Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself
by Alejandro Junger, MD Harper One, 2009, 319 pages, $16.99
When a best-selling health book such as Clean arrives wrapped in the shiny glow of celebrity testimonials, I’m quick to question whether marketing hype will override meaningful substance.
This New York Times best-selling detoxification book has been endorsed by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Martha Stewart, and Kate Hudson. The program by cardiologist Alejandro Junger has become a popular health secret of Hollywood celebrities and fans alike.
Yet Clean surprised me. Contrary to expectations I couldn’t put the book down until it was completed—in one sitting, and leaving a smile on my face.
Not without controversy, the Clean program has been accused of not being quite as “revolutionary” as claimed. Indeed, for regular readers of health magazines and books, the cleansing strategies and mindful eating concepts proposed by Junger may be old news. But this fact does not detract from the book’s ability to engage, influence, and improve the lives of its readers.
When all is said and done, what is the most effective tool for wellness? It’s whatever knowledge or ingredient we are most inclined to apply toward improving a current lifestyle. For this reason, Clean gets my approval—it’s about as doable as it gets. Promising swiftly renewed energy, wellness, and healing, most of the book is dedicated to preparing readers for accepting the notion of cleansing. Junger explores the reasons our bodies (like the planet) are in need of rescue. He compares a range of detoxification methods.
Junger’s focus is on delivering a practical plan that fits into day-to-day life without having to put busy lives on hold. Clean’s basic instruction is to have one solid meal and two liquid meals per day. There is encouragement to follow the plan for one, two, or three weeks— whatever is most doable.
Clean is an engaging first-person account of Junger’s slide into ill health and the ensuing frustrations and discoveries leading to his successful integrative approach. To its detriment, the text is short on scientific explanation. Technical readers may want more. But to its credit, the book gets points for accessible content and the likelihood it will be read and used by many.
A detoxification support community that includes about 20,000 Clean readers at my.cleanprogram.com greatly enhances the usefulness of this program.