After switching to a plant-based diet, I noticed a drastic change in my digestive system. Foods that would typically cause gastrointestinal discomfort and bloating quickly diminished, with an increase in regularity, making me feel lighter and more energized. Eating high fiber foods rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes helps to flush out toxins as well as build good bacteria in the gut which contributes to optimal digestive health.
Additionally, by reducing the intake of red meat that is difficult to digest, my system was able to function more efficiently which resulted in less fatigue throughout the day. Finally, I joined a vegan food community that provided helpful tips and advice on how to improve my health further with other dietary changes such as consuming more fermented foods. This was a game changer and really kicked off my journey towards healthy living!
Going on a plant-based diet helped me to exponentially increase my energy levels. There are several key nutrients found in plant-based foods that are essential for a healthy and balanced diet, such as vitamins, minerals, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating nutrient dense foods allowed me to easily build up a store of energy that would last me through the whole day without feeling sluggish or fatigued.
Additionally, while I was adjusting to my new plant-based diet, I tried to fill most of my plate with whole grains and legumes that are rich in fiber. This further helped to increase my energy levels as fiber helps to slow absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, causing more even energy levels throughout the day. Moreover, eating complex carbs was a great way for me to maintain healthy blood sugar balance and avoid inflammation in the body which can cause fatigue.
Eating a plant-based diet allowed me to experience better skin health without having to take supplements or try expensive skincare products. My acne diminished within the week and I began to notice that my overall skin tone evened out and became more radiant. This is likely due to the antioxidants found in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, which help to neutralize free radicals that can damage the skin.
The vitamins and minerals found in whole food sources are also vital for skin health. Eating a variety of these foods allowed me to get an adequate amount of Vitamin A, which can help reduce acne; as well as Vitamin C that helps the skin produce collagen, shields from UV radiation and has anti-inflammatory benefits. Other essential nutrients I had plenty of were zinc which helps with wound healing and can reduce oiliness; and selenium which helps protect against oxidative damage. I saw how important it was to get the right nutrition for optimum skin health without relying solely on skincare products.
Along with improved physical health, eating a plant-based diet also caused me to feel happier and more content. Eating nutrient-rich foods like legumes, nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables can help provide our bodies with the necessary vitamins and minerals to function optimally. This in turn leads to better alertness and overall wellbeing, so I felt more energized throughout my vegan trial period.
It was almost as if my body knew exactly what it was missing from my regular diet. Both my physical and mental health benefited from the change, leaving me feeling motivated and full of life. I attribute this to the increase of whole foods in my diet, as well as the decrease in processed and meat-based products. My vegan week gave me insight into how drastic a shift in dietary habits can impact our overall wellness—something that I certainly wasn’t expecting when I first set out on my plant-based journey.
Update: After continuing on this diet for a month, I decided to go do a blood test to check my body functions and see whether the way I felt coincided with testing. To my surprise, the results were even more drastic than I would have thought! My liver function went from bad to normal, sugar levels were as good as they’ve ever been but the most important thing was that my cholesterol, which was always borderline high, had suddenly moved to ‘good’. I think the results really did speak for themselves in this case.
I was pleasantly surprised by the internal changes that occurred as a result of switching my diet. Eating healthier gave me an overall sense of wellbeing and clarity - I felt more relaxed, focused, and determined. This allowed me to reflect on what was truly important in life and reevaluate my priorities and goals. I had the opportunity to deeply think about my values and how they related to the food choices I was making.
It made me realize how much I could actively take part in my health and wellbeing in more meaningful ways than just eating. I saw how balancing my lifestyle - with exercise, yoga, spending time in nature and journaling - complimented my vegan diet by improving my mood and energy levels. By seeing the effects of these interconnected pieces on myself, I was motivated to continue making changes to further align my actions with what matters most to me.