If you ever thought about trying to become vegan, you’re not the only one! Every other month, there are lots of people who are testing out the meat and dairy-free diet for various ethical and environmental reasons.
Others try this for their own health. According to Shilpa Ravella, MD, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, “there are many compelling benefits to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which is why it’s worth trying this type of diet”.
Ok, truth to be told, we can safely say most of us have a problem when it comes to including plant-based foods. So I guess that we can say trying to be vegan for a couple of days can’t do any real harm, right? Let’s see what this is all about:
Things that might happen when you go vegan for a month:
You might lose or gain weight
As Jennifer Mimkha, MPH, RD, recalls, many of her patients were very surprised to notice how easily they lost weight just by transitioning to a fully plant-based diet. First of all, the majority of plants have better sources of protein and are lower in calories than meat, according to Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD.
The other reason is that it’s not that easy to eat as a vegan. And it’s something that becomes very frustrating when you want to grab a bite on the go, which if you think about it, eliminates A LOT of snacking opportunities. You can’t give in to tempting foods, because they usually contain either dairy or meat.
Your taste buds will evolve and you’ll have more cravings
They say that when you go vegan you notice a difference in your taste buds. What usually happens is that your whole sense of taste is suddenly heightened, and food suddenly brings you more pleasure.
Even more, while before you might have had a hard-to-tame sweet tooth, you’ll soon notice how it disappears, according to Alexandria Abramian, who’s a Californian-based content director who is a vegan-diet lover.
But luckily, science can back up this taste-bud transformation. And according to Dr. Ravella, there’s evidence that shows how you change directions when you move from junk foods and animal products that are high in salt, fat, and sugar to only plant-based foods.
You’ll learn to cook new things
This doesn’t surprise anybody: your favorite recipes won’t be needed anymore, at least not in the month you try going vegan. But some people (hopefully you too) will find this a joyous opportunity to learn new things, to challenge themselves and the way they were planning a meal.
Imagine how many new ingredients you’ll discover! Let’s be serious, if you’re a food lover, you’ll be excited to try new foods! And even if you’ll go back to eating meat and dairy, I can 100% confirm that you’ll still stick to some vegan recipes. Find a couple of go-to meals where vegetables are the center of your plate, and you’ll skip the stress of looking for recipes!
You’ll attract other people around you to try it
Another thing I can assure you will happen is that your friends and family will see how well this diet fits you, and they’ll want to try it too. Because that’s how the power of example works! If you decide to quit smoking and you succeed, the ones around you will have proof that it’s possible.
While at first, they might be extremely skeptical, you do you and they’ll follow. Plus, when you’ll get a better understanding of how it works, and you’ll start cooking for others, they’ll definitely win them over.
You’ll have more energy
As Mimkha mentioned, you’ll notice an increase in your energy levels right away. While before you might have needed two cups of coffee to survive throughout the day, after switching to a plant-based diet you’ll be more than satisfied with one.
So adopting a plant-based diet will assure you more energy. But how much of it is because of a vegan diet? According to Messina, there isn’t really any scientific reason to back this up. But we can only assume that the increased energy is the result of a healthier diet overall, especially if you avoid sugary treats and processed food because these are the ones that make your blood sugar spike up and down.
Your skin will glow
Many vegans reported that the change on their skin wasn’t just immediate…but it also shined like a LIGHTNING BOLT! Now, jokes aside, they did say that one of the biggest physical changes they noticed in the process had to do with their skin.
So here’s the confirmation: by changing your diet, you can clear all of your skin complexions. If you’re currently suffering from skin issues and if you struggled with it your whole life, you should consider trying a plant-based diet. And let’s be honest, there isn’t one dermatologist on this planet that won’t recommend you to eat healthier if you want better skin.
You’ll experience unstoppable hunger
This one is as real as it gets, and it’s completely normal to happen. In the first days of the diet, you’ll have no idea what to eat, unless you have severely searched day and night for what a vegan diet requires. And if you have, we congratulate you!
It might take you a while until you get a good grip on what a vegan diet means, and until then, you’ll be hungry non-stop! And you’ll also notice that while cutting out meat was easier, cutting eggs and cheese will be the ultimate test, according to Talia Koren says, a recipe developer and founder of Workweek Lunch.
And also vitamin imbalances
As healthy as a vegan diet can be for you, you should expect to have some vitamin deficiencies, especially B12, according to Dr. Eytan. For example, Omega-3 fatty acids might be missing in a vegan diet, though you can still have them by eating flax seeds and walnuts.
You can ask your doctor or even a nutritionist if you should add supplements to replace some missing nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and calcium. And if you try this option and it doesn’t work, you can always go back to eating dairy and meat! For some people, it works better, and for some, it’s exactly the opposite.
You will have a microbiome makeover
The bacteria in your gut can have a huge impact on your health. According to Dr. Ravella, the standard American diet is responsible for fostering the growth of some disease-promoting bacteria. On the other side, a more fiber-rich diet will lead to a diverse microbiome, which is full of friendly bacteria.
So the decision to switch to a fiber-rich vegan diet can result in a couple of rapid changes to your gut bacteria. And as Dr. Ravella points out, you will notice profound changes in your microbiome, just a couple of days after switching from a meat-based to a plant-based diet, or vice-versa.
Cheats and exceptions
In the end, if you come to the conclusion that a full-time vegan lifestyle, and even a 30-day challenge, isn’t the answer, you can always try mixing. You can have one vegan week a month, just to vary and become a flexitarian! Or, if you enjoyed the vegan lifestyle, but you know you’ll never give up on that saucy meat and fresh dairy, you can always have a cheat day!
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