Help:(

Going vegan and new vegans in need of support or information.

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Help:(

Postby Mia092314 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:17 pm

I went vegan for all sorts of reasons, for a short while, a period of 7-8 months this past year. At first, I felt wonderful but then it started to go downhill...fast. My hair got drastically thin and limp (very unlike my frizzy, but very thick and long dark hair i had previously) and I was pale, very pale. I'm sure now that I had some sort of nutritional deficiency along with the fact that I had a touch of an anorexic eating disorder. Now I'm eating vegetarian and there are soemtimes when I still get pale, and feel tired. I also have trouble sleeping at night, getting only about 7 hours of sleep, even if I want to sleep more i cant and even though I generally look much better than i did, i still look bad comparing myself to that of my old, overweight self. My hair though has gotten better but is still pretty thin (I did lose ALOT of weight FAST, about 35-40 pounds) I'm at my normal weight now, eating a whole egg every day and eating 3-4 servings of dairy daily along with lots of whole grains, nuts, seeds, and pulses, fermented soy and LOTS of veggies and fruit! I dont obsess anymore about my food and I generally feel better But even though I am eating this way, I still feel tired and get cold easily. I also get pale when I get cold for some reason. I don't enjoy eating dairy or eggs, knowing where they come from, but I also don't want to give up my active lifestyle in order to live a life as an active, fit, in-shape vegan relying on whole food sources. I'm a teen runner but I lift/work with weights regularly and combine yoga too! Why am I having these symptoms, how much should I be eating, more than 2000 calories or about that much? and if i do transition to veganism again, how will this affect how active I will become. How much protein should I get if the majority of my exercise will be cardio with weight training/resistance 3x a week. Im 17, 5'6 and about 146 pounds. Also, does that weight sound underweight? I feel like Im eating too much protein sometimes. I get at least 90 grams a day but the recommended amount my nutritionist said was 125, which seems like a lot! Does anyone have any good tips, sites, insight into whats causing this and what i can do :cry: ?
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Re: Help:(

Postby thestoatyone » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:35 pm

I think an appointment with a health care professional is called for here. Too many problems -not all of them physical - to be sorted out online and I say that with the greatest of respect for yourself and the rest of the community here.

On a related note "nutritionist" is rarely a protected profession in most parts of the western world, so there are good ones and bad ones. "Dietitian" is almost always a protected profession and they are generally more reliable.

On an unrelated note, good luck!
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Re: Help:(

Postby Hiking Fox » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:34 pm

Mia092314 wrote:I went vegan for all sorts of reasons, for a short while, a period of 7-8 months this past year. At first, I felt wonderful but then it started to go downhill...fast. My hair got drastically thin and limp (very unlike my frizzy, but very thick and long dark hair i had previously) and I was pale, very pale.


Did you do it too drastically? Why not gradually cut down on the dairy and eggs over a period of weeks. Also, were you getting enough fat as a vegan? Some people turn to kooky fat-free recipes when they go vegan, which is a big mistake. You need oil (olive oil is good) in your diet for heathy hair, skin and brain cells.
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Re: Help:(

Postby Gelert » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:47 pm

thestoatyone wrote:I think an appointment with a health care professional is called for here. Too many problems -not all of them physical - to be sorted out online and I say that with the greatest of respect for yourself and the rest of the community here.

On a related note "nutritionist" is rarely a protected profession in most parts of the western world, so there are good ones and bad ones. "Dietitian" is almost always a protected profession and they are generally more reliable.


Mia092314, as frustrating as it may seem, I would say this is the best advice you can hope to ever get from an online forum in response to the list of things you mention. Make an appointment to see your family physician ASAP.

I'm sure many of the people posting on here might hazard a guess at a few things, they may happen to be correct, but it is far better to seek the counsel of a fully qualified professional who can examine you in person and conduct the right laboratory tests and such to determine the cause(s) of your troubles and refer you to the right specialists.

Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

G.
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Re: Help:(

Postby flatbushvegan » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:03 pm

I agree with everyone else here--I don't think the problems you're having would go away if you weren't vegan/vegetarian, something else is going on. A doctor or dietitian is called for--DO NOT substitute what you read online for the customized, well-informed help they can provide.

Why am I having these symptoms, how much should I be eating, more than 2000 calories or about that much? and if i do transition to veganism again, how will this affect how active I will become.

The most commonly used formula for determining your calorie needs is the Harris-Benedict. Here are the numbers for you, given your age and size. They indicate different lifestyles you could be living:

Sedentary - Little or no exercise and desk jobs: 1,823

Lightly Active - Light exercise or sports 1-3 days a week: 2,089

Moderately Active - Moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week: 2,354

Very Active Hard - exercise or sports 6-7 days a week: 2,620

Extremely Active - Hard daily exercise or sports and physical job: 2,886

You would probably be AT LEAST "moderately active." You are likely more than that, I bet. You could try carefully tracking calories, eating a range of foods, and eating around 2500 calories or more (every day--not just on your exercise days). Do it for awhile, monitor your body and mood, and see how you feel.

Also, I have a personal comment on this part of your post. When I became a vegan, it took me awhile to adjust to eating enough. The sheer amount of fiber fills you up--sometimes I really have to force myself to eat more to sustain an active life and good mood. For the first months, I lost weight, including muscle mass, and think I was aggravating my depression pretty significantly (although it can be hard to pinpoint a single cause). I read Jack Norris, a vegan RD, mention he'd had a similar problem and he just needed to eat a bit more. For me, by simply eating more, things turned around drastically and I greatly improved my strength and overall fitness, and most importantly, my mental state.

I've looked into this and I think part of the reason not eating enough seems to be common with vegans may be the fiber in our diet. Soluble fiber is not digested to the full extent as other carbs--there are estimates that it may provide, at max, 2.5 calories instead of 4, possibly significantly less. This is not reflected on current food labeling in the US (not sure elsewhere), but it may soon change. If you're eating a high fiber, vegan diet, that can add up--particularly if you're already under-eating.

So, as an idle, ill-informed suggestion, I think you could try eating more. Explore more foods, allow yourself more of your favorite foods. With the running, lifting, and yoga, plus being a teenager, 2000 calories is not enough. Not enough calories can aggravate a lot of other things--trust me, I've had the problem.

Also, going forward, I would recommend the book co-authored by Virginia Messina, a leading vegan nurse. It is called The Vegan Sourcebook.
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Re: Help:(

Postby Mia092314 » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:19 pm

Thankyou everyone, ive just been feeling so lost lately in regards to how i should eat and how i feel. My mom thinks that i need to eat meat, she has it in her head that I could never support myself on a vegan diet and ive tried really really hard...i hope to make an appointment with a dietician as soon as possible and I will eat more. I am highly active and probably should be eating 2500 or more to be honest. i feel awful eating anything from an animal, comparing myself now to when i was eating nothing from an animal, its incredible how much better my body feels when im not relying on flesh food or animal by-products. Thx again for all your wonderful information and I will let you knwo how everything goes...
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