Six unexpected benefits of going vegan


Veganuary has taken the nation by storm. Around 50,000 people are expected to have signed up to a January (and beyond) of veganism, but what have they got in store?

Everyone has a different reason for going vegan; it’s a personal journey, specific to each individual. Even more unique, however, are the glowing testimonials from new vegans and their diverse accounts of how eschewing animal products changed their lives.

Many take satisfaction in their clear conscience by not contributing to the pain and suffering of animals, or the further destruction of the planet. Others quickly pick up on the health benefits like enjoying more energy, having clearer skin or sleeping better.

Elena Orde went vegan two years ago, and hasn’t looked back since. On top of some of the more typical plant-based benefits, Elena experienced lots of other positive changes that took her completely by surprise. Here are six of Elena’s most unexpected benefits of going vegan…

1) Greater fulfilment

I like to feel like I’ve done something worthwhile with my day, even if I spent the entirety of it wearing pyjamas. Each and every day, vegans make a stand for animal rights, while also having a positive impact on environmental sustainability and food security. That’s a pretty good feeling, and all it requires is to swap out the animal products.

2) Enjoying food more       

Before I went vegan I assumed it was all about carrot sticks and sadness, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The list of what I can eat is infinitely longer than the list of foods I avoid. Curries, stir-frys, pizza, pies, cakes, cooked breakfasts… all can be made vegan with a little research and creativity. ‘Accidentally vegan’ goodies like some ice creams, biscuits, doughnuts and chocolate means that supermarket shopping becomes a treasure hunt, and that going vegan doesn’t mean missing out on treats.

3) Widened circle of friends

I treasure the many new friendships I have made as a result of going vegan. It’s almost like meeting someone who supports the same football team or is into the same music – you’re likely to have a lot in common and have plenty to chat about. People who care about the same things, and hold the same values, are likely to be friends for life.

4) Self-belief

Veganism is now natural and easy for me, but there were definitely a few tricky weeks in the beginning. Making it through that time and learning how to adapt showed me that I’m capable of so much more than I thought. Holding my own in conversations with people who are defensive or aggressive has been empowering.

5) Sense of community

Being vegan can give you a ‘way in’ to a vibrant community in every new place you would care to visit. On a trip to a new city and unsure where to check out first? Look up the local vegan restaurants. Moved to a new area and looking to make friends? Find out about local vegan groups. Need someone to show off your fancy dinner to? Facebook vegan groups are for you. Share a picture of an avocado with a weirdly small stone for an optimal number of ‘likes’!

6) Connection to other animals

I’ve always loved animals – I went vegan to prevent their pain and suffering. But shortly after I made the change I was completely taken aback at the extent of the connection I suddenly felt towards all animals. Every chance to interact with an animal regardless of species, whether it was a field of cows or a dog I’d met at a friend’s house, became the highlight of my day. Spending time with animals reinforces the fact that each one is an individual with their own unique personality, and reminds me why I stay vegan.

If you want some experiences like Elena’s, and many more unique to you, then sign up to The Vegan Society’s 30 Day Vegan Pledge to receive daily emails containing recipes, tips and advice to help you along the way.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Pierce, Media Manager, The Vegan Society / / 0121 523 1738 (office) / 07931 819 508 (out of hours).

The Vegan Society is a registered educational charity (no. 279228) that provides information and guidance on various aspects of veganism to existing and prospective vegans, caterers, healthcare professionals, educators and the media.