4

votes

why don't vegetarians feel really bad?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 26, 2013 at 11:35 PM

I've been reading a lot about the paleo diet and I've currently been trying it out for a few weeks since the science seems solid

But I wonder how all these vegetarians I know who live off lentil soup beans and bready things and whatnot don't feel like excrement all the time? In fact whenever I talk to them they like to rave about how good and healthy they feel and how much energy they have

But by the way Robb Wolf goes on about it, they should all have unbelievable gut irritation and whatnot

I also know someone who could not have gluten for around a year because they had a few issues, but they could eat gluten again no problem without the aches and pains a lot of paleo people mention

So how come they feel so good? That's all that I want to know really, I'm not saying paleo's wrong I'm just curious to know how people can feel so good and energetic on diets that are less than optimal

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 28, 2013
at 01:46 PM

I love going to the whole foods here in Boulder, and getting 3/4 lb of burnt ends and a plate of steamed veggies. When I sit down at the eating area, I look around at what other people are eating, and generally those eating tofu salads, or meatless meals look emaciated. They look at me and my pile of meat as though I am the unhealthy one, but I am 5'7" 145 7% bodyfat, and quite ripped.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on July 27, 2013
at 12:12 PM

You mean that it's normal people who have suffered many years of damage from grains that can no longer suffer further damage that have overt intestinal problems over a slice of bread.

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11 Answers

4
B5141236ad924674a96803ee1ccccaf1

(485)

on July 27, 2013
at 04:21 AM

I was a vegan for four years and a raw vegan for 9 months. Finally, fruitarian for 1 month (sorry pancreas) i was thriving and bouncing through the world like a super ball of health. Then i train wrecked in a matter of weeks.

Lessons learned:

1) everyone is different i have many vegan friends, that subsist off mock meat, rice, soy icecream and their CSA veggies (vegans are diets usually hit the veggies hard, and it save them) I can function on that diet. That is them, this is me

2) Deficiency builds up over time. So vegetarians might be heading toward the cliff, not all but definitely some

3) You never really know how someone else feels. Unless you come across some being john malkovich style door to your veg freinds head, you cant assume they are thriving as much as they seem. My vegan friends feel great and live healthy active lives, but when flu season rolls around, im the only one getting through unscathed (knock on wood)

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 28, 2013
at 01:46 PM

I love going to the whole foods here in Boulder, and getting 3/4 lb of burnt ends and a plate of steamed veggies. When I sit down at the eating area, I look around at what other people are eating, and generally those eating tofu salads, or meatless meals look emaciated. They look at me and my pile of meat as though I am the unhealthy one, but I am 5'7" 145 7% bodyfat, and quite ripped.

3
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on July 27, 2013
at 01:16 AM

A healthy gut should be able to handle grains and legumes fine in my opinion. It's abnormal people who have overt intestinal problems eating a slice of bread.

As far as the vegetarians feeling good and energetic, I think a lot of vegetarian diets are based on relatively nutritious whole foods, rather than refined starch, sugar and oil. And they usually eat plenty of carbs. So it doesn't seem strange to me.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on July 27, 2013
at 12:12 PM

You mean that it's normal people who have suffered many years of damage from grains that can no longer suffer further damage that have overt intestinal problems over a slice of bread.

3
721c5da8e761f101e04037e85f6e1236

(396)

on July 27, 2013
at 12:15 AM

The health of the vegetarian depends on what they're eating. It is possible to be a fairly healthy "paleo-ish" vegetarian (eating eggs helps). Many vegetarians have a hard time, actually, digesting beans at first, when large amounts are added as a stable of the diet. As a former vegetarian, I can tell you that many veggie forums discuss this very thing. As for the "health" of vegetarians, many of the long-standing vegetarians I know are chubby, tired, and complain of digestive issues. Some have recently adopted paleo.

Vegetarianism was hard for me because, unbeknownst to me, I suffered from gluten intolerance, and most of the vegetarian dishes I was consuming revolved around wheat. When I switched to a gluten-free vegetarian diet, I felt a bit better, but still had some digestive issues and fatigue.

There are, however, many other vegetarians I know who don't suffer from gluten-intolerance, dairy intolerance, or any other digestive issues, eat whole foods, and take great care to cover all of their nutritional needs.

As for the formerly gluten-intolerant that eschewed gluten, then were able to eat it again some time later, the damage that gluten causes to the villi in the intestine will heal, allowing gluten consumption. The problem is that they can become damaged again if you continue to eat gluten.

2
6fece842bd1bcf5724f458a302a2156e

on July 28, 2013
at 09:47 AM

I divide people into two camps - the vast majority eating lots of junk food and then the paleo/vegetarian/carnivores only eating whole foods.

I believe the whole food eaters will always be healthier than the junk food eaters. They may be having no sugar, lots of greens and lots of protein from their beans etc. Much better to be a vegan on whole foods than a meat eater with lots of junk food in your diet.

However then I go the next stage and say for me meat/eggs/fish are the bulk of what my body needs. My sister has been vegetarian for nearly 30 years and I haven't. She is always ill, colds, flus, sickness, the works... I am hardly ever ill - may be one cold a year at most. However due to her work and family obligations I know she does not have the time to cook the healthy veg food she used to so it may partly be due to that. Both of us look a lot fitter than our younger brother who has piled on the weight, drinks alcohol (she and I don't) and is always drinking diet coke when we visit.

2
197651282ddd8d675b974ee811d2269e

on July 27, 2013
at 05:45 AM

The healthiest vegetarians I've met have been relatively young people, say teens to twenties. They can seem healthier than most, given that most of their cohorts are eating the SAD. Many of them aren't strict vegetarians all the time. The ones who consume tons of wheat products tend to have extreme energy swings during the day. Anyway, they do fine for the most part but by the time they are in their 30's, nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues really become obvious. I know this from personal experience.

Nevertheless, I think vegetarians who eat good quality foods can be healthier than SAD eaters.

1
1cf2dc6ae936d27e8d3d3736c32952a0

on July 27, 2013
at 02:45 PM

Short answer: because we're omnivores and can last a long time on all sorts of crazy extreme diets. Inuits have almost no plant in their diets, for example. The trick is to get all of the nutrients required when you begin excluding food types.

Long answer: There is a lot of dogma in diet plan circles. An all-or-nothing mentality prevails. Paleo is no different. The generally accepted answer is that vegetarians can't possibly get enough (fill_in_the_blank) so they can't last. But if you stop and think about it, how many people struggle with paleo? This very forum only exists because people struggle to lose and maintain weight on paleo. And yet many paleo adherents love to bash vegetarians.

It's common to be given diet advice by someone who is anything but fit. They lose 10 pounds and think they have discovered the secret to life and dispense advice as if they are world experts, in spite of the fact that they are still 50 pounds overweight. This issue affects both vegetarian and paleo practitioners. So how do we know the answer to this? Has anyone ever done an in-depth comparison to long-term adherents of both groups? All I know is that there are web sites dedicated to marathon runners from both vegan/vegetarian and meat-only sides of the spectrum. And you kinda have to be healthy to run marathons...

1
Be803dcde63e3cf5e21cc121097b8158

on July 27, 2013
at 07:37 AM

There are many vegetarians who appear fit, happy and in perfect health. How do they do it? I don't know. Maybe we place too much importance on what we eat.

Stress, poor quality of sleep, and exposure to non-dietary toxins can kill a person much faster than a sub-optimal diet.

1
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on July 27, 2013
at 01:47 AM

I felt okay for a few years on a veg. Diet but i evenually got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and changed to paleo. I dont think the damage is done immediately- it can take a few years. I contribute it to he high fiber content.Some people can be veggies and be fine for a while though. I think there is a right diet for each person and its all very individual.

0
Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on July 28, 2013
at 06:38 PM

I can't live off lentils etc... just doesn't work for me. Might work for other people though. Paleo might not be the right diet for everybody - who knows.

I just know I'm better when I eat meat and fish and drop grains and dairy.

Sheep eat grass, I eat sheep. Some people might be sheep.

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on July 27, 2013
at 12:16 PM

When switching from junk food on a SAD to a vegetarian diet, or vegan diet, you feel great because you've taken out the garbage. The problem is at some point, you just can't get the necessary nutrients anymore, as you no longer have them in reserve, and things go south.

For example, I know two long term vegetarians, not vegans, who suffer from migraines and a host of other health problems. One of them even started eating some salmon to avoid issues, though still calls himself a vegetarian.

0
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 27, 2013
at 01:15 AM

Most vegetarians and vegans begin eating meat again for health reasons.

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