Overworked, overstressed, and overweight. I had asthma, diabetes, and generally felt bad. I had always prided myself on my devotion to my health, but over two years time I had definitely fallen off the wagon. The problem? My job was destroying me, both physically and mentally. Enter Dr. Alejandro Junger's 21-Day “Clean Program” diet. This diet is the way to detox your body.
I first heard about it while reading through an issue of Outside Magazine . There was an article called Scrubbed where one of the editors put himself through Dr. Junger's Clean Program. His skepticism mirrored my own, but the program won him over with its results.
… I had sustained energy through the day. I fell asleep within minutes of laying down, and was wide awake when I woke up …
Intrigued, I started looking more into it and found the program had a steep entry price: $ 425. A little more than I was willing to spend, I opted to just buy the bestselling book Clean and see how it went.
What a Cleanse Is and Is not
The idea behind this detox diet is simple, but you really have to cut through all the noise. “Cleanses” in general are often derided by the medical community because either they do not understand them, think you're buying into nutritional fad hogwash, or are going to do something extreme and potentially unhealthy to your body. Dr. Alejandro Junger's Clean Program is none of these things.
Clean makes a simple case out of a complex issue. We're spending way too much time putting bad things into our bodies (pesticides, herbicides, hormones, household cleaners, heavy metals, artificial colors and flavors), and not spending nearly enough time getting bad things out. His goal is to:
- Stop putting bad things in, and
- Start putting good things in (probiotics, digestive enzymes, blood-sugar stabilizers)
thereby getting rid of the bad things. Think of it this way – it's easier to drain your sink if you turn off the faucet first.
It's important to remember that this is a vacation for your body and mind. You do not have to (and should not) live your entire life on the Clean Program – it would not be healthy. It's good to do for a few weeks to reset yourself. A good cleanse is like a vacation – a temporary reset, not a lifestyle.
My Experience With Dr. Junger's Clean Program Detox Diet
In that regard, let me tell you that my body reset worked wonderfully. I bought nothing but organic foods, used mineral water as much as I could, and only wore natural-fiber clothing. I followed the majority of the Clean Program dictates and it worked wonders.
It's possible to take it even further and try only organic clothing and bedding, bathing in only pure water, living in a space that had no petrochemical-chemicals used in its construction, etc.
This is nice to get the greatest effect, but the steps I mentioned make up 90% of the value of the program. This full-environment cleaning is incredibly difficult to do without going on a retreat and only makes up the remaining 10%. In other words, it's nice, but not necessary to reap the benefits.
In the end, I had sustained energy through the day. I fell asleep within minutes of laying down, and was wide awake when I woke up. My asthma disappeared sometime during the second week, I did not have a single blood-sugar swing, and I could now tell the difference between being hungry, and wanting food because I was bored or nervous. I was back to thinking and caring about my health.
And Then I Messed Up
As well as this awesome detox diet worked, just like the outside author, I too failed miserably at going back to my normal foods. Dr. Junger suggests adding one food back at a time, to see what triggers your problems. Instead, I ate a whole pizza and drank four beers.
I was happy about the successful cleanse so why not celebrate, right? Not so much. I felt miserable the next day, and my asthma was back. I wish I could say that I was immediately back to the Clean diet and slowly reintroduced foods, but I can not. I figured it was just because I went overboard.
After a week or so of sometimes having asthma, sometimes not, I went back on the Clean diet. After another two weeks of slowly reintroducing foods, I found out that cheese and alcohol (especially together) trigger my asthma. So the pizza and bees were a recipe for disaster.
I also found that coffee was the biggest trigger of my back and knee pain, which I attribute to its inflammatory nature. Knowing these triggers was invaluable, and now that I know what my triggers are, when I do my yearly cleanse I will not have to get back onto my regular foods so slowly.
So was my experience with Dr. Junger's Clean Program diet worth it? Was it a success? Undoubtedly, it was one of the best things I've ever done for myself. Not only because of my success, but also because of telling other people about it and seeing the success they've had as well.
That's what inspires me to keep telling more and more people about it. So that ever, everyone will be more in control of their health and happiness.