Have you heard of Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D.?
It is a book written by a doctor who completed his training in Internal Medicine at New York University Downtown Hospital and received his fellowship in cardiology at Lenox Hill Hospital, also in New York City.
The Clean Program is designed to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself. The theory is that there are so many toxins in the foods that we eat that we prevent our body from doing what it is designed to do. Dr. Junger identifies two causes for this problem: (i) obstacles that block cell functioning and chemical reactions; and (ii) lack of the ingredients needed for this process to occur.
While food is only one source of obstacles – others being air, water, buildings, cosmetics, cleaning chemicals, etc. – it is the main focus of the Clean Program.
Dr. Junger explains the detoxification process in the body – so much so that, to be honest, my eyes glazed over at several points. But two key points stuck with me: (i) the body works first to neutralize toxins before it works on digestion; and (ii) if your body is busy digesting, then it doesn’t have sufficient time to detox.
Cleanse programs, in general, restrict the amount of intake and type of food so that the body has more time and energy to concentrate on detoxification.
The Clean Program consists first of an Elimination Diet, which focuses on eliminating hard to digest or highly allergenic foods from the diet. The book recommends taking one to two weeks for this stage, depending on the state of your diet. The next step is a 21 day cleanse, which involves a shake or soup (in other words, liquid) meals at breakfast and dinner, and a full meal (using the allowed foods in the Elimination Diet only) at lunch time.
My wonderful neighborhood yoga studio has been leading groups on the Clean Program for some time. They even skype with Dr. Junger. A number of my friends are devotees of the program. “Clean changed my life,” they say.
I always smugly said to myself – Being a vegetarian, I don’t eat toxic foods. I have no symptoms of toxicity.
My gift to myself in 2013 is that I am calling
bullshit myself on that little fallacy.
I don’t sleep. I get stomach aches that sometimes incapacitate me. I could go on, but you get the idea (and it could get undignified).
So, I have signed up for the program. I have read the book. I have printed the list of allowed and prohibited foods. The program starts on January 9th, and I have already started decreasing and eliminating foods from my diet. I am down from four cups of coffee and ice tea throughout the day to one cup of coffee a day.
The real shocker? My husband is going to do it with me. Although, I can promise you that after he reads this, he will turn to me and say “I didn’t say I would do it yet!” But he is going to, I can tell. Several times already he has turned to me and asked, “so does that damn book (sorry Dr. Junger) let us eat that??”
You may remember from a post a while back that I did a three-day fruit fast with my yoga studio, and that it made me very grumpy. You might wonder then about me doing a 21 day cleanse. And you wouldn’t be alone. My parents are talking about leaving the state.
The difference? I am seriously preparing for this one. I am reading the allowed recipes and testing them ahead of time. I am going to stock my kitchen. I am determined (I think).
So, it will be an interesting start to 2013 for the Aldridge family. Hopefully it will change our lives, too.
I promise to keep you posted.