I still remember the day I read my first book about veganism.. I went 100% vegan overnight! I also remember having REALLY strange things happen to my body. I wasn’t aware that my body was going to be heavily detoxing itself during the first few weeks after making the switch.
So, I thought I’d help ya’ll prepare for some of the changes you’re most likely going to be experiencing. Some good, some bad, but all are necessary for becoming the greatest version of yourself 🙂
There are a LOT of bodily changes that come from becoming a vegan.. There are MANY positive benefits that last a lifetime, but at the same time, there a few unwanted detox symptoms that tend to last for a short period of time as your body cleans itself and adjusts to the new diet/lifestyle.
The positive symptoms are almost endless, which include:
- More energy- comes from the “lightness” you feel after no longer consuming foods that aren’t digested correctly by our intestines. It can also be attributed to the increase in the vibrancy of the food you’re eating (animal foods are “dead” and don’t radiate an electric field around them like most plants do). For me, I’ve gained so much more vibrancy in my life and have more energy than I know what to do with, I’m not kidding!
- More trips to the bathroom- when your start eating more healthy fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and legumes, which are high in water and fiber, you start digesting your food better and removing old constipation issues.
- Clearer skin- although the opposite can be true during detoxification, a lot of times, people’s skin begins to clear up due to the absence of oily and fatty animal products that cause acne to thrive. Personally, my acne has cleared up tremendously!
- “Glowing” skin- when you’re eating foods like carrots and sweet potatoes, you’re getting a lot of beta-carotene that helps the pigment in your skin.
- Weight loss- this comes from the massive switch in the caloric-density of the foods you eat. Since plant foods are much less calorically-dense than animal foods, you’re able to eat a higher volume of food than you were able to on a carnivorous diet. I lost about 10lbs. in the first 3 weeks of my transition because I simply wasn’t prepared for the switch, but don’t worry, it’s a completely normal way for your body to detox itself. You just have to make sure you’re eating an adequate number of calories so you’re not starving yourself in the long-run!
- Better focus- this can be attributed to the clearing of cholesterol in your arteries that are connected to your brain (which protects you from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia). When I made the transition, my focus improved so much. It catapulted me into a world of better concentration, and I’m someone who used to be prescribed Adderall due to “ADHD.” It turned out that I didn’t have ADHD, I just had eating habits that didn’t serve my body and mind!
- Improved overall well-being- through personal experience and as I’ve watched my friends and family evolve with the plant-based lifestyle, I’ve noticed that our overall well-being goes through the roof! When you start feeling healthier and realizing your contribution towards the environment and animals, you start to enter a higher level of consciousness that helps you evolve as a person. It’s truly amazing to say the least..
When you start your journey towards veganism, it’s CRUCIAL to remember that your body is coming from a much different state. As with any dietary change, we are bound to experience differences in the way we feel, especially during the first few weeks.
With fad diets, such as the Paleo, Adkins, Keto, etc., people experience unnatural bodily states, such as ketosis (a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues from eating a diet low in carbohydrates), and go through all sorts of odd symptoms that aren’t sustainable for long-term results, and that’s why these diets have been proven to be nothing but fad diets, not lifestyle changes.
On the other hand, the vegan diet cleans your body in the way that nature intended, therefore, detox symptoms are nothing more than your body cleaning itself from the toxins and heavy metals you’ve accumulated through eating meat and dairy products your entire life.
In terms of the severity of detox symptoms, everybody’s coming from a different level of health, but in general, most people experience many of the same detoxification symptoms that stem from years and years of animal product consumption.
If you become vegan overnight, you can expect the symptoms to be a bit intensified (like me lol), but if you’re slowly easing into the plant-based lifestyle, your symptoms will be a lot less intense.
Remember to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any prolonged symptom that doesn’t seem natural. There are directories specifically for plant-based physicians and doctors that you can go to for help. You most likely won’t be needing one for your detox symptoms, but it’s always good to know that they’re there if you need them!
Some of the most common negative symptoms are:
- More frequent restroom trips, which is due to the amount of fiber you’ll be consuming through plant foods. The fiber helps clean your insides all the way through your digestive system, which helps you go more regularly and have much better experiences than before you became vegan. This symptom is also a positive one, it depends on how you look at it. Personally, I thought it was great! I enjoyed the quicker bathroom trips and didn’t mind that they were more frequent. For most people, this is a major win because you can kiss diarrhea and constipation good-bye!
- Acne or skin rashes, which can come from various causes. Your body is detoxing itself from so many different toxins, such as endotoxins that’s found in meats. So, acne breakouts are no more than a sign of toxins leaving your body. Also, some people suggest that vitamin B12 supplementation can have a role in acne when it’s taken in larger doses. We NEED to supplement B12 (you can read why in my Common Deficiencies On A Vegan Diet post), so to play it safe, make sure to take smaller daily doses throughout the week instead of 2 large doses. This could be a daily dose of 400 mcg. I used to take 2-3 1000 mcg pills throughout the week, but now I take one 500 mcg pill 4-5 times a week.
- Sleeping troubles, which is a result you’ll get with any diet change. When you consume different types of foods and have a new caloric intake, your sleeping patterns might change a bit. For me, I started to wake up earlier, which was totally unexpected. I could tell that my body was getting on a completely different biorhythm and I simply went with the flow.. I used to be a zombie in the morning, but now, I love getting my day started at 6 AM. If you’re experiencing low energy levels when you wake up, read my Energy Hacks post to find a couple tips on optimizing your sleep cycle!
- Cravings, which comes from your lifelong habits of eating certain animal foods that are coated with sugar, salt, and fat. Cravings for sugary, salty, and fatty foods tend to happen when you begin eating mainly low caloric plant foods. The reason behind this is the fact that animal foods, in general, are very calorically dense, which gives us a LOT of satisfaction when we eat them (this is from our survival instincts telling us to get the quickest and easiest forms of energy/food). So, when we start eating low calorically dense plant foods, don’t be surprised if your mind constantly flashes the most appealing junk foods you can think of, it’s completely normal. Just stay strong and it’ll surely pass!
- Emotional stress, which is usually the result from family and friends not being supportive of your new lifestyle changes. When you begin to get questioned about your choices and have close family and friends disagree with those choices, it can be hard at times. If this is you, download my free e-book How To THRIVE On A Vegan Diet, which is the ultimate guide to being able to answer common concerns and questions, so you shouldn’t have too many social troubles. Ever since I made the transition, I made it a goal to be able to answer questions and debunk common misconceptions, therefore, my emotional state has always been on point! The reason why I wrote that e-book is to help you do the exact same!
- Feeling fatigue and experiencing tiredness, which is usually from calorically restricting yourself. I’ve seen this happen SO many times! A lot of people aren’t prepared to eat more than they did before the transition, which usually leaves them at a caloric deficit. We already know that animal foods are much more calorically-dense than plant foods, so we must remember to eat larger volumes of food to fill that calorie gap. I’ve seen people do this and blame their tiredness on the foods they’re eating, but that’s not correct, they’re feeling tired and fatigued because their body is begging for more calories (energy). So, make sure you’re eating an adequate number of calories (you can track it with apps like Cronometer) and you shouldn’t ever be feeling this way!
- Always feeling hungry, which is another symptom of the shift in caloric density. I can’t stress enough how important it is to eat more. For most, this is nothing but a blessing from above, but to some, this is hard to get used to. Just remember to eat whenever you’re hungry, and if you need to, don’t just eat larger meals, eat more frequently as well! For me, I lost about 10 lbs. during my first 3 weeks of becoming vegan because I wasn’t listening to my hunger. Once I got used to eating larger volume meals at a more frequent pace, I was no longer in a constant state of hunger, and my weight began to go back up. Also, when you add in intermittent fasting, your body will be more content with your meals and it’ll help you dodge cravings.
Like I said earlier, the intensity of your symptoms will have a lot to do with the rate of your transition. For me, the transition was overnight, so I felt the symptoms abruptly. I lost 10 lbs. in an unhealthy manner because I wasn’t prepared to eat more. So, for you to avoid an unhealthy weight-loss, make sure you aren’t restricting your caloric intake! You’ll still lose weight when you eat an adequate number of calories, but it’ll be at a normal and healthy rate.
Other than that, most of the symptoms will take place no matter what because your body is going through a fundamental shift from processing foods that consist of fat, cholesterol, toxins, and animal protein (which is acidic and increases IGF-1), to foods that consist of low fat content, zero cholesterol, fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and plant protein (which isn’t acidic and is broken down my out metabolism in a slower and much healthier manner.
So, be prepared for the differences it’ll have on your body and you’ll be completely fine. When I made the transition, I didn’t know what to be prepared for until I experienced it and started to learn more about it. I’m trying my best to help you bypass the pitfalls that I had to go through!
If you take the advice from this post and are knowledgeable about what to expect, you’re already 10 times more prepared for the transition than I was, I promise!
If you’re wanting more information about what to expect when going vegan, my newest e-book Going Vegan is the most comprehensive piece of work I’ve created thus far.. I’m more than proud of it’s creation because it’s already managed to change so many lives in such a short period of being available.
I help you:
- Figure out your WHY
- Veganize your favorite meals
- Dodge the most common issues
- Prepare for common questions/concerns
- Prepare for detox symptoms
- Combat the 4 main reasons ~75% of vegans fail
- Build muscle without protein powders
- Lose weight while eating MORE
- Thrive as a vegan entrepreneur
- Build your vegan personal/business brand
- Learn how to support vegan businesses and brands
I give you:
- Delicious vegan recipe
- Energy and concentration hacks
- A guideline to starting your own garden
- Vegan influencers to follow
- Testimonial support from college students
- Tools and products to make your life easier
- And much more
In other words, I tell you just about everything that comes with going vegan!
If it seems like something you’d want, then definitely check it out. But if you’re in a position where money is tight, just let me know and I can still help you with whatever it is you’re needing. We’re in this journey for the long-run so there’s no need to suffer on the details 🙂
Contact me here if you have ANY questions and want to subscribe to my email list, I’d be glad to help you! Once subscribed, you’ll know more about how I’m trying to help you by documenting my journey towards better health and consciousness!
As always, MUCH LOVE!!