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Old 06-11-2013, 06:03 AM   #1
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High Cortisol, A1C, Triglycerides

My daughter, Emily, is 17 and having problems. Overweight, doesn't sleep, fatigued, stressed (over her life, finances for college, her father and her unresolved anger, etc) to the max, etc. The doctor put her on a vegan diet on May 28th because she said she is heading for diabetes sooner than later. So, my little girl has been very faithful to not eating meat, dairy, and keeping fats to a minimum. I realize some out there may not agree with a vegan diet but this is what her doctor is recommending.

She had a very thorough blood workup with the following results:

A1C (her father passed from type 1 diabetes/associated illnesses and this is always a worry: 5.2
Cortisol: 23 (range is 2.3 - 19)
Triglycerides: 128 (range is 0 -89) doctor said a teenager should not be this high
Cholesterol: good: 57 bad: 86 / Overall good on cholesterol
Vit D: 43
Thyroid Panels: fine

Doctor is concerned with cortisol level and tryglicerides.

So, my daughter has high cortisol which can cause no sleep, weight gain, fatigue, etc. The doctor recommended an over the counter product (but could not remember the name of it) which will lower her cortisol and help her sleep. Dr. said to go to a local compounding pharmacy and they will help.

I did go to the pharmacy she recommended but they were closed and Walgreens didn't have anything. The pharmacist there looked up some things for me and said that Magnolia is known to reduce cortisol and help with sleep.

So, my questions to you my friends:

Is an A1C of 5.2 good as the doctor said? She said if it were 5.7 it would be pre diabetic. To me, that is only .5 and seems like a very small distance.

I know a lot of about diabetes specifically what can happen when body systems fail but I don't know much about the A1C test. I know it checks glucose for the past 3 months and is a very good indicator of what the health of the body (relating to blood glucose) is.

I was also told by doctors a few years ago (heck, any knowledge I have relating to diabetes is 6.5 years old as my husband has been gone that long) that if you have low tryglicerides then you will never get diabetes.

Does anyone take any over the counter supplement for cortisol? Does anyone out there have addrenal fatigue? How did you overcome this?

Doctor also wants Emily to see a life coach for guidance. Emily has been in counseling off/on since her father passed but doctor feels that she needs more than just talking to her current psychologist since it obviously isn't helping. She may need someone to give her direction. She can still see a counselor bu thinks a different counselor is needed.

So, any suggestions would help. But, just a word, I realize a vegan lifestyle may not be your cup of tea and while I know first hand Atkins works (well, it did when I followed it), but my Emily never liked it and she seems to be adapting to this so while you may think it isn't the way to go, I am not going to dissuade her.

She is also starting a summer/online PE program for school so she has a temporary membership to a gym and is working out. Again, I know exercise is good but it is as though she doesn't have the energy for more than she is doing (2 hours a day/12 hours max a week for this program).

It is a viscious cycle, if she could just get good sleep (she does take over the counter sleep aid but still wakes up) then things will fall in to place.

I think I covered it. Thank you all so very much.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:15 AM   #2
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Poor child. She is so young for so many of these symptoms/ailments. Hopefully Doc has ruled out Cushings.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:16 AM   #3
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First.... This is a lot for you two...and I know it's real tough. I'm a type 1 as well, and seeing SUPER results from having moved my diet from very strict Atkins...with very high bs...and now mostly all raw vegan, and very tight control of my bs...with very little insulin help. I'd like to suggest that you watch the flick called "Simply Raw", by Dr. Gabriel Cousins. It's on Utube...it's free. It's a documentary of 6 diabetics...2 who are type 1's and their experience with being able to reduce or eliminate their use of insulin entirely, once they shifted their diets to vegan. It was life changing for me. I no longer use fast acting insulin at all. I use very little of the long lasting. My blood work is all within normal ranges now...where is it wasn't before...and I've lost nearly 30 lb's in about 2.5 months.

Give it a look see!!
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:49 AM   #4
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My husband and I went to an oil free plant based way of eating a year ago and resolved all of our health issues. We each have lost 50 lbs so far, gotten off cholesteral and BP meds and resolved a slightly elevated blood sugar issue. The way she is eating can and does work. I am impressed that her Dr. is approaching her issues from a nutrition standpoint and not just pushing meds. She's found a good doc.

We basically follow Dr McDougall's teachings. If you google his name, you will find his website (it's his title followed by his last name, just as I have written it) has a wealth of information on this topic. There are testimonials, forums, newsletters written by the Dr, ... I strongly encourage your DD to give the site a look see. If nothing else, she can use it for support from people traveling down a similar road. It is a very active and supportive environment.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacky_ks View Post
Poor child. She is so young for so many of these symptoms/ailments. Hopefully Doc has ruled out Cushings.
Cushing's Disease | UCLA Pituitary Tumor Program

Jacky, the doctor did not mention Cushings at all! I have to check out the link you posted. What she did mention was going in to Adrenal Fatigue. My daughter has a follow up next week and I will mention it to the doctor. Thank you so much for posting.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlKickinIt View Post
First.... This is a lot for you two...and I know it's real tough. I'm a type 1 as well, and seeing SUPER results from having moved my diet from very strict Atkins...with very high bs...and now mostly all raw vegan, and very tight control of my bs...with very little insulin help. I'd like to suggest that you watch the flick called "Simply Raw", by Dr. Gabriel Cousins. It's on Utube...it's free. It's a documentary of 6 diabetics...2 who are type 1's and their experience with being able to reduce or eliminate their use of insulin entirely, once they shifted their diets to vegan. It was life changing for me. I no longer use fast acting insulin at all. I use very little of the long lasting. My blood work is all within normal ranges now...where is it wasn't before...and I've lost nearly 30 lb's in about 2.5 months.

Give it a look see!!
Thanks you for posting, Girl. The book we were recommended by by Dr. Barnard and it was called Reversing Diabetes which is using vegan to reverse it. Even though she doesn't have it yet, the doctor wanted her to do as much preventative. I will check out Raw! I am so glad you are having good luck with your diabetes. Diabetes scares me as every horror story that is out there for diabetes happened to my husband.


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My husband and I went to an oil free plant based way of eating a year ago and resolved all of our health issues. We each have lost 50 lbs so far, gotten off cholesteral and BP meds and resolved a slightly elevated blood sugar issue. The way she is eating can and does work. I am impressed that her Dr. is approaching her issues from a nutrition standpoint and not just pushing meds. She's found a good doc.

We basically follow Dr McDougall's teachings. If you google his name, you will find his website (it's his title followed by his last name, just as I have written it) has a wealth of information on this topic. There are testimonials, forums, newsletters written by the Dr, ... I strongly encourage your DD to give the site a look see. If nothing else, she can use it for support from people traveling down a similar road. It is a very active and supportive environment.
Doingit, thank you for posting. I will check out Dr. McDougall. I am trying to think of what you eat if it is oil free plant based. Great work on losing weight and getting off some meds.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:19 AM   #6
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:33 AM   #7
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Suncharm, a hug has the same value as advice. Thank you.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:36 AM   #8
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DH has been taking Holy Basil capsules for years... it helps with stress/cortisol (as well as blues/mild depression... they also call it "happy basil").
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:38 AM   #9
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Barbara, I eat tons of stuff and in great variety. You would be surprised how easy it is to eliminate the use of oil. When sauté-ing use water, veggie broth, juice any liquid really. There are numerous websites and cookbooks with oil free recipes. Last night, for instance, I made a 'meatloaf' that had black beans, kidney beans, oatmeal, chili sauce and other stuff. We had that with sides of asparagus and quinoa that I had cooked with some sundried tomatoes and garlic. The night before I made a curry dish with potatoes, peas and mushrooms, served over brown rice. Or can go really simply and put some salsa on a baked potato and some steamed veggies.

There is another member here, Purgirl I think, that also eats plant based.

Dr. Barnard, Dr. McDougall, Esselstyn(sp?), Dr. Campbell, Dr. Lisle are all like minded doctors that are plant based. Another good book to read is The Starch solution and a good movie to watch for free is Forks Over Knives on either Netflix streaming or Hulu.

Again, I am impressed with your daughter's doctor.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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Having been through something similar to your daughter when I was a teenager, I just thought I'd add my humble opinion and experience. That was when Macdougall was first popular and I did it, and eating such a boring restrictive unsatisfying diet basically pushed me into years of binge eating and carb overload. There are people who do well on a vegan diet, but I wasn't one of them. It was very hard for me give up a vegetarian WOE, but it was making me sick. I wish low carb had been "in" instead of low fat, because most of my teenage years were spent in a misery of voracious hunger and blood sugar spikes and crashes and just plain fatigue. I know I wasn't getting enough absorbable protein; if she's exercising that much she's probably going to need more than a vegan diet will provide without supplementation. I'm not saying that low carb might be the way for her, but it might be worth another try if the other isn't working. I know that there are people here who do it as vegetarians. Doctors aren't always right because everyone is different. I hope what I've said doesn't offend, but it has taken me 20 years to mentally work through and begin to correct all of the damage I started doing to myself as a teenager and I hope that Emily won't need to ever have to do that.

Also, has she ever been evaluated for ADHD? Medicating for that actually helped me sleep when everything else failed. The running thoughts of ADHD seem a lot like anxiety but don't react the same way to medication.

Whatever happens, it sounds like you are doing your best to take good care of her. I hope you two find a way that works so she stays healthy.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizneegirl View Post
DH has been taking Holy Basil capsules for years... it helps with stress/cortisol (as well as blues/mild depression... they also call it "happy basil").
Thank you, Disnee. I did find out the name of the cortisol reducer (thank you Erin57-- I think that was her name on here) and it is Cortisol Manager. I am going to pick this up and see how it works. I will keep Holy Basil in the back of my mind as I don't want to overload her with things right now. But, thank you so much for responding.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DoingItMyWay View Post
Barbara, I eat tons of stuff and in great variety. You would be surprised how easy it is to eliminate the use of oil. When sauté-ing use water, veggie broth, juice any liquid really. There are numerous websites and cookbooks with oil free recipes. Last night, for instance, I made a 'meatloaf' that had black beans, kidney beans, oatmeal, chili sauce and other stuff. We had that with sides of asparagus and quinoa that I had cooked with some sundried tomatoes and garlic. The night before I made a curry dish with potatoes, peas and mushrooms, served over brown rice. Or can go really simply and put some salsa on a baked potato and some steamed veggies.

There is another member here, Purgirl I think, that also eats plant based.

Dr. Barnard, Dr. McDougall, Esselstyn(sp?), Dr. Campbell, Dr. Lisle are all like minded doctors that are plant based. Another good book to read is The Starch solution and a good movie to watch for free is Forks Over Knives on either Netflix streaming or Hulu.

Again, I am impressed with your daughter's doctor.

Doingit: Thanks for the tips and I will add that movie to the Raw one that was recommended.



Quote:
Originally Posted by solarpluvia View Post
Having been through something similar to your daughter when I was a teenager, I just thought I'd add my humble opinion and experience. That was when Macdougall was first popular and I did it, and eating such a boring restrictive unsatisfying diet basically pushed me into years of binge eating and carb overload. There are people who do well on a vegan diet, but I wasn't one of them. It was very hard for me give up a vegetarian WOE, but it was making me sick. I wish low carb had been "in" instead of low fat, because most of my teenage years were spent in a misery of voracious hunger and blood sugar spikes and crashes and just plain fatigue. I know I wasn't getting enough absorbable protein; if she's exercising that much she's probably going to need more than a vegan diet will provide without supplementation. I'm not saying that low carb might be the way for her, but it might be worth another try if the other isn't working. I know that there are people here who do it as vegetarians. Doctors aren't always right because everyone is different. I hope what I've said doesn't offend, but it has taken me 20 years to mentally work through and begin to correct all of the damage I started doing to myself as a teenager and I hope that Emily won't need to ever have to do that.

Also, has she ever been evaluated for ADHD? Medicating for that actually helped me sleep when everything else failed. The running thoughts of ADHD seem a lot like anxiety but don't react the same way to medication.

Whatever happens, it sounds like you are doing your best to take good care of her. I hope you two find a way that works so she stays healthy.
Solar, thank you for writing. You have not offended me at all and yes, everyone is different. My daughter does have ADD but refuses to take medication. She did take it but for about 1.5 years and almost 2 years ago we took her medication over Labor Day weekend to get her back on the medication (she was off it all summer) and she ended up not sleeping for 36 hours. She would not even go back to the doctor to have the medication switched. So, she struggles with school and does her best.

She probably has so much going on (anxiety/stress/depression from just not feeling well) that I am hoping if we get her cortisol under control that is a start.

Again, thank you for writing and posting about your experiences.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:50 PM   #12
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An A1C of 5.2 is good. Her triglycerides and cortisol are scary, though. Very scary.

If vegan is working for her, physically and psychologically, that's great. I have many many vegan friends, some of whom are healthy, some of whom aren't, just like with any other WOE. Eating vegan doesn't automatically mean eating healthy. Heck, French fries are vegan. Whatever way she's going to eat, there are better and worse choices within the framework.

I really hope she finds a way to feel better about life all the way around.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:58 PM   #13
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An A1C of 5.2 is good. Her triglycerides and cortisol are scary, though. Very scary.

If vegan is working for her, physically and psychologically, that's great. I have many many vegan friends, some of whom are healthy, some of whom aren't, just like with any other WOE. Eating vegan doesn't automatically mean eating healthy. Heck, French fries are vegan. Whatever way she's going to eat, there are better and worse choices within the framework.

I really hope she finds a way to feel better about life all the way around.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:14 PM   #14
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I'm thrilled for your daughter that she has a doctor who is so concerned for her well being. So many will just tell you lose some weight and leave the details up to you to figure it out. I think he's right on with his suggestion of finding a life coach. Another idea that might appeal to her is trying martial arts. There are a ton of wonderful lessons to be learned through martial arts, self respect being a big one. It sounds like she's got some issues to work through so if she can build up her self confidence that will do wonders for her.

I am very interested in learning more about a plant based diet myself. I'm a little bored with eating the way I have been. It might be fun to change things up so thanks for your post!
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Old 06-11-2013, 03:25 PM   #15
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DH swears by the Cortosol Manager. Let me know what you end up paying for it at the Pharmacy.

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Old 06-11-2013, 03:40 PM   #16
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triglycerides are directly related to carb intake. her triglycerides could be normal in a week, i would bet money, if she cut carbs to a moderate level, say 50 grams a day. even 100 grams would help!

but you can't do that with a vegan diet that emphasizes low fat. *sigh*

personally, as a person with a messed up metabolism from way back to her age, I think being a vegetarian most of my life almost killed me. I believe it's the worst thing for most people with a tendency to diabetes. YES, you can eat a high fat, moderate carb vegan diet, but how many do that? not many.

it's so hard when you get such strong direction in what I think is well intentioned but the wrong direction.

but Melrose, don't look at 5.2 and 5.7 A1c as close. the normal range is 4.8-6, so you can see that .5 is a BIG difference.

good luck to her *hugs to both of you*
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:13 AM   #17
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An A1C of 5.2 is good. Her triglycerides and cortisol are scary, though. Very scary.

If vegan is working for her, physically and psychologically, that's great. I have many many vegan friends, some of whom are healthy, some of whom aren't, just like with any other WOE. Eating vegan doesn't automatically mean eating healthy. Heck, French fries are vegan. Whatever way she's going to eat, there are better and worse choices within the framework.

I really hope she finds a way to feel better about life all the way around.
Ntombi, thanks for letting me know about the A1C and yes, I am concerned about the others. Many people are saying how going vegan doesn't automatically make you healthly just like the example you gave.

Thank you so muc for posting.
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:15 AM   #18
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triglycerides are directly related to carb intake. her triglycerides could be normal in a week, i would bet money, if she cut carbs to a moderate level, say 50 grams a day. even 100 grams would help!

but you can't do that with a vegan diet that emphasizes low fat. *sigh*

personally, as a person with a messed up metabolism from way back to her age, I think being a vegetarian most of my life almost killed me. I believe it's the worst thing for most people with a tendency to diabetes. YES, you can eat a high fat, moderate carb vegan diet, but how many do that? not many.

it's so hard when you get such strong direction in what I think is well intentioned but the wrong direction.

but Melrose, don't look at 5.2 and 5.7 A1c as close. the normal range is 4.8-6, so you can see that .5 is a BIG difference.

good luck to her *hugs to both of you*
Raven,

Thanks for posting and explaining the A1C. Why did you go vegetarian if you do not mind me asking?
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:17 PM   #19
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I have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and my doc thinks I am in a bout now as well. What I was told to do for it was NOT exercise. The stress on the body from the working out was just too much for me to bear at the time. I don't know if the doc told you about that or not. Maybe you can ask at the next appointment. I was at the time (a few years back) doing hard core weight workouts and feeling really good and strong. But the workouts were ADDING to my stress. I was told to cut back to JUST walking. I have done that for 3 years now--just walking. I like it, and sometimes will do a harder work out here or there but have not gotten into the habit of my regular routine. I listened to my doc because she had been through the same thing. She had adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues, just like me.

The most important supplement my doc had me on was 1000mg of vitamin C, 3 times a day. I would take 1,000 mg per meal. In adrenal fatigue you NEED vitamin c. I would suggest taking that one right now! I never went to OTC adrenal supplementation. Just had a hair analysis done to find out what supplements would help ME. So glad I got the help. Bless you for doing the same with your DD hope she feels better real soon.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:10 AM   #20
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Dawn,

Thanks for writing. Unfortunately, my daughter has no choice in not participating in the summer online PE class. She missed a year of PE due to knee surgery and now has to make it up or not graduate next June. She was scheduled to due the PE class in February but the week it started she was in a massive car accident (she is a walking miracle) and could not do it then. This is the only choice she has.

I will start giving her vit c and read up on it with adrenal fatigue. Her doctor mentioned that she did not want this to lead to fatigue. So, I assume, that if she continues with the high stress/high cortisol that will burn out her adrenals causing fatigue.

I am sure with your daughter's diabetes it was a natural progression for you to develop adrenal fatigue. How is she doing?
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:27 AM   #21
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Barbara

With all your troubles I am surprised to hear you are NOT in it as well You have been through the wringer yourself. My goodness girl. I hope it all gets sorted out. I just took Amy to her yearly physical yesterday. She is doing really well! Thank you for asking. She has had a few days where she has not been in the best of moods and has been angry with us for telling her "Don't eat that--your blood sugar"!! But I am sure we have all had those days, diabetes or not! Just being mad at the world, mad at the situation you are in.

The one book my doctor suggested for Adrenal Fatigue is "Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome" by James Wilson and Jonathon Wright. I have it, and am not reading/using it at the moment. If you want me to send it to you I can. I don't mind at all. I will say the ONLY supplement my personal doctor did NOT want me on is the licorice that was recommended for adrenal fatigue. I don't remember why though. Let me know about the book. It is just collecting dust right now on my shelf
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:00 AM   #22
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Dawn,

I am so glad your daughter is adjusting; she is obviously a strong girl like her mother! I have wondered myself about AF and mentioned it to my own doctor last year and he just said that was the new "disease of the day." I feel like I have been burned out for the last 10 years.

I do sleep but never feel refreshed. I may just take the Cortisol Manager that my daugter is taking and Vit C myself.

Regarding the book, thank you for the offer and I will let you know. Right now, I have books on veganism to read and only have so much time to read.
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:10 AM   #23
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Barbaba--that just doesn't sound right. Does he know the stress you have been under I hate that most docs don't "get it". I am glad I had a doc who did! And then found another who doesn't poo-poo the idea of adrenal fatigue. I would suggest you start on those supplements like your daughter and see how YOU do. You can always drop them if you don't notice any thing different. Keep us updated.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:45 AM   #24
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Like others, I can only admire the stance that you, your daughter's doctor, and daughter are taking towards these health issues.

Is your daughter OK with seitan and tempeh as both of these are good sources of protein for vegans. A number of vegan recipe blogs have good techniques for both of these.

I don't know what's available in the US, but for people who want to vary their plant protein sources, lupini beans (and lupin flour) can be valuable as it has a similar nutritional profile to soy. http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/lo...pin-flour.html

In parts of Europe you can purchase lupin milk, lupin tofu and various common meat substitute products made from it. (See Vegetarian Butcher for an idea of the foodstuffs they've made.)
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:56 AM   #25
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I have a chronically sick DD so I know the stress this can cause. Hugs to you!

I know you probably already know this, but please make sure she is taking some type of vitamins. Vegans cannot get all of the amino acids and certain vitamins from their diets, unlike eating animal protein.

I hope you figure this out soon.
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Old 06-19-2013, 05:12 AM   #26
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Very good point!

B12 is one of those vitamins that is only available via animal sources. I read a scary blog post by a vegan blogger several months ago, and started pestering all my vegan friends to supplement with B12. The blogger was big on not supplementing, and getting all her nutrients from foods, and she ended up in the hospital with a huge brain aneurysm (caused by lack of b12. Even after that, she tried every which say to get enough via diet, but ended up supplementing.

B12 is cheap and easy and to take either sublingually or in a small pill, but it's crucial.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:40 PM   #27
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triglycerides are directly related to carb intake. her triglycerides could be normal in a week, i would bet money, if she cut carbs to a moderate level, say 50 grams a day. even 100 grams would help!
Maybe, but then again....My carb intake is typically <50g's per day and even taking the trig lowering medication fenofibrate, my last test came back at 168.
Fat also effects trig levels, and so I will be looking at eliminating some from my diet. First to go is Coconut Oil....I've come to love it, but I have to get those trig numbers down and lc alone isn't doing it. Even lc with pharaceuticals isn't doing it.
Time to face the fact that Low Carb isn't the cure all for everyone in all situations.
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