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jenny5689's avatar

Can you get sick from being a vegetarian?

Asked by jenny5689 (10points) August 31st, 2010

I was thinking about being a vegetarian and was wondering what are the side effects of becoming a vegetarian. And if i do become a vegetarian can i go back to eating meat?

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20 Answers

phoebusg's avatar

No. Consult a dietitian, but I’d say you need to have a balanced diet. Greens, beans, fruit etc. You will need B12, but being vegetarian and not vegan you’ll get it from milk products.

I’m vegan – blood tests and everything is fine. Energy level up by a bit, also mood. But those are my own observations :)

erichw1504's avatar

Side effects: none, besides possibly losing weight.

You can go back to eating whatever you want, but if you eat a hamburger after not having beef for a long time you’re stomach may not like it.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

Yes, you can if you don’t eat all you need like for strengthening bones and stuff like that. If you eat all the Vitamins you need then you are good to go :P

Seek's avatar

Vegetarianism can be a very healthy lifestyle choice. It can also be very unhealthy. I’ve known more than a few “vegetarians” who tried to subsist entirely on pasta and PB&J sandwiches. The important thing is balance. Eat your veggies, take your supplements, etc.

CMaz's avatar

Can you be a healthy vegetarian without taking supplements?

Seek's avatar


Yes, though supplements help (everyone, not just vegetarians, should probably take a daily multi).

I personally wouldn’t do well as a vegetarian without supplements – mostly because I despise soy products (save edamame. That stuff’s delicious). Tofu is gross, soy milk is gross… Blech. Gotta get protein from somewhere.

FutureMemory's avatar

@ChazMaz I’ve been veggie for 21 years without taking any supplements, no health problems whatsoever.

downtide's avatar

You can be a healthy vegetarian provided that you eat a balanced diet. No need to take supplements unless some crucial thing is missing from your diet (like @Seek_Kolinahr and soy products). Plenty of veggies and fruit is important.

Going back to meat-eating if you’ve been a vegetarian for a few years, should be done gradually, because as a vegetarian your digestive tract “flora” (bacteria) changes, and if you suddenly started eating meat again you would not be able to digest it so well.

I was vegetarian for about 7 years and when I went back to eating meat I started with fish only for a couple of months, and gradually re-introduced meat one or two meals a week to begin with. I still don’t eat a lot of meat even now (15 years on) and I still choose vegetarian options fairly frequently, but it’s a blessing not to have to study ingredients labels any more.

judochop's avatar

You do not have to take supplements to be healthy. You just need to make sure that you are not only ingesting lettuce, beans and rice. You need to round out your diet and make sure you have a balance. Supplements are not recommended unless you are overly active or you are having a hard time keeping weight on. Fluther clearly is not the place to receive advice on vegetarianism. It is too full of ego and pride. Check a site like this:
Mayo Clinc Advice
Young Womans Health
Here is a PDF version of an excellent book
Whole Living

MeinTeil's avatar

That’s more likely what your friends will do.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Not at all. There are probably a million food items you can eat on earth, by cutting out meat you’re only cutting out 1 food item. It’s an easy topic to research about if you’re concerned about your health and what nutrients (if any) you’ll be missing in your diet by cutting out meat.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

The only bad thing about that is you won’t be getting all the vitamins and such that you need unless you took them also.
And there isn’t a rule book for being a vegetarian so yes you could go back.

Trance24's avatar

I have been a vegetarian for 5 years now. I have never gotten sick from being a vegetarian. The key is in the diet, you need to know what to eat. I may have never gotten sick but I made some bad choices in my early years of being a veg. Don’t just eat junk food or only pasta, that isnt good for you. You need a balanced diet, eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, grains, nuts, and other healthy options. There are tons of web pages out there that can help you make the right choices in your diet. Depending on what type of vegetarian you are planning to become having milk and eggs in your diet can help. If you are avoiding those foods as well, look into hi protein and calcium foods. It doesn’t have to be an expensive diet either there are ways around that. Morning star and Veggie Patch are good meat alternative brands with a bunch of healthy options.

If you do decide to go back to meat it has not been uncommon for people to experience side effects from switching back. You will be able to go back to having meat in your diet but you may encounter some stomach issues at first. This also depends on how long you go vegetarian. Any change in diet can cause these types of side effects. Your body just needs to adjust. Feel free to ask me questions through my fluther anytime. Good luck.

Trance24's avatar

@Mom2BDec2010 It actually is not true that you end up missing out on vitamins and need to take supplements. That is one of the misconceptions about vegetarians. Take pure raw foodists for example they do not take any supplements, and just eat all natural fresh foods. They are healthy, strong, and avoid many of the health issues that non raw foodists or vegetarians encounter. It is all about research. You would be surprised what foods are out there that provide the same if not more than what some meat gives you.

YARNLADY's avatar

Vegetarian or not, anyone who does not get the vitamins and minerals they need can get sick. The main difference for a vegetarian is to make sure they get the proper balance of nutrients and they will be fine. Many non-vegetarians do not follow proper eating guidelines either.

FutureMemory's avatar

@YARNLADY Many non-vegetarians do not follow proper eating guidelines either.

Thank you.

jazmina88's avatar

I eat meat and need B and D supplements. It’s hard to get correct vitamins in your tank

quinoa is a protein.

rts486's avatar

Every vegetarian I’ve met is sickly and anemic.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@rts486 that is so silly. They’re not sickly and anemic because they don’t eat meat, they’re sickly because they generally have a bad diet and or other health issues.

phoebusg's avatar

@NaturallyMe exactly. Meat is a source of high iron bioavailability. If you’re vegetarian you have to eat a lot of stuff high in iron. It’s all about proper diet. @rts486 send them to a dietitian :)

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