If you’re thinking about making the switch to a vegan diet for health reasons, the first question that might be going through your head is: Will going vegan actually make me healthier? (Short answer: YES, as long as you eat a diet of mostly whole foods.)
The second question, on its heels, is likely to be: How long does it take to see the health benefits or feel results? (It happens fast: The benefits to your body, your energy and your “debloating” from inflammation can kick in almost immediately. It’s possible to measure the difference in your cholesterol blood test in as little as three weeks.)
And the third question is likely to be: How long do I have to stick with it? This answer is complicated since the answer depends on why you are doing it. If you’re like us you start out for health reasons, then add environmental concerns (you lower your impact on climate change by skipping meat and dairy) and then you learn about the animal treatment and well, basically the game is up. But we will get to that.
Vegans Are Healthier, As Are Plant-Based Eaters, If You Stick to a Diet of Whole Foods
The latest studies show that a whole-food, plant-based diet lowers your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and breast cancer. The trick is eating a high fiber diet, one full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts and seeds. That means technically you could be a “junk food vegan” but if you stay away from the processed stuff (chips and packaged sweets) you can indeed boost your health outcome.
The most impressive thing about a whole-food vegan or plant-based diet is that adding more vegetables and fruits to your plate has dramatic health benefits and lowers risk of premature death from all major causes, a new review of the scientific research found.
But here is the clincher question: How long do you need to stay vegan for best results?
This is, for some people, a pressing question at the outset of their vegan or plant-based journey. They can’t envision giving up meat forever or never having another egg. Nor can they think of a future without pizza with real cheese. Yet for those who have made the switch, it is easier than you could imagine. Now there are nut-based cheeses, meatless meats, and eggs that perfectly mimick the texture and taste of an omelet. Still, for anyone contemplating the switch, the 64,000 question is this: How long do I need to keep eating a diet of plant-based whole foods for, to reap the benefits?
The answer is as old as time: You need to know your “Why?” When you run a marathon is it for the medal, the lifelong knowledge you did it, or because you want to be a runner for your heart’s cardiovascular health? Or did you just want to spend time away from the kids and need an unimpeachable excuse?
The same is true of eating vegan. If you are doing it for the sake of your health, it’s a little like quitting smoking. The benefits kick in almost immediately, but so do the harmful aspects if you return…