Going vegan can have various benefits for health, the environment, and personal growth. In fact, vegan lifestyle can prevent animal slaughter and suffering, shrink our environmental footprint, and reduce our risk of various chronic diseases. Eating a plant-based vegan diet can also boost mood and help restore balance to certain neurotransmitters involved in depression.
So how do you prepare for going vegan? Here is my advice on how to detox before going vegan to reap the long-term benefits of the lifestyle change!
What to Keep in Mind Before Going Vegan
There are no gimmicks or strict dietary protocols when it comes to knowing how to detox before going vegan. Ultimately, going vegan is not only a lifestyle change but a complete change in smell, taste, preferences, and cravings.
Furthermore, highly alkaline vegan foods are processed by the body very differently than an omnivore diet, creating physical changes that are tangible, observable, and transformational. Ultimately, changing your cellular fuel will show you the pure importance of the chemistry you consume due to so many physical, emotional, and mental changes.
Before going vegan, it is important to truly come to terms with why you’re doing so in the first place. This “anchor” behind your decision shouldn’t be due to temporal or external factors, but should be tied to your values, worldview, and an internal desire for transformation. Without this internal anchor driving the process as well as the ups and downs of transitioning to veganism, it will be difficult to keep up with the lifestyle when the going gets difficult.
Essentially, “going vegan” is wonderful for everyone in terms of weight loss, physical health, and overall emotional and mental balance – be it for a week, month, or season. But when it comes down to it, “becoming vegan” is a lifestyle that entails looking at and showing up in the world in a very different way.
The Psychology of Changing Eating Habits
Changing eating habits can be challenging, especially from a psychological perspective. Imagine a lifetime of associating pleasure with certain foods that our bodies are most likely addicted to! To break that requires a true commitment to a new way of life – a complete transformation.
Here are some important tips for changing eating habits that will help you commit to your vegan lifestyle long-term:
1. Identify triggers: Identify the triggers that lead to unhealthy eating habits, such as stress, boredom, or social situations. Once you have identified these triggers, you can work on developing healthier coping mechanisms.
2. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors around food. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues, and practice eating slowly and savoring your food.
3. Set realistic goals: Set realistic and achievable goals for changing your eating habits. Start with small changes and gradually work your way up to bigger changes.
4. Create a supportive environment: Surround yourself with people who support your healthy eating goals, and remove temptations from your environment. For example, keep unhealthy, non-vegan snacks out of the house and stock up on healthy vegan options instead.
5. Practice self-compassion: Be kind and compassionate to yourself, especially if you slip up or make mistakes. Remember that changing eating habits is a journey, and it takes time and practice. If you take one step forward and two steps back, you’re still on the right path and should be proud of yourself.
6. Seek support: Consider seeking support from a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian or therapist, who can provide guidance and support as you work on changing your eating habits.
Remember that changing eating habits is a process, and it is important to be patient, persistent, and committed. By taking a psychological approach and focusing on developing healthy microhabits and coping mechanisms, you can make lasting changes to your diet and stay on the vegan journey long-term.
Why It Is Important to Ease Into Veganism
Just like we get used to our habits and environments, so do our cells! Getting accustomed to the effects of fuel that consists of very different chemistry and revitalizes our whole body is a tremendous feat that takes diligence and patience.
Introducing more alkaline chemistry into a system that may be congested, coagulated, too acidic, and dysregulated is bound to cause a shock that manifests as detox symptoms, so a slow and deliberate introduction of vegan foods is necessary.
This is why it is so important to stay away from detox fads that don’t take into account the body and its relationship to chemistry and energy. They advise all individuals with vastly different genetics, ages, lifestyles, and diets, to follow the same protocol that is very extreme – mostly juicing and fasting for days on end.
When dealing with an influx of alkaline chemistry, the body usually sees a great opportunity to heal and starts duping toxins and acidic waste into the lymphatic system, our interstitial sewage system that is twice the size of the blood network. That process can cause many physical, emotional, and mental symptoms to appear, such as cold and flu-like symptoms, irritability, shaking, emotional imbalance, nervousness, crying, body aches, and tiredness.
Many mistakenly assume that feeling bad on a healthy vegan diet (not a junk vegan diet) must mean that somehow they are deficient or that the food isn’t healthy for them. But nothing can be further from the truth! Instead, it is the body moving acids from tissues to be circulated back to the kidneys and other elimination organs that are causing the less-than-favorable detox symptoms.
Here are just a few resources that can get you started on transitioning to the vegan lifestyle (written by long-term vegans):
How to Detox Before Going Vegan
Detoxing before going vegan is more so about easing into veganism than anything else. Vegan foods, especially organic raw foods, will start the detox process on their own, and trying to push the body into a strict detox will defeat the purpose of the preparation process.
From my own experience and that of others that I’ve worked with, the best way to detox before going vegan is to incrementally increase the amount of plant-based foods you introduce into the body.
I would first start by introducing mostly cooked vegan foods (about 80%) into your system, and every few weeks or so, increase the intake of raw foods by 10%. This means slightly decreasing the amount of cooked food intake and slowly increasing raw food consumption. Ultimately, this is the ideal way to detox safely and effectively.
Once your body is used to the increase in plant-based chemistry, it will start to expect and rely on its constant influx. This means that it will use its intelligence to sort out its chemistry in terms of the most pertinent needs for survival – either for later storage, the body’s healing needs, or for the elimination of acids and toxic chemicals. Usually, it is all three combined.
When the body has the fuel it requires to keep all of its functions in a balanced state of homeostasis, it will do what is absolutely essential to get the body out of the state of crisis and compensation (which leads to body break-down and decay) by cleaning and healing the weakest areas of the body.
Give Your Body Enough Time to Adjust
When you start eating vegan, your digestion and nutrient assimilation will change. You may first experience sensitive digestion because of a higher intake of fiber, but with time, the fiber will help clean the intestines and expel a lot of obstructions, such as mucus, decaying animal matter (the guts can hold many pounds of decayed flesh in them, since they don’t receive enough astringent chemistry to clean), as well as parasites. You definitely want this to happen, so don’t fret about the initial discomfort that occurs with this process!
You may also find that you are more regular on a vegan diet, as the plant-based matter is easier to digest and process by the intestines. Therefore, you may experience more gas and pain in the lower gut, since more friendly bacteria will battle bad bacterial overgrowth, fungus, and parasites for the dominance of the gut flora. Simply know that it’s a healing crisis that is a necessary part of readjusting your body’s relationship with a different type of chemistry.
Along with certain unpleasant detoxification symptoms that will come and go initially (know that it’s the body readjusting, expelling acids, and healing), depending on how healthy you go on a vegan diet, you’ll likewise experience changes in your palate, taste and smell sensitivity, and cravings.
Most likely, you’ll crave healthier foods and will find processed foods very off-putting and too artificial for consumption. This will happen because you’ll start to feed the good bacteria in your body, making them stronger, meaning they will dictate your preference for food that will feed them (as opposed to the food that feeds candida, fungus, and parasites).
Be gentle with the changes and whenever you feel out of balance because of the detox symptoms, know that you can slow down the cleansing process – you are in the driver’s seat, after all.
How To Slow Down Detox Symptoms
Vegan foods have a higher composition of alkaline chemistry, which is more astringent and cleansing in nature. By consuming more raw vegan foods, you will prompt the body to release coagulated acids that were stored internally to protect the body. The change will also prompt the liver to start releasing long-stored toxins to be eliminated by the kidneys and the colon, while at the same time thirsting to absorb vital nutrients in preparation for additional nutritional droughts.
Likewise, astringency will also prompt the lymphatic system – the body’s sewage system – to circulate waste more efficiently from interstitial walls (intracellular spaces) to the kidneys and other elimination organs. This purgation of toxins and the circulation of acids will inevitably feel physically, emotionally, and even mentally uncomfortable! This is exactly what characterizes detox symptoms.
To slow down detoxification is pretty simple – always reduce the amount of raw food and herbs you consume. So, instead of having an all-fruit breakfast (which I fully recommend as part of an effective long-term detoxification and body healing process), you may opt to have a few pieces of fruit and then organic gluten-free oatmeal with cinnamon, date sugar, and raisins.
A great lunch idea would be to substitute a salad with steamed veggies and sprouted organic quinoa. Another detox symptom relief strategy is to conserve your energy as much as possible (the body is using it for detoxification and healing) and to get plenty of rest.
Despite the symptoms, if you continue the detox and ride out your detox symptoms without trying to suppress the cleanse, your body will thank you on the other side of the ordeal. You will notice more energy, clarity of the mind, the need for less sleep, better digestion, clearer skin, and the elimination of aches and pains.
The long-term effects of detox (using a high-raw vegan diet for healing) are profound changes in your state of health and awareness of yourself and the world around you. People often decide to completely change their lives – where they live, their professions, their interests, and even the individuals they associate with. Indeed, the high frequency of the chemistry in raw foods will change your cellular vibration and the way you experience life.
To help you go deeper into natural body detoxification, I had put together incredibly informative articles that share my knowledge on how to detoxify safely and effectively:
When going vegan, you absolutely must ease into the process. Don’t be hard on yourself if you relapse – be grateful you are at a precipice of personal transformation. Changing habits and ceasing to listen to your parasites commanding you to feed them with cheeses and meats is hard!
My recommendation is to start by changing one meal a day to all vegan, and to stick with that for as long as it feels like a comfortable habit. Once it does, you can then make your second meal vegan and then gradually, your whole diet. What this does is not only prime your body for new fuel intake but also provide you with the room and mental space to test out various vegan meals and get used to their preparation.
By easing into the whole process, you will be more likely to stay on track and not give up because of the difficulties associated with the changes. Instead, give yourself the room to not go about it perfectly, to go at your own pace, and to use your intuition about which vegan foods resonate with you the most. All of this will change as you get deeper into your veganism journey – best of luck!
And if you need more help personalizing your detoxification and vegan transition journey, check out my wellness services. I’d be happy to guide you to your greatest health!