What health changes have you experienced from becoming vegetarian or vegan?
My family made the switch to a Vegan diet in 2009. At that time my husband had a total cholesterol level of 316. Yes you read that number correctly. My 9 year old son struggled with itchy & painful eczema over his entire body since birth and my three year old daughter battled chronic asthma, which she had been hospitalized for. My husband had tried prescription medications for his cholesterol but he had bad reactions to them, so he never took them regularly. My son was using prescription steroid cremes as well as daily lotions, just to be comfortable & to keep the redness at bay. My daughter was taking daily Singulair, Claritin, inhalers & often a nebulizer, so she could breathe clearly.
Back then this was our "norm". I assumed prescriptions & over the counter medications were our only defense against all of these ailments. It never occurred to me to look at what we were eating. Until June 8th 2009, when a program based on the book "The China Study" was on television. My husband called me into the living room & had me watch it with him. I am so thankful that I did. The next day I emptied the fridge of ALL animal products. Some went into the garbage and some were donated. But they were out of our home for good. Since that time my husband's cholesterol has decreased to a normal level. My son's eczema was completely cleared within a couple of weeks. No exaggeration. He has not had one itchy, red spot in well over 2 1/2 years. My daughter is off of the pills and only uses her nebulizer a few times a year. I know that dairy was a huge asthma trigger for her. I myself have more energy and my cardio endurance has greatly increased. I just wish I knew back then, what I know now.
I have not been attacked once by a cow since becoming a vegetarian.
I've been vegan for a decade (vegetarian for the 5 years directly preceding) so it takes some thinking to answer that. I used to get really unpleasant headaches (think migraine type, just not diagnosed) which stopped after I went vegan and ditched dairy for good. My hair and nails both grow really quickly, more so than before I went vegan, which is great when I accidentally damage a nail -- less waiting for it to grow back!
I've been vegan so long, it's hard to say. I chose this lifestyle in my teens for ethical reasons, and I've never looked back!
It's so cliche, but I have so much more energy! I have had two vegan pregnancies with zero complications when it came to my blood counts, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Despite having a family history riddled with heart disease and diabetes, each day I feel like I'm taking a big step away from a future filled with those health issues.
And let's not forget to include the mental health benefits of being vegan, I have a free conscience and have become so open and excited about new foods, cuisines and cultures!
As a vegetarian and a Holistic Health Counselor I truly do not believe that the vegetarian diet is for everyone. I can never see myself eating meat again but I do not look down on those that do. Every body type is different. As for me, when I switched over to a strictly plant based high protein diet I found that my mood became calmer. In the ayurveda way of thinking, we take on our foods energies. If we eat a lot of animal based protein we are more apt to become aggressive, sluggish, slow, and graze throughout the day. Since I switched to eating whole grains and vegetables I am not longer aggressive or a grazer. I am much more calm and have more patience as well.
Additionally, my moods are a thousand times better. The constant up and down with my blood sugar from eating processed food and animal products was too much for my body. One second I would be happy the next second I was crying. What the heck was wrong with me?? I was on the wrong diet!
Wow, what a loaded question;) I joke of course, but my answer is dense! What I can say in this small space is that my journey to veganism (through vegetarianism) has opened my mind and body to new sensations and experiences. It has brought my family energy, clarity, happiness. We all feel best when we eat the cleanest and it is definitely a point of pride for me. I have to say that the adventure is even better since we're all doing it together.
The fact that brown rice and beans with avocado is my 3 year old daughter's favorite food is pretty fantastic. The fact that we have nothing refined in the house sets an example for our greater family. Knowing my kids are eating such nutrient dense foods from day one gives me a sense of calm that they will be as healthy as they can be.
Since becoming vegan I eat a greater variety of foods. Particularly vegetables, fruits, nut butters, beans, ethnic foods, etc. It has pushed me to make healthier choices daily.
I have lost weight and my skin is clearer and my melanoma has gone away. But by far the greatest benefits for me have been emotional and spiritual. I feel amazing knowing that the way I eat is compassionate to all creatures on earth, and that I have opted my family out of an entire food system that contains added hormones, antibiotics and all-around bad juju.
I've seen incredible health improvements since I have changed my diet. I firmly believe that one can prevent and treat many illnesses with a more plant-based diet - and I am a vibrant living proof of that.
I have called myself a 'healing goddess' a few times ~ and that's for a very good reason. In 2007, only 4 months after my daughter was born, I developed mysterious symptoms that changed my entire life and took away the most beautiful time of my life from me - the first precious years of being a new mom. I was wrapped in the drenched heavy blanket of depression from my symptoms that puzzled the doctors.
Day by day, I felt weaker in my arms that I could not hold my own infant, and weak in my legs that I could hardly go for walks without support. I could barely chew and swallow food - and chocked even on my own saliva. I still read stories to my little girl, but just a few sentences into a short bedtime story, my voice would start to slur and be barely audible..... Eighteen months after the first symptoms, I was finally diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular autoimmune illness, Myasthenia Gravis. After the diagnosis, I was put on a hard medicinal treatment with little promise of a cure ~ as there is no cure for MG at this time. I was torn by the dreadful side effects of the steroid/ immunosuppressants, that by choice, I rejected the conventional treatment. A little hope led to one realization - that I could still control what I put in my mouth.
I started to change my diet slowly, eliminating certain food groups one by one, and over the last two years, I have arrived at an almost vegan and gluten-free, anti-candida, low sugar, organic, vitamin and mineral rich diet that nurtures me and heals me. I have continued to see great improvement with my symptoms and a return in muscle control and strength.
I have to say that I'm now living a very-close-to-normal life, which happily includes playing tag with my now four year old daughter, going on hikes and reading many books as we both snuggle up close. "I remember your voice before" my daughter told me just a few weeks ago, "you do?" I said puzzled, shocked and saddened by her memory "I'm sorry.... mommy had a very ugly voice before". "It wasn't ugly mommy, I wasn't scared" my little angel reassured me and we hugged for a very long time after that....
I believed in myself and trusted my own instincts with the food choices I made. I have gained more confidence now with my diet and continue to make healthy choices for me and my family daily. My diet choice is based on researched facts; among them, that a plant-based diet is gentler on the digestive system, is alkaline, rich in enzymes, loaded in vitamins and minerals, and so many more benefits ~ and therefore more healing to the body in preventing and reversing many health problems.
Since incorporating a 90% vegan diet into my lifestyle, I have noticed increased energy, vitality, immunity and I've experienced a mood that is more positive and optimistic. I have clearer skin and have been able to reach my ideal weight after having two kids. I feel so in control of my health and that of my family's that it makes me feel empowered. I crave more healthy foods than I did before and love creating new and exciting recipes that are not only good for you but taste great too.
I have been a vegetarian for almost 18 years, ever since I moved into my own apartment for grad school. I am fortunate that my husband made the transition to vegetarian eating with me. We started out eating lots of pasta with tomato sauce and veggie burgers made with textured vegetable protein (TVP).
Over the years, our diet has evolved quite a bit, and we no longer stock TVP in our pantry. We focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein sources like tofu, lentils and beans. As anyone who reads my blog can tell you, I also like a good vegan sweet.
I have a bit of an addiction to cookbooks and magazines, and I have discovered that a vegetarian diet goes hand-in-hand with awareness of better health and a commitment to improving our environment.
After all these years, it would be hard to say what health changes I have experienced as a vegetarian, but I can definitely say that my dedication to personal health and wellness has flourished.
I feel sad when people say they tried a vegetarian diet and had to give it up for health reasons. As with any healthy eating plan, you have to do some research and find out what works best for you.
I have been mostly vegetarian since I was a child, so becoming totally vegetarian hasn't been a big change, and I haven't really noticed any changes in my health.
It's so much easier for me to maintain a healthy weight because of my plant-based diet. I love to eat and I hate counting calories! I have more energy (something very necessary when you have two kids under age two!), I feel lighter and much healthier overall!
My cholesterol is much better (and lower) along with my blood pressure. I've also noticed clearer skin and fewer allergy issues.
I'm a vegetarian, baby-wearing, gluten-free PhD candidate who lives in Northern California and is obsessed with the produce from our organic home garden. I take inspiration from my globe-trotting to places like Japan, India, Israel, Austria, and more, and translate that inspiration into family-friendly and delicious recipes that can accommodate gluten-free diet and diverse allergies. I transitioned to a vegetarian diet as a sophomore in college, inspired by a passionate and talented vegetarian chef friend and a relationship with several very sweet house rabbits including the intrepid George (a girl) and Hazel Moon. I had been on a gluten-free diet since my diagnosis with Celiac Disease at the age of three, and as a child and young adult consumed a diet very heavy in protein and starches. Beginning a vegetarian diet inspired me to explore international vegetarian cuisines and try new vegetables and ways of preparing them, and ultimately I believe improved my health and overall nutrition. When I eat a meal full of fresh, deliciously prepared veggies, I feel like I’m charging my body with nutrition and it feels great!
I made the change from vegetarian to vegan in 2004, after suffering through migraines, a large ovarian cyst that was bigger than a basketball (no joke), and IBS. My mom had asked if I would try the McDougall Clinic for 10 days, and at that point I had nothing to lose. I'm not kidding when I say a plant based diet completely changed my health and my life. The migraines stopped, my health issues stopped, I lost a lot of weight, and I was able to go back to school and live my life the way I wanted to live.
A lot of people ask me if it's hard to follow a plant based diet. My answer is that it was hard to have migraines every day and not be able to do things a 20 year old should do. That was hard, a plant based diet is easy in comparison.
Since that time, I've changed my diet, discovered great food, learned to cook, and made a new way of living. I'll never go back to the way I used to eat, and am so grateful I had help to make the change.
My life has completely changed since changing to a vegan, whole foods diet.
I used to be one of those that always felt sick after eating. Indigestion, constipation, sluggishness. I couldn't figure it out. I ate "healthy"--lots of whole grains, lean meat, no-fat dairy foods, and plenty of calcium and protein rich cheese, and of course the obligatory nightly bowl of ice cream (it's good for my bones, right?). I've always loved vegetables and fruit, and was getting plenty of both, so what was the deal?
Once I got the animal foods out of my diet everything became lighter. I didn't feel like I had a rock in my stomach after eating. My inexhaustible desire for any and all forms of sugar became virtually nonexistant (I still love to make and eat desserts now, just not after every meal).
My body changed. I always thought I was a "hippy" girl (you know, I just had those birthin' hips some women are blessed with). Once I changed my diet I lost all the baby weight plus an additional thirty pounds, leading me to believe that maybe I'm not such a pear shape after all!
Sticking to a vegan diet for me, is not "sticking" to a vegan diet. There's just no question in my mind what foods are best for my body, what foods make me feel vibrant and alive, so there's no temptation to go back, no willpower to "just stick with it because it's healthy" involved here.
i have soooo much more energy! I feel awake. I always thought I was awake until now - now i realise i wasn't living up to my full potential!
When I made dietary changes to become vegan, it was with health in mind. I was in my early twenties, and was not happy with how I felt physically. I knew it was related to something I was doing - or rather eating. I had early signs of arthritis, with much stiffness and pain in my joints, particularly my knees. And, I often felt very heavy after I ate, and had sluggish digestion. Removing meat and dairy made a huge difference in my body. My energy, my digestion, and how I felt after every meal. My husband also felt much better, and he no longer had difficulties with asthma. And, most importantly, his father reversed his heart disease with a low-fat plant-based diet. It was being part of his parents transformation that inspired me to start writing cookbooks and sharing healthy vegan recipes for others to improve their wellbeing and lifestyle, and live more compassionately.
After becoming a vegan, I cannot claim to have experienced any changes (I was a new mom to a premature baby girl with a casein allergy). However, almost 2.5 years later when I became a high-raw, juicing vegan, I experienced a huge increase of energy and vitality.
When diagnosed with Celiac Disease in December of 2008, I eliminated processed foods while focusing on a high-raw vegan diet. Since that dietary change, I have experienced dramatic results. According to my doctor and dexa scan results, I have also been reversing my severe osteopenia at record speeds with diet alone.
However, at times, I've noticed that I feel better after eating some foods and sluggish after eating others. Nevertheless, after being diagnosed with seasonal rhinitis and intrinsic asthma last fall, I decided to take my diet to the next level: a completely raw, plant-based, oil-free, grain-free, corn-free, soy-free, vegan diet.
After eliminating cooked foods from my diet, my asthma symptoms subsided - I was no longer dependent on my inhaler. I also experienced an immense improvement in my energy levels, mental clarity, vibrance and overall well-being. However, during this time when eating raw, I continued researching and questioning my raw diet and decided to conduct a challenge to add some cooked foods back in after finding research that asserted that a high-raw diet with lightly steamed veggies and other cooked foods reaps larger health benefits.
During the 5 days of adding Lundberg rice and steamed greens back into my diet, I became sluggish, started napping during the day, started having a harder time waking up in the morning, and more importantly, my allergy and asthma symptoms returned. My husband even began urging me to return to my raw diet, and after two days of being back on a grain-free, raw diet, I am starting to feel good again. Would I feel good with steamed green vegetables without rice in my diet? I would think so and will experiment more with this in the upcoming months.
Please note, that I am in constant discovery of what diet works for me. I am gluten free due to my CD diagnosis, garlic and quinoa free due to an intolerance, and it seems that I feel my best when completely grain free (learning of the current arsenic and rice alarm within the celiac community is also helping me put more pieces together).
My diet and lifestyle are constantly in evolution as I figure out the healthiest lifestyle for me, my husband, and our girls. I realize that what works for us will not work with everyone, but I hope that my sharing our journey makes the journey of others an easier one.
Our vegan lifestyle started because of allergies and health concerns; however, over these past 5 1/2 years, it has become a strong ethical lifestyle too. I have learned and become dedicated to living in accordance to my ethics and my truth while living a lifestyle that posses the least harm and/or violence to animals, others, ourselves as well as to our planet.
I made the choice to become vegetarian almost 5 years ago....I remember it was a few days before Thanksgiving. My extended family thought I was crazy, but I did it anyway. My children were little then 3 and almost 1 and although my husband supported my decision, he didn't want anything to do with not eating meat. This is also around the same time my husband was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and ended up being hospitalized for a week. I was taking care of him and our 2 little ones and all of the household duties. Although I was overstressing my body during this time, I believe I had the strength and endurance to keep going. I wasn't sluggish and slept well at night and felt refreshed during the day. I believe it was because of my diet. Even though it has been almost 5 years I still notice changes in my body. My complexion is so much clearer than it used to be and people notice! I used to have brown patches around my upper lip and chin and cheeks-when I went in the sun they would get worse. These have completely gone away! I also used to get acne on my chin and forehead and now I hardly ever have a pimple! When I workout or go on long bike rides I notice my endurance is much greater than it used to be as well. I believe because I am filling my body with plant based nutrition that my body can run more efficiently and doesn't have to spend time and effort on digesting food that is hard to break down.
More energy, better digestion, improved skin (acne and dryness), less mucous, and so much more! One really interesting symptom that's disappeared is the leg aches I was used to getting weekly for my entire life. Eliminating dairy totally got rid of them. The only time I get them now is when I have mistakenly had dairy.
Before I began eating a plant-based diet, I was very sick with a variety of ailments. I gave up all animal products and gluten for 3 years and was able to reverse (and in some cases completely heal) said ailments. I'm currently experimenting with my diet to find just the right balance, but I'll certainly never go back to the old habits.
There are many, but off the top of my head (and I'm not gonna lie, probably my favorite!) is that my skin has cleared up and always seems to have this lovely "glow" about it. My hair is also healthier than it's ever been, and I rarely get sick. My immune system is ferocious!
Since becoming vegan, my family and I have noticed many health changes such as becoming sick much less often and having increased energy. I've also noticed that any allergy symptoms we may have suffered from in the past have completely been alleviated. Another bonus is we all seem to be in better spirits too!