hey need some help :)
I recently became vegan and i feel a little weak maybe a little out of it...is their anything you guys recomend me to do as far as vitamins or what foods should be my intake?..im positive that its cause im not taking vitamins. Thanks!
How balanced is your diet? If you are feeling tired, spacey and not right you may in need of nutritional information. Now, honestly, I do take iron pills. I have lupus and I am anemic, but this is because lupus can cause anemia and because I have been naughty and not eaten as many hardy dark leafy greens this fall as I usually do.
Vegans cannot live by tofu alone! It is a wonderful food, but admittedly I tend to use it most to cream up or fill out a recipe in place of dairy and rarely as a protein source. I am also the woman with a 101 ways with tofu.
You need to be eating whole grains like brown rice, 100% whole wheat breads, etc. You need to be eating beans at least twice a week (I don't always manage this, another reason I am short of iron). You need to be drinking soymilk fortified with B12 because there isn't really a good vegetable source of this vitamin. A vegan diet also means that you need lots of fresh fruits and veggies. These need to vary as much as you can muster. In the last two weeks, for instance, I have eaten parsnips, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, cabbage and spinach, um that I can remember right now anyway. I need to eat some pumpkin or squash this week for the vitamin A content because that is missing on that list. I don't eat fruit well, but I make myself.
The pit that the people fall into is thinking that eating salads is healthy, as in iceberg lettuce salads. These are okay, but not many vitamins or minerals there. It is NOT healthy to replace a well rounded lunch with a "green salad" because there is little if any protein and nothing else much that is redeeming. I knew of a fella who tried to be a vegetarian and got sick. He was eating shredded wheat and milk for breakfast, salad for lunch and a couple of Boca burgers for dinner. It is no wonder to me he got sick! Where's the beans?
I have done the vegetarian / vegan thing on and off for 30 yrs. Every time I have reformed it has been less difficult to transition, but then again, I have learned more every time I have reformed. This last time was September in an attempt to self-help my lupus problems, which are way better. I know so much more about protein intake and these days we have Silk soy in about every store everywhere, which is a plus. You can get processed cheezy sorts of things, mock meats, packaged foods that are vegan now, but they are pricey and in the end, not nearly as good for you as home cooking fresh stuff.
If your diet is vast and varied, you probably don't need vitamins. I should have been smarter and watched closer myself or I would not need the iron right now...well maybe not need it. You need leafy greens (kale, mustard, collards, chard) a couple of times a week, or more. You need yellow veggies (pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes) a couple of times a week or more. I think beans 3 days a week is a good thing (note to self). Soymilk, three 8 oz glasses a day. Whole grains, even instant brown rice if you must. Make sure your bread says "100% whole wheat" because "wheat bread" is nothing more than colored white bread.
Lastly, keep in mind with tofu that it takes 3 oz of tofu to equal the protein in 1 oz of flesh. That is a lot of tofu! Check out healthy-eating.com and DixieDiner.com for soy concentrates. This is not soy protein isolate (yuck) these are more like TVP in appearance and most of them have ounce for ounce the same amount of protein as flesh foods. They taste great cooked in all sorts of things. THey may seem expensive, but 1 lb of dry reconstitutes to 3.4 lbs, so they are really rather reasonable. Healthy-eating.com has sampler packs so you can try several types at once and figure out what you like best.
Somewhere on this site...try "Articles and info" there should be information on vegan diets and how to. While I firmly believe in veganism, it is not something to go into uninformed.
I wholeheartedly second Lady Dragonfly's recommendations.
I also urge you to take a multivitamin every day, especially while making massive transitions in everyday habits-- you want to cover those bases while you're learning to eat what you should. Low energy can be a lot of things: you'll be surprised at how much it helps to eat or supplement your diet with adequate iron, B-vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids!
The best advice I can add is that you should try to "eat the rainbow" every day-- add every color of veggie you can get your hands on to your plates! Not only will it be more appealing to the eye than a "brown" meal of brown rice, tamari tofu, and so forth, but you'll get a wider variety of nutrients without dedicating all your thoughts to nutrition.
Hey Moulin, feelin crummy after a transition to a vegan diet is often caused by your body's natural detoxification process. If you're feeling really weak, it could be caused by insufficient carbs rather than protien, as happens to so many people who try out low carb diets (eww!). The whole protien concept is probably the #1 misconception when it comes to the human diet in general, not just for vegitarians. During infancy, when the body is growing the fastest, breast milk, a baby's natural food, contains only 2% protien (!). People need to realize that they need not heed the government's reccommendations when it comes to our health because they are completely biased (same with the whole calcium deficiency fraud). In truth, we need no more than 2% protein in our deits, which is practically impossible not to get. As Lady Dragonfly stated, PLEASE don't try to live souly on tofu, or any meat/dairy substitutions for that matter, as they are meant to be just that: substitutions, taste-wise, for products that weren't healthy to begin with. Take soy in moderation, as with most things, except of course fruits and veggies, which you can and should load up on. These of course will provide adequate amounts of most of your vitamins and minerals. Whole grains, too, are great. But #1 on your list of this to eat should be fresh (and i cannot stress this more: ONLY FRESH!) fruits. These provide energy and tons of nutrients to your body without taking energy away. I can live days at a time on nothing but raw fruit feeling sensational, only to throw in some cooked veggies and ruin it all. please do not eat cooked fruit (or condensed juices) for the love of anybody!and always make sure your fruit is fully digested (about 30 minutes) before consuming anything else, or it will begin to ferment in your stomach, causing havok. One book I would reccommend to you that is not strictly vegan, but has sound nutritional advice is FIT FOR LIFE II by Harvy diamond. I hope you feel better soon. :)
Oh one more thing ;D: if you do decide to go ahead and supplement your diet for vitamins and minerals, i would definately reccommend taking whole food supplements as opposed to any popular products which often use all sorts of crazy fillers (even hydrogenated oils!)-not to meantion the vitamins are in lab-produced chmical forms not easily assimilated by the human body. Ty something like Berry Green or Alive! by Nature's Way.