The Results I Got On A Vegan Diet
A plant based vegan diet has recently been touted as the healthiest diet on the planet, and rightfully so. Over the past 4 years of being vegan, this has proven to be absolutely true from my own personal experience. I’ve always been driven to lead a healthy lifestyle, but it wasn’t until I adopted a plant based diet that I saw health in a new light. Simply put, this lifestyle became one of my biggest passions, and I’m always eager to share it with everyone.
I love reading articles written by those that changed their life by going vegan. It’s common that I end up watching hours of YouTube videos from athletes, bodybuilders, mothers, and even teenagers who proudly show off their plant based lifestyle. Sometimes I get so caught up in watching others vibrant lifestyles, that I forget to share all the reasons why I love my own!
There have been many times, I’ll be in a conversation with someone and I’m reminded about the way my ‘old’ body used to behave before I went fully plant based. Just common problems, most of which I’ve probably forgotten, were a part of an average life.
So, before I forgot them altogether, I took out some time to jot down some things that have changed since I went vegan – and there are a lot more than I expected. Hopefully this list will be an inspiration to you, and get you excited about the amazing things a plant based lifestyle has in store!
20 Things That Happened To Me After I Went Vegan
- Energy levels increased. Going plant based has given me abundant energy, whereas before, I was used to low energy spells and sleepiness. Now, I have the uninterrupted energy of a child and am always ready to go out for a jog or workout.
- Digestion became more regular. I used to think my digestion was perfectly healthy, until I adopted this fiber rich, and nutritious way of eating. Things like constipation or any irregularities I used to have are now gone. I meet so many people (girls especially) who tell me that they use the bathroom once a day, or even once a week! This can all be alleviated when your intestines are filled with high fiber foods!
- Recovery time is accelerated. Post training fatigue and the inability to move for a couple days was normal before going vegan. I remember when muscle soreness felt like an injury and lasted for an abnormal amount of time. Sometimes, I’d even get cold sweats or the feeling that a fever was setting in after workouts. Now, I may get slightly sore depending on the intensity of my workout, but it goes away with ease.
- Got rid of bad stomach aches and headaches. My most vivid memories, starting from elementary school, were of debilitating stomach and intestinal pain. Every day on my walk home from school, I would experience a sharp stabbing pain in the left side of my abdomen. Sometimes I would just sit on the curb and hope it would go away so I could walk home. Later that night, I’d develop a blinding migraine that would make me puke. I literally had to put an ice pack or a cold wash cloth on my head to minimize the pain. Every day, the pain crept in like clockwork. Eventually my mom took me to doctor who had suggested I switch from cow’s milk to soy milk, and my migraines stopped. However, the stomach pains were a regular occurrence into my high school years, presumably because I’d still eat dairy products. Right when I got home from school, I’d go to the kitchen and grab my bottle of cherry Mylanta from the fridge, have a swallow, and wait for the pain to stop. I was just careless about my food choices and was uninterested with looking for the most obvious cause.
- Cystic acne and oily skin went away. I remember the first time my face broke out at 12 years old! It was a minor distraction until it became persistent and more severe. Over the years, I developed painful, cystic acne on my face and back. Anyone who deals with acne knows the toll it can take on your energy and self-confidence. Somehow, it became a part of all my teenage and young adult memories. I went to the dermatologist for years, took all kinds of pills and creams that just dried my skin out, and made it react worse. I could go into so much detail on this point, but simply put, my cystic acne and oily skin are gone. Now, I’m just left with some minor skin damage that is slowly fading with proper nutrition, hydration, and sweating!
- Immune system got way stronger and I stopped getting sick. Getting sick or succumbing to the ‘flu and cold season’ means that your immune system is unable to fight off pathogens. During the first year of switching to a plant based diet, I experienced so many sicknesses like UTIs, the flu, stomach bugs, sinus infections, etc. I’m sure my immune system was cleaning house. But after that, all sickness has been gone for good. What’s even weirder is that I can actually FEEL when a bug gets into my body, and my immune system fights it off before I even have symptoms. Now I’m at the point where someone could be coughing away right in front of me, and my body’s immune system triumphs every time.
- More relaxed and calm, less stressed. One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that when animal products were a part of my food intake, I was always on edge with emotion and insurmountabe stress. Typically, I was always anxious, impatient, or easily frustrated. There were times when I’d just have mental breakdowns and start crying, thinking, “why am I crying?!” Looking back now, at what seemed to be monstrous obstacles at that moment, is truly comical. It’s amazing to me how much anger I would channel towards others or situations. And now, it’s so easy to just accept things and be happy!
- Better sleep. Pretty straight forward, I get much better sleep, which I think can be attributed to my absence of stress and heightened emotion. I fall asleep with ease, and wake up happy every day.
- Cardiovascular endurance improved. Beginning in middle school and throughout high school, running the mile for PE was my worst nightmare. I was one of the slowest kids on the field and my fastest time was 15 minutes or so! I avoided cardio like it was the plague. I was so afraid of feeling like I was going to pass out from hyperventilation and stomach cramps, that I would just do low intensity exercises instead. Eventually, at the same time I went vegan, a friend of mine started pushing me to jog and sprint regularly. The cardio aspect of my training was so much easier than it was when I was younger, and I now enjoy it everyday! Side note: I used to have some pretty severe heart palpitations (both while sitting still and being active) in high school which are gone now.
- Lost excess fat. Switching to a vegan, plant based diet actually helped me shed excess fat fairly easily. Granted, I had started working out more consistently and intensely at that time, so of course a lot of change occurred from training. But as soon as I removed animal products from my diet, weight just seemed to come off more effortlessly.
- Better body with less work in the gym. One of the most satisfying things about eating vegan is that, as I mentioned in my last point, keeping a lower body fat feels natural and effortless. When I started training in the gym, I realized that 3-4 workouts a week were more than sufficient. I got down to my leanest and fitness physique at that time (about 16% body fat), and was eating anything and everything, without calorie counting calories or tracking carbs (and let me tell you, there were a lot). Now, I should make a valid point here though; once my goal was to add more size and muscle, I had to work a little harder, and lift heavier.
- Ability to eat huge meals without counting calories. Another amazing benefit about eating vegan, perhaps my favorite part, is that I can eat big portions. By that I mean you can literally eat heaping plates of food and maintain the same body fat. The stomach is meant to stretch and hold a lot of fibrous, nutrient dense whole foods, so eating until you’re full is actually perfectly acceptable on a plant based diet!
- Congestion, coughs, sore throats, and runny noses disappeared. I remember that I’d get the seasonal colds, with a few more in between, which included obnoxious crackly coughs that would last for days, sore throats and huge tonsils, and the runny/congested nose that could only be contained temporarily with Sudafed. I’m now so relieved that those symptoms are gone for good! A whole food plant based diet is pus free and also prevents mucous build up in the body. The body produces mucous as a defense mechanism, to contain and expel a virus or pathogen.
- Better mental clarity, focus, concentration, and ….smarts? As weird as this may seem, I often feel that I am a completely different person, living in the same body. The things my mind would be on – emotion, self-doubt, and worry – were fences to my spirit. They literally blocked the connection I had to a higher consciousness, and thinking capacities. I’ve read that negative emotions actually promote a lower IQ so perhaps I’m onto something? I’ve always considered myself a ‘smart’ individual, but now I’m in another head space completely and I love it!
- Feel overall better. This one is self-explanatory. Do good things for your mind, body, and spirit and your cellular frequency will actually go up – literally.
- Eating healthy became easy. Since being a vegan is a lifestyle, rather than a diet, you can eat everything that grows from the Earth. And if you think about it, that’s a lot of food. So I find it very easy on this lifestyle to eat healthy without having to plan or read ingredients (unless of course, its a packaged and processed food).
- PMS symptoms diminished. I used to deal with excruciating cramps that made me look into the possibility of endometriosis. I’d super dose with ibuprofen and Tylenol to alleviate the pain so I could go about my day or sleep through the night. Also, moodiness, irritability, hot flashes, and depression were highest right before and during my menstrual cycle. Now sometimes my PMS goes completely unnoticed, and if I do get symptoms, they include mild cramps without a mood change. I do notice though, the more I replace processed and sugar laden foods with vegetables and whole grains, the less symptoms I have altogether.
- Depression and low mood swings are gone. Aside from PMS, all the random lows I’d get that made me want to stay in bed and sleep life away are non-existent. Again, it’s as if I’m a completely new person!
- Quit getting the stomach flu. Every month, I see on Facebook that one of my friends or their kids has the stomach flu. Although, I already mentioned that sickness in general just disappeared after going vegan, the stomach flu is just the most unpleasant thing to catch. Since I’ve been stomach flu free thus far, I’m certain the culprit is meat and dairy.
- I get to eat way more dessert. Of course, this is the most important point of all, right? The variety of dessert is so large that it’s my opinion that the vegan food pyramid needs to have an entire group reserved for it (kidding). In addition to eating more dessert (cake, ice cream, and cookies mostly) than ever before, I enjoy it more now for a couple reasons. The flavor is much more pure and delicious – as many companies use their own recipes, and choose specific/unique ingredients. Also, the ability to eat vegan desserts without having digestive issues or side effects should be expected ….and necessary. To sum this up, going vegan = more dessert = happiness!
Hopefully, you got some surprising insight into what is possible after going vegan. I know that my transition to a plant based diet caused these amazing changes, however you may have your own experiences.
Disclaimer: a plant based diet yields various results from person to person. If you’re interested in going vegan, it’s important to have the right information and guidance.
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*There is a wealth of information and studies that prove the benefits of a vegan diet. See this article on the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.