Do you remember us writing about the CLEAN Program elimination diet a few weeks ago, and also giving you an update last week? Well, it’s over!!! Okay, it’s not really over, but the hardest part of it is. 🙂
Here’s a quick refresher from the last post:
We are basing the diet on the book Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D., and the full list of foods that are allowed can be found here. The big items that we are eliminating are sugar (besides what naturally occurs in some fruit/vegetables), dairy, eggs, nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, and most peppers), grains, beef, and pork.
We went 24 days with these restrictions. Oh, that’s not all…we had to avoid starchy vegetables, strawberries, bananas, and grapes. So that pretty much removed the refreshing elements from our smoothies and salads. But, we survived!
3 Things I learned From The CLEAN Program Elimination Diet
Most Of The Food We Eat Would Be Considered “Clean”
Ugh…I HATE that term! So many people have their own definition for what constitutes a clean food/dish, and even when they seem to agree, they hold themselves (or clients) to different standards. Also, I believe that the idea of a clean food sometimes shows a short-sightedness about nutrition. I promise to talk more about this in a future post or newsletter article.
When I found myself missing certain food groups, it wasn’t the typical things that had me in tears. The lack of dairy caused me to go without whey protein powder, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese. All things that would be on any “clean” eater’s grocery list (okay, some may avoid the protein powder).
I missed my grass-fed, hormone-free, 93/7 lean ground beef, sweet potatoes, and my wife longed for tomatoes.
Yes, I also missed feta cheese and peanut butter, but since both of those things are pretty natural and minimally-processed, they may even make it to a “clean” list. 😉
Food Variety Is Overrated
I am not talking about variety in micro-nutrient exposure, here. We definitely need a variety of food – especially with vegetables – in order to make sure we are consuming enough of each micro-nutrient (vitamins and minerals) that our body need, and also to help avoid overloading and developing a toxicity.
What I mean is the idea that if you eat the same types of meals often, you’ll get sick of them and you may snap and go into a binge. I know some people who can’t go a full week without indulging or having a “cheat meal”. They feel that the so-called lack of variety in an extremely healthy diet is not sustainable.
For me, I don’t mind eating the same dish a few times in a row. I had brown rice almost daily during the diet. My large protein sources were limited to chicken breast, salmon, and ground turkey. That little variety was fine for me, and I loved the fact that I could prepare several days worth of meals in advance (remember, we only had 1 meal a day after day 3), and the lack of variety made it extremely easy to track my calories and macros!
Alternative Foods Are Very Expensive
We have been purchasing foods that are minimally-processed for a few years now. We try to stick to food where we know and understand what went into making it. Most of the time, we buy raw items and make our own combinations.
However, by eliminating many of those raw or minimally-processed foods from our diet for a few weeks, we had to find even more obscure replacements for common things. Doing this lead to the realization that alternative foods are much more expensive than the “normal” item they tend to replace.
For instance, pea, hemp, and rice protein powder is much more expensive than whey. Also, non-dairy milk is more expensive than getting it straight from a cow.
We plan to review many of the items that we purchased, since they are not typical and most people that we know never heard of them.
Bonus Lesson – I Love Eggs!
Okay, I guess being that we would go through 8-10 dozen in a month, I already knew that; but I missed them so much during this diet.
Now comes the interesting part. We have to introduce each item/group into our diet and note how it affects our bodies. We have to do this in 2-day cycles. For instance, we are starting with dairy and this means that we have dairy in our diet for 2 days, then we go back to the full elimination (but we can eat normal meals and not just the “1 meal, 2 smoothies” protocol) for 2 days, then we add in gluten for 2 days, then back to the full elimination.
We do this until we have incorporated everything back into our diets for a 2 day period and then evaluated our bodies’ response.
We will be writing a full review of the program soon, so you can decide if this is something you would like to do. If you want more information, check out the book on Amazon (the link is at the beginning of the article in the block quote).
© 2014, Khaleef “Fat Guy” Crumbley. All rights reserved.