Ebony McCorkell, a dietitian and chef from Melbourne, Australia is reminding vegans that a plant-based diet is very beneficial but not bulletproof and ‘health shaming’ sick vegans is a very harmful practice.
McCorkell has been a vegetarian since fourth grade and a vegan for the last 3 years. Considering some vegan public figures turning their back on veganism, McCorkell is worried that health shaming vegans is partly to blame.
McCorkell says that it is a misconception to believe vegans get sick as a result of their vegan lifestyle and this belief is doing us harm.
“There is a lot of health shaming in the vegan community and not a lot of talking about real issues that people face,” she told Vegan News.
“Vegans feel a great deal of shame when they get sick, they hear messages from prominent vegan figureheads that if they get sick they simply weren’t vegan enough, they internalize this blame and think their only out is to give up veganism.”
She further added that human beings have different bodies therefore different dietary needs, so she recommends a number of different diets.
Almost 50% of her clients are vegans who have come to her with a number of issues, the main one being irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). She says that this issue is common because of a carbohydrate called FODMAPs, as former non-vegans were used to little to no carbs on a meat diet.
Hence why it’s important for vegans with this problem to consult with a dietitian who can suggest a variety of foods that will help overcome this condition.
Another condition that may affect some vegans is a low appetite.
“Plant-based diets are usually rich in fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains, sounds great right?! It can be, but not for those with low appetite, because while those foods are very nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals, they are also full of fibre and water, which makes you feel full, but they are low in fat (and calories) so they won’t necessarily provide the energy someone requires if they cannot eat a large volume,” said McCorkell.
Clients struggling with this condition are given meal-replacement powders, fats. syrups and other foods to add more calories without significantly affecting satiety.
“I know this view sits outside the echo chamber, but I hope it adds value to have a different perspective,” McCorkell stated.
“It is my hope that by showing that there are people like me out there, who will listen and take their issues seriously, who acknowledge illness can happen to everybody, regardless of how well they eat, that these people will feel less alone and more inclined to seek proper professional help from a suitably qualified dietitian.”
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