Thinking about trying a vegan cleanse? Whether you’re interested in trying an entirely plant-based diet or just want to eat less meat, it’s always a good idea to re-evaluate your eating habits in order to identify any unhealthy practices or cravings. Besides, you can’t really go wrong with adding more healthy fruits and vegetables to your diet.
We receive quite a few inquiries from prospective cleansers regarding whether or not the 21-Day Clean Program is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. And … the answer is YES! The cleanse diet is a whole foods diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grains and starches, vegetable protein, nuts and seeds. If you eat primarily vegan, we’re here to help you figure out “What do vegans eat on the 21-Day Program?”
WHY VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN DOES NOT ALWAYS = HEALTH FOOD
Since more people are adopting vegetarian and vegan lifestyles over the past few years, there are many more food companies that now offer vegetarian and vegan food options. This is fantastic, but please tread with caution when you are skipping down the grocery aisle and you spy a product that is labeled vegetarian or vegan.
These food options do not always equate to healthy eating. Aside from raw vegan food, many vegetarian/vegan-friendly food products are laced with soy, sugar, and a lot of funky chemicals that are hard to pronounce (and should be avoided as much as possible). Most mock foods such as veggie burgers, soy pizza, and veggie sausages have absolutely zero nutritional value, especially the products that use soy-based ingredients. Soy is one of the most genetically modified food crops, lots of people have difficulty digesting it and there is controversy around its estrogen implications.
Avoid these nostalgic mock foods as much as possible and head over to the produce aisle to pick up some whole fruits and vegetables.
CUTTING BACK ON MEAT
If you are not a vegetarian or vegan but you are thinking about transitioning into more of a plant-based diet, the vegan cleanse program can be a great time to test this option out. You can go meatless for the full 21-Day Cleanse or you can choose to cut back on meat consumption by having meat every other day or three times a week. If you’re not sold on the full veg life just yet, you might do well with testing out a pescatarian diet during the cleanse, which is a diet that excludes meat but includes fish.
People adopt meatless diets for a variety of reasons ranging from spiritual, ethical, medical, and environmental. Compared to raw fruits and leafy green vegetables, digesting meat requires our body to expend a lot of energy. Going meatless for a few days is a great way to give the digestive system a rest. This vegetarian/vegan meal plan can free up some energy to allow the body to repair and restore other areas that might be in need of attention.
Red meat, in particular, can be acidic and sometimes taxing on our organs, especially the detox organs. Additionally, factory farm raised animals are usually injected with hormones and antibiotics that can be harmful to humans. Many consumers purchase factory farm raised meat because it is usually much cheaper than grass-fed, free range meat. When it comes to meat, we should always attempt to buy the best quality possible.
WHAT DO VEGANS EAT ON THE CLEANSE?
We invite you to use this cleanse as a springboard to get creative with your food options. The module of the cleanse program is a shake for breakfast, a solid meal for lunch, and another shake for dinner. And yes, you are welcome to mindfully snack in between.
What do vegans eat on the cleanse? A good lunch can be a portion of a plant-based protein such as beans or lentils, a grain such as brown rice or quinoa and either a filling salad and/or a side of steamed, sautéed or roasted vegetables. Use spices to jazz up the flavor a bit. We enjoy adding garlic, turmeric, curry, and paprika to our recipes. If you desire to get a bit more creative with your meal options, here are a few healthy vegan and vegetarian recipes from the Clean Blog:
WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS
The main concern for prospective vegan and vegetarian cleansers is getting enough calories each day. We can load up on healthy fats by adding specific fruits and vegetables like an avocado, coconut oil, and/or almond butter into our shakes. We also suggest adding additional protein into your shakes recipes, such as spirulina and hemp seeds, which are great sources of vegan protein. As a rule, many nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds and chia seeds are a great source for plant-based protein. Sweet potatoes are awesome for those good, healthy carbs, too.
A vegan cleanse or vegan detox diet doesn’t have to be difficult. A lot of veg-friendly diets are pretty similar to this vegan cleanse diet already, so meal prep can be quite simple!
Instead of eating processed foods or unhealthy meats/animal products, try adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily routine. Healthy eating habits can help you look and feel your best. Always try to eat clean, drink lots of water, and be kind to your body. You’ll feel energized, healthy, and it will benefit your health and well-being in the long run!
Written by Ashley Thomas of the Clean Team