Vegan Salt –the blog











{February 17, 2010}   Vegans Never Get Sick…

I’ve been known to brag about my unstoppable vegan immune system.  When I was an omnivore, I was used to getting sick every time anything was going around, often catching the bug twice in one round!  I never had sick days last me past March.  My doctor saw me three or four times a year.  I thought that was pretty normal.

There’s nothing magical about being a vegan that makes viruses avoid the very sight of you.  But the food you put in your body directly affects the strength of your immune system, and your ability to fight off whatever junk you come in contact with.  When I say I never get sick anymore, what I mean is that when everyone around me is in bed for several days, I just feel a little achy or tired – not sick enough to miss work, and certainly not sick enough to need to see the doctor for any prescriptions.  I don’t get flu shots and I don’t use hand sanitizer. I work with the public and I handle money.  I count on my health vegan body to handle whatever germs come along – and it does!

Why am I telling you all this?  Because last night I realized I wasn’t feeling great.  For the past 2 days, I’ve been a little slow to wake up in the morning, and I’ve been getting minor headaches, a little more in the evening than during the day.  I’m also feeling some sinus congestion.  It’s nothing near the congestion I used to think of as “normal,” which cleared up completely when I cut dairy out of my diet.  This is more like my body remembering a cold – my breathing is completely clear, but there’s a little tickle at the back of my throat.  In the evening, there’s a slight ache in my shoulders and my jaws, and my eyes become a bit sensitive to light.  During the day, I have a bit less energy than usual and a slight ache at the base of my skull, but otherwise I feel fine.

So, I’m telling you this because I suspect my body’s up against a nasty bug right now.  Two of my male coworkers, both pretty strong, active, hardworking types, are sick in bed with whatever’s going around, and are pretty miserable, from what I hear.  I’m going to keep you updated on how I feel over the next few days, and we’ll see whether my body handles this bug as well as it handled the flu season!  Tonight I’m making some chili, as suggested by Pearl Renfroe last week, and I’ll try to get to bed by midnight, since I’m meeting someone for brunch tomorrow.

To get more updates on how I’m weathering the virus, follow me on Twitter.  I’ll update this post daily to let you know how it’s going.  Vegan vs. Virus! Let the showdown begin!

  • First night – had a big bowl of spicy chili, took a hot shower, and was in bed by midnight.  Didn’t fall asleep until 1.
  • Woke up at 8 in the morning with a pretty bad headache – my left eye and teeth hurt!  Gave in and took some pain pills and went back to sleep.
  • Up at 10, feeling tired.  Having coffee, then biking to Alchemy to meet up with @oneamyseven.  It looks cold out.
  • I’ve had a strange craving for orange juice lately, and went through one super-sized jug in the last week.  That may or may not have anything to do with the virus.
  • It’s afternoon/evening.  I’ve noticed signs of inflammation – complexion is puffy; there’s a slight rash inside my elbows.  It’s something I used to get for weeks at a time, now only shows up when I’m “sick.”  I’ll forgo wine tonight and let my body rest.
  • Breakfast was green tea and a hearty muffin.  Lunch was more chili and vanilla soy yogurt with pineapple added.  I think I’ll snack on an orange.  I’m feeling almost fine today.  I agreed to pick up a shift at work tomorrow.
  • The nighttime headache returns, not quite as bad as yesterday.  It can’t help that I’ve been chewing gum and staring at a computer screen for hours.  Taking a pain pill again.  Going to turn off the computer and read a book before bed.
  • Second day in a row, I woke up exactly at 8 with a splitting headache and took pills, went back to bed.
  • Slept past noon.  I feel good!  Drinking coffee.  I’m working this evening.
  • Toward the end of work, my headache was full-fledged, and I took 2 aspirin.  I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s actually a dental issue, rather than viral.  Which comes first, the toothache or the headache?
  • It’s past midnight.  Headache’s a little better, but I’m definitely a little mucousy in the throat.  I’ve had high energy levels all day, even when the headaches kicked in.
  • It’s Saturday morning.  I did not wake up with the 8 a.m. headache today!  My head hurts a little, but not enough to have to take anything for it.  AND I went to bed after 3 in the morning.  I think I’m beating this thing!
  • Headache at night again.  A friend thinks I need more calcium.  I think I need more sleep.
  • Up at 8 today.  Not from pain – for work.  My teeth and skull hurt.  Only slept 6 hours.
  • New theory.  I’m not actually fighting sickness.  I’m overworked and dehydrated.  Today I realized that out of the past 7 days, I’ve had only 1 day off work, and the coffee it takes to keep me running may be making me crash & giving me dehydration headaches!
  • Thinking of giving up coffee.
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Andy H says:

I was vegan for 6 years and never once even got a cold. When I stopped being vegan I started getting sick again (I stopped because I moved and could no longer get a lot of food I previously ate, and was worried that I needed something to supplement what I could eat).

I am convinced that veganism fights off illness. Good luck with this!

(I need to go back, if I can)



I can attest to this, at least anecdotally (is that a word?). I’ve been sick at least once per month since moving to Japan. Okinawa is very wet and the flora here is very different than the flora in America. My body went into shock when we moved here. The mold and spores and pollen are off the charts here, and the species are foreign to me. I have spent a majority of the last two and a half years either laid up in bed with allergies and illness or nursing my husband and/or daughter with one.

I had a cold when I went vegan nearly three months ago. Since that cold cleared up, I haven’t been sick with anything despite two rounds of illness coming in my home from my husband’s work and my daughter’s school. I haven’t caught any of it. Since my husband and child have not been eating totally vegan (the husband is omni outside our home, and my daughter eats meat periodically when we eat out of the house) and I have been…well, I think we know what the change is, right?

I’m even a smoker, and this is happening! Someone once told me, “It’s easy to be slender and healthy at the same time when the majority of what you eat is fruits and vegetables.” She was right. My body is so much healthier and stronger…and I’m only beginning.



Christy says:

I haven’t been sick since I went vegan while my other vegan friends always get sick. You’re right, the quality of your food and your environment determines your state of health.

The thing is our bodies are powerful machines. Usually when we have small aches, headaches, or other minor symptoms it’s our bodies telling us something is awry inside. Were aren’t actually “sick,” like we caught something from someone. This is a good time to reevaluate our diets to see the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Like when I eat too much sugar, my body will begin to produce mucous or my sleep will be crazy. I gave up alcohol 3.5 years ago and it was the best thing I could do for my health. Alcohol causes an extreme acidic condition that weakens the immune system like no other. Sugar too.

Hope you feel better! Make miso soup for breakfast, cut out all the sugar/alcohol and processed foods, and you should be tiptop soon!

Love your blog btw! xoxo The Blissful Chef



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