How It Works And What To Know About It
The Clean Program by Dr. Alejandro Junger is a fascinating new take on weight loss and improving your health. It is part of a new wave of programs that help you make fundamental changes in your life. The program (and the book that the program is derived from) is based on a personal health journey that Junger, a Cardiologist, took to recover his own health after traditional medical therapies had failed him.
This article will outline the philosophy and goals of The Clean Program, and then outline some of the general themes and methods used in the program. Many of the methods are things you can start to incorporate in your life right away! You will see that much of the advice is based in common sense, and also very much in line with the general philosophy that PEERtrainer has embraced and seen have real impact on people’s lives.
Like PEERtrainer, Dr. Junger advocates a nutrient dense diet, and a shift away from nutrient poor foods. Dr. Junger also embraces a variety of different nutritional approaches, in a way that we feel is unique and extremely helpful to the overall nutrition discussion.
So often people end up confused when trying to understand what they should doing. We would observe that Dr. Junger presents some very important new ideas, but in a way that is actionable and not confusing. And like PEERtrainer, Dr. Junger has been strongly influenced by the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
The Philosophy Of Clean and The Clean Program
Dr. Junger’s basic philosophy is that when you eliminate harmful foods from your diet and give the body the proper nutrients it needs, this allows the body to heal and detoxify itself. The objective of The Clean Program is to provide stucture and some products to help you get to this path quicker. As Dr. Junger (and others) will tell you, the body already cleans and detoxifies itself naturally. The Clean Program and other cleanses like it, simply speed up this process.
The program is built on a concept called “Functional Medicine” which integrates both Western and Eastern medicine to get at the root of disease. If there is a “meta objective” of The Clean Program, it is to help you get at the root of disease. It does this by giving your body what it needs to heal itself, and rid itself of harmful toxins. When toxins are removed, it becomes easier for your body to burn fat and really function better.
The Clean Program In Practical Terms: A Brief Summary Of How It Works
The Clean Program is a broad and big program. It runs 21 days and during the program they have you do a lot. There are five primary objectives to help speed up the detoxification process of your body.
1. Reduce your digestive load. According to Dr. Junger, one of the keys to speeding up the detoxification process is by reducing the load on your digestive system. In simple terms, this means consuming foods that are much easier to digest. The Clean Program has you remove foods that trigger allergic responses. Removing gluten from the diet is something that PEERtrainer members are familiar with. Removing dairy, excess meat and processed foods also aids in this process.
Another component of reducing digestive load in the clean program is consuming less solid food and more green juices and shakes. A core part of the “Clean Kit” which you purchase when doing the formal Clean Program are meal replacement shakes. These shakes are high in vegan protein and fiber. The idea is that it makes it easier to stick to the 21 day program.
2. Restore the “12 Hour Window.” According to Dr. Junger the body enters “detox mode” about 8 hours after your last meal. At this point the digestion stops and the detoxification process starts. The Clean Program advises you to make sure you have a 12 Hour Window each day. For example, if you have dinner at 7pm, don’t eat until at least 7 am the next morning.
3. Restore Gut Health. What this means is that you work to increase the “good bacteria” in your gut. According to Dr. Junger, “creating this balanced and stable environment reduces cravings for the foods that cause toxicity, which supports long term maintenance of a clean state.” We have covered the area of gut health previously on PEERtrainer. Among health experts, there is broad agreement that paying attention to gut health is important, and is related to overall immune function.
The Clean Program has you take probiotics to help restore “good bacteria.” This is a fairly common protocol among health experts. One thing that we would observe is that Dr. Fuhrman would probably challenge Dr. Junger slightly in terms of what reduces food cravings. Junger focuses on restoring gut health to reduce cravings, while Fuhrman focuses more on the core nutrient density of one’s diet. What is interesting though, is that a nutrient dense diet is likely to be easier to digest and will also enhance your gut health.
4. Support Your Liver
The Clean Program focuses on making sure your liver gets the nutrients it needs to function properly during a detox program. The more the liver is supported, nourished and has the load taken off of it, the better your system will function.
5. Enhance Elimination
According to Dr. Junger, “once toxins are released and neutralized, they must be discarded along with their mucus coating. Clean incorporates supplements and techniques to ensure that this happens effectively.”
Does The Clean Program Work?
The Clean Program works really well if you do it properly. There are no guarantees of anything in life, but the program is rooted in so many fundamental things that we have seen work. There is nothing particularly unique about the program, but the ideas and suggestions taken together can make a big difference in your health.
Why Are Cleanses Important? Why Should You “Detox?”
The basic answer to this question is that there are a dizzying array of man-made chemicals that we are exposed to as part of modern life. This is reality and there is no going around it. The issue, is that as these toxins start to accumulate in your body, they work together to do some really scary stuff. They function as a “chemical cocktail” and we have recently written about the effects of toxic load on your body. Read it.
What Supplements Do You Take On The Clean Program?
The core supplement that is recommended as part of the formal Clean Program is a meal replacement shake. These are vegetarian, high protein and high nutrient shakes that you take a couple times a day. These shakes help replace the bad foods you are eliminating. Because they are liquids, they help reduce the digestive load. And they are also rich in protein, which helps in the detoxification process.
Additionally, Dr. Junger recommends a “high concentration of probiotics” to help build up the good bacteria in your gut. There are many high quality makers of probiotic supplements available at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and Whole Foods. We have recommended a product called “Mega Flora” in the past, and also find the New Chapter Probiotics to be very high quality.
Is The Clean Program A Diet?
In many ways, this is the best kind of diet you can do. It has you increase greens, remove foods that cause allergic responses and eliminate processed foods. They call this an “Elimination Diet.” These are all things that are tough for people to jump in a do, but in the context of a cleanse, it gives you a good excuse to do it. The Clean Program almost “tricks” you into experimenting with some ideas that people might want to adopt for the rest of their lives!
Can You Lose A Lot Of Weight On The Clean Program?
The program has a strong track record, because anyone who makes these changes will benefit at least int he short term. The key to losing a lot of weight on any program is how deep and permanent you make changes. However, because of the detoxification focus of the program, the endocrine system is supported which can help you lose much more weight than you would on a commercial diet program like Weight Watchers. When you reduce the toxic load on your endocrine system, your body starts to function a lot better.
How Is The Clean Program Different Than The Master Cleanse Or Juice Cleanses?
The Clean Program is a protein-based nutritional cleanse. What that means is that the program features enough protein and fat to escort toxins out of the body. This helps you avoid feeling bad, which is a common problem with The Master Cleanse and other juice-based cleanses.
This Video Explains Why You Should Never Do The Master Cleanse
The 5 Things You Should Know Before Doing Any Kind Of Cleanse
PEERtrainer recently interviewed a medical professional who teaches the kinds of cleanses that Dr. Junger advocates to other doctors. Very interesting stuff, and this page has a link where you can download and listen to a fairly in depth overview of the entire cleanse process. The information contained is equal to one book chapter.