So I went to my doctor for the first time today since the early 2000's to get my first ever blood test. I've always thought about getting one, but I just kept putting it off. I'm getting ready to move out of the U.S. and start spending some time visiting the tropics, so I figured that if I'm going to a blood test I better do it now.
I called the doctor's office that I used to go to when I was younger and scheduled an appointment with my old doctor, "Dr. Baultees". (Pronounced "Dr. Ball Tease") I remembered that he was quite overweight and that he was kind of old so I decided ahead of time that I wasn't going to say a word about my diet because he probably wouldn't understand it.
As soon as he saw me he said, "Jared, where on Earth have you been hiding all these years? Haven't you been sick???" I told him that I hadn't and he said, "Wow, you must be doing something right."
So as I said, I intended on not saying a word about my diet but as soon as we went into his office and we sat down he said to me, "Well Jared, after going this long without having to go to the doctor I've got to ask, "What's your secret?"
How could I turn down an opportunity like that? So I said, "Well, I'm a vegan and I...
As soon as I said the word "vegan" his eyes got huge and he stopped me and said, "What??? A vegan??? Why??? Don't you know how unhealthy that is???"
I asked him why he thought that it's unhealthy to be a vegan and he said, "Well for starters if you are on a strictly vegan diet you won't be able to get enough protein." I immediately started laughing and said, "Oh..... Come..... On!" (I said it playfully and wasn't in any way trying to insult him, I just couldn't believe that he said it.) I asked him if he was being serious or just kidding with me and he said that he was "Serious as a heart-attack"... (I imagine that he uses that phrase a lot and that it's because he worries about his heart.)
He then said that it was also highly unlikely that I could get enough iron in my diet (according to Cron-O-Meter I usually get 3 times the recommended amount) and he suggested that we test for anemia.
Then he said, "Wait here." and he left the room and came back a few minutes later with a business card to a nutrition center in the area and told me, "As soon as you get home I want you to call the number on this card and tell them that you want to start going to them for "Vegan Counceling" I said, "Vegan Counceling"??? What for?" He said that if I write down everything that I eat in a day and bring it to them they will tell me exactly how much protein, iron, calories, etc, are in the food that I eat. I told him that I aleady keep track of that stuff using "Cron-O-Meter" and websites like "Nutidiary" and "Fitday". His response to that was, "You can't just use computer programs for that. You need a real, living, and breathing human being who has a degree in nutrition."
He then asked me what was the last thing I ate and I was a bit nervous to tell him, but I did anyways... "A head of lettuce." He seemed pretty puzzled and I imagined that he believed that I had "ortherexia" by now. I told him that it was really good and he just shook his head in a confusesd manner. He then asked me what I ate for breakfast and I again felt pretty nervous to say it but did anyways... "12 bananas." He then looked at me with a terrified look on his face and said, "12 bananas??? Oh my God if I ate 12 bananas for breakfast I would be constipated for a week!" I again broke out into laughter even though he wasn't trying to be funny.
After some further questioning about my diet I went ahead and told him that I was a raw foodist as well. Oddly enough he didn't really seem that bothered by the "raw" thing and just kept going back to insisting that vegan diets are deficient in protein.
When he realized that I wasn't going to start getting "vegan counceling" he said, "Would you at least be willing to start eating red meat 3 times a week?" I said, "HA, NO!" (Again, I was completely shocked at what he was saying.) He then said, "O....K.... Then I'm going to recommend that you start supplementing your diet with things like cooked beans and bread for your protein, will you at least do that? I just smiled and shook my head "NO".
At that point I said, "Don't you think that it would make sense to at least wait until my test results come back before you start recommending all of these changes in my diet and telling me that I need to get counceiling over it?
What he said next kind of scared me...
He shook his head and said, "Well, we can't physically or legally force you to change your diet... At least not before we have blood test results that show that the diet is deficient and dangerous..."
What did he mean by that?????????????
I seriously doubt that he could legally have me commited to a hospital against my will where I would then be forced to eat certain kinds of food against my will because my doctor labled me as an "ortherexic" who's too afraid to even eat beans because they aren't "raw", but I got the feeling that I better not say anything else about my diet or it will only make things worse. (He was taking notes the whole time.)
I was actually having fun debating with him at first, but once he said that it was obvious that he was pretty upset with the way that I was refusing every single recommendation that he was giving me and that I was even laughing at his ideas, and I sensed that he now WANTED there to be something wrong with my test results and that he WANTED to do something to get back at me and make an example of me. (Even if I'm in perfect health I would expect something on the test to be "not average" if tests like these are based on the average person who is eating a S.A.D. diet.)
He spent the next 10 minutes or so talking more about how bad the vegan diet is and I could no longer find the words to debate with him. (I was too busy debating with myself whether I should still get the test or if I should ask where the bathrooms are and sneak out to my car and just drive home.)
I ended up deciding to stay and get the test and he walked me to the room where a nurse was going to take a sample of my blood and he told me to wait there for the nurse to show up. When the nurse finally came in she was holding a clipboard with information about me and the blood test that I was getting and she set it down close enough to me that I was able to lean over and get a quick look at it while she had her back to me and the first things I saw was...
NAME: Jared Six
LIST ANY DISEASES OR HEALTH CONDITIONS: Is a vegan.
So I guess that being a vegan is an illness now... When it was over I was happy to be out of there and away from that doctor. Not that I disliked him (bless his heart) but I haven't been that uncomfortable in long time. In his defense he may have just been repeating what he was taught about vegans in medical school 40 years ago and maybe my test results will change his mind, or maybe not...
As I was driving home I couldn't help but think that if I took even half of what the doctor was saying seriously I would now be saying, "Yeah, I was raw vegan for a while, but then I went to my doctor and found out that I was deficient in protein and that I had to start eating meat again or I was going to become anemic." I imagine that just about anyone who hasn't taken the time to educate themselves on the vegan diet and connect with other vegans out there would easily have given in to the scare tactics he was using on me.
I'm still in disbelief over this experience and I've got to ask if anyone here has ever had a similar experience.
Oh, I am so sorry that you didn't sleep over it. I presume you are in America, this is such a cultural response. I couldn't imagine you getting this treatment in the UK, or China, or Japan. I think we 30badders forget that we are changing the world. How does the saying go First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,then you win. We are at the laughing/fighting phase so hang onto your hat!
Personally I think America keeps its population under control by druging them with a SAD diet. I think the goverment would have hell on their hands if everyone was carbed up.
Your poor doctor sounded terrified that there might be another way as it indicates that he needs to make personal changes both to his diet and his thinking, and people seem to be terrified of making changes.
You have 10,000 people here who all support you 100%
I am personally in awe (I have had a snoop around you web site!)
(Thank you for the iron info.)
I do my very best to avoid doctors.
But I am grateful there are doctors, dentists, and emergency rooms because sometimes stuff happens. ; )
What do you eat to get iron? My nutritionist told me that vegetarian foods (veggies etc) block absorption of iron; apparently the fibers and acids bind to the iron and make much of it unusable...of course she is a mainstream nutritionist. What do you eat in a day? I'm trying to prepare for bloodwork by getting lots of nutrients; my results will determine my future as a raw vegan. PLEASE respond soon!
Make smoothies with high vitamin C content and rich leafy green vegetables and you'll get your iron count up high very soon.
Example: Orange, red pepper, spinach leaves, celery. Emphasis the leafy green vegetables with every meal if need be.
went for a blood test a few weeks ago and told my doctor i was vegan. he was outraged - 'you mean you dont eat ANY animal products at alll?!' it was like i told him i eat babies. he went on to lecture me that we have evolved to eat meat and that I should start doing so or face serious health risks in the future. i was well and truly in the wrong, the overweight greasy and emotional person opposite was obviously right...i was too shocked to debate him at the time and left feeling quite upset - not in the least because as you mention, while i have educated myself and can spot this kind of BS a mile off, others may not be able to. people go to their doctors primarily because they are sick and i think its disgusting they are allowed to preach nutritional dis-advice when they have no formal training. such advice can and does kill people everyday.
so sad - all we can do is tell our friends and family as much truth as possible and try to be good examples...havent got my test results back yet but either way i am def not going back to that looney toon...
ps - vegan councelling and threats to force feed?! that is so messed up!
WHAT. THE. @#$%.
LIST ANY DISEASES OR HEALTH CONDITIONS: Is a vegan.
Damn I hope veganism becomes a world wide plague...
Pronounced "Dr. Ball Tease"
get this "Dr's" email and let us have it.
I can't wait to hear about your blood tests.
Sadly it seems mental health is used as a weapon on people to get around courts and constitutions and they make up new mental illness all the time.
Remember even if your blood tests are off "average" optimal guidelines, that's an average of an unhealthy populace.
Really cannot wait for your blood results!
The one thing I love about my MD is that she is what they call integrative or alternative. She sends me for full blood works, readily gives me copies(some resist violently!) and tends to treat via diet, exercise and supplementing imbalances in bad situations. For example in my area we found via blood tests that my Vit D did was merely maintained by 5000UI a day! No increase!
Yeah, Somewhat surprisingly to me, I have found that discussing diet is like discussing religion or politics. SO I tend to keep it on the down-low until someone asks me directly. I'm not at all ashamed! I just don't have tons of time available to fight about it and don't desire aggravation. Sometimes it works out pretty well though, because just like some of my politically this or that friends assume I am "like them" because they like me and feel I am a decent person (and obviously the "other side" cannot be), when they find out I come down on the other side of this or that issue, it really gives them pause and they realize that cannot simply lump all the "others" into the evil or deluded category. Same thing goes for food.
It doesn't always end nicely, sometimes people just decide to act like jerks, but often I find, they can pleasantly surprise me. :)
It IS like discussing religion! People do not want to think for one second that we survive on 801010 let alone thrive because that would mean they have to accept change. Change is hard for people.