Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vegan Health: Blood Test Results


It's definitely easy to fall into an unhealthy pattern of eating as a vegan.  My recent few weeks training for the Little Rock Half Marathon saw a few items creep back into my diet, namely gluten and sugar, and I can feel it.  Now, a life of complete dietary purity isn't necessary for a healthy life.  A certain amount of flexibility is definitely good to have, especially for your mind, but I'm definitely striving for an overall balance of health and happiness.

Recently, I under went a routine physical, and I was pretty pleased with the results.  I can't say that any of this information is proof that veganism is the perfect diet for everyone's overall health.  I can say that it works for me, especially when I lean towards clean, detox foods.  I have been vegan for going on 6 years, and this is my 3rd blood workup.  The results have been similar across the board.  I don't have a pre-vegan work up to compare it to, which I would say is the only down side of all of this.  It would be interesting to see what changed, but as I went vegan fairly young, I wasn't regularly getting physicals.

I will say that this makes a case that you can be fairly healthy at larger sizes.  Of course, I am working to reduce my weight, mostly because I want to be as physically active and as mentally healthy as possible.  My blood work and blood pressure are great, even if I have a BMI of 34.6.  I have a good 60 to 70 pounds of weight to lose before I would be considered in a "healthy" range, but I don't magically become healthy when I lose those pounds.  Health comes first.

THE HIGHLIGHTS

Blood Pressure:     102/60

I have always had low blood pressure, so this one I cannot contribute to veganism.  I do have my bp taken regularly at doctors and on machines at stores, and I can tell a difference based on my diet.  When I'm drinking regularly and eating more processed foods, it tends to hover on the high side of normal.  When I'm eating fresh, clean foods and exercising regularly, this number is in the low range.

Pulse:     56

Pulse rates vary in individuals, but based on a normal pulse chart, children over 10 and adults pulses range from 60-100 beats per minute, and well trained adult athletes pulses range from 40-60 beats per minute.

Total Cholesterol:     136 mg/dL

Per Exam One:  Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body.  Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly, but if you have too much in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries.  Reference Range:  140 - 200.

As you can see, my cholesterol level is below the normal range, which is a good thing.  I think this can be heavily attributed to veganism.  Of course, it's not all dietary, it is also influenced by heredity. 

Blood Glucose:     79 mg/dL

Per Exam One:  The blood glucose test measures the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood right at the time of sample collection.  Reference Range:  65 - 109

My blood tested well within the low/normal range.

Albumin:     4.3 g/dL

Per Exam One:  Albumin is the largest portion of total blood Protein.  Decreased blood albumin may indicate many disorders, including poor nutrition and advanced liver disease.  Reference Range:  3.9 - 5.2

My levels were low, but still within normal range.  It is my goal to increase dietary protein within mid/normal range.

Globulin:     2 g/dL

Per Exam One:  Globulin is a major component of blood proteins.  Abnormal levels (both elevated and decreased) may indicate infections, allergic states, immune disorders and other diseases.  Reference range 1.9 - 3.8.

My levels on this were low as well, but still within a healthy range.

Total Protein:     6.3 g/dL

Per Exam One:  Total protein measurements can reflect nutritional status and may be used to screen for and help diagnose kidney disease, liver diseas and many other conditions.  Protein in the blood insludes two major components Albumin and Globulin.  Reference Range: 6.5 - 8.5

The only "negative" mark on my blood work was my total protein, which was slightly under normal healthy range.  I will be working to including more plant based protein sources to my diet, and I will continue to supplement with my vegan protein powder, especially as my workout level increases.

Urine PH Screen:     5.4

Per Exam One:  This test measures how acidic the urine is.  Reference Range:  4 - 8.

I was very interested to see how alkaline my urine is, since I strive for high alkaline and low acidic foods in my diet.

There were many other things tested, and everything was in very healthy ranges.  What I take from this is that I have to continue to strive for high protein intake, especially if I continue with strenuous workouts.  I don't think that veganism will automatically equal low protein levels, but I think it's our responsibilities as healthy vegans to monitor our healthy and be pro-active.  Too often, vegans do not spend enough time focusing on their overall nutrition, which can lead to veganism burn out and quitting.


Hemp seeds and spirulina are both great sources of protein for vegans, and I will continue to add these to my diet as much as possible.

What plant based items do you try to include in your diet to keep you healthy and happy?


6 comments:

  1. I add a tablespoon of chia seeds in my cereal every morning for the omega. I think your age is in your favor for blood work. Losing weight now will benefit you later in life - and you are definitely on the path to do that! I have really enjoyed your blog this year. Way to go!

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    Replies
    1. i definitely think age has a lot to do with it. thanks for your encouraging words, and I'm glad you are liking the blog :)

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