Each year, people who take part in Veganuary – the annual Try Vegan in January initiative – are asked how they found their month of plant-based eating and what physical changes they experienced during that time. Among the most common responses are: My skin cleared up; my digestion is a whole lot better; my sinuses are clearer; my nails are stronger; I have more energy.
Other people report that they sleep better, have stopped snoring and experience increased libido. For some women, their periods are easier, while one 2017 participant reported an improvement in her menopause symptoms. One person wrote: ‘I didn’t realise how “sick” my body felt ‘til I realised what “healthy” feels like.’
Skin and digestion
Veganuary regularly hears that eczema, psoriasis and acne improve or clear up, and those who suffer irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often report that the symptoms decrease in severity or disappear altogether. One participant said her chronic fatigue symptoms improved, another that her chronic muscle pain had disappeared. Several people report that their arthritis symptoms eased, with one woman saying, ‘My joint pain has gone for the first time in my life.’
Improved sporting performance
Sporty people often find that being vegan helps them recover from training quicker, and that allows them to train even harder and achieve more impressive results. Others are just amazed that they are able to effectively build muscle and endurance on a plant-based diet.
“I’ve never been faster, never been able to recover quicker, never looked better, I’ve never raced better, I’ve never been able to go so deep. I went vegan for a challenge, but I stayed vegan because it offered benefits to my life.”
— Dan Geisler, Team GB Triathlete
What is really interesting is the number of people who report better mental clarity, increased concentration and a leveling-out of moods. Some participants say that their depression symptoms were relieved. For lots of people, eating animal-free foods brings an unexpected contentment, a feeling of inner peace, brought on by eating a diet more in line with their beliefs and principles.
We can’t promise everyone that their niggling conditions and chronic illnesses will disappear after 31 days of plant-based eating, but for lots of people, a month without eating animal products brings a stark, often unexpected, improvement. Try vegan for Lent, and only then will you know what this change can do for you.
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This blog is adapted from Veganuary’s best-selling book How to Go Vegan.Try Vegan