When Your Pediatrician Disagrees With Veganism
Sadly, it is not uncommon for parents to leave their doctor’s feeling scrutinized or shamed. I can understand how challenging it is to find a Pediatrician who is on-board with a vegan lifestyle. What can you do when your children’s Doctor is wagging their finger at you? What do you say when your Pediatrician disagrees with veganism?
When society thinks about a Doctor, they often are imaging someone who has all of the answers, and the best suggestions. Of course, doctors are trained professionals, are extremely knowledgeable, and absolutely crucial for so many of us. However, studies have shown that Doctors may not be getting the nutritional information that they need. One study showed that medical school graduates entering a pediatric residency program, on average, only answered 52% of 18 nutrition related questions correctly. It has also been shown that only 29% of U.S medical schools are offering their students the recommended 25 hours of nutrition classes. I know personally, I have done well over 25 hours, ensuring that a vegan diet is the best option for our family.
Pediatricians may bring up the devastating cases of ‘vegan children’ who were malnourished, and passed away. This is awful to hear about, but important to understand that those children were malnourished, they were fed completely inadequately. In one case, the parents fed their baby a diet of strictly apple juice, and soy milk. Cases like these put a terrible label on other vegans, and it is sad that people blame the lifestyle. Any child will become malnourished if a parent does not provide adequate age-appropriate calories.
So, what do you do when your child’s pediatrician tells you that your child needs meat, eggs and milk and disagrees with veganism?
Confident & Kind
You are more likely to be taken seriously, if you show that you have 100% confidence in what you’re saying, and there is no doubt in your mind. It is important to also be respectful, and show you are listening to what they has to say also. You cannot expect someone to listen to you, if you are not listening to them. Simply because you are listening, doesn’t mean you have to agree.
Be Armed With Information
If you already know what the doctors concerns might be ahead of time (example: lack of protein from not eating meat), you can be prepared to explain all of the ways your child is getting those nutrients. It can be helpful to take each food that the doctor will most likely push on you (meat, eggs and milk), and come up with one vegan alternative each, that is superior in every way, and show that your alternative has none of the ‘bad stuff’ (example: cholesterol). Memorizing this information is great, but don’t be afraid to write it down, and walk in with a piece of paper.
Consider A Blood Test
If your doctor has a legitimate concern, and you feel it could be beneficial, a blood test to be sure your child is healthy might put both your minds at ease. Nobody wants to prick their child with a needle, however, it’s extremely important to be sure they’re receiving the nutrients they require. Chances are your child will pass with flying colors, and your doctor will have nothing to lecture you about! If some numbers look low, it is good that you now know what nutrients to focus on more in your child’s diet.
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This can be easier said than done. If your child’s pediatrician won’t let up about your plant based diet, it’s time to find someone who will respect your decision. A doctor doesn’t necessarily have to be vegan themselves, but what matters is that they are accepting of the lifestyle you chose for your family. Reach out to other vegan parents to see if they have a good doctor to recommend, you may have travel a little bit to find the best fit for your family.
The main goal is to have healthy children, and a Pediatrician who will work with your child’s lifestyle is a major bonus, although not everyone is so lucky. Radiate health and confidence at each appointment, and you may just end up sparking the Doctors interest in a plant based diet!
Tags: are vegans healthy, doctors visits, how to stand up to your doctor, raising vegan kids, what to do when my doctor disagrees with veganism, Why Vegan