Happy Herbivore Blog

February 22, 2014

This Week's Q&A: Side Effects of Going Vegan, Cooking Ahead Problems, Lotions, Allergies & Constipation

You've got questions...

Q: About a year ago, I became mostly vegan and I've noticed I've had less energy and even feel light headed at times. Did you have a similar experience going vegan? I'm too tired to work out!

A: Are you sure you're getting enough calories? That's probably the culprit, but it could also be a medical issue (such a low iron, which can happen to women regardless of their diet) so if it persists, you'll need to see your doctor for some blood work and tests. Though most often people aren't eating enough calories, or enough carbohydrates/starch.

Q: This is my first week trying your meal plan. I've loved all the recipes so far. Delicious! My husband (who is a little picky about vegan food) loves them too. I tried cooking all the meals ahead, but struggled with space. I had every surface in my kitchen covered and ran out of space to chop onions. Do you have any suggestions?

A: I usually take over my kitchen table as well -- where i store all the ingredients :) and try putting a large cutting board over your sink to make more space :)



Q: I don't use oil anymore in my food but what about when I smear it on my skin? (Lotions, shampoo, makeup, etc. all seem to contain oil) Is it unhealthy/dangerous like when you ingest it?

A: I was wondering this myself and asked one of the plant-based docs (though I can’t remember who specifically). Anyway, they said ON the body (or hair) is fine, just not IN the body. My skin can sometimes get dry in the winter because we have an older heat system that sucks out all moisture ;) and I’ll use a little coconut butter on my knees or elbows.

Q: I just got an allergy test back and it says I am mildly (a 1 on a scale of 0 to 5) allergic to TONS of vegetables and fruits. If I cut all of this out, I don't even know what I would eat anymore! It seems silly to even bother trying to cut anything out since they were all mild, but maybe with me eating so much of all of them, it's causing my severe chronic constipation. I wanted to see if you had any insight about food allergy tests. Does a 1 mean you shouldn't worry, or could a mild intolerance lead to issues if eaten all day every day?

A: I'm not a doctor so I can't really give you medical advice (i.e. 1 means you should avoid or not).

Constipation is usually due to animal products in the diet, lack of adequate fiber, or lack of water (dehydration). Hormones, such as during pregnancy, can also cause constipation, and so can other medical conditions (talk with your doctor). Constipation is not usually a symptom to food allergies (if anything, the reverse usually happens if its a food allergy).

Here's a post I wrote about constipation:

Elimination: Let's Just Talk About It

Finding out you need to stay away from certain foods always feels overwhelming at first, but once you digest it (no pun intended) you start finding how to work around it. I find it's helpful to remember what you CAN eat safely and focus on that.

Many of my clients have a huge list of allergies, so I'm always working with them to adapt the meal plans and within my own family, we have lots of big allergies to deal with.

I also found this article about allergy testing both helpful and interesting:

What You Need to Know About Diagnostic Allergy Testing

Lastly, if you have a long list of food allergies, consider getting tested for leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut can sometimes be the culprit and with treatment, most times patients can "reverse" those sensitivities. Feel better!

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