I’ve been dealing with Keratosis Pilaris, allergies, and self-diagnosed (lol) chronic fatigue for what seems like years now. I also have an ankle injury from years ago that doctors never quite figured out. So for the past few months, finally sick of all this, I’ve been researching various diets that have been attributed to fixing KP and my other health issues. But I’ve been half-assing it for the most part. I tried to quit eating poultry and cut down my meat intake in general because according to the Blood Type Diet, I cannot digest animal protein (particularly poultry) properly. I did however, continue to eat dairy and seafood, so who was I kidding? Of course it didn’t work. My KP eased up a little, but I’m still as exhausted and allergy-prone as ever.

So, I got a few books about elimination diets, looked through them, and got excited over the prospect of fixing my various ailments. And then the books just sat there, and sat there, and whenever I perused my Kindle library, became constant reminders of how flaky I’ve always been when it comes to diets. That is, until a friend forwarded to me this review of Gwyneth Paltrow’s diet from her book “It’s All Good”: http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/05/i-tried-gwyneths-diet-and-got-a-rash-on-my-face.html. I laughed, and laughed, and then I thought, “Hey, maybe a diet experiment could keep me from being bored, give me something to write about, and prevent me from eating at restaurants at the same time!”. One of the main reasons it’s hard for me to follow any diet is because, if you haven’t noticed, half of what I blog about is FOOD. And without being able to blog about food, I do get quite BORED IN NY (ha). Documenting this entire experience would allow me to fill the empty space left by not being able to go to restaurants, though I’m sure it’ll be a tenth as interesting as Rebecca Harrington’s star diet reviews. But whatevs, it’s still something productive to do.

The Clean 21-Day Cleanse Program

I needed very little time to decide which cleanse to use. The 21-day cleanse from the Clean Program by Dr. Alejandro Junger promises to “restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself”, and since I’m mostly interested in being able to go through life unhindered by fatigue (and hoping a side effect would be that I would lose weight), this seemed like the perfect (and sane) way to go. Various accounts taken from the book “Clean” note that it “reversed heart disease” in some, and “cured” various chronic ailments in others. People who went through the cleanse reported being able to ditch prescription meds they had been using for some time and feeling more calm and energized throughout the day (this New Yorker could definitely use some of that). Gwyneth Paltrow even mentioned this particular cleanse on her blog Goop a few times. The more I read about it, the more I got pumped! It would also allow me to experiment (at the very end) with incorporating food allergens into my diet one by one, hopefully to figure out how to fix my KP.

So, having decided which program to use, I started seriously looking into what it entails.

The program consists of three steps:

Step 1: Pre-Cleanse (3 days) – This step eases the body into the full cleanse. It consists of three solid meals a day from the Cleanse Diet.

Step 2: Cleanse (21 days) – The cleanse consists of the following routine:

Breakfast: Cleanse Shake + Supplements + Probiotic Capsule

Lunch: Cleanse Diet Solid Meal + Supplements + Probiotic Capsule

Dinner: Cleanse Shake or Soup + Supplements + Probiotic Capsule
Step 3: Reintroduction – This is the last phase and the purpose is to identify what foods are toxic for you and what foods work for you in the long-term.
Here’s a simplified table of what to eat/not to eat during the diet:
Hemp, rice, nut milks, and coconut milks
Brown rice, non-gluten grains (millet, tapioca, quinoa, buckwheat)
Gluten, corn, white rice, barley, oats
Stevia, coconut nectar
Processed sugar
Beans, lentils
Green tea, yerba mate, white tea
Coffee, soda, alcohol
Wild fish, organic chicken & turkey
Beef, pork
Nuts, seeds, & nut butters
Peanuts, peanut butter
Whole vegetables, leafy greens
Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes
Avocado & coconut, cold pressed olive oil,
sesame oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil
Butter, margarine, shortening, processed oils,
canola oil
Whole fruits & berries
Bananas, strawberries, oranges, grapes, grapefruit

Sounds simple enough, right? Except… the whole 21-day cleanse package, which includes the shake packets, probiotics, and supplement packets, costs $425 per person. That’s before buying food/groceries for the diet. INSANE! I’m not rich like Gwyneth!

After about 5 minutes of despair, I remembered reading something about replacing the protein packets with your own protein powder, and set out to figure out how to do this cleanse like a normal person who doesn’t want to spend a thousand dollars + groceries on cleansing. (Mike will be doing this as well in solidarity with me and also to see if he can fix his own chronic ailments.)

Okay, so a lot of research, frustration, and hair pulling went into this, mostly because I had to find products that were vegan (to make sure there’s no pork or beef in them), gluten-free, peanut-free, sugar-free, and had no artificial sweeteners except Stevia. I don’t want to get into too much painful detail, but I eventually came up with these substitutions:

Rice Protein
and multivitamin powder

Rainbow Light Certified Organics
Multivitamin ($19.67)
scoop/ shake
1 with
each meal
Digestive enzymes to
support the breakdown of carbohydrate, protein, fat, and plant cellulose
(Protease, Amylases, Lipases, Cellulases).
ingredients that help in “moving things along” in your digestive system
(Berberine, Chinese Skullcap etc.)
To copy the supplements
packet, I bought Clean’s “Ease”  and “Balance
supplements ($80), and a cheaper detoxification
package which had ingredients similar to the herbs in the supplements.

Nature’s Secret Ultimate Cleanse ($19.09)
1 with each meal

1 each with breakfast and 1 each with lunch

acidophilus with at least 30 billion live organisms
Vitacost Probiotic ($29.39)
1 with
each meal
Liver detoxification
supplement (Milk Thistle, Artichoke Leaf Extract, Watercress Whole Plant)
The Rainbow Light Certified Organics Multivitamin has milk
thistle and artichoke leaf.
1 with each meal (see
regulator. Blend of: 180 mg Reduced Iso-Alpha Acids, Acacia Bark and
Heartwood Extract. Helps prevent food coma.

this as a set with the “Ease” supplements
1 with
each meal

All of these supplements cost about $156.14 per person, compared to $425 if you get the entire package from Clean! Technically I didn’t even need the “Balance” supplement (but thought that it would ease some withdrawal symptoms), so that would’ve just been $96.14. Ok, ok, that’s still a bit steep, but it’s still less than what most people would spend on going out for drinks/food per month (or even per week) in NYC, amirite? So, you know, maybe I should stop talking about how much I saved, ‘coz that’s boring.

After admiring our insane haul of supplements,we divvied up the little tablets into packets to take with breakfast, lunch, and dinner (it goes a lot faster if you’re watching a TV show at the same time).

Here’s one of my dinner packets. I have no idea how to force all that down with a shake, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Okay, so we’re finally ready to start this thing! Wish us luck! Oh, and if you’re a foodie, err, I’m sorry. 🙂

Related Posts:

The Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse: Pre-cleanse
The Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse: Week 1
The Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse: Week 2
The Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse: Week 3

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