Every once in a while my husband and I do a vegan detox. No meat, no dairy. No caffeine, no alcohol, and no sugar. For two weeks.
Now, while we’re on the same detox, eating most of the same meals, we’re having two different experiences. So we’re gonna do a report. A report a deux. And since it’s my blog (and my man is writing on deadline for his real job…), I’m going first.
This was our third detox, so I feel like we’re getting the hang of it. We weren't following anyone’s plan, per se, but it was definitely inspired by our first detox, led by my incredible yoga teacher in Los Angeles, Carolina Goldberg. At the time, my husband and I had never even thought about being vegan before, so man, did we need Carolina’s help and guidance. Mostly, we needed her reassurance that we would indeed survive, and that along the way we might learn something. Or, as Carolina said, “It’s time to see how you feel when you give your body the best of the best.” ‘Nuff said.
Some things from that first detox stuck. I haven’t had a glass of animal milk in two years. No more caffeine of any kind. And I reduced my intake of meat a tremendous amount. (As my family would say, after that first detox, I became 90% vegetarian and 10% bacon. You can take the girl out of the south, but….)
So, going in, we had a few great recipes that we loved, that our kids loved, too. Some from Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, It’s All Good, and some from the Winter Detox Mag on her website, goop. But this time, I pulled out Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone, written by Anne Gentry, the owner of Real Food Daily, an incredible vegan restaurant we fell in love with in LA. We also dug deeper into one of my most favorite cookbooks, Dr. Andrew Weil's True Food.
Armed with new recipes and old standbys, we began. And I have to say, the first few days were fantastic. I had so much energy. My body responded positively almost immediately. Like it knew where we were going, and just decided to go there right away. However, this energy burst kind of backfired. I had so much energy, that I stayed up waaay too late, and woke up like a shot waaaay too early in the morning. I was still mothering and wife-ing and teaching and practicing, so by the end of the first week, I felt worn out and tired. I was also sore as all get-out, from the toxins (helloooo, sugar….) being leeched from my body. But after a long Memorial Day weekend with fantastic guests and some quality sleeping in, I felt right as rain again, as we hit the halfway mark.
Now for the fun part: the food. Our favorites were the Roasted Tomato Soup and the Baked Penne and Cauliflower with “Cheesy” Sauce (read: blended cashew goodness…) from Vegan Family Meals. We had tons of Warm Walnut Lentil Pate from goop, and our family’s favorite kale salad from True Food, minus the grated and sliced Parmesan, of course. Our favorite breakfast smoothies were all from It's All Good: the Red Smoothie and the Almond + Kale Smoothie were great, but hands down our favorite was the Creamy Avocado and Cacao Smoothie. It’s thick and rich, like a chocolate milkshake, but wildly healthy and nutrition-packed. We found this one during our last detox, and it’s still what I have every single weekday morning, and sometimes weekends, too.
Oh, and speaking of weekends, my husband made the most incredible vegan crepes one Sunday morning, stuffed with tofu, vegan cheese, spinach, and a heavenly mushroom/garlic concoction. Gwyneth, Anne Gentry and Dr. Weil got nothing on my man!!
Eating out was a fun adventure, too, and not at all difficult. One of our favorite restaurants, Lincoln Park in San Anselmo, prepared special, original vegan plates just for us….twice in one week. Both dishes were incredibly delicious creations, made from whatever the chef bought at the farmer’s market that day. I also continued my obsession with the Five Chinese Spice Tempeh from The Plant Café in Mill Valley, and was delighted by the vegan version of my favorite Joshua’s Special Huarache from El Huarache Loco at the Marin Country Mart.
Our biggest challenge? A Giants’ game. But I did a little research and found all kinds of vegan options, all over AT&T Park. We decided to go for the Vegan Dog. Now, I gotta say, I didn’t like the look of it – it was sort of greenish/brownish – but it tasted great, and totally satisfied that Pavlovian need for a hot dog at a baseball game. And for the first time ever, I left a game without feeling stuffed, bloated, and kinda ill. That’s huge.
All in all detox number three was a great experience. It was easier than ever to find great vegan food, without ever feeling deprived. I felt clear and happy, with tons of energy. My asana practice was stronger and cleaner, followed by a more sustained sense of calm in meditation.
Will I be a vegan forever? At this point, I don’t think so. I love enjoying all kinds of foods too much (hellooo Cowgirl Creamery….). But each time we do this, I have less desire for meat and all but the most special dairy. I’ve learned how to really listen to my body, and give it what it needs at any given time. Most of the time, that’s veg, but sometimes it’s fresh fish or lean meat. I understand now that food is medicine, not fuel. And while I have great appreciation for my “sometimes” foods, I know now that my “most of the time” foods are plant based. And that just makes me feel better. Plain and simple.
So here’s my challenge to you: give it a whirl. Just for two weeks. I’ll even give it a name: Two Weeks Vegan, or #twoweeksvegan. As Carolina says, see what happens when you give yourself the best of the best. After all, isn’t that what you deserve? And if you want some help or more ideas on how to get started, send me a note on my contact page.
And seriously, if my husband and I can do it, with our kids in tow, anybody can do it.
Let me know how it goes!