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"Introducing Me" & Asking "What is 'normal'?"
Posted by: CuriousKat ()
Date: May 30, 2012 06:09PM

Hi everyone!
I just wanted to introduce myself and let people know what aspects of the low fat raw vegan lifestyle I am most passionate about. I have been following the low fat raw vegan diet for about 6 months now. It has been a bit of a rocky road - initially I was not eating enough fruit to meet my caloric needs so I lost weight and I did not have any weight to lose. I am happy to say that I have figured things out and my weight is now stable. Thank goodness!
There are two things that I am very passionate about:
-- I am a medical student from Canada and I am really interested in learning how we can combine alternative medicine with standard medical care. I struggle a lot with the idea of "normal" and I question whether being what society considers "normal" is actually in our best interest. If you have any experiences or thoughts you would like to share with regards to health care (alternative or standard) I would love to hear from you.
-- I have been living with an eating disorder for more than 10 years and I have always been determined that I would not let the illness limit me. I have received excellent care over the years, for which I am very grateful. One recurring theme in my care has been the encouragement to eat like everyone else - vegetarian was not a good idea, let alone vegan or raw vegan. However, I feel that having an eating disorder should not limit your dietary options, especially when you may be able to improve certain aspects of health through following a plant-based diet. If you have any thoughts/ideas/advice to share with regards to eating disorders I would love to hear from you.
Take care!

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Re: "Introducing Me" & Asking "What is 'normal'?"
Posted by: RawLibrarian ()
Date: June 03, 2012 02:06PM

CuriousKat Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> There are two things that I am very passionate
> about:
> -- I am a medical student from Canada and I am
> really interested in learning how we can combine
> alternative medicine with standard medical care.
> I struggle a lot with the idea of "normal" and I
> question whether being what society considers
> "normal" is actually in our best interest. If you
> have any experiences or thoughts you would like to
> share with regards to health care (alternative or
> standard) I would love to hear from you.
> -- I have been living with an eating disorder for
> more than 10 years and I have always been
> determined that I would not let the illness limit
> me. I have received excellent care over the
> years, for which I am very grateful. One
> recurring theme in my care has been the
> encouragement to eat like everyone else -
> vegetarian was not a good idea, let alone vegan or
> raw vegan. However, I feel that having an eating
> disorder should not limit your dietary options,
> especially when you may be able to improve certain
> aspects of health through following a plant-based
> diet. If you have any thoughts/ideas/advice to
> share with regards to eating disorders I would
> love to hear from you.
> Take care!

Hi CuriousKat,

Question no. 1--I think you *should* "question whether being what society considers 'normal' is actually in our best interest." I believe that covers a lot more than diet, too, but in terms of diet, it's painfully obvious that the average diet is terrible and is the basis for a lot of disease. However, to be fair to MDs, if an MD were to tell a patient to completely change his or her diet for health reasons, a lot of patient wouldn't listen. Many people (not the people on this forum!) want a pharmaceutical solution to a health problem rather than going thru the effort of changing their lifestyle--diet, exercise, etc. This is true for patients as well as MDs. MDs might push pharmaceutical solutions, but there are a good number of patients who want that. I also think that more and more people are looking for conventionally-trained MDs who specialize in alternative or non-Western medicine. I'd love to find an MD like that myself. So if that is what you are interested in, I think you could find a lot of patients who would love to have you as a doctor--especially because at least here in the US, naturopaths and other alternative healers are often not covered by health insurance, but MDs are.

Question no. 2--I've never had an eating disorder, but I have a niece who does. I think that one reason why people with eating disorders are advised by conventionally-trained MDs and nutritionists against vegetarian, vegan, or raw vegan diets is because some eating disorders are all about limiting food intake. Vegetarian, vegan, and raw vegan foods can be viewed as 'limiting'--depending on which dietary method you choose, it means that you can't eat meat, fish, dairy, anything from an animal (like honey) or anything cooked. Of course, that leaves an enormous amount of things that you CAN eat, especially if the person does not choose to be 100% raw vegan (steaming vegetables, etc.).

I think that the big thing that a person with an eating disorder needs to examine, and examine absolutely honestly, is whether or not he or she is exchanging one mindset about limiting food intake (anorexia, for example) for another one (raw food as a way of justifying taking in a *very low* number of calories). Neither of these mindsets, to my way of thinking, is healthy. Becoming a raw foodist shouldn't be a smokescreen for extreme caloric limitation.

To me at least, raw food isn't about limiting *how much* I eat; I eat this way because I genuinely ENJOY the food--it is not about limiting myself. I don't obsess about the rawness of every atom I eat or strive for 100% raw 100% of the time, and I don't apologize for that. I also exercise a LOT, and I eat to support my fitness regimen.

Hope this has been helpful, and I think what you want to do with your medical studies is terrific. Take care.

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Re: "Introducing Me" & Asking "What is 'normal'?"
Posted by: CuriousKat ()
Date: June 04, 2012 08:05PM

Thanks so much for your reply!
As I mentioned, I am in the process of becoming an MD. I agree many patients do want a pharmaceutical solution, but I think that it is important that MDs continue to initially suggest lifestyle/diet changes. Otherwise, I think that we risk missing the patients who would prefer the lifestyle/diet changes rather than the pharmaceutical solutions. I hope to take a preventative approach to medicine once I am out in practise. If I can keep people healthy enough not to need pharmaceuticals I will be really happy.
I understand why patients with eating disorders are warned against vegetarian/vegan/raw diets, I just feel that it should be possible for the patient to recover on one of these diets as well. You have highlighted one of the BIG issues with eating disorders - limiting food intake. In my experience, the eating disorder is not really about the food, it is about control. I do genuinely ENJOY the food that I am eating now - something that I haven't experienced in quite a while. I actually feel connected to the food in some way - I actually feel that the food is nourishing me. Nonetheless, I have to watch myself to make sure that raw vegan doesn't become just another way to limit food intake. Thanks for the reminder!

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Re: "Introducing Me" & Asking "What is 'normal'?"
Posted by: Jackhermiz ()
Date: February 21, 2013 04:41PM

Hello I am Jack hermiz . I live in Sterling heights Michigan . I love to try food from all over the world . My Favorite is Chinese food . Vegetables and fruits are a large part of my diet . I cook . I only buy healthy fresh foods . When I eat in restaurants I choose healthy low calorie foods that are good for me .

Jack hermiz Entrepeneur / Marketer

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Re: "Introducing Me" & Asking "What is 'normal'?"
Posted by: Sue_says_hi ()
Date: March 10, 2013 06:15PM

Hi CuriousKat

I'm 52yo mum living in Australia. I have had two eating disorders. I was annorexic as a teenager and obese in later life. A lot of people only think of annorexia or bulimia and forget about obesity as being an eating disorder, but it is. Anyway, I am new to the forum also.

I think it is great that you are studying to become an MD and also have an interest in alternative medicine. I think it's a wonderful blend.

Good on ya smiling smiley

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