Dieting can be tough. Cleansing can be even tougher.
Every once in a while though a cleanse pops up that not only makes a lot of sense, but is actually somewhat obtainable. The latest one to surface is gaining popularity fast; being backed by one of Hollywood’s most adored starlets – Gwyneth Paltrow.
You see, after a “majorly fun and delicious ‘relax and enjoy life phase,” The stunning mother of two gained a few extra pounds. Being the busy woman that she is, she needed to find something that would allow her to work and exercise (and keep up with those kids).
What she found was the Clean Detox Program. She claims that she followed it to the letter for three weeks and that she felt “pure and happy and much lighter.”
What it is
The Clean Program was developed to “help treat the chronic symptoms many of us face by addressing them at the root level and restoring our bodies to optimum functioning,” says Dr. Alejandro Junger, creator of the detox plan.
There are three key elements to this eating plan – Remove, Restore, and Rejuvenate. There are also three phases to the detox:
The Pre-Cleanse Phase
The pre-cleanse part of this plan was designed to help ease your body into the (possibly massive) transition. If you’ve never actually cleansed before, trust me – this part could actually be the make or break for you.
This part of the phase lasts three days, during which time you’ll get to eat three solid meals a day from the Cleanse Diet list (which we’ll talk about more in just a minute). By the time the three days are over, your body will be a little more prepared for the next twenty-one.
The Cleanse Phase
This part of the eating plan lasts three weeks. I know what you’re thinking if you’ve ever tried to do even a week long cleanse before – How on earth am I supposed to live off of juice for three entire weeks?!
That’s the great thing about this diet – You don’t have to. During this phase you’ll be drinking a Cleanse Shake (or a juice or smoothie made out of things on the ‘allowed’ list if you’re not into buying into commercialism), and you’ll get to eat a solid meal for lunch. Here’s a basic rundown of the foods you are and aren’t allowed to consume while you’re on the diet:
Foods You Can Eat:
– Whole veggies (dark leafy greens, etc.)
– Whole fruits and berries.
– Brown rice and other non-gluten grains such as teff.
– Beans and lentils.
– Wild game and fish.
– Organic chicken and turkey.
– Nuts, seeds, and nut butters.
– Stevia and other sugar alternatives
– Coconut water, green juice
– Raw chocolate
Foods You Should Steer Clear Of
– All dairy products.
– Anything with gluten in it.
– Sugar and other processed foods.
– Soy products.
– Corn, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables.
– Strawberries, bananas, oranges, grapes, and other overly sugary fruits.
So as you can see, you’re not going to starve if you’re on this diet, not by a long shot. That said, it’s certainly going to take a lot of determination and dedication if you want to succeed on it (for a more comprehensive rundown of what you should and shouldn’t eat on this cleanse, click here).
One of the biggest complaints people have about cleansing is that they constantly feel hungry and deprived, being able to eat that one nutritious meal a day makes all the difference in the world. It might take some trial and error at first to appease your personal taste buds, but it shouldn’t take you too long to figure out how to build a nutritious meal that suits your individual tastes.
The Reintroduction Phase
The purpose of the reintroduction process is to figure out exactly what foods fuel your body and which ones leave you feeling bogged down. Some people’s body get the most out of carbohydrates; others are bogged down after eating a sandwich but they feel amazing after a steak dinner.
Since you’ve eliminated a whole bunch of sensitivity causing foods during the 21 day cleanse (and if you manage to get through the entire three weeks I promise that you’ll feel amazing), introducing them back into your diet one by one will let you know which ones work for you and which ones don’t. You can’t tell now because your system is overloaded.
If you want to make sure that you’re getting the absolute most out of your diet, Dr. Junger suggests you keep these three things in mind throughout the cleanse period:
– Make sure you’re having daily bowel movements (this is suggested to be the key to the cleanse). If you’re having trouble going, should make sure that you’re drinking lots of water, eating fiber rich foods during your lunch meal and making your juices from fiber rich ingredients, exercise to get things moving (I personally recommend yoga for this one), and/or take a magnesium citrate supplement (like Natural Calm) which encourages stress relief and healthy bowel movements.
– There’s a twelve hour rule in this diet that states after you’ve had your evening shake, you should wait at least twelve hours before having your morning one. Dr. Junger states that your body needs that time to a) digest your food and send your body into deep detox mode (which takes eight hours), and b) deep clean your system (which takes another four.) You can drink as much water and herbal tea during the twelve hours as you’d like, but keep in mind that you’re probably going to spend a lot of this time sleeping.
– You’re also encouraged to recognize your emotions and cravings. I mean let’s face it, if you’re a coffee addict, there’s a good chance that you’re going to experience some pretty strong cravings (and I’m not going to lie to you, you might even experience some withdrawal symptoms); this diet encourages you to sit with those feelings – to understand what the difference between real hunger and boredom (nervous, anxious, etc.) hunger is. Eating mindfully can easily help you with that.
Is It Safe?
As long as you remember to eat enough during lunch and you pay attention to your body for the duration of the cleanse, the diet does seem relatively safe. If you’re planning to give it a shot, you might want to consider taking a daily wholefood multivitamin with minerals and a probiotic as well. Three weeks is a long time and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can quite easily become nutrient deficient. There are of course a bunch of different cleanse specific supplements and shakes that you can purchase (and of course, they encourage you to), but mostly everything you need can be found in the fresh, whole, organic foods you’ll be consuming.
That said, if you’re training for a marathon or work at a labour intensive job you might want to steer clear of this one – It just doesn’t have the caloric intake you need. Also, detox diets are definitely not recommended if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or have type 1 diabetes or cancer. Anyone that has health problems should definitely ask for their doctor’s advice before drastically changing their diet in any way.
Does It Work?
This cleanse – when carried out properly – is going to do a whole lot more than just help you reach your weight loss goals. It’s going to help you learn to listen to your body. It’s essentially going to reset your system, allowing you to figure out exactly what fuels you and what leaves you feeling sluggish.
Just because it works though, doesn’t mean that it’s easy to follow through with – It’s not the easiest thing in the world to watch your entire family scarf down a meal while you drink juice every night for three weeks, and they’re probably not going to want to suffer with you. But if you have the sheer determination and willpower (or if you live alone), it’s definitely worth giving a shot (especially If you’re someone that suffers from allergies).
All in all I say that this is a pretty solid plan, especially if you’re someone that’s more concerned about learning to eat for your body’s needs and feeling great than you are about shedding pounds. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a cleanse (much longer than I’d like to admit, actually) and I think that I might actually give this one a shot soon (after the holidays, because me trying to do it before the holidays has failure written all over it).
Have you ever cleansed (using this plan or a similar ones)? If you have, we’d absolutely love to hear about your personal experiences below in the comments section!
This makes a perfect post-holiday cleanse although it can be just as beneficial any time during the year. Pin it so that you can easily find it later! And make sure to follow us on Pinterest and Google+ if you’d like to stay up to date with all of our healthy living, natural beauty, organic eating, fitness, and diet news.