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Withdrawals from Meat and Dairy- how long do they last?

by KJ


I made a commitment to become a vegan 5 weeks and 5 days ago. I went cold turkey. I knew that a change such as this might cause me to feel worse before I got better. I understand and was ready for this.

However, after almost 6 weeks, I'm feeling really sluggish, tired ALL the time, and kind of over-all crummy. I thought I'd be feeling better by now, and I've only slipped once (cheese) in about 6 weeks.

I'm eating lots of whole grains and fruit, and try to get raw veggies in about 5 days a week for lunch. I'm drinking a decent amount of water, very little caffeine, and sleeping as usual.

When will I start to feel better? I mean, I feel the positive effects of the change in diet, certainly. But I'm so lethargic all the time... It's really affecting my life and work.

I'd greatly appreciate anyone's help or insight on this matter.

Thank you all kindly.


Congratulations on deciding to go vegan! Any big change in diet can make our bodies confused for a short period of time, and as you mentioned, it takes some adjustment.

It worries me that you are feeling sluggish, and I'm wondering if you're eating enough protein. You mentioned whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, but didn't say anything about beans. Beans are an excellent source of protein, and will make you feel amazing. I'd make sure to get a few cups of beans, tempeh, or tofu each day.

Also, you said you have veggies at lunch. Do you eat vegetables at any other time? One of nature's richest sources of nutrition is in the dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, and other greens. You can eat these raw, add them to sandwiches or soups, bake them, or sautee them.

You should really start to feel great very soon after switching to a vegan diet, but it's important to make sure you are eating a balanced diet with enough calories and protein.

I wrote an ebook about quitting cheese that you also might want to check out for tips on dairy detoxification.

I hope this helps!

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Be Vegan, it's worth it!
by: Emily

I was also tired at first and had trouble eating all those beans, but now I eat beans in recipes for substitutes that I used to eat before. After a meal I'll shake out a small amount of fennel seeds and allow to dissolve in my mouth or chew them. This ensures good digestion and no flatulence. Even one or two seeds is enough. I also take a flaxseed oil supplement daily which has helped enormously with my menopause symptoms. I feel and look better than I ever have! I need no prescriptions for anything! Becoming Vegan is the best thing that ever happened to me. I love to eat now and am so happy!

Food withdrawals
by: Anonymous

I've been vegan for 6 years, and I remember well how much my body yearned for fat and sugar. I was also lethargic. In spite of a faction of vegans who eschew starches, I found that eating starch (potatoes, rice, farro, pasta, beans, whole grain bread, corn, tortillas, etc.) at each meal -- about half of my calories -- was the key for me. And exercise also helped me get back my energy.
It took a long time for me to figure out what worked, so be patient. The payoff? Blood pressure down by 20 points to 105/70, cholesterol 135, BMI of 18, etc.
Hang in there! Look at Joel Fuhrman's web site. You may like his slightly higher fat nutrition plan (lots of nuts). I prefer Dr. McDougall's plan, with some Dr. Fuhrman thrown in. Websites like VeganNutritionista are loaded with recipes you can try, and you will eventually find satisfying favorites.

withdrawls from meat
by: Lakisha

I'm actually the opposite of the previous comments. I am full of energy now that I'm not eating meat. My question is it normal to have diarrhea, it's like old feces coming out..would this be a form of my body detoxing. Keep in mind I went cold turkey. It's only been 7 days, but I have been running to the restroom a lot. Don't get me wrong, I feel soooo much better after I use the restroom. I even notice my stomach went down, and I don't have that stuffed feeling anymore.

Food Allergies?
by: Anonymous

I would take the meridian valley e-95 food allergy test (tests over 95 foods including fruits and veggies and all meats as well as sugar, honey and coffee) and make sure there is not something else bothering you. I came back positive for gluten and brewers yeast allergy. As well as pineapple of all things (was taking an enzyme suppement daily with bromelain). Removed those offenders and got better.

Me too.
by: LyNel

Hi KJ,

I too am a new vegan along with my hubby. We too were tired & just dragging until I paid attention to the amount of protein we were getting. I added either potatoes, beans or tofu. Then we started feeling like new people. Maybe if you tried to add a bit more protein with each meal it would help. Then I paid attention to the amount of B12 in each meal. Well that did it. We are fine now & really full of energy. Hubby went & had his heart fixed. Who knew they could do that. Now we are in our late 60's & feeling like we're 30.


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