Dear Vegans, Please Don’t Preach to Me

Dear Vegans, Please Don’t Preach to Me

Girl_Who_Cried_Wolf

Veganism is a popular topic of late and, while I have opinions, its nutritional merits are not what I want to write about. Rather, as someone who lives on a medical – read: necessary and involuntary – elimination diet, I wish to kindly ask the vegan community not to force their ideas on me.

I understand that we live in a world with myriad controversial subjects, each of which comes with a set of specific opinions. As I believe that the best way to grow is to take part in healthy and intellectual debate, I relish this point of view.

It is my core belief that we each have the right to believe what we choose, as we each follow an individual path that no one else will ever fully understand. I admit that I don’t understand the logic behind many religions or lifestyle choices, and I acknowledge it’s not my place to question someone or disprove others’ belief systems.

I’ve had many people try to convert me to many different things and, while it can be irritating, I always try to take it with a grain of salt, respectfully letting them know I’m not interested.

However, one conversion attempt I have trouble dealing with is veganism.

Please know that I really don’t intend to offend the vegan community; I understand your moral standing and commend you for the commitment you demonstrate in your lives every day.

But, please, don’t guilt-trip or preach to me!

I know that not every vegan is a preachy type. However, in my experience, the majority are. So, as I actively respect your decisions, I ask you to do the same and respect mine.

As someone who lives on a “kidney-safe,” low-sodium, low-potassium diet, finding good food can be hard at the best of times. And, as I have read pretty much every food label in my local supermarket, I can tell you first-hand that for someone like me to convert to veganism would be not only incredibly stressful, but damn near impossible.

I can’t eat huge amounts of vegetables, as that would only diminish my potassium count at a wicked-fast rate. And, as a general rule, many of your coconut milk and multigrain options don’t fit in the low-potassium category.

As most cheese and processed meats contain huge amounts of sodium, I have analyzed many vegan and vegetarian alternatives, but they are so far outside my limits it’s laughable.

What doesn’t have potassium in it is usually processed, which means it has sodium added in one form or another. In all honesty, the easiest option for me is unprocessed, fresh meat.

I can already hear the scathing retorts from vegans as they chide me: “If I wasn’t so selfish and lazy I could make it work if I really wanted.”

To each and every one who might say that, here is my response:

I did not choose this.

Unfortunately, unlike most other people out there, I don’t have the option not to commit to vegans’ diet parameters. I can’t wake up one day and decide that my kidneys actually won’t mind if I start eating large amounts of sodium and potassium, before sitting down to a meat-lovers pizza with a large bowl of salted potato fries.

Please, understand that while you have chosen to make positive changes to better yourself and the whole world, some of us must focus on making our own positive changes — in our own worlds.

Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

4 comments

  1. LondonLupie says:

    Hmmmm, sorry to be a Debbie-downer but it just sounds like excuses to me. I’m a lupie of almost 10 years and was recently diagnosed with Class 5 membranous lupus nephritis. Like you, I’ve been told to observe a low sodium diet etc. Fine. Having done my own research, it became blatantly obvious that if I want to quell this disease for good, I need to adopt a better diet and lifestyle.

    I’m currently 2 weeks into my vegan adventure and I LOVE it! My skin, hair and nails are improved, I have bundles of energy, regular bowel movements, lost several pounds, can taste food better than ever and most importantly, my lupus is quiet. I haven’t received my blood work just yet, but feel positive that my vitamin levels are fine.

    To support my transition I do take a B12 supplement (my B12 has always been super low – even when I was eating meat/fish daily) and a calcium with vit D tablet too. I’ve avoided dairy for some years now as I have a lactose intolerance so I didn’t have to worry about cutting that out too.

    Truth be told, by their very nature, wholefoods, plants and fruits tend to be low-sodium anyways, so if you plan well, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a low-sodium plant based meal instead of eating meat.

    • Kristiana Page says:

      Hey LondonLupie,

      I very much respect your standpoint and can appreciate your point of view. However, in saying that, I already live an incredibly active and healthy lifestyle which I’m exceptionally happy with; and don’t believe that adopting veganism would provide benefits that would outweigh the difficulty I would have in trying to maintain a low-sodium, low-potassium, vegan diet.

      You’re absolutely correct, in that wholefoods, plants and fruits are low sodium. But what plants lack in sodium they often more than make up for in potassium, therefore adopting a plant-based diet is not the best option for my parameters.

      Please understand that this column wasn’t an attack on veganism as I do understand the value it presents to many people; and applaud them for their commitment to a lifestyle choice that is by no means easy. I was trying to make the point that for some people it’s not quite as simple as choosing to eat more “ethically”. As controversial as it might be to say so, if I was to take on board being a vegan it would be almost solely for the added benefits to my health, and unfortunately I can foresee that further adding to the stress I already have, by trying to constantly plan and find acceptable vegan food choices, is unlikely to be balanced out by potential benefits.

      I applaud the choice to better your life as it even in a short period of time as it has obviously shown you wonderful results – and that’s incredible! 🙂 However as I’m sure you know, lupus is a different battle for any and all who have it, and though a vegan lifestyle is a commitment that works in your situation (and more power to you!), for me even if I wanted to it’s not quite that simple. 🙂

      Best,
      Kristi X

  2. Janet says:

    I TOTALLY get it. I was already a whole foods, plant based vegan (No oil, no added anything “bad”) when I was in remission. It didn’t prevent a flare up, it didn’t prevent recurrence of kidney disease, and it didn’t stop my osteopenia from progressing. I was ALREADY doing everything “right” and exercising, but NOTHING is bulletproof. Nothing prevents death. Even vegans get sick and die and the false promises many in the vegan community give out need to stop.
    If it works for you- good for you. Seriously. But if you have lupus, you should very well know it doesn’t affect us all the same and not one of us will react the same to treatment. People need to stop making sick people feel guilty for being sick.

    • Kristiana Page says:

      Hi Janet!

      Exactly my point! We’re all different and all need different things especially when you’re chornically ill! Unfortunately not everything is feasible for everyone and I wish more people understood that!

      Kristi x

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *