Weak, cold, headaches, and starving for calories. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-24-2014, 07:38 PM
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Unhappy Weak, cold, headaches, and starving for calories.

I've been vegan for almost 2 months, and I still apparently haven't figured out how to get enough calories. I have always been thin, so I probably need more calories than normal, and bean burritos, and peanuts don't seem to be working.
I do eat a lot of fruit and salad as well, so I might need to switch some of that for something else. I'm basically making myself sick and miserable without the knowledge of what else might have a lot of calories. It doesn't have to be "healthy" since weight is one of the last things I need to worry about.
Any ideas on how to get as many calories as possible? Sorry for the complaining.
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#2 Old 08-24-2014, 08:15 PM
 
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Peanut Butter yields roughly 100 calories per tablespoon. Put it on bread and that's even more. Oatmeal. Smoothies with ground flaxseed. Chocolate soy/nutmilk.

I'm surprised you don't get more than "enough" calories eating stuff like burritos and nuts. Maybe you just need more of a variety. I'm no doctor but perhaps it could be a vitamin deficiency or anemia? You don't crave ice chips do you?
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#3 Old 08-24-2014, 08:27 PM
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no, why would i want ice?
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#4 Old 08-24-2014, 08:31 PM
 
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It's a common symptom of anemia. There's a limitless bounty of vegan foods so there's not really any reason you should go hungry. You probably just have high metabolism.
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#5 Old 08-24-2014, 08:55 PM
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Its been warm in a lot of areas lately, have you been out in the heat or sun or otherwise sweating?
Salt deficiency makes a person feel tired, then weak, then drowsy and may be headachey, it can get worse from there. Something to look at if you really think your eating enough and you've been sweating- you can dissolve 1/4 tsp salt in a cup of water, drink it, and sit someplace shaded for 20 minutes and see if you feel better.

If it is food then just more of anything with starch or fat. Fried rice, bread with hummus, red beans n rice, like that.
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#6 Old 08-24-2014, 09:22 PM
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Make sure to take vitamins, It really helps ensure nutrients but make sure to have a lot of variety in your food because vitamins alone won't cure the problem. If you're looking for weight gain make sure to add more carbs to your diet along with good vegetables and fruits. If you don't cook try to learn because you can make sure you get a lot of balance in your meals this way and with the internet as great as it is being a collection of human knowledge you can find easy but nutritious recipes to make. Go to http://www.veganhealth.org/ for a lot of help and read through it. I hope you feel better soon!

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
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#7 Old 08-24-2014, 09:23 PM
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You might try adding avocado or guacamole to your salads, or your burrito. (Note: if you don't want to eat a whole avocado in one sitting and don't want to waste it, cut the avocado into 1/4 inch strips, lay them out on wax paper and freeze. When you want to eat some take the strips out of the freezer, they will thaw within about 5-10 minutes and be ready to eat. Guacamole also freezes.) You could also use a "full fat" salad dressing, if you are not already. Annie's salad dressings for example - several of them are wonderful but contain a lot of fat from oil. I normally avoid these, but they might be very helpful for you. Note: if you really like vegetables, you might try switching "green" salads for pasta or bean salads that contain chopped vegetables? Those would be more starch than anything, but you still get some veggies. If you have never tried any Vegan mayonnaise, this would be a good opportunity - make a traditional pasta or potato salad but use Vegan mayo instead of regular.

A note about fruit: fruit is great, but the sugar in it tends to go through your body kind of like white sugar. So if you eat fruit just by itself, you could end up having a "crash" quickly, and that could be aggravating your problem. So when you eat fruit, try to accompany it with some sort of carbs, like some crackers or bread, or oatmeal.
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#8 Old 08-24-2014, 09:55 PM
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You could try tracking your calorie intake on a site such as conrometer.com for awhile just to get a feel for how much calories various foods have and how much you're getting.

Could you elaborate on the problem a little? Is it that you feel full easily and then it becomes difficult to eat more? I ask because I am genuinely clueless on this issue and so I'm curious about it. Like when I first read the OP I was just like "Huh? Why not just eat more food?"
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#9 Old 08-24-2014, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightValeCommunityRadio View Post
I've been vegan for almost 2 months, and I still apparently haven't figured out how to get enough calories. I have always been thin, so I probably need more calories than normal, and bean burritos, and peanuts don't seem to be working.
I do eat a lot of fruit and salad as well, so I might need to switch some of that for something else. I'm basically making myself sick and miserable without the knowledge of what else might have a lot of calories. It doesn't have to be "healthy" since weight is one of the last things I need to worry about.
Any ideas on how to get as many calories as possible? Sorry for the complaining.
I had this issue too at first then decided to stop worrying about getting enough calories. it is harder to get calories in on vegan diet imo.
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#10 Old 08-25-2014, 12:13 AM
 
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Add chia, ground flax seeds, hemp seeds to your meals in cold or hot cereals, smoothies, pancakes, salads, etc. You can also use flax, hemp, and coconut oils.

Make curry dishes with coconut milk. They're usually very high calorie. Just watch the sodium.

Make vegan Parmesan cheese with ground nuts and nutritional yeast.

Make vegan pesto.

Drizzle olive oil on your vegetables.

Put seasoning in olive oil as a bread dip.

Eat sun-dried tomatoes or artichoke packed in oil.

Eat more beans and grains.

Eat more bananas, they're calorie dense.

Make vegan meal replacement smoothies and add fruit.

Eat avocado or guacamole and hummus made with tahini.

Make trail mix with nuts and dried fruits. Both are calorie dense.

Eat more often.

Hope this helps!

Last edited by seedgirl; 08-25-2014 at 12:18 AM.
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#11 Old 08-25-2014, 01:15 AM
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Have desserts! Nut butters! Salad dressing on your salads! Hummus on anything, guacamole. Add a little oil when cooking. Have some chips, french fries, etc with your healthy meals.

Sometimes when we try to eat too perfectly or healthily we end up not eating enough and obsessing. If it's not animal, eat it.
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#12 Old 08-25-2014, 08:18 AM
 
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I would still focus on healthy and skip the junk, or at least only make the junk an occasional treat. Even if you don't have to worry about your weight, you still want optimum health. There are plenty of ways to get enough calories.

You could try looking up calorie dense recipes online.
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#13 Old 08-25-2014, 09:39 AM
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NightVale, can I ask a silly question - how old are you, and what do you do? I can't believe I did not think of asking before. Peoples' metabolisms tend to change as they get older, and also if you are a student or have a very active job, then you will burn through more calories than is typical for most people. Definitely continue to try to address the problem, but be aware that it might improve on its own as time goes by.

By the way, how is your Vitamin D level?
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#14 Old 08-25-2014, 06:25 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I think adding variety might help. I feel a little better today just having eaten different food, though the calories probably weren't higher.
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#15 Old 08-25-2014, 10:16 PM
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Well, if you continue to have issues, please don't hestitate to share with us a day of what you eat. We might be able to see some of the obvious parts where you need to fill in stuff.

This might help as well-

http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2003iss...ssue1quick.htm

I love the VRG stuff. It really helped when I first went veg.

(Love the name btw!)
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#16 Old 08-27-2014, 03:42 AM
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More bread, especially early in the day seems to help a lot.
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#17 Old 08-27-2014, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkcon View Post
*Quote deleted.*
If they could grow meat without a brain.

Last edited by Capstan; 08-27-2014 at 06:40 PM.
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#18 Old 08-27-2014, 11:53 PM
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Hi NightValeCommunityRadio - I had the same exact issues, too, and over time my body slowly started to get used to the changes. Eventually, after many years of trial and error, I discovered the problem and the solution. You are dealing with something more significant than just calorie deficiency. It is something that is directly related to your own body's metabolism being transformed. Believe me, you are receiving a piece of advice that took me 20 years of absolute misery to discover. Consider yourself LUCKY. :-)

THE PROBLEM

Even though because of the high fiber vegan diet your body is starting to move towards hyperthyroidism, yet because of certain other changes you are also heading towards hypothyroidism. The changes leading to hypothyroidism are due to the fact that the body is having a harder time making the thyroid hormone (leading to hypothyroidism), because it is no longer receiving the amount of required building blocks for making thyroid hormones. For making thyroid hormones, the body needs the following: iron and the amino acid L-Tyrosine (usually supplied by meat), as well as iodine (usually supplied from marine sources), together with vitamin D. Anyhow, the net effect of the new changes is that after all is said and done, you are going further towards hypothyroidism. (To get away from this, your body needs to be helped to manufacture more thyroid hormones.) Indeed, your metabolism is slowing down, which is why you need to receive the higher calorie foods, since your metabolism is not fast enough to extract the required amount. Since your fuel burning power is slowing down, you keep needing higher energy density fuel!!!


THE SOLUTION

A) To make the thyroid hormones, your body need the following:
1) Foods rich in the super important amino acid named L-TYROSINE (such as rice protein powder for shakes, or at least rice itself.)
2) IRON supplements, or iron rich vegan foods (such as molasses)
3) IODINE (from seaweeds, such as Trader Joe's own brand of toasted seaweeds)
4) Vitamin D (If you are alright with taking supplements, take D2 not D3, because the latter is derived from non-vegan sources. I'm told that mushrooms are also a good natural source of vitamin D. Of course, taking in some Sun rays helps with that, too.)

B) Avoid raw cruciferous vegetables, because they contain a class of chemicals know to be goitrogens, which is another way to say that they cause hypothyroidism. But, when they get cooked, the goitrogens get neutralized. In other words, do not have too much of that broccoli raw!

Welcome to veganism, and very best wishes... ;-)

Last edited by ymestiquer; 08-27-2014 at 11:58 PM.
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#19 Old 08-28-2014, 12:56 AM
 
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Hi, I'm wondering if you might be lacking some nutrients? That can make us feel hungry as well, because apart from our caloric needs we have certain nutrient needs as well. You could also try more calorie dense fruits like bananas and dates, mangoes, if you havent been eating them so far. A green smoothie with bananas should be quite satisfying. Also, try to opt for whole foods instead of processed foods. Are you eating any whole grains, rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes? Another possible explanation could be your mental-emotional state. Maybe there is something in your life you need more of and it triggers you with a sensation that you must fill yourself up with more food? Just a thought. These things are connected most of the times.
Are you doing regular physical activity? That can help to make us eat more too.
I hope you find the answer. If you want, check out my website for some insights: http://www.raw-essence.com/
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#20 Old 08-28-2014, 01:11 AM
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Not proselytizing here or anything, but check out Sparkpeople. It's an awesome website that helps you track calories so you can get enough, as well as key nutrients like iron, b12, magnesium, and calcium. If you want to maintain weight you can set it that way, and it has a great team for vegetarians. It's how I'm losing weight as well as making sure I get enough iron (which I had problems with even as an omni back in the day) and it sounds like it'll help you out a lot. That said:

Beans, legumes, and NUTS. Nuts are AMAZING nutrient packed snacks that add a marvelous full feeling to any dish along with plenty of calories. Cook with a little more cooking oil, add a few more servings of veggies, try out meat analogues like seitan and fried tofu. There's a massive number of vegan cookbooks out there chock full of ideas.
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#21 Old 08-28-2014, 05:02 PM
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I have had this same issue with switching around being vegetarian/nearly vegan for four years. I, like you, am very thin and have always been that way. I'm hungry more often than everyone else. Sounds familiar?

I still struggle with it because it takes a lot of time and energy to accomplish for me (sometimes I neglect eating too often...), but this is what has helped me:

1. Double whatever on your plate that you think you need. If you think you need about a fistful of rice and beans to satiate you, then eat two fistfuls. EAT MORE. I gorge myself on a regular basis...because I am still usually hungry at the same time everyone else is after doing so.

One time I ate two plates of food for breakfast while the big strong football player type boy sitting next to me (who was not a vegetarian or vegan) only ate one...pretty proud of that.

2. Eat several meals/snacks a day. Again, EAT MORE!! Here is one of my sample menus:

Breakfast:
Oatmeal with chia seeds, raisins, walnuts, and almond milk (see how it's not *just* plain oatmeal?)
HUGE smoothie with coconut milk, kale, a banana, protein powder (this is the crucial part for getting more nutrients and calories I think...I use Garden of Life Raw Vegan Protein), strawberries, and 1tbsp coconut oil

(notice the gigantic breakfast?)

Lunch:
This lentil recipe (http://www.food.com/recipe/green-len...jaffrey-438848) and rice
Small square or two of dark chocolate (75% or higher)

Snack:
Hummus with pretzels or veggies
Or maybe peanut butter and veggies/crackers

Dinner: Lunch leftovers, or something else with lots of protein and some fats. (falafel with pita, vegan avocado sushi with miso soup and rice...)

Snack:
Popcorn with coconut oil, nutritional yeast, and salt (recipe: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/best-bu...nooch-popcorn/)


3. Eat lots of fats and protein. Seriously, go wild here.

4. Go to the doctor and get your blood tested. You could have something else going on, or maybe you are lacking in a nutrient. For me, when I first started experimenting with my diet, I was deficient in cholesterol. The doctor told me to eat more eggs, which I did, but in retrospect I think I just wasn't eating enough, period. The cholesterol problem has never shown up again.

5. If all else fails, be vegetarian. It's easier to get more calories more conveniently (eggs, cheese, yogurt, etc) that way. If *that* fails, don't be vegetarian at all. If it's just not working for you, that's ok. Your health comes first. I'm nearly vegan, but I still eat eggs on occasion for this very reason.

The only reason why this is not common sense and is difficult is because the vast majority of society doesn't eat this way so you have to figure it out for yourself. Don't give up too easily, but if it becomes too much you need to listen to your body. Failure to do these things will involve catching a cold every two weeks. :P Good luck!

Last edited by Brain Floss; 08-28-2014 at 05:06 PM.
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#22 Old 09-15-2014, 05:30 AM
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No doubt your headaches are stemming from the lack of calories, but also water. I know as soon as I have a the slightest headache, one of three needs are not getting met: sleep, water, sugar. Your body needs glucose to the brain and to the cells, so continue to eat plenty of fruit. Because fruits are usually low calorie, eat more than usual. Eating fruits will also supply you with added water. I highly recommend sleeping eight to nine hours, drink 2 Liters of water per day, focus on eating carbohydrate rich foods:

1) have daily banana smoothies
2) when eating low calorie fruits, eat more than usual
3) Focus on carbohydrate rich foods like bananas, dates, raisins, figs, potatoes, rice, beans
4) Limit fats oil, coconut, avocado
5) Go to bed before 11pm. Aim for sleeping at 10pm and waking early in the morning.
You'll be surprised at how great you feel when you get into an early bird routine.
6) Light exercise like walking or hiking for 30-60 minutes.

for tips go to my posts on How much to eat:
Garden Harvest & Grocery Hauls

How much fruit & vegetables should I eat?

-Cassie K, Vegans Living Off the Land
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#23 Old 11-07-2014, 10:56 AM
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I agree it may be that you are dehydrated so make sure you drink enough pure water. Sometimes the body signals can be misinterpreted.

If you're definitely not eating enough, start the day with muesli mixed with soya yoghurt. V filling and lots of caleries. Eat rich foods when you can, such as a brown wrap or rice/corn cakes with a nut butter (peanut, hazelnut, almond, cashew) alongside a salad or soup for lunch. Add ground seeds to all meals. Try rich stews with legumes and lots or rice or pasta or noodles. Alternatively, it may help to eat small meals frequently during the day. I have blood sugar problems and do far better when I eat four or even five small meals, plus it allows me to monitor how much energy my food is giving me. I have breakfast then often have two small lunches a couple of hours apart, followed by a smallish dinner and then supper just before bed which is often a few rice or corn cakes with nut butter or hummus, with some veg sticks.

I hope you find a way that works.

Last edited by veggiestez; 11-07-2014 at 11:02 AM.
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