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US Problems with vegetarian diet

Discussion in 'The Vegetarian Forum' started by RMF, Sep 14, 2017.

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  1. RMF

    RMF Not-So-Newbie

    I was wondering if anyone else had the same issues I am having following a vegetarian diet. I have been following a vegetarian diet for years and have been really feeling terrible.

    Low energy
    Loss of muscle tone
    Constantly hungry, never feeling full
    ALWAYS craving Sugar and Carbs
    Feeling sick; body/joint aches pains. I felt like I had the flu without the fever
    Cold all the time
    Very decreased sex drive
    Major fatigue, mental fog, no motivation

    I finally had enough and started to eat meat again. All of the above problems cleared up within days! My body felt warm again, muscles hardened and no more craving for food; energy returned.

    Yes, I made sure I had enough protein and fats. I ate eggs, peanut butter, cheese, olive oil. Basically ate everything except meat.

    I would LOVE to be vegetarian. Morally I hate to see animals suffer; however, I just cannot tolerate feeling so awful.

    Any suggestions? or maybe my body just can't tolerate a vegetarian diet.

    Thank you in advance
  2. silva

    silva Addicted Poster

    Ohio, U.S.A
    I've only experienced the total opposite of what you list, which is a short list of why whole food plant based diets are gaining popularity, particularly among athletes. I'm not even wfpb, I pretty much eat like when I was omni, with some processed foods, sugar, oils, refined grains.

    You leave out a lot of information- like what you eat. Eggs, olive oil, cheese and peanut butter? Those aren't examples of particularly healthy foods other than peanut butter. How about beans, lentils, legumes, seeds, tofu, tempeh, whole grains, fruits and vegetables?

    I wish I could find the research myself, but it is physiologically impossible to have those symptoms actually resolve within days of eating anything! Food does not react like an aspirin.

    Have you ever seen a dietician? Have you gone through thorough testing?
    What kinds of animals are you eating?
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Veteran Member

    Very hard to say without a very detailed description of everything you ate but this one might be too hard for forum discussion. Maybe a professional could help.

    What were your sources of B12 (especially) and iodine? Or could you at least confirm that you were taking B12.

    It's possible that there is something in meat that no-one knows what it is yet, that you have a defiency of, that most people don't get a deficiency of, but you are somehow super special for some reason.

    My only other guess is that's it's psychological.

    I would try blood tests.

    I would go back to eating meat and then steady phase it out and steadily change from your old diet to a new vegetarian one over a longer period of time with slow, steady changes.

    If none of that works you could try eating the least amount of meat possible raised in the most ethical way possible.

    Good luck!
  4. Indian Summer

    Indian Summer Cult Leader Administrator

    Were you taking any proper B12 supplements? As we age the ability to absorb B12 from food becomes less effective, and a small percentage of the population struggle to absorb it even when they're younger. The kind of B12 found in meat is more easily absorbed IIRC, but there are also (non-animal) supplements that provide similar kinds of B12.

    The other thing is you didn't mention eating beans, lentils, chickpeas, and also not much in terms of greens.
  5. silva

    silva Addicted Poster

    Ohio, U.S.A
    Actually I would also advise they eat the most unappealing animal products possible. I've always found it quite telling when people say they're morally against eating animals but can't be vegetarian - then start eating steak and wings. Offal has all the same qualities, even more, than what you find in muscle meats
    If you have to choke down the meat, and continued to feel better, you would have an indication that it wasn't just in your head
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. RMF

    RMF Not-So-Newbie

    First....thank you all for taking the time to respond and to offer help. To answer some of the questions posed.

    Yes...I have been eating a variety of foods including greens, legumes, etc everything except meat. All blood work comes back OK. I take a universal protein/ vitamin/mineral supplement (powder) that includes B12, however I will try to take a dedicated B12 supplement and see if that helps. @silva.....I began to eat chicken and hamburger when I discontinued the vegetarian diet. Will return to vegetarian eating again and see if the symptoms come back. Believe me....I truly do not want to injest meat. If so, will just eat the minimal amount of meat to feel batter and then return to veg. eating again until I find out what is happening.
  7. Jamie in Chile

    Jamie in Chile Veteran Member

    Is the universal supplement specific for vegetarians/vegans (if not, the amount could be too low)? Can you share with us the amount of B12 and the frequency (e.g. daily, once a week).
  8. Indian Summer

    Indian Summer Cult Leader Administrator

    Does it test specifically B12? Of course, B12 could be a red herring as it's just one of several possible problems, but it is one of the micronutrients that especially vegans and vegetarians struggle with.

    Maybe it would be a good idea to consult a dietician with experience in vegetarian diets? Also, read up on vegetarian nutrition. It's an evolving field, so things we learnt 10 years ago may no longer be correct...
  9. RMF

    RMF Not-So-Newbie

    Yes, it actually is formulated for vegans; is supplies 50% RDA of B12/serving. I take it about 2X/week but will take it more often to see if things improve, may actually supply more since I am not the average size adult male (5'6" 130 lbs)
  10. RMF

    RMF Not-So-Newbie

    Not sure about nutritional values being normal, however standard blood work panel comes back Ok. I need to speak to my doctor about running a nutritional panel for deficiencies.
  11. Peter

    Peter Famous Member

    UK or Spain
    Hi RMF
    I have been vegetarian for over 30 years and am now moving on to start eating a vegan diet. I have had very good health all this time and this prompts me to ask if you have cast the net wide enough in seeking the cause of your ill health. Do you get enough exercise? Do you have a happy home and work environment? Is there a history of any ill health issues in your family? Do you smoke? Do you live in an unhealthy place?
    A vegetarian diet is not the elixir of life. And it is actually compatible with overdosing on alcohol, cakes and other poor quality food.
    What I mean is your diet may or may not contribute to your ill health and there may be other more significant factors.
    A. You have tried a vegetarian diet.
    B. You are not feeling well.
    You are assuming that there is a significant connection between fact A and fact B. But why do you assume this?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
  12. Frederic Lavender

    Frederic Lavender Well Known Member

    I have been a vegetarian my entire life. I eat lots of veggies, spinach, broccoli, kale, carrots, potatoes, lots of grains too, brown rice, lentils and supplement with vegan protein shakes. I have been weightlifting for 4 years and never have experienced muscle loss... have you thought it could be hereditary or a coincidence?
  13. Andy_T

    Andy_T Addicted Poster Forum Moderator

    Hannover, Germany
    RMF, bear in mind that you might not be able to metabolize all the B12 in the supplement.

    If you do have a B12 deficiency, take a dedicated high-dose B12 supplement - meaning something like 5,000, 2,500 or 1000 mcg instead of the 2.5 mcg that is the "recommended daily dose" or a "normal" 25 or 100 mcg tablet.

    Why? Because many people are not able to absorb all the B12, so a higher dose increases the chances of successful absroption of the correct amount.

    And I am talking here about getting a 20$ jar of lozenges, with the only risk being that much of that 20$ leaves your body in the form of pee over the next 3 months. You can not overdose on B12.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. Andy_T

    Andy_T Addicted Poster Forum Moderator

    Hannover, Germany
    To give some example, after having been vegan for about 8 years, without specifically looking to supplement B12, I finally took a dedicated B12 test (much too late, actually) and found out that my value was at the lower end of the "normal" range, with a serum test of around 200 ng/l ("normal" range is from ~200 to 800). Mind you, I did not experience any of the symptoms outlined in the original post, those will likely come up with more lower doses. But yes, possibly a general "don't care much" attitude could be attributed partially to my low B12 levels.

    After daily supplementing a Jarrows 2,500 mcg B12 tablet for about 6 months, I am now back around 800 ng/l according to the second test and now take one tablet per week.
    • Appreciation Appreciation x 1
  15. KLS52

    KLS52 Only Kindness Matters

    My levels have been between 350-420 over the last 5-6 years. I haven’t supplemented in a few years other than consuming a lot of nutritional yeast. I would like it to be higher. Maybe I’ll try a sublingual and see if it makes a difference when I have my physical in another year.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Val

    Val Extraterrestrial

    I'd had a test for B12 and D2/D3 in June,- it revealed that i have a leak of calcium, but B12 level is more than good. But just before that i'd had B12 injections for 2 months in the hospital! ...When people start preaching about animal food as an only source of aminoacids, B12 and blah, blah, blah, i say i'd rather have injections done once a year than eat all their "irreplaceble" crap. Indeed, having injections once a year is very convenient. In 1.5-2 weeks i'm planning to have my nutritional yeast delivered (when i have my paycheck, hehehe). We'll see how it digests...:ignore:
  17. manisthajain

    manisthajain Well Known Member

    When you are eating well and getting health issues, so why you do not join exercise and yoga.

    Physical activity is much helpful to reduce fat, pain, other health issues.

    Normal exercise and yoga can choose any age of people, I suggest this is a good activity.
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