Think Lean | The Clean Program


When a dozen or more of our contributors point us in the same direction, we tend to follow, or– at the very least– hear them out. So, when our Editorial Director, Alexandria Geisler, started to poke around for industry tricks and tips on how to prep for her upcoming wedding (it’s now just three days out!), she couldn’t ignore her most popular response: “The Clean Program.”

First, let’s break down what The Clean Program actually is. A favorite of CP contribs from coast to coast– FYI, it’s also won health queen Gwyneth Paltrow’s seal of approval– the 21-day detox was created by Dr. Alejandro Junger as a means to, “improve skin, sleep, digestion, energy, weight loss and mental clarity.” Junger believes that by removing the most common allergens from the modern diet for just three weeks– think gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, soy and nightshades– we give our bodies the ability to cleanse, reboot and rebuild. Yep, we know, it sounds like a tall order.

Clean Program-approved: kale-almond smoothie with avocado; roasted salmon with coconut milk, cucumber and carrots; spirulina smoothie with tahini

But, here’s what sold us: 1. The program is not strictly juices– Clean protein shakes (you can choose vanilla, chocolate or both) are to be eaten at breakfast and dinner; however lunch consists of a full (albeit Clean-approved) meal. When the program arrives on your doorstep, you’ll find inspirational recipes tucked inside with plates like peach, avocado and macadamia nut salads, roasted salmon quesadillas, and cold curry noodles. Make no mistake, this is not your trendy, “starve-yourself-silly” all-liquid diet. 2. Once you sign yourself up and commit, The Clean Program provides you with a personal wellness coach and it’s (wait for it) free. of. charge. Available to support you, answer questions or guide you through a world-is-ending-sugar-craving-meltdown, it’s basically like having a diet doula. Amazing. 3. Because nourishing your body from the inside out is Dr. Junger’s number one priority, the detox also includes daily supplements and probiotics to ensure that you’re not short on vitamins, minerals or healthy bacteria. Pre-portioned and packaged per meal (supplements are taken with every meal while probiotics are taken at breakfast only), the process couldn’t be easier, especially if you’re someone who tends to eat meals on-the-go.

Supplements from TCP; CP ED Alexandria Geisler

Our Editorial Director Alexandria Geisler on her experience with Clean: “I eat pretty healthfully so, honestly, I was a bit skeptical that the program would yield me any real results. I already don’t eat any gluten, grains, legumes or sugar and I try to keep my dairy and nightshades intake to a minimum. I do drink a cup of black coffee every morning and I like to have a glass or two of wine every Friday and Saturday night so I knew that eliminating alcohol and caffeine would be the hardest part of the program for me. The thought of watching my fiancé unwind from the week over a bottle of red without me sounded like cruel and unusual punishment (also, I ask you this: how can one go out, catch up with friends or do anything besides become a total hermit when you can’t eat, drink coffee or drink alcohol?!). In any case, I was committed to giving it a “go.” Predictably, my first few days on The Clean Program began with pretty intense headaches from major caffeine withdrawal. Also, perhaps because I don’t eat any sugar, I found the shakes to be pretty sweet; though they’re only sweetened with Stevia, it definitely took me a few days to get used to their inherent sweetness. (Disclaimer: most of my sugar-eating friends didn’t find them to be sweet at all.) Before the program, I was taking food-based vitamin supplements, extremely clean probiotics (these are amazing!) and medicinal herbs including ashwagandha, dopamine bean and pine pollen daily so while the program’s supplements and probiotics may not have made as large of a difference for me, I appreciated the detox’s similarly comprehensive approach to health. What did surprise me was that my caffeine headaches subsided after just three days (I’ve never lasted even two in my adult life without coffee). By having pre-planned meals, I also found myself thinking about food a lot less often. I felt more productive during the day and my evening dinner shake left me feeling light instead of weighed down by the time I was ready to crawl into bed. Yes, there were days when I wanted to cheat– when the thought of yet another vanilla shake just didn’t sound like my “cup of tea”– but those were the times when I’d reach out to The Clean Program’s wellness coaches and within ten minutes, I’d leave feeling stronger, more confident and more inspired by what I was doing for myself (plus, their tips to amp up shakes with avocado, nut butters, frozen berries and superfood powders put the kibosh on my whole “not another vanilla shake” excuse). Overall, one simple rule of The Clean Program left me most changed: while detoxing, you must wait 12 hours between dinner and the following day’s breakfast meaning if you drink your evening shake at 7 pm, you must wait until at least 7 am to drink your next morning one (Clean says the body sends the signal to go into deep detox mode approximately eight hours after your last meal, then it needs another four hours to complete its deep clean). Hard to stick to at first, by day 21, I recognized that I had never been more mindful about why I was eating– I wasn’t snacking because I was bored or eating just because the clock deemed it was “lunch time;” I was eating when I truly felt hungry. It was indescribably freeing. Yes, I have never looked less bloated (my stomach was F.L.A.T.), my skin seemed to naturally glow and I did lose seven pounds (read a bridal dream trifecta), but most importantly, the program taught me to listen to my body and to champion its needs. Wedding or no wedding, that’s worth cleansing for… CP

Chilled avocado soup via The Clean Program


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