In this two-part series, we look at the most common ways your body functions change for the better on a plant-based diet. Vegan and vegetarian eating practices date back thousands of years and the science is (finally!) catching up to all the health benefits these diets have on the human body.
So, if you’re thinking about shifting toward a whole food + plant-based diet in stages or all at once, these are some bodily changes that you’ll probably experience—but rest assured they’re all totally normal!
1) Your poops are about to get better.
Eating more plants means your body is going to be digesting a lot more fiber, something the standard American diet sadly lacks. Plant-based foods are high in fiber which is good food for growing healthy gut bacteria and adds indigestible bulk that keeps your digestion moving. On the flip side, meat and dairy don’t contain any fiber and can lead to constipation. 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.
2) You may acquire new tastes.
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) 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 contain serotonin-producing amino acids that help you catch more Zzzz.
4) Say goodbye to NyQuil.
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.
5) 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.
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.
Splendid Spoon plant-based meal plans make it easy to make the switch to a healthier diet. Get started with a weekly meal plan and feel the difference eating a vegan meal once or twice a day can make in your life.
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