Originally Posted by jennar
Stopped eating meat a couple of weeks ago but have since felt really tired and run down. Think the problem may be that I'm just eating the same diet without any meat, so am obviously not getting everything I need. I am struggling to know what to cook and eat though, especially as I am quite a picky eater. Am considering going back to meat and gradually fading it out of my diet, as although I'd really rather not do this, I would like to stop feeling so tired. Would this be a better option than just cutting it out completely?
Also, if anyone has any advice or links on how to make sure I am getting all the right nutrients and what to cook for dinners etc then I'd be really grateful!
At least once a month on VeggieBoards, we hear from someone asking this exact same question.
As with all chronic physical symptoms, it's a good idea to ask your physician to rule out any serious medical issues.
Because vitamin and mineral deficiencies take a while to develop, the most likely reason for your fatigue is simple lack of calories
. Not eating enough calories is one of the most common mistakes made by new vegetarians. This mistake is very easy to make, because vegetarian staple foods (legumes, whole grains, fruit, vegetables) are low in calories, compared to meat and dairy products. On a low-fat vegetarian diet, it's possible to eat until you're full, yet still not get enough calories.
Here's how to fix it.
First, use a calorie-requirements calculator to estimate your calorie needs: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-li...r/itt-20084939
Next, just remember this calorie rule-of-thumb:
One cup of cooked beans/legumes contains about 230 calories
One cup of cooked grains/pasta contains about 190 calories
One cup of fresh (not dried) fruit contains 40-100 calories
One cup of non-starchy vegetables contains 5-40 calories
One cup of nuts or seeds contains 650-1000 calories
For example, I need to eat about 2500 calories per day to maintain my weight. Can you see how much beans, grains etc. I have to eat to do this? I have to stuff myself! Including nuts, nut butters, and/or seeds in your diet is an easy way to make sure you're getting enough calories.
Mercy For Animals has a beautifully-illustrated Vegetarian Starter Guide: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/files/VSG.pdf
. On page 13, it does a nice job of summarizing vegetarian nutrition.
Here is a summary of nutrients to focus on as a vegetarian / vegan: http://veganhealth.org/articles/dailyrecs