So I have only been vegan for a couple of months now, 5 months to be exact and I have learned a lot, had many ups and downs, many questions and I’m still learning every single day. But since learning so much in just 5 months, I thought it will be important to also share what I have learned and that hopefully, someday, someone will find this helpful. Being vegan is not just about the food, there is a lot of self-realization through the entire process of transitioning, where you learned more about yourself each and everyday and most importantly, you are listening to your body, figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t. With all that I learned, I have been able to narrow it down to 5 simple things. I can talk about these parts for hours but simplifying it makes it easier to remember all the details. Disclaimer; I am in no way a registered nutritionist or health professional and these are just guidelines that I have followed that have helped.
I honestly cannot stress how much sleep is important. When transitioning, your body is going through many changes, adapting to the new foods you are putting into your body, all the fibre and all the complex carbs, and it can take a lot of energy for your body to cleanse itself and reset. All of this, in addition to just living, require a lot of rest. Trust me, I know first hand what not having enough sleep can do to you: your mind is clouded, you are fatigued and always hungry even though you are eating enough. Just two consistent days of sleep can make a huge difference, your digestion will be better, your skin will clear up and you will have a lot of energy. Many people say that being a vegan gives you a lot of energy and benefits, but you will not be able to reap all these benefits if you do not sleep, at least 8 hours.
2. Be patient
There are many people who come to this lifestyle hoping to lose weight. I am not going to lie, this was one of the reasons why I became vegan because I was always athletic but did not look like it. Aside from weight loss, feeling more energetic, having clearer skin and just feeling good in general takes time. Your body has to most importantly adjust to the change and then slowly get accustomed to this new lifestyle. Since this is a lifestyle, not a fad diet you go on for a couple of months to shed pounds, it takes time. Sustainable weight loss is about 1Ibs-2Ibs max in a week, so the process is slow. It is all about consistency, eating whole plant food, sleeping and trying to keep as clear of a mind as possible. Surely you will see the benefits. I personally haven’t felt every single benefit, but being vegan for only a few months, I have a lot of energy, I haven’t been sick in more than 8 months, which is a big one for me, and I know that surely in the future my body will get to its natural weight.
This is definitely key. You MUST (emphasis on the must) drink water. Eating more plants and whole food it putting a lot of fibre in you body. Fibre is great for digestion but in order to feel those benefits you need to stay hydrated so that your body can break down the food properly and you do not feel uncomfortable. Drinking water is important for your body to function in general. Try starting off with half a litre of water as soon as you wake up, and build up to a litre once you wake up. If this is new adding lemon can help, or drinking a few cups of green tea to ease into the habit. In no time you will be chugging a litre once you wake up as your body will be craving it in the morning
4. Stay Active
If you follow steps 1-3, in addition to sticking to whole plant food diet with little processed foods, you will be beaming with energy everyday. All that energy can be helpful in powering you through your workouts. If you are active like me, completing long runs will feel a lot easier on the body, weight lifting sessions become easier and in the long term you can focus on building endurance and strength without needing pre-workout and all those sugary drinks. If you are newly starting a more active lifestyle, having all the extra glycogen (sugar that fuels your muscles) will be very important in powering you through workouts where you can focus on getting fit rather than forcing each workout. Eating sufficiently each meal will provide enough energy whether you are an early bird gym goer like me or tend to work out any time of the day. Being active doesn’t always mean working out, just walking and constant movement can be very very helpful.
Lastly, you must learn; learn more about your body, what works for you and what doesn’t. Starting out as simple as possible with whole foods and starches and then maybe adding more nuts and overt fats and seeing how you feel or adding more processed flours and sugars. It’s all about figuring out what your body can handle and needs to feel at its optimal with a plant-based lifestyle. If you try something and it doesn’t work, don’t give up just keep trying new things, adding and removing certain foods and then going from there.