As has been previously mentioned, I finished the 21-day Clean Cleanse last week. I have to admit that it feels like a pretty epic accomplishment (and is actually 24 days, if you include the initial 3-day pre-cleanse). I’ve never been one to set, or follow, rules for what and when I eat, so this part alone was quite a new experience for me. Because Farrell works at Clean and I wanted to see what her job and company are all about, I did the cleanse from the Clean kit which includes shake packs for breakfast and dinner, probiotics and supplements. However, I think it is worth mentioning that anyone can do the cleanse on their own by following the same program which is laid out in the book Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger. In either case, the idea is to remove common toxins, irritants and allergens (i.e. soy, diary, gluten, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, etc.) for a full body detox as well as to better understand the effects these things have on your body when you reintroduce them post-cleanse.
Physically, I felt great almost immediately (minus a full afternoon/evening caffeine withdrawal headache on day 2 of the pre-cleanse). I am a daily coffee drinker and knew this would be one of the hardest parts of the cleanse for me, so I started reducing the amount of coffee I was drinking about a week before I even started the pre-cleanse. I think this was really helpful for me. I never really stopped missing coffee during the cleanse but I didn’t feel a real physical need for it either. The same was true of alcohol. A huge part of my social life includes food and drinks and feeling like I couldn’t socialize in the ways I’m used to was hard for me. I would often walk past bustling bars and restaurants around the city and feel a sort of sad longing for the days when I used to laugh with friends in those settings. Ridiculous but true.
A few other thoughts/reflections on my experience:
– It is nearly impossible to buy food that is made only of ingredients with which I am familiar. Preparing your own food seems to be the way to go if you’re trying to eat clean.
– Doing the cleanse with someone made all the difference. As a friend of mine told me somewhat disgustedly, “You know what they say, a couple that cleanses together…” Jokes aside, this component was really huge for me. The cleanse kind of takes over your life and being able to share that experience on a day to day basis made the whole thing much easier for me than I think it would have otherwise been. Along those same lines, I also submersed myself in all things Clean. Obviously Farrell was a huge source of support. I also listened to all five Clean Program conference calls for people cleansing at the start of 2014. Basically I found that, particularly for the first and second weeks, I needed to focus almost entirely on the experience in order to really do it and all of these supports and sources of information were way more important to me than I would have ever imagined.
– Preparation is key. I have a tendency to wait too long before eating, even if I’m hungry, so when I finally do eat I make less healthy choices. Having food at home that was Clean approved & going out to get lunch before I was starving made a big difference in my days.
– Routine is hard for me & I don’t do well with boredom and monotony. I had a pretty horrific day 14 through 16. The novelty of the program had significantly worn off, my social interactions were at a real low and the January cold was really getting to me. Though I already knew this about myself, I really saw how important it is for me to funnel my energy into exercise and creativity – and how often I forgo those things with other distractions. It wasn’t a fun couple of days.
– I liked doing the cleanse from the kit more than I anticipated I would. Having a physical and material structure was really helpful and kept me on track.
– I want to stay clean! I have to say I felt consistently rested throughout the cleanse. My skin looked and felt good. I never went to bed or woke up feeling heavy, lethargic or groggy. It was great. That being said, I have reintroduced all things back into my diet. However, I’m still trying to make the best decisions I can and am finding that, for me, that means (1) considering how something will make me feel before I consume it and (2) acting in accordance with that. These aren’t easy things and I’m by no means saying I’m doing this successfully all of the time. It is simply my intention and one that I’m going to keep working at.