Bane of being a vegetarian

Well I realized the bane of being a strict vegetarian three weeks back when my blood reports came, I had an abysmally low level of Vitamin B12 (only 96) in the body – a condition with a fancy term – ‘Pernicious Anaemia’.

Well atleast the result explained lots of things like: 

– Nausea 

– Fatigue 

– Tingling of nerves in arms and legs 

– Sore Tongue 

– Mood Swings 

– Imbalance (! Yes I crashed many times) 

– Poor Concentration Levels

I was quiet sad to know this. I have been a vegetarian all my life and left eating eggs when I was just 5 or 6 may be. I also have a strange allergy to them – I develop a rash and feel itchy! Experienced the wonderful allergy when in one training session they didn’t bothered about catering for veggies and I had to unconvincingly eat a spinach quiche which had eggs in it. Minutes later I was scratching myself cruely.

Well, the doctor in the next appointment told me to start eating meat, so did my manager. And I was like whoa is it really easy to change your food habits in one day! I am ready to take shots and pills and whatever it takes but I am still not ready to change my mind completely.

I still think its unfair to eat meat and poultry and sea food. Given a chance I can also go for a vegan diet (no matter what I’d have to give up dairy as well – but then yeah!!). I can not eat meat -I just can’t. I don’t get that feeling from inside.

When I see meat – I imagine cute animals being slaughtered and served on a platter with carrots, beans and onions – cute piglets, little fishies and a cuddly lamb or a innocent calf!

I have always been an exception in the Kayastha clan of ours. A clan which is hard core non veg fan. Mumma had to always make something special like paneer for me whenever non veg was made (pretty regularly). I don’t know how and why I was an exception but my mum does recollect that I use to love mutton chops and eggs when I was 2 or 3. But then after I just left eating it. Never liked it at all. The aunts (buas and mamijis) always passed a comment to my mum – ‘your daughter will get married to a Jain’.

20 years later, I married a Jain !!!!! Who is a hardcore meat lover and loves his ham and bacon and sausages!!! 

During our dating period I tried my best to start eating non veg as I was moving to NZ. I tried chicken and liked it as well but then again gave up! I just can’t bring my mind to start eating it. Though I still taste the gravy sometimes to identify the aromatic spices and the chilly factor.

Its been too painful. The shots are damnnnnnnnnnnnnnn painful and make my whole arm numb. I get very irritated at minor things and feel nauseated.

It’s a course of 6 injections, then after the supplement pills will start.

Anupam’s been a great support taking me to the med labs and medical centre, holding me while the nurse comes with the weapon of mass irritation. I hold him tightly and dig my long nails inside his flesh till the nurse comes and puts a bandage on.

I hate my health life right now!

PS. Going for Ind v/s All Blacks ODI tomorrow at Eden Park – watch me on screen.


24 thoughts on “Bane of being a vegetarian

  1. Hey sweet!
    Was just randomly browsing through your posts and found this 🙂
    It’s quite tough being a vegetarian abroad right?
    As I came to know there are eggs in biscuits, cakes and all.
    I am not a hardcore non veg person but I avoid non veg on mondays, tuesdays and thursdays due to religious purposes.
    Arrey. Came here to talk about myself haha!

    Take care girl, always.
    May health be with you.

    • Thanks girl. I am better now. I have to take pills though. It is very difficult beign a vegetarian abroad. Specially when you are travelling/holidaying. I generally keep packets of maggie noodles handy.

      My problem is I am allergic to eggs as well. I have to choose what I eat and there are not many options out there.

      You too take care doll.

  2. I ended up here rather randomly (I was looking for an image of a woman in a saree in the middle of a Western urban environment, and it brought me to a picture of your mother!), but first I just want to say: to those who have not taken tests, I recommend doing so rather than worrying about whether or not you have these symptoms. Be it psychological or physical issues, if people look at a list of symptoms they’re likely to recognise themselves in many of them, regardless of whether they really do have these symptoms and to the extent where it becomes a problem (everyone, for example, could experience “mood swings” of some sort, but that doesn’t mean that they lack B12 any more than they have bipolar disorder). This is one aspect of human psychology that fortune-tellers use to make people believe that there’s something magical going on.

    As for B12 deficiency, I don’t get why you would have to take shots for this. I’m not a nutritionist, but there are B12 oral supplements; you should consider asking your doctor about if you can switch to this.

    It is, however, true that vegans have to watch out for B12, which can only be obtained via milk, eggs, meat and supplements/re-enforced products. The good news is that re-enforced foods are quite common (bread, margarine, soy milk — staples amongst vegans in the West — will often have B12). India is heaven for vegetarians, but it seems quite bad for vegans since there aren’t any easily-accessible vegan sources of B12, as far as I’m aware (I’m Canadian, but I spent 6 months in India and I don’t think I’ll ever eat better than I did then unless I end up with an Indian girlfriend). Vegetarians — or anyone, for that matter — should keep basic nutrition in mind so that they eat a well-rounded diet. Since we don’t absorb everything in the same way, it’s good for anyone to do a checkup to see if they’re not getting everything they need.


    • @ Dussault – Hi Thanks for your comment.

      I had to take the shots as my level of B12 was too low and I needed immediate attention. Now I am off the shots and taking those pills now.
      I love being a vegetarian and have no aspirations to start eating non-veg food. I am happy to be away from BP and cholestrol related problems!

      Keep coming back 🙂

  3. First time here!! Nice space..

    Guess you could try fish or meat balls. They come in a completely different form and won’t remind you of eating the regular thing. Try them once. They may look like regular soya balls.

    Keep Blogging!

  4. Hi!
    I’ve been vegetarian for several years, and vegan for about 8 months. If you watch your diet closely, there is no need to start eating meat again! And I’m proud of you for standing up for what you believe in when everyone else is complaining. People’s complaints usually have more to do with their personal beliefs than your specific situation and your health, because it is perfectly possible to be a healthy vegetarian. Check out the podcast Comassionate Cooks-Food for Thought, as they have an episode all about getting enough B12. Click on the episode called “An Essential Vitamin- B12”

    • @ Nicole- thanks for your support. I am feeling much better now. And I think Eat Green should be the mantra for everyone. They can atleast start beign a vegetarian atleast twice a week. What do you think?

  5. I see lots of weir names and terms here,can i get a background on you( You are part of a clan? , what is a Jain? )
    I understand your problem, I am not a vegetarian , i really don’t care for what i eat, my diet is random and I pay the price.
    I drink and smoke and have the liver and lungs to show for it. I sleep randomly but still don’t get dizzy or fall ( exept when iIdrink a lott) And to lie to my self I say I’m living my life. Please reply.

    • @ resto – please take care of your health! Jainism is an Indian religion which believes in not eating animal products.
      Drinking and smoking are both bad for health and I am nto mentioning anything extra ordinary – but I have lost a close person due to smoking.

      Take care.
      God Speed,
      fruity 🙂

  6. I don’t think its all about being veggie and eating meat/fish will solve all problems. I know many people who have never once touched meat/eggs/fish in their lives and they are normal. Only solution I see is come back to India, spend some days at home with your mummy or at sasural or simply spend a month in Punjab. And you will be as strong as any other so called non veg person.

  7. Many people think the terms food allergy and food intolerance mean the same thing; however, they do not. A food intolerance is an adverse food-induced reaction that does not involve the immune system. Lactose intolerance is one example of a food intolerance. A person with lactose intolerance lacks an enzyme that is needed to digest milk sugar. When the person eats milk products, symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal pain may occur.

  8. Its all in the brain I guess. I am thinking of doing a post on this. I agree with you that its hard to change food habits. Our brain is seasoned that way.

  9. i am a veggie and haven’t got any probs.. BTW, if you were diagnosed with pernicious anaemia means whatevr amont of Vit B12 you take orally isn’t going to get absorbed. You will need to take it through injections. So sweetie confirm the diagnosis first. (i am not joking here!!)

  10. Mehak, I am a Jain and for generations we have been vegetarians. Nobody that I know of, ever faced any major problems because of food habits. I know about Vitamin B12 deficiency as my husband was diagnosed with it. The Doctor told him to increase his milk intake. He did that and he is fine now.

  11. I think I need to see adoctor…. 😉
    I turned a veggie about a year back and think I really made an intelligent decision. Belonging to the same clan as you, even I had to face a lot of resistance from my family and those ‘Men-that-eat-anything-that-can-walk-,-swim-,-fly’ friends. But I did it. I did convert. And I am proud of it. You should start taking supplements if you realy need to..and if you have other ideas you can very well assume animals to be your supplement and convert into a non-veggie…its very convinient that ways.

  12. Nothing to worry Mahak, this illness is very common to girls. My sister, Alex’s(NetEdge) GF… all have similar symptoms. In fact you sud be happy that you have been asked to eat all the yummy food available. Chicken soup is also an energy booster.

    Is alcohol allowed to be consumed? if yes then try eating meat after 2/3 pegs. If you don’t throw up..u’ll start liking it.

  13. Yu just scared the shit out of me with this post!
    Of Nausea, Fatigue, Tingling of nerves in arms and legs, Sore Tongue, Mood Swings, Imbalance and Poor Concentration Levels, I’ve experienced 1,2,6 and 7 already.

    A veggie by choice, I’m being forced/pleaded to/requested/harrassed into eating meat…or at the least, fish. Having eaten them for 22 years (I gave up 2 yrs bac), one should feel that I would be able to go back to it. But the mere sight of ppl chewing flesh disgusts me now!

    Oh gosh…never knew these things might come up…but well, i prefer crashing / taking meds to eating dead bodies!

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