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Trying veganism for short or extended periods of time can open up your whole life. Cutting out animal products and moving towards a completely plant based regimen provides your body with tremendous benefits. From giving your digestive tracts a break to improving your sleep, to reducing your carbon footprint, a vegan diet can be extremely healing for your body and our planet.

We want to make this cleanse a lot more friendly and accessible. Here are some tips to easily integrate veganism into your life, and to enjoy the most benefits.

1. Working up to your vegan cleanse, start mindfully cutting down on meat the week before. Try not to eat meat until dinner, or shift to eating only fish. When you cleanse you won’t feel totally depleted or like it’s impossible to get full, and your body will be able to detox much more efficiently.

2. Use the phrase ‘plant-based’ when going vegan. Firstly, this will help when talking to friends and family about it as they’ll have less to be judgmental about, as eating a plant-based diet sounds a lot less threatening than going vegan. Secondly, it will help you create meals that are plant based. This means that instead of buying vegan meat replacements, pizzas, or other processed foods, your meals will start with whole foods grown in the ground. You’ll get plenty of nutrients and energy from all of the foods you’re eating, and your body will be able to properly cleanse. Feel free to make big veggie pastas or sandwiches loaded with veggies, but remember that the majority of what you eat needs to be plant based and non-processed.

3. Don’t deprive yourself. This cleanse should be uplifting and fun, so make sure to snack properly and treat yourself in moderation with the things you enjoy. This cleanse will require more prep than usual as you won’ t be able to grab things on the go as easily, so plan on taking snacks you enjoy with you to work or the gym, and find a coffee shop that serves non-dairy milk if you tend to enjoy a nice cappuccino.

4. Many people worry about protein when they go vegan. Fortunately, there are tons of vegan sources of protein that are delicious and easy to enjoy. If you’re eating a well-rounded plant-based diet you won’t miss out. Some great sources are hemp seeds, broccoli, kale, avocados, mushrooms, walnuts, almonds, beans and quinoa.

5. Cook once and eat twice. A great way to reduce stress about your vegan cleanse is to make enough when you’re cooking so you have leftovers for the next day to have for lunch or dinner. To help, make soup at home, cook with rice, quinoa, farro, or pasta, as they keep well and can be re-heated or eaten cold, and use crunchy vegetables like bell peppers, beans, corn and celery.

6. Milk and cheese make it very hard for many of us to go vegan. A big reason for this is because the sugar in dairy, lactose, it addictive and causes us to crave and enjoy it in unnecessarily large quantities. If you’re concerned you won’t be getting enough calcium without dairy, fear not, there are lots of vegan sources of calcium. Will power and good alternatives will help you manage any dairy cravings you might have.

For some surefire motivation, watch Forks Over Knives or More Than an Apple A Day: Preventing Our Most Common Diseases.

Photo credit: Tumblr

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