You may be thinking “How will I live without dairy, meat, caffeine, sugar, wheat and alcohol for 21 days?” Go grocery shopping for the cleanse–$150 later–and you’ll have your answer! There’s plenty of options out there. I promise. But here are some tips to hopefully relieve some pre-cleanse anxiety.
1) Be positive: One of the keys to the cleanse is not to think about what you can’t have, but focus on what you can. (A good strategy for life too, don’t cha think?)
2) Do a little research: Use your Google machine to look for recipes online. A simple search for vegan gluten-free will generate lots of results. Regardless of where you live, you will find many options at your neighborhood grocery store. If not, fire up the Interwebs again and order food online. They will bring you everything you need. To. Your. Door! And remember–there are tons of cultures who survive daily without any of the foods we are avoiding for three weeks. (With lower rates of heart disease and cancer. Just sayin’.)
3) Take the cleanse a week at a time: Plan out a menu for a week and make a shopping list. Your menu will give you some peace knowing you won’t go hungry just because you are limiting your food options. Looking a week at a time will make the cleanse feel less overwhelming. Which leads me to…
4) Plan ahead: One of the challenging parts of the cleanse is making spontaneous food decisions. Having a menu and grocery shopping in advance can limit some of your anxiety. You may feel stressed not having your daily cup of coffee (or ten) but you don’t need to worry about where you’ll find a gluten-free, vegan option for lunch. And let your friends know what you are doing. They can support your efforts (and if they don’t–get rid of them!) and will understand if you only want to meet them at an Asian restaurant for dinner.
5) Remember why you’re doing this: We all have personal reasons for doing the cleanse. For some it’s as simple as wanting to undo the damage that was done over the holidays. Maybe you’ve seen Forks Over Knives (see Forks Over Knives!) or read Wheat Belly and you want to see if you could adhere to a vegan/gluten-free diet without feeling like it’s a lifetime commitment. Perhaps it’s a lot of different things combined. In the moments when it gets hard (and it will) try to remember why you signed on. You want something better for yourself. Be proud that you care enough about you to try.