I just finished reading "The Kind Diet" and I LOVED it. I've been vegetarian for about 4 years now, but it gave me the extra kick I needed to go vegan (and hopefully superhero someday)! I started blogging about it too (http://noticeverything.blogspot.com/) - I'm very excited to try all of the recipes.
Anyway, I'm a few days in now, and feeling ridiculously tired. I'm not a huge coffee / caffeine person, and I used to only have a cup maybe 2-3 times / week. I'm sleeping well, and very solidly, but I'm having a terrible time getting out of bed in the morning. I am exhausted and feel like I could sleep for hours. Is this normal? I workout regularly (2 hours of roller derby 3x a week, and am working to up that time with cross training), so I don't think it has to do with that.
I don't feel sick or anything, just tired all day, and having trouble waking up. Is that normal? Has anyone else experienced this?
Thank you in advance - I'm so happy to be here! :)
It is normal to be tired and sluggish becuause your body is detoxing from the hormones,etc. that is found in animal products (including dairy). You should try to be as restful as possible, drink TONS of water (half your body weight in liquid ounces), and also water with lemon. In our program, we recommend you use the Arbonne protein shakes (vegan and gluten and soy free) and the Arbonne detox tea, which has ingredients such as milk thistle to flush your major detoxifiying organs. You can probably also find similar products, those are just the ones we stand behind.
Another good thing to do is to take bath with some kind of detoxifying salts, such as epsome salts, but use the organic ones, if possible!!!
Also...make sure your meals are well balanced with a good portion of lean protein (quinoa is an excellent and easy one), a complex carbohydrate and TONS of veggies.
I'm a physician and one of the first things that pops into my mind when someone says that they might be feeling tired as a result of transitioning to a plant-based diet (vegan) is a potential lack of Iron in the diet. Sometimes when we switch (I am guilty as charged) we don't eat the most balanced of vegan diets as we are learning all the ins and outs and figuring out what works best for us. That's really very normal. In fact most people usually say they are either worried about not getting enough protein in their new diet or are craving meat.
This is also normal for new vegans think they're not getting enough protein, but if you're feeling, tired, weak, and craving 'meaty' foods, it's more likely the real culprit is iron. A prolonged lack of iron in the diet can lead to iron deficiency anemia, and menstruating women and teens are among the highest-risk groups. In North America and Europe, an estimated 10% of women and teens are not getting enough iron, regardless of diet.The US Recommended Daily Allowance of iron is 14.4 - 32.4 mg for women and 14.4 mg for men. Vegans need a bit more dietary iron than meat eaters because we get all our iron in non-heme form, which isn't absorbed as readily as the heme iron found in meat. Studies of dietary iron and serum ferritin (the form iron takes in the bloodstream after it is absorbed) suggest that although vegans tend to eat more iron, our serum ferritin levels are lower than meaters-- but they're still within the normal range.
(it's making me shut up for talking so much so I will continue on another post! Sorry!)
It's also worth noting that some studies suggest a connection between high serum ferritin levels and cardiovascular disease, although the research in this area isn't well developed. But it could explain why menstruating women, who lose 30-45 mg of iron a month, have half the rate of CVD as men, and why women's CVD rates go up after menopause. It's easy to get plenty of iron in a vegan diet. Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary iron than other diets-- vegan diets are especially high in iron because they don't contain dairy products, which are poor sources of iron themselves, and inhibit the absorption of iron from other foods.
Some Iron-Rich Foods Tofu Soybeans Pumpkin seeds Quinoa Lentils Cooked spinach Sesame seeds or tahini Chickpeas Barley Cooked Swiss chard Wheat flour Black beans Kidney beans Potatoes with skin Raw asparagus Kale Miso Blackstrap molasses Prunes Figs Pine nuts Thyme Fortified cereals and meat analogs
I hope that helps! Kindest Regards and Best Wishes, Jenna (theplantrx.com)
Hi there, I would say it's far too early for you to be feeling any potential ill effects of a vegan diet. I would guess it's probably the time of year that's left you so tired (if you're sure you don't have some kind of viral illness). I feel pretty wiped in deep winter no matter what my diet.
And just by way of qualification of earlier points made, while it's true a vegan diet is usually higher in dietary iron than a vegetarian diet, the larger portion of that is not absorbed- in some cases just a few percent of the iron. Make sure you combine your iron rich foods with vitamin C and soak and/or sprout nuts, seeds and legumes that you eat regularly and never drink tea or coffee with your food.
I am 9 days into the vegan lifestyle and have noticed the same thing. I have felt very tired and sluggish and want to sleep more! I too believe that our bodies are ridding themselves of all of the hormones and toxins that have built up for years. I notice that I am going to the bathroom A LOT and I'm not drinking any caffiene, so it's clear that my body is expelling all of the nastiness that is in there. Keep up the good work!!
In my opinion, it is likely just adjustment or detox. The only ill-effects I experienced while transitioning were tiredness and extreme hunger for about the first two weeks, my boyfriend was also ravenous. We were hungry all the time for that period, but then our bodies adjusted. One of my friends went vegetarian a few months after and she was really tired after a few weeks. When I asked her what she was eating, it was clear she was mostly missing good carbs. Once she simply started adding a little brown rice to just her lunches - major change! I would suggest making sure your meals are well-balanced, whatever that means for you, but for me I try to go with at least 50% veggies, if not more, then some grains, and protein (though I may not make a specific protein, such as legumes, part of every meal as even veggies and grains have protein and I am not some huge athlete who needs to load up on it). Grains and protein are generally around 1/3 of a cup each, but I don't actually measure or anything. So I would suggest waiting a couple of weeks, take a look at your meals, and possibly adding a B vitamin complex to your diet - then see how you're feeling and if you need to make other changes. Good luck!
Thank you so much for the input everyone! (And for liking my derby name) ;)
I've definitely been incorporating a lot of good carbs & protiens (beans & such) into my meals, and that's been helping me feel really full which is awesome. The sluggishness has started to subside a bit which is great - that first week was really tough though! It seems like my body is finally starting to catch up - woohoo!
I'm still sleeping really deeply (awesome), but I'm starting to have an easier time waking up... I'm a little over a week in now, so maybe it was the initial jolt that I needed to get over? (Or lack therof).
A couple of weeks after going vegan, I felt all of a sudden exhausted and low-energy for about five days. It might have had nothing to do with my diet, but I was more tired than I'd been in a long time. It went away, and now I'm more energetic than ever, I think. Maybe I wasn't eating enough leafy greens or whole grains, I'm not sure.
I'll be reading your blog, Beth. I've got a similar one if you're interested, which follows my exploits of being vegan for a few months and of trying to eat superhero (since Saturday, when I started Kind Diet recipes)! http://sassysoyfreevegetarian.blogspot.com/
I put in another forum just a little bit ago, but just so you know, there are grains that are VERY high in iron such as quinoa - 1 cup is 20% of your daily value and it's easily digestible, and amaranth -1 cup is 80% of your daily value in iron. Both grains are delicious. Hope that helps!