How Long Does it Take Your Body to Adjust to a Plant-Based Diet?

Making the transition from omnivore or vegetarian to vegan can feel like a big deal. You’re making an ethical decision as well as a huge dietary change. The experience can be quite profound, mentally as well as physically. But how long does it take your body to adjust to a plant-based diet? Your mileage may vary!

How Long Does it Take Your Body to Adjust to a Plant-Based Diet?

 It generally takes 2-4 weeks for your body to adjust to a plant based diet. The time-frame depends on a number of factors but if you eat a lot of animal products, your adjustment may take a little longer. However, it’s well worth it … 

Woman being free on the beach

I can honestly say going vegan was the best decision I’ve ever made for my health and happiness.

Even though contemplation of the horrors endemic in the meat and dairy industries often saddens me, I feel blessed that every day I’m making a conscious decision to avoid that world as much as I can.

I’m lucky. Switching to vegan was easy for me because I was already vegetarian for many years so the wrench wasn’t too great. Personally speaking, the physical side of it was really all about getting past the addiction to cheese!

I used to chomp down the cheese like it was going out of fashion … and I think I did experience some very mild withdrawal symptoms.

But I certainly didn’t need rehab 🙂

It was much easier giving up dairy than I thought it was going to be. The thought of it was ten times worse than the reality and many vegans report the same thing.

Emotionally, my experience was quite profound but physically it was all positive. More energy and stamina, less of a bloated feeling, more regular bowel movements, improvements in my skin and a greater libido!

To name but a few.

Some are not so lucky though and do experience some less than stellar effects of going vegan. I’m here to assure you, these are not permanent effects however. Your body will adjust relatively quickly.

Let’s look a little closer …

The Human Body: An Amazing Feat of Evolution

Close up of a human eye

Sometimes I’ll read or hear something about the human body and it will absolutely blow my mind. The intricacies of our life support system are truly remarkable.

We have learned so much about ourselves but it seems every new discovery throws up more questions! It’s almost like the deeper we delve the more complexity we reveal.

Generally, a lot of abuse is thrown at our bodies. Pollution, lack of exercise, exposure to chemicals and poor diet to name but a few.

One of the many things that amazes me about the human body is how resilient it is. It takes on a lifetime of these stresses and still manages to last a hundred years, in many cases.

We can feed ourselves junk food for decades and we barely miss a beat. Although you may have trouble surviving on junk food alone!

The point I’m trying to make here is the body will adjust to the circumstances it finds itself in. It will do its utmost to survive.

Yes, there will be a period of adjustment when changes are made but this is usually relatively rapid. The very same applies when switching to a plant-based diet.

There is no hard and fast rule to how long it takes to adjust to a plant-based diet but generally it shouldn’t take longer than a couple of weeks.

Personally, I was over the worst of it after day 4. But as I mentioned above, I was coming from a place where I’d already not eaten any part of an animal for 20 years so it was likely not so extreme for me compared to someone who consumes meat regularly.

Give Yourself 2 – 4 Weeks To Make The Transition

Sign on a building saying 'Let's Change'

Yes, you will be noticing changes in your body for many months but the body does adjust quickly, as we already learned above.

Some changes happen very quickly, often the next day! Your gut responds quickly to an increased fibre intake which, invariably, goes hand in hand with the move to plant-based.

A quick point to note here. Heavy meat eaters may have more of a problem initially shifting that impacted stool from the many years spent consuming inadequate levels of fibre.

If you’re finding, after 2 or 3 days, there has been no change in the frequency of your movements then you may want to consider a herbal colon cleanse.

This will usually jump start your GI tract and clear out much of the problem. Then the continuation through with a plant-based diet will compound the effect and you will be feeling less bound up in no time.

It’s also important to focus on fresh fruit and vegetables, limiting the amount of vegan junk food you’re consuming.

There has been a huge explosion in plant-based options over the last decade but many of these alternatives are highly processed and not particularly good for you.

Ultra processed food, or UPF, is very common in the (ever expanding) plant-based aisles of the supermarkets. While you don’t need to avoid these foods completely, it’s a very good idea to limit your consumption.

Just make sure your new diet includes a good variety of vegetables and fruit … you won’t go far wrong. Vitamin B, Omega 3 and vitamin D supplements are also a very good idea.

Some Detoxing is Normal – Don’t Let it Sway You

A slice of lemon in a glass of fizzy water

Some people freak a little bit when they see their skin break out in spots after a few days into the transition. This is perfectly normal so don’t worry!

It’s actually a really good sign that your body is responding well to the new regime. Your skin is purging those toxins which have built up over the many years of consuming animal products.

Other perceived negatives might be a drop in energy as you adjust (although I had the opposite) and you may feel like your mind is ‘clouded’ for a while.

But, again, I experienced the opposite and my mental clarity improved within days. For me it felt like a fog had been lifted from my eyes – I suddenly saw the world quite differently.

The detoxing stage should last no longer than 2-3 weeks and it’s often shorter than this so be strong at the start and know things will get easier as time goes on.

You have to remember you’re undoing many years of conditioning your body to deal with animal protein. The switch takes a little time.

I guarantee, if you predominantly stick to fresh fruit and veg, your body will breathe a sigh of relief and respond positively. Just ensure you supplement the essentials (omega 3 and vitamins B & D).

Plant-Based is The Future – It’s Time To Make The Change

A clock sinking in the sands of time

Never has humankind been faced with such an urgent issue, in the form of climate change. Our Mother Earth is sending us the warning signs.

In no uncertain terms!

99.9% of the scientists agree. There’s just a few crazies left still denying it.

Adopting a whole foods, plant based diet is one thing we can all do to help the state of the environment and tackle global warming.

We don’t have much longer to make the change. In fact, some would argue we’ve already passed the tipping point.

But that doesn’t mean we should give up and resign ourselves to our fate. We are at a stage in our evolution when we can actually predict our demise, as a species.

If we can predict it, we can change it.

If you’re sitting on the fence, not sure which way to go then please consider moving to a more plant based diet.

You don’t have to go the whole hog initially (excuse the turn of phrase my vegan friends!) but even moving to a couple or three days a week will help.

Obviously, I recommend going vegan wholeheartedly – best thing I ever did. But if you don’t care to do it for the animals then do it for the planet.

The clock is ticking …

 

I hope you enjoyed this offering of mine to the world. My goal is to increase your knowledge and help you make the right decisions for your health and our environment. If you think someone you know would enjoy this article then please share. Your comments are welcome, below …

Thanks for reading!

Rohan.

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