Photo Credit: WireImage
Yesterday, on his 44th birthday, Jay Z posted on his website Life + Times that he and Beyonce are starting a 22-day vegan challenge ending on Christmas day.
Vegans typically stick to a diet of fruits and veggies and eschew all animal products, including dairy -- meaning no eggs, milk or cheese.
Inspired by his friend and trainer Marco Borges, whose company 22 Days Nutrition promotes a plant-based diet, Jay explained the decision on this site, writing: "Why now? There’s something spiritual to me about it being my 44th birthday and the serendipity behind the number of days in this challenge; 22 (2+2=4) coupled with the fact that the challenge ends on Christmas day… It just feels right!"
Why 22 days? Well, as Jay says, "many psychologists say it takes 21 days to break or form a habit and on the 22nd day you've found the way." The science here is murky, as some people are more habit resistant than others (according to a 2009 study, it can take up to 66 days to change food habits). Plus, it's difficult to define a habit.
But is a vegan cleanse healthy? It certainly is a smart way to push yourself to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet if that's something you struggle with (um, I think we all do, right?). The biggest challenge for most people is figuring out what to eat. While removing meat and cheese is pretty straightforward, eliminating eggs and milk is trickier; bye-bye bread, pasta and many pre-made or par-cooked foods.
If you're interested in going vegan, start small. Try to fit one vegan or vegetarian meal a day into your life for a week, or even 22 days, to see how it makes you feel.
A great byproduct of doing a full or partial cleanse is that it makes you really think about what you're putting in your body, and forces you to read labels before buying food. If you're trying to eat healthy, these can be invaluable habits to pick up, even if you keep meat and dairy in your diet.
Need ideas to get started? Try a few of these resources: