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RANT: unhelpful dietitian

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I'm a vegan with PCOS and I went to see a dietitian the other day. This is because I'm a vegan with PCOS and my doctor recommended I go see her. Anyway, when I got there she proceeded to tell me that I HAVE to include fish and cottage cheese in my diet. This really pissed me off because there is no way in the world I'm going to eat those things.


What annoyed me even more was that I went to her because she appeared to be one of the best educated and most experienced dietitians in my area. She seemed even less knowledgeable than I am about food.


The obvious solution is to go around and find one I like but it's the money thing that's an issue. I have insurance but with a $15 co-pay each time, this becomes a bit much for me.


Oh well, I gave it a shot.

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Hi, miserableme...it's a shame that your dietitian was not able to give you constructive advice within the framework of a vegan diet. I often wonder if people would be less judgemental about our choice to be vegan/vegetarian if we just said we are allergic to meat and dairy!


Anyway, considering that the cause of PCOS is not really known, I am perplexed as to why she said you have to include certain things in your diet to combat it. What's more, numerous studies show that mercury levels are so high now in fish, it's actually dangerous for women to eat too much of it. And dairy products are laden with unhealthy fats, which can pack on weight - and that's an issue of concern for sufferers from PCOS, as you must keep your weight controlled to avoid further complications. And, if not organic, most dairy products are full of added hormones and chemicals, to boot.


However, there are two key nutrients in those food groups that vegans should make sure they're getting enough of: in fish, essential fatty acids (I forget their official name) and in dairy products, calcium.


You can easily get plant-based sources of both.


Calcium can be found in fortified juices, soy milk, broccoli, figs, tofu, navy beans, etc., just to name a few.


Essential fatty acids can be found in ground flax seed. You can pick that up in your local healthfood store, and put it in salads, smoothies, soups...anything, practically.


Alright, so that addresses how to get the nutrients your dietician said you can only get from fish and dairy. (You wonder if some of these people ever do continuing education as more food facts come out into the open.)


As for regulating your PCOS through your diet, as one means, anyway, you need to find a dietitian that is unprejudiced about a vegan diet, and in fact, familiar with them. I don't know if your insurance would cover a non-local dietitian, but one of the most acclaimed vegan doctors is Dr. Michael Greger. I've been to his lectures, and he does work with people via email and the phone, I believe. He's a wonderful, knowledgeable man. If for some reason he can't take you on, he could probably point you in the right direction of a suitable dietitian. link removed

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Thanks so much for the advice scout! It's true about the stigma attached to vegan diets. I have been known to tell people I'm lactose intollerant in order to avoid dairy. If someone has has patience and understanding, then I'll explain my real reasons but I have found most people don't.


I'm with you 100% on why animal products are bad for us. Unfortunately, I'm limited even further on what I can eat because of taste issues. I'm extremely picky anyway. I admit that my case must have been hard for her to tackle because most of her patients are either anorexic or obese. I'm neither. I just want to eat right for my condition, my taste preferences and my environmental conscience.


In my opinion, she put way too much emphasis on protein. I was very uncomfortable with this & there is no way I'd be able to get the amount she wanted without eating 3000 calories a day (I don't want to gain weight).


Part of my rant was based on the fact that yesterday I went ahead and ate some cheese. I didn't want it, I didn't like it but I did it because she made me feel like I had to. I've been having diarrhea all day and I'm assuming this is because my body isn't used to it. I am most definitely going to cancel my follow-up appointment with her.


I think I might check out the book you suggested & Dr. Greger's site. Once again, I appreciate your advice!

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You're so welcome. Protein is such a misunderstood issue. Most people don't realize that we probably consume too much of it! It's found in countless vegan sources, as well. Dr. Greger's site is a treasure trove of information about where to get all the necessary nutrients in a vegan diet. There's a whole section about protein, too.

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