6 Benefits of Going Vegan for a Month
Recently I decided to go vegan for 30 days. I’ve tried it briefly in the past, but never for a whole month. I’ve watched documentaries like “What The Health” and “Forks Over Knives”, but one day I watched “Vegucated” which almost brought me to tears. In one section of the movie it showed what is done with baby male chicks which made me immediately decide that I wouldn’t eat chicken anymore. So that is what confirmed my decision to try going vegan for a month.
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What is Vegan
Vegan is not consuming any animal products. So that means not eating meat, dairy, eggs and honey. This way of eating consists of eating vegetables, fruits, grains, oats, nuts, seeds, beans and any other food not made from animals. Eating vegan doesn’t automatically mean healthy though. That is why I really do not like using the word vegan. I prefer using the term plant based diet. A plant based diet is still vegan, but contains less processed vegan foods. Donuts, cake, cookies, bagels and fried foods can all be made vegan, but these foods are not healthy. Oreos are vegan! That blew my mind when I found that out.
Sometimes people also confuse the terms vegan and vegetarian. They are not the same. They both do not eat meat, but they do eat dairy and eggs. A vegetarian diet is usually the first step people take before incorporating a vegan diet. I was a vegetarian for four years after I graduated high school. I made the mistake of reverting back to eating meat, but have always included vegetarian meals in my life.
Benefits I Noticed Going Vegan For 30 Days
There have been many times in my life were I have had digestion and intestinal issues. In my twenties I had a colonoscopy due to some digestive issues and the doctor told me that I should not eat cheeseburgers. The reason he said that is because I have a problem digesting cow’s meat. At that time I didn’t realize it. I continued to eat burgers from time to time and started to notice that I would get painful stomach cramping after eating it. That is when I realized that cow’s meat was a problem for me. Even though I was never a fan of steak if I ever did eat steak I would have the same problem. My digestion was not as regular as it should be as well.
When I started eating vegan I noticed that my digestion became very regular which is awesome. Instead of just digesting once a day or once every other day, I started to digest twice a day almost everyday. I know TMI, but I’m just being honest. I also did not have any stomach cramping during the month either, which is a major improvement. Stomach cramping and pain is no joke!
Also when eating a plant based diet you want to make sure you are drinking a good amount of water. You should be eating a lot more fiber with a vegan diet. Eating a high fiber diet without consuming enough water can cause constipation, so water is important for assisting in good digestions as well.
Lactose intolerance is one thing that causes bloating for a lot of people. I am one of those people. I would have to take Lactaid when consuming anything with dairy. Instead of having to do that it’s better to just not consume it. If you are lactose intolerance you will see a big difference by going vegan for a month, since you wouldn’t be consuming dairy at all. Because bloating is reduced you will feel a lot lighter.
I noticed right away that I started losing weight. With a healthy plant based diet you are consuming less calories typically. Since meat and meat products contain a lot of fat, not consuming them will automatically cause weight loss. The key is also to not add back an access amount of processed plant fat like oil. Nuts, seeds and avocado are examples of foods that contain natural plant based fats which are fine to consume as long as you don’t go overboard.
Eating a healthy whole foods planted based diet also happens to be an anti-inflammatory diet as well. A diet high in processed food and animal products can be very inflammatory to the body. So when you eliminate that your body is able to heal itself causing a reduction in inflammation. I began to notice that after consuming animal products, especially dairy, I would have more pain in my joints. After eating vegan for a month I noticed my joints felt a little better. Some of the reduction in pain had something to do with the weight loss as well.
Sleeping is one of my favorite things to do. So I was super excited when I noticed that my sleep seemed to get better during my month of vegan eating. When I was eating meat and dairy there would be nights where I would have an upset stomach throughout the night which would affect my sleep. But I didn’t have any of that when eating vegan. I also noticed my dreams have increased as well, which is weird.
Discovering New Foods
When eating vegan you can easily get bored when making the same types of meals over and over again. Experimenting with new types of dishes can add some excitement. Try making your own pasta sauce or some vegan enchiladas. For example I made a curry dish for the first time. I can’t believe I’ve never tried curry before, but it has now become a new go to recipe for me. You can also try new vegetables, fruit or try a grain you haven’t tried before. To get some recipe ideas here are a few cookbooks that can help.
How Long Until You See The Benefits Of A Vegan Diet?
Some of the benefits like an improvement in digestion and a decrease in bloating usually happen in the first week. Weight loss for me happened in the first week as well, but in the first week I also made sure to eat mostly whole foods instead of a lot of processed pseudo meats. When it comes to benefits like pain relief that depends on each person individually. If you have more chronic pain it could take a lot longer. And it also depends on how healthy your vegan diet is. I have noticed that the more whole foods I eat the better my joints feel and the more processed vegan foods I eat my joints don’t feel as good. The benefits are different for everybody, so you will just have to give it a try to truly find out.
Why Am I Gaining Weight On Vegan Diet?
Even though a vegan diet will help you lose weight if done incorrectly you could end up gaining weight. Not all vegan food is created equal. Fruits and vegetables are foods that you are pretty safe eating more of because they are whole plant based foods. This means they are in their natural state, so they have not been processed. On the flip side there are also a lot of processed vegan foods that you need to be careful with.
There is almost a vegan version of everything. There are vegan donuts, chips, ice cream, cookies, burgers, French fries, fried foods and the list goes on and on. Just because these are vegan doesn’t make them healthy. These foods are high in sugar and carbs, which makes you more susceptible to gain weight. Your best bet is to eat mostly whole plant based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole gains. Nobody is perfect and there will be times when you do have more processed vegan foods, but having these in moderation is key.
If you are consuming mostly whole plant based foods and still gaining weight then maybe take a look at your portion sizes. Even though you are eating healthy foods eating too much of anything can cause weight gain. If you eat a lot of carbs, like rice and pasta try to decrease the portion that you eat. If you eat nuts regularly then try decreasing the amount that you eat each day. The calories from nuts and seeds can add up quickly.
If you have ever considered trying a vegan diet then committing to eating this way for a month is a good start. A month is a good amount of time to feel the positive effects of this way of eating. Even though I decided to commit to eating vegan for a month, I decided after the month was over that I would continue to cook plant based meals going forward. When going out to restaurants with friends and family it can be a bit difficult to find vegan options, so I will stick to vegetarian options when I don’t have a choice. Going vegan for 30 days changed the way I eat for good and I hope you give it a try as well.