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From: Bryanna (
Subject:         Re: Feeling sick after becoming a vegterian
Date: January 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm PST

In Reply to: Feeling sick after becoming a vegterian posted by sheila Thompson on January 29, 2009 at 2:20 pm:

Protein does not give you energy-- carbohydrates

You may not be eating enough calories. Or you
might be low in iron, which is not necessarily
anything to do with being vegetarian (my iron is
quite high, for instance). You may have something
else that has nothing to do with diet. I can't
diagnose you from here.

I urge you to read the book “Becoming Vegetarian”
by registered dieticians Vesanto Melina, Victoria
Harrison, and Branda Davis. (Your library may be
able to get books for you through inter-library
loans if they do not have them.) In “Becoming
Vegetarian” there is a good chapter called “From
market to meals" that helps with meal planning.

Another good book is “The Vegetarian Way” by
registered dietician Virginia Messina. She has a
great website at check out her
Q&A archive.

Here are some ideas for planning a better diet
written by Ginny Messina, RD:

Here are some useful sites:

Vegetarian food pyramid;

Vegetarian Starter kit from Physicians for
Responsible Medicine (including the three-step way
to go veg and tips for making the transition):

Vegetarianism in a nutshell:

There can be good and bad things in many types of
diets. You can be a vegetarian who eats meatless
junk food, too much sugar, too much fat, not enough
fruit and vegetables, not enough protein, not
enough fiber, etc.. You can also be a meat-eater
who eats all kinds of junk food, too much sugar,
too much fat, not enough fruit and vegetables, not
enough fiber, etc.

But, if we are talking about someone who eats a
balanced diet, you can get everything you need with
a vegetarian or vegan diet, and there is just no
convincing reason why you HAVE to eat meat-- there
is nothing in meat that you can't find in the
plant world. And eating meat can fill you up so
that you don't eat enough grains and vegetables and


Contrary to what you may have been told, you do not
need to eat red meat for iron! Some excellent
vegetarian sources of iron are sea vegetables;
prunes and other dried fruits; prune juice;
nutritional yeast; beans and legumes; soyfoods;
whole grains; potatoes; tahini; fresh peas; and
leafy greens like kale, collards, mustard and
turnip greens, or any green in the brassica
(cabbage) family. Nuts, seeds and wheat germ also
have some iron. Blackstrap molasses is one of the
best sources! Dairy products lack iron and,
actually, over- consumption of them can even block
iron absorption.

Your iron absorption is increased by eating plenty
of foods rich in vitamin C, such as fruits and
vegetables, not drinking caffeinated beverages
(including tea) along with your meals, and by
cooking in cast iron pots. (Yes! This is true--
some of the iron, which is bioavailable, leaches
into the food during cooking, especially if the
food is acid, such as tomato sauce.) The Chinese
have excellent iron levels despite high levels of
fiber (*see footnote on fiber below) and low levels
of red meat in their diet.

Here's an excerpt from Position of the American
Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets:

"Adequate iron nutriture depends on both the amount
of dietary iron consumed and the amount absorbed.
Inhibitors and enhancers affect the absorption of
nonheme iron, the form of iron found in plants.
However, inhibitors and enhancers can offset each
other when a variety of foods is consumed.
Vegetarians are not at greater risk of iron
deficiency than non-vegetarians, but Western
vegetarians generally have better iron status than
those in developing countries. Western vegetarians
generally have an adequate intake of iron from
plant products. They also consume greater amounts
of ascorbic acid, an important enhancer of nonheme
iron absorption. In contrast, vegetarians in
developing countries rely on food staples that are
low in iron; consume less ascorbic acid; and
consume more tea, which contains tannin, an
inhibitor of iron absorption. "

Here are two more articles on iron in vegetarian

Here are some articles on protein and the
vegetarian diet that can enlighten you.


The following is an excerpt from "Vegan Nutrition;
Pure and Simple" by Michael Klaper, M.D.

Much unnecessary worry has been generated over
"getting enough protein". Two important facts must
be kept in mind:

1. Too much protein is unhealthy, and Americans eat
too much protein! The actual requirement to make
new hair, blood and hormones is only 20 to 40 grams
of protein daily - about the weight of ten pennies.
The R.D.A.'s are intentionally set substantially
higher than actual metabolic needs, to insure
abundant intake in every case. Because of meat's
concentrated protein loads, most people on the
meat-laden American style diet eat an average
protein load of 90 to 120 grams each day - the
weight of 40 pennies!

These excessive protein loads can cause damage to
the kidneys by clogging the "filter units," leading
to kidney failure as well as contributing to
osteoporosis. Meat-laden, high protein meals are no
bargain for your health.

2. The idea of plant protein being "incomplete" and
lacking some amino acids has been shown to be a
myth. Nature simply cannot make a soybean, potato,
or grain of wheat without using all the same amino
acids (the "building blocks" of protein) required
by the metabolism of humans. Rice, corn, potatoes,
and wheat, have all been shown to keep people in
positive protein balance when used as the sole
protein source. It is almost impossible to design a
calorically adequate (2000 calorie) diet, utilizing
foods from all the "Vegan Six" groups, and not
obtain at least 50 grams of high-quality,
"complete" protein.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to
combine proteins at each meal. The protein from the
whole grain toast enjoyed at breakfast, as well as
the tofu in the dinner casserole, are "complete" in
their own right, and will each find their way to
your liver and other tissues and will be well
utilized. However, the more variety in protein
sources, the better.

To assure yourself abundant protein while planning
your lunch and dinner main dishes, accent the
following "Protein All-Stars" from the first four
of the "Vegan Six".

GRAINS - Brown rice, oats (cereals - oatmeal,
granola, etc.) millet, corn, barley, bulghur, wheat
(including whole wheat bread, pastas, cereals,
flour, etc.)
LEGUMES - Green peas, lentils, chick peas, alfalfa
sprouts, mung beans, and beans of all kinds
(kidney, lima, aduki, navy beans, soy beans and
products made from them; e.g., tofu, textured
vegetable protein granules [TVP], tempeh, soy
milks), peanuts, etc.
GREENS - Broccoli, collards, spinach, etc.
NUTS AND SEEDS - Almonds, cashews, walnuts,
filberts, pistachios, pecans, macadamias and nut
butters made from these. Sunflower seeds, sesame
seeds (including tahini butter made from ground
sesame seeds), pumpkin seeds, etc.

Now that we have just learned that protein-rich
foods do have high nutritional values when eaten
separately, let it be said that combining protein-
rich ingredients does increase the protein
absorption by about 30%, and thus variety is always
a good strategy in vegan meal planning.

So, to provide examples for help in meal planning
(and not cause worry about possible protein
deficiency), here are some classic high-protein
combinations from vegan cuisine. These protein-rich
dishes will replace meat and dairy products in the
human diet, while avoiding the burden of saturated
fats and adulterants.

Two ample helpings of any of the following
combinations average 15 to 35 grams of high-quality
protein, and thus will provide a large measure of
the daily protein requirements for a healthy adult.

Corn Tacos with Pinto Beans
Oat Bran Muffins with Soymilk
Brown Rice with Green Peas and Tofu
Tempeh Burgers on Whole Wheat Bun
Whole Grain Bread with Peanut Butter and Jelly
Tofu Yogurt with Walnuts
Tofu Cutlets with Green Beans Almondine
Sunflower Pate & Sprouts on Pita
Meatless (T.V.P) Loaf with Tahini Dressing
Noodles with Sesame Seeds
Oatmeal with Sunflower Seeds
Brown Rice with Almonds & Cashews
Avacdo, Sprouts & Almond Butter on Whole Wheat
Corn or Wheat Flakes w/ Chopped Almonds & Filberts
Chickpea Hummus (made w/Sesame Seed Butter) on Pita

In my many years of medical practice, I have never
seen a case of protein deficiency in a vegetarian.
Hopefully, this section has allayed any cases of
"protein panic," and has increased your confidence
in the nutritional adequacy of the vegan diet.


There is more information here:

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