Vegetarianism, Lactose intolerance, Sweets and Protein

by Simi

Hi! I just read your article about how during your time as a vegetarian (16 years) you had a real sweet tooth. I have always liked sweets but have usually been able to keep my consumption to reasonable amounts.

I went vegetarian a little over two months ago and really enjoyed it. It was surprisingly easy as the only meat I really enjoyed eating anyway was chicken (I also liked most fish). It was not that hard to give up. But a few weeks ago I started feeling extremely sluggish, tired and never quite satisfied until I consumed excessive sweets - shortly after of course, I would feel worse. About a week ago I started feeling like eating chicken and this morning, after ravenously eating hummus and other forms of non-meat protein, I finally gave in and bought a turkey sandwich.

I only had three bites but was completely satisfied and will be satisfied until lunch for sure! Is this just a mental thing? My friends were telling me I should eat meat rather than dairy as humans were meant to eat meat, fruit and vegetables mainly. Dairy is not as natural. I have also heard that craving sweets is often a sign of lack of proteins.

I am also lactose intolerant but usually ignore it. Still, getting my proteins from dairy products solely as a vegetarian was not comfortable for my digestion at all. In many ways I would like to stay vegetarian, but I think my health is being compromised. Any thoughts?
Thank you!

Sue-Anne's relpy
Good question Simi. Vegetarianism may work well for some but not for others. I believe it is good that you are trying different things, listening to your body, being aware of how you feel and finding out what works for you and what doesn't.

If you crave sweets it is important to ensure you get adequate protein until your sugar cravings are completely under control. A vegetarian diet probably wouldn't be a good idea at this time.

A few bites of a turkey sandwich is not a large amount of protein so yes, that could be a mental thing depending on how much you ate before. However, your lactose intolerance and digestive problems are definitely real, so don't ignore them. Your body is telling you that dairy is not good for you, I suggest you avoid it and see how you feel.

I understand your wanting to stay vegetarian, I would rather not eat poultry or fish, (I don't eat red meat) but it is the only way for me and my body type to get adequate amounts of protein and stay healthy, energetic and strong.

I encourage you to continue to eat as healthy as possible, plenty of vegetables and ensure you are eating good quality carbohydrates, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole grains, rather than refined carbohydrates. This will also help the sweet cravings.

There are many opinions of what humans are "meant to eat." We are all different. It is best to find a personal plan that works for you. Keep me posted.

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