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how do I know if I need supplements?

Posted by Suzann F.

I've been a vegetarian for a little over a year and I wonder sometimes if I'm not shorting myself on some crucial nutrients, etc. I don't drink cow's milk (I prefer soy), but I do eat eggs on occasion when I'm feeling I need a good dose of protein (but sometimes they just gross me out). I don't take any vitamins or supplements, but I'm wondering if I should? A B vitamin supplement, iron, or even just a multi-vitamin? Does anyone have any good advice? I'm not hugely into fancy cooking and I don't have a lot of time to devote to planning out elaborate food combinations, so that aspect of vegetarianism has never really appealed to me.

It's hard for me to know whether I "need" to be taking supplements... I don't think I have any health "problems," per se, but I do have minor issues with acid reflux, headaches, tiredness, etc. I hadn't thought about any of those things being caused/worsened by my diet, because they're not really new things, but maybe it's possible?

Answers (1)
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You actually have more than 1 question here but let me start with the supplement question. If you eat a varied diet with many different colored fruits and vegetables, with whole grains and beans as the basis of your vegetarian diet, with the occasional egg, you may be getting what you need. If you don't eat any animal products, you may need a vitamin B 12 supplement. Taking a standard multivitamin might be fine for you although choosing the best for you foods is really the place to start.

Now, about your "health" problems, I can assure you that acid reflux, headaches and tiredness are not part of what I consider the best health. And they often are related to what you are eating.

You can see if eating a cleaner diet without wheat, soy or dairy might make you feel better. Try it for a few weeks and see how you feel. It doesn't need to be "fancy" and it is based on whole foods. If you don't give it a try, then you won't know.

I wouldn't want to be faced with your non-health issues. That would make me tired.

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