Not sure what I'm missing in my diet

Myrna

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Hi,
This is my first post on this forum (or any vegan forum for that matter). I've been vegan for about two years and I have always struggled with what I'm supposed to be eating to get the right nutrients. I have cut down on fake meat a lot over the last seven months and have gone from eating it most days to less than once a week. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I am worried that my diet is making it worse. I take the Holland and Barrett Vegan multivitamin & mineral tablet everyday but I'm thinking that's maybe not good enough? I would never go back to eating animals but I'm just really struggling with maintaining a proper healthy diet so any tips and advice would be very appreciated! Thanks!
 

Lou

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Why do you think your diet is making your anxiety and depression worse?

Just offhand I can think of a half dozen other things that cause or exacerbate anxiety and depression.

Also, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that a healthy diet can reduce anxiety and depression.

One "nutrient" that seems to be associated with depression is sugar. and it certainly is possible for a vegan to eat too much sugar. So you can look into cutting that down.
 

David3

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Hi Myrna, and welcome to the forum.

The Holland and Barrett vegan multivitamins look pretty good to me: H&B Vegan Multivitamin & Mineral Tablets | Holland & Barrett

Per the Vegan Society (UK), nutrients of potential concern for vegans are vitamin B12, omega-3 and -6 fats, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, selenium, iron, zinc, vitamin K, and vitamin A: Nutrients .

Depression symptoms can worsen during the winter months, per the UK National Health Service: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Depression can also worsen due to lack of calories. Our entire body, including our brain, is fueled by calories. What have you been eating to replace your calorie-rich fake meat? Does your depression reduce your appetite?
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Myrna

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Hi, thanks for replying
I don't necessarily know if it's making my depression worse, like you say it could be a number of other things. I was just wondering if people who had been vegan longer than me knew anything about the food or vitamins I could be having to maybe help with this?
 

Lou

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Probably the best thing you can do is eat healthily. get exercise. get sleep.
I don't think there are any real quick fixes.

In the eating healthy department, you can do WFPB. A lot of people say they feel their best on that diet. You can also try CronOmeter for a while and really get a good idea of what nutrients you need to focus on.

In the exercise department, it's best to find something to do that you enjoy. It's especially tough now but there are still a lot of options. Maybe it's just taking a walk with a friend or with an audiobook. Or a zoom class in your living room.

There is lots of info on how to get a good night's rest. For some, it's a real struggle but it's more important than most people realize.

Exercise, good food, and sleep all in some way release good chemicals in the brain (like serotonin and endorphins). It's the best form of self - medication.

this is 2020. we are all a little depressed and anxious. It probably would indicate some mental disconnect if you weren't.
 

NYC Gardener

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B12 deficiency can cause depression. It wouldn't hurt to get your B12 levels checked and find ways to get more of it if there is an issue. Multivitamins aren't always absorbed well. You might do better with extra B12-fortified foods or even an injection.
 
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silva

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Hi, thanks for replying
I don't necessarily know if it's making my depression worse, like you say it could be a number of other things. I was just wondering if people who had been vegan longer than me knew anything about the food or vitamins I could be having to maybe help with this?
For one thing, being vegan means you don't eat animal products--animal products don't have a lot other than protein, saturated fats and cholesterol. Not missing much there.
It is possible you're not eating a varied enough diet, and I agree tracking for a while is very helpful to understand what you may be short. You do need to remember--you probably never realized how bad your diet was eating animal products in the first place! I always find it funny that people say to track a diet when someone goes plant based, but how often do you hear that for an omnivores problems! :rolleyes:

Have you had your D level checked? I strongly suggest that as some people simply don't convert light to usable D. I'm one, and when I insisted on a test found I was deficient. Getting my levels up required a high dose for a couple months, then 5000 IU daily. The crippling pain in my feet and ankles doctors wanted me to have expensive tests for was gone!
Low D can also contribute to depression-so can sugar
 

NYC Gardener

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For one thing, being vegan means you don't eat animal products--animal products don't have a lot other than protein, saturated fats and cholesterol. Not missing much there.
It is possible you're not eating a varied enough diet, and I agree tracking for a while is very helpful to understand what you may be short. You do need to remember--you probably never realized how bad your diet was eating animal products in the first place! I always find it funny that people say to track a diet when someone goes plant based, but how often do you hear that for an omnivores problems! :rolleyes:

Have you had your D level checked? I strongly suggest that as some people simply don't convert light to usable D. I'm one, and when I insisted on a test found I was deficient. Getting my levels up required a high dose for a couple months, then 5000 IU daily. The crippling pain in my feet and ankles doctors wanted me to have expensive tests for was gone!
Low D can also contribute to depression-so can sugar

Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common. Most of us aren't outdoors under direct sun all day and if we are, we should be wearing sunscreen.

That would be another good thing to get checked. Vitamin levels can be checked with an easy blood test, and insurance tends to cover it.

You could also just take supplements and look for foods fortified with vitamin D, such as plant milks.
 

Myrna

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Yeah, I live in Scotland so sunny days are a pretty rare treat! I do drink plant milk but I'll try and up my intake, cheers!
 
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silva

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Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common. Most of us aren't outdoors under direct sun all day and if we are, we should be wearing sunscreen.

That would be another good thing to get checked. Vitamin levels can be checked with an easy blood test, and insurance tends to cover it.

You could also just take supplements and look for foods fortified with vitamin D, such as plant milks.
My doctor sent me for cat scans, to specialists.... I did my own research, sounded like D deficiency, looked through my blood tests and found nothing. I had talked several times to my dr about my D level and she had just asked did I get some sunlight with screen? She always told me there was nothing to worry about. I never had it tested, when confronted she said it wasn't a routine test and my insurance didn't cover it! I had good insurance too.
After a year of 2000 IU a day I wasn't even at minimun (after the initial loading). I have since taken 5000 IU which is pretty high for most
Appartently it's a genetic thing. Anyway, I've been just fine since, but it really really sealed my distrust of doctors! And it wasn't just one.
 

silva

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Yeah, I live in Scotland so sunny days are a pretty rare treat! I do drink plant milk but I'll try and up my intake, cheers!
You should really have your D level checked
 

shyvas

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Hi,
This is my first post on this forum (or any vegan forum for that matter). I've been vegan for about two years and I have always struggled with what I'm supposed to be eating to get the right nutrients. I have cut down on fake meat a lot over the last seven months and have gone from eating it most days to less than once a week. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I am worried that my diet is making it worse. I take the Holland and Barrett Vegan multivitamin & mineral tablet everyday but I'm thinking that's maybe not good enough? I would never go back to eating animals but I'm just really struggling with maintaining a proper healthy diet so any tips and advice would be very appreciated! Thanks!

What is a typical day's menu ? You may not be getting enough protein and this can make existing depression worse.

Depression and anxiety are very tricky illnesses and merit a visit to a GP.:) It would also seem like you need a blood test just to make sure that you are not lacking in any nutrients/vitamins etc.

A wee dram of whisky from time to time works wonders and has many health benefits. ;)
 

Tom L.

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Hi, Myrna-

I hope you're seeing a doctor for your depression/anxiety- lots of people have trouble with those, no matter what they eat. And Vitamin D can be a problem. A few years ago, I was found to have a Vitamin D deficiency. I had thought I was OK with that, as I had spent one or two days a week from late spring to early fall laying in the mid-day sun for about 30 minutes- 15 minutes on my back, 15 on my stomach- wearing only my shorts. Maybe it was because people are less able to make Vitamin D from sunlight as they get older. But whatever the cause was, I had to take a prescription-strength vitamin D oral supplement for a short time.
 

Junosmum

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What does your diet look like? I'm always baffled by people who assume a vegan diet is automatically healthy, as it isn't. You can have healthy vegan diets and you ca have bad vegan diets. If you mainly eat meat substitutes, processed foods, fries and oreos, you won't be getting what you need.

As with everyone, a diet high in fresh fruit and veg and low in processed things and sugar will do you well and as you live in the UK, take vitamin d and b12 on top of your multi vitamin.