Seven months ago, I was browsing books at the local library when I came across one that intrigued me. It showed a clear class of water on the cover and was called Clean, by Alejandro Junger. It was a “revolutionary program to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself.” When I got home, I saw that the book was a detox program. I had never read about a detoxification program before, much less tried one, but I decided to try to keep an open mind and at least read the book. It turns out that the recommendations were sound, and I was motivated enough to give it a try. For 3 weeks, I cut out potentially irritating and inflammatory foods like wheat, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, bananas, oranges, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes), most animal protein, peanuts, and alcohol. What’s left to eat, you ask? Rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, coconut milk, almond milk, avocados, olives, most vegetables, most fruits, cold-water fish like salmon, lamb, chicken and turkey (which being 95% vegetarian, I don’t eat), peas, lentils, beans, seeds, nuts, and olive oil. Lest this sound familiar to you, Gwyneth Paltrow recently endorsed such a diet and even wrote a cookbook called It’s All Good, which includes recipes that are Clean program friendly.
The program isn’t just about avoiding certain foods. There’s more involved with detoxification. The basic premis is that we live in a toxic world and therefore, our bodies are full of toxins. We’re exposed by the air we breath, the foods we eat, and the products we slather on our bodies. Even if you try to avoid toxins, as readers of this blog know I do deligently, studies continue to show that the majority of the population has hundreds of chemicals in their body–even ones banned decades ago (like DDT). The way we eat in the West causes our liver, the organ responsible for detoxification, to be consumed with the role of filtering blood that comes from the digestive tract. We eat 3 meals and 3 snacks each day, and rarely go more than a couple hours without shoving more food into our GI tract. Before bed, we have a snack, and when we wake up, we have breakfast. The digestive system is always on, and therefore, our liver is alway preoccupied. Continue reading