WHICH CHANGES CAN YOU EXPECT FROM GOING VEGAN
You don't really fancy the taste of meat or even better you’ve already abandoned meat some time ago and now you are thinking about taking the next step towards a healthy nutrition. Going vegan.
While you’re twisting around the thought you are asking yourself: What will change in my life or more
importantly, in my body? How long will it take for these changes to get noticeable or even visible?
There are many positive changes that may occur. What’s most important is, that these changes depend on the way you eat. Believe it or not a vegan diet can also be done in an unhealthy way. Think about eating mainly vegan fast food, like processed vegan foods, crisps, fatty sauces, vegan sweets and so on and so forth.
But we want to assume here that you are a real foodie and you perfectly know how to eat a healthy vegan diet. Starting from this point you can expect quite a lot of positive changes.
Another important point to consider is the way your diet was before deciding to go vegan. If you change from a diet high in saturated fats, processed meals and high sugar foods you will note positive changes after a few days already.
On the other hand, if your starting point is a super healthy flexitarian diet, rich in omega 3 fatty acids from fatty fish, some organic meat every now and then and the rest consisting of healthy plant based foods, it may take a bit longer before you notice the positive effects of a vegan diet.
As you can see there are quite a few important points to consider that may be very different from one person to another. Anyway, there are a lot of benefits from a vegan diet that we are going to mention now in the order in which they are most likely to occur:
- Energy boost → 1-2 weeks
Something very obvious and positive for you to notice will be the boost of your energy levels. When changing from an omnivore diet to a balanced plant based or vegan diet, you automatically eat a lot more fruit and vegetables rich in fiber. The increased fiber intake will stabilize your blood sugar levels and provide you with a steady flow of energy.
- Better gut health → 3-4 weeks
The high fiber intake will also benefit your gut bacteria or microbiome. We know that the way we eat affects the composition of bacterial strains we are hosting in our gut and this is super important. The bacteria is not only responsible for our digestion but also for the production of certain hormones and our overall health and well-being. Eating a plant based diet rich in fiber promotes a healthy microbiome and you’ll notice this after a few weeks already. Things you may notice range from a better digestion, better sleep, less unintended weight fluctuations, a better mood, no bad breath and many more. You see what an impact our gut health has? It is one of the most important “organs” related to health and well-being and a vegan diet can really help to improve gut health.
- Less appetite and cravings → 3-4 weeks
The high fiber intake together with the changes in the microbiome cause vegans to have less appetite or cravings, which furthermore helps with maintaining a healthy weight or weight loss.
- Weight loss: 4 weeks → months later
Several studies found that people going from a western diet on a balanced vegan diet lose weight. The weight loss is more obvious in the first four weeks but continued the following months. We know that weight loss tends to be tricky because once people go back to their normal eating habits the lost weight or even more than that comes back rapidly. Going vegan is many times a lifelong decision and a balanced vegan diet is very likely to help you maintain your lower and healthier weight.
- Better skin → 3 months
Our diet and lifestyle have a tremendous effect on our skin. Our skin reflects how our body is inside. A high-fat & high-sugar diet may cause skin irritations, an uneven skin-tone and flaws. All of this can improve dramatically with a balanced vegan diet. You may notice a glowing and even skin without irritations in between a few months.
- Boost immune function → 3-4 months
Some research also indicates that the higher intake of antioxidants from fresh fruit and vegetables as well as a high vitamin C intake help to improve our immune system. This helps to combat diseases and lessens medications you’d have to take to fight a cold or the flu for example.
- Lower systemic inflammation → 4-5 months
This is a super important point for your health and longevity. Several external or internal factors cause inflammation in our body. This may be something like a bad diet in case of an internal and pollution in case of an external factor for instance. So what happens, when our body is exposed to those inflammation causing agents during a long period? Exactly: chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is not a good thing. It can cause severe diseases like cancer but is also responsible for chronic pain, bad sleep or bad mood. So if you want to feel energetic, young and healthy you have to minimize inflammation in your body. A balanced vegan diet can help to do this job.
- Lower cholesterol levels → 6 months
Another study showed that people had better cholesterol and other blood lipid levels. This is important because high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and other metabolic issues.
This is an impressive list of health related benefits of a vegan diet. One thing that is really important when going vegan is to take care that you get all of the nutrients your body needs and there is one that has to be supplemented in any case: Vitamin B12. You will not get Vitamin B12 out of any plant based source and if you dont supplement it you will leave your body deficient which causes extreme tiredness, the lack of energy, breathlessness, headaches, pale skin, noticeable heartbeats and the loss of appetite and weight loss. So be sure to get your supplement.
Overall there is robust support for the beneficial effects of a plant based diet. It may take different people longer or less long to achieve the above mentioned health improvements. As already discussed at the beginning of this article it is not just the genetic and other biological or metabolic differences of each one that are important, but above all how the diet is practiced.
As you may have noticed we frequently used the term “balanced vegan diet”. Eat real food. Don’t eat processed or other unhealthy things. Try to get as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible, eat legumes rich in protein, help yourself with vegan protein powder and choose healthy and complex carbohydrates.