If you follow me on instagram, you know I completed the 21 Day Clean Program earlier this month. I’ve never done a cleanse or detox before and was strangely excited and nervous to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. After reading Dr. Junger’s book Clean, I felt so much better going into the program with the goal to fuel my body while completely hitting the reset button.
So here are all the technical details. During the Program, you have a smoothie for breakfast, a normal lunch with foods approved from the elimination diet and a smoothie or soup for dinner. With each meal you take a supplement packet which includes an antimicrobial, digestive enzyme and silymarin and a daily probiotic. If you are hungry, you’re to snack with approved foods but most importantly you fast and leave a 12 hour window between dinner and breakfast which is when the detoxification takes place (after you have fully digested your food). The Clean Program Protein is made from brown rice and has tons of organic antioxidants and vitamins. The elimination diet excludes the most common inflammatory foods including gluten, dairy, eggs, bananas, nightshades, alcohol and coffee.
So now that you know what the Program entails, lets jump into my thoughts and personal experience.
- Address my desperate need for gut health
- Try to identify the cause of my (almost) daily migraines
- Reduce/Eliminate mindless snacking
- Break-up with sugar
- See what a detox would do for my body, skin and mind
- Coffee. The most difficult thing for me was parting ways with coffee. By drinking green-tea I never experienced caffeine withdrawals but I missed the smell, the taste, the social aspect and overall just the act of drinking coffee everyday…or multiple times per day. I realized how strong my addiction was/is because even though I didn’t need the coffee to function, I seriously longed for it. All. 21. Days.
- Working out. I worked out all three weeks but struggled the first week. I tried to take it easy and not push my self but I definitely felt the difference in energy levels the first few days. This really was only an issue the first five days and really my fault, since the Program tells you to take it easy a.k.a not a spinning class.
- Eating more fat. I don’t consider myself to be a low-fat kinda gal by any means, but when gluten and dairy are out, healthy fats are essentially to provide your body the proper fuel and to keep you full. Almost everyday I had at least two heaping tablespoons of healthy fat with each of my two smoothies and almost always snacked on nuts or nut butter with some type of fruit or veggies. This required a shift in the ways I structured my meals which is a work in progress. During the first half of the cleanse I struggled a little with adding a sufficient amount of fat to my meals to keep me full but got much better during the second half.
- Chewing. Sounds silly and if you google people’s reviews on the Program, you see it time and time again but when two of your three meals are liquid, you kinda miss the act of chewing. To help, I made my smoothies thicker and started using a spoon.
- The Program forced me to Eat.Real.Meals. I entered the cleanse with a goal to reduce mindless snacking and one of the ways I hoped to achieve this goal was to eat larger meals that would keep me full for longer. So I realized if I eat till satiety, I was usually full until the next meal.
- 20 Days Headache Free. I used to get migraines almost daily which started about 8 months ago. During the Program, I got one dull headache that was nothing like the other migraines so a HUGE win.
- Bye-Bye Bloat. Took almost a week but by day five I was virtually bloat free and by the third week the change was amazing.
- Better Skin. Not only was my skin clearer but it was so much brighter with no change in my skin care routine.
- High Energy Levels. Other than the first day or two, my energy levels were just as high if not slightly higher than normal. Most importantly, it was all without coffee.
- More Sleep. I forced myself to go to bed much earlier than my normal midnight and skipped the 6 am workouts for the majority of the cleanse. It was easier to fall asleep and stay asleep during the entire 21 days.
- New Approach Towards Food. We all know sugar is in almost everything but it’s not as hard as you think to eliminate refined sugars. Moving forward I am going to try to keep that up and also reduce my gluten and dairy intake. I didn’t really miss them, so I’m not sure how much of them I will re-incorporate in my diet moving forward and when I will do it. I’ve been working on eating more intuitively and without any rules
- Smoothies are Delicious. I could probably count the number of times I had a smoothie as a meal before this cleanse. Now after having 42 smoothies (in 21 days), I realize how convenient they are and how nutritious they can be and how to make a truly filling smoothie. My go to favorite smoothie recipe is below.
- 1 to 2 cups fresh spinach (buy fresh and freeze)
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1.5 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (coconut, almond or cashew)
- 1 serving clean program vanilla protein (or your favorite plant-based protein powder)
- 1 tbs bulletproof brain octane oil (or coconut oil or MTC oil)
- 1 tbs almond butter (or any nut butter you love)
- 1/2 tsp maca powder (optional)
Directions: Dump everything in your blender, blend for a minute or two and enjoy! Pro Tip: Put all your smoothie veggies and fruit in the freezer along with your maca or any other spices or herbs so in the morning you just add your liquids and blend!
I got a ton of questions about the program so I thought I would answer some of the most common ones here.
- Did you lose weight? I don’t know because I didn’t weigh myself. I would imagine yes just based on how I looked but can’t give you a number because I have no idea.
- Were you hungry? No. I listened to my body and ate when I was hungry and made sure my meals and snacks were filling. I almost always carried nuts with me and had the occasional LaraBar or Shanti bar to hold me over when out and about
- Was it hard? Yes and no. You can do anything for 21 days and after a few days when it gets harder, you are so inspired and motivated with how good you feel it will push you through the program. Only “hard” part was parting ways with coffee. #I’mAddicted
- Can you eat out? Yes! I ate out several times during the Program and usually ordered a ton of veggies, brown rice, humus, chicken or fish. I skipped sauces and asked for olive oil to drizzle on my veggies. Vegan restaurants were the easiest since there are usually tons of gluten-free options and no dairy.
- How was the reintroduction phase? I started with eggs because I missed eggs and coffee the most. I definitely had a dull headache after drinking my coffee. After eggs, I introduced dairy which I had no real issues with. Last but not least was gluten and with that the digestive discomfort started almost right away. I tried it for a few days here and there and I think it’s just not worth reintroducing it again, at least for now. With so many gluten-free options, I really don’t think its a huge loss. I will try to reintroduce it again maybe in a few weeks or months but for now I’m saying goodbye to gluten.
- Would I do it again? Most Certainly! The 21 days flew by, I learned so much about my body and felt pretty darn amazing! This is absolutely something I would love to do this Program once a year to hit the re-start button.
Hope this was helpful. If you have any other questions, let me know.