More and more physicians are recognizing the health benefits of plant-based nutrition, but they’re not all there yet. “It’s important to have a doctor who’s willing to work with you, especially if you’re on medication or have chronic issues,” says Michelle McMacken, MD, assistant professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine and director of the Bellevue Hospital Weight Management Clinic in New York City. To ensure you get the support you need, follow these tips.
TELL YOUR DOC YOU’RE ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR HEALTH
“When physicians hear this, which they rarely do, they get excited and they’re more open to a conversation,” says Scott Stoll, MD, board-certified specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and cofounder of the Plantrician Project. Make sure you come armed with resources, like a list of documentaries that have inspired you or evidence-based reviews such as the official position paper on plant-based diets from the world’s largest organization of nutrition professionals, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
AVOID ASKING DOCTORS ABOUT THEIR OWN DIETARY CHOICES
“Most physicians will think this is taking it too much to the personal level, which could make them feel defensive,” McMacken says.
SWITCH DOCTORS IF YOU RUN INTO A BRICK WALL
If you’re encountering skepticism and pushback from a doctor who’s not convinced about the benefits of a WFPB diet, move on. “You’re in control of your health, and you need to find a physician who respects and honors your choice,” Stoll says.
SEARCH ONLINE DIRECTORIES
The free search tool on Plant-based Docs lists more than 600 health care providers nationwide. “We want to serve as a bridge between people looking for health care professionals who are passionate about plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine,” says Stoll, a cofounder of the site. Another directory to check out: plantbasedoctors.org.
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