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Review of The GOOP Detox and The Clean Program by Alejandro Junger

Tested! The GOOP Detox

I've never been one for detoxes, cleanses, or fasts. As everyone says, your body is naturally wired to detoxify itself. But in the new year, I'd been feeling like nothing but an old lady: sluggish, tired, ridden with problems from nighttime allergies to a hard time focusing. I work in the food industry, and between tradeshows and heavy meals, I felt nauseated whenever I even smelled rich food. My digestive system hated me.

I was inspired by Michele's experience with the Remove program. I was inspired by how she'd felt, but didn't have a few hundred dollars to spare. I came across an old edition of GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow's newsletter, that talked about a 7-day detox sans coffee, sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy, fatty nuts, red meat, shellfish, and nightshade vegetables. Before I knew it, I'd committed to myself to trying it out.

  • The detox is based on a book, Clean, by a western doctor named Alejandro Junger who also happens to believe in the principles of Eastern medicine. I bought his book and thought it was a wonderful read. I'm always looking to reconcile the two schools of thought, and this was a perfect marriage of them both.
  • The basic principles of the cleanse: Eat a liquid meal for breakfast (juice or a smoothie), a solid meal for lunch (steamed fish or chicken, always all-natural), and another liquid meal for dinner (soup). Be sure to allow 12 hours between dinner and breakfast to allow your body to focus on restoring itself, rather than digesting food. Drink enough water so that you are hitting the bathroom at least once an hour. Also recommended but not required: A shot of olive oil daily to stimulate the liver, slices of raw garlic, herbal laxatives (a bowel movement a day is required), gentle workouts, sauna visits, and skin brushing. I tried to do as many of these as I could.
  • A typical day's diet included a blueberry, almond milk, whey protein, and probiotic seaweed smoothie for breakfast. Then coconut milk and tea mid-morning, and steamed, wild salmon with steamed vegetables for lunch. Dinner was a puréed broccoli and arugula soup topped with olive oil, sunflower seeds, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). If I was in want of a snack, I munched on pepitas and sunflower seeds.
  • The first day, I felt like Charlie Sheen in rehab and wanted to pull my hair out. I had a headache, and felt mentally dull from the lack of food and sugar and caffeine. But by the second day, my body was acclimated to it. By the third day, I'd slept soundly for the first time in ages, and discovered it was easier to wake up and get my day started than it used to be with all the caffeine in my life. For the first time, paying attention to my body in this way allowed me to recognize the difference between hunger and appetite. By the end of the week, I'd felt so great that I decided to continue my detox to make it a total of 14 days.
  • The advantages: After 14 days, I experienced a ton of benefits. They included but weren't limited to: sound sleep, alertness, little to no energy spikes, no bloating, gas, or off-smells in the bathroom, a smaller appetite, seven pounds of weight loss. Also, I no longer had that undercurrent of frenetic energy I'd always experienced (a negative side effect of all that coffee I was drinking).
  • The disadvantages: I'll admit that I had cravings that were hard to curb. In fact, one night I spent hours surfing food porn on the web, just so that I could eat with my eyes! Going out with friends was rare and difficult; once I watched a friend down an entire pastrami sandwich while I sat there and drank my water. I disliked the probiotic seaweed powder that I added to my morning shakes, and cooking every single meal from scratch was time-intensive. So was hitting the gym and the sauna daily.
  • In summary: I'd definitely do this detox again, based on how it made my body feel. It's time-intensive, so be sure to plan ahead and choose a schedule that will work for you — maybe not during Chinese New Year and the Super Bowl, which just happened to be the inopportune time frame in which I decided to do it. But it's well worth the effort.
Join The Conversation
Jeimy15027996 Jeimy15027996 3 years
I am trying it! Finishing day 1, and my head is pounding.... I am starving at 8;32pm and I'm cooking all my meals for tomorrow.. blah.. posting pics of my meals on FB for moral support :)
ayabeachgirl ayabeachgirl 6 years
Anonymous, Miso is made of soybeans. I don't think you can find soy-free miso, as it is the main ingredient of Miso. I think I saw somewhere in the support forum of the clean program, that you can use miso to "taste" - as in moderation.
yihaw10 yihaw10 6 years
^^ Totally 2nd everything becca has said. I think what's also important to note is that the program is not a caloric-limiting program. You definitely do not want to starve yourself to trigger your body to go into fat-storing survival mode. The program is designed to help you to recognize when your body actually does need to be refueled vs. snacking out of habit/ stress/ etc. I think it's a wonderful program and the first time I did it (last year), I felt like I had a much stronger stomach and no more IBS :) I highly recommend reading the book and looking to the support community on their website for more information.
becca1204 becca1204 6 years
I did this cleanse too. It's not your typical detox program. It's basically an elimination diet where you eliminate the foods that typically trigger an allergy or reaction. Yes, breakfast and dinner are liquid meals (which I loved!) and your lunch is a solid meal. The reason for this is to give your digestive system and break. Most people over-eat and eat a lot of preservatives and not natural foods. This gives your system a chance to take it easy and lets the body expend energy in other areas of the body beside the digestive system. And yes, the body does have a natural detox system, this cleanse just gives that natural detox system a chance to work like it's suppose to. Also, as you finish this cleanse, you can add foods back into your diet to see if you have a reaction to it. Lots of people have reactions to foods that they have no idea they have. It's an incredible program!!!
natswrite natswrite 6 years
That is pretty good actually, definitely more like a healthy diet than a regular cleanse!
amusesbouche amusesbouche 6 years
I have actually not regained any of the weight, but that is really due to the fact that it changed the size/portions of the amount of food I was eating. I eat less now, and it feels more healthy that way. One important thing I forgot to mention: When I researched the GOOP detox, I wanted to see how many calories my body was taking in each day, so I did a rough calorie count on It turned out to be about 1,450 calories a day — and for a cleanse, I thought that was pretty decent. I felt better knowing that my body was getting enough nutrients during the process.
natswrite natswrite 6 years
What I want to know: how much of the 7 pounds of weight came back when you started to eat normally? Detoxes can be a good thing because they give your body time to clean out, but it seems to me that it would be easier on the body to just eat well all of the time, but not to such an extreme, so you can maintain it and you know, have a LIFE. But I agree with katie225; it worries me a little that someone with an eating disorder could do real harm to themselves in the name of a detox. Perhaps we shouldn't mention weight lost in these articles?
katie225 katie225 6 years
as a skeptical person, i have to wonder how much of this was a placebo effect. btw, fitsugar, if you're always talking about how detoxes are both unnecessary and could HURT your body, why are you posting articles to encourage people to try them?
janetmouse janetmouse 6 years
LOL...the coffee would be the hardest part for me but willing to try it for a week to see how my body feels! Thanks for the review.
amusesbouche amusesbouche 6 years
Thanks guys! I have reintroduced just about everything, but I recommend doing it in stages first, like trying out nightshades, then soy, then red meat, shellfish, gluten, etc. — and noticing whether or not it affects you. I did lose five pounds and have managed to keep that off (so far!) since the cleanse, and I don't drink caffeine as much (perhaps a cup or two a week, as opposed to a cup or two a day, like I'd been doing before). Cleanses aren't permanent — I wish I could say they were — and I'm already craving the healthiness that I had a month ago. I can't do them all the time, but I hope I can at least get around to doing this one once a year!
tatsauce tatsauce 6 years
Wow props to you!
lauren lauren 6 years
I love reading your review of your detox. I have been debating on doing a light cleanse, so I just might give this a try! How do you feel now that you are no longer on the cleanse? What foods have you started to add back in? Thanks for such a great read!
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