Recently, I discussed how I made the tough decision to bring back some animal products into my diet. While I still eat mostly vegan or vegetarian, I find that incorporating eggs, fish, or chicken a couple of times a week has renewed my physical and mental energy.
I still haven’t quite pinpointed the culprit in what was causing my nutritional downfall. I tried to eat balanced as a vegan and took vitamins to compensate for what my diet didn’t provide. I once thrived as a vegan, so I’m not sure what changed!
I plan to get my vitamin levels fully checked out to see if I can figure out what was causing such ill effects. In the past, I’ve felt differences in my energy and mood if I wasn’t taking B12 or iron supplements, but I have been taking them for a long time and I was still feeling crappy … for longer than I would like to admit!
When I was having my gallbladder removed, my gastroenterologist checked my iron and B12 levels along with a myriad of other possible ailments and all was good, aside from my pesky gallbladder of course … But long after my surgery, the fatigue and depression returned.
According to HealthLabs.com, there could be other nutrients and deficiencies as a result of being vegan for so long. Some of them I’ve never given too much thought about, like lacking folic acid or zinc.
Last month, I went to a new primary doctor and he brushed my concerns off when I brought up wellness in connection with my vegan lifestyle. “Protein is protein,” was his ignorant response.
By now, we all know that protein isn’t the only nutrient in the world, and furthermore, there are big differences in animal protein vs. plant protein. As someone who would love to blindly be vegan for the love of animals, even I know that’s a load of crap.
Obviously, I won’t be seeing that doctor again. What a waste of a $40 copay. I will continue my search for answers and balance. During this time, I have taken a step back from posting my food … partly out of shame when I have an egg on my plate (I’m trying to get over that), but also because I realized my obsession with food had gotten out of control.
I obsessed over what to eat, how much to eat, bad ingredients, good ingredients, how many ingredients, vegan ingredients, environmentally-impactful ingredients … It was exhausting and overwhelming, triggering emotional eating in rebellion and horrific guilt afterward.
While I’m navigating through the process of being veganish, I needed to take a step back and stop putting rules on my food. Sure, there are days I still feel guilty and there are days when I know I did the right thing by listening to my body.
Without the fixation on food and the long list of “should nots” or needing to post my meals to “the gram”, I feel my relationship with food shifting and I eat to nourish rather than to self-medicate or even to impress others with my fancy meals.
I want to continue on a healthy, balanced path with food, both mentally and physically. My search for a thorough doctor and possibly a nutritionist continues…
If you’re vegan and reading this, I fully support you and your lifestyle. If you’re worried about your health or have been feeling lethargic, I recommend getting your vitamin levels tested.
Health Labs offers vegan nutrition testing for a fair price and without a doctor referral. They’ll test for any deficiencies linked to vegan lifestyles, this way you don’t have to play the guessing game like I was doing. Get 25% off HealthLabs.com by using my code SANDYLO25.
*While I receive compensation for this post, the opinion and experiences expressed in this article are completely my own.