Dietician reveals what happens to your body during Veganuary
"It also helps you get more diversity in your diet, and so by the end of Veganuary microbes in your gut will likely begin to change and diversify."
By Athena Stavrou via SWNS
A dietician revealed what happens to your body when you do Veganuary and shares her top tips for taking on the challenge.
Hazel Clarke, a registered consultant dietician, advises clients how to obtain a healthy, balanced vegan diet and says Veganuary can be the "perfect time to see real change."
Veganuary is a popular New Year's challenge, which sees people cut out meat and follow a plant-based diet for the first month of the year.
Hazel claims it can be a great opportunity for people to "diversify their diets" and that physical changes in gut microbes - improving vital gut health - can be found by taking on the month-long challenge.
Hazel, who is based in Greater Manchester, England, said: "Research out there hasn't given a set time period for how quickly things change for someone on a vegan diet - it can really depend on each person and their lifestyle.
"We do know that having a vegan diet is good for your overall health - as you generally are at a healthier weight which is good for your cardiovascular system.
"It also helps you get more diversity in your diet, and so by the end of Veganuary microbes in your gut will likely begin to change and diversify.
"Having a healthier gut bacteria is proven to have positive impacts on your general health.
"Chemicals found in plants are found to be anti-inflammatory so eating more can help with inflammatory problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or hormonal issues."
Studies have shown that 95 percent of serotonin - a mood stabilizing chemical that is associated with happiness - is made in the gut, so having diversity in your gut microbes is essential.
Hazel urges people wanting to make the switch and give up meat for Veganuary to do research on how to complete it healthily and ensure they still get plenty of essential vitamins.
She said: "It's not to say that every vegan diet is a healthy diet. You can have a vegan who is reliant on processed, ready meals in which case it doesn't make any difference.
"But Veganuary has raised awareness for veganism, promoted it and opened it up to restaurants and chefs - so there's a lot more support for someone who wants to go down that path.
"It's important to do some research to make sure you're still getting your important vitamins like B12, calcium and iron - which is really easy to do even with making sure you're drinking milk alternatives.
"Also, if you had an overall healthy diet before you may not see such a big shift, but if you had a high sugar, processed diet you might see big changes and feel a lot more energized.
"However, if you went from an unhealthy diet to such a fiber rich one it can cause some complications like bloating.
"I'd recommend doing it slowly, bring positive aspects of a vegan diet in and make sure you're doing it in a safe and healthy way."
Hazel's full list of tips for Veganuary are:
- Do research into where to get your major vitamins from
- Be patient, you'll see the biggest benefits in a few months
- Try to stick to whole foods, plant-based version of veganism rather than relying on ready meals and processed foods
- Don't overthink it too much
- Focus on getting a variety of plants into your diet
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