Are you suffering from vegan fatigue? Maybe feeling a little bit less energetic than usual? When I first transitioned into a vegan lifestyle, I felt the same way. So don’t be surprised if you experience changes in your body, including feeling weak and tired.
You might even want to bang your head into a wall! Well, if you do feel frail and lethargic most of the time, you might have some vegan fatigue issues, but do not worry because I am here to help you overcome it.
To know exactly why you feel the way you feel, we will dive into the most common causes and how you can fight off vegan fatigue.
By the end of this article, I hope you will have a better understanding of your body and how to get over the fatigue, so you can live your best life and stay strong and happy on a vegan diet.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Vegan Fatigue?
Every single one of us is different and this is evident in how our bodies react to things.
When you first transition to a vegan lifestyle, you might be experiencing chronic fatigue or tiredness due to the many changes happening in your body. And if this is the case, it can be attributed to one or a combination of the following:
1. Are You Missing Out On Important Vitamins And Minerals?
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, we should be able to fulfill the vitamins and nutrients our bodies require and this can be achieved with the help of a nutrient-rich diet.
If you are missing out on the following vital vitamins and minerals, you might find yourself in a constant state of tiredness or lethargy.
- Iron – If your body is low in iron, you may risk anemia (a condition that develops when your white blood cells lack enough red blood cells). If the iron in your body is inadequate, you might feel weakness, fatigue, and dizziness, among other symptoms. To normalize the iron level in your body, you can try loading up on lentils, peas, and beans.
- Vitamin B12 – A lack of Vitamin B12 has been linked to fatigue. While the body usually stores Vitamin B12, it’s important to remember that this won’t last forever. In order to avoid getting low levels of Vitamin B12, add “nooch” or nutritional yeast to your food, eat fortified vegan cereals and fortified snack bars, or drink vitamin-fortified almond, soy, hemp, or coconut milk.
- Vitamin D – Not getting enough sun exposure can lead to a Vitamin D – (particularly D3) deficiency. According to the NIH, 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen is able to boost Vitamin D intake. Vegans can opt to take a daily dose of Vitamin D2 and D3 (derived from lichen) or eat vitamin D foods, like portobello mushrooms and fortified soy yogurt.
- Iodine – In a study conducted by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, they found out that vegans commonly suffer from iodine deficiency. To make up for the low iodine in your system, opt to buy iodized sea salt.
Is Your Protein Level Low?
Based on the Recommended Dietary Allowance, the minimal amount of protein that an adult should consume on a daily basis is 0.8 g/kg. If your protein level falls, it can lead to health problems, including energy and muscle lasting fatigue.
As protein is essential in the body’s ability to repair and rebuild itself, make sure you find sources of complete protein such as:
- Hemp seeds
Are You Consuming Too Much “Junk”?
You might have transitioned to the vegan lifestyle but it’s not guaranteed that you are living healthily. The labels on the food that you eat may be vegan but they are not necessarily good for you. Make sure you avoid “junk food” such as:
- Gummy Candies
- Non-dairy ice cream
Are Your Omega 3 Levels Low?
Fatigue, poor memory, anxiety, depression, dry skin are some common symptoms of omega 3 deficiency. In order to have a healthy heart and well-functioning cells throughout the body, getting enough omega-3 fatty acids is important. Here are some of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Brussels sprouts
- Algal oil
- Perilla oil
Are You Not Eating Enough?
When you go down the vegan route, you are eliminating certain foods from your diet and this could have an effect on your body, especially if you are not able to replace these. To avoid experiencing fatigue, make sure you are able to find vegan alternatives that can fill you up.
A common mistake vegans make is not eating enough carbohydrates. If you are only eating fruits and vegetables, you will feel hungry again not long after.
You need to eat carbohydrates such as rice, quinoa, potatoes, and also nuts. These type of carbs will keep you full until your next meal.
6. Are You Under A Lot Of Stress?
Apart from the dietary changes, one of the possible causes of your fatigue is stress. When you’re under a lot of stress, it can affect different aspects of your life. You can try to evaluate and reflect on your life’s current situation and find out if any of that is causing you to feel tired and weak.
Once you have determined what is causing the stress, you will be able to figure out how to best deal with the situation.
Is It All In Your Mind?
Your psychological makeup can also play a part in your developing fatigue. Depending on your expectations, your mind will have its own way of making these suppositions come to life.
For example, if you feel like you lack certain vitamins or minerals from your diet, allow yourself to make the necessary adjustments like spending extra time preparing healthier meal alternatives.
What Can You Do To Get Over Your Vegan Fatigue?
When you go through something as stressful and troubling as fatigue, it could affect every facet of your life. To make sure that you are able to live a well-balanced, plant-based or vegan lifestyle, here are several ways to fight off fatigue.
Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep.
Here’s an important question, “Are you getting enough sleep?”. If the answer is “no”, then it’s time to reevaluate your sleeping habit and pattern. Make sure you get the right amount of sleep! According to the research of the National Sleep Foundation, adults are recommended to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Bonus: To gain a better understanding of the vegan fatigue issues check out the video below.
Get That Body Moving
Invigorate your body and get rid of the feeling of fatigue by exercising. Instead of just sitting around and waiting for your body to “wake up”, try running, stretching or brisk walking. By exercising or moving around, your body produces more energy that would certainly revitalize you.
Try Minimizing Your Refined Sugar Consumption
Fatigue is just one of the many side effects when it comes to consuming too much-refined sugar. When you consume too much sugar, your body has a tendency to go through some sort of sugar hangover. That’s when you start feeling tired, sleepy and sluggish.
There are actually numerous sugar alternatives that vegans can opt for, including:
Granulated Natural Vegan Sugars such as:
Raw Cane sugar
Coconut Palm sugar
Fructose Fruit Granules
Alternatively, you can also go for Liquid Natural Vegan Sugars such as:
Real Maple Syrup
Brown Rice Syrup
Avoid Eating Over Processed Food
While you may have a plant-centered diet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are eating healthy. Why not try investing in whole foods and fresh produce like vegetables, fruits, beans, etc? It would make a whole lot of difference in your diet and body.
Take Supplements And Medications – If Needed
If you are feeling fatigued or tired, there are plenty of plant-based alternatives out there such as ginseng. Also, there are now botanical supplements out there that help you manage physical and mental stress. One of the most popular botanical supplements is called Rhodiola.
Rhodiola has been used in Asia and the Eastern parts of Europe for many centuries. In a study found in the Nationl Center for Biotechnology Information, it has been found that Rhodiola has the ability to decrease stress and increase alertness.
Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Professional Or Medical Assistance
If you are experiencing chronic fatigue, one of your best bets is to go see a medical professional. By seeing a doctor and undergoing certain examinations, it would be easier to find out if your condition is due to your vegan diet or any other underlying condition. Always keep in mind that prevention is better than cure!
Making a major decision such as going vegan is no walk in the park. It’s important you understand that if and when you feel vegan fatigue, you need to look into the possible causes and how you can best fight this condition.
If you are one of many people out there who has experienced vegan fatigue? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments down below! Also, don’t forget to share a link to this article to your social media accounts!