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Vegetarian Advice: New Veg Sick, Tired

Why Food Allergy Testing May Be The Answer

Since becoming a vegetarian 4 months ago I have been almost constantly bogged down with colds, ear infections, sniffing and feeling very tired.

I have had my iron levels checked and I am following a healthy eating plan and have a daily exercise routine.

I have an active job and am at a loss to explain why I should feel so bad physically. Any ideas? - B.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice

Dear B.,

Since I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, I really can't diagnose your troubles and tell you why all this is happening to you. I know that you would be unlikely to deplete your iron or B12 in 4 months, if you are on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet with whole grains and beans. You would almost have to be on a starvation diet to bring about vitamin deficiencies in that short a time, and it doesn't sound like you are.

Our first thought was that you are likely allergic to something you're eating that you weren't eating before, and you really should get food allergy testing. There are several possibilities, such as soy, which has 16 known allergens. Or nuts. Or dairy. Those are the most likely culprits, but it could be almost anything, like a grain, vegetable, or fruit

If you want to try and figure it out for yourself, go back to the diet you ate before you went vegetarian, maybe minus the red meat, and add one thing at a time, for a week or two at a time, until you see what you react to. But sick as you are, and if you don't want to go back to square one, I suggest food allergy testing.

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Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

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