TABLE OF CONTENTS
The world is becoming more and more health-conscious; consequently, vegan diet has been escalating in recent years. You might say, being popular is one thing, but how does going vegan help your body?
Not all people decide to go vegan for health benefits. There are various reasons why people might choose a vegan lifestyle. But no matter the reason, there are benefits for your health that can’t be denied. In this post, I am going to talk about how vegan diet can help your overall well-being.
When done correctly, vegan diet can help you lose excess weight, improve blood sugar control, and improve kidney function. Several studies also show that a vegan diet can help reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including pain, swollen joints, and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
According to some studies, vegans have up to 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure compared to vegetarians and 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Vegan diets are also effective in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.
I suggest you read the study on the website Journal of the American Heart Association about how Plant‐Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease.
Is Going Vegan Difficult?
When going vegan it might be difficult at the beginning for sure but it’s not impossible. I believe that familiarizing yourself with the different vegetables and fruits that are on the market is very important and one of the first steps to take when deciding to go vegan.
There are certain risks when you eat a vegan diet though. If not approached correctly you might lack certain nutrients, especially those that are not present in plant-based food – Vitamin D and B12. Every vegan should take those two vitamins in form of supplements.
Another thing that fresh vegans might find difficult is bloating. At the beginning you might have some bloating and gas as your gut learns to adapt to a new diet that is full of fiber. Just stay strong and consistent.
Do Doctors Recommend Vegan Diets?
Yes, there are more and more doctors who recommend vegan diet nowadays. For example, new research, led by a Dr. Hana Kahleova, MD, PhD, shows that following a vegan diet for a couple of months can boost your gut microbiome, improves in body weight and blood sugar.
Dr. Hana Kahleova is convinced that eating more plant-based food is healthier, they contain fiber and boost metabolic health.
If you are wondering, what is the position of the American Dietetic Association on Vegetarian Diets I suggest you read their paper.
When you are on a vegan diet for longer period of time your vitamin B12 stores may run low. Vitamin B12 you had stored in your body when you were eating meat gets depleted over time. This can be prevented by taking vitamin B12 supplements.
I already wrote an indepth article on why do vegans need to take B12 supplements. You might want to read it if you wish to learn more about B12.
To get the first hand information from the scientific point of view about vegan diet, I suggest you read the study on Animal v. plant foods in human diet and health.
How Do I Start Going Vegan?
So, you’ve decided to go vegan but where should you start. How do I start going vegan is a common question in the beginning of your cruelty-free lifestyle.
Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle can be pretty intimidating at the beginning, which is understandable but once you are on “that road” and you start seeing all the benefits, you realize it’s worth it.
Want to hear my story? I was flirting with veganism for a couple of months – reading books and listening lectures on animal cruelty and nutrition. I believe in that time I gathered enough knowledge to make an informed decision, but it seems like I waited for the perfect moment to make the switch.
And that perfect moment came! Me and Tara were sitting on a couch, watching Forks over Knives documentary, and that was the final piece of the puzzle that did it for me. When the documentary ended, I said: “From this moment on, I am vegan.” Tara looked at me and seemed a bit terrified, but she decided to jump on the vegan train as well and said: “OK, let’s do it!”
We never looked back.
To help all of you who are still hesitant for whatever reason, I put together 7 helpful tips on going vegan. So if you are still wondering: How do I start going vegan? Here’s how!
7 Tips For Starting Vegan Diet
1. Learning is the Key
The first most important step is to start familiarizing yourself with veganism. This way you feel ready as you start a new habit and lifestyle.
Allow yourself time to learn new things about veganism. Whether buying some interesting books, attending vegan classes, searching for, and reading some blogs and forums, watching documentaries, listening a trustworthy nutritionist on Youtube.
Be on the lookout for vegan friendly restaurants and local grocery stores in your area too.
2. Do it Slowly
When starting vegan diet, keep your goal in mind. Should you make a drastic change overnight or do it slowly? This is up to you, your desires and your ability to adapt a new diet in your life.
Don’t stress yourself to go vegan overnight if you think this is not a right approach for you. If you need your time and do it slowly, that’s all right. Also, it takes time to realize what’s perfect for you.
One of the easiest ways of changing your habits is to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet. Maybe you could start by removing meat (yes, fish is also meat) and dairy only once a week and decrease the amount of meat and dairy each time more.
Another option is also changing one meal per week or per day (if it’s not too difficult for you). For example, having vegan breakfast, instead your common one.
What about changing products? Replace cow’s milk for plant-based milk, butter or margarine for coconut oil, meat sausage for a vegan seitan sausage, or other food to replace meat.
Once you investigate how many varieties of vegan products are on the market, you will find out you won’t miss out on your favorite foods.
3. Do it Properly
Don’t think going vegan is 100% healthy. There are many vegan versions for various type of junk food. Make sure you eat a variety of plant-based food and avoid vegan junk food, this way you will include all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
So, making a good meal plan is important. If you’re not sure if you are doing it right, contact a good nutritionist near you.
Also, start reading food labels. That is very important. If a food has an ingredient you can’t pronounce, skip it.
4. Try Something New
Leave your comfort zone, your everyday tastes and pamper yourself and try new foods. This way you will learn how ample vegan food can be. Whatever type of cuisine you like, you will find it in vegan variations for sure.
No need to think you are supposed to be a super chef for preparing a good vegan meal. You’ll be surprised to see how many dishes you can prepare from simple food you have in your kitchen or local market ingredients.
When you go to a restaurant try a new vegan dish or ask the chef if they can make you simple dish, for example rice with vegetables if you are in a place where there are no vegan options.
5. Remember Your Reasons
Why have you chosen a vegan lifestyle? What does it mean for you? Remember all the benefits you have had since then.
It is very important to remind yourself, especially on those “bad” days when you feel you could eat eggs and bacon for breakfast.
Surround yourself with positive people who support your lifestyle, with animals who feel your love when spending time with them, etc.
6. Hang in There
Believe in yourself and don’t let your family members’ or friends’ opinions about “eating vegan is boring” affect you. Stick to your decision and don’t argue with them. Let them have their opinion and respect yourself by being faithful to your choice.
Furthermore, forgive yourself if you make any mistakes while going vegan. It can happen to all of us.
7. Find Your Tribe
Sometimes, making the change and being consistent to your new lifestyle can be difficult, especially if your partner or rest of your family isn’t vegan. That’s why it’s important to find your group of people who can always exchange ideas and ask for help.
Inspire yourself by following some vegan accounts on social media. You can find everything from delicious recipes and cruelty-free lifestyle tips to new vegan products and good restaurants.
Also, you can join a vegan Facebook group. There you can ask for help, get inspired by other members etc.
What Are the Side Effects of Going Vegan?
Most of the time when starting with veganism, people usually become aware of some changes not just on your body but in overall health. Once you know what the side effects of veganism are, you know what to expect and you don’t go into “panic mode”.
Surely there are vegan diet advantages and disadvantages and I will discuss both so you can get the wider perspective. If you are not sure if vegan diet is right for you, you might try it for a short period and see what are the benefits of being vegan for a month.
The Positive Side Effects of Going Vegan
- Clearer skin
Skin begins to clear up due to the absence of fatty animal products that cause acne and other face impurities.
- Boost of energy levels
After no longer consuming animal products that aren’t digested correctly by intestines, you feel lightness.
- Weight loss
As you switch from calorierich foodyour weight reduces.You start to eat a higher volume of food but make sure you eat enough of calories.
- Better digestion
Eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes means consuming more water and fiber which leads to better digestion.
- Improved overall well-being
It is linked with a lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Furthermore, it is effective in lowering blood sugar levels and improving kidney function.
The Negative Side Effects of Going Vegan
Cravings for sugary, salty, and fatty foods might happen when you begin eating mainly low caloric plant-based foods. It’s completely normal to feel cravings at the beginning, just stay strong.
- Feeling hungry
You don’t only eat larger meals but also more frequently as well.
- Emotional stress
When your family and/or friends are not supportive for your new lifestyle choice, it can be hard at times. Remember, it will pass after some time as you get more comfortable.
Have you heard a phrase »You are what you eat«? This means what goes into your body affects your health. One of the most recommended diets for your health is definitely a vegan diet.
It is rich in fiber, natural prebiotics, vitamins, minerals and health-boosting antioxidants. It’s all what your body actually needs. This type of diet is not actually a diet at all, but a lifestyle.
It can have an astounding impact on both your short-term health and wellbeing, while reducing the risk of illness in the long term. If you eat a good balance of whole plant-based foods, your body will be optimally fulfilled. There’s no surprise why vegans live longer. If you’re thinking of transitioning to a vegan diet, there are many delicious plant-based foods to choose from. Try incorporating some of these foods into your meals and snacks to reap the many health benefits of following a vegan diet.