I’m Doing the Three Week Clean Program Cleanse ~ Anybody Want to Join Me?

After three weeks of gorging ouselves (also known as the High Holidays ;-)), my husband and I decided it was time to detox.

Thankfully I didn’t gain any weight over Sukkot. But I sure didn’t lose any either.

And my tummy is not right. I feel… heavy.

So I checked out a half a dozen books from the library on the subject of detoxing. After reading through most of them, and of course turning to my old friend Mr. Internet, I decided to follow the recommendations of Dr. Alejandro Junger in his best selling book, Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself.

Why am I posting about this? Well, because

(a) I’m hoping it will help to keep me accountable, and

(b) I’d love for some of you would decide to join me and my husband.

You already know that I think that losing weight and getting out of debt have a lot in common. I am hoping that this three week cleanse will do the same thing for our relationship with food as a “spending fast” did for our finances.

{Yes, I am still much healthier than I was in July when I started my diet, but consuming those heavy yomtov foods over the last three weeks have set me back – physically and emotionally.}

You can read Dr. Junger’s book for yourself, but there are some great free downloads available on his website that summarize the program and even give you a sample three-week menu. I printed out the menu plan and had it spiral bound for a few bucks at Office Max.

Here are the main Clean requirements, as I understand them:

  • “Fast” for at least 12 hours every day between dinner and breakfast – if you finished eating dinner at 8 p.m., don’t start eating breakfast until at least 8 a.m. After eight hours, your body will enter “detox mode” and needs another four hours to do a “deep clean”. If you eat again before the 12 hours are up, your body can’t do this essential work. Water and tea are okay during these 12 hours.
  • Consume the “yes” foods and avoid the “no” foods – Dr. Junger asks you to eliminate all foods that irritate your gut, including the most common allergens. That’s why foods like citrus and strawberries, even though we normally think of them as “good for us”, are excluded from the  cleanse. Of course, other foods like flour, sugar, dairy, eggs, peanuts and soy are excluded, too. And of course, no processed or packaged foods, no caffeine and no alcohol. You can see a complete list of the Yes & No Foods on page 151 of his book.
  • Eat one “solid food meal” each day (ideally for lunch) and two liquid meals (ideally for breakfast and dinner). If you exercise a lot, or just find that you need more food, you can add in snacks – also recommended in his Three Week Sample Meal Plan. I already have a smoothie most days for breakfast, so I don’t think that will be too hard. But juice, smoothie or soup for dinner, too? Yeah, that’s gonna take some getting used to.
  • Do a three-day pre-cleanse first, unless you are already eating an exclusively “clean”, “whole foods” diet. (Uh, no.) This pre-cleanse is basically three solid foods meals a day, but all from the yes category of foods.  It will help your body transition to the detoxifying elements of the cleanse, and help eliminate some of the “unwanted side effects”. Apparently, some people detox so hard that their skin starts breaking out and they spend all day in the bathroom. If I can avoid some of that, I’ll happily ease into things for the next three days!
  • Drink plenty of filtered water – enough so that you are going to the bathroom at least once an hour.
  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night (uh oh) and exercise normally. Eat to the point of satisfaction, not satiation. I.e. you should be about 80% full – or as I say, “not hungry but not stuffed either”.
We have decided to mostly follow the menu suggestions in the Sample Meal Plan, just to make our lives easier. Last night, I wrote out the twenty-one meals we’ll be eating over the next week and went shopping to Whole Foods to get some of the funky ingredients we don’t normally have on hand – like Lemon Grass.

Fortunately I had two of those Living Social $20 gift cards (remember that deal?) as I spent way more than I’m used to.

If you are interested in exactly what Frankie and I will be eating this week, you can download our menu plan from this link here.

By the way, I have increased our food budget this month by $200 to incorporate the types of foods we’ll be eating. I will keep you updated as to the increase in our food costs – and hopefully we won’t blow through that budget.

So, those are the contours of what I’ll be doing/eating for the next three weeks. I’ll be checking in once or twice a week about our progress, and I’d love to hear from those of you that are doing something similar.

Does anyone want to join me? Have you ever “detoxed”? Please share your experiences.


  1. This is fascinating to me. I love the recipes in that three-week sample plan. I’m doing a lot of this already–like you, I’ve been reading a lot. I’m going to look up this book on my next library trip. I haven’t ever “detoxed,” and I don’t know if I will, but there is valuable information here that I can apply to everyday. I’m VERY impressed that you didn’t gain any weight over yontif!! (I gained 3 lbs :(, but I’ve lost 2 of that already.) BTW, some of the more exotic ingredients from those recipes are available (kosher) from Vitacost. I once picked up chia seeds at Costco for a good price, and the last time I went there (many months ago) they had hemp seeds.

    • Funny that you mentioned Vitacost – I just placed an order. They had a number of things I couldn’t find at WF, or that were just much less expensive than WF.

      One of the things I love about that menu plan, Aidel, is that since dairy isn’t allowed (nor are any forms of animal protein other than fish and chicken), I don’t have to kosher-ize the recipes!

  2. Which kosher protein powder were you able to find? And where?

    • The only kosher protein powder I’ve found has been whey – which is dairy. So, I’m actually not using the powder in the shakes (since dairy is off-limit on the cleanse), but rather subbing almond milk, which has a small degree of protein.

      • I have used several different kosher pareve protein powders. Nutiva brand makes hemp protein powder. I have the chocolate flavor currently, but I think I liked the vanilla a little better because I tossed frozen fruit in with it when I mixed it up. I used a soy one before, but I can’t remember the brand; I bought it at Whole Foods. The Nutiva is available at Vitacost & other places on line. I think it is about 70 calories per serving.

  3. Baila Berkovich says

    Please post the recipes for your amazing meals! I’d love to try them! 🙂

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