This blog is to introduce myself, Dr. Marianne Trevorrow (ND), to the VegOttawa Association community. I’ll be doing a regular “Ask a Plant-Based ND” column twice a month for VegOttawa. I’ll be answering questions from members and social media followers about what is credible in nutritional science to help people of all ages make healthy choices that are accessible and sustainable.
I’m a plant-based naturopathic doctor (ND) practicing in Ottawa and a former assistant research investigator in nutritional medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle, where I completed my training in 2006. I’m also new to Ottawa, having recently moved here from Calgary to run the Canadian ND Association professional journal (CANDJ) as Editor-in-Chief. As someone who believes very strongly in the sustainability principles of the recent EAT-Lancet report, I try to support more discussions about how plant-based, culturally appropriate diets fit into natural medicine practice and enjoy these conversations with my patients.
Personally, I’ve eaten a primarily-plant based diet for over 20 years, and I have been vegan for 3 1/2 years. I’m also soy and histamine sensitive, which has made being vegan a bit more of a challenge. Many ‘standard’ meat substitutes, such as Impossible burgers and many ‘chick’n’ substitutes, are simply off the table for me. If there’s a silver lining to this, it means that beans, nuts and seeds have become my primary choice of vegan protein. As someone who had long long-term digestive problems, this took me a few months to accomplish. I found I had to very gradually increase my legume intake and sometimes use protein powders to fill in the gaps. When eating out, I used those same principles and looked for bean-based dishes with fruits, vegetables and grains as main menu items. I made sure to mention to staff that I’m sensitive to soy, if the ‘vegetarian’ option doesn’t clearly state what it’s made from. Interestingly, over the past five years I’ve found that vegan or plant-based options for eating out and at regular grocery stores are becoming easier to find. The food is also often interesting, unique and delicious.
I went vegan for ethical and health reasons. As a bonus, sticking out a bit of a bumpy transition to legumes was also worth it for my overall health. My IBS and asthma are pretty much gone, and many other nagging health problems (including upper back pain from sitting too long at desks) have significantly improved. Far from being depleted or deficient, I feel a lot better than I did before making the switch, although I’m also careful to make sure I supplement with Vitamin D, B12 and plant-based omega 3s.
Many of us have stories about how we found our way to plant-based eating. Once there, it can be a challenge to stay there. Many of us have family and friends (or health professionals) who think eating vegan is odd and strange, if not actually dangerous. This attitude is slowly changing, but we are hoping in this blog series to support our readers at whatever stage they are at in their vegan journey to go vegan in a way that can be accessible for everyone.
You can follow Marianne on Instagram @drmariannet