Benefits after Being Vegan for One Year
Wowza. Over one year vegan for me. I don’t remember the exact day that I went full vegan but it was some time right at the end of July that I made the full transition making it just over a year that of being vegan. It’s kinda of funny because I was talking with my brother the other day and he said that a while back my parents had said they hoped that me being vegan would be just a phase and I would stop doing it. Oh boy were they wrong. I think they are glad they were wrong too. They are super supportive of my vegan lifestyle and like trying all of the delicious foods I make.
After begin vegan for a year, I have learned quite a bit about how to treat my body right, cook delicious vegan food, and how to fuel my body for optimal athletic performance. I want to share the benefits that I have experienced from this lifestyle in order to encourage other people to search for the lifestyle that makes them feel best. Overall, veganism has given me so much happiness, positivity, mental clarity, and endless energy.
Lets get into the specifics:
- SO MUCH ENERGY
The number one benefit I have experienced from being vegan is having tons of energy throughout the day. I used to feel so fatigued all the time because I wasn’t giving my body the proper fuel that it needed. I remember having trouble focusing in class, lagging a my job, and struggling through studying. Now I have the energy to get through my school days and focus in class (most of the time- I’m only human ok;)). I feel good when I wake up and never feel the need to take a nap during the day. I seriously feel like the damn energizer bunny most days. This is probably my favorite (ok second favorite) thing that I have experienced from a vegan diet.
2. AMAZING DIGESTION
Switching to a plant based diet did wonders for my digestion. I already ate very healthy before I went vegan, but meat is devoid of any fiber so it doesn’t really do much to keep the digestive tract healthy (it really does the opposite). My digestion is so on point now compared to the past. I feel so much lighter and am able to exercise so much sooner after eating. I used to get an upset stomach if I ate within 3-4 hours of working out. Now I can eat and start exercising within 2 hours without having an issue. That is because I am eating foods that digest quickly/ are easy on digestion. If you want to learn more about healthy digestion, check out my post- 6 Best Ways to Improve Digestion !
3. EATING UNLIMITED CALORIES
No, I don’t actually mean “unlimited calories”. I mean that you can eat as much plant food until you are satisfied. Notice how I said plant food- I am not talking about eating as much vegan ice cream and chips that you want- I’m talking as much whole grains, fruit, veggies, and beans/legumes as you want. I am eating probably double the amount of calories that I ate before (hello 1200 calorie starvation diets) and can maintain virtually the same weight. Its so nice to be able to eat when I am hungry, stop when I’m full, and just let me body take care of the rest.
4. I Stress less/ am Happier & More Positive
Now I am not promising a stress free life when you go vegan. But- since going vegan I have experienced an overall feeling of relaxation and calm. I can think straight because I have adequate glucose to the brain and don’t constantly feel fatigued or hungry. I have talked to other vegans who have said the same thing. There is just this sensation of inner peace that comes with being vegan that I can’t really explain. I feel so happy and positive virtually all the time. This is not something that I could say about myself in the past. I have such a more positive outlook on life and have a much more easy going attitude now.
5. Balanced Hormones
Not eating all those animal products that are injected with antibiotics and other hormones really helped to balance out my own hormones. A lot of people say that eating more fats will help to regulate your hormones/ menstrual cycle but I have found it to be the opposite for me. After adding a lot more carbs into my diet and taking out the animal products, oils, and fats, my hormones began to regulate themselves. If you are interested in balancing out your hormones and want more information on this, let me know and I can send you some articles!
6. Increased Athletic Performance
Me at my first full marathon a couple months ago right after the water bottle hand off from my Dad! Read about how I ran a Boston Qualifying time at my first marathon HERE!
Eating loads of sweet potatoes, bananas, oats, and other healthy carbs has done wonders for my running. It was hard for me to try to push myself to get faster after leaving Augustana and taking some time off running. Now, I have more energy to push myself with ease. I always wonder how good I could have been at running if I would have actually known how to properly nourish myself back then. I definitely am not crazy fast or some elite runner, but I am able to train a bit easier now and have the energy to run marathons, and longer distances. I want to try to get fast at shorter distances next and see what I can do. I’ll keep you all posted with some race recaps in the future! Right now I have 3 half marathons planned for this fall so stay tuned!
7. CHEAPER Grocery Bill
I know. I know. Some people are under the misconception that being vegan is super expensive. That is totally the opposite when you eat a plant-based diet. Meat and dairy were actually the culprits making the biggest dent in my grocery bill. Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and potatoes and some of the cheapest foods out there. You don’t have to buy organic or buy specialty super foods like goji berries and maca powder to be healthy. I stick to buying the fruits and vegetables that are in season (and on sale) and stock up on rice, beans, oats, and potatoes to keep my grocery bill low. I spend about $35 a week on my bill and rarely (hardly ever) eat out/puchase food out so that divides out to be only $5 a day. That’s less than most people spend on their morning starbucks run. I have some grocery lists/shopping ideas posted on here- so check them out HERE!
8. Meal Time is Easy
I no longer have to worry about thawing out/ cooking meat. It really cuts back on food prep time/ time spent cooking. I like eating healthy to be easy, simple, and delicious (don’t we all?), and eating a vegan diet is just that! I can get home from school and quickly throw a meal together in under 30 minutes that is delicious. Check out my recipes page or my instagram for some meal inspiration!
I know there are many other benefits that I am missing out on, but these are the ones that have been most pertinent in my life. I know many other vegans have experienced similar things after changing their lifestyle. If you are feeling tired, fatigued, and not your best, then I highly suggest taking a look at your diet. I have never found the saying “you are what you eat” to be more true. The foods that we put in our body play such an important role in our lives- a role that I believe many people fail to realize. I hope that by sharing the benefits that I have experienced, it will help you to find a path that leads you to your happiest, healthiest self.
Let me know in the comments how changing your diet has impacted your life!
Have you experienced benefits for a vegan (or different) diet?
What foods do you eat to feel your best/ fuel your athletic performance?