I honestly never thought that in a city as large as Los Angeles finding a doctor who is familiar with a vegan diet would be a problem. Turns out it is. (Part of the problem is that in the US there is a frightful lack of nutrition training in medical curriculum, and often Doctors just defer to the USDA which is funded in part by the meat and dairy industries. I’m not going to spend much time on that here, but the point is there is not a lot of info out there in the “professional” world about this, and there are tons of books and documentaries that have been released recently digging into this.) Trying to find a pediatrician is proving to be an even bigger problem.
That might seem like a crazy idea to some people, but it really shouldn’t. Dr. Benjamin Spock who many people know as the author of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, one of the most influential books on pediatrics and child care was himself a vegan and starting with the 7th edition of the book stopped recommending dairy and meat to children instead advising vegan diets. That alone would make me think more pediatricians would be familiar with the diet but so far I haven’t had much luck. I did track down Dr. Jay Gordon in Santa Monica who, from his site seems very supportive of the idea. Unfortunately after speaking with his office I found that he doesn’t accept any insurance and charges his clients a flat “subscription” fee every month on top of office visits. If money is no issue to you that is probably fine, but for people like Tara and me who are on a budget and already paying a lot for insurance there is no way we can work with something like that.
The truth is we don’t need some crusading super-vegan doctor, we just need someone who is familiar with and open to alternative diets, and perhaps has an interest in nutrition themselves. A doctor who understands dairy, egg, nut, wheat, or other kinds of allergies should do the trick but even that question has been getting lots of “um… uh… well…” replies from the people answering the phones in the offices I’ve called. There are shockingly few vocally vegan Doctors in the LA area, Heather Shenkman is one but I have to say I’m really surprised how hard this search has become.