Becoming vegan is something many of us have considered, and perhaps even tried. A lot of you reading will already have taken the plunge, and be curious to find out exactly what happens to your body once you give up all animal products.
First though, I’m going to hit you with a few facts. The Vegan Society proudly proclaims on its website that demand for meat-free food increased by 987% in 2017.
The society conducted a huge survey, where they found that the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2018. There were 600,000 vegans in Great Britain in 2018, compared to 150,000 in 2014. The demand for plant-based food is getting bigger every day (we all saw what happened with Greggs), so what exactly does it do to your body?
You’ll have more energy
View this post on Instagram
VEGAN CHEESY PASTA 🍝 You guys seriously neeeed to give this one a try! Made this delicious vegan cheesy mushroom pasta with smokey aubergine bacon and nutritional yeast which gives it that extra cheesy flavour (find this at @hollandandbarrett ). The recipe is now up over on the blog, ready for a Friday night dinner! Don’t forget to join the Holland & Barrett WhatsApp group for loads more vegan recipes and inspo – link in my stories! #veganyourway #AD #healthyfoodie #healthylife #eatwell #eathealthy #healthyrecipes #healthysnacks #breakfast #plantbased #breakfast #healthybreakfast #fitness #healthytreats #fitfoodie #fitfam #fitnessfood #foodie #glutenfree #dairyfree #chocolate #redvelvet #healthydiet #wholefoods #healthyrecipes #healthymeals #foodblogger #foodphotography #fitnessblogger #hbloggers #feedfeed @thefeedfeed
You’ve just decided to become vegan and you’re probably very excited about it. You’re following all of the Instagram accounts (above: exhibit A), and you might have even treated yourself to a vegan cookbook or two. Plus, you’ve definitely had a nosey around the Holland & Barrett vegan snacks – if not, check it out here – but you’re still Googling stuff like the dreaded milk powder in your favourite crisps, or what foods are ‘accidentally vegan’ (thank the LORD for Oreos).
But what’s happening to your body? Well Sophie Medlin, a nutritionist at King’s College of London spoke to LiveKindly, saying that a lot of people notice that they get a lot more energy. When you choose a diet that doesn’t contain meat, cheese, milk, or any dairy, then the natural reaction is to reach for fruit, vegetables, and nuts. This is great as it gives you a load of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Hence the energy boost.
You may also find yourself going to the toilet to ‘do your business’ more, due to eating more fibre. If you have a partner, you might get kicked out of bed for a night or two. Why? Well, there may be some unusual smells coming out of you for a while as your body adjusts to the new diet. Although, if you have a dog – just blame them. It can be our little secret.
Interestingly, some people report the opposite, and instead say they felt tired when they swapped over to a vegan diet. This could potentially be due to not consuming enough B12 or iron. If you decide to try a plant-based diet, it’s recommended that you supplement with Vitamin B12, as it’s a vitamin that’s essential for normal functioning of the nervous system – but not produced by plants. Alternatively, you might want to try regular consumption of foods fortified with Vitamin B12, such as yeast flakes. Where iron is concerned, the simplest way to ensure you’re consuming what your body needs here is to eat foods that are naturally rich in the mineral – such as ground linseeds, nuts and spinach.
You’ll lose weight
View this post on Instagram
Is there anything more satisfying than a bowl of homemade granola? 🥰 Cereals and granola have always been a go-to breakfast or snack for me – it reminds me of being a child and sitting in my PJs watching cartoons 🙌🏻. One of the simple swaps I made when adopting a plant based way of eating was switching from diary to a plant based milk. There are so many options from nuts, to soy or even grains. One of my favourites from @hollandandbarrett is this @provamel Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk made from 100% Plant goodness 🥛. For more recipe ideas and exclusive discount codes, join the new @hollandandbarrett WhatsApp broadcast group. Link is in my story to join 🥑🙌🏻🍩#VeganYourWay #MyHB
There’s been some evidence to suggest that vegans tend to have a lower average BMI than their meat-eating counterparts. So that’s great news… as long as you’re eating a balanced diet, of course.
A long-term vegan diet that is low in salt can also improve your cardiovascular health, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to studies.
You may have some vegan friends who have told you they put on weight when they swapped over to a plant-based diet. As with all diet choices, there are healthy options out there as well as high calorie, less healthy options available. Weight gain and loss is essentially down to energy in vs energy out whatever your diet of choice – so if you’re concerned about this, we’d recommend checking the calorific content and nutritional breakdown of the vegan food you’re considering giving a go. Becoming vegan won’t cause you to put on weight – but consistently eating vegan burger and chips, Oreo’s and Skittles consistently probably will!
Your skin looks clearer
View this post on Instagram
AD | Plant powered protein packed lunch 👌🏻 @hollandandbarrett sent me some plant based goodies and challenged me to whip something up that’s packed with protein but only uses plants — so here it is! Here’s what you’ll need to make this dish packed with 40g of plant protein: – 🍅 Chickpeas, peppers, & chopped tomatoes mixed with spices of your choice on the hob 🍝 Pour the sauce over cooked Red Lentil pasta, stirring until covered 🧀 Top with @hollandandbarrett yeast flakes for a cheesy nutty topping – What are your favourite plant packed high protein meals? Ya girl’s keen to try a few more recipes! 👇🏻 #veganyourway #myhb
Three to six months into your new diet, you could start to notice that your skin is getting clearer. If you’re an acne sufferer, you may notice that you’ve not had any problems for a while. There have been studies that have shown that clearer skin is linked to a plant-based diet. However, at this point you do need to make sure that your Vitamin D levels are correct. It may be time to introduce a supplement. Although, it’s always worth talking to your doctor if you’re concerned about your vitamin intake.
Opting for a plant-based diet can lead to weight loss, better skin, and more energy – if you do it correctly. Eating bread for every meal, or heading to the chip shop, is just as bad as it would be for a meat-eater. But if you’re sensible and ensure you have a balanced diet (and supplements if necessary), you could have a much healthier lifestyle.
Featured image credit: Pixabay
Paid partnership with Holland & Barrett