Let’s talk about vegetarian clean eating. What is it and how to do it. Just to give you a head’s up, we might as well call this vegan clean eating because there is no clean eating of dairy and eggs.
Listen, I’m a huge fan of eating vegan. Primarily because it is kinder to animals and gentler on the planet. It is also healthier for you over the long run if you do it right. But if you want to eat menstrual waste and bovine mammary secretions then I’m not going to stop you.
But seriously, eating clean is going to be an excellent way for you to get in touch with the healthy you. The healthiest you can possibly be.
Try it for just 2 weeks, 30 days if you can, and you might not go back. Anyone can eat well for just 2 weeks right. That’s just 14 sleeps. Nothing.
We’ll start by talking about general principles and then we’ll get into what exactly a healthy clean vegan eating plan actually looks like okay?
When we’re going to be eating clean the idea is to eat as natural and as organic as possible. I’d encourage you to eat as many organic foods and produce as you can possibly afford and find. So everything in the sample menu should be organic if you can find it and can afford it.
Some folks might be particularly strict about clean eating programs and that’s likely the best. But I will allow for some cheats if you really need them in order to feel better about it or even just to be able to complete the 14 day or 1 month clean eating program.
The best approach and cleanest way to eat will exclude any refined products.
What exactly does this mean? Well it means that you should be able to take it from the ground, plant or tree and eat it as is. At least for most of the foods.
So the strictest vegan clean eating plan is going to EXCLUDE oils, sugars of any kind including maple syrup, agave, molasses etc, salt, roasted nuts (raw nuts are okay), deep fried foods of any kinds, processed wheat products which includes breads and pastas, dried fruits, soy products other than soy beans and any packaged products you buy in the grocery store.
Wow, I know, I’ve just taken the fun out of eating for you haven’t I? Well, let’s be fair, you’re here because you’re interested in learning how to eat clean as a vegetarian or vegan. You don’t have to do it forever but just give it a couple of weeks or more and see how you feel.
If you really want to get very hardcore about it I’d expect you exclude any liquid calories including freshly squeezed juices, wines, beers and tea and coffee except if they are black and unadulterated.
So now go outside and eat grass for two weeks. I joke, I joke. But maybe you think that’s exactly what this program sounds like. Don’t fear my healthy seeking friend, this is not going to sound as bad as you think.
Let me give you a sample menu of what this might look like.
Take 1 cup of old fashioned oats – you can use quick cooking but that’s a small cheat – and cook them over the stove for a while until they get thick and yummy.
Throw in a half cup of blueberries or a chopped up banana. You’ll find that this will make it quite sweet and in fact yummy tasting.
Drink a nice big mug of hot green tea or herbal tea if you like. Peppermint is always nice because it tastes great and sometimes tricks you into thinking that you are actually eating something tasty!
For lunch we should have a super large bowl of mixed greens as a salad. I mean a really big bowl. The kind of size that you would use if you were mixing a cake batter. But don’t think about cake. Think of delicious greens and reds.
This is going to consist of about 6 to 8 cups of mixed greens. I’d also throw in a quarter cup of diced sweet red onion. Throw in a large ripe chopped tomato as well as a chopped up yellow, orange, green or red pepper. Chop up a peeled orange and toss that in too. A handful of chopped raw almonds or cashews will give you some great mouthfeel and satisfy any craving for fat. Along those lines, a chopped avocado will also help make this a filling meal.
On the side enjoy a half cup of steamed edamame. Edamame are steamed young soybeans in their shell, but you take them out of their shell to eat. No salt though.
For dinner we can enjoy a nice cup of cooked brown rice, quinoa or barley whatever is your choice for grains. You can also add a half cup of beans or legumes of your choice. Lentils are great, as are black-eyed peas and chickpeas too.
On the side I’d have a cup or 2 of steamed greens. Think broccoli, kale, spinach, swiss chard, cabbage or a mix of them.
Drizzle some fresh squeezed lemon juice over your veggies and beans if you must. It really helps give it a zingy wow factor to the taste. If you are really struggling for a more complex flavour profile you can add Mrs. Dash. It doesn’t contain any salt and adds some herbs and spices. But be reasonable, only add a dash. Ground black pepper is also allowed if you must.
If you get hungry throughout the day munch on raw veggies or fruits. My favourites include baby carrots, celery, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and cucumber. You can eat as much of these fresh, raw veggies as you like,
Some of my favourite fruits are pomegranate, bananas, apples, pears, plums, nectarines, peaches, mangoes, oranges, mandarins depending on the season.
You can eat a lot of fruit but I’d suggest limiting it to 2 or 3 at the most servings other than what is in your oatmeal or salad. Fruit can add a lot of sweetness and calories to your diet if you starting binging on them.
Lastly, limit your intake of the high fat foods like avocados and raw nuts to a couple of servings per day. The key is to eat clean and not eat excessive amounts of calories which can be done if you eat a lot of avocados and nuts.