Clean: Alejandro Junger M.D.

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WHAT IS IT?

Revered by Gwyneth Paltrow and written by an actual proper doctor, Clean is, by far, one of the most comprehensive, well-researched and worldly wise detox manuals I have come across. A full platter of biological brilliance, sumptuously seasoned with psychology, sociology and spirituality.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

For a start, it’s a real juicy treat to read, crammed with visual metaphor; real case examples; mind-boggling food industry facts and tales of Dr Junger’s personal journey – from overweight, overworked, stressed-out qualifying doc in downtown NYC, to mind-opening India, where he worked collectively with Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic and western doctors to treat patients as a whole entity.

‘Functional medicine’ evangelist Dr Junger intelligently explains in detail, but sparing the jargon, how he learned that the body has its own inbuilt detox mechanisms and how it, if treated as nature intended, can totally clean itself.

His model for cleaning oneself is broad and comprehensive, from the wisdom of the ‘mucusless guru’, Arnold Ehret, to the increasingly popular acid/alkaline principle. Junger also tips the nod to raw food, Panchakarma, juice fasting, conscious eating and vegetarianism. He described Clean as a type of nutritional cleanse, both cleaning the badness out of our bodies and replenishing the bits of us that lead the detoxing charge.

He views our bodies through a truly holistic prism, taking into consideration, not only our physical, but our mental, emotional, social, sociological and environmental wellbeing. It is one of the few detox program I have come across, for example, that delves so deeply into meditation, massage and visualisation as essential for clearing out “quantum toxins” (the author’s term for thought or idea-based negative energies that are toxic for the body). His time in India was not wasted it seems. He addresses the highest levels of environmental toxicity, looking at the influence of our local environment, right out to the far reaches of our universe, arguing that damage to one area will, like the beat of a butterfly wing, have an affect on all the others. There are times when the books tips over into scaremongering, not least in the chapter the Four Skins (yes really), which momentarily made me consider living in an unpainted, hermetically sealed, mud hut, breathing pure oxygen and wearing nowt but organic unbleached cotton sheets.

Still, his honest approach is helpful and having prepared the reader with all the necessary background information he moves on to explain exactly how to do the detox. Here he is clear and concise, giving rules, lists, tables and charts as well as advice about the softer considerations. He talks about having a good support network, preparing properly (by easing yourself in with an elimination diet); making Clean fit your lifestyle (adjusting intake to suit more active folks) and encouraging a one week at a time mindset (allowing first timers to drop off as they choose) as ways of ensuring success. The fasting element (key to detoxing) to give the body ‘time off from digesting’, is a 12 hour stint overnight than even the hungriest hippo can surely bear. Then he crams in around 50 pages of recipe ideas to help you along and finally he explains how to ease yourself out of the 21-Day program.

MY PROCESS

One of the things I really connected with was that Dr Junger skilfully bridges the great medical divide, supporting the use of medicine in crisis (carefully advising how to approach ‘Clean’ if you are medicated and detailing which meds affect which vitamin/mineral levels in the body), but questioning why western medicine waits until a major health crisis before commencing treatment with ‘the big guns’ of surgery and powerful medication. This, Junger refers to, as “starting to dig the well after you are already thirsty”. He asks us to imagine that coughs, colds, breathing issues, allergies and so on, are not to be dismissed as ‘normal’, but are the warning signs of a body losing the battle to clean itself. As a bodyworker who sees the full spectrum of wellbeing presented daily, and the ill-perceived “soldiering on” of clients with ailments and allergies, I fully concur with Dr Junger’s view.

LASTING INSIGHTS

I know I will try this detox (in the warmer months when my body is no longer in hibernation mode) as whilst there is a lot to take on, he has basically done all the hard work for you. I feel somewhat disappointed though that for some, their encounter with his wisdom might be only by the Clean Program website. The celebrity testimonials, online forum and newsletter invitation in the ‘Clean’ by name, clean by nature website are everything one would expect from smart marketeers. The multiple routes into the online store make it clear that your purpose here is to buy the “detox box” (a pack of pills and powders designed for the busy or lazy detoxer) or the “one week cleanse”, “booster” or even “beauty box”. But lo, there is no sign of the book anywhere here on the website and so here’s my organic, free range beef with it… As a therapist, I am regularly exposed to people who want to “outsource their wellness”, take that quick fix, ingest this remedy or slurp that shake and immediately feel brighter, better or, dare I say it, slimmer. The lack of desire to learn why or how it might (or might not) ‘work for me’, is symptomatic of the disconnect I observe between us and our bodies. The reconnection that Dr Junger advocates in the book (via yoga, meditation, massage etc) is, in my view, one of our most sustainable routes to wellness, part of mother natures amazing design, yet the educational element of Dr Junger’s work appears to have no place here in cyberspace.

However, he shares my view that shower curtains are truly evil, so for that Dr Junger’s Clean book gets my approval even if I may still need convincing that the online resources are as helpful.

HOW CAN I TRY IT?

Grab Clean the book or visit the Clean Program website.

Cat-Head-Shot-150About the author: Cat Moyle moved from the UK to Malta in 2011, where she thrives as a bodyworker & wellbeing adviser, qualified in numerous holistic techniques. Working under the moniker “Butterfly Therapies”, her approach to wellbeing is broad and, where possible, always natural. You can visit Cat’s blog and website to learn more about her work.

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One response to “Clean: Alejandro Junger M.D.

  1. Pingback: Good, Clean, Fun? « Butterfly Therapies·

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