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    EG and tomato05
    jc3737 posted:
    EG and tomato05,Thanks for your help.I am starting an iron supplement today and plan to have a small amount of red meat once per week.

    In his new book "Super Immunity" ,which I just got a week ago, Dr Fuhrman says that there is no evidence that a total vegan diet is any better than a near vegan diet with some animal products added.He also mentions the need for more fat in the diet than many low fat vegan diets provide.I'm not sure nuts alone add enough fat so maybe the once per week red meat will help with that.

    I have a follow up blood test in 4 months to see if i'm making any progress.

    I have tried adding meat to my diet a number of times in the past 5 years and every time my BP goes up.I tried Heretics Optimal diet(twice) and was on it for a long time,the second time.... and I had the same problem with blood pressure rising,and the blood pressure never did stabalize and go down.Hopefully a small amount once per week might help with iron and not destroy my BP.

    Many of the long lived populations are on a near vegan diet where they have meat on weekends and on festive occasions.
    EngineerGuy responded:
    Hi jc,

    Again, Congratulations on solving this issue that has been causing you concern for a long time. You were just feeling poorly, in spite of doing everything right.

    Don't forget that millions of Americans on the SAD (Standard American Diet) are iron deficient, while eating loads of red meat. Almost certainly, the issue is not a lack of iron in the diet, but just that some people do not absorb it as well. It's just individual variation, and a wonderful thing to know about.

    I give blood frequently, and am nearly completely vegan. I am always at the top end of the normal hemoglobin range. This is absolutely NOT due to something that I am doing right or better, but simply individual variation. Maybe in a few years I'll need an iron supplement. Who knows? This is not an inherent problem with our diet, or how we apply our diet.

    We all have some genes that we would rather not have, that make our health efforts a bit harder. Happily, in the case of reduced iron absorption, the easy fix is finding out about it, and taking a supplement.

    You have seen that you are sensitive to animal protein intake, causing your blood pressure to raise. Why take more animal protein? An ounce or two per week might be a good source of many nutrients, and not enough to hurt. But I suspect that red meat will not fix your iron level, just like a lot of red meat will not fix the iron level of millions of people with low iron, who happen to be on the SAD.

    Fuhrman himself is vegan. (But he does say he sometimes takes a bit of most any food, with a lot of traveling, etc.) But he does point out that vegans are sometimes deficient in zinc, selenium, iodine, and others. Most vegans are not deficient in any of these, but there is (guess what?) individual variation. That's why Fuhrman put these things into his Gentle Care multivitamin. That's why a multivitamin is called a "supplement".

    I did check quickly, and I did not see a recommendation for a similar situation, on the Fuhrman website.

    About fat, yes, I am no longer on a low fat diet. But all my high fat foods are nuts, seeds and avocados. I've recently added 1 or 2 oz's of tofu, which is about 33% fat. I think I'm feeling better workouts, from the tofu. Pretty amazing about the tofu. I wanted to add that Fuhrman feels we need more fat than Esselstyn, Ornish, etc recommend, but Fuhrman is clear that the beneficial fats are the nuts, seeds, avocados. Animal fats provide primarily saturated fat, and we can make that quickly and easily. (Nuts and seeds also provide some saturated fat.)

    Jc, you are a CHAMP. Congratulations on keeping with it, in spite of feeling, well, lousy, with low iron. I am so glad you found the issue. Did your doctor recommend a supplement?

    Best regards, EngineerGuy
    EngineerGuy responded:
    Hi jc,

    Re: "Dr Fuhrman says that there is no evidence that a total vegan diet is any better than a near vegan diet with some animal products added."

    That's stated for the general population. For heart patients, etc, all our experts (Esselstyn, Pritikin, Ornish, McDougall, Fuhrman) all state that those who do best, are those who are strictest. I don't believe that the quoted statement is meant to apply to all people, for all individuals.

    I am not saying that I believe you should be strict vegan. I am simply considering your inputs, that eating meat has caused issues for you in the past. Perhaps you will be healthiest as a strict vegan. You'll have to figure that out for yourself, and I am looking forward to hearing what you find out, when you know.

    Best regards, EngineerGuy
    Tomato05 responded:
    Let us know how the meat and blood pressure experiment goes...

    But don't fret too much about the fact that you are eating red meat - the stress can also cause blood pressure increases!
    jc3737 replied to EngineerGuy's response:
    I'm going to see how it goes having just a few oz of red meat once per week.If it causes blood pressure probelms then its over.

    I have been having blood tests every year and recently every 4 months and this is the first time I have ever had a problem with low iron or low anything.My red and white blood cell,HGB and HCT count was also low as was my platelet count suggesting bone marrow suppression...or even pancytopenia according to my doctor.

    I won't say I have the problem solved or even pinpointed but I am working on it and trying to find a solution.The problem may have been caused by the many supplements I take.Except for a B complex and D3 I have stopped all other supplements so that may fix the problem.I will know in 4 months.

    I am really enjoying Fuhrmans new book.I have been following it almost to the letter for the past year.I have a few more starches like potatoes and brown rice than he would like to see but I have all the veges he mentions as superfoods at every meal.
    EngineerGuy replied to jc3737's response:
    Hi jc,

    Best of luck, and congrats.

    I searched for pancytopenia
    hope it is helpful:

    Post to dr. Fuhrman

    My wife is a 57 year old female, postmenopausal, active - and following ETL for 3 years. She lost 35 lbs, and ETL got her off cholesterol meds. She is not strictly vegan - eats fish or chicken a couple of times a week.

    Ht: 5'7"
    Wt 128
    Meds - Multi Vitamin, B 12 1000 mcg Sublingual 3x/week, Vit. D 1000 i.u/day, Vit. C 1000/day
    Allegra 60mg daily during allergy season (Mar-June and Aug - Nov.)
    Blood Pressure - 113/65

    Bloodwork shows pancytopenia
    WBC 2.9 (I understand about low WBC and nutritarian diet)
    RBC 3.5
    HGB 10.9
    HCT 32.2
    MCV 91
    PLT 139
    NEU 1.7
    LYM 0.9
    MON 0.2
    EOS 0.1
    BAS 0.0

    B-12 serum 509

    A year ago, she had a B-12 deficiency - had B-12 injections 1x/week for 4 weeks. The HGB, HCT and RBC rose very slightly after the injections, but began slipping about 7 months ago, even on the sublingual B-12.

    Bone Marrow Biopsy results/diagnosis:
    no evidence of leukemia, lymphoma or blood cancer -
    Hematologist's diagnosis is (very) early stage MDS

    Mild plasma cell hyperplasia
    No stainable iron stores

    Increased CD4/CD8 ratio (4.4)

    Hematologist recommends monthly injections of Aranesp to raise the RBC.

    We have read about side effects of Aranesp, and we'd like to know your opinion about erythropoietin medications and your nutritional recommendations.

    Dr Fuhrman's reply

    I do not agree with the recommendations of the hematologist. Her numbers are not severe enough to require that medication which has potentially toxic side effects.

    This condition is caused by earlier exposure to chemicals, since it is early, her window to reverse it is now, by a near-perfect diet. Do not inject B12 either. Read all my recommendations for cancer patients, and reduce the animal products further.


    Thank you so much for your valuable information. My wife has now eliminated animal products and has been on a "near perfect diet." We went to a different hematologist for another opinion and he agreed with you regarding aranesp. Her levels have now risen a bit, which is encouraging. One interesting thing we learned was that "early MDS" or "pre MDS" is a catchall diagnosis that is often made when the cause is unclear. My wife does not actually have MDS. Her red blood count was well above the level for an insurance company's approval for erthropoetin (aranesp) treatment. However this treatment will be approved if the diagnosis is "MDS." We're scratching our heads wondering why the first doctor was ready to go ahead with such an extreme treatment, and thanking our lucky stars (and you!) for the information that pointed to a different, more healthy direction.

    dr fuhrman's reply

    My pleasure and I am glad she is showing some improvements.

    Best regards, EngineerGuy

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