Since going vegan three and a half years ago, I really do believe that I am much healthier than I was before. Some of these changes are tangible some are just ‘how I feel’, and I just wanted to share what some of those are. Obviously, this is not a scientific study and I m not claiming anything more than this is what I have observed, and these improvements have been noticed by other vegans and have been documented in research too.
First of all, I have to say that even before I was vegan, I did not really have many health problems. I was rarely sick but I did seem to get more than my fair share of colds, probably about 3 or 4 per year and I also suffered from what I thought was mild hay fever. I also think it is worth noting that since I have been vegan, my diet has really changed. Today, I eat a huge amount of vegetables of many different colours, which are incredibly nutrient dense, the grains I cook at home are nearly always whole grain but I still try to limit those as they displace the vegetables that are much more healthy. When I started being vegan, a typical dinner might have been a huge plate of pasta with a vegan pesto for example. These days, I might still have the pasta, but it will be a much smaller amount and with a massive green salad on the side and the pasta will probably be wholegrain. I won’t eat pasta 4 times a week (yes…really) rather it will be once a fortnight, perhaps less.
Why are vegetables so important? If we consume a massive amount of different colour vegetables, we are consuming a massive number of photochemicals. These phyto chemicals are so important to our cells’s health and are just not available in animal foods ( phyto actually means plant) which is why government recommendations are that half our plate be filled with non starchy vegetables.
So, healthy improvements that I have noticed are:
- My nails used to peel considerably and today they don’t.
- I used to suffer from lots of colds, I rarely I get them anymore. Last year, I got one cold and I think I have had 3 in the 3.5 years I have been vegan. In 3.5 years I have taken 2 days sick leave from work and one of those was a mild flu (fever) and the other was due to a bug of some sort (shaking someone’s germy hand probably). Considering that I work in schools with children in a tropical climate, I do think my immune system is working very well indeed.
- I used to suffer from something I can only describe as morning mucus… Gross….. I don’t anymore. I suspect might be down to drinking dairy products. No scientific proof, it’s just a hunch!
- I have also lost a considerable amount of weight. I am now on average 8kg lighter than I was before I went vegan (About 13% of my total weight). When I went back to Australia for the first time last Christmas, many family members commented on how well I looked…. OK… They might have just been polite, but I’ll take it! I am sure this is down to me eating foods that are nutrient rich and lower in calories than dairy, refined flours, cheese etc. I also very rarely drink anymore.
As part of my school’s insurance package, I was also able to have a full medical back in May, ’12 and as well as the general stuff you get tested for, I also asked for tests for my iron, b12 and calcium. I was so happy, to find out, that actually according to those test results, I am in excellent health. My cholesterol is at a very good level (much lower than ‘normal’)*, all my nutrients levels were in good shape.
While, I know that my results might have been the same if I was vegan or not, especially as I do not have a ‘before’ test to compare but I do know for sure that I am in excellent health DESPITE being vegan.
*It’s worth noting here that people who have ‘normal’ cholesterol levels STILL get heart attacks. I want to be heart attack proof which is why I aim for a very low cholesterol level.