Choosing to consume a whole-food, plant-based diet – and kicking the processed food habit – is beneficial for a host of reasons. We believe in plant-based eating as the single most effective tool we have to feel our best day in and day out.
Studies show that adding more plant foods into your daily routine has endless health (and environmental!) benefits, whether you go all-in on veganism, or just have a few plant-based meals per week. Let’s take a look at the most common ways your body functions change for the better on a plant-based diet – and rest assured, they’re totally normal!
First off, what is a plant-based diet?
Plant-based eating can be traced back in history as early as 500 BCE (learn more about the history of veganism here!). A plant-based diet focuses on whole plant foods, not only vegetables and fruits, but also whole grains, nuts, seeds, oils, herbs, and spices.
I’m interested. So, how will this affect me?
If you are considering making the switch to a more plant-based diet, we've broken down 10 common and totally normal effects you can expect.
1. You might feel overwhelmed.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t panic. Your body takes time to adjust to new habits, and so does your mind! Take it slow, and eat what you like! Trying new ingredients can be a fun time to experiment, rather than a daunting task. Give yourself flexibility, there’s no need to go cold turkey. Try adding 1 or 2 plant-based meals a day first and see how you feel.
2. Your taste buds may shift.
There's a whole plant kingdom to sample and experiment with when you switch to a plant-based diet. Diversifying your mealtime means opening yourself up to unfamiliar tastes and textures which can take time getting used to. Don’t be afraid to branch out into cuisines that use ingredients differently than you're used to. Much of our food preferences get established when we’re young, before we have much choice about our meals, so give your taste buds a break as they adjust from your ordinary eating habits to new realms of flavor.
3. You may feel hungrier, at first.
Veggies and fruits are typically not as high in calories or protein as meat, so should be eaten in larger quantities than you may be used to. Make sure to eat enough carbs (carbs are our friends!) and the best plant-based protein options, like tofu, grains, beans, or other legumes. And don’t be afraid to snack! Snacks with protein and healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, or avocado, are great options.
4. Your poops are about to get better.
At first, you may have more gas, bloating or other digestive issues. Eating more plants means your body is going to be digesting a lot more fiber, which is good food for growing healthy gut bacteria and adds indigestible bulk that keeps your digestion moving. This can be remediated by drinking lots of water, and starting your transition with cooked rather than raw vegetables. Plant matter breaks down in your digestive system a lot faster than animal products, so your body digests more food faster which means smoother, healthier bowel movements and a lot more of them.
5. Get ready for a deeper night’s sleep.
A good night’s sleep has as much to do with your diet as it does with your screen time—maybe more. Switching to a plant-based diet that’s high in fiber and low in sugar can be beneficial to your neurotransmitters that work to regulate your sleep. Saturated fat and refined sugars can block your brain’s ability to produce serotonin, the chemical that helps you drift off to sleep. But plant foods like oats, chickpeas, seeds, nuts and spirulina (which many of Splendid Spoon’s meals contain!) contain melatonin-producing amino acids that help you catch more Zzzz’s!
6. You’ll have more energy!
In addition to sleeping better, plant-based foods are packed with ingredients that give you superpowers! Well, maybe just an extra boost. Animal foods can take lots of energy to digest because of their high protein and fat content. When you eat a good mix of healthy fats, complex carbs, and proteins, you’ll receive a sustained boost of energy – not a sugar crash. It’s no coincidence that many pro athletes have been turning to plant-based diets to improve their physical ability and stamina! (Read more on fueling your workouts here!) Take that new-found energy, and crush your day!
7. Say goodbye to congestion.
Going plant-based and cutting back on dairy (or ditching it altogether) can dramatically improve your sinuses and upper respiratory passages, especially if you experience nasal congestion. Here's the thing: dairy isn’t easy for humans to digest and it tends to thicken the mucus in our membranes which leads to congestion. When you swap out dairy for antioxidant-rich plants that fight inflammation and congestion, you’ll likely start breathing freer and clearer.
8. Say hello to clearer skin!
Maybe one of the best side effects of going plant-based is the change you see in your skin. Citrus fruits, leafy greens, and root vegetables contain vitamins that help repair skin cells, smooth out wrinkles and fade scars. The antioxidants found in berries cancel free radicals and inflammation that can cause breakouts, while the good fats in avocados & olive oil team up with omega fatty acids in seeds and nuts to plump you up with collagen for a vibrant healthy glow.
9. You may lose weight.
“A plant-based diet can absolutely promote weight loss as it generally means you’ll eliminate high-fat and highly processed meats, processed foods, and added sugars. Lots of research supports these claims for weight loss and shows that a plant-based diet also has many other health benefits.” - Registered Dietitian, Eliza Savage. Read more about Splendid Spoon and weight loss here!
10. You’ll be healthier long-term, and you'll feel amazing!
There are widely recognized health benefits of a plant-based diet – from heart health, to decreased risk for diabetes and other diseases – the list goes on and on. Once your body has adjusted, you should start feeling leaner, cleaner, and more energized.
Change is good, but remember to give your body time to adjust. Picking up healthy habits is easier than you’d think when your goals are attainable and you know what to expect (now you do!). The best part: we’re in this together every step of the way.
Our meal plans make it easy to make the switch. Get started with a weekly meal plan and feel the difference eating a plant-based meal once or twice a day can make in your life.
Questions? Email us at [email protected].