As more people become aware of the benefits of a vegan diet, the number of people adopting plant-based lifestyles has been increasing steadily. However, being vegan doesn't automatically guarantee a healthy diet. Some people may experience health problems while following a vegan diet, and it is essential to know the signs of an unhealthy diet.
In this article, we will discuss ten signs that indicate you might be on an unhealthy vegan diet. We'll also provide suggestions on how to improve your health by making some lifestyle changes.
Vegan diets can be healthy if well-planned and properly balanced, but they do carry risks for certain nutrient deficiencies, such as vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. It is essential to monitor these nutrients to prevent long-term health issues.Dr. Mary Brown, MD, RD
Low energy levels
If you often feel sluggish and low on energy, even after a good night's sleep, it could be due to several reasons. Hormonal fluctuations, gut dysbiosis, and vitamin deficiencies can cause a lack of energy. Additionally, vegan diets lack vitamin B12, which is essential for maintaining healthy energy levels. We recommend getting a B12 test done every six months to ensure your levels are optimal.
Memory loss is not always a sign of aging alone but can also be a symptom of high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol, when exposed to heat, such as in fried and junk food, converts to oxidized cholesterol, which affects mental health. Oxidized cholesterol has been linked to Alzheimer's, dementia, and other brain degenerative diseases. Limit the consumption of oil and margarine, even though they are vegan.
Irregular bowel movements
Gut dysbiosis, the loss of harmony among probiotic bacteria in your gut, can cause irregular bowel movements, drop metabolism, boost insulin resistance, and cause your body to store more body fat. Gut dysbiosis can also be a sign of early diabetes, heart diseases, and even some types of cancers. Instead of adding a prebiotic to your diet, work on understanding what caused it in the first place and fix the same.
Sluggish metabolism can cause stubborn weight gain, brittle nails, and extensive hair fall. Yo-yo dieting, very restrictive dieting, sedentary lifestyle, bad food habits, and alcohol consumption could all be factors of low metabolism. Herbs like dandelion and ashwagandha help the liver boost the metabolism slightly, but it's probably time to work on holistic lifestyle changes.
Acne and skin problems
Acne in adults is never by chance but is a sign of hormonal fluctuation or IBS. Acne is a sign of poor gut health. Elevated stress levels, lack of proper hydration, and a fiber-deprived diet could show up as marks on your skin. Instead of applying beauty products, work with a skincare specialist or a nutritionist to figure out what's wrong and fix the issue.
Irregular menstrual cycles
Irregular menstrual cycles can be a sign of hormonal imbalances, metabolic conditions, or poor nutritional habits. Veganism can help regulate menstrual cycles, but it is important to rule out any underlying health conditions. If your cycles are more than 28-35 days apart, it is best to visit a gynecologist and rule out PCOS/PCOD.
Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of low testosterone levels, but it can also be due to cholesterol build-up in your blood vessels. If your blood vessels are clogged, your penis doesn't receive the required blood supply, leading to ED. High cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease, which can result in more severe problems. Instead of rushing to take medication like Viagra, check your cholesterol levels, and work on bringing them down.
Chronic body and joint pains
Lack of recovery could be a sign of inflammation. Joint pains often go away by just dropping meat and dairy from your diet. But if you continue to have weak muscles, work with a fitness expert to help you strengthen them. Autoimmune diseases could also be a sign of chronic joint and muscle pains.
Elevated blood glucose levels
Elevated blood glucose levels are often associated with excess carbohydrates in the diet. However, fibrous carbohydrates such as lentils, beans, pulses, and vegetables are actually beneficial in terms of reducing blood glucose levels. Eliminating these from your diet could be counterproductive. On the other hand, excess consumption of oils and unhealthy fats can drive your sugar levels up, as they clog your arteries.
Obesity is a significant risk factor for various diseases, and bringing your body weight down to an ideal BMI range can significantly improve your health. Every single fat cell in your body is a hormone-making machine, and the more fat cells you have, the more sex hormones like estrogen and androgen are pumped into your bloodstream. Elevated estrogen levels are linked with PCOS, and reducing your body weight can help reduce these risks. Switching to an 80% whole food diet can see a drastic difference in your body weight without having to count calories or adding extensive exercise into your routine.
Whatever your starting point may be, you can always improve and get better. If you identify with any of the signs mentioned above, know that you can experience a fitter version of yourself by making a few simple tweaks in your lifestyle.
In conclusion, a vegan diet can provide many health benefits, but it is essential to ensure that you are consuming a balanced diet that meets your nutritional needs. You should consult a dietitian or use a nutrition analysis platform that suits your daily nutritional needs. We encourage you to take the 30-day vegan challenge and see the results for yourself. Remember that being vegan doesn't automatically guarantee a healthy diet, but with the right information and effort, you can achieve optimal health on a plant-based diet.