15 Red Flags That Going Vegetarian Or Vegan Might Not Be Right For You

While your parents might’ve been wrong about a few things when you were younger, they were right about why you should eat your fruits and vegetables.

These two food groups are packed with nutrients, provide water, and lower the risk of developing illnesses and cancers.

But while you may think that becoming a vegetarian or vegan will make all your health problems go away, you could actually be doing more harm than good, if your body doesn’t agree with you trying out this new lifestyle.

Not everyone can live without eating meat. Some people need animal products to receive certain nutrients and minerals to live a healthy life. According to a Healthline article, the metabolic variation in your gut can determine whether someone can handle a meatless diet or not. For instance, a good amount of our gut microbes are developed when we’re young, which plays a huge role in how we absorb certain nutrients, like vitamin K2. And if your gut environment isn’t able to synthesize this vitamin, there’s a higher risk of you developing dental problems, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

All in all, your health is an individual process that shouldn’t be determined by any trend. And while you should always see a doctor before you make any drastic changes to your diet, we provided a list of red flags you should be aware of if you’re thinking of giving the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle a go.

1. You’re constantly bloated.

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No one wants to feel like a balloon.

According to a Women’s Health article, when you begin consuming more FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols), like beans and legumes into your diet, you start taking in more carbohydrates, sugars, and fibers that bring water into your intestine. This can make you bloat if you’re sensitive to them, which means an all-plant diet might not be for you.

2. You’re feeling sluggish.

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Naptime, anyone?

Constantly feeling tired after eating a meatless meal is not a good sign. Ultimately, you should be feeling relatively energize after consuming fruits, grains, and vegetables. However, if you’re on a vegan diet, you’re probably not getting enough of heme iron or vitamin B12. These two things only occur naturally in animal products (unless it’s been fortified into some plant products) and can make you feel sluggish and dizzy if you’re not absorbing enough of them through your diet.

3. You’re becoming obsessed with what you’re eating.

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It can become dangerous.

While we should all be mindful of what we’re putting inside our bodies, it doesn’t mean that we should become obsessed with every calorie, food, and macro, we’re consuming. According to Clean Eating Kitchen, “Orthorexia is a type of eating disorder that is defined by an over-fixation on healthy eating patterns. It can result in over-restriction, obsession, and other serious eating disorders.” Plus, a study has found that people who are vegans or vegetarians tend to gravitate toward this eating pattern more often. So if you happen to have a history with eating disorders, this lifestyle might not be a good thing to try.

4. Your health is declining.

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Eat more protein.

If your nails are becoming brittle or your skin has become dull, you may want to stop your vegetarian or vegan diet. Why? Well, it could be because you’re not getting enough proteins. Boston-based dietitian Kate Scarlata, R.D. told Women’s Health, “When you’re a vegan, you have to be that much more vigilant about protein because it’s not as innate to your diet. All of the enzymes in your body are proteins that help your systems function. If your body doesn’t get enough, it will break down its own protein storage to create what it needs to exist.”

5. Your iron levels are low.

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Iron is more important than you think.

Because vegan and vegetarian diets do not flourish with nutrients like iron, your body can become anemic, which, according to Mayo Clinic, can result in feeling fatigued, having a fast heartbeat and shortness of breath. However, one easy way to get your iron if you’re a vegetarian is by eating a lot of leafy greens and chocolate.

6. You have anxiety.

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Stress? What stress?

Our guts and brains are connected. When our gut isn’t happy, our brains aren’t happy. According to a 2012 study, scientists found that in Western cultures, vegetarians have a higher chance of developing mental disorders, like anxiety, because they’re not consuming animal proteins or getting enough nutrients in their diets.

7. You’re showing signs of depression.

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Your lack of a specific vitamin might be behind it all.

According to the same 2012 study, they also found that you can begin to show signs of depression if you’re a vegetarian due to having low B12 levels. In addition, another study that was conducted in 2007 found that out of 14,247 young women, 30 percent of vegetarians and semi-vegetarians had experienced depression in the past year, whereas only 20 percent of women who ate meat expressed feeling depressed. While it could be okay to be a vegetarian, it’s important to check on your B12 levels with your doctor to see if you should include a supplement into your diet.

8. You’re gaining weight.

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Not a big deal. But something to be mindful of if it’s not part of your M.O.

While it could be possible that you’re gaining weight because you’re building muscle on top of your vegetarian diet, your increase in weight could indicate that this meatless lifestyle might not be a good fit for you. According to Livestrong, if you’re forgetting to include proteins into your meals; eating too many processed foods; living off sugary snacks; or eating a lot of healthy fats, like nuts and avocados; then it could mean you need to switch things up.

9. You’re eating highly processed foods all the time.

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 Cookies could be the one to blame.

When people become vegans or vegetarians, they tend to head toward the frozen food aisle. While there are a lot of healthy foods you can grab, there are also a lot of pre-made, highly processed meals you can purchase as well. These foods are packed with sugar, salt, and everything artificial. Plus, they’re made with a lot of preservatives, which could trigger asthma or increase risk of colon cancer.

10. You’re constantly hungry.

Your diet is just not fulfilling you.

According to Prevention, Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, author of The Superfood Swap said, “High-protein foods take longer to digest, so it helps you stay satisfied longer.” This basically means that you need to make sure your meatless meals are packed with protein. However, if your tummy is rumbling more times than you’d like to admit, it might mean that a vegetarian or vegan diet might not be a good fit for the current lifestyle you have because your body needs more protein than you’re giving it.

11. Your hormones feel out of wack.

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Check with your insides.

While vegetarian and vegan diets are mostly harmless, it’s important to be aware of exactly how many soy-packed foods you’re eating. For instance, according to Healthline, eating too much processed soy can become dangerous by disrupting your hormones (estrogen) and thyroid, especially if you’re a woman.

12. You’re losing your hair.

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Where did it all good?

If you love your thick, long locks, you may want to reconsider your vegetarian diet. Because hair is made out of proteins, it makes sense as to why a recent report found that a severe lack of protein will make those extra strands fall out of the shower. However, a lack of protein is not the only reason why your hair might be saying sayonara. WebMD states that not absorbing enough iron, vitamin B, and zinc, can also be the cause of your hair thinning, too.

13. You’re deficient in vitamin B12.

You can’t live without this vitamin.

Unfortunately, a lot of vegetarians are known to have vitamin B12 deficiencies. Without eating animal products, they may begin to feel fatigued, numb, and have memory problems. But why is vitamin B12 so important in the first place? According to Healthline, it helps with the creation of red blood cells and your DNA.

14. Your bowel movements are being affected.

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Uh-oh.

Yes, your vegetarian or vegan diet might be high in fiber; however, it could cause a lot of issues with your bowels and gut. According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, consuming a lot of fiber is likely to cause more issues with people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a sensitive stomach.

15. You can’t stay asleep.

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Sleep is important.

Unfortunately, when you’re not getting your daily nutrients, that means your sleep cycle can get all messed up. For instance, an Elite Daily article says that while not eating animal products at night can aid in better sleep, vegans who don’t consume enough calcium on a daily basis can have a hard time getting enough shut-eye.

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