A quick search on google, on “consequences of cutting out meat” or “what happens when i go vegan” will give you dozens of “popular” lists, blogs and even scientific evidence of what happens to your body / mind with this change. To be honest, I never cared for, or read those lists when i decided to stop eating animals. I wanted to be clear of bias and subjectivity, after all, i am a scientist and know the effects of observer bias or even the placebo effect. So here I am on my veganivversary (thankyou, thankyou very much) with my very own list derived purely from my experience of one year animal-free. Here goes!
My kitchen bin never smells
This sounds ludicrous, but its something i would have never guessed because well, who thinks of their bin? There is no longer leftover bones, animal skin, or fish guts that goes into my bin; i’ve now replaced those with aubergine stems, potato peel and discarded avocado skins (see pic above for proof)! I also empty it much less frequently, since I “recycle” not only materials, but plant-waste too (e.g. to make compost or veg. stock). Another unexpected positive consequence: theres never any cats tearing through the rubbish bag and making an absolute mess when its left outside. Thankfully cats are not herbivores
The energy slump is now extinct
There’s me thinking the post-lunch energy slump was “normal” and just part of the day as much as “waking up” is. Nah ah! No such thing. I suppose my body doesn’t need to use up unnecessary amounts of energy to digest animal protein or secretions. It metabolises the plant-based protein and/or carbohydrates in a more efficient way, releasing the energy as opposed to storing it or slumping me! (I can also report that my husband can actually NOT fall asleep when he lays on the sofa now (previously an impossible mission) and so we can actually spend more time together or watch a movie to THE END)
My purse is fuller for longer (as is my husband’s wallet!) A serious Bonus! I havent calculated it exactly but we’ve got to be spending about 100€ less per month! I try and buy veggies and fruits that are in season and pulses mostly in their dried, non-tinned form. Not only this, just look at the prices of the V options on menus when dining out. Our dinner nights (starter, mains and wine) now hover around 45-50eur for 2 people, thats 20-30€ less than previously! (this is where my husband is a happy bunny too!). Do note that the first ever “plantbased vegan” shop may seem like an expensive one because chances are you will stock up on essentials you didn’t have before e.g. Hemp seeds etc. I cant stress enough, that this is mostly a one-time-beginners “investment” as these things last ages! (e.g. my nutritional yeast package lasted almost a year)
More in touch with nature
I’m finding myself seeing beauty in places I’ve not seen it before. I might walk passed an orange tree and just marvel at how a tree, has encapsulated the energy of the sun at one perfect time of the year, transformed it into a “storable” carbohydrate/sugar, which then manifests into a fruit, ready to fuel us and animals. It feels “right” to ingest energy in this way and instinctively does not feel right, when i think about ingesting energy through an animal that was slaughtered. Or raped.
More sensitive to animals
Honestly, i thought this would get easier. I always loved animals, but hadn’t made the connection that i was “loving” them, but “eating” them?! So then when i stopped eating them, i thought i would feel better. Nop! Everytime i see a bunch of pigs unhappily stuffed in the back of a truck on the way to the slaughterhouse, i feel a giant knot in my stomach, my eyes want to tear up, i feel helpless and angry and want to speed passed the truck. It definitely doesn’t get easier, but it does make you more confident in standing by what you believe in. I also have an absolutely different relationship to my own pets now by the way. At the risk of sounding like an absolute hippie, i feel like i understand them more?
Things that were “chronic” are no longer
People assume that “chronic” means that you have no control over your disease or illness. Exactly how i felt about my intrusive IBS, my monthly migraine and seasonal sinusitis. Oh but u do! You’ve already guessed that im going to tell you they’ve disappeared (so far!). In all honesty, i did not expect these to go away – they had plagued me so long that i just learnt to live with them and built my life around them. Instead we should build our life with optimal functioning as a baseline and not illness as a default. I mean just look at Michelle, whose story of re-missing an “incurable” autoimmune disease, is astounding.
Cooking has become meditative
Doing yoga for quite a few years, as well as my field of study, i’m aware of the theory and practice of meditation. I just didnt expect food preparation to be part of it! There’s
a reason our cypriot grandmas and grandpas were more “mindful” – everything had to be prepared from scratch. In order to have sweets in the winter (Glikon tou koutaliou) it would take them days and effort, just to preserve the parts of the summer fruit they would normally throw away (e.g. the watermelon rind). The meditative part of this journey has given me a whole new level of creativity in the kitchen, making cheesecakes from cashews, chocolate mousses with avocado and jam with chia seeds.Turning plant-based, there is no cruelty on your cutting board and you can devote 100% mindfulness and enjoyment in its preparation. When there is cruelty on our cutting board, i believe we are unconsciously trying to prepare it as quickly and non-mindfully as possible; avoiding the horrible fact of what that piece of meat, once was.
Ok so this consequence is probably a more known one: my nails grow faster, without chipping and my skin is much clearer. About 3 weeks after going plant-based vegan, for about a week, my skin actually got a bit worse than it was. Now i know that was probably all the toxins finding their way out! (Eeewww) Note: Absurdly i also had a couple swollen lymph nodes at the same time, again probably my body detoxing (the exact same thing happened to my hubs). Isnt the body amazing?! But this is the point where many people see a slight deterioration in skin, a lymph, or energy, and instantly jump to the conclusion “its not working, im giving up”. You’ve been eating animals and their products for a good 30 years mate; give it more than a couple weeks to purge itself clean!
Better mental attitude
I was always quite a positive person, but I had my issues, like many of us do. Now i feel that i’m much more positive, more driven and have more mental clarity. You know somedays you just have that mental fog? Those days do still exist at times, they are just far fewer than they were. When, energetically, we’re eating fear, desperation, pain and entrapment, part of that may become part of us somehow (quantum physics is now showing how this is actually very feasible)
Veganism is easy (& sexy!)
So the reason this is on my list, is because I, maybe like many of you, thought veganism was a seriously difficult thing to do, especially coming from a Greek-cypriot culture and a family of self-proclaimed-foodies! Im not going to lie, for about a month until you get the knack of it, it is tricky. But so is starting the gym when you’ve never exercised before, right? Today I have developed the super-power of reading through labels faster than the speed of sound and combining menu items to make a complete meal like its no biggie. My point being that, initially it does take effort and some education. But what new thing doesn’t? Eventually eating a chick-pea sandwich instead of a chick-en sandwich became the automatic choice (and it was damn cheaper and faster to make too!).
Reading back on this post i’ve noticed that nothing is a “quick fix”. If you’re thinking about making a transition, or have done recently, be patient with your body (and mind!), and stick it out for at least 6 weeks to see positive changes! There have been more unexpected consequences, but i decided to choose 10. Are there any that you have noticed since going predominantly plant-based? Do you share any of these? Leave us a comment or open up a discussion!