A little over five years ago, I began looking for a primary care physician who could see me for checkups, yearly blood-work, or if I was sick with a cold. My husband was looking for a doctor, and Dr. Linda Carney was in the local area. When we saw the phrase, "Primary Care Extraordinaire", we decided to choose her, and within the first visit I was impressed with her knowledge of health and nutrition. I loved the care and attention she gave my husband and immediately knew we could both entrust our health with her.
Before seeing Dr. Carney, I wasn't aware that I had any conditions, but I was experiencing some symptoms. During my yearly checkup, I mentioned to Dr. Carney that my menstrual cycle had been really heavy. I felt like I was headed down a path to a major surgery for a hysterectomy as I neared my 50th birthday, and that's when she mentioned that I should give up dairy. I couldn't imagine how that would make a difference, but she explained to me that consuming dairy creates an inflammation response throughout your entire body. At first, when she suggested it, I wasn't sure that I could give up dairy. As like any other American, we would eat cheese frequently, but after watching Forks Over Knives with my husband, we completely changed our lifestyle.
I certainly wanted to avoid surgery for a hysterectomy, and if giving up dairy was something that could be controlled invasively, I knew I would try it. I gave up all meat and dairy, and within the first month, I couldn't believe it. The difference in my menstrual cycle left me in disbelief, and I thought there was no way that giving up dairy could make that much of a difference. After the first few months, I went to my regular OB/GYN, and mentioned how amazed I was at how this had changed my health dramatically. He promptly asked, "Really? Dairy?! Who's your primary care doctor?"
All of a sudden, without really trying at all, the extra five or ten pounds that I was carrying around started coming off. There was little to no effort in that! Cutting out meat was easy, since we only ate that every so often. The dairy was much harder, and we found that it was in everything. Much of the foods that we thought were healthy has dairy in it, as well. Once we started to read the labels, we learned what to look out for and what to avoid.
I thought it was going to be much harder to change our eating habits, but it really wasn't. I had this motivation to take control of my health to prevent chronic illnesses and high cholesterol. Many people I speak with about our diet say they could never give up dairy and eggs, but I tell them that I didn't think that I could either! Now that it's gone from my diet, I really don't miss it.
I also had another side effect after getting rid of the dairy. I had a nasal drip, and I didn't know that I had this swallowing tendency to try and relieve this symptom. After we changed our diet, I realized that my head was much clearer, and my sinuses were no longer out of check, and I then noticed that I no longer had that feeling when you're suffering from typical allergies. Over the holidays, we went on a couple of trips and I know that we probably consumed some dairy or meat products by accident. All of that drip came back in my throat, and just a small amount of those foods being added into my diet made me realize how much it affected me.
We have a daughter, and while she's not fully vegan, she does eat healthy like we do. One of the first questions her pediatrician asked was how many glasses of milk she has a day. I've had to discuss our decision for her health with her pediatrician, and after I explained everything, she was completely respectful about it. I pack my daughter's school lunch, and I am able to decide what she's eating daily in that way, but at birthday parties, we are more lenient and don't want her to feel left out.
I have shared all the information that I've learned from Dr. Carney and even our neighbor has gone mostly vegan. I needed some recipe and different ideas, and after buying several cookbooks, my friend and I share the recipes that we like in the same cookbooks. If anyone is having any health struggles or questions, they should try out a plant-based lifestyle for a month like I did and see if it makes a difference.
I have never met another physician like Dr. Carney that takes the time with her patients and cares so deeply about their health. Many doctors today just have a physician's assistant or nurse practitioner who will see you for only a few minutes. Dr. Linda Carney discovered a way that could help me and doesn't mind spending an hour with me discussing my health. What other doctor would even take the time to look at that? I feel like she really is extraordinary. She will do whatever she can to figure out what's going on and try to help you. That's really rare to find that in a doctor today, and I have recommended her quite a bit to friends and family.