If you’ve had a lot of refined sugar and processed foods lately, you may feel that a vegan detox would benefit you greatly. This involves eating a diet based on fresh fruits and veggies, lean plant-based protein and high-fiber whole grains. You’ll be eliminating all forms of meat and other animal products, added sugars, and processed foods.
Although it’s true that our bodies detox as a natural process with the help of an extensive network of organs, cutting out unhealthy foods can support this process. Furthermore, a vegan detox comes with the benefits of a plant-based diet.
These foods are rich in protein, B vitamins, iron, and other minerals (9). Include plant-based proteins like legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Unrefined grains contain more B vitamins than refined carbs because the former still have most or all of their original nutrients intact (12). In addition, they’re usually higher in dietary fiber than other sources of carbohydrates.
Unsaturated plant-based fats are considered healthy fats since they help maintain a healthy heart and brain (4). Examples of these include olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
Making modest modifications to your daily meals is one of the simplest ways to get acclimated to a plant-based diet. You may start this by removing animal products, meat, or dairy from your diet gradually and then work your way up to a fully vegan diet.
Another idea is to change your meal plan a little at a time, such as on the first week eat vegan breakfasts, second week add vegan lunches, and so on. You could also attempt using the ingredient swapping method; for example, instead of cow’s milk use almond milk or soya milk, coconut oil rather than butter.
Regardless of whichever way you choose to go about adopting the vegan diet, here is a sample meal plan that you can use for inspiration:
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When you go vegan, your blood sugar levels are more stable because of all the fiber in vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains, which helps your body burn fuel continually instead of causing insulin to rise, which causes calories to be stored as fat. In fact, diabetics who switch to a vegan diet may be able to stop taking medications or at least have the dosage reduced. Furthermore, studies show that a person who follows a plant-based diet may reduce their chances of developing diabetes (10).
Food choices are very important to be aware of, because there are plenty of highly processed foods which are technically vegan. Only a vegan diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains will provide the fiber that confers all these benefits.
To support proper digestion and bodily mechanics, vegans tend to eat more fiber from fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains. This dietary change helps improve your “gut microbiome,” which is filled with bacteria that keep you healthy (2).
Cutting processed foods while adding fresh produce has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol (10). A plant-based diet also reduces your risk for heart disease (1).
Vegans and vegetarians tend to weigh less than their meat-eating counterparts. Losing 5-10% of body weight is one way meaningfully reduce blood pressure for overweight or obese people with hypertension. So a healthy vegan diet may help you improve your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Since you’ll be eating fresh produce and whole grains while eliminating processed foods, you can expect healthy weight loss when you go vegan. However, you have to choose your vegan foods carefully. Eating too many refined carbs for example, can cause you to gain weight on a vegan diet.
High fiber veggies and fruits increase energy because they take longer for the body to digest than sugar-rich foods (3). You’ll have sustained energy throughout the day, without the sugar crashes that are common on a diet rich in simple sugars.
In addition to these benefits, you can also expect a vegan detox diet to possibly have the following side effects:
Anytime you make a major change that involves restricting certain foods from your diet, you are likely to crave the missing foods. Be patient with yourself during this time because soon, your taste buds will adapt and you’ll find vegan foods that satisfy you.
The first step is to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water with you wherever you go and drink at least one glass before each meal.
Eat high-fat protein foods such as nuts and seeds. These will help manage your cravings for sugary or starchy foods that may be common on a vegan diet (6).
Finally, be more mindful about when, how, and what you eat. Instead of snacking mindlessly throughout the day, plan your eating times and eat at least three meals a day. Savor each meal, and listen for signs of fullness.
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To get started on your detox, here are some tips:
To do a vegan detox, you have to stock up on the right foods. Clear out your fridge and pantry of all meats, processed foods, and refined carbs to ensure you’re not tempted to eat them while on the detox (8). Here’s what you’ll need to stock up on:
To make sure you stay on track with the vegan detox plan, it’s best to create a detailed meal plan and shopping list. Create a meal plan for each week of your detox. Include breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as two snacks each day. Plan what you’ll eat on work days, weekends and special occasions such as parties or family events.
Meal prepping makes it easier to follow your vegan detox diet. When you have food ready to go, you’ll eat healthier throughout the week instead of relying on unhealthy snacks when hunger strikes. Stock up on healthy vegan foods that are quick and easy to prepare such as fresh fruit, salads, smoothies and sandwiches made with plant-based proteins like tofu or beans.
Be prepared for social situations where everyone else is enjoying meat and dairy products as it may affect your diet (7). Going out in public while trying to stick with a vegan diet can be hard. You may feel tempted by less than healthy choices or self-conscious about what others will say if they notice you’ve cut meat and dairy products out of your diet. To help get through awkward social encounters without giving in to cravings, plan ahead by packing healthy vegan snacks that you can munch on.
Going on a vegan detox is one of the best things you can do for your health. Not only might it lower your risk of chronic diseases and help keep off extra weight, this diet can help improve gut flora and boosts energy levels. Healthy weight loss on a vegan diet, however, requires proper planning and some lifestyle changes such as avoiding refined carbs that can cause weight gain.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!