Struggling - VeggieBoards
Forum Jump: 
 19Likes
  • 5 Post By Windigo
  • 3 Post By Capstan
  • 1 Post By David3
  • 1 Post By Tiger Lilly
  • 2 Post By Naturebound
  • 3 Post By LedBoots
  • 1 Post By vegathles
  • 1 Post By pidvgn
  • 1 Post By glutenfreeveganpantry
  • 1 Post By David3
 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 03-14-2015, 08:09 PM
Newbie
 
vegathles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 53
Struggling

I could really use some support from a health-based decision point of view.

I love living a plant-based lifestyle. I love the meals, I love the creativity, and I love feeling full and happy without feeling the blurgh-full feeling.

But I'm struggling with a plant-based lifestyle lately because of my health. I have a tendency toward low iron levels (it was a *major* problem during both of my pregnancies), and my body is very sensitive to foods, particularly in times of high stress. And, as if that isn't enough, I was lactose intolerant as a child, and that has decided to come back into my life.

Until recently, my body reacted badly to being omni. Whenever I had meat/dairy, my body made it clear that it wasn't happy. So when I transitioned to a plant-based diet, I felt good. My body was happy, I was healthier, and things were good.

However, recently, I've been getting the same reaction when eating a plant-based diet. I haven't changed anything or introduced foods that could be an allergen. It's as though my body is changing.

I am not asking for medical advice--I am seeking that from my physician, who has encouraged me to go back to an omni diet, even if all I eat is very "light" meats--but more support and any personal anecdotes that you may have that you think would be helpful.

I don't want to give up a plant-based lifestyle because for so long I felt so good. But I have to listen to my body, too, and try and figure out what has changed and what it's telling me.

Any support or encouragement or virtual veggie hugs would be greatly appreciated!
vegathles is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 03-14-2015, 08:27 PM
The prowling wolf
 
Windigo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Amersfoort, Nederland
Posts: 878
I would get some blood tests done, and maybe also check your digestive functions.

I've been struggling with deficiencies in my diet for years and have swapped between veggie and omni for quite a while before becoming a dedicated veggie and then between vegetarianism and veganism until very recently. I have a whole thread dedicated to that in the vegan support forum.

It turned out that the reason no diet worked for me is because I've got Crohn's disease, which I finally discovered after years of wondering why my body kept rejecting whatever diet made me feel good after a while.

Now I am not saying you've got Crohn's, but I do believe you have underlying medical issues if you keep getting the same problem when eating a different diet.

So get your bloodwork done, check for iron, b12, vit D etc and explain what you just said here and look for further research into your issue. It might be very important.

Nothing tastes as good as compassion feels.
Windigo is offline  
#3 Old 03-14-2015, 08:55 PM
Impeach the gangster
 
Capstan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 10,052
Sorry to hear you're having problems. I've been vegan for about 20-years, but about a year ago, I developed an intolerance for gluten, which is a plant protein. I'm not suggesting you have this same problem, but I am suggesting our bodies DO change. It's not enough to lump diet into two broad categories- plant-based and omnivorous- as if it is a black-and-white issue. It's more complex than that. You need to find out specifically what food(s) is causing you a problem, so you can tailor your diet to meet your special needs. Adding meat and dairy back into your diet will not clear up the issue, and may only complicate it.

It took me months to figure out what was making me feel bad, but once I discovered what it was, and removed it from my diet, all my problems went away, and I'm better off for it.

Eating meat and dairy again will likely make it harder for you to find out what your real issue is.
Naturebound, scwendy and dropscone like this.

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
"The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time." -Buster Kilrain, The Killer Angels -Michael Shaara
"Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles isn't a realist." -Billy Wilder
Capstan is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#4 Old 03-14-2015, 11:40 PM
Vegan since 1991
 
David3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 3,654
Welcome to the forum, Vegathles,

Iron anemia is not uncommon for women. However, the peer-reviewed nutrition literature appears to conclude that iron anemia is equally prevalent among vegans and omnivores. Please see these articles from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (not a vegetarian or vegan agency):

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/59....full.pdf+html

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76...d-2b5a58685117

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89...d-2b5a58685117


It may be difficult to provide you with really specific advice on this forum - even a physician would need to see you in order to help.

Have you thought about making an appointment with a Registered Dietitian? A Registered Dietitian is a professional with a university degree, training, and licensing in human nutrition. They can work with you and your physician to plan a vegetarian or vegan diet that addresses your iron anemia and (potential) food allergies.

In the United States, you can find a local Registered Dietitian through this website: http://www.eatright.org . Just click on the "Find an Expert" button, located in the upper-right-hand portion of the webpage.

In the U.K., you can find a local Registered Dietitian on the Freelance Dietitians website: http://www.freelancedietitians.org/

In New Zealand, you can find a local Registered Dietitian through the Dietitians New Zealand website: http://dietitians.org.nz/find-a-dietitian/

In Canada, you can find a local Registered Dietitian at the Dietitians of Canada website: http://www.dietitians.ca/Find-a-Dietitian.aspx .
scwendy likes this.
David3 is offline  
#5 Old 03-15-2015, 01:46 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Tiger Lilly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegathles View Post
I could really use some support from a health-based decision point of view.

I love living a plant-based lifestyle. I love the meals, I love the creativity, and I love feeling full and happy without feeling the blurgh-full feeling.

But I'm struggling with a plant-based lifestyle lately because of my health. I have a tendency toward low iron levels (it was a *major* problem during both of my pregnancies), and my body is very sensitive to foods, particularly in times of high stress. And, as if that isn't enough, I was lactose intolerant as a child, and that has decided to come back into my life.

Until recently, my body reacted badly to being omni. Whenever I had meat/dairy, my body made it clear that it wasn't happy. So when I transitioned to a plant-based diet, I felt good. My body was happy, I was healthier, and things were good.

However, recently, I've been getting the same reaction when eating a plant-based diet. I haven't changed anything or introduced foods that could be an allergen. It's as though my body is changing.

I am not asking for medical advice--I am seeking that from my physician, who has encouraged me to go back to an omni diet, even if all I eat is very "light" meats--but more support and any personal anecdotes that you may have that you think would be helpful.

I don't want to give up a plant-based lifestyle because for so long I felt so good. But I have to listen to my body, too, and try and figure out what has changed and what it's telling me.

Any support or encouragement or virtual veggie hugs would be greatly appreciated!

I'm a bit like Windingo (we have similar conditions actually). My doctor checked my Iron levels when I was diagnosed because with intestinal bleeding and being a vegetarian? It stood to reason that I'd be low in Iron. And I am a little low, but nothing my doctors are worried about. They were actually a little surprised with how good my Iron is!

So, from that, I would first recommend that if you haven't already, work out whether 'low Iron' is a good or bad thing. Sometimes having lower stores of Iron can be a bonus.



It seems obvious you want to stick to plant-based and you want to be healthy. That's a really important thing to me too. I'm in this for the animals, but I also like to have energy....

So, what I've done is read as much about nutrition as I have about helping the animals. "Becoming Vegetarian" is one of my favourite dietary books, as is "Vegan For Her". There's a lot of solid information in both of those about all the different aspects of eating plant-based. Yes, they do talk about some of the ethical considerations, but you're not forced to read those chapters if you don't want (I would because I think they're important, but if your focus is your health right now, then let that guide you).

Also- The Vegan RD is a great online resource. I use it constantly and she writes quite a bit on how to increase Iron. It's probably worth checking it out and seeing what you can glean from that.

Lastly, all the people I know who are badly effected by Iron deficiency? Are meat eaters. Does that mean we don't get Iron deficiency on plant-based diets? Nope, not at all. Going plant-based isn't a cure-all. No diet ever will be.

But it does mean that it can happen to anyone and there are way to handle it, no matter what you're eating.


Also, do keep in mind that most GPs actually don't have nutrition training. They know about as much as the next person, it's not their speciality, so no matter what you're eating it's best to see a specialist in that area if you can.

Best of luck!
dropscone likes this.
Tiger Lilly is offline  
#6 Old 03-15-2015, 05:00 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Naturebound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 4,609
As far as iron, if it is simply a deficiency of iron in your diet, increasing consumption of leafy greens, beans, stuff like blackstrap molasses etc and eating them with a source of vitamin C (such as bell peppers, strawberries, oranges etc) to increase absorption should help. Avoid coffee, and take calcium supplements etc four hours away from consuming foods rich in iron to help with absorption.

More often than not, iron deficiency anemia is more complicated than diet alone. I work as a medical coder and every day I read and work with medical records involving iron deficiency and the need for iron infusions. Iron supplements are notorious for not being well absorbed or tolerated. And often the iron deficiency is due to other complications such as heavy periods, ulcers, gastric bypass surgery, Crohns, Celiac etc. Definitely get some tests done!

Interestingly, when i first went vegan I found rather quickly that I could not tolerate tofu or cashews. I would get terrible cramps and diarrhea. After three years of avoiding these foods, I began to slowly reincorporate them and now can tolerate them with no problems. The body is a strange thing sometimes. I did however have an improved thyroid functioning when I went vegan and avoided soy for a time. When I reintroduced it for a while things were ok but when I increased consumption quite a bit (while attempting to put on weight) my thyroid started giving me trouble again, so i try to keep a healthy balance with it, but not avoid it completely. My body is VERY sensitive to a lot of supplements, foods, vitamins etc. I feel awful if I take my B12 supplement more than once or twice per week, and even then i feel off for a day or so. i have played around with various B12 supplements to no avail but do find that a lower dose and using methylcobolomin instead of the synthetic version helps. My body is sensitive to a lot of the stuff that is in supplements so I keep those to a bare minimum (vegan D3, calcium, B12).

Getting tested for food allergies or food related illness might not be a bad idea. I was tested for Celiac many years ago (blood as well as endoscopy and biopsy of intestine) but it was negative.

In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Naturebound is offline  
#7 Old 03-15-2015, 05:10 AM
Not such a Beginner ;)
 
LedBoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 8,396
I hope your doctor wasn't advocating adding dairy foods, since you're lactose intolerant.

Anxiety and stress contribute to digestive issues like the ones you've hinted about having, especially if the main issue is diarrhea.

Meditation, yoga, and exercise in general can help. Good luck and hope you feel better soon.
LedBoots is offline  
#8 Old 03-15-2015, 08:23 AM
Newbie
 
vegathles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 53
Thank you so, so much for the compassionate responses! As I said, I would much prefer to remain plant-based, and I suspect the issue is not simply iron, as I have other health concerns going on (my doctor suspects an autoimmune condition). My fiance, who is omni, is incredibly supportive, and is helping me do more research into plant-based nutrition to ensure I'm getting the diversity of nutrients I need to be healthy. She thinks it may be that my body does not react well to animal products, but that when I eat plant-based, I'm not getting enough of something my body needs, so it's reacting badly to that.

I will be doing some research to find a plant-based RD in my area to see if I can get some good insight there, as well.

Once again, THANK YOU for your responses. It's just the encouragement I needed to keep pushing forward with what I know is a better lifestyle for me!
Tiger Lilly likes this.
vegathles is offline  
#9 Old 03-15-2015, 08:38 AM
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 5
My body also has had a hard time making up its mind with what bothers it! I've been vegan for 10 years but about a year and a half ago I started getting major digestive issues. I've gone to a bunch of doctors, gastroenterologists, naturopaths, etc... I've taken various medications, done exclusion diets to pin point problem foods, followed diets for IBS... you name it. And like you stress definitely made it worse. But two weeks ago I began trying a mainly raw diet majority consisting of fruit. I started when I watched a video of freelee the banana girl talking about her digestive issues and how they were cured on this diet. so i said what the hell and am currently eating in the morning a smoothie of tons of bananas and dates, lots of fruit for lunch, and either more fruit for dinner or sometimes a cooked vegan meal... lots of rice usually and steamed veggies but have also gone out and had vegan burritos and the like (making sure that it adds up to over 2000 calories). After one week almost all of my symptoms are gone. Seriously the high intake of fruit is nurturing my body like no other food ever has. If you're sensitivities are similar to mine then I definitely suggest increasing your fruit intake like crazy! Just make sure you're getting enough iron from veggies as well of course because I'm not aware of what fruit would have a large amount.
vegathles likes this.
pidvgn is offline  
#10 Old 03-15-2015, 09:54 AM
Foodie
 
glutenfreeveganpantry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naturebound View Post
As far as iron, if it is simply a deficiency of iron in your diet, increasing consumption of leafy greens, beans, stuff like blackstrap molasses etc and eating them with a source of vitamin C (such as bell peppers, strawberries, oranges etc) to increase absorption should help. Avoid coffee, and take calcium supplements etc four hours away from consuming foods rich in iron to help with absorption.
I agree with Naturebound on this - if it as simple as consuming more iron, having more iron with vitamin C could help a lot. I went to http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.php and they had a really good article comparing iron content of different foods and they compare it to meat based sources as well (if you were curious). I've included a portion of one of their tables below. Imagine a spinach salad topped with some strawberries, tangerines with some roasted cashews and a drizzle of oil and vinegar - high in iron and vitamin C.

Table 2: Comparison of Iron Sources - Iron (mg/100 calories)

Spinach, cooked 15.5
Collard greens, cooked 4.5
Lentils, cooked 2.9
Broccoli, cooked 1.9
Chickpeas, cooked 1.8
Sirloin steak, choice, broiled 0.9
vegathles likes this.

Check out my food blog:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
glutenfreeveganpantry is offline  
#11 Old 03-16-2015, 08:25 AM
Vegan since 1991
 
David3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 3,654
Quote:
Originally Posted by glutenfreeveganpantry View Post

Table 2: Comparison of Iron Sources - Iron (mg/100 calories)

Spinach, cooked 15.5
Collard greens, cooked 4.5
Lentils, cooked 2.9
Broccoli, cooked 1.9
Chickpeas, cooked 1.8
Sirloin steak, choice, broiled 0.9

This is a good table from the Vegetarian Resource Group, but it's somewhat difficult to use for food comparisons because it shows milligrams of iron per calorie, rather than showing milligrams of iron per cup or per ounce of food. This table can make it appear like spinach has 15 times as much iron as sirloin steak, which unfortunately is not true.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published this webpage regarding dietary iron: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyon...mins/iron.html . It includes a large listing of various foods and their iron content. Here are some selected foods from this list:

Lentils, cooked, 1/2 cup: 3.3 mg iron, 115 calories
Spinach, cooked, 1/2 cup: 3.2 mg iron, 21 calories
Pumpkin seed kernels, roasted, 1 ounce: 4.2 mg iron, 148 calories
Beef, top sirloin, cooked, 3 ounces: 2.0 mg iron, 156 calories




As others have already said, the nonheme iron in plants is less well absorbed than the heme iron found in animal foods. You can compensate for this by eating vitamin C rich foods with your meals - this improves your body's iron absorption, and it's the reason why some iron supplements also contain vitamin C.


As I mentioned in my post above, vegans are no more likely to have iron anemia than omnivores.
dropscone likes this.

Last edited by David3; 03-16-2015 at 08:32 AM.
David3 is offline  
#12 Old 03-17-2015, 02:06 PM
Vegan as f**k
 
Go Vegan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Worthing, England
Posts: 2,228
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegathles View Post
I could really use some support from a health-based decision point of view.

I love living a plant-based lifestyle. I love the meals, I love the creativity, and I love feeling full and happy without feeling the blurgh-full feeling.

But I'm struggling with a plant-based lifestyle lately because of my health. I have a tendency toward low iron levels (it was a *major* problem during both of my pregnancies), and my body is very sensitive to foods, particularly in times of high stress. And, as if that isn't enough, I was lactose intolerant as a child, and that has decided to come back into my life.

Until recently, my body reacted badly to being omni. Whenever I had meat/dairy, my body made it clear that it wasn't happy. So when I transitioned to a plant-based diet, I felt good. My body was happy, I was healthier, and things were good.

However, recently, I've been getting the same reaction when eating a plant-based diet. I haven't changed anything or introduced foods that could be an allergen. It's as though my body is changing.

I am not asking for medical advice--I am seeking that from my physician, who has encouraged me to go back to an omni diet, even if all I eat is very "light" meats--but more support and any personal anecdotes that you may have that you think would be helpful.

I don't want to give up a plant-based lifestyle because for so long I felt so good. But I have to listen to my body, too, and try and figure out what has changed and what it's telling me.

Any support or encouragement or virtual veggie hugs would be greatly appreciated!
Hi there

Make sure you take a vegan multi-vitamin to top-up your iron levels

If the problem existed when you were omni and still persists now then clearly the vegan diet can't be blamed...Maybe you are intolerant of wheat/ gluten? Try gluten-free breads and see if that helps...

Why is the suffering and killing of animals wrong? Because the value of a sentient organism's life is priceless. They are their own beings and have their own lives and loves. They have higher emotions and thought processes. Their minds are different from ours in degree, not kind - meaning that fundamentally there are critical similarities.
Go Vegan is offline  
#13 Old 03-18-2015, 05:40 PM
Not such a Beginner ;)
 
LedBoots's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 8,396
Quote:
Originally Posted by Go Vegan View Post
Hi there

Make sure you take a vegan multi-vitamin to top-up your iron levels
...
No, not unless you have a documented deficiency or are pregnant. Too much iron is toxic, and some people (especially young men) can have too much iron in their bodies. Multivitamins without iron are fine.
/public service announcement
LedBoots is offline  
#14 Old 03-21-2015, 09:12 AM
Newbie
 
vegathles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 53
Thank you for all the advice and support, everyone. I had a frank talk with my doctor about it, and he is supportive of a plant-based lifestyle because he knows it's something I'm serious about. He is more concerned that I get the nutrients I need. My latest round of blood work came back good (low iron, but manageable), so we're moving on to different types of tests, which is a good thing.

In the meantime, I'm really craving edamame. I cooked some earlier in the week, but my kids ate it all before I got to it!
vegathles is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the VeggieBoards forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off