New Vegetarian Tired|10 Ways to Boost Energy|Vegetarian Diet

Tired on vegetarian diet: Detox, food allergies, vitamin deficiencies? Good carbs, Vit. B12, green leafy veg could help – 10 Ways to Boost Energy

Tired Vegetarian

Hi I am trying a vegetarian diet again for the second time. The first time I was successful for a whole year. I don’t even remember how I relapsed and started eating meat again. So far I have gone three weeks without meat and I feel a lot better.

I scared myself for the rest of my life by watching a documentary called Food Inc. and I will never eat meat again.

I have been more tired than usual, I was wondering is that normal with vegetarian diet? I know I work a full schedule and go to school, but Im not use to this kind of tiredness. I’m practically dragging.

I take D3, fish oil, vitamin c supplements. I make sure to eat a lot of bananas and oranges, I eat a lot of vegetables – carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc. If you have any pointers on how I can avoid being so tired and get natural protein into my system please let me know – S. P.

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Savvy Vegetarian Advice:

Hi S. P., It’s not normal to be so tired after adopting a  vegetarian diet. You said “more tired than usual”. Does that mean that you’re usually tired? That could be a clue.

Your extreme tiredness could have a few sources. You could be reacting to new foods, or have food allergies. You could be detoxing. Your digestive system could be having trouble adapting to the change in diet. You could have blood sugar highs and lows. You could be deficient in iron or B12 but not likely after 3 weeks – maybe if you were already borderline deficient.

It could be you aren’t getting enough calories if you’ve lost weight, but protein deficiency isn’t as likely as most people think with vegetarian diet, because most plant foods have protein.

Nutritional science tells us that protein builds and repairs your body, carbs are for energy (slow digesting whole grains for sustained energy), healthy fats for lubricating, absorption and brain food.

I suggest a medical checkup for food allergies & vitamin deficiencies, to set your mind at rest. Maybe get your blood sugar levels tested too – just to make sure there aren’t any health issues behind your tiredness.
Meanwhile, here are 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy:

1.  Move around, preferably in fresh air, for a few minutes (jump up and down if that’s all you can manage, or run up and down some stairs).

2. Have a whole food snack to raise and sustain your energy.

3. Avoid foods with refined flour, sugar and fat (cookies, chips, crackers etc.), sodas, coffee, chocolate – those will give you a quick energy boost, followed by dragging your — a couple hours later.

4. Add Vit B12 to your supplement cocktail, in a pill or in enriched foods. 

5. Drink a lot more water. 8 cups a day minimum, not including tea and coffee, juice, milk, soda. That’ll help move those toxins out.

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6. Get more rest. If you are detoxing, you need more sleep. Any big change in your body like a new diet means you need more rest. Try it! You’ll think a miracle happened!

7. Add a lot more more fresh veggies (raw and cooked) to your vegetarian diet. Much more than you think you need. Be sure to include lots of green leafy veg. All those vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients will energize you like you won’t believe!

8. Every day, eat whole foods: whole grains like brown rice, oats, barley or quinoa, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils for the vitamins, minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, iron), and protein. Don’t overdo it. A normal serving size is 1/2 cup of cooked grains or beans and a small handful of nuts.

9. If you don’t have much time in the morning, try making a breakfast shake, and take along a bag of unsalted trail mix or nuts or a protein bar and fresh fruit, granola & yogurt etc for morning or afternoon snacks.

10. Get more exercise – yoga and walking are especially good for helping detox, and improving digestion. But any kind of exercise will help – just keep moving.

A few things to read for more information:
Vegetarian Tired, Suspects Iron Deficiency
Tired and weak with vegetarian transition
Vegetarian Protein Sample Menus
Savvy Vegetarian Nutrition Report
10 Tips for Becoming Vegetarian

All the best, Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

Medical Disclaimer: Any changes that you make to your diet, and the results of those changes, are your decision and responsibility. Savvy Vegetarian and its employees do not claim to be health care professionals, dietitians, or nutritionists. We do not treat, or recommend treatment, for any illness or health condition.

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3 Responses to “New Vegetarian Tired|10 Ways to Boost Energy|Vegetarian Diet”

  1. Jamie says:

    Vegetarians don’t take fish oil supplements. Try Ovega’s vegetarian Omega-3 pills, available at Amazon.

    B-12 is a must – happily, nutritional yeast is the most delicious thing in the world and it’s loaded with B-12.

    Good luck!

  2. Great article, totally what I was looking for.

  3. Joe says:

    Great article! I think a lot of new vegetarians just stop eating meat, and don’t really balance things out. The other problem I see is way too much starch and not enough fruits and veggies.

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