I've been eating vegan for about 2 weeks, and I'm more tired now than I was before I started. My best friend started vegan at the same time, and his energy is through the roof. I think I'm getting a good mix of whole grains and veggies but I'm not sure what to try to have more energy. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Fruit and lots of it. Fruit gives me energy to fuel my work outs and helps me replenish electrolytes. I usually eat two-three servings of fruit with breakfast, a serving of fruit before working out, and if I'm really hungry, a serving of fruit after bikram class. Today I ate a banana, 1/2 mango, and an apple and a half. I also limit my intake of sugar (I mean the crystal/powder stuff, not the sugar in fruit obviously) and carbonated beverages because I can feel them zapping my energy. Drinking LOTS of water will also help you stay energized. That is what works for me. I do eat a good amount of protein, whole grains, and veggies as well, though it sounds like you have those bases covered, and I make sure I consume enough calories. It works for me!
As far as I know this is a super common problem with vegetarians & vegans alike! The problem with being tired is usually cause by your iron levels - my naturopath had me start taking iron supplements twice a day, (as vegetarian supplements they took a little longer to really start working, just a week or two), and my energy is definitely much better! If you want to go the sans-supplement route, I'd suggest looking at what different natural foods have higher iron levels - I know kale & spinach are good ones as a start. But to be honest if you're a brand new vegan you might want to use supplements just for the time being so you feel & can function better, and then ease off them as you learn more about the nutrient values of natural foods.
I know some grains have a tendency to make people tired too, lots of rice for example, so if you're not already I'd focus on Quinoa (which won't make you tired) & look into other grains that keep your energy levels up too! Lastly, I wonder how much you're eating? Ideally, for your health, weight, and energy, you should be eating several smaller meals throughout the day. Good luck & feel better!
Your body is probably in a bit of a detox stage right now. Everybody is different, so your "mileage may vary" from that of your friend.
Are you eating a lot of processed foods? Try eating more "whole" foods and having a fruit smoothie in the morning, with a handful of spinach (can't taste the spinach). Give it some time - your body will adjust and you'll have more energy than you know what to do with before too long. ;)
I absolutely second the detox stage! When I first started I wasn't tired but i had a constant headache and felt pretty yuk.
If your feeling tired try eating whole grains at every meal. I am just reading skinny bitch and they point out that without carbs we are zombies...and it is so true.
So lots of whole grains and if you can, eat the actually grain instead of the products made from the grain. E.g. eat brown rice, steel cut oats etc, instead of bread and pasta.
The other thing is you may not be getting enough protein...i know they say 1 meal a day but try for 2. You will feel so good.
Finally i try to limit the processed foods. I know this sounds really stupid but there have been times when we have gone away or something and while everyone is going out for fast food i am stuck with eating fries. I feel totally zapped and actually have terrible belly pains so i try my best to avoid processed stuff. I guess when your vegan you just lose the ability to handle the crap or maybe because you feel so good all the time you are just able to feel the difference where as before you felt pretty crappy all the time...Well thats how i feel anyway.
Good luck...just give it time and see if it is just detox
Thanks for the advice... I've tried to stay away from processed stuff, and eat lots of grains and greens. I'm hoping some of it is stress from work too. My friend's first suggestion was iron as well, maybe he was right. For so long, I've been super conscious of not eating too much because I've wanted to lose weight. So it's kind of a struggle to make myself eat at times.
I felt the same way as you when I first started. My body was really detoxing and by making sure that I got plenty of water, my energy rose significantly. You may need more water than you realize to rid your body of the toxins. Aim for at least 64 oz. Some people can detox in a few days; it took me about three weeks. Good luck! Once you work through it, you will begin to feel marvelous!
Agreed about the water, especially while detoxing. I actually had tons of energy while detoxing but i had other symptoms (everyones different) but the two week timeline is right on with the detox period. Make sure you eat enough, it sounds like that might be your issue. While vegan diets tend to be lower in iron than someone eating tons of red meat, I think that iron defficiency is frequently over self diagnosed by vegetarians of all kinds. Even if you stopped eating ironrich foods completely it would take at least a few months to deplete your normal iron levels. If you want to boost your energy make some green (mostly vegetables and a little fruit) juice or smoothies. Also, get some light exercise, whatever you feel up to. Some yoga or a jog or a walk every day might really help. Even if these things don't help right away, i'm sure you will break through this period in a few days or weeks. Good luck!
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