Help with nutrition. 1 week new vegan.

Hey everyone I just started the vegan diet and I am already worried as today at work around 1:00pm after i just ate my brown rice / w lentils and my stir fry (cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, onions, eggplant). I started to feel light headed, then followed brain fogginess, instantly tired (like I could fall asleep at work).

Would having a hyperactive thyroid be very bad for me going vegan? I'm 153 lbs, haven't gained a pound since I was 16 no matter what i eat.

Sorry if I wasnt clear on everything, and thanks to anyone that gives me advice :)

Best Answers

  • Answer ✓

    Are you eating enough calories? Are you getting enough carbohydrates to keep up your blood sugar?
    Do you get enough sodium and potassium? Both of those can affect blood pressure. Certain vitamin deficiencies. Going too long between meals. Etc.

    If it was just a one off thing, I would not worry about it. If it is persistent, maybe you should get some blood work done, if looking at your diet does not help.

    It is not bad to be vegan with a hyperactive thyroid, just as with any other style of eating. You just need to make sure you are getting the calories and nutrients your body requires.

  • Answer ✓

    If you can, try to substitute the rice with something more filling/with a low GI value (such as barley, whole oat groats, kasha (buckwheat), or quinoa - these options have a lot more protein per cup than rice). Carbohydrates are important, try to incorporate some into your day, the less processed the better - something like pasta isn’t great because the energy is used up too quickly.

    I’ve been vegan for a couple years now, and I have hypothyroidism. Going vegan hasn’t affected my levels of fatigue, I’ve always just felt that way. Are you on medication for your thyroid? Some people have ‘cured’ their health issues with plant-based eating. My issues are genetic, so it didn’t help me.

    Let us know how you get on 🙂

  • @Brandone27

    You are in the right place! I consult for Cronometer and work as a vegan dietitian. You do need to make sure your iodine intake is adequate, as well as selenium given your history with hyperthyroidism. To ensure you are meeting these nutrient needs, consume ~150 mcg iodine through supplement of iodized salt (1/2 tsp per day), and eat 1 Brazil nut per day (100% of RDA for selenium).

    I've also written a few articles on how to eat vegan in a healthy and sustainable way:

    If you have any other questions about vegan nutrition, happy to answer!

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:


  • Thanks for the advice everyone and my apologies for the late reply. All of my family suffers (moms side) with thyroid issues. Spiriluna and kelp is what I take to regulate my thyroid. You are correct with the iodine being a big contributor to feeling light headed and drained during my normal work day, since taking iodine in a vegan based supplement, and using a vegan protein powder blend I must say I feel amazing now. I have more energy and mental clarity than I have had my entire life. Cheers everyone

  • Hi Brandone27

    I have been plant based (no animal products) for the past 6 years. I started at 48 years of age and it took my body some time to adjust. Here are some things that work for me.
    1) Whole foods brown rice, oats, beans etc.
    2) Leafy greens 200g per day. Spinach an Kale are my favorites
    3) Raw nuts and seeds about 4 to 6 tablespoons. Sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, walnuts,
    4) Potatoes...yes potatoes boiled, steamed or baked. Sweet or other.
    5) Eat a large variety of vegetables on top of the leafy greens, Carrots, Bell Peppers, tomatoes, beets.
    6) Fasting has worked well for me. It trains you body to jump on your fat reserves and it seems to help with insulin sensitivity. (I use an intermittent fasting protocol....but not all the time)
    7)Yes Cronometer is great to ensure you are getting your nutrition don't and you can watch you calorie consumption to ensure you are getting enough but not to much :)
    8) I use a fitness device to monitor my exercise and sleep to make sure I am getting enough of both
    9) I use lots of spice and healthy sauces (mustard, balsamic vinegar...etc)
    10) Lastly I stay away from anything processed; sugar, oil, flower etc. That being said I also cheat now and then.
    Going plant based has been great and I can't imagine that I will ever go back. What I feel has worked for me is staying away from the extreme approaches ( you may feel what I have here is extreme LOL) and have some patients.
    Lastly, for me the greatest gift that being plant based has given me is a subtle enlightenment that comes when you realize that you can be healthy and happy eating this way.
    ps. 11) B12 supplement/fortified food

  • @Brandone27

    Just a quick note about two things you mentioned...

    While seaweed is a good source of iodine, kelp can actually give you too much iodine and lead to thyroid issues as well (1/16th of a tsp = RDA for iodine). I prefer if people use nori, dulse, or arame to meet iodine needs.

    When it comes to spirulina, a lot of the B12 found in it is inactive. This can be an issue as inactive B12 can preferentially be absorbed in place of active B12, making it look like your levels are good when they aren't. I recommend all vegans take a daily B12 supplement of 50 mcg per day OR 1000 mcg 2-3 x per week.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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