5 Health Perks Of Going Vegan
Written By: Suzanne Kvilhaug
Nothing can spark a heated debate or solicit strong opinions like the topic of veganism. I’ve been vegan now for 8 years and I think (I can only hope) that I’ve heard it all. Negative comments, the utmost praise, and complete confusion seem to be the three most popular reactions I experience when I tell people I’m a vegan.
When I started eating vegan, it was still considered pretty radical. I personally didn’t know one single vegan (sad face) and rarely did I come across products specifically made for vegans. Looking back now, it seems as if I had a crystal ball when I made the decision because of what transpired after. The year 2016 was hailed as the year of veganism and in 2017 the number of vegans in America rose to 6% of the population, which was a 600 percent increase. Then plant-based foods were named the trend of the year for 2018. See where I’m going with this? Veganism isn’t going away anytime soon as it keeps picking up steam and growing rapidly (and vegans all together now we sing, hallelujah!).
If you’ve been considering eating more plant-based foods or going entirely vegan, here are some health benefits you may experience by making the switch.
1. New healthy foods, new nutrients, new you!
People hear the word vegan and immediately connect it with deprivation and restriction. No and no! And of course the predictable interrogation about your protein intake, followed by the baffling “so what do you even eat then?!” (FOOD!) I’m not trying to be fresh here but after experiencing this for so long, it’s clear that people are a bit stuck on their outdated false beliefs. I think it’s because it’s been ingrained in people’s mind for so long that you HAVE to eat meat “or else”. The else is usually implying that you’ll simply wither away and die without it. Hmmm, no, not true. Cue the vegan bodybuilder or even me, a vegan for so many years and I’m still kicking.
If you eat a vegan diet that includes a lot of vegetables and fruits, it’s a given that you’re going to be consuming a lot of more nutrients then you’re used to. I know this may sound like a vegan on a converting mission but I know about so many more different foods than I ever did and my diet is way more versatile and interesting since becoming vegan. Way way way more! And I am so much healthier overall. The irony is that now when I meet someone who isn’t vegan, I think in my head “so what do you even eat?!”
2. Glowing skin won’t be something you just read about anymore
Doesn’t the phrase “glowing skin” make you want to do whatever you need to do to get it? Run 1 mile, walk 1 mile counter clockwise, and when done with both eat 2 bananas, then wait 30 minutes with your eyes closed, tap your head while rubbing your belly at the same time, wait another 5 minutes and drink water with 7 squeezes of a lemon and you WILL get glowing skin. I read that somewhere and I’m like alright, I’m on it, headed out the door now.
I’m not looking to make any false promises here about glowing skin, but it has been said that eating vegan helps you get it. I don’t want to toot my own horn here but since it’s for information purposes I guess I am going to. When I am eating a really healthy vegan diet, I’ve been told from time to time that my skin is glowing. Obviously, you need to eat the right kind of vegan food to get the glow. If you’re downing soy milk all day, eating a lot of mock meat and vegan pizza for dinner, don’t expect to blind people with your complexion.
3. Negative Nancy no more
Feeling like a ticking time bomb ready to blow your stack? Ok or maybe not so dramatic, but possibly your moods aren’t balanced and you wouldn’t exactly describe yourself as the most joyful person. See how you feel and what changes when you eat primarily plant-based foods. Vegan diets tend to have more complex carbohydrates present which increase the feel good hormone serotonin in the brain. If you want to lean in to eating more vegan, research in the Nutritional Journal has shown that restriction of meat, fish, and poultry improves mood. Who knew you could turn that frown upside down by going vegan?! Now you know.
4. A taste bud transformation could be headed your way
After only a few weeks, taste buds can change. I know I can personally vouch for this one. It wasn’t overnight but over time my preferences completely changed when I went vegan. A total 180. Still to this day, I am finding that what I like to eat changes and things that I used to not like, I am all about and vice versa.
It really is true that the more you start to eat healthier, the more you’ll crave it. So if you’re thinking about eating more of a vegan diet but you don’t really love the choices, ease into it and see what happens. And if you didn’t like something years ago, don’t assume you still feel the same way. Your taste buds could have changed and you had no idea. Exposure to new foods over time can slowly change your preferences as well. So most importantly, be open-minded and willing to experiment, you never know when it’ll go from I loathe you to I love you.
5. No more dairy means no more problems associated with eating dairy
Lactose intolerant? A lot of people are. I can’t begin to count how many people tell me that they should be vegan because they can’t digest dairy and that milk makes them sick. It’s really as simple as no more dairy means no more problems that eating dairy causes. I’m always amazed at this concept because of the level of discomfort people feel and the havoc dairy is doing to their bodies. People don’t need cow’s milk, it’s again as simple as that. If you were a cow, it would be a different story. Humans are the only mammals on Earth that willingly drinks the milk of other animals. That thought alone has to raise some sort of red flag. Drinking milk because you think you need the calcium? Here’s vegan food choices that have more calcium than milk.