General Question

Mokujin's avatar

Side effects of becoming vegetarian?

Asked by Mokujin (43points) April 26th, 2008

I have chosen to spend the next 2 weeks practicing vegetarianism and possibly continuing for the rest of my life.

I was wondering what the side-effects are after the initial stages of cutting meat out of your life. I am not vegan (still eating cheese, drinking milk, etc.).

Any info would be great. Thank you.

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31 Answers

eambos's avatar

A common problem is low protein and iron, along with other deficiencies of essential vitamins. As long as you make sure to replace the missing vitamins and minerals in your new diet then you’ll be fine.

ezraglenn's avatar

I generally felt healthier after I dropped meat.
Although im still technically a pescatarian…. one of my least favorite labels.

eambos's avatar

You still eat fish, just a guess with the -pesc?

gailcalled's avatar

Add various beans for the protein.

joeysefika's avatar

Yes Legumes and cabbage will give you plenty of protein, then just eat Iron supplements.

gailcalled's avatar

Iron supps. not a good idea for older women…what about some of the darker greens, like kale and spinach? I’m too lazy to google now.

joeysefika's avatar

sorry not so up on womens health (no offense intended)

judochop's avatar

Dreadlocks, incense sticks, sandalwood oil, teva’s and birkenstocks, tie died t-shirts and or skirts and or bedding, reggae music, burlap shoulder bags and the all natural look.

(just joking people, more power to you if you can stick to a very healthy diet and stay meat free)

gailcalled's avatar

@Judo:Let’s see. I am in sweats, flamingo slippers, a hearing aid and a cat rakishly draped over my t-shirt.

@Joey; none taken. The vast majority of fluther users are young.

judochop's avatar

I personally tried an all natural diet, years ago when I was training (martial arts) very heavily. I lasted for about 8 months. Honestly I felt terrible. My doctor told me that I quit too much too quick. I have been contemplating a vegetarian diet for so long now. I think I need to quit procrastinating.
Do you notice health benefits that people your age are lacking because of your diet? Do you also exercise with your diet? I have friends who are vegetarians but they are all still in their 30’s… To soon to tell and I know the answer should be obvious. I am just asking for some insight.

AstroChuck's avatar

I’ve been an ovo-lacto (dairy) veg for 18 years. People will tell you that you will be iron and protein deficient eating no meat. Let me tell you that that’s B.S. By eating a balanced vegetarian diet you should get plenty of both. Zinc is the mineral you will need to take supplements for. In this day and age it’s easy to go without meat, healthier and more humane as well.

gailcalled's avatar

I feel pretty good, and yes, I do stretches, small hand weights and formal exercise walking every other day. Plus my lifestyle in a rural area keeps me pretty active. Generally, when the light is right, I can pass for about 15 years younger, but part of that is due to a gene that has kept much of my hair still dark. And sadly, many people my age are dropping like flies from various sorts of horrible metasthesized cancers.

(And I do take some supps. B complex, D 3, multi-vitamin, Omega 3, Co-Q 10 and an Rx for osteoporosis and one to help me sleep – which wards off chronic aches and pains.) I sneak a little skim milk into tea, an occasional slice of organic cheese, chicken and eggs.)

And in spite of all my whining, I do think that this odd cat now in residence is very good for me.

How old are you?

syz's avatar

I found that I no longer needed deodorants (and no, I don’t stink). My body chemistry changed significantly.

I’ve never had a problem with anemia (the Red Cross takes my blood every six weeks).

My grocery bill went down!

jameiiy's avatar

no side affects of becoming a vegan… natural – be a vegan

Harp's avatar

Maybe not the kind of “side-effect” you’re talking about, but noteworthy nonetheless: I’ve found that being vegetarian alters how you perceive your relationship to animals. Seriously. I think that as long as we’re eating animals, there has to be some psychological disconnect that allows us to cherish some animals and eat others. We have to construct some arbitrary rationale that lets us love “Cuddles” but eat “BF478356”. How many of us would really be at ease snapping a chicken’s neck, much less opening a pig’s throat? Sure, you get used to it with repetition, but the fact that it takes some getting used to tells me that we’re having to negotiate some tricky psychological waters.

I honestly don’t mean to sound preachy here and I don’t feel that vegetarians are “better” than meat eaters, I’m just saying that when you no longer have to maintain some psychological distance from a big chunk of your fellow creatures, there’s a subtle shift in how you relate to them. You sense a kinship that you couldn’t have allowed yourself to see before. They begin to feel more like cousins than like dinner.

beccause's avatar

The dangers of being a “junk food” vegetarian are the same as being a “junk food” junkie who includes meat in their diet. The need for more protien than you will get in a healthy, plant based diet is a myth, and there are plenty of walking, talking, healthy GLOWING examples of vegetarians out there to prove it. A vegetarian diet is not just best for your body, but also the planet and the global economy. Please, don’t take my word for it- research! The best work on vegetarianism will push raw, don’t get scared but DO believe that the majority of your diet should be raw veggies and fruits, combined with cooked whole foods, whole grains and then about 10% whatever you want. I like the book Spiritual Nutrition by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Take a look at him and you’ll see the benefits of this lifestyle. I also recommend any book on food by Michael Pollan. Good luck, follow your instincts! You will detox a bit so drink lots of water and eat lots of watery foods!

winblowzxp's avatar

I’m sorry, but there are quite a few thing that I can’t give up…bacon, steak, and venison.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I heard the sex guru, Sue Johanson, (from the show Talk Sex with Sue) say that following a vegetarian diet will make a man’s ejaculate “sweeter”. I swear! She said that when the body breaks down animal proteins, the trace amounts of the byproducts end up in ejaculate, and cause it to taste somewhat bitter. That’s all I’m going to say, in order to keep this as PG13 as possible, but she is “Canada’s foremost sexual educator and counsellor, recipient of the distinguished Order of Canada” and I believe her!

ezraglenn's avatar

@LCG: I have heard that also.

gailcalled's avatar

Who wants to volunteer for a double-blind study? (You can work out the details and then report back.)

ezraglenn's avatar

oof, that’s rough.

gailcalled's avatar

I didn’t bring that issue up, remember?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

well, there’s the whole uterine inspections on cows….oh wait, you said vegetarian, I thought you said veterinarian. Mea Culpa.

Response moderated
rdhotchilepepper's avatar

Side effects of becoming vegan or vegetarian include feeling healthier and happier!

Vegetarians do not have problems getting protein, calcium, iron and other vitamins. You don’t need vitamin supplement; you’ll get all the calcium and iron you need from eating dark, leafy greens (Spinach, kale, collard and mustard greens. Super easy!)

The one and only vitamin that is of concern is B12, find only in animal sources. Your body only needs it in small amounts, plus it stores it for up to 5 years, so you could go vegan and not eat an animal product for up to 5 years and be fine. So no serious need for supplements there either.

Keep in mind that putting too many vitamins in your body actually causes cancer, and that some vitamins help protect not only healthy cells but cancerous ones as well, so you’d just be hurting yourself. (

Also keep in mind that, even though you’re not eating meat, you’re still eating animal products and therefore you’re eating whatever was in the animal. The vast majority of farmers pump antibiotics and hormones in to animals to make them grow, or produce more eggs/milk. So, be careful where you are getting your eggs and dairy.

Good luck on your vegetarian journey. Eat properly, and you will live a long, happy life!

AstroChuck's avatar

@rdhotchilepepper- You mention vitamin B12 but not zinc. I’ve been vegetarian for nineteen years and I can tell you that zinc is a mineral that is hard to come by with a vegetarian diet, so it’s a good idea to pick up some zinc drops to supplement a meatless lifestyle.

mudskippa's avatar

Oh my god the methane – too much cabbage, broccoli and lentils ;-) Seriously, lack of iron can be a big problem. Take Spirulina to counteract that.

reasha's avatar

Recently become a vegetarian. Wondering why do most vegetarian have dark patches under their eyes?

sinalie1974's avatar

I have been a vegetarian for about a month now. I am experiencing dizziness, is it from the new eating habits or think I should talk to a doctor.
I am planning on visiting my doctor here shortly to find out what’s causing this but wanted to ask here first.

VenusFanelli's avatar

Malnutrition and its various symptoms

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