Firstly, I should say that it is not good advocacy to be a sick vegan. This is why I try to stay away from becoming a “junk food vegan” even if “the animals don’t care what I eat as long as I’m not eating them” – the junk food rationale I hear a lot.
Because carnists tend to worry over the ability to be healthy on a vegan diet, it’s best not to fuel that fire. How? By thriving! Get regular exercise, sleep, get outside, and eat well, of course. Plant-based diets have a slew of health benefits, including the avoidance of many debilitating diseases.
This all said, I have a pre-existing and probably genetic auto-immune disease and IBS. As our immune system largely resides in our gut, you might begin to see why I might be sick a lot. Plus, I’m the mother of two pre-schoolers and I’m pregnant.
Now, I take responsibility: I exercise daily, I take my vitamins, I sleep at least 8 hours a night, I meditate, I drink lots of water, take probiotics, I even do bizarre health practices such as oil pulling and skin brushing. My health is really important to me.
I don’t want to become dependent on medication. I’m currently shy of needing thyroid medication. I don’t think needing thyroid (or any) medication makes a person a bad Vegan, but I’d rather not get to that point. Any medication goes through animal testing and most are also made from animal products. If you need it, you need it (you have to be healthy enough to help others), but if you can avoid it – that’s best.
Beside chronic diseases, there are the frequent colds that whip through my home each year. My family is down with one today. Colds suck. They’re also so not vegan or zero waste friendly.
Just as with prescribed medications, over the counter medication goes through animal testing and may contain animal products. Every individual vegan has to determine for him or herself what their stance is going to be regarding medication and I don’t presume to prescribe or proscribe anything here.
For anything that does not require a doctor, I tend to go as “natural” as I can. Water, rest, vinegar water, herbal teas, orange juice, essential oils, kimchi and miso soup. Miso soup really is a great chicken noodle soup alternative. If I have heart burn, mixing some baking soda (1 tsp) into a glass (1 cup) of water can relieve my symptoms. I tend to fight off nausea with Vermints.
Anything that requires my doctors, will lead me listening to their advice. I might tailor their advice to my lifestyle if it’s appropriate to do so as when my GI suggested a low-FODMAP diet and I got a book to help me figure out how to do it while remaining vegan.
This hasn’t always been my approach. I used to use a lot more over the counter drugs. Especially Nyquil and Vicks for colds. My husband still relies on these and our kids have a mixture of “natural” and “conventional” remedies, depending on which seems to work the best. So, we might use doTERRA’s Breathe Blend in a diffuser, as an example. But we also have an EPI-Pen and Kids’ Benedryl for my eldest.
I’m going to work on home remedies for colds and flus. I’m going to keep up my health practices so as to avoid chronic conditions. I’m going to work on thriving as a vegan so I can be a good advocate.
Until next time, keep that talk walking!