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For the Animals, For the Earth, For Ourselves.
Getting Sick A LOT 
8th-May-2009 12:44 pm
Pimp'n (BS)
Just curious if anyone else has ran into this problem. I keep getting sick. I work in an environment that there are constant germs around. Since my transition into vegetarianism a bit over 6 months ago I have gotten sick 3 times. My immune system just isn’t what it use to be. I also have a friend who use to be vegetarian and says she ran into the same problem all the time. That was actually one of her warnings to me about going vegetarian. Anyone else have this problem? What have you done to stop this cycle of illness? My friend went back to eating meat, though seldom, she eats it from time to time to keep her immune system up. I really don’t want to bring any meat back into my diet, but I can’t jeopardize my own health for this cause. If it came down to it, I’d probably bring back in some fish, making me Pescetarian, but that would be all. I would prefer not to bring any meat back in… so if anyone has any suggestions or would like to share their experience with me I’d greatly appreciate it.




EDIT:

I see a pattern here. Ok, so my daily diet consists of just about everything everyone has suggested. I eat lots of fruits and veggies. I eat plenty of whole grains. I eat dairy. I get plenty of protein from tofu, quinoa, cottage cheese and the occasional intake of eggs. The thing I have a hard, hard time remembering is taking my vitamins. I maybe remember once or twice a week. I’ve tried working on that, however I still manage to forget.


Thank you all for your help though.
Comments 
8th-May-2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
I'm actually the opposite. Ever since I became vegetarian, I haven't been sick very often. I think cutting out meat has helped my immune system...plus taking multi-vitamins and B-12 keeps me healthy too.
8th-May-2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
ditto here.
8th-May-2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
your icon is amazing!
8th-May-2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I noticed that ever since I've became a Vegetarian I've been sick A LOT less. I used to think twice or three times a year was good, but now it's absolutely rare for me to catch anything.

Maybe you're just not eating enough of something? But gosh, I am sorry to hear that!
8th-May-2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
Same here. I HAVENT GOTTEN THE FLU once in 4yrs since becoming veg :D its so much more amazing cus I have a supressed immune system due to liver transplant. Im alot healthier now than I was.
9th-May-2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
that happened to me too! and now when i feel like i'm about to get sick, I go raw vegan for a couple of days and everything is fixed.
8th-May-2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
This happened to me, but instead of going vegetarian, I went VEGAN. I was Vegan for 3 months when I discovered I had no energy, my body was in pain, and things like that. I then decided to just be vegetarian, and I added dairy back into my diet (which was a hard transition, mentally).

Make sure you are getting all your nutrients. Are you missing out on Calcium? Potassium? Magnesium? IRON?
Take a multivitamin EVERYDAY. Everyday, I take a Prenatal vitamin and Magnesium vitamin.
Every once in a while I will take a Calcium/Iron combo vitamin, but NOT with my Prenatal one, because you don't ever want to o.d. on calcium and iron.
8th-May-2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
And I'm not pregnant... I take Prenatal since I'm vegetarian... it has HIGH percentages of so many vitamins :)
8th-May-2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Hm. What are you eating? Just like with any other diet choice, you can be a healthy vegetarian or an unhealthy one. I'd say that you should take a look at your diet and see if you're getting everything you need. If you aren't, then figure out non-animal sources to fulfill those needs. Most people that I run into end up with better immune systems when they go veg, but it really depends on what you're eating.

Also, a multivitamin wouldn't hurt if you aren't already taking one, and extra vitamin C might be a good idea as well since you are in a high-germ environment.
8th-May-2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
I take a gram of Vitamin C every day, without fail, via supplement. I did this when I was an omnivore, and I continue now that I am vegan. I haven't been sick on three years. Not even a cold.
8th-May-2009 05:39 pm (UTC) - sounds more career related
that sounds weird to me as everyone i know who went veg likes to boast all the time how much healthier they feel. there's certainly lots of studies that would indicate this to be the truth, a diet low in cholesterol and high in fiber is the most beneficial for our bodies.

on a biological note there's no reason a healthy well balanced vegetarian diet would make you deficient and more susceptible to disease, to the contrary actually. the only real benefit meat promoters can try to claim is in the B12 department, but if you are ovo-lacto you'd presumably be getting ample amounts of that. now some people will try to tout iron but in actuality to get enough iron from meat alone you'd have to eat an unhealthy amount daily. oh and i almost left out the omega's which can be found in the plant world but once again you could buy enriched eggs.

for a long time i worked in childcare and i was getting sick all the effing time, i started doing this a few years after going ovo-lacto veg and hadn't had health issues previously. after two years of misery i finally gave in and started taking a multi-vitamin and immediately (as in it was shocking and kind of creepy) stopped getting sick. if you are working in a field where you are exposed to sick people all the time you may need an extra boost from a multi, i loved nature's path source of life and only took 1 of the recommended capsules a day.

last thought. maybe it would help to keep a food journal for a week and see what you are eating and what it is composed of nutritionally speaking. i had to do this when i was pregnant and had gestational diabetes and it was a real eye opener to me about things like fats, protein, portion size, and vitamins.
8th-May-2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
I've heard there is an association between frequent colds and low iron levels.

Go to a clinic, get your levels checked. This should be a relatively easy problem to fix.
8th-May-2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
i was getting sick a lot, too - i even had my tonsils taken out due to chronic tonsillitis, then i was getting chronic sinusitis! so i started using a neti-pot to cleanse my sinuses with warm saline whenever i feel stuffy or start to feel sick. the saline clears out the mucous and kills bacteria in the sinus cavity. rinsing/gargling your throat with warm saline is great as well. also, frequent, proper hand-washing goes a long way (turn the sink off with the paper towel once you're done washing your hangs, lather up to your wrists and the backs of your hands and under your nails)

i also take a women's multivitamin and b12-6-folate supplement and eat dark leafy greens and whole grains, and lots of beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
8th-May-2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
My husband and I and friends of ours both started being vegetarian at the same time. My husband and I barely got sick, our friends got sick all the freaking time. When I was asking what they were eating day to day, I found out that they just needed to eat a lot more. When you replace meat with veggies, you lose a lot of calories. You have to eat a good bit more. That took some adjusting for me. Also, a B12 supplement is necessary.
8th-May-2009 06:16 pm (UTC)
I get sick all the time as well, and my doctor herself envies my diet. I work around tons and tons of germs, animals, and all around yuck, but the reasons I get sick are because it's a high stress environment and I just don't sleep enough. There are many other factors that take your immune system down a few pegs that might be worth exploring!
8th-May-2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
make sure you are getting enough iron and also Echinacea is a good immune system vitamin to take. And if you hate vitamins, my son and I drink Lemon Ginger Echinacea Juice from trader joes.
8th-May-2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Multivitamin! They make ones specifically for vegetarians. I started taking a vegetarian multivitamin when I had an eating disorder last year and I still take it now (i'm a vegetarian now). When I had an eating disorder I was sick literally every week. Once i started taking the multivitamin I stopped getting sick so much.
8th-May-2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
Garlic and/or raw honey will give immune system a good boost. Herbal supplements, e.g. astragalus, reishi mushrooms, etc.
I did not get sick through the whole winter (not even a stuffy nose), and I think it's because I took Astragalus extract for about a month in November-December.

You should probably eat more protein-rich foods. Yoghurts, eggs, beans, soy products, protein powders (pea, rice). You should get at least 56 g of protein a day.
9th-May-2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Don't most studies show that vegetarians have better immune systems?...

Think about it: you can get all the same nutrition, but without the harmful stuff found in meat. You're obviously just not eating enough of something...and it isn't meat.
9th-May-2009 04:23 am (UTC)
I did too, but that's because I was allergic or intolerant to a lot of things in a vegetarian diet: dairy products, gluten/wheat and soy. I'd increased these at the expense of meat. And I was eating vegetarian junk food also. So I worked out what was healthy for me/ Other people's definition of 'healthy' did not agree with mine.

I'm a lot healthier now, but I have to watch my stress levels also. Stress makes me prone to infection. I meditate and focus on gratitude as much as I can, even when times are tough, there's reasons to be grateful.

BTW if you had told us what you eat I think we could have helped more. That's why the replies are mostly generalised comments and guesses. I hope you have gotten some help out of all of this.
9th-May-2009 06:48 am (UTC)
I'm always sick too but it was worse when I ate meat. I would get labs run to make sure you're getting all of your nutrients. Even a slight nutrient deficiency can cause protracted illness.
9th-May-2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Have you taken them time to have a close look at whether your diet is balanced? There's lots of really good resources, such as this guide (which is useful for everyone, not just vegans): "Healthy Choices" http://www.vegansociety.com/food/nutrition/ and the Nutrition Data site: http://www.nutritiondata.com/

If you're happy that you're eating well, and getting all your micronutrients, then there's a good chance that it isn't your change in diet that has caused the change in your health.

It's always worth talking to a vegetarian-friendly medical professional about any health worries - including a vegetarian-friendly dietician, if you do have worries about what you're eating.


9th-May-2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
Are you eating a lot of processed food? Processed foods are nutrient deficient and full of harmful chemicals and additives, stick to whole foods to ensure that you are getting all the nutrition your body needs.Eating meat does not build up the immune system and in fact is known to cause heart disease and cancer.Article here:

http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE52M6UR20090324

Do you exercise? Exercise also builds up the immune system.
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