When some need to go vegan, that could be for several reasons. You may want to change your diet from animal-based to plant-based, considering the health facts. Or, you may want to help the animals and protect nature. Whatever your intention is, you need to know that everything has two sides, as good and bad.
Choosing veganism could have some adverse effects on your health, essentially like nutritional deficiencies and gut health issues. That is what we hope to elaborate on throughout this article. Scroll down to learn more about the side effects that being a vegan could cause you and how it could impact your body.
What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Going Vegan?
Well, talking in terms of the side effects of going vegan, some would rather experience all of them while some would undergo a few. These potential side effects could appear after a few days or weeks after going vegan or even after turning to a completely herbivorous diet being a vegetarian. Meanwhile, some lucky fraction of people would not get to encounter any of these adverse effects of veganism. However, it is essential that you have to be aware of these symptoms. So, let us see what those negative impacts are and what could be done to overcome them.
01 – Nutritional Deficiencies
When you change your diet entirely, lack of crucial nutrients is one of the main issues that could arise. Especially you could be incapable of getting sufficient vitamin B12, which essentially derives from animal-based foods. Vegans are also could be at risk of iron insufficiencies. Plants do contain iron, but it is basically of low heme that cannot be much effective. In addition to these, calcium is another nutrient that could be a problem in your diet. When primary sources of calcium like milk and dairy are excluded from the regular intake, calcium deficiencies are possible. The other essential nutrients like Omega 3, Iodine, and zinc may also be lacking in plant-based diets.
However, if we are equipped with proper knowledge, we can find a solution to every problem. The nutritional deficiencies that a vegan diet could cause can also be succeeded. You should include a variety of plant-based foods in your regular diet. Plus, seeking alternatives that are rich in nutrients, as mentioned above, can be a solution. Moreover, you can also have vitamin supplements in addition to the food you consume. This could possibly help to counterbalance your nutritional requirement.
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02 – Digestive Issues
When you stop eating meat or change the diet you’ve been used to all your life, your gut is the first to get shocked. Therefore, according to the studies, you might notice a significant shift in your bowel movement and an increase in the emission of intestinal gases. This happens because plants contain a higher amount of fiber. Plus, cruciferous plant foods with higher quantities of sulfur, like cauliflower, broccoli, seeds, nuts, etc., will produce more intestinal gasses. In fact, you may have to spend more time in the washroom than earlier. In addition, you may also get to experience digestive issues like constipation, bloating, gas or diarrhea. However, these issues will be reduced over time when your gut and body adapt to the new changes. As you know that too much of anything does no good, it is always better to eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of food items.
03 – Headaches
Headaches that you get once you go vegan can be generated due to several reasons. One main reason is dehydration that could be caused by vitamin B12 deficiencies and consuming too many amounts of processed food like vegan meat. Also, the introduction of new foods like peanuts, soy foods, or legumes, too, can be a possible reason for headaches. Furthermore, the social anxiety or mental stress that you could probably get since you are striving to adapt to a new lifestyle may also be a reason for this. In that case, you will have to drink plenty of water to keep yourself replenished and let things flow easily to reduce your stress.
04 – Weight Loss or Weight Gain
Dietary changes directly affect your body weight. This could happen either way, by adding extra pounds to your prevailing weight or subtracting pounds off. Weight loss may basically occur when you stop eating calorie-dense foods like cake, burgers, pizza, biscuits, etc. The plant foods that you eat may not have enough calories or carbohydrates, and therefore, there’s a higher probability that you might lose weight. So, if you are already on average weight or underweight, think twice before jumping to veganism.
However, on the contrary, being a vegan may also sometimes pave the way to gain weight. This happens because sometimes you may feel that you are not eating enough since you dropped the regular plate of meat, fish, cheese, or whatever the animal-based calorie-dense foods you’ve had. Thus, you will try to eat more each time you feel hungry. By including a variety of protein-rich foods like lentils, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, etc., you will get the opportunity to beat your constant hunger pangs.
05 – Fatigue and Lethargy
Feeling tired and increased exhaustion is another sub- side effect particularly caused due to the lack of vitamin B12. You may feel sleepy during the daytime and less active. And, also, many new vegans complain that they have trouble sleeping at night. The main reason for this is dropping milk and dairy from the diet, which acts as natural sedatives, and not having enough calories. So, the most suitable solution to this issue is, once again, to have a well-balanced diet with lots of protein, vitamin B, zinc, calcium, and enough calories.
06 – Adverse Skin Conditions
Skin conditions may necessarily be caused due to the notable changes you make in your diet. Not all, but some may experience skin rashes and also acne once going vegan. Skin rashes are potential when you swap the products you consumed earlier. The ingredients used in them might not be suitable for your skin. And, when you eat lots of high-sugar fruits and increase the amounts of nuts and seeds you eat, this could be a possible cause of acne and pimples. So, avoid overeating any kind of food and consult with your physician immediately if you get any sort of skin condition.
07 – Social Challenges
Judgments and comments from society are some of the main issues that vegans face. Health problems are usually reversible, but most people find it very difficult to deal with these social hurdles. Vegans are often mocked and bullied for their ethics and lifestyles by non-vegs. Another problem they have is the trouble they get when finding vegan options outdoors. This is an unfavorable situation, especially during social gatherings like get-togethers or parties. In such cases, vegans try to detach themselves from friends or relatives, and they would ultimately end up being isolated.
Dealing with these problems will not be much of an issue when you know how to react appropriately. In fact, it would be best if you ignored the comments of others. Understand that commenting, judging, and criticizing is typical human nature. The more you get offended, the more they will continue doing it. So, just let it go. Keep company with people who understand you, respect your norms and accept you as who you are. Moreover, you can get the help of Apps that will guide you to restaurants, cafes, hotels, and other places with vegan-friendly options. It will make your outing experiences more enjoyable.
What Happens To Your Body When You Go Vegan?
As mentioned on the list above, your body tends to undergo several changes when you go vegan. Especially Vitamin B deficiency can cause anemia which will have the following effects on the body:
- Weak muscles
- Difficulty walking
- Numb or tingling sensation in hands and feet
- Loss of energy or wearying quickly (tiredness)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Accelerated heart rate
- Sleek and fragile tongue
Moreover, some could also experience weight loss or weight gain depending on what you eat and your eating patterns. Additionally, a study shows that plant-based meat available on the market is high in salt. Thus, higher salt consumption can also have adverse effects on your health and body like:
- High blood pressure
- Swelling in the body (ankles, hands, feet, joints)
- Increased thirst
- Weight gain
- Increased urine excretion
- Trouble sleeping
- Enlarged heart muscles
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Kidney stones
- Stomach cancer
However, remember that all these negative effects on your body are adaptable, and you could possibly overcome them by balancing your diet. So, it is always better to move to the safer side by supplementing the essential nutrients and incorporating a variety of foods.
What Happens To Your Body Once You Stop Eating Meat?
Have you ever thought about what would happen to your body when you stop eating meat entirely and go for a plant-based diet? Well, this section will explain to you in detail the impact of cutting meat from your diet.
01 – Loss Of Energy
Meat could provide you with an abundance of energy as it contains protein and iron. Thus, when you cut down meat from your plate completely, you will more likely be left with low energy levels. So, it is very crucial that you include plan-based food items that are rich in iron and protein.
02 – Indirectly Leads To Stress and Anxiety
The reason we use the word ‘indirectly’ here is that meat does not directly involve causing anxiety or stress in people, but however it does. If you were a meat-eater before, you might start to miss the taste of steak, chicken burger, or lamb chops after you turned vegan. Hence, chances are high for you to regret the decision you made or may find it hard to find a substitute with the same tastes. The hard feelings of the incapability for reversing your decision and difficulty finding what to eat might ultimately make you stressed. Moreover, the fear of social acceptance from your meat-eating friends may leave you anxious.
03 – Potential Physical Reactions
Not for everyone, but on rare occasions, cutting down meat completely from your diet may cause some physical reactions. The symptoms could include fatigue, cramps, bowel movement changes, headaches, and even dizziness. This basically happens because the Vitamin B12 you got so far from meat has been suddenly stopped.
Can you get sick from going vegan?
This is a common question that many vegans or to-be vegans would have. We think you got an obvious answer to this if you read the sections we discussed on top. So, long story short, when you are incapable of balancing your diet and mentality, you will get sick. In fact, when you cannot find the balance of things in your life, you will unquestionably fall sick. That means, when you go vegan, you should know and work effectively to adjust your diet with the essential nutrients.
However, the balance is the point where you don’t overcompensate or undercompensate. You could probably do it by mixing and blending food on your plate. Following foods can compensate for your plate by making you less sick and healthy.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Plant-based foods that are abundant in Vitamin B12, Omega 3, Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, Iodine, etc.
- Whole grains
- Plant-based food sources that are rich in protein.
Most gut-related health issues or detox symptoms are more likely to decrease over time once you get accustomed to your diets. Therefore, make sure that you get sufficient nutrients, calories and drink plenty of water. When talking about skin conditions, it is always better to choose skin-friendly products once you recognize the allergens. And, think twice if you have doubts about getting used to a vegan life since it will reduce the effects on your mental health.
In a nutshell, going vegan may have temporary mental and health issues or make you sick for a while. But they can be counteracted depending on your level of strength to balance things.
Getting on with a vegan life may have several adverse effects on your health and mind. Yet, as you read throughout the article, veganism is nothing that destroys your life. Since it happens to your sole preference, it is vital that you be aware of the potential downsides it would have on you. However, apart from these adverse effects, veganism can bring plenty of positive results too. Educating you with reliable information was our utter intention, and we hope that we succeeded.