Moving towards a plant-based diet is a fantastic change that offers many health benefits. However, it can be difficult to eliminate meat — especially in a carnivore-focused culture like ours. That’s why many experts recommend a full meat detox to truly commit to your new lifestyle and begin building those habits that go into maintaining a healthy lifestyle..
What is a Meat Detox?
A meat detox is as simple as it sounds: a diet that does not include meat. In doing so, the body goes into cleanse mode to rid itself of the accumulated toxins. There can be negative side effects during this process - headaches, fatigue, etc. - but they should subside in about a week.
After the detox period has passed, you’ll start to see key physical benefits, like smooth digestion, weight loss, increased energy and skin improvements. Keep in mind that not every person will experience every one of these effects, but even experiencing one or two of them would let you know the detox was a success.
Don’t Skimp on Protein
Meat might be out of the question now, but that doesn’t mean your protein intake should suffer. You can ease the transition by substituting certain vegetables to get your daily protein from alternative sources. Here are a few foods that can replace meat in certain recipes:
- Beans or legumes
Another important tip is to increase your vegetable intake. Replacing a bag of chips with a plant-based alternative is a healthier option that will boost detox results while providing essential nutrients like fiber.
Redirect Your Cravings
It is common to crave meat during a meat detox or vegan diet, especially in the early stages. Fortunately, there are many options that will allow you to satisfy those cravings without “cheating.” For example, if you have to have a hamburger, you can substitute the beef patty for a black bean, portobello or veggie burger. Here are a few other options:
- Tofu is a great replacement for chicken or pork dishes, as it can be seasoned to mimic the taste and cooked to resemble a meat-like texture.
- Seitan packs a ton of protein and its texture is easily compared to meat. This is only an option for those who don’t avoid gluten, as it’s made with processed wheat gluten.
- Textured vegetable protein is an easy-to-use, dehydrated soy product. It’s a fantastic ground beef substitute, and you can do just about anything with it once it is rehydrated.
With all of these great food substitutes and alternative protein sources, the meat detox could not be any easier. By the end of your detox, you’ll probably be so amazed with the results that you won’t want to give them up. Why stop? The meat detox is a great transition into a full vegan lifestyle, which is a great way to keep your body clean and healthy.
If convenience is what you are looking for, there are plenty of vegan or vegetarian friendly restaurants throughout Chicago and pre-made vegan meals in some grocery stores, like Moon Meals’ Fiesta Wraps.