A year ago I was suffering daily with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I had bad constipation that required me to take daily fiber supplements and laxatives. Don’t worry guys, M.Ds prescribed them; I wasn’t just screwing myself up. If you don’t know much about IBS, you won’t know what triggers it. I mean, the doctors don’t know either. They suggested I stop eating most fruits and vegetables because they believed they triggered my symptoms. For instance, I could not tolerate any onions or anything related to onions. I would get a terrible stomachache even if the dish were made with onion powder. The pain wasn’t some small annoyance either; I’m taking about extreme cramps and bloating to the point of looking pregnant. So my stomach was a frickin’ mess. My horrible digestive problems actually caused me to look into veganism. Following a lot of research I took the plunge.
After two months of being vegan I made a choice despite every feeling of fear shouting against me: I stopped taking both the fiber supplement and laxatives. Then came the moment of realization…I no longer needed them. It was the best feeling. After a few more months I was able to eat almost all of my past “trigger” foods. It’s now a year later and I can easily digest any of the foods that used to trigger my symptoms. Occasionally I still have some minor cramping, but I’ve realized that the foods that hurt my stomach the most are oily or highly fatty food. I could discuss living with IBS much more in-depth if anyone would like me to. I cannot express enough how huge of a transformation going vegan has been for my digestion. I will never go back.
Lighter and less painful periods
Sorry if this is TMI for some people, but I think it deserves to be discussed. Let’s face it, most women have monthly periods and that generally comes with pain. It’s important to make this subject less taboo. Living with IBS meant I also have had very severe cramping. The cramps would be especially painful the first few days of my period. The pain was so bad that my gynecologist suggested that I medically inducing skipping every other period, by just starting a new birth control pack the week I should have my period. The strategy prevented the cramps, but I would be strangely hormonal and my next period would generally be more painful. Clearly this wasn’t a great solution. I had no idea that going vegan would improve my periods, but it definitely did. After going vegan my period got a bit lighter and my cramps improved to the point that now I rarely have period pain, although I’ll admit, my digestion gets a little weird around my period. I think this happens with most women, but generally they don’t realize. The other thing that lessened the pain was using a menstrual cup instead of tampons. I have no idea why this helped, but it really did.
Healthier skin, hair, and nails
I noticed a huge difference specifically in my hair. About five years ago I had some pretty bad hair loss. Over the years my hair was slowly coming back, but going vegan really helped get my hair back to its original healthy state. When I was losing hair, my hair also wasn’t growing quickly. Now my hair grows about an inch a month, which is close to light-speed in the hair world. Best of all though, I have my full head of hair back. It was also very healthy until I started dying it purple. Oops. I’ve always had brittle nails, but they have gotten a lot stronger since going vegan. They also now grow like crazy. In order to keep my nails short, I have to cut them weekly. My skin has also gotten clearer and healthier looking. It was actually really strange because I’ve always had fairly clear skin, but my skin freaked out and broke out when I first went vegan. After a few months it completely cleared up. Now I get the occasional hormonal breakout or breakout from super fatty food, but all in all my skin is really good.