My Experience of a 3 Week Cleanse


A few years ago my husband read about a cleanse in a magazine and it piqued his interest. Several months later he was going through a transition time in life and decided to try the program. I volunteered to join him for the adventure.

During the week leading up to the cleanse we started eliminating the foods we wouldn’t be able to eat for the next three (!) weeks. One by one we said goodbye to coffee, chocolate, dairy, caffeine, gluten, corn, soy, sugar, alcohol and a few other yummy favorites. Once the elimination was complete we transitioned to the cleanse. The daily menu was a smoothie for breakfast, a solid meal for lunch, and a juice for dinner. Everything we ate had to come from the list of approved foods (which seemed a lot shorter than the list of forbidden foods).

Although I grew up eating a lot of junk food and hardly any vegetables, over the last 10 years I’ve eaten a pretty clean diet. I am a vegetarian, eat a ton of fresh vegetables, avoid caffeine, minimize my dairy, and ingest the majority of my sugar through Equal Exchange dark chocolate bars (the purple one is the best if you must know). Nevertheless, after reading the book about the cleanse I was intrigued to see how it would affect my life.

The objective is to eliminate all possible allergens from your diet and then pay close attention to how you feel. The creator of the diet (Dr. Alejandro Junger) purports that a lot of health problems are caused by and/or aggravated by the foods we are eating.

So, we spent those three weeks on an extremely restrictive diet and tried to tap into what our bodies were telling us, if anything. My husband’s bout of stomach indigestion disappeared. I noticed that I was sleeping better and my digestive tract was in better working order.

Mark ached for his morning cup of coffee. I kept thinking about a handful of dark chocolate covered almonds. We were surprised that we didn’t miss drinking beer. We realized how much of our social life revolved around drinking and eating.

Overall, I learned how much the act of eating revolves around habit. Saturdays after our yoga class we usually go out to breakfast. Friday night signals that it’s time to have a beer. Sunday morning means a cup of decaf coffee. The list goes on and on for most of us. The cleanse encouraged me to examine those habits to see if they were meaningful to me. Am I truly enjoying these rituals or have they just become something that I do mindlessly each week?

As we transitioned back to our regular diets we both made some permanent changes in our lives. I had always struggled with what to have for breakfast. Smoothies! That was the answer I had been searching for. Mark decided to train himself to drink his coffee black instead of with cream and sugar.

And slowly, over the next year, we returned to many of our habitual foods.

So, in order to hit the reset button for ourselves each year we’ve decided to make the cleanse a yearly tradition each fall.

Today marks the end of week one of this year’s cleanse.

That means you probably won’t see us around town having a beer or breakfast. But you might notice us at the local food co-op lingering by the ground coffee machine or chocolate covered almond bin staring longingly at our forbidden foods.

Have you ever done a cleanse? If so, what was your experience like? Leave a comment underneath this post.


Several of our friends and family have tried this cleanse after our experience. You can read more about it here. You don’t have to buy the supplements they talk about on the website to do the cleanse, we never have. Instead, get the book from the library or your local bookstore and start there. It’ll tell you all you need to know.



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