Here’s a question for any Veg Blog readers that are medical doctors or training to become medical doctors: how big of a role does nutrition play in your education?
The reason I ask is that I recently went to my doctor’s for a physical. I don’t have a regular doctor at this office and, in fact, I think I’ve seen just about everyone on the staff at one point or another. This time around, I had a nurse practitioner who did my physical. She’s rather young, I’m estimating maybe 26 or 27, and so I thought perhaps when I mentioned that I had moved to almost an entirely vegan diet, that she would have some knowledge and understanding about the issues involved with giving up meat, dairy, and eggs. Unfortunately, the first question out of her mouth was, “How do you get your protein?” At this point in time, I would hope that people coming into the medical field would bypass that question and go to something more applicable like, “Are you taking supplements for B12?” or “Are you careful about getting all your Omega-3s?” I went on my short diatribe about how protein’s not much of an issue and that I get plenty from a number of sources. She did ask if I take any supplements and I told her that generally my diet’s pretty well-rounded, but that I use nutritional yeast regularly and will take a vegetarian multi-vitamin if I feel I haven’t been eating as well as I should.
While I was a bit disappointed by the protein question, she also showed some interest when she asked why my reason was for being vegetarian/almost vegan. In addition, she didn’t shake her head in disapproval or show any sort of serious concern that I was depriving myself. Indeed, she actually checked off the “healthy diet” box on my physical form, which pleased me.
The way I understand it, nutrition has always been glossed over when it comes to medical training, and I was wondering if there’s any sort of trend in the opposite direction, stressing diet and lifestyle education so that MDs aren’t always so quick to recommend drugs.