If you are thinking of going vegan, or just curious as to how it goes, then these are the benefits you may not expect:
- You will automatically start eating better, even if you aren't trying to, I expected to eat more fruit and veg but didn't think about the fact that I would eat more variety of fruit and veg or that I would make healthier food choices due to choosing vegan options. It's not all health food though if that's not what you want!
- You will get excited about food again. I'm trying new recipes, new foods and new ingredients that I never considered before.
- You will learn to appreciate your supportive family and friends, and learn who your real friends are. Tom has been great, my family have been great and most of my friends and colleagues have been great...some others not so much but it's comedy gold for me to watch people try to pick apart my eating habits. Why do they care so much what I eat or don't?
- You will get more organised about food, especially when away from home. I prepare batch lunches for work and freeze them, or always make sure I have sandwich ingredients at home. This is great for saving cost and eating better, as instead of grabbing pizza from the canteen I have a sweet potato bake with tofu or whatever else I've prepped that week. This is mainly due to lack of vegan choices at my work but I also find I am more organised about having food shopping at home, as more fresh produce is needed so I get more organised about using it up before it goes off.
- You will discover local shops or restaurants you never even knew existed. There are 2 vegan restaurants in my town, and numerous shops with loads of vegan options, and there is a vegan fair every year, and there are vegan clubs, and there are restaurants which are now on my must visit list as they have good options. It's like rediscovering my local area and like I've joined a new community.
- Weight/bloating loss. I lost a lot of 'mass' from my middle, I say 'mass' as I've not lost any weight on the scale but I am a lot slimmer and I think a lot of it was bloating from my cheese and carbs heavy diet before.
- On that note, the amount you can eat. Cutting dairy and meat cuts a lot of calories and fat, so you have to replace that. For someone like me whose meals are quite healthy and balanced that means adding in snacks, and lots of them. Most of them are healthy, but I found out recently I can have Jammy Dodgers and most bourbon biscuits so a few packs of those have been done away with over the last few weeks :)
- Better skin. I've been trying to clear my skin for years, and being 27 and still having teenage spots is a right downer. I'm not saying it's gone, but it's on the way there! I still get breakouts especially linked to 'that' time of the month, but they are getting less and less and my skin generally is less greasy, my blackheads are reducing and I think it looks generally a lot better.
- I feel AMAZING. Where people get the stereotype that vegans are all weak and tired I will never know. I do a decent amount of exercise, and have noticed no drop in my abilities or energy levels. Quite the opposite in fact, I feel like my energy levels and mood are more even throughout the day. Instead of feeling more tired as they day goes on I feel like I have the same energy at 6pm as I did at 10am. I can only put it down to cleaner eating and less hormones etc from dairy.
- My conscience is lighter. I've finally taken the last step in stopping dairy and my lifestyle is cruelty free. I use less water, greenhouse gases, pollution and deforestation that an omnivore diet and I know that no animals were exploited to make my food. It's quite calming :)
Have any of you noticed any unexpected benefits?