back in Nov i became hospitalised and unable to walk from an acute attack of arthritis. I'm now fine.
My dad's cousin is a pharmacist and said this:
"I'm so relieved to hear that Helena is doing so well. I admire her for not wanting to start taking drugs for the arthritis at this stage.However l must say l am very concerned about the strict vegan diet. I maybe being old school and all that but the pharmaceutical society of which of course l am a member does not promote strict vegan diets especially in young people this young. I presume that Helena is taking vitamins and this in itself is very difficult to get right. Most vitamin products available either have far too much in them of delicate vitamins (very easy to overdose) Osteoporosis as well is a well known side effect of being either vegetarian or vegan. The amount of young 40 year old women who now have this has grown immensely due to wanting to be fitter and slimmer etc etc. Taking Calcium in tablet form does not get absorbed in the same way as eating food with it in. I'm sure the rheumatologist has been helpful although l'm always sceptical of any consultants ability to know anything about drugs.- They are normally the worst offenders for drug errors. Keep an eye on her tiredness and if she picks up colds etc Otherwise all l can do is to say be careful. It's well known that being a vegan is in the short term no problem, but you do have to be very careful. Anyway all l can do is to pass on our medical opinion as pharmacists. Keep in touch and let us know how she carries on."
I need your help to send a reply message, i don't want to come over defensive but gentle and too the point. I appreciate your help so much,,,i'm still learning and don't feel knowledgable enough to reply correctly . xx
I wouldn't approach it as if you have to defend yourself. Have a conversation. First, what is your diet like Helena (or do you prefer Helly)? Do you know which foods are providing adequate nutrients? (calcium, iron, etc) Are you taking supplements? (you shouldn't need to other than B12; they can actually interfer with nutrient absorbtion from whole food sources) Show that you are responsible & informed. Also, I would ask for his research--I genuinely want to know more about his facts concerning Osteoporosis being "a well known side effect of being either vegetarian or vegan." General "common knowledge" may lead to this assumption but I've been looking & can't find any statistics to back that up. Yes, more young women are getting osteoporosis...but many women concerned with staying "slimmer"--not fitter--dine on nutrientless lean cusines & get no high impact exercise or weight training which builds bone density & protects against osteoporosis better than just getting calcium. How is your energy? Your arthritis? I'd love to help you respond...just need to know a little more about your situation.
thank for replying. Helly usually! It was a lady actually. I eat mainly whole grains, leafy green veg, and veg along with beans pulses nuts and sometimes sea vegetables. i'm off all medication now, functioning fine. i've started pilates and ypga withmild resistance workouts and have cranial osteopathy. Energy is fine. thanks so much! *how can eating dead animals be healthier~?!
It's not healthier. I think people just don't understand what vegans eat--that's the most common comment I receive: "I just don't get what you eat." Then when I tell them, it's like, "oh, all the healthy stuff; yeah, I couldn't do that." At least that gets those concerned about my "nutrition" off my back. It also enlightens people to the fact that not all vegans eat soy soy & more soy. I'd thank her for her concern & say I'd love to get more specific information from her like research/data on osteoporosis/veganism links. When she throws in the stat: "Lactose intolerance has been shown to be associated with low bone mass and increased risk of fracture due to low milk (calcium) intake", I'd have to ask for the subjects' specific diets. Were they eating a lot of leafy greens & legumes & sea vegetables (most people don't) or were they following a high soy or processed diet, low in calcium (which you are obviously not)? Your calcium intake is not low. Point out by eating whole foods, you are getting a lot more vitamins & minerals than the average person--maybe even give her an example of what you eat in an average day. Ask her what you could possibly be missing by eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole (unprocessed) grains, legumes, etc. Resistance workouts should also help with your bone density, depending what you do. I love pilates :) yoga as well.
Your dad's cousin is concerned for your future and needs reassurance that you are not going to make yourself ill by eating this way.
Arthritis is a very common autoimmune disease. Almost every modern, Western, adult of a certain age develops some type of arthritis. This is simply not the case in the East. Arthritis and the other autoimmune diseases tend to affect some populations with much more frequency then others. Westerners get them and Easterners do not.
The modern Western diet is the culprit. The human immune system is very powerful. When it is given an erroneous message, it can malfunction causing much carnage. Dietary factors are the leading cause of these malfunctions. The traditional Asian diet (The Kind Diet) is less likely to contain foods that when metabolized incorrectly result in the sorts of byproducts that form antigens. Less antigens being formed leads to less antibodies and even established disease can be put into remission.
This diet was designed to support health and longevity. It is not moral veganism at the expense of the dieter but a whole foods, plant-based diet to aid the health of the dieter. All essential nutrients are present with the possible exception of vitamin B-12 which is commonly added to processed foods or can be taken as a supplement.
Calcium can also be supplemented but your dad's cousin was correct, not much gets readily absorbed, but then the same is true for dairy forms of calcium.
Definitely explain in detail what you eat, you shouldn't have to defend your choice to be vegan to anyone, even a doctor. You can get calcium from almonds, sesame seeds and dark leafy greens and it sounds like you eat plenty of those. Perhaps you could seek out a second opinion?