The Clean Program: Day One

SmoothieMy life, summarised. Photo by Chloe Rice.

Here we go! Today, I embark on the Clean Program, a three-week cleanse designed by holistic medical genius, Dr Alejandro Junger!

As many of you who have been reading for a long time will know, in about 2007/2008 I ate an almost entirely raw food diet, & have never felt better. It was very easy for me, my boyfriend & I were doing it together, & every week we’d visit the farmer’s market & bring home a huge trolley of fruit & vegetables. Experimenting with raw food was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

In May of 2008 I left Australia for New York City. Suddenly, I was by myself, living above one of the best pizza shops in the city (Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street), & let’s just say, I fell off the wagon. NYC is like mecca for raw foodies, but it’s also mecca for everything unhealthy, decadent & extreme that you can imagine. I gave in to the sugar, the saturated fats, the meat. I gave in GOOD.

I met Dr Junger back in 2009, at the party for the launch of his Clean book. I was excited about the idea of a cleanse but never really thought I could do it, & shelved the idea. Well, in the last year or so, I’ve learned a lot about what I am capable of. Part of this has been achieved by working out with a trainer–you really learn a lot about yourself from pushing through the pain & watching your body change shape–but some of it is just due to growing, persevering & challenging myself on a daily basis. I LOVE it when people tell me something is impossible. It’s like delicious fuel for me! (“You can’t quit shopping!” “You can’t quit coffee!” “You can’t quit smoking!” OH YES I CAN!)

I subscribe to GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletter, & while I am not completely on board with everything they publish, I was intrigued when I saw her mention Dr Junger’s name recently.

“Alejandro‚Äôs knowledge as an M.D. coupled with his holistic insights set forth a program which is safe, easy to follow, and achieves amazing results. I have turned many of my friends on to this program and each one has experienced profound benefits, from weight loss to mental clarity to the end of chronic depression. The wisdom and information contained … is deeply helpful and life changing.” — Gwyneth Paltrow

I went to the Clean Program website & had a look around.

I have been hankering to get back to my old habits for the longest time, & I decided the Clean Program was for me. I quickly emailed my friend Dhrumil, who works with Dr Junger, & incidentally, was one of the first people I met in my “raw journey”. (He is the founder of Give It To Me Raw & We Like It Raw, which both helped me so much with my transition to the raw lifestyle!) He has been a source of constant inspiration & wisdom for me, & someone who I aspire to be more like, in a variety of ways. I asked him about doing the Clean Program, & before I knew it, I had a big box in my living room full of supplements, powders, reading material & assorted goodies.

I’ve spent most of the weekend researching the program, browsing the Clean Program forums & making extensive shopping lists (hummus with no canola oil, check! Coconut water, check!). It’s actually not as limited as I thought it might be. I’m still allowed to eat fish, rotisserie (!) chicken, spinach, fruits & veggies, raw cacao (HELLO!), garlic, cashews, coconut & all my other favourite things! I start today & will eat according to the plan for 21 days! The 7th of February will be my reintroduction to “normal” eating.

My goals:
Keep a personal journal for each of the 21 days, to track my food, my mood, & my progress
Allow myself to take it slow & go easy on myself throughout this process–for example, if I want extra sleep, I’ll happily indulge!
Continue with regular routines as much as possible: 3 personal training sessions a week, meditation every morning & lots of bubble baths!

I’m so excited to see how this goes. I’m hoping that the transition from my regular diet to the Clean diet (or as they call it, the “elimination diet”) will be relatively painless, & given the high proportion of juices & shakes in my normal food intake, I have my fingers crossed that it won’t be too hardcore!

There are optional extras in the Clean Program, such as colonics (always makes me think of Absolutely Fabulous! “It’s called colonic irrigation, darling. It’s not to be sniffed at”), infrared saunas, skin brushing & massage… & we’ll see which of those I pick up. (My guess? All of them. Do you really want details? Probably not!)

I’m going to be updating you on my progress as I go, in case you’re thinking of doing something similar. I say, start the year as you mean to go on. 2011 is going to be my healthiest, happiest, most vibrant year yet–& I know the Clean Program will help me in those endeavours!