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 recent surge in 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. 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 are soy-based. 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 veggies.
CUTTING BACK ON MEAT
If you are not a vegetarian or vegan but you are thinking about transitioning into more of a meatless diet, the 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 to environmental. 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 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 garlic, turmeric, curry, and paprika. If you desire to get a bit more creative with your meal options, here are a few recipes from the Clean Blog:
The main concern for prospective vegan and vegetarian cleansers is getting enough calories each day. We can load up on healthy fats by adding avocados, coconut oil, and/or almond butter into our shakes. We also suggest adding additional protein into your shakes, such as spirulina and hemp seeds, which are great sources of vegan protein. Sweet potatoes are awesome for those good, healthy carbs.
A lot of veg-friendly diets are pretty similar to the Cleanse diet already, so meal prep can be quite simple!
Written by Ashley Thomas of the Clean Team