Many thanks to our many faithful readers who have become accustomed to getting a new information-packed blog every other Sunday from Plant Powered Physicians. We are changing the format a little bit, just for this next blog. This biweekly “blog” which follows below is a personal essay written by one of our co-founders, Dr. Bandana Chawla.
Veganism and Wellness – A Physician’s Transformation
My journey to veganism began with my patients. You have heard about patients eating better because their doctor had a talk with them. In my case, I became a vegan because my patients had a talk with me. At the end of 2012, I was exposed to several vegan patients in my clinic. Some were new while others were established patients who had become vegan recently. These patients became my first teachers of this lifestyle and educated me about the health benefits, environmental impacts, and moral aspects. Eventually, I decided to do my own research and seek the truth for myself. This research led to reflections and these reflections led to revelations.
At the beginning of 2013, I became a vegan for ethical reasons. Two years after that, I studied the health benefits of this diet and became a plant based physician. Since adopting this lifestyle, I have noticed a tremendous improvement in my own physical, emotional, and spiritual health. With this newfound information, I am now able to promote this diet and witness improvements in my patient’s health and wellness as well.
Transitioning to a vegan diet first brings improvements in physical health. Many patients lose weight and no longer need or are able to decrease medications for chronic diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, gout etc. Then, benefits in mental health are noticed. There is decreased anxiety, irritation, depression, and agitation, resulting in some patients no longer needing depression and anxiety medications. Lastly, this lifestyle can lead to growth in spiritual health. My own practice of yoga and meditation has benefited from removing animal foods from my diet. Perhaps, it’s because I now live my life in accord with my values that I am able to enjoy a new level of inner peace and joy. Similar experiences have also been reported by many patients.
Though I was trained in traditional Western medicine of using pills and procedures instead of improving health through lifestyle, being a vegan doctor has allowed me to practice in a more holistic way. I now see that proper nutrition along with regular exercise and mindfulness are important contributors to our health and sense of well-being. Now, almost 20 years after graduating from medical school, I can see the connections between our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. And it’s all thanks to my vegan patients who spoke up and educated their doctor.