Our Editor in Chief embarks on a rigorous (and safe!) month-long cleanse program—and delivers weekly diaries in the meantime. Follow her progress here.
In an effort to feel healthier and cleaner with the holiday season approaching, I decided to act on a recommendation to start the Clean Program Cleanse. To be clear, this is not your average cleanse—you can unroll your eyes now. There are no green juices or wheat grass shots, and yes, there’s food. Lauded by Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachel Roy, the twenty one-day cleanse is centered on a supplement and shake powder diet. For breakfast and dinner I’m required to mix a cleanse shake powder with fruit and veggies of my choice. At lunch I’m encouraged to have a hearty meal that must contain grains, veggies, and a protein. Of course, there are restrictions…the Clean Program makes you cut out dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, bananas, all nightshade veggies, and more, in an effort to get your body back to its natural state. The end goal is to remove toxins, replace them with vital nutrients, and then understand how your body reacts to certain types of foods once the cleanse is complete. It’s also been known to improve skin, sleep, digestion, energy, mental clarity and reduce bloating and joint pain—so I guess it could be worth cutting out my usual late-night pizza for 3 weeks.
Ed note: I know that cleanses like these are a point of contention in the health and diet communities. Let me say that this cleanse was recommended to me by somebody who found it both safe and effective. It’s not for everybody, but sometimes, a little regulation is just what your body needs.
My first few days were telling. I had immense trouble with the taste of the cleanse powder and spent my first day incredibly nauseous, but full. I usually down a protein shake in under 30 seconds (my roommate is a witness to this incredible event) but I ended up only drinking half of my first shake and couldn’t even finish. And even though I was uncomfortably full, I had the sweet tooth of a ten year old. I decided to stay in the whole weekend and let my body rest and adjust to the change in diet. I did light yoga on Friday and Sunday, which was felt great and allowed me to fall asleep easily at night. I felt terrible for being so lazy, but the body needs all its energy to focus on the cleansing process during this time, so in bed I went.
On Day 3, I really began to see how my brain thinks about food, in a pretty bad way. At any inkling of hunger, I was in the kitchen within thirty seconds snacking on something. The Clean Program urges against this and stresses the importance of checking in with what your body really needs in a moment of hunger. My body really needed a Hu Kitchen Simple Chocolate bar. But I feel like I’ve gotten over the hump of mental snacking in just my first few days.
On Day 5, I’ve finally begun to control my hunger and ease into my food routine. I feel strong enough now to begin working out more intensely. My sugar cravings have definitely calmed down and I feel my appetite beginning to shrink. I allow myself a snack between lunch and dinner—apples with almond butter or carrots with vegan hummus—just so that I’m not swayed to an early dinner circa 6PM. I’ve noticed that my skin is glowing and the whites of my eyes have definitely become brighter. After just 5 days, I feel lighter on my feet and much calmer and relaxed. I don’t know if it’s the yoga or the lack of processed foods that I usually put in my system. Honestly, I better at least look skinnier after this.
Half of an avocado
Handful of spinach
Handful of kale
Clean Shake Powder
Frozen raspberries and mangos
Mix in a Vitamix (or similar) and serve immediately.