Transitioning to a vegan diet
To start the consultation I issued Client with a treatment card that consisted with a series of questions to help determine the best course of action. The treatment card asked for details on allergies to foods or products, skin condition, history of surgery in the passed year, current health issues, any on-going treatment, level of stress and, goals for the consultation.
Client filled out the treatment card and she stated she had issues with occasional acid reflux, skin blemishes, stress-related eating and would like to lose some weight. Client has given up meat but still eats a lot of cheese and eggs with some fish occasionally. She has no serious health problems and is very active and does a lot of walking or running. She feels she has plateaued with her weight-loss and wants to improve her diet so she can start seeing results of her activity level. She filled in a food diary for three days at my request and she seemed to not eat large amounts of food.
I did find that she was filling up on bread and cheese during certain meals and because she wasn’t eating a lot of food this left very little space for nutrient dense fruit and vegetables. After seeing what a typical day of eating looks like for Client I gave her the following advice:
1. Cut down on her bread intake, as too much bread can be detrimental to weight-loss and can cause bloating.
2. Cut down or eliminate cheese from her diet as it is high in fat, cholesterol and the hormones in dairy have been shown to encourage bad skin and the lactose contributes to acid reflux. Indeed she found that on days she had a particularly large amount of cheese in a day she would have acid reflux.
3. In her food diary I noticed she drank a lot of coffee. This can contribute to acid reflux, stress levels and dry skin. As she tends to frequent coffee shops, I advised her to try having a matcha latte in the mornings instead. It contains L-Theanine, which regulates caffeine so that the effect of the caffeine lasts much longer and is more stable. This avoids the sudden energy burst and the inevitable “crash” when the caffeine effect wears off and this leads a person to drink more coffee to counter this. Hopefully this means that less caffeine overall will be consumed. I also asked her to treat the coffee as a treat at the end of the week so she doesn’t feel like she cannot have it at all.
4. To help her skin I suggested integrating spirulina and/or chlorella to in a green smoothie to encourage detox and skin cell turnover so that her skin has the best chance of clearing and healing itself. I explained that detox’s will normally make the skin worse before it gets better as toxins will be pushed out of the body through the skin. However this is only temporary and is worth the end result.
5. As for her stress-related eating, I suggested continuing the food diary and also keeping a selection of healthier snacks on hand just in case snacking. The food diary will help her recognise when she’s doing it and forcing the mind to stop to write down when she is about to eat something out of stress it will hopefully give her the opportunity to step back and realise that she isn’t actually hungry and to think of a healthier alternative if she is actually hungry.
6. To incorporate more whole foods to her diet such as dark leafy greens, beans and pulses to fuel her exercise regimen.
I derived these solutions by researching the individual issues presented. I made sure to use well-referenced and reliable sources that were non-biased and peer reviewed. I came across studies that have been published within the last three to four years that have been published in journals such as The British Medical Journal and The Lancet as well as online sources such as the World Health Organisation and nutritionfacts.org I chose to avoid studies funded by the meat and dairy industry as I felt that they were regularly contradicted by other reputable sources.
Client was pleased with the information she had received and tried the advice for two weeks. She agreed she was eating too much cheese and bread. During the two weeks she significantly decreased her cheese consumption and eliminated bread and fish. She started to eat more whole foods by subscribing to a weekly food box delivery that had a complete recipe with all ingredients pre-measured and just had to be cooked.
After two weeks we caught up on her progress if any and she stated she felt more energetic and is now seeking therapy for her stress levels as the diary made her realize how regularly she was feeling low. She was in better spirits and felt energized enough to up her exercise routine and it appears to her that her body is beginning to tone up probably due to the extra protein from eating more whole foods.
She did not have any acid reflux during the two weeks before we met again. Although her skin was still flaring up she was happy with the progress she has made and is now seeking topical solution to her skin issues. I feel with more time I will be able to assist further by suggesting alternatives to cheese and also providing more in-depth information on how to create nutritionally dense meals to ensure all nutrients and minerals are covered including the use of fortified products that contain B12. The client felt my teaching technique was effective and easy to follow and non-judgmental which was my aim for my future practice.
End Case study