I am on my fourth week of going Vegan and starting to think I'm not getting enough of something or maybe Vegan isn't for my body. My first week I felt great and had a lot more energy so I thought I had made a great decision. But I have now had a constant headache (sometimes so bad it hurts to move) since the second week. Tuesday, January 10 to be precise is when it started. I can't even exercise anymore because if I try to, it starts to morph into a full-blown migraine. I kept thinking maybe it was part of detox, but I honestly I don't know how much longer I can take this headache. It's been three weeks without a break and is affecting my day-to-day living. I don't want to do anything but lie down to try and get some relief. My energy has dropped back to what it was before as well which was very little. I've been trying the Cure-All Tea, Umeboshi plums, avoiding the convenience vegan foods and making a lot from scratch (which is very time consuming!), but nothing seems to be helping. I've been trying to stick it out thinking it's all a part of detox and will end soon, but I'm starting to lose hope in that. Has anyone else had such a strong headache reaction that just won't go away? Is there anything I can try to alleviate them?
Hi! I am about 2 weeks in and have been pretty good - maybe 98% vegan. I have had a headache, but I assumed it was my normal sinus headache that occurs during certain times (was hoping cutting out dairy would help, but not so far). Anyway, mostly I have had the really uncomfortable bloating and gas and now a headache! I actually gave in and had an egg this morning and sushi at lunch. I do feel better, so my guess is that all of this is detox. I look forward to hearing from a more experienced vegan about this!
You could be getting this headache from a number of things. Make sure you are getting enough water in your system. When I first became veg, I wasn't drinking enough water and got really bad headaches as well. Just as long as I kept myself hydrated, they weren't as bad.
Also, are you getting enough protein? Try to make sure you are getting some in atleast 2 meals per day. I seem to feel better when I got more protein in.
These headaches could also be from a sugar addiction that you are breaking. Have you noticed any changes in your sugar intake? Try to be conscious of that. Sugar is one of the worst drugs to break ourselves from and is totally addictive. Once we wean ourselves off or lower our intake, our bodies start to go through "withdrawal."
More about withdrawal, it took me a straight month (maybe even longer) to feel like myself after become a veg. However, I was a full blown meat eater on Saturday and became a full blown veg on Sunday. Our bodies are detoxing and withdrawling and sometimes the effects aren't so positive. I experienced a number of detox and withdrawal symptoms. You name it, I had it. But they did subside after some time.
Try to become conscious of what you are eating and drinking. Making sure you are getting enough water and enough protein. We have to give our bodies time to heal and to think that we have been giving our bodies all these toxic foods all these years, it's going to take some time to clear out, detox, withdrawal, and adapt to this new, clean diet. Stick with it..you will reap the benefits. Hope this helps and good luck with your journey! :)
Just so you guys know...my detox and withdrawal symptoms were bloating, gas, stomach cramps, headaches, sinus pressure, ear aches, acne, dizziness, lightheadednesss, NO energy at all, tiredness, sore throat, depression, etc. You name it, I had it!
Thank you very much for your replies. I STILL have the headache, but did notice something in regards to it.
I know it wasn't as a result of less sugar as I have never been a sweet tooth nor ate a lot of food with sugar in it. Don't eat fast food except for extremely rare occasions and ate pretty well with the exception of eating meat and little dairy.
However, on the weekend, I made a vegetarian chili which contained a load of beans and veggies. I made it for a family party and had it alongside a salad the night of and headache was only minor at the time. Now I hadn't eaten all day and believe it or not, that's when the headaches are much better. So after eating that night, my headache did not get worse at all and stayed at a low frequency. The next day, I had some of the leftover chili again for breakfast; however, this time I had it with some brown basmati rice that I had to make it a complete protein. I wasn't even done my bowl and my head felt like it was going to explode. Within 20 minutes I was down for the count and could barely move until the next morning.
After I thought about it, I started to clue in that my headache(s) tend to get much worse right after eating. Yet it didn't the night before and the only thing missing was the rice. AND, because I've been switching to a lot more grains than were in my diet before and have basically been the base of my meals, my only conclusion is that I am having a problem with the grains.
I'm actually afraid to eat rice again even though I have a huge bowl of it made in the fridge. Today I still have a headache and ate a piece of 12 Grain Toast with Almond Butter and the headache did not get worse. I just had a bowl of Lentil Vegetable Soup with some cut up veggies on the side for lunch and still headache seems to be staying the same.
Could a really bad headache be the only symptom for a gluten intolerance? However, the toast didn't seem to make it worse. I would think if that's what it was, that I would have more symptoms anyway.
Is sleepiness a normal withdrawal symptom? I guess could be because of caffeine and sugar? Headaches go away after morning, but didn't expect the sleepiness. I'm loving the food and hanging in. Gonna go to Zumba maybe that will help :)
Lots of very good ideas above. One more I can think of is that you may be having withdrawals from the casomorphins in dairy. Casomorphins are similar to morphine in that they have an opioid effect and it keeps the calf from straying to far from its mother. It also keeps most people coming back for more. Dairy is a very hard to break addiction and is the #1 reason vegetarians won't go vegan.
I wouldn't normally advocate this but if you want to verify you are having withdrawals I would suggest getting some dairy you used to habitually consume and see if it makes you feel significantly better, if it does it would be pretty safe to say you are withdrawing from dairy and should just try to keep going and nurture yourself as well as you can. Best of luck. :)
Ps. Even in my pre-vegan days I preferred milk alternatives just for taste. Not to mention the obvious health benefits. My favorite is almond milk.
A trial run for anyone experiencing headaches that has helped a lot of new vegans:
1. Remember to drink lots of water.
2. Do not over-do sleep! I know people say any amount of sleep is good, but a steady schedule of 7-8 hours with exercise in the day usually helps more than sleeping in til noon.
3. Eat lentils and other beans. Their iron and protein contents are essential.
4. Eat more than one green veggie. Sometimes it's hard to fit vegetables into your meals, but try a green smoothie in the morning, and a salad at lunch or dinner.
5. Finally, make sure you have time in your day when you are relaxing. Meditation, light reading, aroma therapy and breathing exercises are recommended.
Also good to note: There's no need for thinking of things in terms of protein combining at meals, as this is a partial myth created by Frances Moore Lappé's 1971 diet book. The myth was quickly debunked, but even after 40 years people still believe that it is somehow necessary. So long as you are consuming the most important amino acids, you'll be fine. Try soy, hemp, and/or quinoa.
"OK - so just realized rice is gluten free, so why would it affect me so badly?"
Some companies add gluten to their rice products - this is something I've just found out more recently. If the packaging does not say whether or not they add gluten, it might be best to stick to gluten free labeled varieties of rice and pasta.
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