Living Clean with Dr. Junger

Lemons, Splashing in Water -Photographed on Hasselblad H1-22mb Camera

Whether it’s in your car, closet or garage, stuff has a tendency to accumulate before you even realize it. Which is why every so often it’s important to do a little cleaning. Purging yourself of the things you no longer want, need, or use.  The same is true for your body. Even if you fancy yourself somewhat of a health nut and exercise regularly, your body accumulates stuff like toxins, and metals and pollutants – all of which can interfere with its normal functions and processes.

I’m a huge advocate of cleanses – never for weight loss (although for some that is an added bonus) but as a way to reset.  Juice cleanses are efficient, and easy, but after day 1, I can smell bread baking at Subway from a mile away, and I would kill to chew something (something you don’t realize you miss, until you’re not supposed to do it).

My first foray into the Clean program was the result of a mystery illness (that still remains a mystery) that manifested itself with 8 days of a 102+ fever and constant pain in my abdomen. Initially my doctor thought it was my gallbladder, and assured me it would be a “simple procedure” – what could possibly be simple about surgical extraction of an organ is beyond me. Being a healthy person that rarely gets a cold, I refused to believe my gallbladder had gone rogue. After multiple chest X-rays, blood panels, and a pending scheduled (but nonetheless expensive) ultrasound, I was desperate for information, and a second opinion. I asked around, and one of my health obsessed friends suggested Clean. Bless her healthy little heart.

I read the book in a day and a half.  I’ll give you the cliff notes:

Dr. Alejandro Junger, creator of the Clean detox program, is a cardiologist that has studied and practiced both eastern and western medicine.  He believes there is a place for both – but that too often western doctors look to cut and medicate before they attempt to treat the root of the problem.

According to Dr. Junger most of the “root” problems stem from two factors: what we put in our bodies intentionally (food, alcohol, etc.), and what we put in our bodies unintentionally (environmental toxins).Dr. Junger recounts several cases in which his Clean program has helped patients with everything from IBS, acne, insomnia, depression, weight loss, hormonal imbalances, and just day-to-day lethargy. But the program is not specifically  limited to those who have ailments – we all have toxic buildup. And it’s this toxicity that interferes with our bodies natural ability to protect, heal, and replenish itself.

While your body is capable of eliminating these toxins on its own, it only has so much energy each day, and when it is overloaded, it is forced to prioritize. Daily physical activities, brain function, and digestion take front row, and there is little energy left for detoxification. As time goes on all that ick builds up, and can interfere with any number of your body’s natural processes.

The main focus of the diet is to reduce or eliminate highly acidic foods – which cause irritation within the body, and lead to mucous (which is apparently a terrible thing).

Among the list of foods allowed and prohibited, some may surprise you. The “no-nos” include bananas (which I eat almost every day), strawberries, tomatoes, and less surprisingly, sugar, alcohol, gluten, and soy.  All in all, it’s not a very restrictive list, and experimentation with recipes is encouraged,as long as you stick to the rules.

While Dr. Junger suggests a 21-day program for full effects, he says 7 and 14 days are good too, and much better than nothing at all.I opted for a 7-day commitment.  I’m going to document my journey (recipes included) Day 1-7. Check back on Monday for Day 1!! –China Moss


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