Lack of energy - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-29-2016, 09:48 PM
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Lack of energy

I'm almost two weeks into my new life as a vegan but I'm struggling with a lack of energy. I feel drained all the time. I've started eating tofu and increased my legumes input to try and bring protein into my system but still struggling to find energy. Any one else have this issue or any ideas?

Thanks.
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#2 Old 01-29-2016, 10:39 PM
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Have you ever gotten your iron levels tested or taken iron supplements?
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#3 Old 01-29-2016, 11:04 PM
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Hi Matt,

At least once a month on VeggieBoards, we hear from someone asking this exact same question.

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 vegans. This mistake is very easy to make, because vegan staple foods (legumes, whole grains, fruit, vegetables) are low in calories, compared to meat and dairy products. On a low-fat vegan 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.cancer.org/healthy/toolsa...ter-calculator

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.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-30-2016 at 12:30 PM.
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#4 Old 01-30-2016, 01:38 AM
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Protein has nothing to do with your energy. But as stated above most people don't eat enough when first going vegan. People always comment on how much I eat and how often. Instead of a normal bowl of oatmeal I have a giant bowl with added bananas and dates. For my dinners I make enough for at least 3 plates of food. And I snack. I'm really thin and bike with some calisthenics I have to make sure I'm eating the more calorie dense foods like rice, oats, lentils, bananas, peanut butter, ezekial bread. I stick with starches for most of my food but add a little bit of fatty stuff like peanut butter and avocado when I find I haven't eaten as much as I'd like. I love non starchy fruits and vegetables don't get me wrong. I can down 2 heads of cauliflower wings like no ones business but my body wont get much calories out of that. Add more grains, pasta, legumes, and nut butters. I see a lot of vegans first starting saying "I'm tires/weak how can I get more protein" when sadly they just are not eating enough.
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#5 Old 01-30-2016, 02:08 AM
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Thanks for the advice, appreciate it!! (And sorry for the repetitive question) I will try eating more although I can never eat a whole lot at once but I can eat more often. For the most part salads have been the staple of my diet but I will try more calorie dense options too. Thanks again.
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#6 Old 01-30-2016, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Crouton View Post
Have you ever gotten your iron levels tested or taken iron supplements?
I have not done either of the two.
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#7 Old 01-30-2016, 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt_931 View Post
Thanks for the advice, appreciate it!! (And sorry for the repetitive question) I will try eating more although I can never eat a whole lot at once but I can eat more often. For the most part salads have been the staple of my diet but I will try more calorie dense options too. Thanks again.
Oh gosh, salads? No wonder you're tired! You would have to eat a ton of salad to get enough calories. Try to base your meals around complex carbohydrates like whole grain rice or pasta, adding vegetables and protein on top.
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#8 Old 01-30-2016, 03:41 AM
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Oh gosh, salads? No wonder you're tired! You would have to eat a ton of salad to get enough calories. Try to base your meals around complex carbohydrates like whole grain rice or pasta, adding vegetables and protein on top.
Yeah a salad for lunch and a salad for supper almost every day. Usually fruit for breakfast every day. Thanks for the advice I will try that.
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#9 Old 01-30-2016, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt_931 View Post
Yeah a salad for lunch and a salad for supper almost every day. Usually fruit for breakfast every day. Thanks for the advice I will try that.
Hi Matt and welcome! There is a learning curve to this veg stuff, but it is worth it. I agree with the above posters that more food (calories) are probably what you need. In the transition period, adding more fats to your diet can help tremendously. If you're like most of us, you ate the standard meals consisting of a piece of meat with a starch and a veg or 2. Or pizza or tacos or spaghetti with meat sauce, etc. Those meals have tons of fat, and your body is used to it. Don't worry, you can cut back on the fats as your system adjusts.

Fats are in avocado, oils like olive, nuts, seeds, etc. Some of the faux meats are really helpful while transitioning. If you don't cook, don't worry, veg food is a snap once you learn. And, bonus, other humans are impressed when people (especially men) cook a meal.

Look up some knife skills videos on youtube, and practice. It's really fun to chop up a huge pile of various veggies for stir fry in a couple of minutes. By the time the oil heats up in the pan (yes, use oil) my veggies are chopped and ready. Adding stuff that has a satisfying, filling "mouth feel" helps your body through this change, too. The food change is a surprise to your digestive system, and having something satisfying like beans, sauteed mushrooms, faux meat, etc, makes you feel more energetic and normal. And don't forget the grains and starches! Potatoes white and sweet, rice, quinoa, pasta, bread, oatmeal, are good for you, and filling.

If you stick around here for a month or two and read what we are eating, you'll get the hang.
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Last edited by LedBoots; 01-30-2016 at 04:05 AM.
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#10 Old 01-30-2016, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
Hi Matt and welcome! There is a learning curve to this veg stuff, but it is worth it. I agree with the above posters that more food (calories) are probably what you need. In the transition period, adding more fats to your diet can help tremendously. If you're like most of us, you ate the standard meals consisting of a piece of meat with a starch and a veg or 2. Or pizza or tacos or spaghetti with meat sauce, etc. Those meals have tons of fat, and your body is used to it. Don't worry, you can cut back on the fats as your system adjusts.

Fats are in avocado, oils like olive, nuts, seeds, etc. Some of the faux meats are really helpful while transitioning. If you don't cook, don't worry, veg food is a snap once you learn. And, bonus, other humans are impressed when people (especially men) cook a meal.

Look up some knife skills videos on youtube, and practice. It's really fun to chop up a huge pile of various veggies for stir fry in a couple of minutes. By the time the oil heats up in the pan (yes, use oil) my veggies are chopped and ready. Adding stuff that has a satisfying, filling "mouth feel" helps your body through this change, too. The food change is a surprise to your digestive system, and having something satisfying like beans, sauteed mushrooms, faux meat, etc, makes you feel more energetic and normal. And don't forget the grains and starches! Potatoes white and sweet, rice, quinoa, pasta, bread, oatmeal, are good for you, and filling.

If you stick around here for a month or two and read what we are eating, you'll get the hang.
Thank you for the advice!! I will definitely try these!! Maybe my mistake was quitting everything except for fruits and veggies all at once, it's been a hard two weeks but not worth quitting. I have lots to learn but I feel like I've gotten a good start thanks to the wonderful people on this site and can start looking up ideas and getting proper nourishment.
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#11 Old 01-30-2016, 06:30 AM
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Matt:

As the other posters have noted, it sounds like you are not getting enough calories. I highly recommend that you research Dr. John McDougall's ideas about a starch-centered vegan diet (see his TEDx talk here:
). Dr. McDougall likes to point out in almost every talk he makes that throughout history, all healthy, successful, large populations of people have centered their diet around whole-food starches, like corn, potatoes, rice, barley, wheat, etc. I have adopted a diet that is a blend of Dr. Joel Fuhrman's ideas and Dr. John McDougall's ideas. For lunch I usually have a giant salad which includes some added legumes, a quarter cup of chopped walnuts, and two slices of whole-wheat bread. Then, for dinner, I usually have a more McDougall themed dish, heavily emphasizing a whole-food starch. I am pretty active, but find I have plenty of energy eating like this.
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#12 Old 01-30-2016, 08:23 AM
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Coming in kinda late, but I agree with the others! Make sure you're eating enough.



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#13 Old 01-30-2016, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt_931 View Post
I'm almost two weeks into my new life as a vegan but I'm struggling with a lack of energy. I feel drained all the time. I've started eating tofu and increased my legumes input to try and bring protein into my system but still struggling to find energy. Any one else have this issue or any ideas?

Thanks.
Check iron first. Please look at this article it seems helpful : http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/r...raw-food-diet/
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#14 Old 01-30-2016, 08:56 AM
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A full grown adult doesn't need much proteins. The average vegetarian food contains more than enough proteins.
If we believe in the theory that we need proteins, then we will get to the conclusion that the human or ape flesh would be the best meal, since it is similar to our own flesh. And this is absolutely insane. Also cannibalism leads to the mad cow disease, and yes, it is transmitted through prions, which are proteins.

What you need is energy. The best source of energy is raw, vegetable fat and there is only one food having it - Avocado.
If Avocado is not available to you, then starch based food is what you need: Potato, lentil, chickpea, beans etc.

Fat is better than starch. Animal (and human) cell membrane are made of protein and fat, while the vegetable cell membrane is made of cellulose, which is a type of sugar, just like starch.

Last edited by spaveg; 01-30-2016 at 09:02 AM.
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#15 Old 01-30-2016, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt_931 View Post
I will try eating more although I can never eat a whole lot at once but I can eat more often.
Exactly right! This is what many vegans do, including me. Instead of trying to obtain all my calories from 3 huge meals, I eat 3 smaller meals, plus healthy snacks throughout the day. As others have suggested, I base my meals around starchy whole foods. My typical meals include things like whole wheat pasta, lentils, bean chili, rice, with the addition of green vegetables, fruit, and smaller amounts of nuts.

Here is a beautifully-illustrated Vegetarian (actually vegan) Starter Guide. It nicely summarizes vegan nutrition on page 7, and very easy meal ideas are shown on pages 11-13: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/files/VSG.pdf
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_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 01-30-2016 at 09:28 AM.
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#16 Old 02-03-2016, 08:17 AM
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When I went vegan in September 2014, for the first 6 weeks I was bloated, lethargic, sick to my stomach. I was detoxing from all the crap. The worse your diet was previously the longer and more difficult the detox.

Became a vegan on September 2014, best decision ever!
I know humans consider it a grave insult to be called an animal. Well, I would never give a human the fine distinction of being called an animal, because an animal may kill to live but an animal never lives to kill. Humans have to earn the right to be called animals again.”
― David Duchovny, Holy Cow
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#17 Old 02-07-2016, 04:25 AM
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You need sugar first thing in the morning! I dont mean sugary processed foods. I mean fruit! Try eating some sugar rich fruit.

Call me Andy
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#18 Old 02-08-2016, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt_931 View Post
Thanks for the advice, appreciate it!! (And sorry for the repetitive question) I will try eating more although I can never eat a whole lot at once but I can eat more often. For the most part salads have been the staple of my diet but I will try more calorie dense options too. Thanks again.
**** salads off for a start!

I made the same mistake when I first went vegan, I was eating salads and must have been miles off my recommended calorie intake.

The only salad I eat now is tomatoes because I like the taste and spinach/kale because of the nutritional values. Things like lettuce/cucumber are pointless to me, too bland and zero calories.
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#19 Old 02-17-2016, 09:44 AM
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It might be ur b12 intake. Try some supplements or nutritional yeast.
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