Monday, February 27, 2012

A 21-Day Detox Cleanse--again...

So, last year, Greg and I did Dr. Junger's CLEAN cleanse--

It was intense and I pretty much fought it every step of the way.

(I think my problem was that we did it starting Jan 1 or 2 when all I wanted was 
cold weather comfort food, red wine and chocolate every night after work!)  

But regardless, I acknowledged the reaped benefits of giving my body 3 weeks rest by eliminating many, many foods that are hard to digest--like gluten, dairy, eggs and soy--to name a FEW.  Because, even though it was hard, at the end of last year's cleanse--I realized it was an incredibly valuable thing to do for my health and I vowed to do the cleanse every year going forward...

Well, that time has come--I have started this year.  And this is basically what it is...

For 21 Days, you eliminate:
Any kind of wheat aka gluten, pasta, bread, crackers, tortillas, baked goods, oats, couscous, dairy, butter, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, white/brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, artificial sweetners, carbonated beverages, bananas, strawberries, grapes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, corn, white potatoes, citrus-except lemons, peanuts, eggs, mayo, ketchup, store bought salad dressings, red meat, white rice, corn, soy, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods.

For 21 Days, you embrace:
Avocado, hummus, miso, mango, pineapple, rasberries, blueberries, apples, watermelon, leafy green vegetables, zucchini, cucumber, carrot, butternut squash, broccoli, asparagus, rice milk, almond milk, brown rice, wild rice, millet, quinoa, lentils, beans, raw nuts, cold pressed oils, agave nectar, cold water fish, lean lamb, duck, chicken, turkey, garlic, onion, mushrooms, vinegars, mustards, home-made pestos, seeds, herbs & spices, green tea, almond butter, cashew butter, gluten free flours.

The foods you eliminate are potentially difficult for us to break down...if we are always eating them, its possible that we don't even realize we have trouble with them...The foods that are embraced are relatively easy to digest, highly nutritious and not typical allergens.

The other part of Dr. Junger's thinking is that the body can only heal itself when it has time to rest.  If we are always eating, we are always digesting and this doesn't allow us much down time.  On this cleanse, you have your main meal during the day at lunch time--a meal that typically contains a lean protein, greens and non-wheat grain, like wild rice or quinoa.  You then have a fresh veg/fruit juice/soup/smoothie for dinner and then again for breakfast.  You allow 12 hours to pass between your evening liquid meal and your morning liquid meal.  Smoothies can be made with almond or coconut milk, hemp protein powder, frozen fruit..etc.  Soups can be made raw or cooked. 
Freshly juiced vegetables and fruits--basically a powerhouse of a glass...

There are other things you do that I will explain along the way.

  This is Day Four and here is how my weekend went...

First off...Top priority with any detox program is to drink 


With Lemon!  All day, every day...with lemon.  Lemon is very good for the liver and really, this is what a detox is all about..There are several herbal supplements to aid and assist and I take those after the mid-day meal--will list those below.  And green tea...the whole world knows about how good green tea is for you, so I won't go into it here--but just suffice it to say...

I am drinking a lot of it!

A.M. Smoothie

Coconut milk, almond milk, almond butter, hemp protein powder, 
ground flax seeds, frozen raspberries, agave nectar...not bad!

Greg is a big fan of almond milk, blueberries, cocoa powder, almond butter and agave.

Mid-Day Snack

The point of this program is not to starve yourself or calorie deprivation.  You can have a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack.  Apples; handful of almonds, cashews or walnuts; brown rice cake with avocado; brown rice cake with almond butter & agave; hummus and baby carrots--all good choices.   I found these dried fruit & nut bites rolled in sesame seeds and a friend passed on this great recipe for lemon treats rolled in coconut.  I made different flavors of these kind of home-made LARA bars last year.

Yippee!! Lunch time--Real food...time to eat!!

Ok, this is an example of a vegetarian option...

On a bed of arugula and red cabbage-that I dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I piled on steamed broccoli--LIGHTLY steamed not over cooked...same with steamed rings of acorn squash. I topped with a home-made tahini sauce, cashews and sea salt.  Along side, I did a quinoa (a complete protein, btw) salad tossed with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, shallots, apples, raisins, chopped fresh herbs, cumin and sea salt.  It was so much, I couldn't eat it all!  As a rule, you should eat till you are 80% full.  Inspiration for recipe here.

Another vegetarian recipe, and this one was seriously SO good...

Vegetarian Nori Rolls with Nut "Rice"

Soak walnuts and sunflower seeds for 2 hours (makes them easier to digest) and then along with a hand full of fresh herbs and half an onion, toss all into food processor...whirl/pulse around until it resembles grains of rice--it really does look like rice, kind of, and its surprisingly good...

I then laid the nut "rice" on a toasted sheet of nori, topped with carrots, cucumber, avocado, sprouts, red cabbage or baby spinach.  Roll up, slice and dip into wheat-free tamari along with wasabi and ginger.

Incredibly satisfying and does not feel like you are depriving yourself AT ALL!!

The recipe to this is in CLEAN the book by Dr. Junger (and in link to pdf at end of post)...which if you think this is something you would like to consider doing--I HIGHLY recommend buying and reading CLEAN.  Besides being very informative, this is serious stuff and its good to be as well informed as possible.  If you were to google Clean clease, you'll get to the website that offers a "kit" for a 21 day detox session.  The kit is $425.  If you read the $10 book, you will find out everything you need to know--and what to get, on your own, so you don't have to buy the kit.  

That is what we did...

 In a bit of a nutshell, what you need to get:


1) Garlic--great antibacterial & detox aid.

2) Fiber--you can add powder to smoothies/juice/soups 
OR you can take in capsule form...Ground flax seed is recommended.
but either way its crucial that you move your bowels at least ONCE a day.  
Fiber is a very critical piece in the whole detox puzzle.

3) Omega-3s--just good to take.

4) Papaya enzyme--that is more me; it aids in digestion.

5) Probiotics--Absolutely necessary...
what we do to our poor gut by using all those anti-biotics is pretty incredible.  
Here is a chance to put some of the good guys back.

6) An herbal liver detox supplement...because it is all about the liver.
NOW makes a good one.

7) Organic olive oil--will explain later...

8)Plus, it is necessary to add protein powder to A.M. smoothie.  
This is great non-dairy hemp protein powder.

Other things to do:
1) Dry Skin Brush--Before you jump in the shower, you give your arms, legs, back, front side a little sloughing off of the old skin..the skin is hugely important in moving out toxins and this is a great way to get things going.

2) Hot/Cold showers--Hot as you can stand it for 30 seconds; cold as you can stand it for 30 seconds.  Repeat, and then repeat again--several times. Simple, challenging, exhilarating.

3) Use pure natural oils (like jojoba) as skin moisturizers instead of store bought lotions.  Try to limit make-up as much as possible.  Use organic, basic products to wash your self, hair, face, clothes, sheets, dishes, kids, pets, house.  Basic ingredients that you can pronounce and with nothing artificial in them.
No petrol-chemicals!

4) Exercise/Sweat--To get the toxins out, you have to sweat.  There is just no way around it.  Walk at least 15 mins a least...exercising may seem counter-intuitive when restricting calories like this, but TRUST ME! You will feel amazing!!  I took a 15 minute sauna session this weekend after exercising and it was GLORIOUS!!

5) Yoga/Meditation--Stretch at least 10 minute before you go to bed and meditate for at least 5...but I know you can do more!  Meditating is challenging but think of it as a cleanse for the mind.  Just try to sit still and count your exhales till you get to 4 and start again.  You will get better with pracitce--I promise!!

Limit tv/computer...catch up on good book or some creative endeavor...or just go to bed early and catch up on some much needed sleep.


 Have your P.M. MEAL

A juice is simplest and easiest to digest.  But it was cold this weekend, so I made this carrot/ginger/miso soup.  I chopped 3 cups carrots, an inch of ginger and added to 6 cups of water.  After the water came to a boil, I simmered for 15 mins till carrots became tender.  Using my immersion blender, I pureed and then added a couple tablespoons of miso paste.  Stirred till smooth and enjoyed with fresh dill and sea salt.

And remember, if you have your P.M. meal at 6pm, then you do not eat again till 6 A.M...with the exception of the olive oil right before bed, water and herbal teas.

Last thing you have to do, and I promise, this is take a tablespoon or two of olive oil right before turning in.  Drink down with lemon water.  It helps moves things along...

Carrot/Miso/Ginger Soup

So, that it!!  19 more days to go...After you are done, you are in this unique situation to add the more problems food back into your diet, one by one, and see how you may have an allergy to something you had no idea about.  It can be very interesting to see how your blank canvass, so to speak, reacts to foods that can be hard to digest.

But the funny thing is, that this time around--this year: I am not fighting it.  I am actually kind of into it (ok, so I am day four--I am sure I could be singing a different tune on day 19...)
But I feel calm, centered, well (i.e. no stomach issues);
and I am not cursing the person's name who got us into this in the first place--
like I was last year! : )

and seriously all of this without my red wine and chocolate!!

So, there you have it...

You won't hear from me again on the subject--I don't like to preach.  But if this sounds interesting to you and you have some questions, please don't hesitate to drop me a line and I will do my best to help.  

As Magda says...HAPPY CLEANSE!  

Here is some additional reading that you might find helpful.
Check out this fun, informative blog report from an actual participant and
this blog for some more inspiration.

Here is Dr. Junger's website.
Here is the link to the awesome official pdf (that you can download) that basically says it all..
Loads of recipes

Finally, there are some more great recipes here and here.

As is ALWAYS the case, do check with your doctor before beginning any sort of detox program.


  1. Wow, it would seem that you can't be half hearted when you do this cleanse.
    I guess second time around it's alot easier, but it seems like there's quite alot to it.
    Quentin, I was just wondering what health benefits you found after you did it last year? Weight loss, energy boost, skin brighter that sort of thing.....
    I would love to know.

    CLaire :}

  2. Hi Claire!!
    I am so glad you wrote...thank you so much for your comment!! I realized after I posted that I kind of did the how and the what but did not delve into the why and the results!! Which is important!! But I think since I was approaching "novel" status in terms of length of post, I decided to just quit while I could.

    Health benefits: Weight loss, energy boost, skin brighter and much more...To start off:

    Let's just take gluten to start and what just eliminating that can do for you. Gluten (latin for glue) is the protein found in wheat...the building blocks that make up gluten are shaped like tiny sheets of paper...they stack. Now, imagine a ball of pizza dough--in your stomach. This mass takes a lot of energy to break down and digest, not to mention, it can be very good at preventing nutrients from absorbing into the lining of the stomach--which is how nutrients are absorbed. Same with dairy...its not hard to imagine milk and other dairy products, too, coating the lining of the stomach, preventing all that good stuff we do put into our bodies to actually do any good!

    So, if we take away those two things--suddenly, we have a lot more energy! Instead of all the work going into breaking down those hard-to-break-down items, we feel lighter & more energetic. (kind of like how you feel after big heavy meal vs. how you feel after a salad...) So, there is that--definitely more energry. Then there is the weight. This is just day 6 for me and so far, I have lost 5 lbs. It does kind of melt off...especially if you are exercising. My skin is looking really good, too, bright and hydrated. Sweating is so good and I think that is helping a lot. I do apply pure vitamin e oil to my face after taking a shower and its kind of amazing how improved my skin tone has become since doing that...but when those nutrients get thru the stomach, they do go to the skin and it shows!

    Some other things that maybe are less tangible...adding the fiber is so good for colon health--you don't have to do the cleanse to do that, but this is one step that can be very beneficial to overall health. Same with taking added probiotics--this is a huge help to digestion--and every time I have to go on anti-biotics (which isn't often, but does happen), I know I am wiping out as much good as I am bad...

    Lastly, my state of mind, honestly has been so, so good since I started this. I have a strong tendency towards depression and deal with it often...but the exercising, the diet change, THE MEDITATION has really made a huge beneficial impact on my mental well being. I don't feel scattered, sad or distracted--which, lately, is a lot of the way that I feel...

    Well! Another novel!! : ) I hope that know, if the whole thing seems a little too much/over the top, you could just do the elimination diet for a week and see how that goes. I didn't talk about it my post...but instead of the 2 liquid meals, have 3 regular meals BUT eliminate all those "problem" foods and eat only the foods that are CLEAN, (for lack of a better word! : ) That is what Junger actually suggests for 1st timers and you can kind of ease into things and see how they work for you...hope this helps! Thanks again for the comment!!

    All my best,

  3. This sounds really great, and I want to do something like this, but... yes here it comes, my excuse... my head just isn't there yet. I have to prepare mentally or I will fail.
    I am glad you have more self control than I do.
    Following you now!

  4. Hi Susie!
    Thanks so much for your comment and thanks for following me!! Being mentally prepared and committed is a HUGE part of making this thing successful..last year, when I did it for the first time, (my attitude was kind of kicking and screaming) I was not into it and believe me it was hard...but at the end, the results were undeniable and I was glad I stuck to the year passed and it was time to think about doing it again, it was much easier for me this time--I think because I knew what I was getting into and the shock of no bread and cheese, no chocolate and red wine and no breakfast burritos (c'mon on, for crying out loud!! : ) for 21 days was not so bad or SHOCKING and I could wrap my head around it...But its tough, for sure, to think about eating in a different way and I think the best thing to do just think about it...just know that this is out there and one day, maybe, when you can/want to try it (or some version of it...) you will know where to look and the whole thing won't seem so shocking, because you will have had time to think about never know and you might just feel great and be very happy you took the plunge. : )
    THanks again for following me and I promise not all my posts will be THAT long nor will they be all about hemp protein powder either!!
    : )
    All my best,