Since switching to a plant-based vegan diet almost five years ago I have become more conscious about consuming whole-foods. In today’s convenient, fast-food world of “nutrition”, it can be very challenging to consistently eat in a way that is body-friendly, earth-friendly and animal-friendly. To get myself back on track, I have decided to undertake a “cleanse” of sorts and recalibrate my taste buds and cravings toward tasty, satisfying, nutrient-dense foods that I can feel good about.
Since food is such a popular topic and a necessary part of daily life, I thought I would chronicle our journey, for my own notes and for anyone who might be interested in how to undergo such a cleanse while still feeling full, satisfied and not deprived. Just ask my husband, initially a reluctant participant but 3lb lighter a week later, a more amenable companion.
This is a whole-foods, all plant-based, low fat, oil-free, sugar-free, added sweetener-free cleanse. No added oils of any kind, sautéing is done in water or veggie broth, so I have adjusted existing recipes to meet this requirement. Low fat so no nuts, seeds or avocado however ground flax, hemp hearts and chia seeds are included to provide essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (ground flax is a regular part of my diet especially because I am in surgically induced menopause and therefore need phytoestrogens); no sugars or sweeteners unrefined or otherwise so no fruit juices, Maple syrup, honey, agave or coconut sugar; whole fruits are ok including a limited amount of whole dates, raisins, dried fruits (make sure there are no added oils or sugars) & figs. Beverages include water, herbal & black teas & black coffee; a limited amount of unsweetened plant-based milks may be included but try for organic with limited ingredients (most plant-based milks have added oils). All vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, beans & legumes, soy, rice, quinoa, oats, whole and ancient grains are included; limit whole grain pasta & sprouted whole grain breads to one or two servings a week; herbs, fresh and dried, as well as spices, sea salt and pepper.
One Day Sample Meals
Whole Grain Cereal Mix with Berries
- 5 cups of water 1 cup of oats (gluten free if needed)
- 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour or flakes
- 1/3 cup Red River cereal (or more oats for gluten free)
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup ground flax
Bring the water to a boil, slowly add all cereals except ground flax, stirring continuously while adding. Reduce heat to a simmer while stirring, simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened and liquid absorbed, making sure to eliminate clumps. Remove from heat and stir in ground flax. Serve hot or cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon and fresh or frozen berries of your choice. Add a mashed banana at the end of cooking for added sweetness if desired.
Arugula Chickpea Fig Salad
This salad has a base of arugula, topped with diced sweet peppers, cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, edammame, a generous helping of warmed chickpeas tossed with onion powder, garlic powder & black pepper, and finally sweetened with some sliced figs.
Lentil Marinara Pasta
Similar to Alfaghetti, this thick, satisfying sauce is sure to become a weeknight staple. It comes together quickly with no chopping so it’s perfect for those busy nights where there is lots on the go. It also freezes well.
- 2 – 796ml jars of tomato basil spaghetti sauce (check for added sugars and/or oils or make your own; I usually like Antonella’s brand but it does have added oil)
- 1 – 540ml can of lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 lb sliced button mushrooms
- 4 cups fresh baby kale or spinach or a mix of both or equivalent amount frozen
Place all ingredients into large pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, process until smooth. Serve immediately over hot whole wheat spaghetti or noodles of your choice. Top with homemade vegan parmesan cheeze if desired.
Week One Meals
Breakfasts this week are hot cereals (see whole grain cereal mix above) with fruits or store bought Grape Nuts or Cinnamon Raisin Flax Meal cereal (China Star Study All-Star Collection) with berries or sliced bananas.
Lunches are Arugala Chickpea Fig Salad (see above) and Tomato Tortilla soup (Quick-Fix Vegan) with added kale, minced cauliflower and brown rice.
Suppers are baked lentils with kale served over brown rice and a side of steamed asparagus topped with nutritional yeast; Masala’s Chickpeas (The China Study cookbook) with added kale served over brown rice; Chipotle Corn & Quinoa with Pintos (Quick-Fix Vegan) with added red pepper, spinach & fresh pineapple.
Desserts are banana nice creams with ground flax and a splash of pure vanilla.
Have you ever completed a cleanse? Don’t forget to share your story – we love to hear from you!