I came home one day to a stack of books, tons of fruits and veggies, and a new Vitamix on my kitchen counter. My mother had decided to become fully immersed in this new “clean gut diet.” Now if you knew her like I do, you wouldn’t be surprised. She’s tried every diet under the sun, each time encouraging me to do them with her.
The diets are usually meant for fast weight loss and are either impossible to keep up with, or just involve some crazy concoction that doesn’t seem fit for consumption. After questioning–and a little mocking–I realized this diet sounded different. It wasn’t about about a quick fix, it was about a cleanse. And it wasn’t the kind of cleanse that comes in all the pretty bottles (and leaves you completely starving for the week) it was genuinely about cleaning out your body and getting your digestive system to work optimally.
My skepticism soon gave way to curiosity (and the chocolate flavored morning shake looked pretty tasty!) and I decided not to dismiss this one so quickly. I skimmed through the book, learned a lot about Doctor Alejandro Junger M.D., and realized this guy knows his stuff. He studied internal medicine at NYU, completed a fellowship in cardiology at Lenox Hill, and after he was done with all the medical training, he went to study Eastern Medicine in India. Feeling incredibly intrigued (and a bit smitten by this incredibly intelligent, green-eyed doctor) I embarked on a journey to a spotless gut.
How it Works
The diet is aimed at cleaning out your gut layer by layer. I know it may sound a little disgusting, but I learned that a clean gut is essential for an all around healthier body and lifestyle.
The first layer to be repaired is made up of intestinal flora, which is just a fancy term for bacteria that helps your body fight off toxins. The problem is, most of the things we eat contain elements that interrupt this flora. As Doctor J explains, one of the many ways to a healthy digestive system is to create a healthy flora.
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What to Eat
To start your day, Doc suggests beginning every morning with a protein shake. We bought the mix at our local health market (you know the one where the employees are hippies and the snacks always look delicious?). It comes in a big tub, but you only need one scoop per shake. Along with the powder you throw in a fruit of your choice (my favorite is the banana, strawberry, blueberry combo), a handful of spinach (for the flora), some apple cider vinegar (it helps encourage the digestion), and some almond milk (for taste, consistency, and protein).
You just mix all these ingredients together, give it a whirl, and in seconds you have a delicious shake that surprisingly leaves you satisfied until lunch time. The biggest hurdle for me in previous dieting efforts was feeling starving after each meal….which would lead me to pig out at the next meal. Not the healthiest way to live….
This shake actually did keep me satisfied until lunch time, and I was able to get through my mornings without counting the minutes until the next meal. Lunch and dinner are essentially made up of the same thing: proteins and veggies. I know, I know, it’s extremely similar to the infamous Paleo Diet, but it’s less restricting and honestly easier to follow. There is a list in the book of what to eat and avoid (you can also find the list here. I printed out a copy and hung it on my fridge), eliminating the guesswork so you know exactly what to eat to keep your gut happy. Easy peasey! The diet eliminates carbs completely, but allows for some specific grains in moderation. I was also relieved that it allows me to further my obsession with almond milk, something that Paleo frowns upon.
For lunch, I’ll usually make an everything-in-the-fridge-salad chock full of approved veggies, some grilled chicken for protein, tossed with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Dinner is usually a creative salad thanks to my amazing cook of a mother, a yummy protein (my latest fix is Salmon on the grill), and a veggie on the side. And to curb my horrible sweet tooth, Ill have a piece of watermelon afterwards.
Sounds totally easy right? It is.
I started the diet about a month ago and have lost five pounds. Now I know that’s not earth shattering, but it’s something! I’ve also been feeling a lot lighter, cleaner, and healthier. My energy levels are up and I no longer feel an overwhelming urge for an ice-cream night cap, or a side of fries. I love the way I feel and sincerely don’t want to consume anything that will disrupt that.
The Clean Gut Diet is a slower weight loss process for sure, but its easy to do and makes you feel better inside and out. I don’t look at it as a diet, but rather, a new and improved lifestyle that I can maintain.