08 October, 2007

Don't you feel weak and tired?

When the topic of veganism comes up with my co-workers I hear a lot about iron deficiency or excessive tiredness as a reason why they're no longer vegan. And while iron deficiency is a cause for concern, particularly with young women, the people who say this have never had blood work done to determine iron deficiency. Furthermore, you can supplement iron with, well...supplements. And a variety of veggies. The point I'm trying to make is that you can be healthy and running at full speed and be vegan.

As for feeling tired and sluggish I can't say that I've experienced that; in all actuality I feel more energetic. In my pre-gan days I would feel wiped out after a day at work, which would usually lead to poor food choices, often in the form of greasy fast food. Since I don't live in the most vegan-friendly of cities (as in, there are no vegan restaurants) I frequently cook at home. With the assistance of a few cookbooks, particularly ones geared for slow cookers/crock pots (and *ahem* a certain cookbook by a certain contributor to the Vegan Freak podcast) I'm able to make tasty meals while I'm working and prepare a lot of dishes in less than an hour. I also cook and bake in large batches for leftovers. So at the end of the day I don't stress over what to make. And since I'm not eating a ton of junk food, I don't feel lethargic.

I've noticed that with time I've started to get more physically active. I'm by no means a health nut or exercise fanatic (I can't stay motivated at the gym) but I walk everywhere - to the grocery store and the post office; a few bus stops away from work; on walking paths near work and home, etc. And when I get home -surprise!- I don't feel run-down. This doesn't mean that I'm super-psyched every single day - there are times when I just like to lounge and do nothing. And as a result of working around sneezing and sniffling students it's only a matter of time when I come down with a cold. I'm suggesting that citing 'low energy' as an excuse to not go and stay vegan is baseless. Veganism is about becoming informed and educated - that includes your health and overall well-being.

21 comments:

  1. when i made the switch from eating meat to raw veganism i felt amazing! i had never had so much energy in my life!

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    1. I did too....at first. now I feel tired, sluggish, bloated and full of wind, have headaches and my skin is dry and sallow. I eat super healthy, take the right supplements, avoid sugar, caffeine and booze, get plenty of sleep....my doctor tells me I have to reintroduce some dairy and pref fish, and I never thought I'd say this, but I am seriously considering it :(

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    2. I'm like you. There is something wrong with being this tired all of the time.

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  2. Yeah, I also felt more energized when I gave up meat but ESPECIALLY when I gave up milk! It was amazing: my "seasonal" allergies went away, I lost my saddle bags, and my skin looked way better!

    It irritates me when people say they felt "weak" and "tired" and "couldn't" do it. What were you eating, iceburg lettuce?!

    I once ran across a guy who said he was allergic to most veggies and meat analogues. He claimed his diet was upwards of 80% meat AND his cholesterol was just fine. Yeah, right!

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    1. I eat ALL of the right vegan foods! have done so for 1.5 years. kale, spinach, field roast 25g protein 'vegan' meats (non-soy) a plethora of fruits, veggies and nuts, beans and grains. I know 5 vegans who feel tried and drained all of the time. And no I NEVER eat iceberg lettuce. No nutrients. I use Vega Sport Performance Protein powder 25g. I guess you should feel irritated with the other people know who feel the same way too. :-(

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  3. I've been vegetarian for several years and vegan for about a month. Since I started the vegan diet I have been feeling tired and feel like I'm kind of hung over and can't think clearly. I've also felt very irritable. I can't figure out how to change this. I cook a lot and eat a wide variety of foods. I also take B vitamins, iron & calcium supplements. I want to do this but I need to change how I feel physically. Does anyone have suggestions? I'm really looking for help so please don't slam me.

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  4. Need to take Iron. Without iron you feel tired quick and suffers from others diseases like anemia.

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  5. I am 14, I take vegan supplements (inc. iron) and flax supplements, and I get a good amount of sleep and try to walk everywhere also I'm not really into junk food at all. But I am having a real lack of energy and most of the time feeling incredibly 'weak' & run down. Any ideas in how I could not feel like this, maybe specific foods/vitamins? Thanks

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  6. See if you can't sort out a vitamin b-12 supplement. That should sort you out in a day or two.

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  7. There is B12 in the supplements, but perhaps not enough... I will get just the B12 supplements (and I think B group vitamins in general)
    Thank you very much!!!

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  8. Just
    came and read, this is wow! I was seek from many blogs, but here is the best,
    I love it.

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  9. I've been a vegan for 4 years, gluten free for the past 1 1/2 years, consume very little caffeine (green tea maybe once or twice a month), avoid sugar and processed food, drink ~70 oz of water/day and workout regularly, but I have been feeling considerably less energy, especially during workouts.  I eat a balanced diet of fruits and veggies, am mindful of protein and varied sources of protein, try to avoid 'meat substitutes' and limit tofu (and eat fermented soy such as tempeh) and recently added a food-based iron supplement and food-based Vit C (help with iron uptake).  Despite all of this, and a good night's rest, I still feel tired, especially when trying to do the same workout I've done all along.

    I am committed to remain a vegan, but it's hard to slog through workouts that are almost to the point where I am going to have to give them up.  My most recent bloodwork was normal, with the only exception being only slightly on the low end of the iron value, thus the iron supplement.

    Appreciate any insights!

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    1. Kate: I just read your post and I am in the same exact boat. I can't put my finger on it either. I eat fresh fruit and veggies, have green smoothies to start my day. Take supplements. No caffeine, no processed foods, no sugar - it's as if you posted for me. I walk an hour in the morning and an hour at night with my dogs. Relatively stress free and sleep a full 6-7 hours a night. Yet around 1p every day I 'run down' and am dragging my feet. I've been vegan for 2 years. I have plenty of iron in my diet and b-12. If anyone out there responds, please pass along the info. I'm at an impasse. Hoping we both find answers :)

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  10. PS  I also take a wide variety of supplements, including B and D, multi, Omega, etc.

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  11. I have been vegan for many years, I do not eat processed foods, and eat nearly 100% organic. I take b12 and do not eat any type of refined sugar. With that said, I feel weak and exhausted. My vegan friends all look to me for food advice as I take it really serious and eat a very diverse fresh diet. I have yet to get blood work, but it seems so crazy before all I ate were meat/cheese/bread combos, drank and smoked and still some how felt stronger and more healthy.

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  12. I've been vegan for 9 months. My diet is super healthy, I eat a home cooked meal every day chock full of veggies (and usually pulses/beans too). I eat Porridge and soft fruits for breakfast and snack on fruit and Nakd bars to keep me going in the day. I felt full of energy at first, and really good, but gradually I have begun to feel very run down.
    I feel weak and tired. I have headaches and low back and tummy aches, feel very windy.
    I went to my doc, he has run bloods, and my hb is low at 9.8, and my b12 is low (despite supplements).

    My blood pressure which is always low anyway, is now 90/60.
    Doc says it is a direct result of my veganism - he wants me to include eggs and cheese in my diet at minimum, pref. some fish too - then go back and see him in 5 days after eating these foods and report how i'm doing. I'm torn, Veganism is so important to me, and I have a close circle of vegan friends, its kind of my life now y' know?

    But I want to feel well again too!!

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  13. I am sorry to hear that others are tired as well but I feel less alone. I take supplements (Deva Vegan), eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and make most of my own food, including protein substitutes and legumes. My bloodwork shows I'm on the low end for iron but otherwise normal. I am *so* tired all the time and have trouble focusing. I don't want to give up being vegan but falling asleep mid workout and the inability to do my job or think clearly is really making me question the long term viability of this diet.

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  14. There are a few reasons you are feeling tired without any reason. One of them is anemia, which is a lack of red blood cells and conversely, oxygen from the lungs is not properly brought to the tissues and cells. Anemia may be caused by deficiency of vitamins or minerals, internal bleeding or chronic diseases. Women who are at “that time” of the month are susceptible to anemia as blood is lost during menstruation. Still, iron deficiency due to menstruation is less than in pregnant women or lactating mothers, as their body needs extra iron to maintain healthy blood levels. Things may also go wrong when your thyroid glands refuse to cooperate with you. Thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are responsible for metabolic processes in the body. Too much thyroid hormone causes hyperthyroidism which speeds up metabolism while too little thyroid hormone slows down metabolism. Hyperthyroidism causes fatigue and muscle weakness and starts in the thighs. Doing energy demanding activities become difficult and other symptoms include weight loss, feeling warm, shorter menstruations, increased heart rate and thirst. Hypothyroidism also causes fatigue and muscle weakness. The symptoms are reversed to hyperthyroidism such as weight gain, feeling cold and longer menstruations. Diabetes, notorious for causing a range of problems in the body, is also related to fatigue. As glucose is the staple fuel of the body, it is not utilized properly in patients with type 2 diabetes as the absence of insulin causes the glucose to build up in the body. Without its staple fuel, the tissues of the body are not nourished properly and causes fatigue. Sadly, being sad can also be the reason you feel tired. Depression induces negative feelings and also has negative effects on the body as it causes a reduction in energy levels, changes in sleep and eating patterns, decreased concentration and overall laziness and worthlessness which keeps you in bed all day.
    Reference: http://bit.ly/2f9bC1e

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  15. Ive been Vegan now for about 5 months. I just recently started feeling a bit weak and body pains starting with my upper body and lower body especially my back. Headaches have also began. I have began taking supplements of b12 and need more calcium for sure. Is the body ache normal tho? ugh hate feeling this way and im not turning back please help

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  16. So it turns out anemia was spot on for me- I had been giving too much blood and finally got turned away. With iron supplements (taken with vitamin C so I could keep them down), and my proper diet and multivitamin, I bounced right back in a month. I am glad I didn't give up, it was a rough few months to figure out what was wrong but it turns out it wasn't my veganism but my blood donations.

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  17. 24th year vegan . many have said it could be lack of iodine needed by thyroid and say the fix is possibly kelp / seaweed

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