Tag Archive for 'Dr. Alejandro Junger'

Detox Disclosure

OK, here we go. I am finally full enough to write about my (brief) venture into the detox world of the famous and beautiful. A few months ago, I picked up a copy of ‘CLEAN‘ by Dr. Alejandro Junger, curious to find out what all the rave was about. I read it and like thousands of others on the eternal quest for self-improvement hoped that this program could be the end of decade long stomach troubles and other physical and emotional aches and pains. The detox plan he developed lasts 3 weeks and is based on a strict elimination diet, with two liquid meals (i.e. fresh juices and smoothies) and one solid meal per day. The book includes 3-weeks worth of recipes, plus tips on how to clean up your life with water filters, natural cleaning and beauty products, mediation etc. Except for some of the raw soups, all recipes looked delicious, but I was still worried how I would cope with the limited calorie intake. I tried another elimination diet fora month last year and had no trouble. I could eat whenever I wanted,  as long as I stuck to the foods allowed. This was different. The prospect of only eating once a day was horrifying. To put it mildly, I am not a pleasant hungry person. Still, the author made it sounds quite easy to cope with hunger and cravings and he described the benefits of the detox program so convincingly, that I just needed to give it a go. I couldn’t wait to be bright eyed, full of boundless energy, light and tight, free of aches and pains, happier than ever, and totally clean. So I jumped in. The first few days were easy. I had just gotten over a vicious stomach bug that had been knocking out every member in my family and my appetite had not yet recovered. I wasn’t very hungry until day 4. That’s when it hit me. Tired from a night listening to my youngest cough, I was completely depleted by 9 am and alternately screamed and cried throughout the rest of the day. The mood swings didn’t even come close to my worst PMS ever and lasted for 2-3 days, leaving me totally exhausted. Instead of looking and feeling better, my face looked sunken in and pimply and my eyes dark and hollow. That said, I did start to feel better by day 6 or 7 and my mood and stamina improved. However, I continued to have very little energy, and found it difficult to get through the (long) days. Cooking dinner for my family, which I wasn’t able to eat, was no fun and drinking my juice while they ate, excruciating.  Often, I was too hungry and tired to join in, or too busy focusing on cleaning that darn juicer. And there were the side effects. For the first few days, I was so tired climbing up the stairs, my heart almost jumped out of my chest. Most infuriatingly, I couldn’t keep up with the requirements of my daily life and I felt like everything was piling up around me. I had slowed down substantially, probably to save the little energy I had to get me through the day which becaome obvious by growing laundry piles, dying garden plants and endless to-do-lists. This is not how it was supposed to be. The detox program emphasizes on rest, meditation, mindfulness exercises, yoga, meditation, skin brushing and other beneficial activities, which on most days, I didn’t have time for. On the up side, I have never lost weight so quickly and indeed I didn’t have any stomach pains. During the second week, I started to slip. My daughter had her 4th Birthday, my son a big event at school with delicious food all around, we had date nights and dinner parties and I started to obsess about chocolate and crunchy granola for hours. So, 13 days into the detox, I stopped. Not gradually, but with a beautiful dinner of the best roast chicken ever. I devoured it and couldn’t sleep that night, because I was incredibly full. My stomach had actually shrunk so much, that even a regular size meal made it expand to the point of great discomfort. Eventually, I got over it and successfully stretched my stomach to it’s previous capacity. It has however been 10 days since I stopped, and I still eat, cook and bake, like someone who just escaped from a deserted island, reversing that miraculous weight loss almost instantly.  Teaching a class focused on lunch boxes last week didn’t help either. I cooked, and assembled for days, tasting myself through every batch. Occupational hazard, I guess…

In hindsight, I keep thinking that I need to evaluate the role food plays in my life a bit more. Why did the thought of having to limit myself for 3 weeks cause me so much anguish? I was never that hungry, it was my mind that played the tricks on me, but also my body not allowing me to keep up the pace my current life requires. I do think, this could easily work for me in a spa setting without the kids, dog, husband and daily work load. It might even be enjoyable. Lot’s of time to read, sleep, relax, exercise, meditate and not having to worry about others and have them worrying about me. Since that’s not really an option at the moment, I’ll continue to incorporate some of the delicious detox recipes into my diet, drink my smoothies, take my probiotics, have an occasional day of juice fasting and even meditate once in a while. It might not have the same results as a full detox program, but it also won’t be nearly as hard.

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to talk about this experience in my ‘Spring Cleaning’ class attended by 5 eager ladies. We talked, drank lots of detox tea and fresh juices and cooked so much that by the end, the table was bulging with salads, stir-fries, steamed vegetables, quinoa, buckwheat noodles, brown rice, beans, poached chicken and roast fish. It made the detox look like a total culinary breeze and all five of them left inspired by how tasty healthy food can be. You can find out more about the recipes in my next blog or at http://www.wholeliving.com/photogallery/action-plan-week-1.