My Second Time on the Clean Program
Happy new year all! With the start of 2018, I am excited to focus on health again (the photo above is from a hike earlier today!). One way I started doing that is with the Clean Program.
Last spring I wanted to kick off healthier eating with a cleanse. (I wrote a bit about it in this blog post.) I quickly decided to expand my cleanse into the Clean Program, a healthy eating program put together by Dr. Alejandro Junger. For about a month I gave up dairy, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, nightshades, peanut butter, red meat, refined sugar, and more while taking vitamins I don’t normally take. I ate my meals between 7 am and 7 pm (with nothing in between). I ate smoothies for breakfast and dinner.
And I felt great. My skin was clear and extraordinarily soft. I had more energy. And I lost those last nagging pounds of baby weight.
After the month, I continued to follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, coffee-free diet (I did enjoy dark chocolate–is there caffeine in it?!) until about mid-November, when holiday events made it harder for me to continue the diet. So many great foods and my will power was shot! (Actually, the start of colder weather made me start to waiver a bit. A cold smoothie for breakfast in the winter months left me feeling way too chilled all day long.)
By mid-December I was longing to revert back to gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. eating. My skin was breaking out, my stomach always felt bloated, and I was feeling low energy. Since I knew I would have more success starting January 2 (the day after our traditional New Year’s Day meal of ham, collard greens, black-eyed peas, white rice, and corn bread), I waited until 2018 to start of the Clean Program Redux.
Current Status of the Clean Program…
January 2, 2018
I started the Clean Program again 5 days ago, on January 2. For me that means following the dietary portion of Junger’s book, and taking supplements that I don’t always take. I do not purchase supplements from the Clean Program website since I just don’t have the extra money to spend.
I didn’t prepare as much this time as I did last time, so I immediately started breaking rules.
- Since we had ground beef in the fridge, I opted to finish up a pack of it instead of wasting it.
- And after an awful caffeine withdrawal headache on the second day and because I was feeling super chilly after my breakfast smoothie, I decided I would allow myself to have 3/4 mug of coffee every day.
- The first day I accidentally poured regular milk in my coffee instead of coconut milk or almond milk, but my headache disappeared and I had enough pep to care for my boys.
- Because I wanted to provide some sort of evening meals for my husband (who doesn’t get home until close to 7 pm and I’d rather him play with the boys than cook), I did serve myself a non-liquid meals at dinner a couple of the days since going on the program.
- Finally, I had a lot of gluten-free bread in the house, and I’ve been munching on that. (Last time I had less processed food.)
- I decided not to give up eggs because I discovered they do not do me any harm when I reintroduced food back into my diet. And because I like them.
But, here’s what I have been doing:
- Back to that cold smoothie for breakfast.
- Lots of protein.
- Trying to eat more veggies/fruit again.
- No dairy or gluten or alcohol.
- I will be more careful on what meats I am eating (no red meat now that it’s out of the house).
- Trying to have lunch be my biggest meal.
- Soup more days of the week for dinner.
- More supplements, including the left-over pills left in my liver cleansing kit from Whole Foods. Other supplements include a probiotic, vitamin C, l-lysine, St. John’s Wort, magnesium, and a women’s multi-vitamin.
- No eating after 7 pm.
- Trying to exercise everyday again to either Jillian or else by going for a run or hike.
- Avoiding refined sugar.
Here is what I have noticed over the past 5 days:
- I’ve lost a couple pounds. To me this is a perk of the program, but not the main reason to participate. I am primarily after more energy, better health, and clearer skin.
- I haven’t noticed much difference in my energy levels at this point.
- I’ve had very vivid frightening dreams.
- Definite change in BMs.
I’ll definitely continue this program for the next two and a half weeks. After that I plan to keep avoiding gluten and dairy, except on the occasional splurge. If my skin doesn’t get and stay as consistently clear as it was from May-October, I will give up my warming, happy coffee habit. This is also true if I don’t feel a boost to my energy levels by the end of the 2.5 weeks.
If you want to feel great, I recommend giving this program a try. Getting a dietary reset never hurts, and following a program like this helps me bring healthier eating habits/more nutrients into my day to day life. Sweet potatoes, nuts, and beans became staples in my diet, even during the holidays, which I think is a good thing.
I also like learning about how certain food impact me. Again, last spring I didn’t find any negative impacts with eggs. I also didn’t see any difference with or without nightshades (like tomatoes), but I did cut back on them (mainly because I want to be more like Tom Brady)(kidding). But when I had the errant bit of gluten, my legs itched a lot at night. I hope that going through this again will help me discover if coffee/caffeine is causing my painful chin/cheek pimples…
My attitude is definitely a bit more lax about the whole program this second time around. I think that has to do with it being winter. I hate hate hate being cold. Eating a lot of smoothies and fresh, cold foods like salads just isn’t super appealing to me right now. Soups sound nice and warm, but mentally they’re a hurdle because having soup more than two nights a week sounds so boring to me. And while I wouldn’t mind losing a couple holiday pounds, I really don’t want to lose much more than that because it sounds cold. So if I cheat or mess up, I am not going to stress about it–just do the best I can and get back to the eating recommendations of the program.
I’ll update you again in the next couple of weeks on how the Clean Program is going in case this is something you are interested in doing.