How Can Being Vegan Affect Your Body in the First Year?
Posted on September 25
If you're thinking of being vegan or have recently made the transition, you're in the right place. Becoming a vegan can be one of the best things you can do for your body, however, it can take some time to get used to it - especially if you're transitioning quickly or overnight.
The first few weeks
When people first make the switch to a vegan diet, they usually notice an energy boost in their day to day activities. This is due to the removal of processed meats and adding a lot more vitamin-packed vegetables. Fruit, vegetables, and nuts all help boost your vitamin, mineral and fibre levels to help keep your energy levels up for life.
You'll also notice that your bowel movements will change quite a bit. You'll become more regular when going to the toilet, have an increase in bloating with wind and loose motions. But don't panic! This should pass after a while and is only due to the sudden spike in fibre and the increase in carbohydrates now in your diet. This change can lead to an increase in diversity of the bacteria in your colon which is overall amazing for the way your body functions.
Physically, your skin may clear up and you'll have a glowing complexion. Many vegans have reported that the impact on their skin was one of the best transformations they had. As dairy has hormones in it that can cause acne, cutting it out can really help balance it out without having to go on meds.
Keep in mind that your hunger might become more regular at first. Plants are a lot lower in calories than meat, dairy, and eggs so it's important to make sure you're eating enough calories for your height and weight. So bulk up on the veggies, pulses, and grains!
Up to six months later
Up to six months into veganism, depending on what type of vegan diet you're following, your vitamin D levels could become low. Vitamin D is essential for your body and helps keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. Not to mention, vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to migraines, depression, heart disease and cancer. Especially in winter months, make sure you're eating foods that are fortified with the vitamin as you won't be getting enough from sunlight.
Vitamin B12 stores may become depleted due to the vitamin mainly being found in animal products. It's essential for the human body and helps with the functioning of blood and nerve cells. The symptoms of a vitamin b12 deficiency are:
- a pale yellow tinge to your skin
- a sore or red tongue
- mouth ulcers
- pins and needles
- changes in the way you talk and move around
- disturbed vision
- changes in the way you think, feel or behave
- a decline in your mental abilities, such as memory, understanding and judgement
If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to see a doctor. Going as early as possible will stop the symptoms from being irreversible. The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent change.
It's crucial to remember that like any diet, being vegan is all about balance. If you're only eating Oreos and fries, then you won't make it far on your vegan journey. However, having a diet focused on pulses, grains, fruit and vegetables will allow you to feel the full health benefits of making the switch. Want to keep your health as maximised as possible? Try out our fish-free omega-3 capsules here.