Thursday, 22 January 2015
DAY 5/7 VEGAN CHALLENGE (DETOX)
One of the great things I discovered after going vegan is that, when done properly, eating fresh plant-based food allows the body to detoxify naturally. Eliminating toxic waste in the body is so vital to maintaining good health and reaching a point of feeling consistently energised. This is one thing I tell people all the time when they ask me what benefits I've experienced - I simply have more energy! There's this myth that surviving on plant food alone will leave you feeling weak and looking drawn, skinny and malnourished. Anyone who's met me will tell you that I am far from that description :) The key is not to under-eat; the key is to eat abundantly of the foods that are good for you.
The initial phase of detox is not always pleasant. I can still remember the first few days after I gave up meat and dairy... Oh boy, it was like my brain and body went into freak-out mode. But this initial phase didn't last long. I started to feel better, lighter, the detoxification process slowed to a steady, calm pace. The main reason why the initial phase is usually unpleasant is because the body is having to readjust and mend itself after months or years of abuse in the form of poor nutrition or the excess intake of toxic foods such as processed food, artificial ingredients, and excessive meat & dairy. The extent of this initial discomfort when you start eating clean foods depend on how toxic the system is and how much waste needs to be eliminated.
Some of these discomforts may include: bloating (especially when large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables are consumed), headaches, body aches, diarrhoea in some instances, and nausea. Any bloating and gas experienced is also likely a sign that the fresh produce is coming into contact with the accumulation of food debris in the body which need to be flushed out. Don't forget that fruits and vegetables with a high water content digest the fastest, while meat can take up to 2-3 days to leave your system. Imagine all that fast-digesting fruit & veg crashing into that pile. (This is also the reason why it is best to consume fruits and salads before heavier meals).
This might all sound a bit frightening - aches and pains and bloating? What the...? But in actual fact, these are all good signs in the initial phase. It means that the body is doing its part and eliminating waste. The discomfort usually passes after a couple of days (as was the case for me personally), after which you are left feeling more in tune, with more mental clarity and more energy to move about your daily life without feeling sluggish or foggy-brained.
All that is required is that you trust the process of detoxification. Continue to eat the right foods and drink plenty of water. Rest well and engage in calming activities to take your mind off it.
Have you been experiencing any detox symptoms during this challenge? Don't be alarmed. It's all good. It'll pass. Your body is simply doing the smart and right thing by you ;)
*Note: when the challenge ends, it's important to continue to eat as cleanly as possible in order to avoid undoing all the work of detoxification!
Top 10 detox foods:
Leafy greens (such as kale and spinach)