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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, everyone!
I just became vegetarian in August of 2010, for moral and ethical reasons. I had known about the terrible conditions in which "food animals" are raised for some time, but I have been making some changes in my life which entail a reevaluation of how I am living my ideals, and having just watched the film Earthlings pushed me over the edge and I decided to go veggie. I was going to do it gradually, by reducing the amount of meat I consumed, but since I felt that meat was so wrong I saw no reason to delay the transition and I went full veggie overnight.
I used to eat meat a few times a week, not every day, and I really loved beef.
I haven't had any major health problems aside from asthma, which I seem to have developed as an adult, and my weight is within healthy limits. I'm 43, male, stand 5'6" short and weigh 142 lbs.
One issue I have is that I have always been what was called a "picky eater," not really eating a wide variety of foods. I didn't even start eating meat until I was around 12 years old and I had never tried a salad until I was in my early 20's. I was anemic as a child and lived on peanut butter and dairy products. I also have a tremendous sweet tooth. I still don't eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables.
I've been happy with my decision to become vegetarian, and hope to slowly transition to vegan someday in the not-too-distant future, but I want to make sure that I do it right and don't rush into it.
For the last couple of weeks, however, I have been having an issue which I am concerned may be related to my dietary changes and so I'd like to get some feedback from the experienced folks here.

I've been having some major aches and pains lately - mainly in my large joints: knees, hips, and elbows, as well as my back and neck. Also some muscle pains. It's almost like I have the flu, but it feels like a different kind of ache. I've been chalking it up to a combination of my job (I'm an internal messenger and therefore on my feet all day) and my age, but it's gotten worse and I've taken to lying down on the floor at work during every break I get and during my lunch hour in order to help my back feel better. I really must sound like an old man at work - every time I have to squat or get up out of my chair, I'm moaning and groaning and griping.
It just occurred to me that someone might be able to tell me that these are symptoms of some deficiency common to new vegetarians or something similar.
I look forward to your replies.
Thanks!
Frax
 

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It may be nothing to do with your diet, but I have a few concerns. First, because you mention you are older, make sure you're getting enough calcium. And, second, variety is really important. I encourage you to try to force yourself to be more adveturous in your food choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Farm. Am I really old enough to be worried about my calcium intake? And I am still consuming dairy, though not drinking milk anymore. Perhaps a multi-vite will get me through.

Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I should perhaps share my dirty little food secret: I don't like having to eat. To be totally honest, I'd be happy if I only had to eat about every two weeks or so. Or even if I could give up food forever and just take little science fiction pills to fulfill all of my nutritional needs. I don't like having to eat or worry about food at all.
But I have to eat and am therefore seeking to do it lower on the food chain at least.
 

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Sorry, I must've missed your age when I read the post. And if you're still consuming some dairy, it may not be a calcium issue.

I am still concerned about the variety in your diet. Doubly so if you contend that you do not like eating at all. Are you consuming enough calories?
 

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I wonder if you are getting enough exercise...? Using muscles is one of the best ways to keep them in shape. Exercise doesn't have o be strenuous to help. Walking, yoga and water aerobics are low impact but still effective in keeping joints and muscles limber and strong.

PS - I'm waaaaay older than you!
 

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I'm a month shy of 55, so yes, way older than you.

I suspect your aches and pains have more to do with you being on your feet all day than your diet. (Although I echo what others have said about encouraging you to eat a variety and make sure you eat enough, otherwise that will catch up with you too.)

What I have noticed is that changes associated with getting older seem to come in spurts, like a series of plateaus, starting in one's twenties. (For instance, I used to be able to pull all nighters, studying, without feeling any negative effects the next day, and that changed from one day to the next, one semester while I was in grad school.) My forties was when I first noticed how much my back, hips, knees and ankles were dependent on what kind of shoes I wore. For me, wearing Crocs at home and in the garden and supportive clogs or New Balance shoes when running errands makes a huge difference in my general feeling of well being, especially when I'm on my feet all day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
1. I guess it was misleading to refer to myself as older, though I am certainly feeling as though my age is doings things to me it didn't used to.

2. I was hoping that the answer lay in my needing to take a B12 supplement or some similar course of action, but I guess it isn't going to be that easy.
Since I am walking all day, the shoe situation has been difficult. I spent the first three months on the job with terrible blisters and I have settled on a pair of New Balance running shoes though I have already worn out the inside of the shoes.
Shoes which feel great walking short distances can end up being extremely painful with the volume of walking I do each day. I need to find out what kind of shoes waitresses and mail carriers wear because those must be best for people who walk miles each day at work.

I've appreciated everyone's thoughts and welcome further input as well (especially recommendations for specific brands of shoes to wear). Thanks!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post

1. I guess it was misleading to refer to myself as older, though I am certainly feeling as though my age is doings things to me it didn't used to.

2. I was hoping that the answer lay in my needing to take a B12 supplement or some similar course of action, but I guess it isn't going to be that easy.
Since I am walking all day, the shoe situation has been difficult. I spent the first three months on the job with terrible blisters and I have settled on a pair of New Balance running shoes though I have already worn out the inside of the shoes.
Shoes which feel great walking short distances can end up being extremely painful with the volume of walking I do each day. I need to find out what kind of shoes waitresses and mail carriers wear because those must be best for people who walk miles each day at work.

I've appreciated everyone's thoughts and welcome further input as well (especially recommendations for specific brands of shoes to wear). Thanks!
I don't know whether you can get away with crocs at work, but you might try a pair for your off time. The knock off brands aren't as good as the actual Crocs.

People who are on their feet a lot also swear by Dansko (their "Professional" series) and Merrell - I don't have any personal experience with either brand yet.
 

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Fraxinus

do you think you are getting enough calories? Meat is quite high in calories, so if you are eating the same portion amount in food like beans, you are probably eating a lot less calories than you used to as an omnivore.

And are you actually replacing the meat with beans, lentils, soya etc - or have you just stopped eating meat/fish, but haven't put anything in it's place?

My nutritional knowledge is fairly basic (hey, I've only been veggie for 30 years, give me time
) but I think you also need essential fats for heart health, and to 'oil' your joints - they would be omega 3 and 6 - I think 6 is easy to get, 3 generally comes from fish (like cod liver oil), so vegetarians run low on it. You can get it from flax seeds and flax oil and walnuts.
So maybe you need to supplement with omega 3? (Take that as a layman's/woman's advice though, please!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, angie.
I think I'm getting enough calories. I'm getting a wee bit of a middle-aged belly as my metabolism is slowing.
The point about oils is good, and I'll look into it. I'm eating a bunch of soy-based foods, so I hope that's helping.
Would reintroducing milk into my diet for a while help? I'm planning to go vegan, but gradually and I gave up milk a while back.
 

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No, if any of this is caused by inflammation, milk will only make it worse. Animal proteins are leading causes of inflammation at the cellular level, and that is always where little problems turn into big ones.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post

Are Crocs for walking in all day? They look kind of... odd. But then, so do I.
Yeah, they are odd looking.


For me, they are the most comfortable shoe I've found, as far as helping my overall wellbeing. My best friend, who has a chronic immune system disorder that attacks her bones and joints, swears by them also. Of course, everyone is different, and I'm just sharing my personal experience.
 

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I love Danskos! They are great. The Dansko Professionals run about $120 a pair, so they're alot more than a pair of Crocs, but to me they are worth it. Maybe you can find some on ebay that are cheaper. I wear both Danskos and Crocs almost exclusively. Danskos are designed by a podiatrist, and are worn by many nurses and chefs.

The first thing I thought of when I read your post was RA (rheumatoid arthritis). I'm 43 also, and I seem to be a little stiffer in the morning getting out of bed than I used to, but it's worked out by the time I get to the coffee pot.
 

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Painful bones and muscles could indicate a Vit D deficiency but I think it might be possible that you have a couple of issues interacting here to cause an issue like the lack of fruit and veggies and your job, and getting a bit older and not exercising maybe? Can you get to a doctor for a blood test? Cos that would be the best way to pin this problem down.
 

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I was thinking maybe you should take a blood test.

Veg*n lifestyles don't contribute to deficiences and honestly you should be feeling a hundred times better when you make the switch, if you follow it correctly. Make sure you get enough of what you should be eating (proteins, fruits, veggies, etc) and you should be feeling amazing.

Start taking some yoga classes to help with the stiffness.
 
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