Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this article, meaning at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. (Full Disclosure)
Are vegans always cold? Or are you thinking about becoming vegan and wondering if you should expect to have the same problems as the rest of us vegans have?
A vegan diet can be very healthy, but it may not provide enough heat production. Many people are surprised by how complicated the human body is! To keep warm, our bodies need more than just-food. They also need clothing, sunlight, shelter from wind/water/snow, clean air, movement (if possible), and metabolism-boosting spices without sugar or processed foods.
Why might vegans be colder? Here are some ways that veganism might make you colder:
Veganism Is About More Than Just Food
Vegetables have no blood or other body fluids, which you lose during exercise.
This may be a problem for vegans who enjoy exercising outdoors in the winter months. Vegans will need to account for this with extra layers etc., which they would not have had to do had they chosen an omnivorous diet.
VEGAN TIP: Try wearing black clothing made of natural fibers like cotton or hemp. These can help insulate you from the wind and retain your warmth better than lighter colors will.
Lack Of Vitamins Mostly Found In Animal Products
There are specific vitamins typically found in animal products that are critical during times of stress due to cold: B12 and Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that aids in calcium uptake, cell division, and immune system function. However, it can be found naturally in plants; mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light contain a large amount of Vitamin D!
VEGAN TIP: Keep track of your daily intake of Vitamin D through supplements or fortified vegan foods like cereals or soy milk.
Lack Of Fat And Cholesterol
Vegans tend to cut out the fat from their diets and cholesterol, which accounts for a loss of insulation from their bodies.
Cholesterol is not a “bad guy” but rather a molecule needed by every single cell membrane in our body. It aids in hormone synthesis, nerve signaling, vitamin uptake, and more. However, it can be found in whole plant foods like avocados, nuts, nut butter, seeds, etc.
VEGAN TIP: Incorporate these into your diet as much as possible!
Lack Of Glycolipids
Most notably, vegans lack the glycolipids naturally produced by our livers, which generally protect us from freezing temperatures.
Glycolipids such as sphingolipids and galactolipids play a role in cell membrane function and structure. It is also thought that they may aid in the delivery of nutrients to the liver to metabolize them properly and not waste any excess energy keeping those nutrients warm!
Without them, your body will attempt to store more nutrients in hopes that it can use them later in an emergency where warmth is scarce.
VEGAN TIP: Stay healthy and fit! Exercise regularly, eat lots of nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables (organic if possible), and make sure you are getting adequate sleep!
Lack Of Sunshine
The best way to keep warm during the winter months might not be by turning up the heat at home or wrapping yourself tightly in blankets. It might be by spending time outdoors getting some sunshine on your skin.
Sunlight stimulates vitamin D synthesis in our bodies, boosts metabolism, which helps keep us warm, decreases appetite to aid in weight loss/maintenance, and has a large number of benefits to our mental health!
VEGAN TIP: Try to go outside every day for a walk, run, jog, etc. It’s essential to wear sunscreen and hats (vegan friendly, of course), and don’t stay out too long if you are exposed to UV rays throughout the day.
Food Preparation Done Wrong
Vegans commonly eat foods like soy milk or vegan meats, often heated up in their containers before use.
This can remove some of their water content and lower your body temperature.
The amount lost from such foods depends on how hot they were during preparation; however, it is typically around 0.5-1% even with boiling temperatures. This may not seem like much, but over time these numbers add up.
VEGAN TIP: Try to avoid heating foods like these or consume them at room temperature.
Wearing The Wrong Kind Of Garments During Winter
Vegans are more likely to wear cotton clothing during the winter months, providing almost no insulation from harsh winds and making it easier to lose body heat through convection.
Cotton is a fiber that comes from the stem of the cotton plant and is incredibly absorbent by nature. However, air passes in/out of your clothing material much quicker when heated or cooled, which means you are colder!
Natural fibers such as hemp, wool, silk, etc., are a better option for vegans because they will not be destroyed during dyeing processes which occurs with many synthetic fibers.
VEGAN TIP: Wear natural fibers such as hemp, wool, or silk instead of cotton during the winter!
Vegans Have Lower Muscle Mass
Vegans tend to have a lower muscle mass from their diet, so they feel colder at rest.
This occurs because your body will spend energy keeping itself warm, reducing its output for other necessary metabolic processes, including increasing your body’s heat retention.
VEGAN TIP: Exercise regularly and increase protein intake by consuming more soy/tofu/tempeh/vegan meat sources.
Why Does This Happen To So Many Vegans? Vegans tend to stick together with other vegans. This means they will not be exposed much to non-vegan ways of thinking or living – which would allow them to see the connection between things like what they’re wearing and how their bodies react when out in cold environments.
If you’re finding yourself always cold, ask yourself if your diet is 100% vegan. I say this because nobody can claim that all foods are vegan – unless these foods have no ingredients whatsoever.
Many factors influence how cold vegans might feel during winter, including diet, consumed food, clothing material used, etc.
To get through these harsh months without packing on lots of extra pounds from consuming extra calories required to keep warm, you do not need to quit being vegan but rather make lifestyle changes that will keep you warm without having to eat huge portions of food that will not benefit your body.
You can exercise regularly and increase protein intake by consuming more soy/tofu/tempeh/vegan meat sources.
And also, you can eat lots of carbohydrates such as squash, potatoes, corn, and peas, which will help satisfy your body’s need for extra calories during this time.