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With health problems, can I still be a healthy vegan? [new vegan]

I'm a new vegan, being only three months in. I went through the decision process pretty quickly from being an omnivore to vegan within a day or so after finally becoming educated on factory farms, as everyone here knows about.

I really haven't figured out a good system, a solid base of vegan recipes, which is part of the problem, but I've also been worried about the fact that I have some health problems where I'm supposed to restrict some food from my diet.

I have a pretty messed up endocrine system.  I have PCOS, polycysticovarian syndrome, which accompanies insulin resistance. Therefore, carbohydrates need to be cut fairly significantly in a woman's diet. that includes starches, like beans and legumes. I also have Hashimoto's disease, which is a thyroid problem, also endocrine-related. I have an underactive thyroid and my doctor advised me to not eat soy products. I've read that one should avoid gluten and "goitrogenic foods" - including some nuts like peanuts and walnuts, and some iron-filled veggies that I need like broccoli, kale, among other things.

And I obviously don't eat any animal products.

So I'm worried that I might not be able to eat healthy on a vegan diet because of this, and I'm hoping you experienced vegans might be able to steer me in the right direction.

I've only been thinking about this recently, especially because at nearly the three month mark I'm pretty sick right now and I haven't been sick like this in ages. Maybe that is coincidental. But I don't want to jeopardize my health, nor do I want to stop being a vegan. I'm feeling quite conflicted.

I'm sorry to hear about your health problems.  Is there a vegan nutritionist in your area you could go to for advice?

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I don't know any, but could possibly find one. I doubt I'd be able to know if they were vegan or not beforehand.

I'm going to the doctor eventually, but I just wanted some non-medical advice first, hehe.

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I agree with seeing a nutritionist. As I'm brand new to this, I don't have any answers, but I was wondering, what does your diet consist of? What are the staples that you use? Do you take any supplements?

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I take a multivitamin and I have additional B12 supplements. As for staples, like I said, I don't really have any set recipes down that I always use but I've been using chickpeas a lot more in my cooking. I try and use rice pasta if I ever make pasta as opposed to wheat pasta, brown rice if I make rice, and I usually buy different vegetables depending on what I'm cooking.

I guess you guys probably wouldn't know much more than I do at this point!  :-\

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Well I did Google "PCOS vegan", and, while no real dietary plans came up, it seems there are a few people in your position. I also saw that you're in Ohio and searched for vegan nutritionists, but only had 3 hits, and was unable to find out if they were actually vegan nutritionists.

Sorry to hear you're having a rough time, I hope you can get it all worked out!

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I don't think endocrine problems would necessarily prohibit you from  being vegan, however you may have to be extra vigilant to be sure you aren't eating something that could exacerbate a health condition and so that you are getting the nutrients you need to maintain your health. Instead of limiting yourself to a vegan nutritionist try just finding a nutritionist who is a good listener and understands your needs. They should work with you instead of trying to make you eat something you feel is unethical.

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Hey aftermemory,
How has your health condition been treating you? Have you managed to find a nutritionist to help you in that situation?

Eri

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I've read that one should avoid gluten and "goitrogenic foods" - including some nuts like peanuts and walnuts, and some iron-filled veggies that I need like broccoli, kale, among other things.

Please check this information with your doctor.  It would be a shame to cut out so many healthy vegan foods unnecessarily.  In particular, people are eating gluten free for all sorts of reasons these days (not just Celiac and wheat allergy where it truly is indicated), and most of those reasons have absolutely no evidence to back them up.

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I've read that one should avoid gluten and "goitrogenic foods" - including some nuts like peanuts and walnuts, and some iron-filled veggies that I need like broccoli, kale, among other things.

Please check this information with your doctor.  It would be a shame to cut out so many healthy vegan foods unnecessarily.  In particular, people are eating gluten free for all sorts of reasons these days (not just Celiac and wheat allergy where it truly is indicated), and most of those reasons have absolutely no evidence to back them up.

I have to agree with VegRunSki. Don't make things anymore difficult for yourself than they need to be. Even a healthy person finds the transition to veganism takes some effort and discipline. As someone who has a host of health issues myself,  I can attest, as can my Drs., to the benefits of a vegan diet. Trial and error, or success, is necessary, but cutting so many things out with out any solid evidence to back it up, or the advice of a health professional that understands your health issues and the vegan diet, could be dangerous.

Take care.

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I know this thread is old, but I wanted to mention I also have hypothyroidism (22 years now).  I think it is ridiculous to try to avoid every food that "might" cause a problem for someone with thyroid issues.  The leafy greens and goitergenic foods can be cooked to eliminate any threat to thyroid issues. The benefit of these foods far outweighs any possible link to thyroid problems. The soy may possibly interfere with thyroid meds making them less effective but having soy a few times a week and making sure to consume it at least 4 hours away from taking thyroid meds should help.  I am very skeptical about the whole gluten free thing to solve every health problem that comes along (other than truly diagnosed celiac which I was tested for through duodenal biopsy as well as blood tests and it was negative).  There is NO evidence whatsoever that avoiding gluten will improve your thyroid or that consuming it will make anything worse.  Worse case scenerio with soy and thyroid meds is you might have to have thyroid dose slightly increased.  I do keep my soy to a minimum (for many other reasons including hormone hell) but go heavy on the leafy greens and it hasnt made any difference as far as my thyroid issues.  I was put on a very strict anti candida diet (another ridiculous diet full of promises to alleviate every health problem) by a naturopath and I followed it for six months back in 2006.  No gluten, no sugar, no fruit, no grains, nothing in a can or cardboard box, mostly fresh vegetables.  I became severely underweight and sick and it did nothing for my health problems at the time (which were related to a disastrous hysterectomy and surgical menopause at 33 years of age) accept make them worse since my body was being deprived of needed nutrients.  Also, a lot of people that claim they are on gluten free diets and feeling so much better are actually consuming gluten.  It is much more difficult to get out of your diet than simply avoiding breads.  Trust me. 

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