We get it!
Swapping that turkey sandwich for tofu may not seem that appealing, but the long-term health benefits are huge.
Not only will a vegan diet result in a trimmer waistline, but it can also have a positive environmental impact by cutting greenhouse gases caused due to the breeding, feeding, slaughtering, and apparently, farting of cattle and other livestock.
Jokes aside, while a question mark looms over the multitudes of fad diets that are present in this modern age, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a doctor or dietician who will warn you against eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
As is the case with any diet plan, diving in headfirst into a vegan diet won’t be doing you any favors. It’s important to note that the most common vitamins and minerals deficiencies found in vegans are the same as in the folks rummaging through beef-burgers at the local deli.
This can mean only one thing; a plant-based diet plan is only as good as the plan itself. Keeping that little golden nugget of wisdom in mind, this guide is going to cover everything you need to know about making the transition to veganism.
- 1 What Does Being Vegan Do to Your Body?
- 2 How to Prepare Yourself for a Vegan Diet?
- 3 How Long does it Take to Transition to a Vegan Diet?
- 4 Which is Better: Full Transition or Step-By-Step?
- 5 What Are Barrier Foods?
- 6 Conclusion
What Does Being Vegan Do to Your Body?
Before you go ahead and have that vegan burrito and oatmeal latte, there are a few things you need to know about being on a plant-based diet.
Mainly, what does being vegan mean for your body?
The main difference between switching to a plant-only meal plan and staying on a traditional diet plan is the macronutrient breakdown. Macronutrients make up for the bulk of the matter of every food we eat during the day.
This means that carbs, protein, and fat are all macros in our food, and all of these macros combine to our form our overall daily caloric count.
Each macronutrient is measured in either calories or grams. By tweaking the quantity of each macro, you can provide your body with enough fuel to get through the day while on a vegan diet.
By paying attention and keeping track of those macros in the food you consume, you will learn more about why you’re not reaching your weight goals or how your body can stay healthy while on a vegan diet.
In other words, jumping on the vegan bandwagon is a constant learning process where you get to add or subtract certain vegan foods to get the most out of your plant-based diet.
It is also important here to note that being on a plant-based diet will automatically mean you’ll be consuming more carbs as compared to consuming animal products.
While this might raise a few eyebrows of those who fear carbs, it’s important to understand that not all carbs are created equal. For example, eating refined sugar is not at all the same as the carbs you get when consuming fruits, grains, or legumes.
So, while going vegan is going to be a drastic change to your diet, be smart about what you consume and how much can help you during the transitioning period and beyond.
Again, it all boils down to your game plan. More importantly, it depends on the vegan diet you choose.
If we didn’t mention it earlier, now’s a good time to tell you that there are several types of vegan diets that you can try out. The most common forms of veganism include:
- The Whole-Foods Vegan Diet
This is a form of the vegan diet where you will consume a variety of whole plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
- The Raw-Foods Vegan Diet
Under this vegan diet plan, you’ll only be consuming raw vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. It also includes plant foods that are cooked at low temperatures, as in below 118-degree Fahrenheit.
- The Raw-Till-4 Vegan Diet
As the name implies, this low-fat vegan diet only allows the consumption of raw vegan foods until 4 pm. Followers of this diet will have the option of a plant-based cooked dinner.
- The 80/10/10 Vegan Diet
Also known as the low-fat-raw-food diet, the 80/10/10 vegan diet plan consists of raw foods with the limited consumption of fat-rich plants, such as avocadoes or nuts, and so on. This diet plan mostly relies on soft green vegetables and raw fruits.
- The Starch Solution
This is a low-fat, high-carb vegan diet plan that’s a lot similar to the 80/10/10 diet. But, rather than going with fruits and vegetables, it focuses more on cooked starches, such as rice, potatoes, or corn.
- The Thrive Diet Plan
This is a raw-food vegan diet plan where you can eat whole foods that are, of course, plant-based. The diet plan allows you to consume either raw or minimally cooked plant-based foods.
Coming back to the changes you can expect while switching to a vegan diet, it goes without saying that the type of plant-based diet you choose is what’s going to determine how your body reacts to the vegan diet. This is why it is important to take it slow.
Different people react differently to the vegan diet, so it’s important to make the transition to veganism at your own pace.
It’s advised to not make any drastic changes to your diet overnight, but rather, approach it as you would any other lifestyle change, by taking small steps at a time.
Since there’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all formula for the vegan diet, making small changes to your diet plan, while at the same time, determining how those changes are affecting your body is one of the easiest ways to make the transition to veganism easy and hassle-free.
After all, you don’t want to deprive your body of any essential nutrients while transitioning to a plant-based diet.
Changes to Expect in the First Few Days
Going vegan takes time. You can’t expect to wake up one morning and declare yourself as a vegan. Being vegan is a process that is going to take some time and effort to achieve the desired results.
But, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to feel anything once you’re officially started on your plant-based diet plan.
One of the first changes that people notice once they go vegan is a sudden boost of energy that wasn’t there before due to the cocktail of harmful chemicals, preservatives, salts, and sugar, which was present in processed meats and other over-the-counter products.
Skipping the processed meats and other processed foods in your diet for vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes can spike the body’s minerals, vitamins, and fiber levels, resulting in consistently high energy levels.
Your body will also start to feel a lot lighter, which is something similar to what you’ll feel when going through a detox phase.
Changes to Expect in the First Few Months
As the days without animal products in your system turn to weeks and then months, you will also start to experience some other noticeable changes in your mind and body.
Because of the high fiber content of the vegan diet and the significant increase in carbs which ferment in the gut, you will soon see a shift in your bowel functions – for the better.
This will result in a more regular and healthier bowel movement pattern, and a decrease in bloating or wind. That being said, depending on your approach to veganism and your choices, you might also end up experiencing gas, bloating, and the runs.
The good news is, your body will soon get used to the plant-based diet you follow, which usually results in these effects soon fading away.
Believe it or not, you will also feel happier. This is something you don’t often hear when it comes to diet plans, but it is a well-known result of going vegan.
Since you’ll be eating healthy and staying away from processed foods filled with salt, sugars, preservatives and God knows what else, your body will feel happier too.
In other words, you will feel more ready in general and prepared to meet the day, instead of feeling fatigued or experiencing the Monday-blues all through the week.
Three to six months into your vegan diet, you should start to notice some other changes that come about as a result of staying away from heavily processed meats and other foods.
By this time, if you have any acne or are prone to skin rash, you will start seeing that clear up.
Many vegans also experience a heightened sense of taste, with the foods they eat, bringing them more satisfaction as compared to when they were on their old diet.
This taste-bud transformation is very real, and there’s growing evidence that a person’s sense of taste starts to improve once they move away from processed foods, sugars, and salt.
Since dairy, meat, and fish are a huge source of vitamin D, and vitamin D is needed for healthy teeth, bones, and muscle health, staying away from these food sources might deplete the Vitamin D levels in the body.
This is mainly because the Vitamin D reserves that are stored in the body only last for up to two months.
Because low Vitamin D levels usually go unnoticed until it’s too late, you should include a Vitamin D supplement in your daily diet regimen, along with an iron, Vitamin C and B12 supplement as well.
This is just to give the depleted vitamin stores in the body a boost. That being said, you don’t necessarily need to take supplements, even after a few months of making the transition to veganism.
This is why it is so crucial that you eat a “healthy” vegan diet, learn everything you can on the various strands of veganism, and tweak your plant-based diet accordingly.
For the most part, making the transition to veganism should only bring about positive results, hence the popularity of going vegan. Therefore, there’s really a very slight chance that your plans to go vegan will go sideways.
Overall, the change that the transition to veganism brings about in your body will have many positive effects in the long run.
For starters, eating a plant-based diet will increase the diversity of good bacteria present in your gut and colon. This, in turn, will prove to be beneficial for your entire body.
Changes to Expect Over the Years
As mentioned, going vegan is not something that’s going to happen overnight.
But, after several months or years of being on a vegan diet, you will have gotten a well-balanced vegan diet down to a science.
As your intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients start to come from healthier sources (vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes), it can prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, and reduce your risk of stroke or diabetes and other serious illnesses.
You will also experience higher vibrational frequencies, as in a positive shift in consciousness, which will make you more aware of everything and could also lead to your spiritual awakening since your mind, body, and spirit will be in balance.
By now, you will know exactly which vegan diet plan, and vegan foods your body responds to best. This will ensure that you feel healthier and that your body keeps functioning at optimal levels while on a vegan diet.
How to Prepare Yourself for a Vegan Diet?
Making the transition to veganism can be intimidating for some people, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Knowing all the benefits alone is not enough to make the vegan diet work for you. Having a strict diet plan and constantly tweaking your vegan diet will help open new avenues to the plant-based meal options available.
That said, there are some things that you can do to ease your transition to veganism.
While making the transition to veganism might leave many people guessing about the best way to move forward, and rightly so, getting yourself acquainted with the vegan lifestyle and learning new ideas and guidelines to structure your vegan diet plan.
This will help you tailor your plant-based diet according to your needs.
The only way you can do this is by learning as much as you can about veganism. The more knowledgeable you are, the better your chances will be for success with your vegan diet plan.
You can start with the benefits of going vegan and educate yourself on the various vegan diet plans and tips.
This is also a good time to find your “why” for choosing the transition to veganism – doing your part for the environment, shedding extra pounds, or simply wanting to live a healthier lifestyle.
Knowing the reason why you choose veganism will give you that drive you need to be successful in your vegan diet.
Also, start to read more about vegetables, fruits, and nuts, and how to tell if a product is vegan. You should always be on the lookout for new vegan products at the local grocery store and identify restaurants that offer vegan-friendly menus.
When it comes to your success in making the transition to veganism, it will all depend on reading and learning as much as you can on veganism.
Veganize Your Diet
In their excitement to make the transition to veganism, many people make the mistake of making drastic changes to their diet.
This might not be a good idea since you will be pushing aside most of the foods that your body has grown accustomed to over the years. This might result in you going cold turkey and turning away completely from a plant-based diet.
A smart way to transition to veganism will be to slowly add vegan foods to your diet plan before you start cutting meat and other animal-based foods completely from your diet.
Rather than subtracting from your diet, you should start by adding vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, and nuts to your diet.
Get familiar with the preparation and storage of vegan foods while trying out new vegan recipes.
A good place to start is by learning a few easy-to-prepare vegan recipes that you incorporate into your diet. You can switch from milk to a non-dairy alternative, such as soy milk or almond milk.
It is important to keep yourself motivated during the transition period and throughout your journey with veganism.
There’s temptation everywhere, and it’s not easy to break with all the advertising of food products that we’re bombarded with every day.
To keep yourself motivated, you will need to remember the reason why you went vegan in the first place and its benefits.
This can get difficult at the start since the positive effects of a vegan diet won’t appear until after a few months of being dedicated to your plant-based diet.
Being well informed on veganism will help you improve your argument when you are faced with negative opinions at the family barbecue or in everyday life.
But, you will need to have enough information so that you can share with and teach others the benefits of going vegan, and what they are missing out on.
It is important to note that being passionate about being vegan can have a contagious effect, so talking about the various health and environmental effects of going vegan can have a positive effect in reassuring your purpose.
To make sure you don’t go off track with your vegan diet, you can clean up your kitchen. This means that you need to strip your kitchen of all non-vegan foods or junk food.
You can replace your sugary snacks with healthy vegan alternatives that will not only be good for your health, but will keep you from getting tempted.
How Long does it Take to Transition to a Vegan Diet?
Making the transition from a normal diet to a vegan one can take anywhere from a week to a few months, and even a year.
Transitioning to a vegan diet is a slow process and will mainly depend on your approach and how well your body is able to adjust to the plant-based diet.
More and more people are making the transition to veganism, which only goes to show how easy it can be when done the right way.
When it comes to transitioning to the vegan diet, it is also important to note the various changes that the body will have to go through, such as withdrawal, adapting, bowel movements (or the lack thereof), and the vegan diet you choose.
As a rule of thumb, it is important for those who are just starting out with their plant-based diet to fill the vitamin and mineral gaps with supplements.
This will ensure that your body keeps getting the vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy as it goes through the transition period.
Which is Better: Full Transition or Step-By-Step?
Make no mistake; transitioning to a vegan diet can be harsh on your body.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to keep away from sugary or salty treats, and your body is not going to like being deprived of the usual suspects when it comes to diet. This is why it is advised to start off slow with your vegan diet.
Instead of introducing an all plant-based diet and getting rid of meats and other processed foods, it will be smarter to take a step by step process and make small changes to your everyday diet at your own pace.
This means introducing a few vegan meals into your diet to make the transition as painless as possible.
For instance, you can start by including more of the vegan foods you like. While we normally don’t think about it, many meal plans incorporate vegetables that you can use as part of your daily diet plan.
Some great examples of foods that you can eat more of are oatmeal, stir-fried vegetables, bean chili, or pasta primavera.
While there are plenty of other meal plans that you can slowly incorporate into your daily routine, these are some good choices for those who are looking to make the transition to a wholesome, vegan diet.
At the same time, you’ll want to cut down your intake of meat and other processed foods. You can start slow and lessen the proportion of your daily meat and processed foods intake as you go.
These gaps in your diet can be filled by adding large portions of delicious salads or fresh fruits to your daily meals so you’ll still have something tasty to munch on.
While you can throw every non-vegan food you find out the window on the first day, it’s advised to see your transition to veganism as a step-by-step process so you can ease your body into a completely plant-based diet without any hiccups.
What Are Barrier Foods?
If you’ve decided on going with a plant-based diet from now on, there are going to be some barrier foods that could keep you from accomplishing your vision of a wholesome, plant-based diet.
When on a vegan diet, it is important to avoid eating foods of animal origin. This means avoiding all animal flesh and animal by-products.
This will include beef, lamb, mutton, pork, and all other red meat. You will also have to avoid poultry, such as chicken or duck.
Those on a vegan diet also cannot eat any seafood or dairy products such as milk, butter, yogurt, honey, cream, cheese, ice cream, and any other dairy product. Since honey is also a by-product of bees, it should also be avoided.
Items such as whey, lactose, and casein are all derived from dairy and also need to be avoided. The thickening agent gelatin comes from cows and pigs and also should be avoided.
Natural flavoring should also be avoided since some of them are animal-based.
Many times, products that are on the grocery store shelf might not be that vegan after all, which is why you need to get familiar with all types of non-vegan foods, ingredients, and additives, as they can keep you from getting the benefits of a vegan diet.
So, there you have it. By using the aforementioned tips, you should be able to make an easy transition to veganism.
It should also be noted that going vegan is a lifestyle that requires a lot of hard work and vigilance when it comes to what you eat and drink.
This is why it’s crucial to educate yourself on all things vegan so that you are able to make smarter choices when going with a vegan diet plan.Last updated on: