Safely going to a vegetarian diet…?

Question:
I am a little worried about my health. My very knowledgeable boss at work said she likes the idea of me going vegetarian and/or vegan, but that I need to be safe about it because her very intelligent sister did just what I did and went online and “researched” all about vegetarianism and thought she was switching over the right way. But she ate how she thought she was supposed to and thought she was getting enough substitutions for the protein, etc. but apparently she wasn’t and ended up in the hospital.

Now, I’ve been drastically cutting down on meat for the last month or so, and by the time my fiance and I move out of his Mom’s we want to be completely vegetarian. So far I feel fine, except for the last couple days I’ve had a sore throat and felt slightly weak for the past day. I’ve already had a bad cold a little over a month ago, so I couldn’t believe I would be getting yet another one! You don’t think this would have anything to do with my diet would it? Thank you.
I realize it’s a personal choice and it’s one I wanted to make! She was actually supporting me by telling me she thought it was a good idea to start one!

9 thoughts on “Safely going to a vegetarian diet…?”

  1. I doubt your cold has anything to do with your meat reduction; it could be that you never got rid of your previous cold; or your symptoms could be the result of stress (ie. getting married, moving…) In any case, make an appointment with your physican, get an exam, and let them know that you’ve decided to eliminate meat from your diet, that way you cover your bases.

    If you want to make sure you’re getting the proper amounts of nutrients, sign up for an online diary like http://www.fitday.com http://www.nutridiary.com or myfooddiary.com (fee)

    You can get a decent amount of protein from dairy, but you’ll also get a heaping of fat as well. Other good sources are soy (milk, tofu, cheese) or my personal favorite, whey protein. You can purchase it in powdered form, take it w/ you where you go and even use it for smoothies. Protein bars are good too.

  2. The consumption of meat has never been linked to improved immune system function. You may be getting a cold because you have been exposed to two different viruses, and with all the crap people shove in their bodies at the first sign of illness these days viruses are often mutating and becoming immune to what killed them off earlier.

    PS I personally never believe those stories that go “my friend went vego and then got anemia/pluracy/lyme disease.” People have a way of filling in blanks when they don’t get all the facts. Sometimes people get sick and they don’t want their friends or family to know why because it is embarrassing to them. So rumours start to explain why your aunt doesn’t want to talk about her hysterectomy and before you know it people are saying she was protein deficient, must have been because she didn’t eat enough meat!

    I’m not calling your boss a liar, but remember that there are millions of people all round the world living meat free. You don’t need to substitute protein, you get protein from vegetables. The only thing you could ever conceivably have a problem with is iron (uncommon problem for vegos) or B12 (reasonably common problem for vegans) but by eating right, you will be ok.

    THE ONLY exception to this is if you have an enzyme deficiency, and cannot digest your food properly to get the nutrients they contain. If this is true, it doesn’t matter if you are vego or meato, because you still won’t be getting the nutrients from your diet. If you have never had any kind of food allergy then you probably don;t have an enzyme deficiency.

    Good luck going vego- best thing you can do for the environment :)

  3. One thing that can happen as you turn to more healthy lifestyles such as quiting smoking, exercising, stop drinking pop, eating organic, drinking filtered water, going vegan, etc, is that you can detoxify too quickly.

    When I first started down my path to health a little more hard core I never felt so sick in my life. I had started to eat organic, drink filtered water, cut down on sugars, etc. I was informed this is part of the detox process.

    I use to be chronically depressed, had hypoglycemia, got sick almost on a bi-weekly bases, had ulcers, and slept over 18 hours a day. Now I rare to never nap, and am relatively happy. I do not suffer from ulcers anymore and barely get sick.

    Sometimes you have to go through something akin to the dark night of the soul before you can reach the other side and see a beautiful parting of the clouds for the sun to come out and smile down on you.

    I do however suggest while you are detoxing to take antioxidant supplementation. Go to your local health for store and inquire as to which antioxidant formulas they might have. I hope you stick with your vegetarian diet and eventually go vegan. It is more than possible to be healthy living both lifestyles. Just educate yourself and try not to make “not necessarily” correlations.

  4. You need 27 amino acids to get complete protien. You get that from a combination of grains and legumes which most countrys have a staple dish except the US. Black beans and rice, corn tortilla’s and rice. Peas and beans. The only thing you may need to address is some trace elements like zinc that you do not get from vegetables.

  5. Depending on where you live, I’d say the cold has more to do with the screwy weather and the hundreds of cold viruses in existence than your diet. I get a cold a couple times a year when the weather changes. Drink plenty of hot beverages. Herbal infusions containing marshmallow root are said to be good for sore throats. (http://www.nutrasanus.com/marsh-mallow.html) These have nothing to do with the candy marshmallows, which contain no marshmallow plant at all.

    You could also be detoxing, which can cause some nasty symptoms. Sometimes, as you reduce or eliminate the junk in your diet, your body has to work it out, and that can cause minor illnesses.

    As long as you eat a balanced diet, you should be fine. Every vegetarian nutrition book says this.

  6. I really don’t understand why everyone believes that being vegitarian or vegan is unhealthy. You will get sick from not eating ENOUGH food, but not from eating vegetarian. Her hospital stay and your sore throat have nothing to do with it.
    I wonder why you would let your boss tell you that its a good idea to go vegetarian–it’s a very personal choice.

  7. To start with, when your boss’s sister ended up in the hospital – that doesn’t sound like the result of a vegan diet. That sounds like the result of either a very restrictive or very unbalanced diet (meaning she probably wasn’t informed after all about what vegan sources of calcium, iron, protein, etc. are). Oftentimes, intelligent women hide an eating disorder by pretending to be vegan or vegetarian (this allows them to duck out of family meals or to eat very sparsely but they have an excuse to keep from drawing attention to them). It’s very possible that this was the case here.

    I don’t think your cold has much to do with going vegetarian. If you’re concerned you should talk to a doctor or nutritionist. I have never had health problems by being vegetarian, I’ve been one for over half my life and have successfully served in the US Army as one, have gone through a healthy pregnancy and gave birth as a vegetarian and continue to be a healthy and active adult. The difference is that I cook a lot and I know that there is a vegetarian or vegan alternative to everything – from comfort food to desserts. I’m also in med school and also getting nursing certifications at the same time (just to have a job while I go through med school), and so I know that it’s possible to eat a vegan diet and be perfectly healthy.

    I think the issue at stake is being informed and knowing how to eat a balanced diet. Honestly, I don’t see how cutting out meat could derail someone’s diet unless their original diet was unhealthy to begin with – after all, people that eat meat should essentially be eating ALL the same stuff a balanced vegetarian diet is made of, and eating meat on top of it. Many, many vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients are abundant in plants and are most easily absorbed from plant sources (calcium, for one).

  8. its highly unlikely this person ended up in hospital because of a veggie diet.

    a balance of fruit, veggies, cerals and dairy will give you more than enough protein and nutritian.

    I’m not ill, i’ve been veggie for 28 years.

    me: I just eat food. I don’t see the problem or understand why people analyse it to pieces.

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