Congratulations! You have decided to join the growing movement of people opting to follow a plant-based diet. But before you join the 600,000 people in the UK, there are things you should know other than how to identify whether a product is truly vegan.
Simon Bandy, General Manager of Veganicity, has compiled a list of things that might happen to your body as you start being vegan.
Gut bacteria. Introducing more onions, artichokes, bananas and foods rich in prebiotics to the diet means the good bacteria in the gut will begin to thrive but it can result in you feeling a bit more ‘gassy’. Also, reducing your intake of process foods which are often packed with excess salt should help normalise water retention levels, reducing puffiness and bloating.
B12 1000mcgVitamins. In theory when you start including more fruit and vegetables in the diet you should be increasing and boosting your nutritional levels. The only problem comes with vitamin B12 as vegans are often found to be deficient in this. This can be overcome by taking a supplement such as Veganicity B12 1000 (£8.45/90vtabs).
Lower Calcium levels. Eliminating dairy from the diet will mean that your intake of calcium will be lower. However, bread in the UK is fortified with calcium, as are some unsweetened soya, rice and oat drinks. If you don’t feel you are getting enough of any of these make sure you are topping up with those dark leafy green veg like kale and spinach which are surprisingly another source of calcium.
Higher fibre – As you increase the likes of pulses and legumes then more fibre gets fed into the body. A diet that is rich in fibre is good for bowel movements and people find that they become more regular as their stools have more bulk to them. Studies have indicated that a diet rich in fibre can have a protective effect against colon cancer.
Cholesterol levels. People on a vegan diet are often reported to have lower cholesterol levels. This is due to the reduction in saturated fats. Other ways you can help lower the cholesterol in the blood include reducing the amount of alcohol consumed, giving up smoking and exercising more.
Simon comments: “The body adapts positively to a vegan diet. Although some people have reported to getting headaches when they first make the switch, this is generally just the body detoxing and should settle down in a few days. Many vegans report that in only one month on the plant-based diet they feel healthier and experience more energy than they ever had before.”