Switching over to a vegetarian diet can have varying effects on individuals. Some people feel energized and light on their toes, ready to tackle each and every day. They lose weight and have improved complexion. Some of us, on the other hand, have a more difficult go of it. Chronic fatigue can plague a recent convert to vegetarianism. Weakness and irregular bowels. Over sleeping, yet still feeling tired. These may all be symptoms of some sort of malnutrition.
There are a few simple recommendations to follow that can help you to feel your best on a vegetarian diet, and narrow down what might be the source of your sluggishness.
Sources of Malnutrition
Root causes of malnutrition are linked with specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Some examples are Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Protein, or Folic Acid. If you’re younger, finding yourself deficient in some of these can lead to developmental problems, so it’s important to try to cure these deficiencies quickly.
Eat Lots of Foods
The first step to becoming more energized is by simply eating a wider variety of foods. By eating all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and grains, you’ll be diversifying the nutrients your body receives and ensuring you get what you need to feel better.
Try eating a salad once a day, with leafy greens and whatever other veggies you might have on hand. Carrots, mushrooms, and onions thinly sliced will compliment any salad you make. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, and you’ve got yourself a highly nutritious meal, side, or snack. Not only will you be affording yourself more nutrients, you’ll be improving your digestion by eating raw vegetables that are loaded with fiber.
When preparing your meals, make sure you are eating from multiple food groups. Build your meals around some sort of whole grain: quinoa, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta, to name a few. Adding an egg or using a cream sauce will provide you with calcium and protein. Incorporate as many vegetables as you can muster to eat, a side of fruit, and you’ll find yourself satisfied from a highly nutritious meal that covers all your dietary needs.
It can be difficult to set aside the time to gather ingredients and prepare a meal, but understand that your health is lynchpin in living your life to the fullest. This is especially true if you’re already feeling sluggish. Try to prepare at least one highly nutritious meal a day for starters, and build from here. You’ll embrace healthy meals once you start, as your energy level is sure to increase making you feel happier and healthier.
Try A Supplement
Taking a single multi-vitamin in the morning is another way of diversifying your diet in a quick and easy manner. Starting your day with one might give you the boost you need to navigate your day without tired eyes.
Be wary of supplements, though. The terms “All Natural” and “Whole Grain” are commonly used on labels, but are not regulated and thus mean very little. The best thing to check out is the ingredients. If you see it has lots of sugars or high fructose corn syrup, it’s probably not going to do much good, and can potentially do you harm. If the ingredients show a host of names you can’t pronounce, steer clear of it. Shellfish can also be found in some supplements, which is obviously not vegetarian, so avoid these as well.
Examine Your Diet
Becoming vegetarian can lead you to introduce new foods to your diet, in response to eliminating meat. Commonly, these include “fake meat” products, which are highly processed and contain all sorts of unnatural ingredients that can have undesired effects on your energy level. Try eliminating these from your diet, or at least minimizing their consumption, and replacing them with tofu or tempeh. These have more nutritional benefits, and can be prepared in just as delicious ways.
Also, try cutting back on sugars, caffeine, and other processed foods, as are energy sappers. Replace these with fresh fruits and vegetables, herbal teas, or smoothies.
This could, in fact, be the root of your lethargy. Dehydration – even minor cases – can seriously inhibit your body to perform at its best. Carry a bottle with you in your bag wherever you go, and have a sip when your energy level drops. There’s nothing like a cool drink of water to wake you up and get you focused.
When In Doubt, Seek Consultation
If after trying some of these tips for a couple weeks you still find yourself tired, you may find it prudent to seek professional help. Seek out a doctor or nutritionist to help you narrow down what the issue is, and address it accordingly. Chronic fatigue is symptomatic of a number of conditions, so it’s important to get to the root problem.