I may be a little old for this site, but I’ve got nowhere else to turn sometimes… Now, I have been on a vegan diet for years. Since going vegan I have noticed some very unpleasant changes with my body. It has now gotten to the point where I am considering going against my beliefs and abandoning the diet. Here is a list of some of the problems:
– Bloating and gas. This gets bad quite often. Not only do I feel gross, I am constantly in heaps of pain. I have even thought of going to the ER several times because it hurts that bad. It also keeps me locked inside for the majority of my day, every day. Vegan anti-gas pills do nothing for me.
– Skin issues. This one is horrible. It has really taken it’s toll on me emotionally. Bad acne, lots of scars, very dry skin that burns when I sweat, etc. I am sick of covering myself up because of it.
– Diarrhea. Is it normal to have constant, odorous diarrhea on a vegan diet? Well, I have it!
– Mysterious injuries. I keep getting random injuries to my muscles and things. It’s mostly sprains, cramps, and bruises, with no explanation. An MRI last Spring showed two severe tears in my shoulder (still got ’em).
– Weakness. I go to a gym several times a week and have worked with a trainer (who turned out to be a vegan bodybuilder). Still, I cannot seem to tone up well and feel weak while my friends, who do not work out and eat whatever they please, have all kinds of energy/strength.
– Poor appetite. Although I avoid them, all I really crave anymore is sweets. I am hungry all the time, but seeing other vegan food makes me feel sick, literally. I now only manage to eat a few bites in one meal before feeling full/sick – like my body is telling me to eat those things not in my diet.
– Depression. It’s getting bad, and these problems don’t help at all. They are ruining my social life as well as me moving ahead in my life.
Sorry for the long post, but that’s just the basics of it. Hopefully someone out there in PETA land can give me some advice, as I have tried so much with zero results. This is basically my last attempt for any kind of hope. Sure, I love animals and hate what some people do to them, but honestly, should I suffer so they won’t?
I’ve been vegan for years as well and have seen nothing but positive results on my health! And I’m a lazy packaged food vegan. How are your B-12 levels? Omega-3s? and Vitamin D3 levels? Most of the US population is deficient in Vitamin D3 and it can cause some of the problems you are mentioning.
Another thing I ask is if you live in an area where Lyme Disease is known to be epidemic. I have Late Stage Lyme Disease myself and it causes all the issues that you mentioned. I go to a LLMD (a lyme doc, other docs don’t know how to treat lyme and think it’s treatable with a 3 week course of antibiotics and that’s it), and that’s important if you have it. I honestly would consider seeking out an LLMD in your area and get tested for Lyme Disease, as well as have your D3 and other vitamin levels checked.
I think drinking water lots of water can help with diarrhea, gas, bloating and your dryness. & I would look into taking vitamins. It’s not a lot but I thought I would chime in from experience, but not everything works well for one person as another ..
Surely you must know that dropping meat & dairy from your diet doesn’t cause these problems.
If anything, it helps get rid of them.
Don’t be eager to start eating meat & dairy again.
Instead, be eager to find out what is actually causing these problems.
If I were in your position, I’d eliminate everything from my diet except for salad for at least a week to see what happens (remember to chew the salad really well, or chop it into small pieces before eating).
This would be a fairly decent way to determine if your problems are even diet related.
If the symptoms improve, slowly start re-introducing other foods to determine which food (or ingredient) is causing your problems.
Before I answer, what does your diet look like? Because if all you’re eating is beans/rice and/or sweets, many of these are “duh side effects” of being vegan. Why do I say this? Because I’ve felt the same way before. If your diet is rich in beans/rice/vegetables/fruits and no sweets, then this may not apply. But if your diet sounds like what I said at the beginning, then you might want to listen.
First of all, once you go a (more or less healthy) vegan, your body becomes more sensible to “bad stuff”. I’ve been vegan for 3+ years, and I have been reacting to more food from healthy fats (my body can’t digest them), nuts (three handfuls and I get pimples all over my face), and the big one: sugar. (within 5-10 bites of processed sugar food, my skin starts to itch like crazy, and I start to get a major headache.
Bloating and gas: When I eat too much beans (on top of rice, especially), I feel it. I suspect that it’s due to the massive amount of fiber, and because my intestines is weak (got it from my dad), my body can ‘t digest everything fast. So when I eat, I have to really watch out the order of the food (starch, protein, etc), because I can tell that sometimes I can digest better than others, even when I eat the exact same food.
Skin issues: Like I mentioned above, whenever I eat something my body doesn’t like (and I used to be fine eating nuts/a ton of sugar before going vegan), my skin starts to itch, and very badly. If I eat sugar for a week, acne starts to pop up, and it takes twice as long for it to go away (in that case, I have to omit all the sugar I consume). As long as I consume just a little bit (preferably brown sugar/agave/anything not white sugar), it’s manageable. This shows that my body has gotten rid of enough crap to be sensitive to these things.
Diarrhea: I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, and if I don’t be careful, I constipate. BUT, when I used to eat all veggies, rice, no sugar, no snacks, and raw food, it was totally the opposite. I felt like my intestines were legitimately empty. I read in numerous books and it says that all the bad substances in my body is leaving when the happens. Seriously, after all that, I felt so cleansed.
Mysterious injuries: Nothing that I know of, but whenever I pull a muscle or something, I have to be really careful when I let it heal, because for some reason, it’s taking a bit longer to heal than before. It might be due to age or other outside factors (like moving them even when I’m not supposed to, etc.)
Weakness: Again, this goes back to the sugar thing. Okay, I’m weak to begin with (weak enough to not be able to hold more than two dishes on the serving tray at the place I work. lol) But the more I eat healthier, I see that whenever I consume sugar, my breath gets heavy, I become fatigue, and my nose starts to run. Even just this morning, with every bite of chocolate I took, I had a hard time breathing.
May sound silly, but it’s true. I understand that this is telling me that my body is getting negatively affected by all these sugars.
Poor appetite: When I eat little and healthy (no sugar), I don’t get hungry. This is because in reality, you don’t need a whole lot of food for your body to function properly. See, people nowadays eat way too much. I don’t eat breakfast, and sometimes I don’t eat lunch either, and by dinner time, I’m still not hungry. And that shows me that people can function properly, and I have more energy sometimes because of this. (because eating makes me tired/sleepy)
Depression: Again, whenever I eat sugar, I feel like crap. And since you said all you crave is sweet, I suspect that that’s what you tend to eat, a lot. When I eat too much (or sometimes not even that much), I want to cry, I lose motivation to do anything, or do nothing other than be online. But once I cut it out, I’m back on my feet again. Maybe there’s a different aspect that’s affecting you, but at least for me, I feel pretty down when I eat sugar, and feel better when I don’t.
So if you read all this, it sounds like I’m “suffering” here and there too, but that’s because I haven’t been respecting my body that’s become sensitive to a lot of things. I don’t find this bad, because this shows me that my body is getting cleaner and cleaner, and that’s why I’m reacting to even just the little spec of “crap” I eat. And I feel out of place for how my body reacts to these things. But I manage, because this is the only body I got. So for me right now, is only consuming a little bit of sweets (when my body starts to itch, which happens really fast now, I stop), and not overeating, because that just makes me tired/sleepy too.
This is really long, and I’ve never shared this with anyone, because I feel like no one will believe me or understand me. But since from what I read about you, I feel like I can offer *something* that may help you. I hope it did in somewhat way/shape/form, and if it didn’t, I hope you’ll find something or someone that may be able to help.
Well, whatever you do, I hope you won’t regret it.