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Veganism and bipolar- how do you feel w/o animal protein?

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Posted

I have tried to go vegan in the past, but have found that I seem to feel better mentally with some animal protein in my system. I wish this wasn't the case. I would like to be vegan both for health and social reasons. I'm just not sure it's the best thing for my mental state. Did I just invent this in my head?

Anyone else had this happen- do you just find you need some animal protein? Any research out there on what is the best diet for bps? I've read that we tend to benefit from b-vitamins, vitamin d and omega-3s, all things that vegans need to keep an eye on.

 

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Posted

I'm not bipolar, but I have also found I feel better when I eat some animal protein.  I try to keep it mainly to fish, occasionally chicken or something like buffalo.  I believe salmon is a really good food to eat for bipolar people because of the omega fatty acids.

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Posted (edited)

Are you currently vegetarian and wanting to go vegan, or are you wanting to go vegan straight from a meat-eating diet?  I'm a lacto vegetarian (eat dairy) - I would go vegan but I worry about losing out on calcium intake.  I do take calcium supplements, but osteoporosis runs in my family (I already suffer from its precursor) and I feel I need to get it in as many ways as possible.

 

BUT it is possible to go vegan and stay healthy - IMO it's a total myth that one needs animal-derived protein to function.  I feel very strongly about this.  Omega fatty acids can be obtained just as easily through flax seed oil capsules.  You can eat a perfectly balanced diet if you do your research and are disciplined about what you put in your stomach.  And yes, supplements are important too.

 

I've been vegetarian for 15 years and yes, there has been much craziness during that time.. but the craziness was there before I changed my diet and I can't see any correlation whatsoever..

 

I've always liked the info http://www.vegsoc.org gives out - it's the UK vegetarian society.  I know it's not vegan, but it's still worth looking at.

 

Good luck!

Edited by miab

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Posted

I have no experience with this but thought I would chime in just for fun anyway.

 

I am such an avid meat eater that the one time in college I tried to go vegetarian, it took about a week before I started fantasizing about roasting and eating my peers.  :P

 

For me, meat is natural and I can't imagine living a life as a vegetarian.  Ain't no way I could ever go vegan.

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Posted

There is some evidence out there that red meat is beneficial for mood, or lack of it is detrimental I'm not sure. I know recently there was a study done on whether a healthy diet could reduce depression, they used the Mediterranean Diet but added red meat to it, I think because there was that suggestion that it helps mood (b-vits?). I'll have a look for the article I read all that.. 

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Posted

There is some evidence out there that red meat is beneficial for mood, or lack of it is detrimental I'm not sure. I know recently there was a study done on whether a healthy diet could reduce depression, they used the Mediterranean Diet but added red meat to it, I think because there was that suggestion that it helps mood (b-vits?). I'll have a look for the article I read all that.. 

You don't even need to dig it up.  I'll take your word for it!  Bring on the meat!

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Posted

I have discussed this pdoc a bit. He specializes in treating bp with diet and supplements (in addition to meds when needed) and he recommends the paleo diet. Which unfortunatley is very unvegan lol. But I figure it be like whatever works best for you kinda like with meds. Ive known people to thrive while vegan and ive known some who get very sick. It might have too do indiviual body chemistry? Idk but I have certianly never felt better than when I was eating paleo.

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Posted

Let's not turn this into a meat-eaters vs vegetarian thing :P

 

OP: Have you tried something like this? http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm

 

There's a table with sample meals where you can derive protein from vegan sources. 

 

As for diets...there is a little bit of research suggesting that a ketogenic diet may be useful for treating BP. Here's a few articles:

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11918434 << this is from 2001 so a bit old, but it suggests that a ketogenic diet may help. They came across that finding while seeing the efficacy of a ketogenic diet in helping epilepsy.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23030231 << this is from 2012. They followed two women with BP II who were helped by a ketogenic diet. 

 

They are very preliminary findings and are pretty speculative right now, so don't take them to heart yet. I'm also not sure how a ketogenic diet would work for vegans. 

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Posted

Let's not turn this into a meat-eaters vs vegetarian thing

yes, let's not.  Seeing some very UNhelpful comments up there!

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Posted

I don't see anything that's unhelpful. If people want to joke around a little, it's fine by me. I'm not going to jump all over anyone who wants to eat meat. It's a very personal decision. I'd like to move away from it myself, but everyone gets to make their own decision. I also agree with Wingless about some of it being individual chemistry.

I have been a vegetarian before, and have tried to go vegan. It's difficult to do where I live. I don't think I'll ever be totally vegan, but- for me- it's worth a shot. Maybe it's not the diet for me, but it's also about me taking control of what I put in my body and seeking ways to take better care of myself, which I have not done very well in the past.

Thank you for all the links.

Again, Wingless Faery, I've read the same things regarding the paleo diet, and it's totally not what I want to do. :D Bummer for me. I'm trying to sort out (and that's why I'm asking for everyone's input) if it's something that I can ever get away from. I didn't eat red meat for a long, long time, but I started feeling better again when I did. I also (if I remember correctly) added some vit D and b12 suppliments at that time, too, so it could've been helped along by those.

Sounds like it's time to start using my own body for experiemental purposes...

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Posted

I was vegan for a year(ish) and I've tried incorporating it into my lifestyle several times since, but it never sticks. I do alright for a little while, but I always end up stopping because the vegan diet seems to exacerbate my depression. I'm honestly not sure whether it's physical or psychological: Is my depression worse because I've been vegan? vs. Is my depression worse because I feel guilty for not being able to maintain the diet as strictly as I'd like to?

In any case, I've decided to toss it for now and eat whatever I want (within reason) until I get stabilized, at which point I might give it another go and see what happens.

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Posted

Interesting thread - being on the bipolar spectrum and also currently struggling to move from vegetarian to vegan for social reasons).. while trying also do what's best for my mental state :) I haven't done well sticking with veganism so I'm permanently feeling guilty! After realising that very few cheeses are actually vegetarian (most have rennet - calf stomach).. I have at least cut out cheese, except rennet free. 

 

This week I began taking flaxseed oil capsules - I've never managed to take the oil from the bottle (even though it apparently is great on salads).. the capsules seem so much easier. Perhaps a naturopath/dietitian would be helpful?

 

xx

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Posted (edited)

The only nutrient that vegans lack is vitamin B12, so taking a supplement or multi-vitamin with of B-12 in it is sufficient. Apart from that, veganism has many benefits (read the aricle about the best vegan diet benefits). I went vegan about 3 years ago and I feel great. I have more energy than ever, I've lost 18 pounds and my skin has cleared up. And of course social reasons are also very important.

Edited by Crusty

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Posted

As far as diets go... There are so many factors, especially in this day and age, that can determine what is the best pattern of eating for each individual.

I've done a lot of different stuff.

i was a vegetarian for about nine years.

I was vegan for a little over a year; let me tell you- I have never been so utterly out of control in my life. BUT- and this is a big BUT- there is absolutely no way to tell if there is any causation factor from the vegan diet in that instance.

There are a few things I'm sure of:

At one point I had a diet free of gluten, dairy, eggs and soy [all of them together it was a solid four years, but i started with just doing the gluten free].

I really felt fucking amazing.

I also eat a diet pretty heavy on meat- heavier on red meat, but also a lot of fish, and to a lesser degree chicken.

I've recently started again with gluten and dairy free.

Again, my best friend has noticed a drastic difference.

Don't get me wrong, I am definitely still crazy.

But, my ability to cope with the crazy, and see through the symptoms vastly improves. As does my general agitation, my quality of sleep, my cognitive abilities.

I've been losing weight pretty steadily.

I mean I can go on and on.

But my point is NOT that everyone should go on a crazy strict diet and eat like, lemons for the rest of their life.

It's that everyone is pretty individual.

It may take some work- probably in the form of a mood/symptom/food journal over a lengthy period of time to figure out what's going to work best for you if you really want to incorporate diet as a significant part of th way you tackle your MI.

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Posted

i don't have bipolar, but going vegan helped my general mental health. it caused me to eat a bigger variety of foods, and eat way less junk food which made me feel much better ie. more energy, better concentration, less mood swings. and also i feel good because my diet doesn't hurt animals.

 

it is probably very individual though so maybe give it a go and see how you go. it will be easier if you go vegetarian first.

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Posted

I was a vegetarian in the '90's , then a craving for a hamburger when I was pregnant with my first, changed that.  I would love to try veganisim and see how that goes.  Currently I am a flexitarian.  I do not buy meat or prepare it, love all fruits and vegetables, but only eat meat if I am out somewhere for dinner with a friend and it is prepared for me.  I get burned out on it really fast.  I don't like turkey, or seafood.

 

I think it doesn't matter if you are vegetarian or not, what is going to matter is that the less processed food you eat, the better you will feel in general - physical/mental.  It is a great idea and works best when you are stable. With the Bipolar, when I am depressed or cycling,  I eat a lot more food and it isn't high quality food.  Just your standard junk.

 

Goind vegan or vegetarian is a great idea, just don't go gung-ho changing everything all at once, make small changes, otherwise you are bound to throw your hands up in the air, get overwhelmed and quit.

 

If you want to continue to eat meat, cut back on how frequently you eat it and make sure it is quality meat.  Try incorporating more grains and legumes like beans, quinoa, lentils, barley etc. into your diet..

 

Good luck!

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Posted

i have a hard time eating meat... it wasn't always that way, but to me the texture of most meat grosses me out now.  when i'm at home i cook it for my husband, but i never eat any.  when my ED was out of control, i gave up eating meat, and i never really regained my taste for it i think.

 

but i do notice that when i'm visiting my family and eat what's prepared for me, even if i don't like it, something in me feels "better".  i feel calmer or something.  i can't put my finger on what it is.  you'd think this would convince me to eat meat more often, but when i get home i still resist because i don't enjoy it... and go back to eating peanut butter instead.

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Posted

I'm vegan and have no diet related issues. The most important thing is to get good proteins from nuts, seeds and protein rich vegetables. Also limiting soy intake and gluten is incredibly helpful. Soy protein, in large amounts, can mess with your body chemistry, so keep the tofu, tempeh, soy products to a minimum.

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Posted

I was vegetarian for years, and vegan for a little while as well. I craved meat while in treatment for EDNOS and started eating it again. 

Not starting a meat eating vs non meat eating debate because I still have the vitamin and iron deficiencies I had as a vegan (which I am treated for), frankly because my diet sucks.

 

You can be fine without eating meat. You just need to know what to eat to get proper supplements. Vegan cooking is more difficult than regular cooking, but to make a long answer short, you can go without animal protein, you just need to back it up. It can be as simple as taking a multivitamin once a day. Before making a change like that, discuss it with a doctor (gdoc can do) or even a nutritionist.

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Posted

I know that this is kind of an old thread, but I just wanted to add my two cents.

I'm bipolar, and have been vegan for the better part of 8 years. For me, I notice that I start rapid cycling if I'm not eating enouh protein. For me, "enough" is abot 100g/day. I also avoid refined grains most of the time, and that might help as well.

Everybody reacts differently to different diets, but that has been y experience as a bipolar vegan.

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Posted

I commented about paleo above and just wanted to add that I think the gluten free part of paleo is the most impirtant thing along with no processed foods and people who do get meat should try to get grass fed/ farm raised. another important part of paleo is getting rid of the all fat is bad fat. fat is actually a big deal for paleo people and they mostly get it from meat BUT there are several other ways to get healthy fat like eating a lot of avacados and cooking coconut oil. but I honestly think cutting out glutten has done the most for me.

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Posted

I know that this is kind of an old thread, but I just wanted to add my two cents.

I'm bipolar, and have been vegan for the better part of 8 years. For me, I notice that I start rapid cycling if I'm not eating enouh protein. For me, "enough" is abot 100g/day. I also avoid refined grains most of the time, and that might help as well.

Everybody reacts differently to different diets, but that has been y experience as a bipolar vegan.

How do you get 100g protein on a vegan diet?

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Posted

 

I know that this is kind of an old thread, but I just wanted to add my two cents.

I'm bipolar, and have been vegan for the better part of 8 years. For me, I notice that I start rapid cycling if I'm not eating enouh protein. For me, "enough" is abot 100g/day. I also avoid refined grains most of the time, and that might help as well.

Everybody reacts differently to different diets, but that has been y experience as a bipolar vegan.

How do you get 100g protein on a vegan diet?

 

I have a protein shake for breakfast, and another at bedtime. This usually gives me 60g or so. I have at least one serving of faux meat most days, which adds another 20g or so. I can usually get the final 20g through whatever else I eat that day (vegetables, fruits, nuts, mushrooms, tofu, grains, legumes, etc.)

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Posted (edited)

Edited by Flash

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Posted

I know that this is kind of an old thread, but I just wanted to add my two cents.

I'm bipolar, and have been vegan for the better part of 8 years. For me, I notice that I start rapid cycling if I'm not eating enouh protein. For me, "enough" is abot 100g/day. I also avoid refined grains most of the time, and that might help as well.

Everybody reacts differently to different diets, but that has been y experience as a bipolar vegan.

How do you get 100g protein on a vegan diet?

I have a protein shake for breakfast, and another at bedtime. This usually gives me 60g or so. I have at least one serving of faux meat most days, which adds another 20g or so. I can usually get the final 20g through whatever else I eat that day (vegetables, fruits, nuts, mushrooms, tofu, grains, legumes, etc.) What is in the protein shake? I'm not familiar with these, although I know bodybuilders consume BRanch-chained amino acid shakes, which is fine if you are actually building muscle, but a bad idea if you are not. See dr robert lustig ("one of the four foodstuffs of the apocalypse").

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