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I stopped eating meat 6 months ago (no transition period was needed), and basically am feeling really good and not finding it difficult at all.

One thing though, it seems like my hair is snapping off much more and also my nails won´t grow at ALL and continuosly are peeling.

I have no idea if I am missing anything from my diet because I haven´t focussed on it that much. Mostly I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, 1 egg per day and sometimes pasta or toast. Yogurt I eat every day too and most days some nuts.

Can it be the diet the reason why this is happening? Probably seems like a silly question but it never occured to me when I stopped eating meat that something would be missing from my diet then because I thought humans aren´t built to eat meat anyway. But now I am thinking about the nutrition we need and am not sure.

Thanks!
 

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I stopped eating meat a year and half ago and none of that happened to me. My nails seem to actually be stronger now.
Sounds like you're not getting enough protein and iron. Do you eat beans? They're a good source of protein and iron. Also, chickpeas, lentils...
 

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I have been a vegetarian my whole life. My nails are still growing and strong. My hair ..... well I am nearly sixty years old. I am growing faster than my hair.
 

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I second eating a lot of beans and leafy greens for iron, with a good source of vitamin c at the same meal (such as strawberries, bell pepper, orange etc) to help with absorption of nonheme iron. Seeds like chia or flaxseed and walnuts also provide plant based sources of omega 3s that can be helpful for healthier skin, hair, and nails. Ground flaxseed is relatively cheap and easy to incorporate into foods each day. Blackstrap molasses is very high in iron and calcium too. I like to add it to hot cereals or make homemade bbq sauce with it to go on beans.

My Mom lost a lot of hair when she tried to go vegan/vegetarian a year ago. She can not have nuts and seeds of any kind due to diverticulitis. I had her start taking a vegetarian DHA supplement and her hair loss stopped.

The only time I have had trouble with hair thinning and nails getting brittle is when I was severely underweight from undernourishment. In periods of refeeding as a vegan my hair and nails improved dramatically, especially when I upped servings of beans from 1/2 to 1 cup a day to almost two cups a day and now include flaxseed or another seed or nut in one or two servings per day.
 

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I wonder if it could be something you're doing with your hands - like gardening or pottery? Or if it's winter where you live? I know my nails are more brittle when I do a lot of work with my hands and they're terrible nearly every winter.
 

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So there is no chance you've been swimming in chlorinated pools, using bleach or dyes, have a fungal disease or hypothyroidism? Hair is dead material. If the ends are breaking, it may be hair you grew years ago, depending on how long it is.

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It's not the vegetarian diet--although it may be YOUR diet.

Or as Gita says, it may be coincidental. Many times when we change habits we blame coincidental things on the change. Often we add or remove other habits along with the change we're focused on.

Meat does not have anything magical about it, although it is possible you're not getting as much protein, fat, or iron. That would be a factor of YOUR diet, and not a plant based diet.

I would suggest doing more research, maybe track your diet for a while, like on fitday.com or other site.

http://www.vegancoach.com/vegan-nutrition.html
http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/
 

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Sheep, chinchillas, horses and many other animals are totally vegan and have very little trouble producing beautiful hair and fur, or nails (hooves). We humans are very lightly haired animals with some genetic families better at hair than others. Some people just will never have great hair or nails. I use henna to strenghthen mine, and use oregano oil on my nails. Other than that, my hair is rather thin. I totally wish I had massive strong hair, but those are just genetics I was not blessed with.

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Humans actually are built to be omnivores. One of the things you have to watch out for is Omega 3, 6, and 9's because they are primarily gotten through fish and make up 30% of your brain. Unless you eat fish. Which is kind of like being a non smoker but smoking cigars. If you are a complacent vegetarian you could run into some health issues and may get sick from low iron, calcium, protien. You should research what you could be missing and fill the gaps. Its what im doing


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Like others before me have said, It's not the vegetarian diet, but it could be either something environmental or due to a nutrient deficiency (which could happen even if you weren't vegetarian).

I used to have really dry hair and nails, and found out I wasn't getting enough healthy fats in my diet for what my body needed. I added a tablespoon of olive oil into my diet daily, and my nails and hair perked up, and my skin got a lot healthier as well. It turns out my body just doesn't do well on a very low fat diet (I'm not saying that this is necessarily your problem, there are a lot of different things that could be going on with you!)

Besides the obvious of cutting out meat, what has changed in your diet or lifestyle? Maybe it is a vitamin/mineral problem, and when you stopped eating meat you started eating a different set of nutrient levels. Make sure you are eating a well rounded diet, and maybe take a multivitamin if you aren't already. It could definitely also be environmental, though.
 

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Ember. I totally agree that humans are omnivores. I think that Euro-centric macho-centric anthropologists throughout the history of the science have barked up the wrong tree. 2 billion people out there eat insects and grubs on a regular basis. Insects and grubs are high in protien, poly and mono unsaturated fats and vitamine B12 (etc). If anything, early humans ate more critters like this than either strictly big game or vegan. Snails most likely are in the bag of creepy crawlies, and easy to grab swimmies. Even today anyone not easily revolted can avoid the grocery store all together. Fun fact!

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After all the above issues are looked at, including hypothyroidism, if your convinced your diet and thyroid function are ok one tactic can be using Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root extract pills.
At one point my father had the same thing and in the end I put him on daily ashwagandha, pretty soon new healthy fingernails and new hair grew in. His doctor was impressed enough that he gave it to his wife for her fingernails, lol
Better to find and fix the ultimate cause tho
 

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Humans actually are built to be omnivores. One of the things you have to watch out for is Omega 3, 6, and 9's because they are primarily gotten through fish and make up 30% of your brain. Unless you eat fish. Which is kind of like being a non smoker but smoking cigars. If you are a complacent vegetarian you could run into some health issues and may get sick from low iron, calcium, protien. You should research what you could be missing and fill the gaps. Its what im doing


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Ember is right, it's important to have a look at what you're eating now. If you'd like to share what you'd usually eat in a day with us, we might be able to see if there's anything 'missing'. Though, I'd recommend going to a doctor and getting some tests done if you're really worried.


Omega 3's (and the rest) can be found in soy, chia seeds, flaxseed oil and even brussel sprouts!

Iron can be a bit of an issue. Using an iron frying pan is apparently one way to get more iron in your diet :p

Calcium can be easily gotten from plants, if you're no longer consuming dairy.

Protein deficiency on a vegetarian diet is nothing I've ever heard someone actually suffering from. I'm sure it CAN happen, but as long as you're getting a good calorie intake each day, you should be okay.

You don't need to be super-vigilant on a vegetarian diet, in order to maintain your health, but in the first little while it's a good idea to find out the best ways to eat healthily.

Let us know how you go.
 

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One thing though, it seems like my hair is snapping off much more and also my nails won´t grow at ALL and continuosly are peeling.
This is a fairly common issue with new vegetarians/vegans and is usually caused by low protein intake. Hair and nail are made of protein and when your intake is low your body starts to conserve protein and your hair/nail health suffers. Make sure you're consistently getting around 55 grams of protein a day (65 if you're man) and your nail/hair health should improve over a few months.

If your protein intake is already good, it should be an iron issue but you should get your blood work done to determine whether your iron levels.

Whether or not humans were "built" to eat meat, humans have no trouble subsisting on meat-free diets. There are 300 million vegetarians in India and many millions in other countries throughout the world.

Protein deficiency on a vegetarian diet is nothing I've ever heard someone actually suffering from. I'm sure it CAN happen, but as long as you're getting a good calorie intake each day, you should be okay.
You don't just go from having good protein intake to having a protein deficiency disease, a lot happens in between. Hair and nail health will suffer with marginal protein intake and this is not considered a protein deficiency disease, its just the body adjusting to low protein intake.
 

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Humans actually are built to be omnivores. One of the things you have to watch out for is Omega 3, 6, and 9's because they are primarily gotten through fish and make up 30% of your brain.
Omega-6 and omega-9 are found in many plant foods and most people primarily get them from plant sources, omega-3 is a bit less common in plant sources but there are still a lot of plant foods with omega-3.

"Omnivore" is a very general description and says little about what sort of diet humans have adapted towards, that is, just because humans are omnivores doesn't mean were adapted to eating the flesh of mammals.
 
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