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TOPIC: Headaches / Vegetarianism

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May 25, 2011 10:31 AM
Two questions:

Does anyone else have a problem with headaches every day? could it be my new vegetarian diet (I'm an O+ blood type and someone said I should be eating meat)

What are some pros & cons of being a vegetarian (not a vegan)? Does it help with weight loss? I'm struggling with losing weight on it but other than the headaches feel regular

May 25, 2011 10:36 AM
I think headaches are pretty common whenever we make any kind of drastic change in our eating styles. I'm not vegetarian or anything, but when I switched from my eat junk a lot to rarely eat junk lifestyle I had HORRENDOUS headaches for days and days. Once my body got used to it, I was fine. Now, I only get them when I eat junk food. :)
May 25, 2011 10:37 AM
headaches are a sign of detox. they could also come from a food allergy. so this is not a result of vegetarianism/veganism.

try drinking more water. many times, headaches are caused by dehydration!
May 25, 2011 10:37 AM
I've been a vegetarian since I was 11 or 12 years old. I'm what they call a pescatarian... I eat seafood, drink skim milk, and once in awhile I'll have eggs but I prefer egg substitute.

When I was younger I had migraines a lot... the Dr told me my iron was low and that could be the reason for the headaches and always being tired.

So if you are new to the style you have to be sure you are getting enough iron in place of the iron you'd get from eatting meat. Also if you are cutting back carbs or anything else, this may cause the headaches. I know they say when you start a low-carb, high-protein diet that headaches are common in the beginning and they suggest you drink more water to help reduce the frequency of headaches. Hope this helps!
May 25, 2011 10:41 AM
I am also an O+ vegetarian, and I've been vegetarian for 16 years. I've never had a doctor say that this was a bad combination (my cholesterol, iron, sugar, etc. are all fine. I'm actually strangely healthy for being so overweight, hypothyroid, and with PCOS). Here are a few of my thoughts, although I'm sure you'll get a range of opinions :)

- You can be a really unhealthy vegetarian. Vegetarianism (and even veganism) does not equal health. Pizza, cereal, pasta, sundaes, etc. are all vegetarian. So, you do have to watch what you're eating. Also, a lot of meat substitutes are loaded with sodium and unpronounceable chemicals; they can be just as unhealthy as non-veg. stuff as well. However, there are a TON of really healthy vegetarian options out there!! I've started trying to eat closer to whole forms of food (and then cooking, combining, etc. from there) since I've started this I feel worlds better - Thai stir frys, tempeh concoctions, whole grains, pitas with various veggies, etc. Annnnd a bit of wine here and there lol

- Your headaches could be from something new in your diet, for sure. Try eliminating new things one at a time for a week or so and see if anything helps, maybe? They could be from lots of other things too, though. I get headaches from allergies, not drinking enough water, etc. I also have TMJ issues (I bear down on my teeth like whoa), which was giving me daily headaches until I got a night teeth guard thingy. So... headaches are symptomatic of all sorts of stuff. I wouldn't jump to a lack of meat as the problem.

Hope this helps, and feel free to add me :) I'd be happy to send along some veg. recipes.
Edited by KLo924 On May 25, 2011 10:43 AM
May 25, 2011 10:43 AM
I'm a vegetarian and didn't experience chronic headaches when I switched over to my non meat diet. Although if i DO get a headache its either because I'm dehydrated, in which case I drink several glasses of water, or my blood sugar is low and my body wants protein. In that case I'll eat some cheese, hard boiled egg, cottage cheese, nuts, beans. It's definitely easy to get into the carb heavy diet when you're not eating meat, so just make sure you're getting enough. There are lots of non meat protein options! Hope this helps!
May 25, 2011 10:43 AM
Thanks all. I guess I'm a high-bred vegetarian. I too drink fat-free/skim milk and eggs. No meat but once in a great while chicken (unless I'm at someone's house and don't want to be a pain...I eat what they've served)

I'll drink more water and hope the headaches go away...they make preparing for my tests in school a literal pain. lol)
May 25, 2011 10:44 AM
I don't think blood type has anything to do with eating meat, the headaches are probably just from changing your diet. I was a vegetarian for 14 yrs, have been a pescatarian (I allow myself fish occasionally now) for 2.... A lot of ppl start a vegetarian diet and base their diet on pasta and rice etc... just because you stopped eating meat and become vegetarian does not mean you are going to become healthy or lose weight.... its difficult to get enough protein on a veg diet, so make sure you make a concsious effort to track that, and B vitamins & iron (take a supplement or multi v every day). For protein, try drinking a protein shake every day and make sure you eat beans, nuts, and soy. They make some yummy meat substitutes from Boca and Morningstar Farms, but they are processed food, and can have higher sodium content so don't go overboard on them. And make sure your vegetarian diet is actually full of veggies!! Don't rely on the carbs! Almost every veg cookbook I have bought has a billion damn pasta recipies in annoying, that does not count!!! LOL
May 25, 2011 10:45 AM
I am only 24 (almost 25) and have been a vegetarian for 12 years now. I do eat eggs and dairy but absolutely no meat. My blood type is also O+.

I do not experience headaches every day, and if you are not eating meat then you should definitely be taking vitamins. B12 is what I am currently taking on this diet but Women's One A Day vitamins with B12, Iron and Calcium are recommended to get in all the nutrients the lack of meat is not giving you.

If you have just started a diet and it is drastic, then that could explain the headaches. When I stopped eating sugars and starches for my diet, 12 days ago, I had a pretty bad headache for the first 2 or 3 days (almost felt like a migraine).

Pros and cons of vegetarianism:

CONS - It is not as easy as you would think to find supplements for meat (tofu, soy products, tofu) if you are a picky eater. I do not like a lot of foods so I end up eating breads and vegetables, if not junk food with absolutely no nutritional value. Going out for dinner is tough since somehow people always send my plate WITH meat the first time around. Aside from the the only other cons I can think of is going to a family function or camping/BBQ but you can always substitute soy products (veggie hot dogs and hamburgers) for the real meat everyone else is eating. At first you may get sick a bit more often as your immune system is a little weaker without the vitamins and nutrients. Supplements are very important to be on a lifelong vegetarian diet.

PROS - As long as you are taking vitamins and eating things other than junk food, yes, you do feel better and "lighter". Meat makes you feel heavy and slow, and not eating it (for me anyway) is never missed. I have never once craved meat since the last burger I ate at age 13. You don't have to eat animals, or worry about the diseases carried in the meat.

You may or may not experience faster weight loss, but you will find it easier to stick to your diet, and your calories won't be up as high for the day as your meat won't be there. Yves has really tasty soy products and they are not too high in sugars or anything, I have been using these a lot on my diet. If you have anymore questions, or just need some moral support, feel free to add me! :)
May 25, 2011 10:53 AM
You might have a food allergy and since you gave up meat you are now eating more of something else to fill the void and that might be causing the headaches. It would be best to go through an elimination process to help you determine where your headaches are coming from.

Food Intolerance / Food Sensitivity / Food Allergy Headaches: Many practitioners categorize these
headaches as part of the migraine group, however outside of an occasional enzymic deficiency, they are not
treated by normalizing organic or chemical problems. The most effective way to deal with these types of
headaches is to avoid the foods or beverages that one is sensitive to, since in contrast to air-borne allergies
(hay fever) where allergy shots may be an option, there are no shots available for dietary triggers.

The Elimination Diet uses a type of protocol where an individual starts with a one day fast, and then begins
to re-introduce various food items every day, whereby the types of foods causing headaches or any other
medical symptoms are then permanently eliminated.

The Rotational Diet simply rotates various food groups, assuming that symptoms / reactions can be kept to
a minimum by not consuming the same offending foods on a frequent basis. If a particular food from a food
group stands out as a cause for headaches, it may then also be eliminated.

There are several variations to the above methods, whereby some people find that eliminating specific
Food Groups on a trial basis offers the most practical and least interruptive approach. In other words, one
follows a conventional diet, but then begins to avoid foods of the nightshades group, or legumes, citrus, dairy,
meats, grains, etc. - in no particular order - for a specific time period:

• Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, garden peppers, eggplant, paprika),
• Root Vegetables (carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, rutabagas, garlic, onions),
• Cruciferous Vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower),
• Gourd Vegetables (squash, cucumber, pumpkin, zucchini),
• Leafy Green Vegetables (lettuce, spinach, kale, chard),
• Legumes (peanuts, soybeans, all other beans, peas, lentils),

• Citrus (lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, tangelos),
• Fruits (apples, pears, bananas, plums, cherries, peaches, apricots, grapes, pineapples, olives),
• Berries (strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, gooseberries, blackberries),

• Dairy (milk, ice cream, sour cream, cheese, yogurt - and other dairy-containing sources),
• Meats (beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey),
• Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, trout),
• Shellfish (lobster, shrimp, oyster, mussel),

• Seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower),
• Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, filberts, Brazil),
• Grains (wheat, barley, rye, corn, millet, oats, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, spelt),
• Various (eggs, mushrooms, spices, alcohol, tobacco, sugar, honey, tea, cocoa, oils, yeast).

Once an offending food group is isolated, the same approach can be applied to single items of the same
group, although in some - but not all cases, an entire food group may be responsible for causing headaches.
Keeping an accurate diary is most important to not only help isolate any problem foods, but also additives
such as sulfites, MSG, nitrites / nitrates, or other common offenders such as caffeine or tyramine, and to not
miss any possible non food-related triggers such as lack of sleep or sleeping in too long, electromagnetic
fields (cell or portable phone), fresh news print (magazines, news-papers), eye strain, pet allergies, nutritional
supplements, or prescribed medications.

Headaches - or any other symptoms related to food sensitivities, intolerances, or allergies generally clear in
about 4 - 5 days, so any particular food group should be avoided for at least a week to 10 days. This also
applies to salad dressings, ketchup, baked goods, etc..., that contain any suspect food sources.
May 25, 2011 10:53 AM

Two questions:

Does anyone else have a problem with headaches every day? could it be my new vegetarian diet (I'm an O+ blood type and someone said I should be eating meat)

What are some pros & cons of being a vegetarian (not a vegan)? Does it help with weight loss? I'm struggling with losing weight on it but other than the headaches feel regular


I know a bunch of "fat" Vegetarians...MANY are on here. So basically you are substituting "High Carbs" for Meat, for some NOT a good trade off. There are no stats that says that Vegetarians or Vegans live longer, are thinner, healthier, make more money, better looking, have more sex or smarter than meat eaters. When the stats say this, call ME! But, maybe your Body is just adjusting. My question is, "why would someone become a Vegetarian to lose weight?" I thought that was a "Serious" LIFE and Lifestyle Commitment, not a diet. Every time I have asked a Vegetarian why they became one, there is usually some philosophical reason or REAL health issue, I have yet to have one tell Me that they became a Vegetarian/Vegan to lose weight. Maybe your subconscious wants out and fighting with your conscious>>>Headaches.
May 25, 2011 10:54 AM
When I switched to being a vegetarian a year and a half ago (strict-no meat, fish, gelatin, etc), I also started getting headaches. It seemed to be from a lack of protein and iron. Once I focused on getting more of those, they went away, and I felt great! Good luck!
May 25, 2011 11:00 AM
It's easy for vegetarians to eat too much dairy which is fatty and calorific, and also veggie diets are often carb-heavy.

You need to know how to assemble healthy balanced meals even more when you restrict your diet as it is that much harder to get your macros right and pack in the nutrients (especially protein, iron etc).

I recommend the following as general guidelines:
- Eat 1 or more vegetable-only meals per day, like vegetable stir-fry (no noodles/rice), soup, stew, salad, curry (no rice) etc.
- Keep stocked up on meat-replacement products such as Quorn and Linda McCartney and try to get a portion in every day.
- Have a good variety of veg and salad in the house always. Frozen is ok.
- If your options are an unhealthy veggie meal or a healthy meat/fish meal, and you're doing this to lose weight not for ethical reasons, don't feel you can't eat meat/fish.
- Great foods for any meal: eggs, spinach, broccoli, tomato salsa, quorn ham/chicken, humous (low fat), tofu, nuts.

Headaches happen when you screw with your body. They will go away if you persist with healthy living.
May 25, 2011 12:17 PM
Very very unlikely. I am also O+ and have been vegetarian for 20 years, and get freakily few headaches compared to most people. I literally only ever get them when I don't drink tea in the morning, which is almost never!
May 25, 2011 12:38 PM
Im also O+ and have been a vegetarian for the last few years. I rarely get headaches, only when I drink a lot of caffeine.

I don't think I'd believe what you were told about needing to eat meat, I function great without it at least;) Just make sure to take a B12 vitamin and Omega 3 vitamins if you don't eat a balanced diet.
May 25, 2011 1:09 PM
I used to be a vegetarian and I would get headaches if I wasn't eating enough or wasn't eating a balanced diet. Make sure you're getting enough protein and enough calories and drinking enough water. Those were my culprits as a veggie!
May 25, 2011 1:12 PM
I eat a ton of fish and beans....I am not a vegetarian, but I hardly ever eat red meat....I usually go all of lent without meat....doesnt bother me....just eat a lot of fish for your protein..beans are a good source too...happy
May 25, 2011 2:36 PM

I think headaches are pretty common whenever we make any kind of drastic change in our eating styles. I'm not vegetarian or anything, but when I switched from my eat junk a lot to rarely eat junk lifestyle I had HORRENDOUS headaches for days and days. Once my body got used to it, I was fine. Now, I only get them when I eat junk food. :)

I agree... its' the change, not the lack of meat. Have you read Skinny *****? Or China Study? Locked me vegan for life.


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