Veganism & Mental Illnesses - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-31-2015, 08:05 PM
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Post Veganism & Mental Illnesses

Hey all,

I've suffered from depression and generalized anxiety disorder for most of my life and it's sort of getting in the way of me being vegan. When I get very depressed it is hard for me to get out of bed, let alone cook for myself. I live in a non-veg*n house so I prepare my own food. I've been losing weight during the times my conditions get worse/flare up because the food in the house mostly contains meat and my family doesn't support me being vegan (because they think I'm not getting enough nutrients/protein) so they won't make vegan food. I hope I'm not sounding like a lazy cry-baby, I just need some advice for those bad times. :/ Does anybody else have a similar dilemma or advice for someone like me?
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#2 Old 08-31-2015, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by meg moo View Post
Hey all,

I've suffered from depression and generalized anxiety disorder for most of my life and it's sort of getting in the way of me being vegan. When I get very depressed it is hard for me to get out of bed, let alone cook for myself. I live in a non-veg*n house so I prepare my own food. I've been losing weight during the times my conditions get worse/flare up because the food in the house mostly contains meat and my family doesn't support me being vegan (because they think I'm not getting enough nutrients/protein) so they won't make vegan food. I hope I'm not sounding like a lazy cry-baby, I just need some advice for those bad times. :/ Does anybody else have a similar dilemma or advice for someone like me?
Frozen/microwavable meals (Amy's makes delicious vegan burritos, pad thai and burgers, for example), but, if I were you I'd go to the doctor and see what s/he can do to help. Mine put me on a medication that helps me. I'd also have a long talk with your family about your choices and how they are treating you and how you feel about that. Good luck. You're in my prayers.

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#3 Old 08-31-2015, 08:54 PM
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I?d agree with Amy?s instant stuff, but I went through a similar time with my family, so I learned a couple of things I can make myself that take nearly zero effort.

Ramen noodles without seasoning are vegan, and super tasty drained with peanut butter and soy sauce stirred in.

While they aren?t the healthiest, Oreos are totally vegan, though if you buy a store brand, you should check - some do contain milk.

Even if you aren?t veg*n, there is no excuse not to have fruit in the house. It?s literally the easiest snack - just eat it.

On the topic of produce, if you have corn and don?t want to boil, steam or grill it, just zap an ear in the microwave (husk on!) for a minute and a half.

One of my go-to dishes when my family wouldn?t cook vegan was rice and beans. Put a can of beans and about half of that can full of rice into a pot, cover it with water, and boil all the water away. Bonus points for adding Sriracha, taco seasoning, or anything that?ll jujj it up.

(That last one may not be as low-effort as you care for, but when I was depressed I often cooked to cheer myself up. I know it?s kind of strange when I say it, but thinking about the animals I save makes me happy.)

I hope you power through this, and remember that all of VeggieBoards is rooting for you. Keep on saving lives and racking up good karma!
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#4 Old 09-01-2015, 02:04 AM
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I'm sorry that you're going through a tough time and that your family is so unsupportive. Can you keep some snacks readily available which don't require cooking? Peanut butter sandwiches are easy and filling. Dried fruit and nuts, hummus with pita and baby carrots, a big glass of soya milk, dark chocolate, coconut milk ice cream, cold cereal or muesli, fruit juice, pre-made smoothies, and granola bars are quick and simple.
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#5 Old 09-01-2015, 02:15 AM
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Fruit, raw veg and dried fruit and nuts provide a quick and nutritious snack or if you add some bread or rice a proper meal. but please try and sort out the problem with your family and the dietary situation in your home!
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#6 Old 09-01-2015, 02:22 AM
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I'm so sorry your family is so unsupportive. That really sounds awful that they would refuse to make you plant based food because they don't think you will get enough nutrients. You'd think they would rather you eat at least something. Sighs.

I go through periods of terrible anxiety and depression also, and when I am anxious it can be hard to eat or keep food down. Believe it or not, exercising makes me more hungry and makes me eat because I need the energy to exercise. I love exercising because it is a way for me to express myself and get out some frustrations and burn off some of that anxious energy. It helps keep me in the moment at times, and increases my metabolism. The times when I have dropped a good bit of weight unintentionally have ironically been when I was not exercising much and was isolating. It's really important to have a good support system too. Sometimes you can find free mental health support groups in your area to attend and it gets you out of the house. I used to attend a free mental health group that met on Monday evenings in my city. It was made up of people with a whole assortment of mental illness and it was a great group! I did it for a year. It was also a great opportunity to make/buy and bring along vegan snacks to share! I was open about being vegan there and the majority of the group were very interested and supportive of me. Might be something to look into if you don't already do this.

I am anal about food and food planning so my experience is very different than yours. I plan ahead and always have four small meals each day planned out to eat. Small meals at a time are so much easier for me to handle than a few large ones. It could be something as simple as beans on toast, or a mango and a handful of almonds, or a quick salad with a peanut butter thai sauce. If nothing else, keep a few cliff bars around for when you just can't find the energy to get going. I keep a few of those stashed at work in case I forget lunch or lose my appetite for what I brought. It's calorie dense in a condensed bar and easy to eat when you don't have a huge appetite but know you need something.

Best wishes and hang in there!
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#7 Old 09-02-2015, 05:49 AM
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Hey there. I'm going through depression and anxiety as well and I've found going vegan has been great for it, but I also understand how it can be really difficult when you are in major depressive states. This past week has been terrible for me as my emotions tend to go super wonky around my time of the month (which shouldn't even be happening right now, but that's a different story) and I've just felt so unmotivated to do anything that I've broken down and had some non-vegan stuff, which I felt terrible about, which just becomes a bad cycle.

Anyway, I'm trying to break that cycle right now by picking up some quick stuff that don't require much cooking, especially since I'm now back in school and want to bring some vegan-friendly food with me so I'm not buying lunch at school everyday.


Naturebound mentioned Clif Bars which are amazing. I'm pretty sure most, if not all flavours, are vegan and there are a lot of different choices. Fresh fruit and veggies are great to keep around. Even store bought tubs of hummus are really great with pita, crackers, or even some baby carrots.
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#8 Old 09-02-2015, 03:01 PM
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When my depression is really bad, I too have a hard time eating anything.

Fortunately, one of the easier things for me to get down during those periods are peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and those have kept me alive until I can get things together enough to prepare and eat balanced meals.
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#9 Old 09-04-2015, 12:10 PM
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Maybe, possibly, animal products are a large contribution to negative mood, and the whole of our diet choices also. Working on feeling better and healing in itself could be a lot relative to caring about consuming the best stuff for health. There is no reason to let anybody influence ones personal choices especially when it regards the betterment of our condition of health. Along with that, other important factors are - getting good exercise and surroundings of good atmosphere - including getting distance from people who are not helpful to the journey of caring. (including getting out in nature or creativity of some sort). Because we should care about being sure to be happy about life, through caring about its finer aspects. If we don't have control over our life then we are more subject to be controlled by others ...and that may not be a good thing. Nobody is free from negative feelings but there is a reason for them, and the answers come from figuring - seeking, finding and applying attention and answers and solutions. Attainment to a better disposition takes work, and it depends upon unique differences in ones life story. Look deep, find reason and purpose and go. There may not be a quick solution, but getting on with the better life journey is a (the) promising premise. We can be our own worst friend or we can be our own best friend also. We often have to realize that many others and even influences in our surroundings are not always helpful in the right way for what is best for us and we have to do things for ourselves to get where we want to (especially when concerning very strong consumption ideals).

Caring about our health is caring about our very state of being and future which is a very good thing to be seriously concerned about making the most of.

 

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#10 Old 09-12-2015, 04:57 PM
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There is a potato button on my microwave, lol..it is my bff when I am in the dead zone. I just quickly wash a potato and slice it in half (could stab it a few times too...that alone is a great pick-me-up!). It is cooked in a couple of minutes. I get in those spirals where I am depressed, then I don't eat, then it worsens because I have no energy, and just feel like garbage.




Hope you are feeling better by now.
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#11 Old 09-12-2015, 05:13 PM
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Yes, microwaved potatoes are quick and easy. Some canned refried beans and salsa on there = feast.

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#12 Old 09-14-2015, 07:55 AM
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I too am so sorry that you're having to deal with depression and anxiety and your family is not willing to help you with food. I think sometimes people don't realize that helping with making food can be a huge thing when it comes to mental health. You didn't mention how long you've been vegan but I know that many people here feel that going vegan helps with stabilizing moods. I'm also a very anxious and nervous person and I've found that going vegan has really helped me feel balanced.

As for food, there are some great suggestions here. Here are a few of the quickie meals that I make for myself:

Pasta with marinara using bottled marinara sauce. There are quite a few out there that are vegan.
Canned vegetarian chili over minute rice
Canned BBQ baked beans (like Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans) over minute rice
Couscous (very easy and quick to make)
Veggie burger on a bun

You could also make a big pot of soup during the times when you have more energy and freeze it so that you can just heat it up. Making bean soup especially can make a nice meal and if you used canned beans and frozen "stew" mix (i.e., frozen carrots, celery, onion, and potato) you don't have to do a lot of veggie chopping.

I'm not sure how you eat but going for more whole ingredients helps to stabilize moods. So, for example, eating whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta, brown rice instead of white rice, etc. I also try to always go for organic stuff when I'm buying canned and frozen vegan meals. So, for example, buying an organic canned chili (like Amy's) tends to have more whole ingredients.

Tam
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#13 Old 09-14-2015, 06:26 PM
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Hang in there, pal.

How long have you been vegan? How much longer can you hold out against your family? They are obviously trying to sabotage you, but you know that, don't you?

While you don't have emotional support you are very vulnerable to all kinds of emotional and physical problems. Have you tried Meetup.com? You can start posting there and searching there for the kind of people and groups you want to meet and spend your time with.

Personally, I think I would rather talk with regular people about my problems than to see a doctor. Doctors don't have any answers except drugs! People used to be stupid enough to fall for that 50 years ago, but it is getting "weak" these days. Do you have some friends? You need some. (So do I, as a matter of fact.) Being vegan in a carnivorous society is like being sane in a sick society. It's hard to find anybody who speaks our language.

I have no answers. In fact, I have the same problems you do! Let me know if you find any answers.

Ron
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