Getting started: avoid the weakness trap

March 18, 2010

After spending more than ten years volunteering weekly in a vegetarian resource centre, I think I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on the reasons people adopt a plant based diet, and maybe more importantly, why they switch back.  Here’s the number one failure reason I’ve heard:

“I tried going vegan, but I just ended up tired all the time.”

And do you want to know the two biggest tragedies about this?  First of all, I don’t hear about it until it’s too late to do anything, because they’ve already changed back and the actual switch is the hardest part to trigger, and secondly, it wouldn’t have mattered because my first reaction was to get defensive and immediately think “they must be doing something wrong, a vegan diet is full of energy!”

After hearing it enough times and gathering enough data, and yes, swallowing my pride, I’ve come to realize that not everyone automatically succeeds on a plant-based diet, and when it comes to physical weakness and fatigue, it’s usually to do with one or two key factors:

Make sure you eat enough

Let’s suppose you’ve decided you’re going to switch from the most average diet around (which, let’s face it, isn’t terribly healthy) to not just vegan, but ubervegan!  Whole foods, no frying, etc.  You’re not a nutritionist, but you just know that a lot of colourful foods is going to be better for you than that hunk of dead animal with fries on the side.  And the range of flavours!  Incredible!

The problem here is that steamed broccoli simply doesn’t have as many calories as feast of roast beast, at least if you fill your plate the same way you’re used to.  You basically have two options, either dramatically increase your portion sizes or consciously add some more calorie-dense foods to your meal (the typically lower fat content of plant-based foods is usually the culprit in the calorie differential.)

Over time, you’ll have no trouble meeting (and then exceeding, possibly by far) your calorie needs on a plant based diet, but a lot of beginners make the mistake of judging nutritional content by how much of their plate is covered.

This problem is often compounded by one of the side effects of not getting enough calories: you lose weight.  For a lot of us, that’s a good thing, and we’re wired up to keep doing the things that give us rewards, so we’ll continue to eat the way we do, lose weight, and somehow manage to not associate the fatigue with the weight loss.  I know it sounds silly, but when you think you’re eating enough (and the majority of people have no idea how many calories they consume a day, vegan or otherwise,) it’s easy to attribute the weight loss to some magic property of plant-based foods, and not the obvious fact that you’re not consuming enough.

The solution to feeling weak as a new vegan is pretty easy: weigh yourself every day.  If it’s going down, eat more.  As long as you’re eating actual food, which I’ll talk about in a moment, and not, say, potato chips/crisps to meet the deficit, your energy levels will take care of themselves.

Eat well

The other trap that new vegans sometimes run into with weakness is due to an over reliance on processed vegan-friendly transition foods.  This is usually less of a problem than the simple calorie count above, but it’s worth a quick discussion.

While mock meats, cheeses, etc are handy, if you approach veganism by simply replacing animal products with their analogues and keeping everything else the same, you might be doing your body a disservice.  Don’t get me wrong; these foods are really useful, and we still consume them fairly often ourselves, but they’re heavily processed, typically high in sodium, and while I’m not a nutritionist, I can’t recommend them as a significant part of your diet.

Looking at it another way, if you ate nothing but hot dogs all day, you probably wouldn’t expect to feel great.  Why would a diet of primarily veggie dogs be any better?

Try to get yourself on whole foods as soon as possible.  As I suggested in 3 quick tips for getting started as a vegan, you only really need four good recipes to get things going, and you’ll find yourself feeling a lot better right away.

Next steps

Being vegan doesn’t have to mean counting every calorie.  I rarely track my nutrition on a daily basis, but it’s a useful exercise for everyone to do one or two weeks of each year to see where they’re at.  I always find it funny that people will ask me how I get my protein but they don’t have any idea how many grams they themselves consume on any given day.

One free tool I’ve found handy is the nutrition log on Daily Burn.  They’ve got tons of foods in their database, and it’s one of the easiest interfaces I’ve seen.  As I’ve said, you probably don’t need to do this obsessively, but if you’re just getting started on a brand new diet, something like this can be a huge benefit towards making sure you’ve got your bases covered.

And most importantly, if you’re encountering problems with a vegan diet, ask for advice!  There are millions of vegans in North America alone, and they’re probably not all misguided fools surviving on sheer willpower 🙂  Leverage any vegans you know along with the internet, including sites like ours, and set yourself up for success by asking for help before and after you run into problems – I don’t want to run into you a year from now and hear another “I tried it but…” story!

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcella March 20, 2010 at 2:23 am

You forgot another possible culprit to the tiredness symptom: B12. Even eating loads of nutritional yeast won't always have you meet the daily requirements. Every vegan should supplement with a sublingual B12 daily (unless they are well-versed in obtaining exactly enough B12 from plant sources).

Nimisha March 24, 2010 at 3:23 am

Thank you for your wisdom on this. Been vegan for 13 years, and I still hear it … “I could never do it”…”I tried it but…”

Staying healthy and happily full on a very vegan lifestyle (and I agree with the poster above – take a sublingual B-12 & Vitamin D if you live anywhere north of Florida).

rosy kirby September 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

i have so many questions after becoming a vegan. for the past few months i have’t eaten any meat or animal products of any kind, which was hard because i really loved cheese, but i do it for moral reasons and to me they are more important than my love of cheese. i eat mostly raw vegetables with soy and nuts and seeds. i have a yeast problem so i must not have any gluten or sugar either. while i’ve never been a lover of food, i never ate foods cause they tasted good, i am having some weight problems due to thyroid and yeast problems. i am still over weight despite a vegan diet and only lost 8 lbs!!!! this is very frustrating! i don’t like to cook, so i prefer my veggies raw. help!!!!

Jason September 15, 2010 at 8:56 am

Rose, the best (and easiest) answer is “see a nutritionist” but from the sounds of it, most of your calories may be coming from nuts and seeds (raw vegetables are amazing for you but you need to eat a lot of them,) which might mean you’re on a very high fat diet, depending on what the “soy” part of your diet description consists of.

Like I recommend in the article, try logging your food for a week and figure out your calorie, protein, carbohydrate, and fat intakes to get a baseline of where you’re at, and then you can make some adjustments that you’ll be able to compare against.

Also, weight loss isn’t always automatic on a vegan diet, though it’s a popular motivation for many at first (I see you’re motivated by ethics, which is great and much more sustainable in my opinion.) At the end of the day, it’s no different than a meat diet, and all comes down to calorie counts – new vegans tend to eat fewer calories because the foods are bulkier, which leads to weight loss at least at first, but that might not be the case for you.

If you have any questions, we’re happy to help! You can use the contact form or this comment thread if it fits better here.

Dani March 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

I Have Been on a vegetarian diet, for 3 years. I lost weight, felt great.About 2 months ago i just started feeling weak, I had a hard time doing a20 mile bike ride, which should have given more energy , and the happiness one feels after. I just felt whacked. Any idea, why would be welcomed.

Kelsey May 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

I am a vegetarian and I have attempted veganism quite a few times, but I have been unable to really stick with it, mainly for the fact that I play a lot of school sports and I am extremely active and I too would feel tired. Another factor is that I am on a tight budget and sometimes unsure of what all to buy that will still allow me to get my needed nutrition without breaking me. Any suggestions?

Jason May 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Kelsey, a good place to start is by picking up one of Brendan Brazier’s books – he’s a vegan triathlete who started when he was a teenager, ignored his coaches who said it couldn’t be done and figured out a way to get the fuel he needed. Some of the ingredients he uses might get expensive, but if you focus on the core concepts you might find those 3 magic tweaks to your diet that you’re looking for.

Paul June 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Hi – thank you for your website. I have been a vegetarian for over 50 years, exercise regularly, am not over- or under-weight, and watch my diet fairly closely. During the last three years however I have been feeling very weak and tired. Nothing has changed in diet, home life, etc. I take a good multivitamin B12, and C. Just weaknessppa:kubuntu-ppa, sometimes extreme. Wonder if anyone has any suggestions regarding diet? Please do not suggest I see an MD, ND, or nutritionist – I cannot afford to do either. And yes, I know this is tough to figure out without blood work and the like, but am still most interested in any suggestions or similar experiences you may have.
Thanks for your help!

Babs June 10, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Hi Paul,
I am over 50 and I also noticed some weakness and dizziness. It turns out that my blood pressure dropped significantly (which is a good thing for me :D). I have started to eat more beans for it. (Slow-cooked and yummy)
Have you checked yours lately? They have free machines at lots of drugstores and pharmacies.

betty January 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Don’t know if this thread is still open but I just started vegetarian about a month ago and starting to feel really yucky….meaning fatiqued and tired. No SAD diet for a month, just a few eggs, veggies, salads, nuts occasionally, almond/peanut butter, some green drinks and smoothies. Started adding greek yogurt today because of the fatigue.

The fatique really bothers me. Because I need to lose significant weight, I try to keep calories to about 1500/day. Have to watch the carb/sugar intake due to health issues.

Any input would greatly be appreciated because I dont want to drop out.

Jason January 19, 2012 at 6:37 am

Hi Betty! The site’s in hiatus but here are a few thoughts: I’ve just started working with a personal trainer and as part of that I’ve been doing a new food audit. While I’ve been working hard at getting my protein levels up, it turns out my calories are much lower than I thought, so once you factor out my workouts, my net intake is probably less than you right now! I need to change that for other reasons, but the key is that I haven’t been feeling any fatigue at all, and that’s as a vegan with no eggs or dairy in the mix.

My best recommendation (besides consulting with a health professional) is to pick up the book Thrive by Brendan Brazier and try to take some of his dietary principles into action. And get your blood tested to check your baseline levels for things like iron and B12 – if there’s an existing deficiency you’ll want to adjust accordingly.

betty January 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Thanks, Jason. Betty

Llaura July 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

I started a raw vegan diet last january 12. My blood pressure had been up and cholesterol. Its all now below normal. However I have been getting awful tiredness. Yesterday I was the whole day in bed feeling weak and tired. I needed to go out but it was impossible. Today I have had a tin of chick peas in addition to the fruit and nuts and raw salads. My brain seems to be engaging more than yesterday however I also ate a tiin of beans yesterday with no effect. I go to the gym and cycle to work. Not sure if its because I am not eating enough. I so want to stay on a raw vegan diet however I may have to add the pulses (if it works) as I lost a day of my life yesterday. I know there is a book called 80 20 20 which recommends 80 fruit 20 fat and 20 protein. I think I will get the book to see if I can understand being active and the raw vegan diet. I am worried though about all that sugar with the fruit. I think though I could up the fruit. Any comments welcome. PS I take B12 each day and plant protien, Hemp and pea.

Tim July 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I have been mostly vegan for about 1.5 years – some milk products have been indirectly consumed. Energy is a constant problem; although my motivation is morality, so I am committed to veganism. I am in my early 60’s and I’ve had my blood checked four times in that period and have only got positive results – including my B12.

From reading the “Getting Started” article , March 12, 2010, I am now thinking that quantity could be the culprit along with the processed, soy based, protein “transition” foods that I use.

Thanks Jason for the Brendan Brazier book suggestion. I ordered one today and will check back into this site later.

Billie August 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Funny that I started vegan diet January 12, 2012 as part of a detox! I lost about 16 pounds and have gotten into the best shape I have ever been in. But recently I find that I do feel tired. I think I have to expand my choices of foods. I haven’t been eating much in the way of beans, grains, quinoa, etc. Maybe that will help.

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Lisa September 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm

i do many sports including waterpolo. i am always tired i sleep in my second period, and i always try to excerise in the morning before going to school so sometimes i wake up around 3 or 4 just to excerise. i try to eat only one times a day for wrestling next season to lose weight. but i am always tired like i fall asleep when i watching t.v like a old person.

Marcus hughes September 4, 2012 at 1:45 am

I think when we enter into a vegan sort of life style we expect everything to always be perfect….life can be stressful. But I find meat eaters much more tired more often than vegans… your greens….

Marcus September 4, 2012 at 1:49 am

Lisa, I think you are in sleep debt….be nice to yourself….long ago when I used to wake up earlier to get work outs in I was tired too.

Kirk September 7, 2012 at 8:07 am

If you are tire there are a few factors that everyone should be checking, the first being stress and sleep, second being vitamins and minerals, and the third what your eating and how much. If you are dealing with allot of stress working out wont usually help your mind or spirit, I would suggest some form of meditating or tai chi something along those lines, there are tons of vitamins and minerals in the veggies you are eating, but sometimes we miss so vital things that we need so I would suggest wheat grass it is cheaper if you grow it yourself, wheat grass is the closest thing to the makeup to your blood and if you cut and squeeze it fresh it will still have living enzymes which is another key for energy, also don’t forget fish oil or flax oil for you brains functioning I also take ginkgo for mental clarity. As stated before on this post cutting out processed and fried foods is a must, but that isn’t enough your body has certain requirement and your body type has a large role in what you need to consume. I would suggest trying to greatly increase the amounts of protein, lightly increase your carbs, and have a large consumption of leafy greens if you are like me that gain muscle and fat quickly, if you are skinnier greatly increase your carbs, lightly increase your proteins and eat tons of leafy greens. Either way you must be consuming enough healthy calories if you want to be sustained.
The final a greatest key to having tons of energy is drinking enough water, I would suggest aiming at about a gallon a day.

One last idea if all of these things do not work and you are still tired and you have checked with a doctor and they haven’t found anything wrong, you might want to think about going on a fast to clean out your body, because over time we store up tons of toxins in our body and they need to be removed your body is set up to restore itself.

Ashley H November 5, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Hello, i just went vegan a little bit ago. i was vegetarian for over 2 years and decided to give it a try (also, im lactose intolerant so i figured it couldnt hurt) but ive noticed that i seem to be dizzy a lot? is this a normal thing? also, i seem to have fallen in the trap of just getting replacements for my dairy things that i used to eat. does anyone have any advice on the dizziness and or food ideas? i really want to stay vegan but i dont like the weird side affects i seem to be having…

gretchen r November 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

I have been on a low fat vegan diet for diabetes 2. for 2 months. I was already thin, now I’m under 100#. I My body looks blood sugars are still high..and I’m hoping my pancreas sensitivity gets back ASAP. Any ideas how I can gain weight?? I’m on Dr. Neal Barnards diet to reverse diabetes. Not all diabetics need to lose weight. My mom was a size 4 when she died. I wear a 4 now too. Any advice appreciated! Tia!

andimckinley November 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Love this thread! I have been vegan for around 7 weeks after doing a 21 day detox. I am a fitness instructor and over the 21 days I lost a lot of muscle tone as it was a very low protein detox. I have since increased my protein via tempah and I also drink Shakeology once a day. However, I am feeling like I have no energy at all when I teach my classes. I am eating a lot of veg, and one serving a day of good carbs like sweet potato. How many servings of carbs a day should a vegan have? I’m very new to this and want to make sure I don’t give up! I have my own fitness business and influence alot of people and I want to show them it’s worth it!

Helen December 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

Why does everyone seem to think they are tired because they are vegan?! C’mon guys, just because you are on a vegan diet doesn’t mean you will never get tired. It isn’t a caffeine diet. I get tired because it happens and it is part of life, not because of my vegan diet. When I was an omni, I couldn’t even start my day without coffee and occasionally need another cup in the afternoon and maybe another one later. As soon as I went vegan I noticed that I didn’t really even want coffee anymore (I guess my body just wasnt craving it as it has all this energy from eating healthily) and without even trying I almost completely phased it out. I still occasionally get a cup just because I like the taste of it. I still get tired because I am human and I have a job and other responsibilities, but I don’t blame it on my veganism. I have only been vegan for 6 months but I already know it is one of the best things I am doing and I will never go back to being an omni because of moral and environmental reasons. I will not contribute to animal cruelty.

Brandon December 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I would appreciate some help. I’m 18 and recently have been eating vegetarian (about two weeks to a month), and I have noticed this exact phenomenon – I’m so tired now. it is 9:48 pm, I just woke up from a nap after my last day at internship (only stayed for a couple of hours) and now I’m still feeling like I have Lyme disease or something. I’m usually very high energy, but now I find it difficult to even get up. By following the above suggestions will my concerns be assuaged? Or is there anything else any kind fellow vegetarian/vegans would recommend?

Jacquie January 5, 2013 at 7:33 am

I am a vegan since december 10 last year, and i am getting the hang of preparing some vegetables whenever i feel like eating something. I am however quite sleepy and can easily sleep up to 12 hours a day. Could this be because of the transition, the toxins leaving my body and all that? thank you.

Lisa White January 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I have decided to go vegan, after a cleanse and after viewing several documentaries regarding heart disease and cancer, but most importantly animal cruelty. I too am committed to staying the course but am experiencing some weakness. Can anyone offer a newbie some ideas to get in the needed protein on a vegan diet with whole foods? Are the protein shakes really worth their weight for what you pay? Thanks!

Sarah February 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

Please help! 2 weeks ago my boyfriend and I switched to a vegan diet for ethical and health reasons. While he feels fantastic, I’ve been feeling a little run down. I don’t know if my body is still adjusting to the food change. I used to be a very heavy dairy consumer. My question is, how do I know how much fat I should be consuming? I do use Daily Burn on a daily basis and I’ve noticed I get around 50 grams of protein a day. Protein makes up about 14% of my daily intake while fat is about 25 or 26% and the rest carbs. Am I doing something wrong? I want the tiredness to go away!

JJ Crizzle February 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm

It’s my impression that most of the comments concern the OP key factor #1. Not eating enough! Eat more. Eat more fat. If you are trying to lose weight don’t rush it. It took time to put on, it should take time to take off. Learn to rest before you get tired.

Overtraining + low calorie diet = tired.
Training and rest(recovery)+ balanced calorie diet= health.

Think of it this way, when we don’t consume enough food, our bodies tell us to remain still. Feelings such as “tiredness” motivate us to conserve calories. Fix this by eating more, resting more, or exercising less.

Mercedes February 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Umm… I’ve been I vegan for 5 months & have list about 3 pounds. I don’t cook with oil. I eat whole wheat & whole plants. Hello? What the crap? Oh! And I go to the gym. I’m obese btw….

Shempy February 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm

If you are feeling dizzy try vegetarian B12 and Black Strap Molasses. Also, make sure you are taking a good quality multi-vitamin. Put your multi-vitamin in a glass of water and if it doesnt dissolve after 8 hrs it isnt working. Large doses of B12 fixed my dizziness when I became vegetarian 6 years ago. Good luck! P.S. Vegan and Vegetarian are not weight loss programs they are lifestyles. Check out for holistic remedies as well. 🙂

Pam April 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

It’s my first day eating a vegetarian/vegan diet and I’m pretty tired. But I know why I’m tired and it’s another possible culprit. I’m switching my diet for better overall health (and of course the glorious side effect of weight loss) and with my healthy eating I’m also diving right into a rigorous exercise program. My body is adjusting and I’ll be tired for a few days. I notice the same thing each time I go back to exercise and healthy eating. Good thing is, I know all about it and will be sticking to my healthy plans.

Andrea May 20, 2013 at 10:45 pm

i have been eating a lot of carbs and gained a lot of weight in the 3 weeks that i have been vegetarian. I need a site that has a wide variety of recipes to print out. I need help because i want to make it. I want to feel better and have more energy.

Diane Johnson June 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

Recently read Eat to Live and immediately bought into a plant based diet. Hardest thing to eliminate (or more the thing I crave) is cheese. But I’m doing it. I too am starting to feel fatigued but I know it’s because I’m not eating enough. A natural diet is definitely more work and difficult to do with a random work schedule.
But I found some amazing books by Julie Morris. Superfood Smoothies and Superfood Kitchen. I tried the Black Bean-Hemp seed patties last night for dinner. Uh Maze INg!!!!! I’m sticking to it for sure and feel confident I can figure out the fatigue. How can I eat this good for my body and not have it respond positively. We can do this!

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seema singh June 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm

i am following plant based diet for 3 weeks n i was feeling tired the second week. i got full body massage done including face(it really helped) and the masseur told me to have protein supplement(vegan rice protein) and eat natural plant protien as well along with lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes and diffrent types of nuts and seeds. eat enough every 2,3 hours. it will really help. try different types of nondairy milks also. not to forget tofu

seema singh June 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm

i am following plant based diet for 3 weeks n i was feeling tired the second week. i got full body massage done including face(it really helped) and the masseur told me to have protein supplement(vegan rice protein) and eat natural plant protien as well along with lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes and diffrent types of nuts and seeds. eat enough every 2,3 hours. it will really help. try different types of nondairy milks also. not to forget tofu. i am 48 yrs old so i take vitD, calcium n vitamin B12. Also folic acid because i have minor thalesemia

Chris July 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

I’ve been a no oil, no salt, no grain vegan for 5 months, I follow the Eat to Live program and I felt totally great for the first 4 months but now I noticed I get tired. A vegan told me I have to add that super green powder to my diet for fatigue and getting the missing vitamins. Has anyone heard of that? I eat a 1/2 lb. of leafy greens a day. I’ve lost 17 lb. and the best part I feel happy all the time, I started this program for health and weight issues but now I do it for moral issues and my mental happiness.

Vern needs calories to burn July 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Hi guys, I need your help. My wife and I are at the end of week 1 of vegan eating. overall, we are excited. we didnt realize it would be so creative, fun and tasty etc. Our primary purpose is for better health and weight loss. First i was just going along with my wife, as she usually knows more about this stuff than i do, but i am running into the low energy thing quite a bit. Her sister has done this since January and after 6 months has lost 50 lbs. she insist to stick it out and it will get better. im concerned about calories and protein. any suggestions? I will check out the daily chart and begin tracking. oh and although i have lost 4 lbs in 6 days, i have been constipated (hows that for full disclosure). Thanks in advance for any guidance.

Jocelyne Legault July 23, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Hi I turned to raw veganism about 1-1/2 years ago but for the last 2 months not so much just no eating any meats, I gained about 8 lbs back and all in my belly… so I decided to go back to my good habits, my problems is this usually after a few hours of eating I get a hungry feeling in my belly and shaky, with sweats…a tipical day is this: morning: raw oatmeal (buckwheat, oats, chia and hemp) with thawed frozen berries mixed in) a banana and either cherries or kiwi. Lunch: tomatoe sandwich with vegenaise that I make with pine nuts and avocado with tomatoe, I use bread but it is whole grain unprocessed flour with little else). snack can consist of either fruits such as grapes or yogurt with home made granola made in dehydrator not much sugar made with dates little else. Supper is usually steamed vegies (Lots) a huge salad with lots of veggies and sprouts and a starch which can be whole grain rice, quinoa, beans or sweet potatoe… its usually after supper that I get the most shaky. I am an active person I walk 30 min everyday and work with horses… any advice would be helpful. I drink only water and decaf tea…

Nikki July 26, 2013 at 10:10 am

Hi, Jason .. you said, “consciously add some more calorie-dense foods to your meal ..” Can you give me some ideas for calorie-dense foods? My son and I are soy free and vegan as of 6/1/13. We are loving it and getting used to the stock ingredients needed, and learning our go-to foods. I love to cook, and am exploring so many wonderful sites and recipes. But my son is suffering from our first month of being vegan – he was not eating, drinking nor resting near enough, and he had increased his activity level by leaps and bounds (finished the school year in May and started taking summer PE walking 6-9 miles/day+other activities in PE then playing tennis every night!) .. with this happening at the same time as our start of a vegan diet, he became sick and run down (since naturally, our previous diet had tons more calories and protein). We are working on 2600 calories/day and as much protein as possible, and it is going well, but sometimes, it is hard to get that many calories down him a day! I am logging it all on and it is an awesome way to see what protein is in every single food – so many foods have protein that I never knew. thanks for any help you can give me!

alexa August 6, 2013 at 6:41 pm

For everyone out there who’s run down as a vegan and worried about their protein concerns and feel bad like they’re just not strong enough for this diet. Here’s a tip that I learned three years in and from a website that was not vegan friendly. All that protein in plant sources that you hear about is NOT complete protein. I have yet in all my vegan readings; books, magazines, websites, ever been told this. You Need to combine foods to get complete protein as a vegan that is essential to your body functioning. Combine grains with beans/legumes. Eat a good portion of each every single day. They both need to be eaten within a 24 hour period of time so your body can use the incomplete proteins in both to make a complete protein. I turned my fatigue around by eating 5 smaller meals a day and making sure almost all of them had some version this combo. When I slack I’m instantly so tired I could sleep 12 hours and still want to sleep more, limbs feel like lead and it takes everything i have to just move around – thinking is out of the question. A terrible way to live, almost lost my job because of it. I sincerely hope this helps anyone else who suffered like I did. Also, flax seed is your friend and vitamins.

Nikki September 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm

So I’ve been vegetarian for 7 1/2 years and vegan for 2. Recently I’ve even finding it EXTREMELY difficult to wake up in the morning… Or even late afternoon. Even with 8 hours of sleep. I take vitamins and blood builder but I’m clueless 🙁 helpppp!

Kelli October 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm

I’m not a vegan but i have been reading alot on raw veganism and veganism, i have read most of the 80-10-10 book about adopting a high carb low fat diet. Detox from things such as sugar, caffeine, salt, milk, etc can make you really really tired and weak. Also you must consume much more carbs, mainly in the form of fresh whole fruits, with mimimal amounts of nuts and seeds (which are high in fat) in your diet. I must admit the detox is really what is scaring me from converting to a more plant based diet. But i plan to do it nonethess.

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anna October 24, 2013 at 11:21 pm

hello, i am new to vegan diet, and have been eating all vegetables, tofu, and rice/noodles for about 3 months. I feel very tired, and lacked energy. This is also compounded with the fact that i am anemic so i take one iron pill per day, along with calcium, multi-vitamins, omega 3 pill (plant based), and iron, and yet i still feel very tired. I am new to cooking beans, so i started with making humus, and still feel very tired. I eat tons of tofu already. I half suspected that my body is just adapting to this new diet, and thus maybe feeling more tired than usual. But now after 3 months, i still feel very tired, and my feet and legs feel heavy, actually whole body feel heavy. If anyone can suggest anything, i would be very grateful. I live in the part of the country where getting organic food isn’t very easy, so a lot of the ingredients i can’t find here. Are there any substitutes ? thanks so much!

Ron Malibu October 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I’m a 6 week vegan and losing weight semi-intentionally. I had heard of b-vitamin deficiencies, and am trying B12. Is ther anything else supplement wise I could try?

Desiree November 12, 2013 at 1:26 am

I am new to a vegan diet. I have quit all meat, dairy and cooking oils “cold turkey”. My energy level is fine and i feel great but I am having a calorie deficit of an average of 800 calories per day and i am concerned what this means nutritionally.
I eat a very minimal amount of processed food. With the addition of more whole foods, i feel satiated longer than i ever remember being on an omnivore diet. Even with a daily addition of nuts and nut butters i am not reaching my goal of 1840 calories and if i work out it is an even larger deficit than 800 calories.
Do you have any suggestions for adding calories? or should i just continue to listen to my body and not worry about it unless my energy level decreases?

kp February 7, 2014 at 4:56 pm

i too find myself very tired, been (mostly) vegan now since july (7 mths). i juice each morning, eat salads and veggies raw and cooked (organic as much as possible), beans, quinoa, b12, multi-vitas, omega 3-6-8, flash seeds & oil, coconut oil, no sugar .. i’m putting on weight as i seem to want to eat all the time, even when not hungry (not over/under weight). Any tips?

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