don't claim to be a doctor (or even a trained health care professional- although I have studied nutrition and vegan diets for 30 years) I had the same input for all five new members: Get another health care practitioner. Please note that I don't mean that in any smug or dismissive way. And i do understand that may be easier said than done with our crazy health care system. But, just because your doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, chinese herbalist, energy worker etc tells you that you need to eat an animal based diet does not make it so. No health care practitioner is an "almighty knowing one" and you are not so unique (sorry, we each are special but we are all physiologically omnivorous) that your body requires some magical nutrient only derived from eating our animal friends. We can thrive on an all plant based diet. Period.
As some of you may know, MDS only receive 4 hours or less of nutritional information in their medical training. Often times that education is co opted by the meat and dairy and pharmaceutical lobby. The sicker we are the richer they get. Find someone that at the very least is not anti vegan and who you can work with and get the support you deserve in your health care journey. Come armed with information and study up on vegan nutrition so you can kindly vegucate your health care practitioner. Bring them copies of The China Study or print outs from Vegan Nutrition by Jack Norris RD or a list of links you can offer them when they make false statements about YOUR health. Don't play a passive role in your health and study up on what constitutes an optimal plant based diet.
There are many vegan practitioners in our midst- Connie Sanchez ND , John Pierre, Ryan Andrews RD, Dr. Milt Hammerly, Dr. Paul Berger (not vegan, but vegan supportive). There is nothing more important than our health. We need to stand up for ourselves (and innocent animals and the planet) when others give us information that goes against our own knowledge, and most importantly, against our values of kindness, compassion and mercy. We can thrive on a plant based diet. Period.
To our (and the animals!) health,
"One of the greatest opportunities to live our values –
or betray them – lies in the food we put on our plates.” – Jonathan