In 2010, despite that I was eating a very healthy, raw vegan diet, I began showing all kinds of symptoms of malnutrition. I had been all over the world with health. I found healthy eating in early college after living unhealthy for a really long time. I learned what health was, and over the years became more and more interested in it. My interest in health ended up becoming an unhealthy obsession that lacked balance and self kindness, which led me to become underweight and suffer malnutrition when I took it too far. I knew something wasn’t right, yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I just kept pressing forward and learning more about health, I could “break through” and find the other side, which I assumed was perfect health. What I learned was that no diet is a perfect diet, and what works for one person may not work for another. In the meantime, I also learned that not only was I not healthy, but I was also severely undernourished. I was eating a diet full of raw leafy greens, vegetables, healthy fats from nuts and seeds and avocados, and was even juicing. Yet, still, something wasn’t right and I wasn’t healthy. My skin would bleed at the drop of a hat, my hair was thin and falling out everyday, and I had fainting spells in the night and hardly slept at all. My bones were thinning, weight was extremely low, and I was so moody! If you’re concerned that your diet might be causing you some underlying health issues, check out the symptoms of malnutrition below. I think you’ll see that not only are these symptoms easy to spot, but also easy to avoid with a few tips I’ll give you.
1. Hair Loss
One of the very first symptoms of malnutrition is hair loss. When you start finding more hair on the floor than on your head, you may be suffering malnutrition and probably are. Hair needs the right proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats to grow and remain healthy. If it is falling out, something is wrong. This can usually be fixed by eating some type of healthy animal protein, leafy greens, or more healthy vegan proteins and healthy fats.
If you’re consistently feeling lightheaded and fainting, or having trouble with coordination of any kind, it could be a symptom of malnutrition. One of the very first signs I started to exhibit was that I was constantly knocking over things and had lost my sense of balance and coordination, no matter what healthy food I tried to eat to fix it. I even started fainting if I got up too fast, or in the middle of the night at my worst. I would get up to go to the bathroom and pass out. I learned that I was suffering extreme hypoglycemia during my fainting spells from a lack of nutrients, and my coordination loss was a sign that I wasn’t getting in certain nutrients. If you’re having fainting spells, your body is crying out to you. Please listen and do whatever it takes to get yourself healthy.
If you’re constantly depressed and don’t usually eat that much, or eat healthy foods, it is mostly likely unnecessary since depression can be treated through diet and how you take care of yourself. I lived with severe depression for 10 years. It was so bad that at times I couldn’t even function, and panic attacks took over in college. Then, I changed my diet and I became a new person within a month after suffering for years. Before I learned to eat healthy in college, I was eating lots of junk food and sugar and breads and starches. I learned that my body wasn’t getting the amino acids and proteins it needed for my brain to function best. In fact, all my sugar and carb-y foods were causing my blood sugar to go crazy, which was influencing the way my emotions and brain worked. When I changed my diet to more protein, vegetables and healthy fats, I was almost never depressed, despite that I was still having a hard time in every area of my personal life. Yet, it was only when I started eating more of a balance between raw and cooked foods, and taking the focus off being 100% vegan all the time, that I was able to overcome malnutrition. Just because you’re eating the caloric content required for your body doesn’t mean it is the most nourishing one. You can still be depressed even if you eat enough food, and you can still be malnourished as well.
Headaches aren’t always diet related, but they can be. If you’re consistently suffering headaches, it could be a sign that you’re not getting the right nutrients from your diet, or could be a sign that something you’re eating is interfering with your nervous system, and influencing the way your nerves affect your body. Headaches can also be caused by issues with your blood pressure or hormones. Be sure to look at your diet to make sure you’re getting enough calories, and from a balanced arena of foods, if you suffer headaches.
5. Constant Bleeding
As I mentioned, in 2010 when I was eating an all raw and vegan diet, which works for some people, but didn’t for me, I began bleeding out of nowhere it seemed. If I touched something the wrong way, or put just the slightest pressure on a part of my hand, it would start to bleed. The same with my feet. Then, my lips started to crack and bleed out of nowhere. It was freaking me out until I learned why. My body was missing key vitamins and minerals through my diet that were causing the problem. Once I corrected my diet and brought it back to balance, everything changed and my skin looked vibrant, alive and healthy again. No more bleeding either!
6. Weight Loss
Yes, obviously weight loss is a sign that you’re malnourished, but let me be clear about something. Just because a person is thin does NOT mean they are malnourished. There is a true difference between being malnourished and just being thin. If you’re losing weight really fast and just don’t look healthy, you could be malnourished. Usually, another symptom I’ve mentioned here will accompany malnutrition, whereas if someone is simply just thin, they will still look healthy through their hair, skin, nails and face.
7. Weak Eyes
If you’ve ever seen a sick person, you’ll notice their eyes look weak. Well, when I was really malnourished, so did mine. I looked very weak in the eyes and they had no glow to them at all. No matter what special supplement I tried, or how many calories I was eating, my body wasn’t absorbing the nutrients of my foods, which led to malnutrition. Your eyes start to look weak, because certain vitamins and minerals influence your eye health, and increase your beauty overall. Just by looking into your eyes, it is easy to tell if you’re healthy or not. That’s why doctors always inspect your eyes when you go for a visit. Your eyes are a clear perspective into how healthy your body is and are a great way to tell if you suffer malnutrition.
8. Poor Dental Health
If your teeth are cracking, thinning or bleeding at the gums, it may be a sign of malnutrition. Your dental health is influenced by nutrients like calcium, zinc, iron, protein and more. They need the right amounts of nutrients to be healthy. If they aren’t healthy, it could be a sign you’re not getting what you need.
Acne is always a good sign to tell if your body is happy on the inside or not. Acne is a way for your body to say that it isn’t able to efficiently get rid of toxic wastes, so it is expelling it through the skin since the organs aren’t able to for whatever reason. Even if you aren’t breaking out due to hormones like in puberty, you can still be breaking out because of something going on in your body, including malnutrition. If your body is malnourished, it is affecting your hormones and insulin, which are part of your endocrine system. This will affect if your skin breaks out, and over time, the havoc on your endocrine system can also cause aging, dry skin and more.
If you’re not sure if you’re getting the right nutrients, see your doctor. Most women need way more calories than they eat per day. Even if you eat the right amount of calories, you could still be eating the wrong foods. Eat foods that are rich in plant fats, healthy and lean sources of protein, plenty of leafy greens and green vegetables, orange and red veggies, purple and blue fruits and veggies and low glycemic sources of fruit. These are all great places to make sure you’re getting a healthy diet, as long as you eat enough them. If you’d like to learn more about my journey with malnutrition, please feel free to visit my blog, The Soulful Spoon at: soulfulspoon.com. I’d love to have you! Have you ever been through a time your body was malnourished?