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Thursday, August 1, 2013

(Yet Another) Vegan Week

Every once in a while we feel pretty gross about what we've been eating, and will willingly adopt some form of cleansing dietary regimen for between 7 and 10 days.

For some reason, dietary cleanses seem to have a negative connotation in our society; they're considered 'flaky' by many.

I'm not sure why.

Most reasonably fastidious people will clean any area of their home, or body, if it gets dirty or cluttered, so why not one's insides?

Anyway... for the last 5 years or so we've done a few minor cleanses and at least one big one, every year.

Most of these are just going vegetarian for a few days, with an emphasis on natural or organic fruit and vegetables, and avoiding processed food of any kind (more so than normal).

However, a 'big' cleanse is usually a bit more. 

We've done juice cleanses, which I don't recommend actually, especially not for more than a couple days.  You just can't get enough from juice.

We've also done raw food cleanses, which is actually quite good for the body, but can get really hard to make sure you're getting everything you need.  We did a 10 day raw food cleanse in the summer of 2011, and it was extremely rough.  It became tedious to sit and eat literally pounds of fruit and vegetables.  In order to not waste away, and to get even just 1000 calories from vegetables you need to eat so freaking much.  To get 2000 you'd need to be munching pretty much all day.

We did feel super great after those ten days, though, and whenever we do a cleanse now, it usually involves a fair bit of raw food.

But we've gotten a little smarter about it, and never just do only raw food now.

When we got back from Europe (for the week before I went to B.C.) we were feeling really guilty and kinda gummed up from having eaten the entire European Union's supply of meat and cheese.  Or at least that's how it felt to us.

So, we opted for a moderately sized cleanse.  For lack of any better terminology, let's just call it a 'vegan' cleanse, because predominantly it consisted of no animal products... however it was also even a bit MORE restrictive than pure veganism, as we also avoided most wheat, and all yeast products.  And of course, no processed foods.

This meant a lot of raw food, sure, but we also allowed some cooked food, which I have to say, makes a world of difference. Being able to eat things like steamed asparagus... or a delightful pasta a la pomodoro... or even just being able to have some vinaigrette on your salad ... made this cleanse seem a breeze.

So, most of my breakfasts and lunches were raw food extravaganzas that looked pretty much like this:

Some nuts for fat and protein, but otherwise a shit ton of raw fruit.

Crudité was also a big deal; I lunched upon many a raw carrot.

But, the good thing about allowing cooked foods, is there was technically nothing really wrong with something fried in vegetable oil, covered in sea salt, and then slathered in organic ketchup.  You know what I'm talking about!!!

French fries!

So freaking delicious.

Of course I'm talking about the home-made variety.  You can't be totally sure of what's been put in them otherwise.

But really, other than being really high in carbs, sodium, and fat, these babies aren't so bad for your digestion.  OK, so maybe those three things are still pretty bad, but in terms of the restrictions set out in our 'vegan'-'non-processed'-'non-yeast' dietary cleanse, they were still totally above board!


Anyway, if you're one of those people who is turning their nose up at what you think is an absurd dietary restriction, or if you've never before actually tried a dietary cleanse, I encourage you to try it out - at least for a few days.  Even just 2 or 3 days of eating healthily is often enough to start to notice a difference. 

Just be smart about it, eh?  Don't bite off more than you can chew in terms of restricting, and make sure you're getting enough nutrients (and calories).

At the very least I invite you to not judge its merits unless you've tried it.

The bottom line is that the wife and I adore eating rich foods including dairy and meat products, but to enjoy these foods responsibly means to eat them in moderation, and to just be aware of quantities and qualities.  

With that in mind, it was a really great idea to cleanse all of Europe's cow from our bellies; we felt better, and (let's be honest) it allowed us to create some room for unfettered enjoyment of Vancouver Island's lovely animal products.  

I'm looking at you fish&chips!