Are you considering a change to a vegan diet? Awesome! The reasons to make such a lifestyle shift can be as unique as each individual, but they usually include an underlying commitment to health or the environment. Have you wondered what you can expect when you become a vegan? Let’s discuss the real truth of what it means to your body when you eliminate animal products from your diet.
At the start of a change to a vegan diet, you could experience a variety of differences to your body. These may include being hungrier, getting gassier, a change in your skin or body odor, weight loss or gain, better or worse sleep, headaches, tiredness, or having more energy. As you can see, it can go many ways! Changes, of course, depend on what you were eating previously and how your body responds to the different types of fuel it’s getting on a plant-based diet. Your journey is yours, although it will likely draw on the experience of others.
Common Results of a Change to a Vegan Diet
No matter who you are, when you change to a vegan diet, you will likely see some differences in your body. Most of those are positive, but some can be more challenging. Here are some of the most consistent experiences people have with the switch.
You’re going to get gassy.
One of the hallmarks of a plant-based diet is an increase in fiber. Remember that you’re eating plants, which include more grains, vegetables, and fruits, all of which are loaded with fiber. In fact, a study showed that vegans eat about 41 grams of fiber a day, the most of any of the major ways of eating.
Naturally, fiber is an excellent addition to your diet, but if your body isn’t used to that much of it, it’s going to take a bit to transition. And that means you’ll be gassier and probably have to poop more. Getting on a regular schedule is ideal for your body, so stick with it!
You could lose weight—and be hungry.
When you eliminate certain foods from your diet, it can take time to find great alternatives. Cutting out meat, dairy, and cheese, which can be higher in calories than plants, may mean that you’re eating fewer calories on a daily basis. It might also leave you feeling you have fewer snack options, another reason you won’t eat as much. That reduced calorie intake often leads to initial weight loss or being hungrier.
On the other hand, if you change to a vegan diet that is loaded with processed foods and simple carbohydrates, that may result in gaining weight. That approach to being plant based is a much less healthy option (and processed foods aren’t good for anyone), so it’s best to stick to whole-food choices.
Your gut health will improve.
Your gut is full of microbes, and several leading gastroenterologists encourage a plant-based diet to create a healthier microbiome. One excellent book that explains how all this works is The Gut-Immune Connection by Emeran Mayer, MD. According to Dr. Mayer, by making the change to a vegan diet, you’ll boost your immune response, and that’s a huge benefit. While your gut microbiome is changing, expect more gas (and maybe tummy aches), but it will pass, and it’s all worth it in the end.
You may need to change your supplements.
Many of us take daily vitamins and minerals in an attempt to get all the nutrients our bodies need. When you eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet, you’ll get most of what your body needs from your food. But there’s an exception: B12. Vegans must supplement their diets with this gem; a lack of vitamin B12 can result in neurological issues, metabolic problems, and in severe cases, death. It can only be found in animal products, so if you’re not eating animals, you must take B12. Other supplements to consider when you change to a vegan diet include calcium, iron, and omega.
The More You Know…
Making any changes in your diet can result in changes to your body, inside and out. The same is true when you change to a vegan diet. The Vegan Taste helps you enjoy delicious plant-based fare delivered direct to your door. All you do is heat and enjoy. And if you have questions about the transition, we can help you with that too!
Check out what Chef Jason has on this week’s menu and place your order!