In my post yesterday, Does Your Doctor Have All The Nutritional Facts, I talked about how I didn't get much help from my doctor when I was changing over to a vegan diet. Although I think my physician is an excellent physician in every other area, I was frustrated by the fact that on the topic of nutrition all he had to offer was "make sure you get enough protein and calcium, and take a multivitamin."
Clearly, it's up to Jane and me to determine what, exactly, we should be eating. That means doing lots research and reading a lot of dry scientific material, or making assumptions which might prove to be faulty. We probably needed to do this research as omnis too, but we felt safe eating a little bit of everything. When we decided to "restrict" our diet (which is such a misconception in the non-vegan world since they tend to eat a less varied diet than the vegan community), we panicked... Would we become deficient in some vital nutrient we'd never considered before? Then we fell into the thinking that everything would be fine if we just ate a little bit of everything. And then Jane started to notice that on days when she didn't concern herself at least a little bit with her protein intake, she felt sluggish. So we started doing some reading.
Poking around online, I've found three resources I'd like to share with you:
- Vegan Food Guide: which has the familiar pyramid graphic with a vegan focus. It also has defines each section of the pyramid which explain what a serving is and "important comments" relative to each segment of the pyramid.
- Vegan Health.org: They have a rather comprehensive segment entitled "Staying Healthy on Plant-Based Diets" which is very informative and easy to read.
- Vegan Nutrition: a website created by the American Dietetic Association, has information on a variety of topics including "sports nutrition," "bioavailability of iron and zinc," and "phyto-chemicals: guardians of our health." (The information on this site is more technical than on the other two sites.)
I understand that my physician cannot know everything, but I don't believe that nutrition should be a "specialty" service. Eating is a basic component of living. Since it impacts every facet of your physical (and probably your mental) being, it seems to me that it should be handled by your primary physician, not a specialist, in this case a registered dietician. This isn't like having cancer and needing to see an oncologist, it's basic everyday nutrition!
Be sure to check out our Vegan Resources page, which has lots of links to information important to vegans.
As always, take this information with a grain of salt, after all, I'm a blogger not a doctor!