How does the Clean Program improve your digestive system?
Modern life is not "digestion friendly". Our digestive system is much more complex than what we are used to think about. Your intestines, where digestion happens, is a long tube inside which foods are broken up into their building blocks so that these can be absorbed (taken inside by the cells of the intestinal wall, transported to the other side of the cell opposite the side facing the intestinal tube, and then released into our circulation).
The intestinal wall has foldings and subfoldings (villi and microvilli) in order to increase the contact surface with the food being digested. These foldings, in a healthy human body, are home to billions of bacteria, the Intestinal Flora. These bacteria are very important. They detoxify a big portion of the toxins we ingest. They digest part of our food, and if they don't, there are certain nutrients that we will not be able to process for absorption. They also defend their territory from other bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
On the other side of the intestinal wall is where 80% of your immune system lives. The Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue (the name of the immune system in the gut) is there by no accident. In fact, it's a strategic position, since the intestinal wall is the place where most of the 'foreign' substances transit through into the bloodstream. Modern life with its toxins overload damages our digestive system in the following ways:
1) Assassination of the Intestinal Flora and growth of other bacteria that resist the poisons that kill the good ones (preservatives, conservatives, pesticides, insecticides, antibiotics).
2) Decreased absorption of nutrients.
3) Leaking of the intestinal wall.
4) Over-excitation of the Immune System with subsequent confusion, ending in an attack on one's own tissues.
5) Depletion of the Gut nervous system (causing depression and Irritable bowel syndrome). The nervous system that exists around the gut in the abdomen manufactures 90% of the serotonin in your body at any given moment.
The CLEAN program is designed to eradicate the bad bacteria, replant the good ones, repair the intestinal wall, calm the immune system, and replenish the gut brain and jump start into full serotonin production.
Most symptoms from the Gut disappear within days of the CLEAN program, or if not fully addressed (such as parasites) the problem will be uncovered and thus allow you to deal with it accordingly.
What does mind/body wellness mean to you?
In my understanding, mind/body wellness is a term that reveals the fact that we still consider the mind and the body as separate. It is still a step further from only considering the physical body as important, but it will transform into just "wellness" in the near future, since it is more and more evident that the distinctions of separation between the mind and the body are not so obvious.
"Mens sana in corpore sano" is an ancient Latin quotation that means, "A healthy mind is a healthy body." I propose a change and call it, "Mens sana IS corpore sano."
How has meditation influenced you?
Meditation gave me the tools to acquire the ability to stay present. This is ultimately what we are all looking for.
What are the some of the best foods for your body?
Organic fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, non-gluten and protein packed grains like quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat, cold water fish, healthy unprocessed oils, nuts, superfoods that are full of energy-enhancing vitamins and minerals, and definitely fresh green vegetable juices... which are easy to digest, and loaded with all the enzymes and nutritional benefits our bodies need, freeing things up to sustain our immune systems and optimize vitality.
As far as toxins go, what foods are some of the worst culprits?
Common allergens such as: red meat, dairy, sugar, gluten, anything artificial/processed...these cause a whole array of symptoms and can lead to many health problems both immediately and down the road. Caffeine is another trigger for most everyone and some people find they need to be careful with nightshades, basically we all have different dietary requirements but the ones I listed are certainly good for everyone to avoid for optimal wellness. My basic rule is if you can't pronounce it, don't put it in (or on) your body. Stick as much as possible to whole foods; anything that looks like it does when it's in nature growing on the tree, bush or out of the ground is a safe bet for the most nutritious and energy-producing, healthiest food. Again, organic is best and try to find local and seasonal food as well to give your body the vitamins and minerals that are specific to your needs, while cutting back on the toxins released into our environment (which we in turn take in through our skin, water and the air) by fossil fuel burning shipping methods. Realizing that we can't avoid all toxins in our environment, we can definitely take steps to minimize our exposure and provide the most efficient systems possible for clearing them out.
How often should we do the program?
There's really no set schedule for cleansing...for some people once a year is a great tune-up, for others a bi-yearly program works and some like to do one with every season...personally I've learned to listen to my body and it's pretty vocal about letting me know when it's time for a 21 day cleanse. You feel it in your energy levels, mind clarity and in your digestive system and it's the absolute best thing you can do for your body -- to honor that request for a clean start whenever or however often that might be!
Who inspires you?
I'm continuously inspired by the many, many people all over the world who are doing the Clean program; they are incredibly active in discussions at our Community Site, posting questions, advice, tips, videos, recipes and inspiration; it motivates me to stay focused and post my own videos, and journal entries. I love it!
Do you have any guilty indulgences?
Sweets and candy, but now my team stocks my apartment with only health sweets like LARABARS, raw chocolate (Gnosis), treats from OneLuckyDuck (like mallomars and raw granola crispies) and ZICO coconut water.
What's next for you? How can our readers find out more about the Clean Program?
We have an exciting month coming up in January...I'll be back on the Martha Stewart Show and she and her studio members are getting excited to do a 21 day Clean Program! Also an overwhelming number of people and all sorts of different groups around the world are joining the Community site, doing the 21 day cleanses, momentum is gathering, everyone is full of enthusiasm and it's amazing to see so many people taking their health into their own hands by giving their bodies the most incredible gift ever -- a restored digestive system!
For more on Dr. Junger and The Clean Program: