There are always people that are looking to lose weight in a hurry, which is why cleansing has become a popular form of weight loss in recent years. Some cleanses classify themselves as a detox, but all of the end results and procedures share essentially the same ideas. These cleanses promise some fast weight loss that will expel any “harmful” toxins from your body that include alcohol and junk food. Some have even claimed that it can help you to kick addictions.
The program that we are focused on today, though, is mainly geared toward weight loss. It is known as the Clean Program, and the program lasts for 21 days. The Clean Program has expanded into a full blown community with a lot of support, which has allowed it to draw more interest than ever. Is it the real deal, though? There is quite a bit to know about the Clean Program, so let’s take a look and see if it might be the right plan for you to lose weight in the new year.
Behind the Clean Program
The Clean Program was designed by Dr. Alejandro Junger, a Uruguay native that graduated from medical school in the early 1990’s. Junger spent time in New York City where he suffered from both irritable bowel syndrome and depression. Looking to find a treatment for his problems, Junger developed the Clean Program that he would turn into his first book on the subject.
Junger has said that he’s aware that detox diets are considered to be a fad by most people, though he says that the Clean Program is designed “to create the best conditions for the body to be able to do its work of detoxification most effectively.” Junger’s first book on the Clean Program was released back in 2010, and several more have been released since then, including “Clean Gut” and “Clean Eats”.
The promise with the Clean Program is that you will be able to lose weight and gain energy, as well as improving your digestion. Junger says what sets his program apart is the fact that it’s easy to follow, is friendly for those that are on the go and focuses more on your digestion than other detox diets. Detox programs have been around for ages, but Junger says his program is more designed for today’s society where processed food is more common.
What does the Clean Program Entail?
There are two different types of Clean Programs, with one that lasts for seven days and the full program that runs for 21 days. No matter which program you choose, the daily intake looks about the same. During each of the three meals that you eat each day, you are taking supplements. At breakfast, you have a shake with probiotics. At lunch, it’s a “Clean diet meal” which is followed by a shake at dinner. The 21 day package comes with 63 supplement packages, 42 shakes and enough probiotics to get you through.
Now, you might be wondering what you’ll be able to eat for lunch. There are only certain foods that you can pick from throughout the 21 days. The foods that you can eat are whole vegetables (any leafy green), whole fruits (mainly berries), brown rice, quinoa, avocado, coconut oil, wild fish, organic chicken and organic turkey. The program says that you have to avoid gluten, beef, dairy, eggs, soft drinks and sugar at all costs. Let’s take a look at a more comprehensive list of foods you can eat from each category, and which you must avoid:
Foods to Eat
Fruits and Veggies – Seaweed, olives, sweet potatoes, avocados, freshly squeezed fruit juice, roasted vegetables
Grains – Quinoa, tapioca, buckwheat, black rice, brown rice, teff
Proteins – Cold-water fish, bison, venison, elk, organic chicken, duck, lamb, lentils, bee pollen, split peas, legumes
Dairy Substitutes – Coconut milk, coconut oil, almond butter, walnut milk, hemp, rice
Oils – Flax oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, pumpkin oil, walnut oil, olive oil
Nuts – Chia, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia, hazelnuts, hemp
Drinks – Water, herbal tea, coconut water, green juice
Condiments – Dark chocolate, whole fruit jam, organic mustard, vinegar, any spices or herbs, sea salt, black pepper
Sweeteners – Stevia, fresh fruit, coconut nectar
Foods to Avoid
Fruits and Veggies – Oranges, grapefruits, bananas, strawberries, grapes, corn, potatoes, peppers
Grains – White rice, corn, wheat, barley, rye, oats
Proteins – Pork, beef, sausage, veal, hot dogs, raw fish, warm-water fish, soy products
Dairy Substitutes – Milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream, non-dairy creamers, eggs
Oils – Margarine, butter, canola oil, mayonnaise, salad dressing
Nuts – Peanuts, peanut butter
Drinks – Soda, beer, sports drinks, process fruit juice, alcohol, caffeine, energy drinks
Condiments – Milk chocolate, relish, ketchup, barbecue sauce, mints, chewing gum, teriyaki
Sweeteners – Sugar, syrup, Splenda, honey, Sweet N Low
As you can see, the foods that are considered to be off limits are probably some of your favorites. Even healthy foods like strawberries, grapes and peanut butter are off of the list, which can make it difficult for some people to follow. What makes it even harder to follow is the fact that there are only TWO different flavored shakes…and you’ll be drinking them twice per day. That’s right, you get to pick from chocolate or vanilla. There are recipes available for other ones, but if you order straight from the program, it’s only the two flavors.
What’s on the Menu?
You have a breakdown of the menu, but what does it look like when you put it all together? Here is what your first week would look like on the program. Each day for breakfast and dinner you will be drinking the shakes that are 90 calories each, giving you 180 calories per day. The sample menu will only break down the lunch aspect of the diet:
Day One – One can of tuna, and one sweet potato
Day Two – One cup of roasted broccoli and four ounces of organic chicken
Day Three – Four ounces of organic turkey with ½ cup of brown rice
Day Four – Salad with avocado, sunflower seeds and olive oil
Day Five – Four ounces of bison with roasted sweet potatoes
Day Six – Four ounces of mackerel with one cup of brown rice
Day Seven – Four ounces of venison with sunflower seeds and quinoa
In addition to what you’ll be eating, each day requires a supplement before each meal that’s supposed to help with your digestion by regulating blood sugar and supporting gut health. You will also take one probiotic per day that has bacteria to help aid your digestive system further. Now, you don’t have to leap right into the eating program as there is a system to get you in and out of the Clean Program.
For the first three days, you will be doing what is called a pre-cleanse, where you eat from the Clean Diet food list while getting yourself away from soft drinks and sugar. Then it’s followed up by the full 21 day program that we broke down. Finally, you end with a seven day reintroduction where you learn to eat regular foods instead of the shakes once again. However, you won’t be eating much of the processed foods that you got rid of for the previous 24 days.
Summing up the Clean Program
While the plan sounds a bit crazy, there is at least a lot of online support. Coaches are available for online chats, as well as a large online forum where you can speak with other people that are going through the program. You should know that exercise is not a big part of the program, however, as you are not taking in enough calories to be able to get through workouts. Those that are under 18 years old or pregnant should not get into this program, as well, so that should tell you how “safe” the program really is compared to some of the other diets that we’ve reviewed.
Finally, we have the price of the program. If you weren’t already thinking about ditching the Clean Program, then the price might do it for you. A seven day cleanse program is going to run you $195, while the full 21 day program is going to cost $475. This only comes with the shakes, supplements, probiotic, a manual (which you can get online from the site for free anyway) with 24 hour support and access to the online community.
If you want to maintain after the Clean Program is finished, you can also get a month’s worth of the probiotic for $39. A full maintenance kit costs about $140 per week, and other supplements can range from $15 to $45. The store is a bit large and confusing as you might not know exactly what you need.
To sum it up, the Clean Program seems like something you should stay away from. Sticking to the diet is going to be next to impossible, even if it is just three weeks. They also don’t promise any weight loss, as the focus is on digestive health. However, you are almost guaranteed to lose weight since there is a large calorie deficit. If you want to drop pounds, you should be focusing on a plan that cuts your calories and promotes exercise for a more well-rounded healthy program. The Clean Program does not offer that outside of one meal per day, so feel free to skip this one.