What Happens When I Go Vegan?

There's far more to a vegan diet than eating your greens.


Tom Ward |

The green-eating trend has grown by 350% since 2006. But, despite the obvious benefits, there are pitfalls beyond the lost flavour. We weed out the facts.

(Side note: If you feel like challenging yourself this Veganuary (it’s a real thing), try these three easy vegan recipes that any meat-lover would enjoy. Now let’s get back to learning what you should know about going vegan.)

1. You Might Find It Trying At First

Don’t let the women smiling at salad on Instagram fool you – the switch isn’t easy. At first, anyway. The lack of red meat makes vegans more likely to be deficient in B vitamins and iron. This can lead to fatigue, dizziness, headaches and even anaemia. However, both B vitamins and iron can easily be taken in pill form. For a more natural pick-me-up, include darker green veg, nuts or legumes in your breakfast.

2. The Afternoon Slump Will Become A Thing Of The Past

Come 3pm on your first meat- and dairy-free day, the dogma will begin to pay dividends. Vegans tend to have lower blood sugar levels and almost 80% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to omnivores. Meanwhile, plant protein is associated with improving insulin regulation – meaning you’re less likely to reach for the (dairy-free) biscuit tin for a mid-afternoon boost.

Related: What Happens When I Do Intermittent Fasting?

3. Expect To Feel The Pain Initially

In your first few days, your morning gym sessions will likely be even less comfortable than usual. Cutting out dairy entirely can cause deficiencies that can lead to aches, pains and more potent DOMS. Thankfully, you can soften the blow by using a calcium-enriched, plant-based milk in your post-pump shake. Most soy-based drinks contain 25mg calcium per 100ml, a level similar to cow’s milk.

4. You Should Lose Weight

Vegans have a far higher fibre intake than the average omnivore – great news for your body aspirations. A diet of whole grains, pulses and starchy vegetables is associated with improved gut health and satiety, which can aid weight loss. It’s also low in kilojoules, so you can target excess fat without eating less. Pile your plate high.

5. It Will Lengthen Your Shelf Life

Loading up on fruit and veg will sustain you in the long term, too, reducing your risk of heart disease by 42%. Multiple studies show that vegan diets are also more effective at lowering your cholesterol levels than a typical Western diet. Plus, there’s evidence to suggest that veganism helps to ease arthritis. So, you’ll harvest lasting health along with all the environmental kudos.

Vegan Meals For You To Try:

Red Thai Veggie Curry (280g)

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Fresh, healthy veggies including cauliflower, snap peas, carrots & red peppers in a delicious & spicy coconut sauce, made with vegan red thai paste, lemongrass & coriander.

R 64

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Butternut Laksa Vegan Bowl (300g)

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A healthy Malay-style noodle soup with broccoli, corn & red peppers, & a hearty sauce of coconut, butternut, peanuts & spices.

R 59

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Vegan Value Pack (20 meals)

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In this Value Pack you will get: 3 Hearty Veg Soup 3 Butternut Laksa Vegan Bowl 3 Lentil Dhal Vegan Bowl 3 Spanish Bean Vegan Bowl 3 Thai Yellow Veggie Vegan Bowl 3 Thai Red Veggie Curry 2 Peanut Satay Mini Meal 1 Cooler Bag

R 1110

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READ MORE: 5 Best Vegan Snacks to Give You an Energy Boost

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