Between the holidays and the heart of cold season, January always leaves me feeling a little sluggish. After all the sweets, feasts, and drinks, it’s the perfect time of year to “reset” and initiate a healthy new year. For me, a cleanse is not a resolution or a diet, it’s just part of the plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I came across the Clean Program five years ago, the book was sitting innocently on a side table at my boyfriend’s parents’ house. His father had heard good things and bought it, but not yet read it or tried the cleanse. Struggling with chronic digestive issues and feeling all around lousy, I was intrigued by it’s claim to “restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself.” Willing to try anything to feel better, I embarked on my first cleanse.
These days, you hear a ton about cleanses. From talk shows to food magazines, the term is everywhere. Juice cleanses tend to be the most talked about, and the most criticized, for good reason. Juice cleanses, and many others, are less than a healthy choice. Anything that has you avoiding solid foods and consuming under 1200 calories is not a cleanse – it’s a crash diet. A good cleanse should provide proper nutrients and support your body’s natural process of detoxification.
The Clean Program does just that. The 21-day cleanse focuses on two main concepts: eliminating foods that are potential allergens or triggers of health issues, and providing the body ample time to clean itself up. The foods not allowed include sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, soy, corn, and peanuts, among other things. You start the day with a raw fruit and vegetable shake, have a hearty lunch made from permitted foods, and then another shake for dinner. And you always allow 12 hours between your evening shake and breakfast. The goal is to condense the energy your body spends on digestion, so that the immune system can go to work elsewhere and the body can move on to detoxifying.
This week kicked off my fifth annual cleanse. It’s hard to believe I’ve been into it for this long, but the Clean Program keeps me coming back. It’s not a cure-all – in fact, that book states that flat out. But it’s safe to stay that you will feel the positive effects, which can be anything from cured headaches to better digestion to more energy. Before our first cleanse, my boyfriend was plagued with frequent sinus infections. Despite getting sinus surgery when he was younger, almost every cold he had turned into a full-blown infection and perpetual congestion. Since the cleanse, he hasn’t had a single sinus infection. Seriously worth it.
Several of the years I’ve done Clean, it has kept me cold-free for six months afterwards. With my track record for getting sick, that is nothing short of miraculous. So as I sit here fighting off the second of two back-to-back colds, I am really looking forward to the weeks ahead of cleansing and a fresh start.
If you’re interested, you can peruse the Clean Program blog and find the book on Amazon. I would definitely recommend doing the book version of the cleanse, as opposed to the kit that they sell. It’s expensive, and you can achieve great results without it.