I have changed to a vegetarian diet about 6 months ago and I am currently physically tired all the time. I almost require a nap in the afternoons to make it through my day.
When I decided to make the change, I knew there would be some physical changes, but I thought I would gain energy from eating a raw food diet, not lose it.
Do you have any suggestions to help recover my energy? I am feeling very discouraged. Thank you - L. C.
Dear L. C.,
I'm sorry you feel discouraged - but things are far from hopeless!
There are several reasons why people feel tired after switching to a vegetarian diet. One reason is food allergies - they suddenly start eating a lot of something they've never eaten, and have a reaction. Soy is one example.
Another reason is they start taking a huge amount of all kinds of supplements which can actually cause nutritional imbalances rather than preventing them.
The third reason is that they go from eating a typical North American diet to eating a very pure diet without much protein, fat or carbohydrates, don't get enough calories or nutrients, and start detoxing. Then they feel awful!
All three things could be happening to you, but I vote for number three. The thing is that your body can no more become a raw food vegetarian in just a few months than it can become an olympic athlete or concert violinist in a few months. You need to build up to such a refined diet gradually. I've seen people who've been vegetarians for many years having difficulty with a raw food diet.
You could have some nutritional deficiencies, such as Vitamin B12, but please don't self-diagnose. You should go to a doctor or nutritionist and get tested for deficiencies and food allergies.
I suggest backtracking to a less challenging diet, maybe even going back to square one and starting over. As a place to begin, read the free SV reports, 10 Tips for Beginning Vegetarians, and Vegetarian Nutrition.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian