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To consider eating meat after 20 years as a vegetarian? Low energy!

(48 Posts)
MeltingSnowflake Sat 24-Feb-18 23:38:31

Anyone else gone back to eating meat after being veggie? Did it help your energy levels?

I've been vegetarian for over 20 years, since I was about 11. Ever since I can remember I've been extremely low in energy - but despite repeated blood tests to check my thyroid, hormones, etc. nothing shows up as an obvious cause.

I eat a healthy diet of fresh food and I exercise a fair bit although not nearly enough to exhaust me, and I eat plenty of calories. Occasionally my yearly physical shows up slightly low iron, B12 or Vitamin D but nothing major - and mostly they are all normal. Even after taking supplements and adjusting my diet to correct the levels, my energy levels don't improve.

I started eating fish a couple of years ago to see if that would help, but it hasn't. Plus I still find it quite hard to eat.

I'm getting so fed up that I'm considering trying meat to see if that would make a difference. Although I'm just not sure I could bring myself to eat it (again ethical reasons, and also after having not eaten it for so long, I think the texture, etc. would freak me out). But I'm getting desperate.

Any advice would be VERY gratefully received - thank you in advance!

KarmaStar Sat 24-Feb-18 23:48:41

Yes,years ago I tried,you are right,the texture,the thought of eating flesh,it was gross and no my energy levels didn't improve.I am happily back to a healthy dairy free vegetarian diet and my energy levels are the same.
I do take vegan / vegetarian vitamins from Holland and Barrett every night.
Have you had a check up to see if you may be anemic or have another health reason for your problem?
There are many people who lived really healthily on a plant based diet,sports personalities included.
I hope you manage to resolve this without having to return to a meat eating diet but at the end of the day your health must come first.
Good luck

loopsdefruit Sat 24-Feb-18 23:52:49

Meat would only really increase your iron a bit.

I am not veggie and love meat, but if you don't I wouldn't force yourself just for the extra iron. Try supplementing, but remember that supplements can take a while to work, sometimes up to 3 months.

If you take iron then also try and increase your vitamin c as it can help absorption, and avoid black tea with meals as tannin can stop you absorbing iron.

Do you get enough calories? You could try eating more/eating smaller more frequent meals and see if that helps your energy levels?

Summercat Sat 24-Feb-18 23:53:10

What about just introducing fish? smile

Very healthy, good for joints and bones etc...

SuburbanRhonda Sat 24-Feb-18 23:54:42

What about just introducing fish?

The OP says she already tried it and it made no difference.

Eltonjohnssyrup Sat 24-Feb-18 23:57:01

Drinking orange juice can make a big difference as the vit c helps iron absorb.

TrappedInSpace Sat 24-Feb-18 23:57:06

If it's good enough for the Dalai Lama..

He was advised by his doctors to eat some meat.

I was veggie for a couple of years. As I became less committed, I chose steak and salad on a couple of occasions eating out. I did notice feeling more energetic afterwards but it could have been placebo.

If you are not low in iron, B12 and zinc though is it likely to work? Sorry I don't know more to help but at least it's a bump for your thread!

RainOnATinRoof Sun 25-Feb-18 00:04:48

You might as well try it.

I was veg for 12 years, but I had to re-introduce meat as I had ongoing problems with B12 and iron, causing a host of issues including low energy. supplements just aren’t as effective, particularly for b12 in my experience

After 12 years meat free I don’t have a taste for it all. I would prefer not to eat it. But it really does have a marked difference on my energy levels and overall health. I find it’s worth eating it a few times a month for this reason but If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t choose to eat meat at all

TenancyTroublesAgain Sun 25-Feb-18 00:51:21

It's not just iron, meat would be the source of B12 too

TenancyTroublesAgain Sun 25-Feb-18 00:51:32

Aside from milk and eggs etc

FlippingFoal Sun 25-Feb-18 01:13:08

Our bodies can cope quite well with being iron deficient as iron is only needed for the production of red blood cells (mainly). B12 (and folate) on the other hand are needed for the production of every cell in your body so we tolerate even small deficiencies less well. A vegan diet is devoid of B12 (and low in folate too) so a vegan who does not supplement with B12 will always be deficient.

Low B12 causes anaemia, joint pain and depression. If you don't want to start eating meat again, you could supplement with a supplement aimed at a vegan diet - the generic ones just don't have enough B12 in them for a vegan diet.

FlippingFoal Sun 25-Feb-18 01:14:44

Also have you considered staying vegan but eating eggs that are ethically sourced? Many people keep chickens in an enriched environment - you could source some local, non-farmed eggs to supplement your diet and then you don't have any negative animal impact. After all eggs are just chicken periods...

Time40 Sun 25-Feb-18 02:22:31

My DP tried going veggie recently, and after a few months he felt that he had much less energy. Now he's eating meat again, once or twice a week, and he feels much better.

silentpool Sun 25-Feb-18 02:39:41

I went back to eating meat and fish for the same reasons. I don't eat much of it, maybe 1-2 times a week, in small quantities. But yes, it has really helped.

Aquamarine1029 Sun 25-Feb-18 03:07:29

I am 100% behind @FlippingFoal. Try adding eggs to your diet. They are literally a "perfect" food source. Their nutritional benefits are immense, and you can get eggs from ethical sources. I have my own backyard chickens, love their delicious eggs, and have noticed a HUGE improvement in my physical wellbeing after I started including eggs as my main protein source.

LivingInTheSeventies Sun 25-Feb-18 04:25:59

I felt similar a few years ago, I was a vegetarian, I had a bite of meat and found everything about it repulsive and now I’m vegan!
Try B12 supplements and see if it helps, I wouldn’t jump straight to meat, there’s a vegan on Instagram called vegainstrength (I think) and he has really good info.

hibbledibble Sun 25-Feb-18 07:27:06

A multivitamin a day will have more benefit to you than eating meat.

MeltingSnowflake Sun 25-Feb-18 08:15:01

Thanks for everyone's replies! Just to clarify, I'm not vegan, I eat fish - and I also eat eggs and dairy. Plus I take a multivitamin everyday and also omega-3 on top of that. I don't know what the matter is, I still have zero energy.

The more I think about it though, I just don't think I could eat meat again sad

PurplePirate Sun 25-Feb-18 08:18:30

What does "low energy" feel like if you are also doing regular exercise? Are you in any way depressed? Do you get enough good quality sleep?

annandale Sun 25-Feb-18 08:20:17

I don't think a vegetarian diet suits everyone but if you don't want to eat meat you don't.

Presumably you're eating oily fish, not just white fish? Scarfing down nuts with everything?

How about finding a dietitian that's good at vegetarian diets? Dietitians are great.

ShortandAnnoying Sun 25-Feb-18 08:22:12

I don't think adding meat would help it's more likely to be something else causing the low energy. I do find I have more energy on a lower carb and sugar diet which is easier to do if you eat meat, but it's not impossible to do it as a veggie. Why not start by reducing sugar and refined (white) carbs and processed food and go from there.

echt Sun 25-Feb-18 08:23:14

Thanks for everyone's replies! Just to clarify, I'm not vegan, I eat fish - and I also eat eggs and dairy. Plus I take a multivitamin everyday and also omega-3 on top of that. I don't know what the matter is, I still have zero energy

Go to your GP and tell them all this. Get a blood test for iron.

Ninarina Sun 25-Feb-18 08:23:18

Try a tablespoon of molasses in water every morning. My iron level went from 7 to 200 and my hair is growing back.

GrannyGrissle Sun 25-Feb-18 08:23:48

Best thing for energy is Dead Sea Salt patches. Honestly they are amazing and i speak as someone chronically ill who could barely move for exhaustion and pain sometimes before discovering these in The Aisle of Bargainous Crap in TK Maxx. Google them, they cost £8.99 and i can't recommend them enough.

MongerTruffle Sun 25-Feb-18 08:24:37

Realistically, what makes eating fish any different to eating other meats? It’s still the flesh of an animal (and ethically it’s pretty much the same).
(Vegetarians don’t eat fish.)

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