The last few years have seen a massive increase in nutritional awareness, especially by those who have begun to question the omnivorous lifestyle. A healthy, well-rounded vegan diet has been identified by many doctors and nutritionists as one of the most effective ways to nutritionally heal the body and achieve optimal health through mindful eating. While everyone's body is different, there are some common side effects of going vegan that one can detect in as little as seven days into a plant-based diet. Here are seven changes to expect during the transition to a completely plant-based diet.
Weight loss is one of the most noticeable (and common) changes which occurs within just a short while of switching to a plant-based diet. The reason for this is simple—plants normally contain fewer calories and grams of fat than animal products. New vegans often find themselves eating more, in terms of volume, and losing weight because they’re still consuming less calories.
Some vegans shun processed vegan junk foods like the plague and choose to eat only whole, minimally-processed foods. This usually means giving up processed sugar, which is a key contributor to blood sugar spikes and energy crashes. After a week of eating healthful vegan fare of processed sugars, bodily processes start to normalize, and natural energy from whole foods can be sustained.
Decreased Cravings for Junk Food
Consuming plant foods often helps one to develop an appreciation for minimally processed, whole foods. For example, a person who gives up processed peanut butter containing added sugar, preservatives and unhealthy hydrogenated oils for a week, cleansing their body with clean produce in the meanwhile, may no longer enjoy the taste of that type of peanut butter again. They will happily switch to a natural peanut butter, containing only simple, natural ingredients, because their taste for artificial ingredients will have diminished.
Fiber is needed to help the body eliminate waste and to cleanse the system, to ensure continued absorption of essential nutrients. Plant foods contain enormous amounts of fiber, but animal products contain very little in comparison. Consuming fiber-filled, water-rich green vegetables and nutrient-dense fruit aids digestion, and many people see marked improvements in the health, appearance, and elasticity of their skin within a week of eating this way.
Elimination of Toxins
There are some temporary side effects of going vegan that may discourage those who do not understand their function. Junk foods contain elements that the body does not know how to process and tends to store in its fat reserves as a defense mechanism. When the body loses fat on a vegan diet, it starts to release those toxins, resulting in headaches and sometimes nausea. Also, people who eliminate caffeine while on the vegan diet are almost guaranteed to have withdrawal headaches. Consuming an abundance of fresh, raw fruit helps the body to quickly cleanse and flush out toxins.
Increased Sinus Drainage
Many people have believed the dairy farmer’s marketing campaign insisting that milk does a body good. Some vegans, however, experience some beneficial side effects of giving up dairy. Many of these find out their bodies didn’t tolerate dairy well in the first place and can digest much more effectively when not having to deal with lactose.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, you might want to take a closer look at your diet. Foods that burn energy quickly, as opposed to whole fruits and veggies, can keep you awake at night. On the other hand, many vegan staples—peanut butter, bananas, sweet potatoes, squash, almonds, and kale—contain vitamin B6 and tryptophan, which help improve sleep quality. Those suffering from sleep apnea and chronic snoring can benefit from using snoring sleep belts and adopting a vegan diet, the latter promoting better sleep and keeping their sinuses clear.
The physical and emotional changes that a person sees within the first week of adopting a vegan diet are often directly related to how that person has treated their body in the past. If one has consumed a buffet of unhealthy chemicals, sugary foods and animal products for a large percentage of one's life, then consuming a vegan diet for a week will only serve to jump start the body's cleaning mechanisms. During this phase, a person will realistically experience both positive and negative symptoms that ultimately lead the way to improved long term health.