How To Deal with Illness Through Veganism

By Published On: 3 May 2013Last Updated: 17 January 2017

It is hard enough when society to writes your views off, but it is especially hurtful when it's family or friends discounting evidence that food could help them.

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How To Deal with Illness Through Veganism

By Amanda Crow, Guest Contributor

Veganism is the life I choose for the health of the animals, the planet, and the people.  Plants are incredible foods that nourish our bodies and can make us thrive in ways that seemed impossible (i.e. Scott Jurek, Rich Roll).  I will be the first to admit my vegan diet is not ideal for health preventative purposes, but I am certain that if I were sick in a serious way, I would immediately focus my efforts on the foods that I eat. I have read countless stories of people (Ruth Heidrich, Natalie Palmer, Jane Plant) curing their cancer and reversing their illness with diet, often when western medicine was out of options.  Every day more research is being done on this form of treatment, but it is still on the fringe.  I believe if more people gave it a chance, the evidence for its success would be overwhelming and seen everywhere.

In this time of extreme sickness with cancers, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and more, it is unlikely any of us don’t have people in our lives that are suffering from one or more of these ailments.  It is so painful to watch people we love deteriorate, especially when death seems likely and soon.  What’s even more difficult is the knowledge that there are potentially life-saving alternatives but individuals refuses to accept it.  It’s easy to understand why people are skeptical, the medical industry dominates our culture.  When one gets sick, doctors often write a script and never once ask about diet- not that they should, as most have little to no nutritional training.  The overall message about the usefulness of plants seems to be that they are great and all, but we need drugs to cure disease.

Until recently, I have been sheltered from the pain of losing someone slowly through disease.  Dealing with this situation as a vegan is particularly painful.  I am struggling to not let the pain and frustration consume me.  It is hard enough when society to writes your views off, but it is especially hurtful when it’s family or friends discounting evidence that food could help them.  How do we deal with this added burden?  I don’t have the answers and would love to hear from the community.

Photo: karimian


  1. Amanda Crow May 8, 2013 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Hi Annie – Thank you so much for sharing, and I am so sorry for the pain you have been through and are still dealing with. I truly believe that everyone could benefit from the power of plants when they are sick. People’s refusal to believe that meat/dairy are unhealthy makes me so angry at the industries. People getting sick and dying just so they can fill their pockets. How did you let go of the anger with your brother? How did you come to terms with it? It is something I am really struggling with.

  2. Annie May 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I feel as if I could have written this. I tried very hard (including begging) to get my brother to switch from a meat- and processed foods-heavy diet to a whole, plant-based one after his terminal cancer diagnosis. He fully believed meat was healthy and nourishing and never did alter his thinking on that. And I see my parents, both of whom struggle with “Western” diseases, continue to eat the very foods which made them ill in the first place. I’m not a nut case or a quack. Science backs me up – but that’s how I must sound to them – nuts. It’s sad and frustrating. Even if a plant-based diet can’t turn back the clock, I believe that it can improve their quality of life, relieve them of pain and of the myriad of frightening drugs they must take to control their symptoms.

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HELLO! I'm KD Angle-Traegner.

Writer, activist, and founder of Four Urban Paws Sanctuary. I’m on a mission to help people live a vegan life. Read more about KD…