Based on my personal experience of the past 14 months, I can say that sticking to a strict vegetarian diet has had many benefits with absolutely zero negative side effects. I want to share some of the vegan diet benefits in case you will also consider this herbitarian diet.
First, my energy levels are much more uniform throughout the day and much higher than before becoming vegan. I don’t know the exact science behind this but I feel less tired throughout the day. In the past, there would be times during the day when I would feel very tired. These have all but disappeared (even in cases when I am doing physical work). I feel nicely tired at night and refreshed in the morning.
Second, all signs of indigestion or heartburn or any other unpleasant feelings associated with eating are completely gone. I simply haven’t felt these in the last 14 months even once. I never feel like I ate too much or that I didn’t eat enough and need to eat a lot. I don’t get the sugar lows which most people confuse with hunger. Some are afraid that if they don’t have a big breakfast (or protein for breakfast) they may get really hungry by lunch time. All of this adjusts perfectly after about 6 weeks. The challenge I believe may be that people who diet tend to do so for limited periods (such as a few weeks) when the true benefits are felt and enjoyed.
Third, I don’t need to drink as much water during the day as most fruits and vegetables are full of juice. It “feels” like my kidneys will be in a better shape as a result and I really doubt I will ever have kidney stones. I suspect these were caused by the extra calcium being used to balance the acid for digesting meats, fats and dairy products. Only time will tell if this is true.
Fourth, I lost 60lbs. The weight loss alone has many benefits which I won’t list here but it feels so much better not to carry around the extra 60lbs all the time. This is probably largely responsible for the extra energy I have. Interestingly I thought I’d continue to lose weight until I reached the ideal weight but I have stopped for the past couple months at the same weight which is still about 30lbs above the ideal weight for my height.
Fifth, every single blood test score which was a problem before has improved. For example, cholesterol, the ratio and a bunch of others are as good as they were about 15 years ago when I started travelling for work. Here I have to mention that I believe eating out is not a good activity if you want to eat healthy.
Sixth, my blood pressure has gone down – by a lot. I cut all added salt out of my meals. I don’t know if it’s this or the rest of the factors but I don’t get stressed out as much as I used to. My wife believes that has to do with “growing up” but I believe that a huge source of stress is what we eat. This is not a quick fix process though. For example, if you’re stressed and want to reach for that ice cream or cookie, not eating the ice cream isn’t going to decrease your stress. But if you completely cut out ice cream and eat like I eat, you may never even get stressed out. The key is to turn the vicious cycle into the virtuous cycle.
There are a number of other benefits such as less guilt, supporting the environment, serving as an example, teaching children about food choices, and so much more. If you are interested in trying this out, please feel free to comment. I’ll be happy to respond.