It stands to reason that if you’re looking for a cleanse, you believe that something inside you has gotten a little dirty. Junger, an Uruguayan internist who was a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and now practices in Los Angeles, has designed a system that he says can help the body neutralize and expel toxins—and, oh yes, make you pounds lighter and more youthful-looking in the process. Though Junger cites Eastern healing traditions and anecdotes in his best-seller, Clean, there is no traditional scientific proof behind the claims, not that such a lack has ever stopped a celebrity before. Junger’s Clean Program—a combination of juices, smoothies, nutritional supplements, and one solid meal a day from a list of approved foods, ranging in price from $250 to $425 for a 21-day program—is the cleanse of first resort in Hollywood, perhaps in part due to Junger’s looks, charisma, and exotic accent. Great word of mouth and the enthusiastic testimonials from “cleaners” (as followers are called) such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore certainly don’t hurt. “People in L.A. have a more relaxing life, and there are a lot of people who are more mentally open—the culture is more alternative,” Junger says of his popularity on the left coast. And it doesn’t bother him in the least that for many people, the only drive to do a cleanse is weight loss. “Even if the motivation is just weight loss,” he says, “what they’ll be getting is so much more.”
Ask Junger if he has acquired any tips to help people muster the willpower for a cleanse, and his response is “How much time do you have?” Some of his secrets:
• Start on a Friday so you have the weekend to deal with any changes in mood or headaches. By day three or four, the adaptive symptoms have passed and people start feeling really well.
• Do it with a partner. You keep each other in check and motivated.
• When the hunger sensation comes on, sit down, close your eyes, put all your attention on that sensation, and see what happens. Most people realize it’s not hunger at all.
• If you are not peeing every hour, then you are not drinking enough water.
Occasional snacks are permitted during Junger’s cleanse and the less draconian maintenance diet that follows. Here are his suggestions to satisfy cravings:
Fresh green juice. “Pack it with leafy greens, some cucumber, celery, ginger, and a bit of carrot or beet for a hint of sweetness. Or go all green if you’re daring.” (On the cleanse, this is considered a meal, but adding one in the afternoon if you’re hungry is permitted.)
A large spoonful of cashew butter, coconut manna, and bee pollen. “It’s satisfying without an insulin spike or blood-sugar crash later.”
Half an avocado topped with miso. “The avocado is creamy, sweet, and satiating; the miso is salty and probiotic- and enzyme-packed. Together they provide digestive support and are good for glowing skin.”
Photo by Nicolas Moore
Colorist Tracey Cunningham
Hairstylist Adir Abergel
Makeup Artist Kate Lee
Personal Trainer Tracy Anderson
Plastic Surgeon Steven Teitelbaum