Have you been eating too much junk food lately? Or, do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? If the answer is yes, then starting a healthier lifestyle now might mean that it may take some time before you see and feel results.
This is not to discourage you though, as in fact, my goal is to enlighten you! It’s true that a healthy diet and exercise are the ultimate keys to optimum health.
But you know what? There is a way you can enhance and speed up your weight-loss goals. It starts with the right cleanse!
If you didn’t know, doing a vegan cleanse for weight loss can benefit you in soooo many ways! Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, I got you!
What’s A Vegan Cleanse?
Cleansing diets are basically exactly what they sound like and more. Cleanses for weight loss sort of reset your body into its natural, healthier state. That also entails having to be more conscious with what you eat, because there should be no junk.
A vegan cleanse, of course, uses vegan food items only, which is actually much healthier. By eliminating all junk food and consuming all-natural food instead, you also help your organs to work more efficiently. Cleansing diets also put your organs in fasting mode, which aids in weight loss. There are many types of cleansing diets that usually vary in duration. Depending on your goals, one may work better than the others.
Does it ring a bell? This might make you think of another popular diet program, the detox. So before you mistake a cleanse for a detox, I’d like to be clear now. A cleanse and a detox are two DIFFERENT things.
Cleanse Vs Detox
When you look up detox diets, you’ll see a lot of people also refer to them as cleanses. This makes it look like both terms are interchangeable, but they shouldn’t be. The thing is though, there are more resources that call detox and cleanse one and the same.
This might be the case for a while as vegan cleanses are just starting to get more popular. But until then, let me enlighten you further!
Detox diets involve a lot of vegetable juice drinks. Well, lots of fluids mainly. It’s like a shortcut to eating vegetables, except you won’t feel as full with just the juices.
Detox juices are also popular as a weight loss drink because of its low calorie content. While you can make your own with a blender at home, detox juices in bottles are more popular for their convenience and variety. They can be very expensive though.
There’s one big issue with detox though. According to Healthline, the human body is naturally capable of self-detoxification. With your liver, kidneys, intestines, and even your lungs and skin, your body can eliminate toxins all by itself.
Furthermore, detox diets are never specific about what types of toxins they can eliminate from the body.
I won’t discount the use of detox diets though, but there is not enough studies to support it. Also, our body can only handle so much. If you have constant toxin exposure, then a little help from good foods isn’t bad.
So, what is a cleanse and how is it different? Cleansing diets also aim to help remove toxins from the body, it also uses juices but does not limit you to just that. It may also include the use of supplements. Also, the big difference is NUTRIENT REPLENISHMENT. Here’s a more comprehensive comparison:
Toxins And Its Effects
Just the name itself will make you want to stay away from it! Toxins are nothing but hazards to health. In small, trace amounts, they are harmless. However, they can accumulate and get in the way of our body’s natural, healthy rhythm.
These are the toxins that you get everyday depending on your lifestyle, and where you live:
Often found in processed, packed, and canned foods and disguised as enhancers, preservatives, and even flavors! This why eating food products that went through a lot of processing is akin to consuming a cocktail of chemicals.
Meat and poultry animals are also often given antibiotics and growth hormones to keep them bulky and resistant from disease. These chemicals remain in animal meat and will of course end up in your system after ingestion. Lucky vegans.
There are plenty of harmful heavy metals that can be found in food, but the most dangerous ones are mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. They can inhibit enzyme function and eventually cause health disorders and fatal complications.
Other heavy metals such as iron, copper, and zinc are essential to health, but only in small amounts. They also keep the harmful ones off the body. The toxic heavy metals, which we get no benefit from, in trace amounts, are nothing to worry about. But when they build up, you could be in for poisoning.
This is quite rare though, but usually, before this happens, you’ll get one or more diseases that are associated with overexposure to heavy metals. The most common is organ failure.
They’re not just in the air we breathe (especially in cities!), they’re also in the water we drink! Pollution doesn’t only wreak havoc in the environment. Constant exposure to free radicals and carcinogens are known to cause different forms of cancer in the long run.
Even with regulations in place, pesticides can still be found in crops. Pesticide residues get left in plant foods, the soil, and can end up in the water too.
Some pesticides breakdown fine and do not cause harm. However, most industrial pesticides, even some of the organic ones, can be toxic to human health especially when they accumulate.
All these toxins are not only found in water and food items. There can also be toxins in hair and skin care products, cosmetics, perfumes, cleaning products, and even some household items like food utensils. Internally, your body will also produce toxins when you have constant negative emotions. Yikes!
But how bad can it get? Over time, toxins can:
- Inhibit nutrient absorption
- Cause skin problems
- Interfere with DNA synthesis
- Block enzymes
- Kill good bacteria
- Cause irregular bowel movements
- Aggravate or cause depression
In bigger amounts, toxins are known to cause health issues from headaches and body pains to chronic illnesses. The thing is most of the time, we won’t even know it until it’s too late.
The kidneys and liver flush out most of these toxins on a daily basis, as long as they’re in good health. However, this may not be enough when your exposure to toxins are way too high.
Cleansing diets aim to support the body’s natural detoxification, while also giving it a rest from all the nasty food ingredients. In the process, highly nutritive foods are eaten instead to build a healthier internal environment.
Reasons To Do A Vegan Cleanse: Who Needs It?
Cleansing sounds really good right? Well the bad news is, it’s NOT for everyone. A good candidate for a vegan cleanse is someone who is generally healthy. Otherwise, you must consult your doctor first before going on any new diet.
1. People who want to lose weight
Cleanses are popular in the weight loss market. With less calories, sugars, and fats, plus more fiber, people who go on a vegan cleanse can lose significant weight.
However, a longer cleansing period is necessary to achieve this. Also, there are many types of weight loss cleanses that vary in the number of days and food restrictions. Make sure to choose the one that suits your preference and goals.
2. Individuals with allergies that are hard to explain
An allergy is one of the body’s signs of defense against toxins, or what it identifies as a toxin. This is the difference that will vary from one person to another. The type and triggering quantity is often individually different. So it’s common that what triggers your allergies are totally fine for another person.
If you have new allergies that seem to come out from nowhere, toxin build-up could be the culprit. Cleanses can also help seasonal allergies. The most common cleanse for allergies are the ones with more anti-inflammatory effects, as some cleanses are specifically made for this.
3. People who always feel sluggish and lethargic even with enough sleep
It’s often puzzling how you can get a lot of sleep but still wake up like you haven’t slept at all. Feelings of lethargy and weakness can also stem from lack of exercise, overwork, stress, and other more serious illnesses like depression and anxiety. Consider these possibilities first.
On the other hand, most people often overlook toxin overload as the cause of fatigue, but if you suspect this is the case, then a cleanse can be just what you need.
4. Those who want to start on a clean slate before switching to a healthier diet
If you’re looking to switch to a healthier diet (congratulations!) and want to make the most of it, start with a clean slate! This puts your organs in the best state so it can get rid of all the toxins that get in the way of nutrient absorption. Also, your weight loss supplements will work better after a cleanse!
5. People with skin issues that doesn’t resolve
When toxins build up, one of the many things your body can do is release it through your skin. When this happens, you can get a slew of skin problems that can be a pain to deal with. This can be anything from persistent acne to dermatitis and even eczema and psoriasis.
This often happens when your body cannot efficiently flush out toxins for many reasons. Aside from organ disorders, toxin overload will make the job more difficult for your hardworking organs.
6. Those who just want a better overall health
One quote from Hippocrates says that “all diseases begin in the gut”. True enough, it has to do with what we put inside our body. The accumulation of toxins can keep the intestines from doing its job of flushing out toxins.
Contraindications: Who Should Not Do A Cleanse
Before you choose a cleansing diet for your health goals, do your research first. And while you’re at it, ask yourself too, will it be safe?
Vegan cleanses are a great way to restore health, but that doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone. Because of the varying food restrictions, its safety can be in question when your body doesn’t allow for it.
If you fall under any of these categories, then it’s best to talk to your doctor first. I’m sure they can recommend something safer for you.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Individuals with digestive issues that have not had treatment yet or are still undergoing treatment
- Chronic illness like diabetes, heart disease, etc.
- Organ disorders especially that of the liver and kidney
- Children under 18 years old
- Individuals with a history of eating disorders or mental illnesses
Treating your illnesses, if you have any, should be your priority. Otherwise, a cleanse will be just useless, or worse, it will make your existing health issues worse. Remember that cleanses are not meant to be undertaken as a form of treatment.
While a cleanse can help relieve a range of health issues, keep in mind that it involves food restrictions. These restrictions can work for or against any health problems you might have. So no matter how long it takes to do your research, you being on the receiving end should be enough reason, right?
Signs You Need A Cleanse
Are you one of the lazy ones who’s always waiting for a sign before acting on something? You might already have it! It often takes a lot of toxins before your body starts to protest against it. This will of course depend on your tolerance, so always keep an eye!
- Feel sluggish, lethargic, achy, and have no energy most days
- Always feel bloated
- Crave junk food all the time
- Get cranky easily and you don’t know why (make sure it’s not PMS!)
- Have persistent dry and dull skin
- Often get constipation or diarrhea
- Suffer from chronic stress
- Get headaches that you can’t explain
Then it’s probably high time for a cleanse!
But hold up! Some of these may also be a sign of a more serious illness! So I suggest you get a proper medical assessment first. If everything is clear then you have a green light!
Also, you don’t have to wait for any of these to happen. Don’t wait until it gets worse and become tougher to deal with. Doing short cleanses every once in a while, perhaps once every few months, will keep you in good health.
How Do Vegan Cleanses Work For Weight Loss?
Although it looks like detox on the surface, vegan cleanses are much more beneficial. The main difference just comes down to one thing: nutrient replacement.
It takes away all junk to give way to nutrients. This also gives your organs a rest in a fasting mode, which is what makes weight loss happen. More importantly, it reduces the workload of your organs.
Cleanses aim to boost the body’s natural ability to detox itself, while also feeding it with the best nutrition possible.
In a gist, vegan cleanses aid in weight loss because of these qualities in its contents:
1. Low calorie
One of the key components of weight loss diets is calorie reduction. This enables your body to target and burn excessive fats. Weight gain is primarily from excessive calories, so by reversing this, your body loses weight instead.
This works better when you set a weekly goal, since you’ll have to base your lower calorie intake on your current weight. Getting less calories from what your weight ideally requires is the way to do it.
2. Contain little to no sugar
Do you know that sugar is worse than fat? For many years, fat has been thought to be the main cause of obesity. Sugar as a carbohydrate is an energy source, but too much of it can spawn a multitude of chronic illnesses. More importantly, it is the real culprit behind obesity.
Excessive sugar intake, especially that of the refined ones, can also mess up the immune system and even promote inflammation. Now you know why there’s a sugar detox.
3. Includes healthy fats only
Fats come in good and bad types, so it’s not wise to get rid of all fats. Bad cholesterol, for example, can cause hypertension and heart disease, among others. Good fats, on the other hand, keep our skin and hair healthy.
Excluding some vegetable oils (coconut and palm), a vegan cleanse includes the good fats only. Also, most bad (saturated) fats are only found in meat and dairy products. Again, lucky vegans!
4. High fiber
With vegetables as the most popular source of fiber, vegan cleanses are abundant with “nature’s broom”. Fiber is known to clean the intestines and rid it of toxins and junk residues that can cause problems.
As a weight loss aid, fiber makes you feel full for longer since it takes ages to digest it. That means less cravings, less food, less calories!
A high fiber diet is not for everyone though. If you have any form of inflammatory bowel disease, high fiber is a bad idea since it retains water. The same goes for those with intestinal blockage, as the resulting bulk from fiber can make it worse.
A lot of health disorders start from chronic inflammation that often goes under the radar. Meat and dairy products are the known food causes of internal inflammation. However, there are also vegan food items (see list below) that can contribute to it. Vegan cleanses exclude them for that very reason.
Anti-inflammatory foods promote weight loss and overall health by improving blood circulation. This means your body can function better, and that includes using up your calories!
6. Promotes good bacteria
Both pro- and prebiotics nurture a healthy digestive system so the body can digest foods better. Proper digestion is essential in maintaining a healthy weight. More importantly, it helps the body to make good use of all the nutrients in the food you eat.
Specifically, probiotics help you lose weight by:
- Reducing calorie absorption
- Inducing satiety
- Increasing hormones that help to burn fat
- Decreasing fat storage
- Reducing systemic inflammation
All these helps you fight not just obesity but other health issues as well, including heart disease. Now wouldn’t you want to make sure the good guys dominate your gut bacteria?
The Pros And Cons Of A Vegan Cleanse
Now, i know deciding on a new diet is never an easy task. But hey, I’m here to help! Is the vegan cleanse for you? Here are the pros and cons, no sugar coating!
What To Expect And What To Watch Out For When On A Vegan Cleanse
The food restrictions in vegan cleanses make it fall under extreme diet forms, just like all other weight loss diets. With the changes that you’ll be subjecting your body to, there are unpleasant effects that you may experience. These often happens in the first few days of the cleansing process.
Why it happens: The bigger the meals you are used to before cleansing, the more hungry you’ll feel as you go through your cleanse.
What you can do: Ease your way into your cleanse by gradually reducing your portions day by day. Eventually, your stomach will adjust to the smaller amount of food. Also, increase your fiber intake little by little. Do this until your satiety lasts long enough to get you from one meal to the next without snacking.
Another way to get around your hunger is to include snacks in your meal plan. Not just any snack though, keep a balance by making sure that your total calorie is under your limit. Only choose low or zero calorie snacks. You can also sip on herbal teas instead of snacking.
Fatigue and drowsiness
Why it happens: Calories serve as the body’s main fuel for energy. Reduction of your daily calories, including sugar, especially when done abruptly will leave your body with less fuel. This can also be worse for individuals who eat a lot on normal days especially prior to cleansing.
Another reason is, your body’s workload increases when it flushes out toxins. In the beginning of a cleanse, your body will have to do that with less calories, less fuel. Understandably, doing more work with less energy will tire you out faster.
What you can do: Get enough sleep while on your cleansing period and take naps if you can. Limit your exercises. You can just save them for when you get your energy back… soon! Making sure you get enough rest will also help your body to heal faster.
As for calories, again, your key is gradual reduction. This will make the adjustment easier for your body, and can significantly reduce fatigue.
Why it happens: When you change your diet significantly, your digestive system is the frontliner. Therefore it will also get the direct effects of the changes before the rest of your body does. All these sudden changes may directly cause diarrhea or even constipation.
If you had an abrupt increase in fiber, it can also be one of the reasons. This is often the case if you experience bloating and gas.
What you can do: Introduce new food varieties gradually. The same goes with increasing your daily fiber. If you’re trying out new food (or vegetables you haven’t eaten before), observe for any reactions first. If it passes fine, then you can add more varieties.
Why it happens: When you take away foods that you’re so used to, expect your body to look for it once they disappear. This happens more with sugar and caffeine. I’m sure you know how addicting they can get!
What you can do: When cravings start to kick in, drink fluids (tea or fruit water) to make you feel full without adding calories. Your feeling of fullness will easily curb your cravings, especially your appetite. Also, look for cleanse-friendly, vegan versions of what you are craving for. They do exist!
Why it happens: Withdrawal from certain foods (e.g., sugar and caffeine, again) can result to headache in the beginning. Also, it can stem from a possible dehydration.
What you can do: Make sure your fluid intake is adequate to avoid dehydration. Prior to cleansing, wean yourself off of caffeine, sugar, processed foods, and any food that you may find addicting.
These side effects don’t happen to everyone on a vegan cleanse. Mostly, these depend on the quality of food you’ve been eating and how abrupt your diet changes are. This is why diet changes are best done gradually, to allow time for your body to adjust smoothly.
In rare cases, more serious effects occur, which is often a sign that you’re either doing something wrong, or the cleanse is not for you. For the latter, it’s highly likely that the cleanse has aggravated some health issues that you’re probably unaware of. Whichever it is, watch out for:
- Severe rashes
- Feeling sick
- Splitting headache that doesn’t go away
- Diarrhea that persists for days
- Other alarming symptoms
Any of these will warrant a visit to a doctor in the soonest time possible. Cleansing diets require careful planning. If you’re not up for that, you’re only risking more health issues than just your excessive weight.
The Best Vegan Foods For Weight Loss Cleansing
Now to plan your vegan cleanse, you must choose your ingredients carefully. You can’t just have all the vegetables and fruits you see. The truth is, you will have to avoid some of them too.
Ideally, the food items and ingredients in your cleansing programs for weight loss should:
- Promote natural detox
- Contain antimicrobial/antiviral properties
- Consist of pro- and prebiotics too
- Contain fiber sources
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote fat elimination
- Include healthy fats
Here are the best vegan foods to help you plan your cleansing diet meals:
IMPORTANT! Balance your sources of antimicrobials with that of your pro- and prebiotics. Remember that these good guys are also bacteria, which means too much antimicrobials will kill them off too. You can also put 2 hours between intake of both sources to keep the good guys safe.
Now that you know the best vegan foods for cleansing, remember these following foods that you are better off avoiding. These foods can either trigger inflammation and allergies, or have bad fats in them. They will not suit cleansing diets:
- Anything fried
- Anything sugary
- Coconut and palm oil
- Processed foods
- White bread
Maximizing Your Vegan Cleanse: Do’s And Don’ts
- DO set a goal and commit to that
- DO plan your meals ahead
- DO drink plenty of fluids
- DO get enough rest
- DO introduce new foods gradually
- DO choose fresh and natural foods with minimal or no processing
- DO eat whole foods
- DO balance your food sources
- DO stock up on healthier food items
- DON’T make abrupt changes
- DON’T keep junk foods at home
- DON’T leave home without some (healthy) snacks with you
- DON’T indulge on junk foods right after cleanse
The Raw Vegan Cleanse
It is a common knowledge that too much heat during processing and cooking can destroy food nutrients. The solution? Raw food items! Now these are not necessarily uncooked food items. The raw food principle simply limits food heating to a maximum of 107⁰F.
Some food manufacturers are able to use lower heat to dehydrate foods, although the temperature may vary between manufacturers. However, nutrient damage occurs at 118⁰F so it’s best to stay way below that since anything near that might risk nutrient loss. Also, other nutrients such as B vitamins are more heat-fragile.
What you’ll often see are cold-pressed food products like juices. This is one of the best ways to preserve the nutrients in food, especially when you’re on a cleanse. This is also what makes raw foods ideal for cleansing.
If you prefer a raw vegan cleanse, then you must avoid pasteurized food products. Most nuts and seeds also require high heat during processing to remove shells and skins. Another process that also involves high heat is grinding and freezing.
Grinding machines get hot in the process, and as for packed frozen products, well they are blanched first before they are frozen. That’s how they keep it from early spoilage.
If you like dried foods to add texture and variety to your raw food diet, you can get a food dehydrator. Just make sure to use temperatures recommended above. Drying at lower heat will take a longer time but it will also prolong your food’s shelf life.
Raw vegan food brands you can try:
Best for: People who are conscious about nutrient retention and those who like shorter food preparation times.
The Vegan Juice Cleanse
Drinking your way to weight loss is always convenient! So how can you say no to a vegan smoothie cleanse? If you love making your own concoctions and have a blender or juicer at home, it’s easy peasy! But if you’re the grab-and-go type, there are plenty of ready to drink vegan cleansing juices in the market.
Best for: people who need and prefer convenience, love smoothies, and can handle unpleasant tastes for the sake of health.
The Vegan Soup Cleanse
Soup cleanses are similar to juice cleanses, except that soups are mostly more filling. They can also be a great replacement for cold juices during winter seasons. Just how popular have soup cleanses gotten? Well, there are now ready to eat soups in bottles and cups too like Soupure, Splendid Spoon, and Soupelina.
Best for: Soup lovers and those who can’t handle the taste of cleansing juices.
The Beyoncé Vegan Cleanse
Sometimes it takes a celebrity to convince people that something works, right? Well all the more if you have millions of followers! If you’ve heard about Beyoncé (and husband Jay-Z) going on a vegan diet years ago, then you’ve probably heard of the Beyoncé cleanse already. Yes, it’s a vegan cleanse!
Beyoncé’s 22-day plant-based cleansing process, according to her, was the reason behind her successful weight loss. This also involves avoiding soy and gluten. The number of days in this diet plan is based on the belief that “it takes 21 days to change a habit”.
Best for: Beyoncé fans! Just kidding. For people who want more permanent weight loss with more enjoyable meal options.
The 3-Day Vegan Cleanse
Liquid cleanse diets can be a part of this vegan cleanse that include whole foods. It takes away hunger pangs and cravings that can lead to overindulgence.
Best for: individuals who want a “trial period” of vegan cleansing, or just a quick cleanse to makeup for eating too much junk food.
The 7-Day Vegan Cleanse
A longer version of the 3-day vegan cleanse, the 7-day period is more likely to result in weight loss. However, how long that shed weight stays off will depend on what you do and maintain after the cleanse.
Best for: Beginners who want more than a trial period
The 21-Day Vegan Cleanse
A 3-week vegan cleanse period that may help modify your eating habits for the better. It needs more meal plans and a clear goal.
Best for: People who are determined to become a conscious eater
The 30-day Vegan Cleanse
This longer cleansing period may test your discipline. However, it’s a great way to start a permanent, healthy lifestyle.
Best for: People with strict discipline and diligence for consistent planning
The Search For The Best Vegan Cleanser
Are you looking to try the best vegan cleansing diet? Well you won’t find anything specific because the truth is the best vegan cleanse for weight will depend on:
- Your taste
- Your weight loss goals
- Your current state of health
- Your resources
Ultimately, the best weight loss cleanse for you should be:
Books For Vegan Cleanse Meal Plans And Vegan Cleanse Recipes
Do you need ideas for your weekly menu? Planning will make your vegan cleanse more successful. It will keep you from resorting to poor food choices that may ruin your cleansing process. Also, preparing for your weekly meals will give you something to look forward to.
Here are some of the best books to guide you from recipes and meals to health inspirations:
- Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston (as made popular by Oprah!)
- Clean Eating Vegan 30 Plant-Based, Whole Food Recipes by Sarah McMinn
- The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon
- The Juice Truck by Zach Berman and Ryan Slater with Colin Medhurst
- Vegan Smart: 23-Day Vegan Cleanse Simple Meal Plan For Beginners by Jack Stevenson
Vegan cleanses are a form of restrictive diets that require a lot of planning. To get the most of it, choose your foods wisely and plan your meals carefully.
Most importantly, make sure to choose a method that suits your health condition. As a cleanse is not for everybody.
At the beginning of your journey, doing a vegan cleanse can be beneficial. I would say to give it try as it will get rid of the toxins in your body and give you a fresh start!
Have you successfully lost weight from a vegan cleanse? What methods have you tried so far? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.