Any other new vegans suffering with health issues?

Simon

Devotee
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Reaction score
14
Age
54
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan newbie
I'm a 7 month in vegan.

I'm male and 50 this year.

I was a vegetarian for about 6 years in my twenties, this was broken after an extended period of world travel, on returning and until last year, animal rights simply didn't enter my consciousness again.

I decided to go Vegan last year in June, did it overnight. I'd been watching a lot of vegan youtubers saw the films that everyone knows about and just couldn't be complicit in what is going on anymore.

People thought I was mad and laughed at me.

I was really encouraged by all of the positive health benefits of a plant based diet. Around 80% of my food is cooked from scratch.

However I am still suffering with chronic digestive issues, I never had anything like this as a meat eater.

I have also been recently diagnosed as having an underactive Thyroid, although a second blood test has indicated high antibody levels, so this is probably an Auto immune issue. I'm going to see an Endocrinologist in April. I have read several articles that say Soya can effect Thyroid function and correct Iodine levels also.

This has all come as a bit of a shock, I certainly never gained any more energy and am now worried that my diet has caused these issues. I consider myself well informed, take my B12 and ground Flax seed every day and eat a well balanced diet. My first Thyroid related blood test, showed all nutrients were perfect.

Has anyone else had issues like these?

I wholeheartedly believe in veganism, but am seriously considering if I'm doing the right thing.
 

silva

Master
Supporter
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
11,275
Location
USA
I don't know anything about thyroid issues, but I do know you don't get sick from lack of meat dairy or eggs! You may need to adjust what kinds of food you eat just as you would if omni. Soy has something that causes some people with thyroid issues to avoid, but you can easily avoid soy as a vegan.
I really just wanted to bump this thread as we have some members with thyroid issues who have valuable advice!
Welcome!
 

Freesia

not my business.
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
7,454
Lifestyle
  1. Other
Yeah, try rotating different things around and figure out what could be causing problems... could be one or 2 particular things.

Also make sure legumes are cooked properly, that can be a cause of bloating, if they are undercooked.

With soy, it doesnt agree with me so i have like only a packet of tofu per month. I dont eat the fake meats that often either, just as an occasional treat.
 

Naturebound1

Practitioner
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Reaction score
1,087
I've had hypothyroidism for 28 years (I've only been vegan for six). I can tell you that when your thyroid is out of whack it can affect your body in many many ways. It affects your energy level, metabolism, mental clarity, digestion. So getting that straightened out with prescribed hormones will more than likely help you feel a heck of a lot better. Trust me!

Also, I have to take my thyroid meds on an empty stomach at least a few hours away from eating, and at least four hours away from consuming high iron, calcium, or soy related foods, since these inhibit the absorption of my thyroid meds. I still consume soy very minimally (once every few weeks or so, used to be three times a week but have gotten stricter as of late). I believe that soy also has a lot of health benefits so it's not something I want or need to cut out completely. In moderation, it has not had a negative effect on my thyroid, but if I consume it daily, my TSH shoots way up which means I am on the hypo side. So I tend not to drink soy milk since I like to drink plant milks daily. I drink flaxseed milk, pea milk, almond milk, cashew milk, sometimes hemp milk, and cook with coconut milk on occasion.

I personally didn't have any major health issues when I went vegan, in fact, I was one who felt positive benefits right away...but...I did lose too much weight instantly and had to learn quickly how to eat more to keep from losing more as I was mildly underweight back then. I was very strict at first, making almost everything from scratch (including plant milks), never trying the commercial vegan "cheeses and meats" for the first few years. I had an intolerance to tofu and cashews the first few years also (cramps/diarrhea), but eventually was able to reintroduce them and now can tolerate them fine.

I wonder if some of your digestive issues might be from consuming more fiber than you were used to as an omni? And beans are hard for people at first. Eventually your body adjusts and becomes very used to them. The gut flora changes as a vegan but it takes time. If you buy canned beans, just rinse them very well before consuming/cooking with them. If you use dried, be sure to soak them at least 24 hours, rinse well, and cook thoroughly. Adding a pinch of kombu or baking soda to the pan when you simmer your beans will help draw out the gases in them and make them more readily digestible. You may also want to eat vegetables cooked at first, then slowly eat more raw vegetables. Broccoli was one that I used to not be able to handle raw at all, but now it's no big deal.

When my thyroid is off, my energy is very low, no doubt. Over the years, I've learned that not only food, but changes in weight, stress, and other health conditions (for me surgical menopause) can affect thyroid disease if you already have it, making it worse. It's a balancing game!
 

Simon

Devotee
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Reaction score
14
Age
54
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan newbie
Thanks for the reply,

I had expected some teething problems becoming a vegan, but had also expected that 7 months in they would have sorted themselves out.
I have recently decided to cut soy out as much as possible, it was my milk of choice and as a typical English person I consumed gallons of tea with milk everyday. I also decided this week to stop taking the Levothyroxine, I like you was waking early in the morning taking them at least an hour before eating breakfast and start supplementing with iodine.
To be honest I never had any symptoms, have been putting on a bit of winter weight, but I put that down to a lack of my usual exercise(cycling). I only found out about the Thyroid issue because I'd seen my Doctor regarding a varicose vein problem and had blood tests to make sure Diabetes wasn't an issue. I am 5' 11" and 73kg so not overweight.
After being put on, Levothyroxine and having a subsequent second blood test, results showed that thyroid function was starting to improve, but I had raised antibody levels so I'm wondering whether this is Hashimotos disease.

But the chronic digestion problems(I'm sitting typing this in the morning 8.20am, haven't eating anything since last night, just sipping some black tea and my stomach is doing somersaults) are really getting me down. After reading about all the health benefits I really wasn't expecting this. I had zero related food issues as a meat eater.

I am systematically removing things from my diet to see what may be causing this, the latest is my daily dose of ground flaxseed. Hopefully I will be able to resolve this and find out in April when I see an Endocrinologist if my thyroid experiment has worked. If not I guess I will have to accept that I have a lifelong chronic illness(which here in the UK entitles me to free drugs).
 

Naturebound1

Practitioner
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Reaction score
1,087
Are you sure it is a good idea to stop taking your thyroid meds? Most people with thyroid disorders must take medication for life to manage. I remember in college many years ago I stopped taking my thyroid meds for a year, and became so acutely ill I could barely get out of bed. My TSH was over 100. It may be you need a dose adjustment or a different kind of thyroid med. The meds themselves can cause some side effects too. When did you start taking the levothyroxine?

Also, be careful with iodine if you already have thyroid problems. It can actually make your thyroid issues worse. Though I use sea vegetables from time to time, I am cautious with them due to the high iodine content. Here are some studies on this:

Effect of small doses of iodine on thyroid function in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis residing in an area of mild iodine deficiency. - PubMed - NCBI

Hashimoto's and Iodine. Good Idea or Bad?
 

Simon

Devotee
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Reaction score
14
Age
54
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan newbie
Tbh , I had no symptoms prior to the initial Hypothyroidism diagnoses. I've had periods in the past of fatigue but nothing so debilitating that it stopped me doing anything, my weight gain hasn't been dramatic either.
I just thought I'd see what happens in the month prior to seeing the Endocrinologist as I hate the idea of taking drugs for the rest of my life. I'm concerned that the sudden intake of soy and flax seed may have someway affected my thyroid.
Something I've realised is that I rarely eat potatoes anymore, where as I ate them virtually everyday prior to going vegan and I believe they are a good source of iodine, so I'm gonna start adding them at least three times a week.
I'm completely willing to take a slap on the wrist come April if this is the wrong thing to do and of course if I'm aware of feeling unwell, I will start taking the hormone again.
As I said before, this could all be coincidence that would just be my luck.
Just very disappointed that I never experienced any health benefits on a vegan diet and have seen my doctor more times in the last 3 months than in the previous 3 years, but I do still completely support veganism, but do wonder whether it isn't suitable for some people.
I didn't want to have to obsess about what I ate, and really wanted to thrive on a plant based diet, hoped that people would see a difference and ask why I was doing so well, which is when I could extol them the benefits of not eating animal produce, but this hasn't happened.
Speaking to a friend this morning who asked if I was told that I had to start eating meat again what would I do, I said in all honesty that even if it affected my health negatively I couldn't ever see myself eating animal produce again.
Really hope I can sort theses issues out, but I don't have a lot of faith in the UK's national health service, there seems to be lots of managing the symptoms drug regimes, but little solving the problem treatments.
 

Freesia

not my business.
Joined
Jun 3, 2012
Reaction score
7,454
Lifestyle
  1. Other
There is the option of oat milk with tea. It isnt as easy to deal with as soy milk.. the cartons i bought tend to be watery... what i would do is shake the carton several times, open it, pour a couple of swigs into the sink and then put it back in the fridge for 24 hours.. this helps to make it less watery and more blended and better to put in tea...needs to be shaken before use anyway.

I also have oat milk powder, you can stir it into water, but this takes a bit of experimenting to get the consistency right.

It adds an oaty flavour to tea which is not too bad. I tried almond milk but it kept curdling in the tea.
 

shyvas

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 5, 2012
Reaction score
27,908
Location
Somewhere in the South
Lifestyle
  1. Other
Thanks for the reply,

I had expected some teething problems becoming a vegan, but had also expected that 7 months in they would have sorted themselves out.
I have recently decided to cut soy out as much as possible, it was my milk of choice and as a typical English person I consumed gallons of tea with milk everyday. I also decided this week to stop taking the Levothyroxine, I like you was waking early in the morning taking them at least an hour before eating breakfast and start supplementing with iodine.
To be honest I never had any symptoms, have been putting on a bit of winter weight, but I put that down to a lack of my usual exercise(cycling). I only found out about the Thyroid issue because I'd seen my Doctor regarding a varicose vein problem and had blood tests to make sure Diabetes wasn't an issue. I am 5' 11" and 73kg so not overweight.
After being put on, Levothyroxine and having a subsequent second blood test, results showed that thyroid function was starting to improve, but I had raised antibody levels so I'm wondering whether this is Hashimotos disease.

But the chronic digestion problems(I'm sitting typing this in the morning 8.20am, haven't eating anything since last night, just sipping some black tea and my stomach is doing somersaults) are really getting me down. After reading about all the health benefits I really wasn't expecting this. I had zero related food issues as a meat eater.

I am systematically removing things from my diet to see what may be causing this, the latest is my daily dose of ground flaxseed. Hopefully I will be able to resolve this and find out in April when I see an Endocrinologist if my thyroid experiment has worked. If not I guess I will have to accept that I have a lifelong chronic illness(which here in the UK entitles me to free drugs).

Some people are intolerant to soya products. The only way to find out is to completely cut out soya from your diet. In the UK there is a last range of other non dairy products in the supermarkets such as Oatly and other almond or hazelnut based milks.

I tried a vegan diet for a few months and it didn't suit me neither. I must admit that my health was much better when I was a flexitarian. However, I cannot stand the idea of going back and eating any type of flesh.

What is a typical day's menu and do you also enjoy your meals ? Perhaps you're also drinking too much tea which can also cause stomach problems or acid reflux.
 

Simon

Devotee
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Reaction score
14
Age
54
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan newbie
There is the option of oat milk with tea. It isnt as easy to deal with as soy milk.. the cartons i bought tend to be watery... what i would do is shake the carton several times, open it, pour a couple of swigs into the sink and then put it back in the fridge for 24 hours.. this helps to make it less watery and more blended and better to put in tea...needs to be shaken before use anyway.

I also have oat milk powder, you can stir it into water, but this takes a bit of experimenting to get the consistency right.

It adds an oaty flavour to tea which is not too bad. I tried almond milk but it kept curdling in the tea.

Thanks for that.
I have tried virtually every plant based milk available and soya was my one of choice, most readily available and cheapest but after reading about links between Thyroid function and soya I have decided to give it up.
My milk of choice is now either rice or coconut.

You mention Oat milk, which I have also used in the past, particularly one from the Swedish brand Oatly. Something interesting that I learnt about Oatly is that the organic oats they use to produce their products are grown using bonemeal as a fertiliser. This is a legal requirement for all organic produce in Sweden. Oatly are completely open and transparent about this and mention it on the packaging of their product available here in the UK. Because of this I don't consider Oatly products as Vegan so don't use them anymore. It did ask the question if this is required in other countries for organic produce. I haven't looked into this yet, but if the choice was organic produce grown using bonemeal or inorganic produce without, I would choose the latter every time.
 

Simon

Devotee
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Reaction score
14
Age
54
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan newbie
Some people are intolerant to soya products. The only way to find out is to completely cut out soya from your diet. In the UK there is a last range of other non dairy products in the supermarkets such as Oatly and other almond or hazelnut based milks.

I tried a vegan diet for a few months and it didn't suit me neither. I must admit that my health was much better when I was a flexitarian. However, I cannot stand the idea of going back and eating any type of flesh.

What is a typical day's menu and do you also enjoy your meals ? Perhaps you're also drinking too much tea which can also cause stomach problems or acid reflux.

Hi,
That's exactly what I've done and cut soya out completely, I'll give it a couple of weeks and see if things improve.
I now use rice or coconut milk.
I perhaps exaggerated about the amount of tea I drink, but the reality was that as a meat eater I didn't knowingly consume any soya products and then went overnight consuming them daily.
I would consider my diet very healthy only maybe eating something like vegan sausages or tofu once maybe twice a week. breakfast tends to be oats with fruit, plant based milk a tablespoon of ground flaxseed. Lunch will be some sort of veggie soup or avocado toast or good wholemeal bread with hummus and always with salad. Dinner will be something cooked from scratch, maybe a chickpea curry or lentil dahl, veggie chillie, pad thai or stir fry. I'm not really someone that snacks and take a B12 every day. I will drink no more than 4 cups of tea a day.
I just replied to someone else about Oat milk, especially the Oatly brand and I don't consider Oatly products Vegan as they use bonemeal as fertiliser on the oats they use.
 

Indian Summer

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Reaction score
7,397
Location
Oxon, UK
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
You mention Oat milk, which I have also used in the past, particularly one from the Swedish brand Oatly. Something interesting that I learnt about Oatly is that the organic oats they use to produce their products are grown using bonemeal as a fertiliser. This is a legal requirement for all organic produce in Sweden. Oatly are completely open and transparent about this and mention it on the packaging of their product available here in the UK. Because of this I don't consider Oatly products as Vegan so don't use them anymore. It did ask the question if this is required in other countries for organic produce. I haven't looked into this yet, but if the choice was organic produce grown using bonemeal or inorganic produce without, I would choose the latter every time.
It's only their two(?) organic products that are affected by this ('Organic Oat Drink' and 'Organic Creamy Oat').
These also don't have any added vitamins as that is not considered organic. They have 9 other products that are not organic.
From their FAQ:
Why do you fertilise the oats in your organic products with substances including bone meal?

The majority of organic crops, whether oats or carrots, are fertilised with bone meal. The simple reason for this is that KRAV (who set the rules for Swedish organic certification) don't allow the use of commercial fertilisers. And, unfortunately, there isn't any real alternative.

Obviously we aren't happy with this situation and we are working to achieve change. Among other things, we are participating in a research project on sustainable food together with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. But this is something that will take time. A shift in Swedish agriculture won't happen overnight.

Fortunately we aren't alone in our efforts. Because this isn't just an issue that applies to oats; it applies to all organic fruit and vegetables. And to everything made from organic cereals, such as bread and pasta.

But it's important to remember that what's in the soil doesn't actually affect the final product. All of the products in our range (including the two organic ones) are 100% vegetable. There is not the slightest trace of animal products in them and they meet all of the criteria for vegan labelling according to both Animal Rights Sweden and the Vegan Society.
http://www.oatly.com/faq/
 

Simon

Devotee
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Reaction score
14
Age
54
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan newbie
It's only their two(?) organic products that are affected by this ('Organic Oat Drink' and 'Organic Creamy Oat').
These also don't have any added vitamins as that is not considered organic. They have 9 other products that are not organic.
From their FAQ:

http://www.oatly.com/faq/

That's good to know, I was using the organic Oat 'milk' and saw the disclosure about bone meal fertiliser and assumed all of their products were made using organic oats.
 

Indian Summer

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Reaction score
7,397
Location
Oxon, UK
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
That's good to know, I was using the organic Oat 'milk' and saw the disclosure about bone meal fertiliser and assumed all of their products were made using organic oats.
I've never been too keen on any organic plant milks because of the lack of added vitamins and calcium, but I didn't realize the organic Oatly products were made from oats grown with bone-meal as fertilizer. So I learnt something new, too. Anyway, Oatly milks are incredibly tasty, superior to any other milk from plant or animal.
 

teacup

Devotee
Joined
Oct 3, 2015
Reaction score
83
Location
Cambridge England
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I do not like soy products very much ... especially soy milk so I use Rice Dream for my tea ... I have used Oatly but I could taste it being a taste on its own (if that makes sense) and not part of the 'milky' tea taste ... the Rice Dream does not interfere with the tea at all (sliding into making no sense now).