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Help me find a vegan doctor?

Back Story:
I've been nearly vegan for over 4 years now and in this time I've had periods of very low energy, fatigue, inability to focus, confusion, and general crappyness to cover whatever I may have missed.

It's certainly not always been so bad.  But this last year saw me getting progressively worse until I snapped mentally and made a huge shift in my diet.  

My diet was mostly stuff like Stir-fry with lots of Broccoli, almonds and tofu, or soy milk and cereal, or black bean burritos, or garlic mushroom pasta.  I didn't have much in the way of produce outside of the stir-fry.  And I didn't eat hardly any fruit at all.  I was running 2 miles a couple times a week, doing an active yoga routine a couple time a week, and a little bit of resistance work here and there.  Overall, I thought all this was a good enough mix.

But I still felt like crap.  So I got the book by Brendan Brazier called "The Thrive Diet" which is supposed to be a guide to maximizing your vegan diet for high energy and low stress.  It was exactly what I needed if it worked.  I went out and got $400 worth of nuts, berries, grains, beans, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and oils and I jumped right into the 12 week diet plan.  

It was a bit of a shock to the system.  But my energy did go up.  I was no longer napping, or wanting to at any point of the day.  I was feeling rested and alert an hour before I normally got out of bed.  And my stamina on my runs seemed to improve.  

Then one day, the day after I did a hard run where I breathed through my nose the whole way, I got a random gushing nose bleed.  I had never had a nose bleed before in my life.  Sure, a little dried blood occasionally, but never a drip, drip, drip like a leaky faucet bleed.  It scared me.  And I noticed that the blood seemed to stay red and somewhat translucent for a lot longer than I remember my blood doing.  

After I finally got it to stop 30 minutes later on my way to the ER to get it cauterized, I decided it was probably from that hard run with nose breathing.  I dried it out or something and it cracked.  One time thing right?  Nope.  3 weeks later, last week, I was just sitting down a few minutes after getting out of bed and it started dripping badly again.  I got it stopped more quickly.  But this time there was no ready explanation.  

So I got on the internet and did a lot more research.  And it seems that the most likely cause is hypertension!  Me?  High Blood Pressure?  But I'm eating the healthiest food in my life and I'm not all that stressed, and I exercise!  It can't be.  But I seem to have all the symptoms.  The nose bleed happened again 3 times over the weekend.  It's more than an inconvenience.  I work with people most of the day and I can't just be talking and randomly spring a leak as seems likely.  Plus, the hypertension comes with some other no so nice symptoms like headaches, fatigue, diarrhea and so on.  

So I decided to buy some individual insurance since I'm not in a company that provides any.  And now I'm looking for a doctor.

I don't blame the diet for the newly found problems.  It's mostly likely something that's been present for a while and the diet raised my energy levels enough for my blood pressure to peak even higher and cause the bleeding.  I expect that after a transition period my body will adjust.  But in the mean time I need to deal with the underlying problems.  And I want to make sure I'm headed the right way with my diet to not aggravate the problem.

Now the Question:
I've got a widely accepted health insurance plan now.  And I'm living in North East Wisconsin near Green Bay.  I'd love to find a doctor I can go to and tell them I'm vegan and I am having these troubles.  Quitting Veganism isn't on the table.  Check my blood and whatever and tell me what I need to change.  

My insurance company offers a list of doctors and their practice area.  But "General Practice" is about as specific as it gets.  And Nutritionist isn't an option.  Evidently they aren't often MDs.

How can I find a Vegan or Vegetarian doctor without calling a bunch of them and asking?  Or if I can't find one in this rural area dominated by dairy farms, what questions should I ask and tests should I insist on?

Thanks for taking the time to read my verbose rendering of this simple inquiry.  :-)

try google-ing holistic doctor, holistic medical doctor, etc... that seems to produce good results though i don't know that it will be covered by your insurance

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Have you recently changed environments? I had chronic nose bleeds as a kid. Hardcore, every single day. One time it lasted an hour and a half non-stop, gushing (yummy!)... Anyways, it was due to allergies.

Back to your question- yes, definitely search online. You may be able to find email addresses too- much easier than phone conversations.

Good luck! Hope your sniffler gets better.

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Look to see if they cover any DO's or ND's both are types of Naturopathic/holistic medical doctor that generally are covered by insurance.

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Good advice above.  You might find it easier to find  a holistic or DO practioners, rather than a vegan one.

Hypertension usually has no symtoms and the main cause of spontaneous nose bleeds in adults is some kind of trauma, perhaps irritation, allergies, dryness,picking of the nose, etc.  Maybe something in your new diet is causing an allergy and running just aggravates it.  So don't presume with your healthy weight, young age and lifestyle that you're having high blood pressure.  However, it could be.  My BP is borderline and stays low without medication by eating and exercising, especially high potassium foods like V8 (or the vegan version by Kudsen), bannanas, melon, etc.

Anyway, you do need to get your BP checked, and mention the nosebleeds, and the other symptoms like fatigue.  Any good practioner should be able to help you with these symptoms whether or not he or she is a vegan.  Ask your MD to run basic tests like a CBC, metabolic panel, liver studies (which are included in the metabolic complete panel), and given the fatigue maybe even a testosterone level (although at your age he/she may not). 

I didn't mention my vegan diet to my doctor during my last physical because it was a wellness physical and I didn't have any symptoms to report and he didn't ask.  But like you, my diet is non-negotiable so it's a moot point.

Good luck and keep in touch.

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i pretty much agree with tweety. go to the doctor and see what's up... don't mention your diet unless they ask.
if something comes up and they recommend that you change your diet GO TO A REGISTERED DIETITIAN. MDs don't know anything about nutrition (necessarily), so looking for a vegan doctor will only help you in that 1.) they will support your decision to be vegan and not try to talk you out of it, and 2.) they might be slightly more well versed in nutrition just because they are vegan.

re: thrive
it's a pretty high-fat diet. a lot of it has raw options and such, but I don't think his meal plan focuses enough on raw, whole foods. specifically produce.. more specifically, fruit. AND it's also VERY high calorie, from the looks of it. If fitday.com had a bigger database I would analyze a couple of days for you, but it doesn't. If you do go see a registered dietitian, they will have the tools to do so for you.

Depending on what you are down for dietarily, you may want to look into doing something like "the 80/10/10 diet" there is a book called that by dr. douglas n. graham.
Link: http://www.amazon.com/80-10-Diet/dp/1893831248

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hespedal....I have that book and Mr. Frazier does put A LOT of emphasis on whole raw foods.  I'm not sure how high fat it is because I'm not finished with it, but he does include a lot of healthy fat like hemp oils, etc.  Mr. Frazier presumes that people will be exercising while on his diet.  Personally, my body does not do well on only 10% fat, because I'm hungry all the time.  Everyone is different though. 

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hespedal....I have that book and Mr. Frazier does put A LOT of emphasis on whole raw foods.  I'm not sure how high fat it is because I'm not finished with it, but he does include a lot of healthy fat like hemp oils, etc.  Mr. Frazier presumes that people will be exercising while on his diet.  Personally, my body does not do well on only 10% fat, because I'm hungry all the time.  Everyone is different though. 

Thanks for this--I'm very interested to hear about this book.  I had considered buying it just for some extra nutritional advice.  I don't do well with a lot of fats or lots of calories (I'm pretty athletic an dI train hard, but I'm trying to lose weight and I retain weight a lot) so I probably won't get it now.  Especially if it requires you to buy expensive special oils.  I'm also not into raw at all.  Does the diet he recommend seem expensive?  Anything else about it?

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Thank you all for the advice and information.  I will try to find some holistic doctors that will accept my insurance.  I'm not sure I fully understand the reasoning behind not mentioning my vegan diet though.  I know it's popular for vegans to vehemently insist that a vegan diet can be complete and more healthy than omnivorism as often seems necessary in defense of our choices.  But I sometimes wonder if that strongly held belief transfers over to the idea that it's not different and needs no special inspection for completeness.  Why not specifically tell the doctor about diet to give them more information to look at different things?  

I haven't figured out what kind of diet works well for me yet.  I've had problems with fatigue as far back as 7th grade.  I can tell which foods make me feel satisfied eating them, and that's usually heavier fatty foods.  One of my first posts here years ago was how I would be able to feel the satisfaction of a half pound burger while on a vegan diet.  And thanks to continual learning I've found vegan foods that do that, or at least close.  But as for all day energy and mental clarity, I still have no clue.  I often wonder if it's less a dietary concern and more a mental habit one.  But that's a discussion for another website. :-)

re:Thrive
The book does put a strong emphasis on fresh produce and whole foods.  He even has a ketchup recipe in there to make ketchup meet the guidelines.  The goal of the book seems to be to eliminate low nutrient density foods.  Some are high in calories like all the nuts and seeds.  Some are low like the daily 4 cups of salad greens and various additions.  But it seems that just about every ingredient choice is to maximize essential nutrients.  The diet eliminates gluten, corn and soy due to potential food sensitivities and also because those products are usually calorie dense, but lack nutrient balance.  I'd say it's about 70% raw food based.  And everything else he recommends cooking at no higher than 300 degrees to keep from destroying the omegas. The expensive oils are just hemp, flax, and coconut.  You can get hemp oil on amazon for about $11 for 24 ounces if you do it on the Grocery subscription thing.  It has lasted me about a month on this diet. Flax is about $16 for the 24 ounces, lasts much longer since it's only used about 10% as much.  Coconut oil is about $22 for a 54 ounce tub.  And I'm in love with the stuff.  It's my butter replacement now.  It's great for frying due to the high smoke point, and can also be used for hair and in massage.  Overall, these oils are expensive compared to soybean or canola oils.  But if you restrict your fats quite a bit, it is probably worth making sure the ones you get are high quality.  I've definitely learned a lot from the book, though I've taken a lot of the "reasoning" with a grain of sea salt.  The author has done a ton of research.  But somehow he boils everything down to food stress as the cause for all that ails us.  It's a bit limiting.

Thanks again for the help.

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You'd think a naturopath would be vegan friendly, but I recently went to one who told me I'd never feel better if I didn't eat meat... because I'm an O blood type. No help at all, that man.

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Hi, Davathar:

Thought this might be relevant. When I was a kid, I started getting spontaneous nosebleeds that lasted way too long, like yours did, and the doctor said I had "thin blood." It was a regular MD, I was like 11, and that's all I remember. Except for he was like, "take it easy, don't get too physically worked up, don't let her play rough" , eventually it went away. But I also had a tendency to anemia and allergies thoughout my teens. When I went vegetarian my anemia went away completely and my allergies improved, with veganism they improved alot.

Another thing I would say is for overall health, eat organic. It may be expensive where you are, but there are so many chemicals in vegetables and fruit and they don't wash off hardly at all. That means that if you are not eating organic, you are eating poison. At least check out environmental working groups web page and their "dirty dozen" list of most pesticides laden produce, and avoid those like the plague unless organic. Also check out their complete list of most and least pesticides in fruits and vegetables.

http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php

As a vegan for more than 3 years, I hope you are taking sublingual B12. Also being as far north as you are, most esperts would say you should be taking Vitamin D, at least 400 IU daily. A true vegan would take Vit D2, and that's what commercial food is fortified with, but now they are saying that D2 is not assimulated nearly as well as D3. I took D3 for the first time last winter and it really improved my resistance, I felt a lot better. It is vegetarian. But I really wouldn't take much more than the recommended dosage of 400 IU Vit D3 (I took 1000 IU, but not daily ) and I would skip it on days I got plenty of sun, and only take it October thru March. Dr McDougall's website has a good article on B12:

http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/nov/b12.htm

If you are under stress, try meditation. It has proven results in blood pressure, especially when combined with pranayama (rhythmic breath work). Art of Living has a good course that teaches them both together, and the pranayama really enhances the meditation. The Link below can help you find a course in your area.

http://us.artofliving.org/content-art-living-course?center=usa

If there are no courses near you, I would recommend finding a Buddist meditation group.

I hope this info is of use to you or anyone else who reads it. Be well, and God Bless You!

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Hmmm.  I might buy a used copy of Thrive just to browse.  Thanks!

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hespedal....I have that book and Mr. Frazier does put A LOT of emphasis on whole raw foods.  I'm not sure how high fat it is because I'm not finished with it, but he does include a lot of healthy fat like hemp oils, etc.  Mr. Frazier presumes that people will be exercising while on his diet.  Personally, my body does not do well on only 10% fat, because I'm hungry all the time.  Everyone is different though. 

I have the book, too! I was perusing the meal-plan while I wrote that reply. I do agree that he puts a lot of emphasis of whole raw foods, but there is NOT enough produce in his 12 week plan days that I was looking at.

example:
Breakfast:
wild rice yam pancakes w/ agave nectar and fruit. fruit amount is unspecified, but i assume he means one piece. his pancakes all have hemp, flax, and oil on them (I take that back, these specific ones have sesame seeds, not hemp). sure none of it's "bad" for you, but in such high quantities it leads to a majority of your calories coming from fat.
Snack:
energy bar most of them have 2-3 nuts/seeds, again, not "bad" for you, but the majority of your calories coming from fat
Lunch:
cucumber pesto salad with tomato basil dressing salad gets virtually all of it's calories from pine nuts and the nooch/sesame seed topping... fat calories. the dressing gets most of its calories from oil. more fat!
Snack:
Smoothie most all in include flax, hemp, oil, and sometimes other fats like tahini and pumpkin seeds.
Dinner:
Almond flaxseed burger w/ mixed greens and sweet pepper hemp pesto his burgers are basically all nuts/seeds and are HUGE. One of his burgers usually provides you with 1/2 c nuts, 1/4 cup seeds or flax and oil! the sweet pepper hemp pesto again has most of it's calories coming from hemp, sesame seeds, and hemp oil.
Snack:
zucchini chips take virtually calorieless zucchini and mix it with coconut oil and you basically have 100% of the calories from fat.

Do you see what I mean? I do not think fat is bad or should be shunned, but the fact is, if you are going to be eating "healthy" foods (vegan, at that) you are hard pressed to even stay below 30% fat unless you eat a large amount of fruit, grains, or beans. he has a super high concentration of nuts, seeds, and oils with sparse fruits (where you can actually get some calories that aren't filled with fat), and a decent amount of veggies (but they basically are calorieless)

I do agree the high calorie thing is because he formats his meal plan for people who exercise a lot, plus he leaves a lot of the serving size decision up to the individual. but in terms of the percentage of calories from each macronutrient, I think fat is the clear winner, which I don't think is healthy. 

also, i used to find that 10% was really low for me, too, until i started upping my fruit intake. i realized that i could actually not even eat overt fats (nuts/seeds) if i eat enough fruit and be perfectly content. the trick is to just get enough calories (from fruit)!

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LilyRoze, thanks for the great info.  I have done a lot of research on B12, D, and Iron in the past, but the links you sent are great.  I already do some yoga at home in front of the TV with the show "Inhale", and it does help me feel a lot better.  I also think that the blood "thinness" might be a root cause for the recent nose bleeds.  My blood certainly looked noticeably more translucent than I expected.  And when it dried it was still somewhat bright red instead of dark like I expected.  I suspect my iron is low.  I've setup an appointment with a local doctor who isn't probably vegetarian, but is highly regarded as being thorough.  I just read about d2 and d3 recently, and I thought I read that d3 is more well absorbed, but not vegan.  I do occasionally take a sublingual b12.  But I haven't been all that consistent with it.  I haven't taken any D.  And I probably should since I do live far north and don't get much sun anyway.  I also haven't had commercial Soymilk in a long time.  I have been making my own for a while. 

hespedal, I agree with you that it's a high fat vegan diet.  Good fats, but a lot of them.  But for me it's still about 5 times as much fresh produce and fruit than I'm used to.  My diet as an omnivore was all meat, cheese and grains.  If I got anything fresh in my diet it was a garnish or a small side.  I wasn't much for salad, and didn't even like fruit.  I ate primarily for convenience.  When I went vegetarian, I basically just replaced meats with beans and started cooking more ethnic foods that incorporated beans.  I ate a little more veggies in things like Stirfry.  But if I ever bought fresh produce it would rot in the fridge.  So I stopped buying it.  Now that I've committed to taking another step toward healthier more whole and living foods, I'm still getting a lot of my calories from heavy foods, but I'm getting a lot more of my nutrients from produce.  And I'm feeling a lot better.

re Fruits: I did a juice fast for 5 days a few years ago and the first day and a half was hard.  I was hungry all the time.  But after that I got used to just drinking some juice at the first sign of hunger.  And eventually I just had this lingering feeling of emptiness, but no strong feelings of hunger.  By day 5 I was just bored with juice, so I went back to eating.  Fruit certainly has the ability to provide for energy needs.  But I haven't done enough experimenting with it to know how I would feel long term eating such a high percentage of my calories as sugars. 

Also, on the thrive diet, I'm using some of the recipes, but only about half of them.  The pancakes you mentioned turned out like rubbery fried oatmeal discs.  The energy bars are a gritty mush with little flavor.  And the zucchini chips just dried up and turned brown and tasteless.  The burgers I actually like.  And the "pizzas" are good too despite being more of a thin casserole than a pizza.  Smoothies and salads are hard to mess up.  And I've liked all of the dressing recipes.  What I'm getting from the book is a diet that is much higher in nutrient density than I had before with my beans and pasta diet, while still getting a great feeling of fullness and satisfaction from eating.  It's a good balance for me at this point.  But we all have different tastes and needs to some degree.  And change is the only certainty.

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You'd think a naturopath would be vegan friendly, but I recently went to one who told me I'd never feel better if I didn't eat meat... because I'm an O blood type. No help at all, that man.

I'm really curious about this... I'm an O too, and I've never heard this, though I've heard many times that I'd be better off if I ate some meat. Even fish at least, or some eggs. Ummm, no thanks. Did the doc say the reasoning behind the O blood type issue? Thanks!

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You might be able to find a vegan doctor thru John A. McDougall MD. He answers all of his email questions. I asked him a question, a few years ago, and he answered me right away. You might also look into Joel Fuhrman (Eat to Live author) for recommendations in your area, I'm pretty sure he advocates vegan. Also Dr. Micheal Gregor (!), head of the Humane Society Dept of Human Nutrition and Animal Agriculture, he's totally into vegan, ditto Physicians for Responsible Medicine! One of these should be able to tell you if there's a good vegan doctor in your area.

Lily roze

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You'd think a naturopath would be vegan friendly, but I recently went to one who told me I'd never feel better if I didn't eat meat... because I'm an O blood type. No help at all, that man.

I'm really curious about this... I'm an O too, and I've never heard this, though I've heard many times that I'd be better off if I ate some meat. Even fish at least, or some eggs. Ummm, no thanks. Did the doc say the reasoning behind the O blood type issue? Thanks!

This doc is taking this info from the "Eat Right For Your Type" philosophy/movement. O's require more animal protein/protein in general b/c they're 'original/first'....etc

For me, unless you have numerous allergies/intolerances/overall food sensitivities, this science is relatively useless.

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When I went to my naturopath Dr she suggested the Diet for your Blood Type.  I turned out to be an O type.  According to history people with out blood type were the hunters and thus we require more meat.  Here's the webpage that goes into more detail.  http://www.dadamo.com/bloodtype_O.htm
Personally when she told me that I HAD to eat meat, I was done.  No thanks...not for me.  :)

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please see the link about The Blood Type Diet: Latest Diet Scam!!!

http://www.vegsource.com/articles/blood_hype.htm

In short, having blood type "o" doesn't have to consume flesh. :)

The article above came from a Vegan Naturopathic physician...Yes!

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