Be honest, how many times did you watch a video of someone explaining how they are feeling ill after going vegan? How many times did you get scared that this will happen to you? Most vegans have been there and felt the fear of going vegan due to those scary predictions that others made, but I am here to tell you that they are not true.
I already wrote about why people love to watch those types of videos, but today I want to actually dive in and tell you why you might be feeling sick in the first place – and why it has nothing to do with veganism itself.
What are the most obvious things former vegans say when explaining why they went back to eating animals? What excuse do they use?
They usually say that they lacked energy or they got iron deficient; some say that they were not getting enough calories and their hair started to fall off; others might even claim they were protein deficient and started to get headaches all the time.
Everyone experienced something that is so banal that it debunks their claims immediately. All of their problems could be solved without starting to eat animals; all of them.
Yet none of these people had the desire to look into that. It’s much easier to give in to your old habits and taste buds than to do some research and visit a doctor that is educated in plant-based nutrition.
Let’s look at common mistakes new vegans make that are the cause of feeling ill after going vegan:
- They don’t eat enough calories because they forget that animal products are more calories dense and, therefore, they must consume more plants to get their daily required amount of calories. It often happens that new vegans find themselves hungry and blame it on their new diet when it’s their own fault that they starved themselves. Eating a handful of nuts and a bit of rice is not sustainable.
- They live on heavily processed vegan foods such as meats, cheeses and hamburgers. Those products are there to help you transition easily away from eating actual animals, not to replace all foods with them. Eating chocolate, pizzas, fries and Beyond Burger meats, instead of dairy, egg and meat products, does not mean you are eating better.
- They did not learn where to get B12 from (supplement), or how to get a sufficient amount of Omega-3 (flax seeds, walnuts) and Vitamin D (sun, mushrooms and supplements). Yes, you have enough B12 in you for the next 3 years after you quit eating animals, but you need to swallow a pill or two every week, as well as eating seeds and nuts to get Omega-3 and getting enough sun exposure – or taking supplements if you want to avoid cancer – to receive Vitamin D that we are all lacking – yes, even non-vegans.
- They stick with unhealthy habits, such as taking drugs (including heavy alcohol drinking and smoking). Maybe it’s not the diet that is the problem but that you are inhaling deadly smoke 3 hours a day and it’s finally catching up to you. What you eat is important but it is only a small part of the whole spectrum of things that one must do in order to maintain perfect health (or at least moderate health if perfect health is not attainable for you at the moment).
- They don’t eat a variety of foods but stick to potatoes and a green salad. This is related to the first mistake, the unhealthy eating, because before we went vegan we usually ate meat, eggs, dairy products and a tiny amount of veggies and fruits, so now we have no idea how to prepare rice, tomatoes and beans, and we stick to plant-based meats and cheeses with the side of potatoes, a simple salad and an apple as a dessert. There are hundreds of thousands of veggies and fruit alone, not even counting all the other plants that are edible and good for your body. Experiment and find what you like.
- They mentally convince themselves of lacking energy and losing strength now that they don’t eat animal products and, naturally, they see this in real life. If you go into this lifestyle with a bad attitude and with doubts, you will probably convince yourself, sooner or later, that you don’t feel good and that your body needs more protein (which every single plant has). I have seen this happen way too many times to think it’s not important. It really, really is. A positive attitude makes the whole experience better.
One thing that I want to point out is to get a blood test every now and then; no matter what you eat, vegan or not. I was always iron deficient, ever since I was a child I had problems with my blood and I knew that before I switched diets.
When I went to get my blood checked after two years of eating plant-based, my blood results were great (yes, I had enough B12), except my iron levels were still low. Now, if I wouldn’t know what was wrong with my health beforehand, I would probably blame veganism for it, but I did know so I never blamed eating plants for still being deficient in iron.
You need to know where you are when it comes to your health. Get yearly checkups, go to the dentist, and go take a blood test, do everything that you can to know where you are. Medicine is here to help you and tell you what you need to know.
I also want to remind you that your body will go through a detox once you stop eating animal products, so you will feel weird for a few weeks – or even months – because your body will be getting rid of all the bad stuff and will be upgrading itself. That’s normal so give it time; every vegan has gone through some type of changes in their body once they went vegan.
Let me know in the comment section how your experience with going vegan has been and if you personally experienced feeling ill after going vegan + how you solved the issue.
p.s. – I am not iron deficient anymore (I don’t think so). What happened was that I started taking iron supplements and then I had too much iron in my blood and my doctor got concerned.