While fitness experts will tell you to stay away from cleanses and juice fasts because they mess with your metabolism, there is one type of ‘cleanse’ that won’t leave you feeling ‘hangry’ (a combo of being hungry and angry)—a vegan diet.
Instead of doing a cleanse, going vegan for a week will help you get your body back on track safely. While you may lose weight initially with other types of fasts and cleanses, it’s only temporary and the lack of vitamins and nutrients will make you feel miserable. By eating healthy and clean meals made of fruits and vegetables, you’ll not only feel more energized (and um, regular), but it also cuts out foods that may cause bloating, like dairy and meat. And the last thing you need to be showing off poolside is a bulging belly!
With so much fresh garden fare available right now, it’s the perfect opportunity to try some vegan dishes. You can find a plethora of tasty recipes online and there are vegan recipe apps that can help steer you in the right direction as well (here are some recommended by actress and vegan, Alicia Silverstone).
There also some great cookbooks available. Chloe’s’ Kitchen is a best-selling vegan cookbook which even allows for the occasional piece of cake. You can also check out a brand new book called VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good. The author, Mark Bittman, talks about his own success story with this diet and offers a variety of home-cooked meals that you can easily prepare. If you don’t think you’ll have time to be cutting up veggies, grab some delicious vegan and vegetarian frozen microwave meals at the grocery store, like Gardein and Amy’s organic meals.
If going vegan for a week seems too extreme, try eating vegetarian (so you can still have foods like eggs and cheese). Or you can attempt to go vegan all day and then eat lean meats like wild-caught fish and free-range poultry for dinner with more vegetables. Whenever I need to slim down, I eat fruit for breakfast, vegetables for lunch, and a sensible dinner with fish or chicken. To stay fueled throughout the day, I drink almond milk and snack on fiber-rich bread and nuts in between.
The bottom line? To drop a size quickly in a healthy way, eat vegan temporarily, watch your calories, and limit alcohol intake. Alcohol adds empty calories and may lead to bad food choices after imbibing (hello, pepperoni pizza!). Do something great for your body and try this ‘cleanse’ for a week and see how awesome you’ll look and feel. Once you eat clean, you might even lose your cravings for butter, red meat and cheese altogether and keep the weight off permanently—something you could never sustain on juices alone.