Thursday, May 28, 2009

4-Month Blood Work and Health Report on Being a Vegan

This is a post to which I've been looking forward for a long time. Many friends and loved ones feared that my health would suffer once I made the "extreme" decision to become a vegan. They wondered how I would get enough protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Although I had been poring over internet websites and books in order to insure I was doing this right, I still was slightly uneasy myself as I wondered whether or not my body was getting what it needed. I also made sure to continue to take my pre-natal vitamins and iron tablets since I've continued to breastfeed the twins, and I also enjoy drinking something called Emergen-C, a fizzy vitamin drink loaded with many nutrients, including the elusive (for vegans) vitamin B12...

Now, the lab results are in, so let's take a look and see how I did.

First my blood was tested for various nutrients. Here's how that looked...

Calcium- 9.0 (healthy range: 7.6-10.4)
Iron- 65 (healthy range: 37-145)
Potassium- 4.5 (healthy range: 3.6-5.0)
Sodium- 144 (healthy range: 135-145)

Everything was right where it should be. Yay!

Second, my cholesterol was tested. Unfortunately, I didn't get it tested before I became a vegan, but I did get it tested while I was pregnant with the twins. Then it was 174. Now it is...

Total Cholesterol- 156 (healthy range: less than 200)
LDL- 90(healthy range: less than 100)
HDL- 56 (healthy range: less than 60)
Triglicerides- 51 (healthy range: less than 150)

My tryglicerides appeared to be a bit low, but the doctor said that could have been because I had had to fast before the testing. Honestly, I'm not actually sure what tryglicerides are, but I'm going to be googling that soon.

Next, my thryroid was tested, and although I have hypothyroidism, there were no changes for the worse or better in my thyroid hormone levels. That's a good sign.

My anitbody count test result came back so low it was off the chart, which meant that my body did not have any illnesses or invaders I was fighting off. The doctor and John began laughing about how that meant that I was calm and collected at all times, afraid of nothing, and perhaps even cold-blooded. John said that he was finally glad to have medical proof of that. Oddly enough, however, even though I had exhibited no symptoms, other blood tests showed that I have a UTI and "typhoid". To me, those two results made no sense because of the fact that it was showed that my body wasn't fighting off anything and it would seem, that with a disease as serious as typhoid, I would have some symptoms. Some friends here in Mexico said that any time someone has bacteria in their intestine, the doctors just call it typhoid, but it's really not, and another friend said that there is a school of thought that says we are supposed to have bacteria in our urinary tract. It's a good thing. Obviously, I have a lot of research and pondering to do.

For the UTI and "typhoid", I was given especially potent (and expensive) antibiotics to get rid of the threatening invaders, but once I got home and looked on the box, I noticed a large red printing of a circle with a pregnant woman inside, with a line through it, clearing meaning that pregnant women should not consume this medication. Technically, I could be pregnant, so I opted to hold off and see what happens, but I still have my doubts about the severity of the two symptomless diagnosis.

Other improvements I've noticed since becoming a vegan are...

-less severe allergy symptoms
-disappearace of embarrasing body acne
-near disappearance of bleeding of the gums while brushing my teeth
-weight loss of ten pounds

And to be honest, one possible drawback is that perhaps I could be experiencing almost imperceptably less energy than before. I can't really be sure though. Some literature says that when dramatically changing a diet, this could occur temporarily. Or, perhaps I'm not getting enough of some particular nutrient, or, perhaps my body is tiring of being awakened at least six times a night to deal with the twins and the toddler, or it is my body telling me to stop blogging until midnight and get to bed! Something else to ponder.

Thanks for listening and have a great one!

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Melinda said...

Great Results Jen! You are very dedicated to change to this way of eating. I hope your energy level picks up....and SOON!

Kristin said...

After finding Dr. McDougall's website several years ago, our family became vegan. It was fairly difficult for us, as it was completely different than what we were used to. Unfortunately, it only lasted six weeks. I think that not knowing enough recipes and meal ideas was our downfall. The upside was that I lost 25lbs. and my husband lost 35lbs.

A bit more than a year ago we decided to give it a shot again. This time we were armed with more food choices and recipes and it seemed as though it was going to go well, but every evening when we began to feel hungry, we would fall back on the foods we were used to. It just didn't work. I often think about going back to being vegan, but when I think about giving up some of the foods that I really love to make, well, I just don't think I could do it.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Kristin, I agree with you. The key to my success has been to learn to create fun and tasty foods that are similar to what I was used to eating before. I have a lot of popular recipes here on my blog that you could check out. Some of my favorites are the chocoate cake, the lemon cheesecake and the nacho "cheese" sauce. Just check out the photos on my sidebar to see anything looks good. Thanks for your comment and the best of luck to you!

Bethany Cox said...

you spelled "elusive" incorrectly and you shouldn't be taking antibiotics for something that's not really a huge concern anyways, because "often the [antibiotics] worked in ways that created mutant germs that were far more powerful than those that had caused the patients' illness. In case after case, the drugs had destroyed the weak germs, while leaving the strong ones to survive and multiply. The more antibiotics [people] used, the faster these drug-resistant superbugs spread." -Melody Petersen in 'Our Daily Meds', pg 277. just remember that when the doctors try to give you some for an earache or something mild that will resolve itself in due time with proper nutrients and care. :-)

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thank you for your typo correction, dearest daughter. I have taught you well. :) I completely agree with you about the antibiotics. I do believe there is a place for them, but in my particular situation, I will not be taking them unless I visit a particular doctor in the states whom I trust who says I have "typhoid". Thanks for the great quote. So true.

twoveganboys said...

The results from the doctor are great. I stumbled upon your blog and I really like it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

inadvertent farmer said...

Just wandered over...again...from the blog frog discussion (you know the one that I got annoyed about,lol!) Anyway, it is very interesting to see your blood test results. As a lifelong vegetarian but recent vegan it just reinforces my decision...thanks! Kim