Going plant-based is one of the best things you can do for your health and the wellness of animals everywhere, but you probably already knew that, right? You may already know that eating a plant-based diet is healthy, and that it’s better for the environment. Do you know some direct, specific benefits you may experience within the first week of eating a plant-based diet? They may leave you intrigued to give it a try.
I’ve never been one to preach a plant-based diet in a dogmatic, fussy, and judgmental way. Each of us have enough pressure in the world. We sure don’t need to view food as a way to gain perfection and obtain a certain “status quo.” Yet, I also can’t ignore the fact that so many people suffer from health problems that they shouldn’t have to, all because of what they’re choosing at meal time. If you’ve been slightly sluggish lately, not feeling your best, or think you’d like to try to eat a more humane diet for whatever reason, take a look at some of the benefits you’ll be able to enjoy as you embark upon the journey. I can promise these benefits extend way beyond the course of a week but that’s truly all it will take for you to start to see results.
1. Better Digestion
Let’s start with the obvious – your digestion is going to ROCK on a vegan diet, no kidding. Plant-based foods are basically fiber, water, healthy fats, and plant-based protein. There’s nothing in those foods (unless you choose highly processed versions) that cause your digestion to slow down or take a stand-still. Just keep in mind that the added intake of fiber should be embraced with caution. Take it slow and chew your food very well, which also enhances the digestion process. For those who consume a lot of milk, cheese, and meat, this is one of the best changes you can make for healing chronic constipation, gas, bloating, stomach inflammation, and heartburn.
2. Happier Outlook
Eating in a way that promotes life naturally makes you happier. You’ll have a lighter outlook on life and just generally feel happier all the way around. This is a change many people don’t expect, yet one I hear the most about from everyone who takes on the challenge.
3. Better Blood Sugar
Dr. Neal Barnard is a huge advocate of a low-fat, vegan diet for healing and managing diabetes. Mainly because a plant-based diet slows down blood sugar, yet still allows insulin to do its job within the cells. Most people find they don’t suffer low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, or any other symptoms of diabetes within a week of a plant-based diet. Learn how to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet for your blood sugar and learn more about managing diabetes at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.
4. Pretty Skin
Your skin will look incredible after a week on a plant-based diet. Nutritious plant foods are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, water, chlorophyll, and vitamin E, which all do amazing things for your skin. Some of the best bets are apples, oranges, berries, greens, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, avocados, lemons, beets, squash, and tomatoes.
5. More Energy
Animal foods are extremely hard to digest. When the digestive system becomes overwhelmed, it sucks all the energy right out of you. Eating a plant-based diet is a great way to enhance your energy since digestion is naturally easier and certain plant-based foods contain energizing properties. Just be aware of portion size since eating extremely large meals can also be taxing on your system. Check out our recipes section, which is filled with yummy options to choose from.
6. Less Inflammation
Have join pain? Eat more plants! Plant-based foods lower inflammation. Especially those rich in omega-3 fats like chia and flax, along with leafy greens that contain chlorophyll which relieves inflammation. Eating a plant-based diet increases alkalinity in the body to calm inflammation. A diet high in animal foods promotes acidity which can lead to everything from arthritis to gout to chronic stomach inflammation.
7. Better Sleep
A plant-based diet is incredibly beneficial for your sleep health. Even though you’ll likely have endless amounts of energy throughout the day, you’ll likely feel more calm and find it easier to nod off to sleep. Plus, certain foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cashew butter, peanut butter, avocados, kale, almonds, walnuts, spinach, and squash all contain vitamin B6, trytophan, and magnesium, which ensure a healthy sleep cycle. Kale, Swiss chard, fortified almond or soy milk, and dried figs are also richer in calcium than dairy milk (which has been said to actually leach calcium from the body).
If you eat a plant-based diet, what health benefits have you experienced while doing so?
Want to learn more about a plant-based diet? Check out this article.
Please note: These aren’t health promises or medical advice, but are some testaments I’ve experienced since making the switch and some results that I’ve seen from others as well.
By: Heather McClees