For someone who’s never done it before, giving up on meat and dairy seems a pretty drastic decision. Right now, most people are trying this diet out for a month just to check whether its positive effects are really worth it.
“I think there are compelling benefits to whole food, plant-based diets, which is why I do recommend this type of diet for many patients,” says Shilpa Ravella, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. But, just as any other diet, being vegetarian has its pros and cons – and it all comes down to your personal taste and preferences.
With that being said, let’s find out which are the main changes you’ll be likely to see after a month of vegeratian diet.
Weight loss (or gain)
“Many clients tell me they are surprised by how easy it was to lose weight once they transitioned to a fully plant-based diet,” says Jennifer Mimkha, MPH, RD. While that may be true for some, you may also be different, as many plant sources of protein are lower in calories than meat.
On one hand, becoming vegan means reducing afternoon and midnight snacks drastically – mainly because there’s not that much to eat anyway. Most snacks contain either meat or dairy ingredients which prevent you from eating them.
But, on the other hand, there is also plenty of vegan junk food, which can make you add extra pounds in no time. After all, just like any other diet, being vegetarian is about how and how much you eat on a daily basis.
Increased taste sensibility & cravings
“My whole sense of taste is heightened, and food brings me so much pleasure. And, my hard-to-tame sweet tooth has pretty much disappeared,” says Alexandria Abramian, a California-based content director who switched to a vegan diet just a few weeks ago. Studies have already proven that most vegans experience noticeable changes in their taste buds.
In fact, as science confirmed, just a couple of weeks without animal products and junk foods will help you experience tastes on a whole other level. The danger of this modification? Cravings. Because foods taste much better, you’re likely to crave them more, especially when it comes to sugary snacks.
Gas, bloating & other GI upheaval
Becoming vegetarian is a big change for your mind and body. This means that it will most likely take a bit of time until your stomach gets used to a plant-only diet, so be patient with it.
During the first couple of days, it is common to experience symptoms such as gas and bloating. That’s because your digestion process is changing due to the larger amounts of fiber you feed it.
“Because your fiber intake and gut microbiome will change, you may notice a change in your bowel movements,” adds Dr. Eytan–and perhaps for the better. “It’s possible if there was some lactose intolerance that elimination of dairy causes improvement in bloating.”