Considering Dietary Change from raw veganism - Any help please?
I’m fairly new to this site and for the past 6-8 weeks I’ve been following posts, and doing some research, because I’m considering changing my diet. Here’s a little about my background in order for anyone to help shed some light or offer some advice.
It’s been just over 20 years since I ate meat, although I did eat fish and eggs up until approximately 8-10 years ago. 15-17 years since I ate dairy and 10 years since I ate grains. During these dietary modifications I overcame painful periods, migraines, fatigue, candida, reactive arthritis and some digestive issues (although stress played and still continues to play a big part in my digestive health) etc. It must also be said that during this time i was highly active and athletic, and I felt reasonably good despite eating drinking alcohol, eating lot’s of pickles and sauerkraut and a fair share of protein drinks and supplements.
For about the past 5-6 years I’ve been following Doug Graham’s 80/10/10 diet. As I learnt how to eat enough, the importance of ripe fruits and food combining etc I lost a lot of weight and went down to approximately 95lb (I’m 5ft 6in). At this time I felt great (despite on reflection looking painfully thin). My energy was good, emotionally I felt on a high and it was all new and exciting. As time went on I had a few niggling issues such as sensitive teeth, urinating several times a day (even several times an hour sometimes), offense gas and bloating but overall I felt really good – fully of energy and this incredible high feeling. I must also add that during this time my energy for and passion for the intense level of exercise began to diminish.
Over the past two years my health seemed to rapidly decline. The biggest concern has been my flagging energy – well it’s total exhaustion. Most days are a struggle to get out of bed, I never wake feeling refreshed or energised and I miss that feeling. I no longer exercise due to utter exhaustion, I experienced nerve and bone pain, headaches, constant brain fog, blurry vision (despite always having perfect vision – now this my be because I spend more time on the computer than I used to training outdoors). I’ve also noticed my teeth feel weak (although the sensitive has now gone) and recently noticed my hair looks thinner and skin exceptionally dry. The skin dryness maybe due to the fact that I stopped using all products about 2-3 years ago and up until that time my skin was always reasonably soft – some may say due to the product). My periods also stopped about 10 years ago. My mood also became low and I found myself becoming increasingly insular to conserve energy. My weight also increased to 138lb, with it mainly being around my stomach and thighs. Prior to this I had always had a very lean and toned physic (even when I weighed more than this) and now my body is untoned and far from it’s former athletic version.
I eventually went to my GP and it took a while but through testing they found I had pernicious anemia – my B12 levels were exceptionally low, approximately 54 from memory – and I started B12 injections. They also discovered I also had very low iron levels. Despite taking iron tablets (which I struggled to digest) and the B12 injections my health still remained the same. Blood sugars, thyroid etc seemed all ok about 6 months ago, however I have just had these taken again along with tests for kidney and liver function, B12, iron, systemic vasculitis, addisons and a couple of other auto-immune conditions. The results for these are due next week.
It has taken me a while to consider that my diet may be the one, or one of the underlying contributors. Now this is not something I have come to consider easily but I realise that I may need to modify my diet in order to regain my health. Since I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom I decided to reluctantly add in some cooked vegan foods a couple of months ago. It started with cooked sweet potatoes in the evenings and these sat very uncomfortably in my stomach, my digestion has become sluggish and sorry to mention it but my bowel movements smelt unpleasant. I also tried only once brown rice and oats and the results were catastrophic – I was violently sick, shivered, had a fever and my stomach bloated so much causing my skin to feel so stretched. I have also removed nearly all fruit and predictably feeling very fatigued. I am struggling to know what to eat for the best.
So I decided to start with eating what I did when I was training and feeling my best - that was lot's of fish, eggs, sauerkraut, fruit and veg. I've also added some sunwarrior protein drink. The first couple of days I felt better than expected but now I'm feeling incredibly tired, suffering headaches, anxious and a little down. My bowel movements have also slowed and smell awful (sorry if that is a little top much information). I'm also having lot's of vivid dreams every night and wake feeling exhausted and most mornings feel quite nauseous. I've also cut out all fruit and am eating about 140-170g of carbs daily. I'm also feeling a desire to eat goats yogurt and some cottage cheese. I also notice that most people eat only three eggs for a meal, I still very hungry after three eggs and last night ate them with one large avocado, 1000kg marrow, sauerkraut and raw cabbage and was still hungry??? Am I just giving my body the nutrients it needs after such a period of restriction? Or am I just eating too much?
Previously I've also been low fat, (expect for fatty fish like salmon and mackerel) but have decided to increase my fat intake to include avocados, egg yolks (well I now eat the complete egg instead of just the white) and have bought some coconut milk to try.
I do wonder whether I have lost or severely diminished the ability to digest some foods, or whether my body is just going to need time to adjust and would appreciate any insight or advice anyone may have that to help. I do not want to jump from 'one diet' into another but to look for a longterm way of eating that nourishes my mind, body and soul.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and offer suggestions.