For the Love of Whatever God You Believe in... Someone Help Me - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-08-2011, 04:10 PM
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As an old-time member of Veggieboards, I've kind of floated around here on and off. (Usually off, when I'm buried under school work or other such things.) But I thought I'd return in the hopes of getting some assistance from you fabulous people, as I know no one better to help me out with this.

I have been in what I guess I'd call a 'transitioning period' to veganism since July 2010. On my first attempt, I was vegan for five months, and then I caved. I've had multiple attempts since then, the longest lasting about six weeks. I have frequently become ill, though, truth be told, I can't tell if this is me doing veganism wrong, or if it's coincidence, or I don't know what.

I really want veganism to work, but I'm terrified. I'm so sick that my grades are slipping. I have days where I feel fine (coincidentally after eating dairy things for a week, even though it thoroughly disgusted me, but I was desperate), and days where I'm almost too weak to walk, and all of my chronic pain spots are agitated.

It doesn't help that I'm eating in a dining hall, and don't have much money to buy other foods to supplement my meal plan. I know, you've probably heard that song and dance.

Many of you will probably say, 'Go to a doctor.' I've been to the campus clinic several times, and I am awaiting results of a mono test I just did. The problem is, my campus clinic is completely incompetent. I could tell you stories, my god. I'd love to go to a legitimate doctor off campus, but I don't have a car, so that's very difficult.

I wanted to give you some info about the vitamins I take daily. They're Nature's Way Alive! Women's Energy Multivitamin. They have the following percent daily values in them:

Vitamin A: 70%
Vitamin C: 100%
Vitamin D: 250%
Vitamin E: 100%
Vitamin K: 75%
Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 300%
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 300%
Niacin (Vitamin B3): 100%
Vitamin B6: 300%
Folic Acid: 100%
Vitamin B12: 300%
Biotin: 100%
Pantothenic Acid: 150%
Calcium: 50%
Iron: 100%
Iodine: 100%
Magnesium: 13%
Zinc: 100%
Selenium: 100%
Copper: 100%
Manganese: 100%
Chromium: 100%
Molybdenum: 100%
Soidum: <1%

Includes 700 mcg of Resveratrol, 150 mcg of Boron, and 100 mcg of Lutien.

Aside from hitting a normal calorie threshold, what else can I look out for? What more can I do? At this point, since doctors can't seem to help me, I figured I may as well turn to you guys, and see if there's something really obvious missing in my diet. As for what I eat, it's a hodgepodge of whatever's available in the dining hall... which isn't much, admittedly.

Help?
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#2 Old 11-08-2011, 04:15 PM
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Whatever is happening to you does not sound normal. I did the broke student, vegan-on-campus, complete with a crappy dining hall lifestyle for a bit (and didn't even take vitamins like you did) and never became ill like that due to diet alone.

Maybe your mono test will come back positive, or you have the flu/bad cold? How long have you been feeling this way?

Also, to make sure how much nutrients you are really getting, try plugging a day's worth of food for you into an online tracker, something like www.sparkpeople.com. If you're not getting enough calories, you will be feeling crappy and probably not absorbing a lot of the vitamins you are taking in pill form.

Also, (if you have time!) try to check out the book Becoming Vegan (maybe the library will have it). It has a lot of good info on vegan nutrition and meal plans.
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#3 Old 11-08-2011, 04:22 PM
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It can be a little difficult to track my food, because it's never prepared by me, so I have no idea what's in it. They have little signs that say how many calories are in a serving of each of the prepared foods. Do you think these numbers might be close enough to use them for tracking purposes? I guess I just have very little faith in my school's ability to provide accurate information in any department. =P

My blood work came back with a low white blood cell count. I forgot to mention that. I'm expecting the mono test to come back negative, as I already did one that came back negative. For some reason, they wanted to re-test me. But they keep referring me to counseling, as a lack of a good answer seems to suggest to them that I must just be depressed. >.> While it is true that I have been dealing with a lot of personal issues, and I know depression can manifest physically, I have a lot of doubts about the veracity of this conclusion. I originally went in and suggested I might have an immune system problem, because I have always been sick with a lot of viruses that I can't shake like normal people can. This has gone on since I was a child, just gotten worse.

Most recently, I have been feeling this way for about four weeks. My grades are slipping because of it, and I already had a bad semester last semester from herniating a disc in my back, so I am not eager to repeat that experience.

I guess, even if I can't figure out what's wrong right away, I want to be reassured that I am doing all that I can, in terms of my diet. I always feel insecure, like I'm not doing it well enough, even though I try so hard.
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#4 Old 11-08-2011, 04:37 PM
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Depression can TOTALLY manifest itself in physical ailments! And stress too! Check out what counseling has to offer, if anything it may get some worries off your chest to talk to someone about life and not judge you.

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#5 Old 11-08-2011, 05:43 PM
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from the looks of it i can't imagine that a lack of dairy would be causing you to feel so bad. i don't think your diet is the problem, personally. do you have a market or store you can buy fresh produce from? if so, i would suggest supplementing your dining hall food with fruits and veggies as snacks all day to give you that extra boost. my thought is that low white blood cells are causing you to feel ill. they are a part of your immune system and help defend your body from viruses, and if you're lacking you will easily become sick, especially if you're stressed and depressed. i think seeing a counselor would do nothing but good, and i think you can have faith in your diet for the most part. when i went vegan i stopped being ill - as long as you're eating fruits and veggies, getting enough protein and iron from those foods, and supplementing with b12, and getting the rest of the vitamins you need, dairy will have no factor in that. is there anything you can do about the low wbc count?
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#6 Old 11-08-2011, 05:49 PM
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I am definitely willing to look into counseling. In fact, I have been going for a couple of weeks now, and it does help, to a degree, though it's definitely a process (and it's hard to get an appointment, but that's another story). But I also want to make sure that there is nothing else that I could be doing differently.

It's not really feasible for me to buy enough fresh fruit and veggies to supplement my diet on a regular basis. On campus workers are only allowed to work an average of ten hours per week, and I have missed a lot of time due to illness, which in turn reduces my paycheck, meaning I can't really buy extra food... you get it. But they do have apples and bananas regularly in the dining halls, sometimes melons and pears. So I try to eat those, although it's not exactly a diverse selection.

As for the low white blood cell count, I am open to any suggestions. My clinic is taking their sweet time getting me in for appointments, where they usually just shake their heads in confusion. If there are any natural remedies, or things I can eat, I would be totally open to that.
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#7 Old 11-08-2011, 05:56 PM
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idk what to say besides, i hope you feel better soon :[
i tend to feel really weak/tired, but never anything like that!
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#8 Old 11-08-2011, 06:06 PM
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Are you taking any medications? I found this on wikipedia: Medications which can cause leukopenia include clozapine, an antipsychotic medication with a rare adverse effect leading to the total absence of all granulocytes (neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils). Other medications include immunosuppressive drugs, such as sirolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, tacrolimus, and cyclosporine. Interferons used to treat multiple sclerosis, like Rebif, Avonex, and Betaseron, can also cause leukopenia.

I also found this website, which seems pretty helpful (except for the chicken and crab, obviously ) : http://www.naturalnews.com/028275_wh..._function.html

Vegan yogurt has the same health benefits as dairy yogurt, without the animal suffering Also, whenever I feel I'm getting sick I take echinacea, which this article recommends. It should be taken only when ill, or the effects will lessen. You can get it in tea, herb or capsule form. Hope this helps!
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#9 Old 11-08-2011, 06:11 PM
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Thank you, Jesscikah.

Darkgarden - That link is actually really helpful! My multivitamin seems to have a lot of the minerals listed (Zinc, Selenium, etc), but I will definitely try to supplement with some of those foods in particular. I'm willing to do anything and everything at this point!
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#10 Old 11-08-2011, 06:16 PM
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stuff your face full of carrots and kale, and when people look at you funny grin madly at them good luck!
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#11 Old 11-08-2011, 06:18 PM
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you know what i just thought of - the reason why dairy may make you feel better. the antibiotics they give cows. you may be getting some and it may be making you temporarily feel better. ultimately though, that's not a good thing. i'd stay away from it.
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#12 Old 11-08-2011, 06:27 PM
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Have you done an allergy test? You might want to take a bus to a regular Dr. (most public transit systems have a "plan a trip" area where you can go from one address to another). Good luck, and I hope it's not serious.

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#13 Old 11-08-2011, 06:33 PM
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I suggest you stop "trying" to be vegan for a while and stick to a nutritious diet you can live with comfortably until you get your health in order. The fewer variables you have in your lifestyle, the easier it would be to pinpoint what your problem is.
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#14 Old 11-08-2011, 06:56 PM
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Make sure you are getting enough complete proteins. I know everyone says if you eat enough calories it's impossible not to, but it's not impossible to have a protein-deficient diet. I have never had symptoms as severe as you describe, but I feel lightheaded and weak if I dont make a point to eat enough protein, especially early in the day. If I pay attention to eating protein-rich foods, I don't have that problem. I am not anorexic and not on a college meal plan either. I am just busy, active with my dogs, don't exactly have time or like to cook, and when I get hungry I tend to grab whatever is easiest and often it's not something with much protein. After a few days of that I feel like crap.

Anyway just an idea. I am my no means a doctor and taking a bus to a decent one is also a good idea.
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#15 Old 11-08-2011, 07:07 PM
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^ quinoa is good for this
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#16 Old 11-08-2011, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xamorphia View Post

My blood work came back with a low white blood cell count. I forgot to mention that. Most recently, I have been feeling this way for about four weeks. My grades are slipping because of it, and I already had a bad semester last semester from herniating a disc in my back, so I am not eager to repeat that experience.

I guess, even if I can't figure out what's wrong right away, I want to be reassured that I am doing all that I can, in terms of my diet.

ok, so who's doing a workup of why you have a low white count? That can be indicative of a TON of illnesses! how low is low? here's the Mayo clinic's list of causes of leukopenia (low white cells) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/low...SECTION=causes

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#17 Old 11-08-2011, 08:47 PM
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I'm sorry to ask this, but have you done an STD test? Low white cell count might be caused by an STD too. Just do a test to be sure while you're at it anyway.

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#18 Old 11-09-2011, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by xamorphia View Post

An.

Aside from hitting a normal calorie threshold, what else can I look out for? What more can I do? At this point, since doctors can't seem to help me, I figured I may as well turn to you guys, and see if there's something really obvious missing in my diet. As for what I eat, it's a hodgepodge of whatever's available in the dining hall... which isn't much, admittedly.

If you are eating a "hodgepodge of whatever" how do you know you are getting enough nutrients, calories, and food groups?
you have to eat vegetables every single day, does your dining hall have any type of salad bar or offer raw vegetable dishes daily?
is there fruit offered every day in the dining hall?

keep a food diary for a week or 2 and write down everything you eat (with amounts is even better), this way you can get a better perspective of your diet
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#19 Old 11-09-2011, 09:20 AM
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Darkgarden - Wouldn't that mean that I have an infection of some sort that needs treatment with antibiotics?

Purp - I haven't had one recently, but I did about five years ago, at the age o fifteen. No food allergies to speak of

Paperhanger - I guess I could, but eating dairy makes me feel like crap emotionally. Every time I see my cheesy wrap going through the sandwich toaster, I see a newborn cow being ripped away from its mother and sold as veal. It's enough to make me dread every single mealtime.

Wolfie - I have been starting my day off lately with White Macadmia Clif Bars. Does that suffice in the protein department?

Photojess - It's the clinic doing all the work, but... well, they're incompetent, to say the least. I have a friend who once received Mucinex for an obvious and raging ear infection. In my case, they seem really fixated on the idea that I either have mono or I'm depressed. It's like they won't even consider anything else. Maybe they'll see it differently come Thursday (my next appointment), if the blood work is still weird, but the mono comes back negative. I don't know.

Windigo - It would be very unlikely that I have an STD, as I've only ever had two partners, and am currently in a monogamous relationship of over a year with with a former virgin. =P Nevertheless, I did the HIV swab, and I think I've been tested for syphilis and something else? Whatever tests are standard with the good ol' annual pelvic exam for birth control prescriptions. I always forget.

Luvourmother - That's why I'm here! =P Because I really don't know. I was hoping I am, based on the aforementioned multivitamin boost, and maybe based on my Clif Bar intake, as sad as that sounds. My dining hall does have veggies and fruits, but it's very limited. Fruits are usually apples, bananas, and oranges, with MAYBE some pears, melons, and kiwis. The salad bar consists of wilted lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sometimes cold beans and quinoa, sometimes cucumbers, sometimes broccoli. It all just depends on the day. The only consistency is that it's consistently limited.
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#20 Old 11-09-2011, 02:57 PM
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Wolfie - I have been starting my day off lately with White Macadmia Clif Bars. Does that suffice in the protein department?

I'm not sure how much protein those have. But make sure you are getting complete proteins by eating a variety of protein foods too. I know the consensus here is it's impossible not to get complete proteins if you eat enough, but I have to make a concerted effort to do it myself. Not calorie wise, I have no problem there, but I have to plan for eating a wide variety of vegan protein sources or it doesn't happen. And I feel 100% different when I do it. If I had unlimited funds for eating out I wouldn't have this problem. I don't know what your college meal plan is like but if it's like some I've heard about, vegan protein sources might be an issue. Saying you feel fine after eating dairy kinda makes me think that might be part of your problem is all. It is why it took me so long to give up cheese all those years ago. Like you I didn't want to eat cheese for emotional reasons but there was no denying I felt better physically when I did eat it.

Can you cook any of your own meals at college? Of course there are easy things you can make w/o cooking too. Like peanut butter on whole wheat bread. There's a complete protein. You don't have to combine proteins at every meal. Just make sure say over a week you are getting a variety.
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#21 Old 11-09-2011, 03:31 PM
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I love Alive multivitamin shake! I get the vanilla soybased and mix with OJ. It mixes very well, and is vegan (D2 and I asked!) I don't drink it every day, and only use half a scoop, but if I'm feeling run down, or like I'm catching something.
Algeal omega dha has helped my mental focus-it certainly seems linked to taking it!

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#22 Old 11-11-2011, 08:13 AM
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Wolfie - The dining hall is definitely an issue, and while I might be able to cook more next year (assuming I get a senior apartment, which will have full kitchen facilities and will not require me to be on a meal plan), it's definitely an issue for now. However, peanut butter is always easy to access, so I can do that.

Silva - Thanks for the tips! I will look into both of those.

I want to thank everyone for their help with this problem. I had my final appointment with the clinic last night. They said that my white blood cell count is now on the low end of normal (5,000), and that the content of the blood cells still shows signs of a slight viral infection, but that the trend is looking good. It seems that I'm finally on the tail-end of this "like mono but not mono" thing.
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#23 Old 11-11-2011, 11:41 AM
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I saw a protein powder shake at work pretty sure it was vanilla Gensoy (but I could be wrong!) that was labeled vegan.
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#24 Old 11-11-2011, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by xamorphia View Post

I want to thank everyone for their help with this problem. I had my final appointment with the clinic last night. They said that my white blood cell count is now on the low end of normal (5,000), and that the content of the blood cells still shows signs of a slight viral infection, but that the trend is looking good. It seems that I'm finally on the tail-end of this "like mono but not mono" thing.

That's awesome news. Hopefully it was just the common cold knocking you on your ass and you'll be feeling better in no time.

Also, BTW Clif Cars (the regular kind) have about 10 grams of protein in them, which is not too shabby! Those are definitely good to stock your dorm with.

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