Clean by Alejandro Junger M.D. (2012): What to eat and foods to avoid

by Penny Hammond on May 1, 2013 · 8 comments

in Diets

Clean - cleansing and detox book by Alejandro Junger MDClean (2009/2012) is a cleansing / detox dietClean Eats by Alejandro Junger

  • Eat vegetables and fruits, pastured/wild animal protein, non-gluten grains
  • Alkaline diet, high pH foods
  • Some liquid meals during the Clean Program
  • Avoid processed foods, gluten, corn, dairy and eggs, pork and shellfish, soy, alcohol
  • Prepare with Elimination Diet, then Clean Program, then slowly back to Elimination Diet – may also do some reintroduction of foods to check reactions to them

Get a copy of Clean for the reasoning behind the Clean program, other lifestyle recommendations, supplementation, recipes, and more.

See Clean Gut by the same author for more details on what to eat to repair leaky gut and dysbiosis in order to improve your general health.

Get a copy of Clean Eats for over 200 recipes.

The reasoning behind Clean

This book states that much of the food we eat is toxic – processed foods (or “foodlike products”) and many other more “natural” foods and other environmental factors. The toxins are stored in our bodies, and our waste systems can’t get rid of them if they’re constantly bombarded with them. Following the diet and lifestyle recommendations in the book, you can give your body’s waste systems a chance to clean out the toxins, which will improve your health. Clean will also help improve your intestinal flora, leading to better immunity.  It promises to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Clean diet plan – stages and food list

Before the cleanse, you prepare your body by eliminating toxins. You can then start slowly on your first-ever cleanse by doing a one-week program, make a bigger commitment to a 14-day program, or jump right in for a full commitment of 3 weeks.

Do not cleanse or detox if you are: pregnant or breastfeeding; type 1 diabetes, advanced cancer and losing weight rapidly, taking a medication that needs a stable blood concentration, or living with any other disease that needs close monitoring and in which slight changes in your body chemistry could pose a threat. Also – people with “Spent” syndrome, who are exhausted and have low blood pressure and a host of other symptoms attributable to the depletion of their hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. If you have any ongoing health problems, consult your doctor before engaging in any detox program.

Preparing your body: Eliminating toxins – The Elimination Diet

3-4 days of the Elimination Diet is enough if you have done some cleansing programs recently or follow a whole-food-based diet with minimal meat, milk products, and what and almost no packaged, canned, or fast foods. One week is enough for an average eater, including packaged foods, red meat, baked goods, dairy products, sugar products, caffeine, alcohol. However, if you eat lots of fast food, boxed and packaged foods, sodas, junk food, and alcohol, follow the Elimination Diet for two weeks before starting Clean.

Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your regular times

Foods to eat in The Elimination Diet

  • Plenty of water
  • Dairy substitutes: hemp milk, rice milk, and nut milks (such as almond milk, hazelnut milk, walnut milk) (make sure they don’t contain soy), coconut milk, coconut oil/butter
  • Non-gluten grains: brown, red, black, and wild rice, millet, amaranth, teff, tapioca, buckwheat, quinoa
  • Fruits and vegetables (except those listed below as foods to avoid)
    • Fruits: Unsweetened fresh or frozen whole fruits
    • Vegetables: Raw, steamed, sautéed, juiced, or roasted vegetables
    • Misc.: Avocadoes; olives; sea vegetables (seaweeds)
  • Animal protein
    • Fish: Fresh or water-packed cold-water fish (trout, salmon, halibut, tuna, mackerel, sardines, pike, kippers) – ideally wild-caught rather than farm-raised
    • Game: Wild-caught game (rabbit, pheasant, bison, venison, elk, etc.)
    • Meat: Lamb
    • Poultry: duck, free-range chicken, turkey
    • When choosing domesticated meat, seek out locally raised animals where you can see the fields in which they graze. Organic, free-range, grass-fed, pasture-raised
  • Vegetable proteins
    • Legumes:  split peas, lentils, other legumes
    • Other: bee pollen, spirulina, blue-green algae
  • Nuts and seeds
    • Seeds: hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
    • Nuts: almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
    • Nut and seed butters such as almond or tahini
  • Oils
    • Cold-pressed
    • Almond oil, coconut oil, flax oil, olive oil, pumpkin oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil
  • Drinks
    • Filtered or distilled water
    • Decaffeinated herbal teas
    • Yerba maté, green, white, and red teas
    • Seltzer or mineral water
  • Sweeteners: brown rice syrup, stevia, coconut nectar, yacon, whole/fresh fruit, dried fruit (in moderation)
  • Herbs and spices: cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, turmeric
  • Condiments: vinegar (especially balsamic, coconut, and apple cider), all spices (except cayenne), all herbs, sea salt, black pepper, carob, raw chocolate (dairy- and sugar-free), stone-ground mustard (watch out for hidden sugar), miso, coconut liquid aminos, wheat-free tamari sauce and nama shoyu (fermented soy sauce), whole fruit, jam or jelly (without sugar), agar-agar (as a thickening agent), baking soda, baking powder (in moderation)
  • Fill the diet with anti-inflammatory nutrients: omega-3 fatty acids from fish; polyphenols from berries; and many plant-based compounds that boost liver detoxification function
  • When possible, buy fresh, seasonal foods from local sources. Eat whole foods as close to when they were harvested as possible
  • Buy organic products whenever possible. The most important thing to spend money on are organic animal products. When buying plant food, spend money on organic vegetables that don’t have thick skins.
  • In general, prefer alkali-forming foods – these include most ripe fruits, most vegetables, barley*, buckwheat, soy beans*, lima beans, azuki beans, brazil nuts, sprouted almonds, honey*, millet (note those marked * shouldn’t be eaten according to the guidelines)

Foods to avoid in The Elimination Diet

  • All packaged, canned, and processed foods and drinks, especially those that contain additives, preservatives, and other chemicals
  • Sandwiches, hamburgers, pizza, wheat pasta, sushi, tomato-based sauces, tofu dishes, wheat-noodle dishes, anything with Asian soy sauces, baked potato, omelets and egg-based breakfast, wheat and corn tortillas, burritos, empanadas, lattes, cappuccinos, all coffee drinks, and desserts of all kinds unless they are fruit salad or plain fruit
  • Dairy and eggs: all, including whey and butter substitutes; all butter and mayonnaise, including ghee
  • Grains: white rice, wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, triticale, oats (even gluten-free)
  • Fruits and vegetables: oranges, orange juice, grapefruit, bananas, strawberries, corn, creamed vegetables, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes)
  • Animal protein: pork (bacon), beef, veal, sausage, cold cuts, canned meats, frankfurters/hot dogs, shellfish, any raw meats and fish
  • Vegetable protein: soybean products (soy sauce, soybean oil in processed foods, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, textured vegetable protein). Note that miso and fermented soy sauce are listed as okay.
  • Nuts and seeds: peanuts and peanut butter
  • Oils: shortening, processed oils, canola oil, most salad dressings and spreads
  • Drinks: alcohol, fruit juice (unless fresh-pressed), caffeinated beverages including coffee and black tea, soft drinks / soda including low-calorie sodas, “natural” sodas, or energy drinks
  • Sweeteners: white and brown refined sugars, honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup HFCS, agave, evaporated cane juice
  • Condiments: regular chocolate (with dairy and sugar), ketchup, relish, chutney, most jams and jellies (made with sugar), barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, gum, breath mints
  • A few things to watch out for
    • Corn starch is often present in baking powder, beverages, and processed foods
    • Vinegar, mayonnaise, and some mustard can come from wheat or corn
    • Breads advertised as gluten-free still might contain oats, spelt, kamut, or rye
    • Many canned tunas contain textured vegetable protein TVP, which is from soy; look for low-salt versions, which tend to be pure tuna with no fillers
    • Multi-grain rice cakes are not just rice. Be sure to purchase plain brown rice cakes
    • “Natural flavors” can mean MSG
    • Many amaranth and millet flake cereals contain oat or corn
    • Try to avoid xanthum gum whenever possible. Guar gum is a better choice for fillers but not for those who are overly sensitive to gums
  • In general, avoid/minimize acid-forming foods: alcohol, beans* (most kinds), beef, chicken, corn, dairy products, eggs, fish*, grains, lamb*, nuts*, pork, plums & prunes, rice, sodas, shellfish, sugar, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (processed), turkey, unripe fruit (note those marked * may be eaten according to the guidelines)
  • Watch out for these common food and packaging sources of heavy-metal exposure:
    • Aluminum – aluminum cooking vessels, baking powder, aluminum cans, milk and milk products, drinking water, pickled foods, color additives, vanilla powder, table salt, seasonings, bleached flour, American cheese
    • Cadmium – drinking water, soft water from galvanized pipes, soft drinks, refined wheat flour, canned evaporated milk, processed foods, oysters
    • Lead: drinking water from lead plumbing, vegetables from lead-contaminated soil, canned fruits and juices, canned evaporated milk, milk from animals fed in lead-contaminated land, organ meats, eating utensils
    • Mercury: grain seeds treated with methyl mercury fungicide, predator fish, certain lake fish
    • Arsenic: insecticide residues on fruits and vegetables, drinking water, well water, seawater, wine

The Clean Program

You should follow this program for 3 weeks – although if you do less you will still benefit.

Foods to eat and avoid are basically the same as the Elimination diet, with more restrictions and suggestions.

If you work out and train hard physically, you can still do Clean, except during intensive pre-competition training. Any other time, double or even triple the servings of your liquid meals; use more of the soups and energy shakes than juices and make sure your lunchtime meal incudes lean protein, healthy fat such as avocado or coconut, and some of the allowed grains from the Elimination diet. However… the book also tells you to take it easy during the Clean, especially during the first few days.

Foods to eat during the Clean

  • Have one solid meal and two drinks or “liquid meals” (a shake, a juice, or a soup) every day
  • Drink enough water and liquid to pee hourly
  • Plan to have the liquid meals for breakfast and dinner, and the solid meal for lunch Eating the food meal at night will be less effective, as you won’t experience a 12-hour “fast” overnight that frees up the most energy and extends the window of time for detoxification. If you have to eat at night and can’t rearrange, have the second liquid meal at lunch and the solid meal for dinner that day
  • Eat lots of leafy greens (steamed or sautéed makes them more digestible), cherries, fits soaked in water, prunes, pears, papaya, aloe juice, warm lemon water, and green vegetable juices to enable bowel elimination. Note that if the toxins don’t get moved out of the body with the help of strong fiber (and ideally colonics) it could get reabsorbed and there is retox rather than detox
  • Create lunch from the foods on the Elimination Diet, above
  • If you feel true hunger at any point, snack on whole, fresh foods – fresh vegetables, a vegetable juice, a green smoothie, or celery and apple slices with almond butter are good choices.
  • Make sure your meals are full of fat and protein so you don’t get hungry. Keep in mind that fat and protein (nuts, seeds, coconut butter, olives) will keep you energized and satiated while simple carbs (such as too much fruit or processed items like crackers or rice cakes) will leave you hungry soon after
  • Chew all your food well, even your liquid meals

Foods to avoid during the Clean

  • Foods to avoid listed under The Elimination Diet
  • Carbonated water
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • After eating the liquid meal for dinner, don’t eat again until breakfast, at least 12 hours later. You can have liquids, but no solid food

After you complete Clean

Transition out of Clean gradually. Start by going to one liquid meal and two solid meals a day, continuing to choose meals from the Clean recipes or the Elimination diet. After a few days of doing this, return to three solid-food meals a day if you like – but continue to adhere to the Elimination Diet rules.

Do not yet return to your pre-Clean diet. You can reintroduce foods one at a time in moderate portions, and investigate which foods disturb your body and might cause some of the symptoms you were experiencing.

The most common foods found to be toxic triggers are: dairy (predominantly cow’s milk and products made from it), eggs, wheat and other gluten-containing grains such as rye and barley, fatty red meat, soy products, corn, and chocolate.

The effects of alcohol, caffeine (especially coffee), and sugar will now be “louder.” If you still want them, reintroduce them one at a time in reasonable amounts, and notice the effects on your body, your energy levels throughout the day, and your mental outlook

If your reaction to any of the foods you test is milk but still noticeable (slight fatigue, constipation, mood swings) you may benefit from a “rotation diet” – rotate your choice of food so that you don’t eat the irritating ones more than once every four days.

Clean for Life

  • Follow The Elimination Diet, as described above
  • Eat real and whole foods
  • Eat local and in season
  • Eat organic
  • Enzymes/probiotics: Try to eat as much raw food (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, unprocessed oils) as possible and as close to the source as you can find for optimal enzyme intake, along with a large amount of fermented foods – e.g. raw honey, unpasteurized yogurt or kefir, miso, nama shoyu, kombucha, kimchee, sauerkraut
  • Incorporate lots of healthy fat – avocados, raw butter from pastured cows or sheep, grass-fed meat, nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, coconut oil
  • Eat lots of whole, fresh fruits and vegetables
    • To get adequate fiber
    • For an alkaline diet
    • Get your green on – eat spirulina, chlorella, chlorophyll, seaweeds, kale, spinach, swiss chard, nettles, lettuce, dandelion greens, arugula, and mustard greens – in salads, grain dishes, shakes
  • Find better sugar sources – whole, fresh fruit eaten in season is the most optimal source of sugar. After the cleanse, as well as brown rice syrup, coconut nectar, and stevia, you can begin to incorporate small amounts of natural, minimally processed sweeteners such as raw honey and maple syrup. Agave nectar is preferable to refined white sugar but in general not a preferred sweetener. Any sweeteners should be used in moderation
  • Have a daily liquid meal – shake or soup
  • Alkalize – if you are consuming acidic foods such as caffeine, alcohol, high amounts of unsoaked/unsprouted nuts and seeds, some citrus fruits, processed dairy, red meat, and a lot of grains – make sure you balance them out with lots of whole, fresh vegetables, low-sugar fruits, dark leafy greens, seaweeds, and plenty of fresh water
  • Hydrate
  • Detox periodically
    • Most people who are not suffering from any diseases or symptoms, feel consistently good, and want to stay that way: Do the full Clean Program once a year
    • If you want to improve your state of healthy more significantly because you have lingering symptoms or feel you have further levels of cleansing to reach: Do the full Clean Program every six months
    • If you suddenly find yourself feeling bloated and sluggish (e.g. after a party or holiday weekend), make the next day an all-liquid day, and use ingredients only from the Elimination Diet
    • If you’ve had a rough few weeks or months and slowly some less-than-optimal foods and drinks have crept back into your normal routine, and your feeling puffy and your energy levels and moods are lower than usual – do Clean for one or two weeks, or just the Elimination Diet on its own for as long as you need in order to feel clean again

Health benefits claimed in Clean

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: aches, allergies and seasonal allergies / hay fever, ankylozing spondylitis, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, bad breath, bloating, body odor, bowel irregularities, brain fog, cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, colds and flu, congestion, constipation, cysts, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, edema, low energy, fatigue, fatty liver, fibromyalgia, food cravings, forgetfulness, gas, headaches, heartburn, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome IBS, itchiness, joint pain, leaky gut syndrome, low energy, overweight/obesity, pain, puffiness, sinus infections, skin problems, sleep problems, ulcerative colitis; as well as improving your complexion and allowing you to age gracefully

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, and does not endorse it.

Get a copy of Clean for the reasoning behind the Clean program, other lifestyle recommendations, supplementation, recipes, and more.

Buy now from Amazon General cleanse/detox
See Clean Gut by the same author for more details on what to eat to repair leaky gut and dysbiosis in order to improve your general health.

Buy now from Amazon Dietary cleanse/detox
Get a copy of Clean Eats for over 200 recipes.

Buy now from Amazon Cleanse/detox recipes
See www.cleanprogram.com for an online Cleanse community, products for cleansing (“Clean Kit”), some recipes, a help center, and more. Dr. Junger is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DrJunger.

How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment below.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

kathleen kelly December 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm

is there any substitute for eggs on the clean diet ?

Reply

Penny Hammond December 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm

The author doesn’t suggest any substitutes for eggs, but suggests that you eat only foods on the approved list.
As you’re supposed to be having 1-2 “liquid meals” a day on this diet, you can have one a shake or juice for breakfast; for solid meals look for recipes and foods that aren’t egg-based. If there’s a specific recipe you want to make that has eggs in it, you can search online for an alternate egg-free version.

Reply

Yolanda Solana February 19, 2014 at 5:59 am

I would like to know how to apply this system to a senior citizen who is starting to be a diabetic

Reply

Penny Hammond February 19, 2014 at 11:37 am

I can’t find anything in the book to give special guidelines for older people or those with prediabetes (although people with type 1 diabetes shouldn’t do the diet). You could probably follow the regular guidelines in the book.

Reply

Aislyn Endecott April 1, 2014 at 4:13 am

I was wondering if you could use this diet if you are under the age of sixteen. I am quite interested and I think that the Clean program is a really good idea.

Reply

Penny Hammond April 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm

If you’re under 16 your body is still finishing its development, and you need more energy and building blocks than when you’re older.
It might be a good idea for you to clean out / avoid eating packaged, canned, and processed foods and drinks (especially those that contain additives, preservatives, and other chemicals), and sugars and sweeteners.
If you have any health symptoms, you could cut out some of the other recommended ingredients to avoid for a short time (a week or so) to see if your health improves. But don’t be too restrictive with the foods you eat just because the program sounds good!

Reply

Tina R August 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm

What about whey protein?

Reply

Penny Hammond August 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Dr. Junger says to avoid all dairy / milk products on the cleanse, and whey protein is a dairy food, so for this diet you should avoid it in the elimination and the clean program – you should test your reactions to dairy after you complete Clean to see whether you can tolerate dairy products.

Reply

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