DAY 4: COUNTDOWN TO THE21-DAY 'CONSCIOUS CLEANSE' Many of you who are on the Little White Feather mailing list - or come to Little White Feather events - are vegetarian or vegan already, but for those of you who are not, today might feel like a big step. For the duration of the rest of this 'diet', we'll be taking out all meat and fish today – and, having already taken dairy products out of our diets, that means that from tomorrow we are now effectively vegan - at least for the duration of this 'diet'. Whether you find the benefits on your body and being enough to tempt you to stay meat and fish free afterwards is of course up to you.A lot of the meats and fish that we buy today are pumped full of additives and even hormones. They're also quite difficult for the body to digest and so quite taxing on the mind-body as a whole. Some have said that a piece of meat stays in the gut for about five years before being entirely digested!Most people wonder where they're going to get their protein - an essential part of any healthy diet and needed for cell growth and repair (it's also used to make hormones, enzymes and antibodies to fight disease) - if they take out meat and fish but, with a little bit of self-education, it really isn't that hard!There are many types of protein - all of which are made up of amino acids. Eight of these amino acids cannot be made in the body. Foods that supply good amounts of all eight essential amino acids include meat, fish, dairy products, soya and eggs. Since these are not really permitted during the 21-day conscious cleanse, it's important that you make sure that you include a variety of plant-based proteins: pulses, whole grains, nuts and seeds.Tofu, too, is a good alternative, very flexible – and a very pure food. There are recipes for tasty tofu dishes everywhere – but I particularly like it as part of a vegetable stir-fry of, say, sweet potato and carrot, cabbage, toasted cashew nuts... that kind of thing, with a dash of soy sauce and lemon juice. Oh yes, and some fresh garlic and grated ginger. I add a few cubes of tofu near the end, before tossing the mixture over a bed of brown rice. And I'll often eat this with a fresh green salad and it makes for a very satisfying meal!I can never get enough of good tofu recipes - so please send in your recommendations over the next few weeks - they'll make the conscious cleanse so much more enticing for the rest of us!! I'd also like to hear from you experienced vegans out there... have you any tips for keeping protein in the diet at an optimal level? And iron for that matter. At Little White Feather, we're always open and eager to learn!!!Tomorrow, we junk the caffeine!