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I read a bunch of reviews before doing this diet but still had some doubts and questions. I got the book and followed it anyway, and based on my experience I think the following may be helpful to others:
I was probably 30-35lbs. overweight. I really, really wanted to make a change, and I saw "Clean" as a nice, extreme kick-off to what I thought would be a long and difficult struggle back to both fitness and a permanent change. I followed the program for the most part for a month, and the results were good. It turned out NOT to be very extreme at all, which was great. My partner was willing to give it a try too, and it was fun to have someone to collaborate, commiserate, and joke about it with.
Making the 1-month commitment made it easy to also commit to upping my activity levels (mostly biking: 2, then 3-4 times a week). I also checked some books out of the public library and read a lot of basic stuff about diet, exercise, and nutrition. And I saw the diet as an opportunity to learn to cook and appreciate new foods. Eventually, I started in on a long-standing goal of learning to cook Thai and Vietnamese food--both of which fall pretty much squarely on the side of the diet's "allowed" foods. I think what I'm saying is, it helped to build a bunch of smaller goals and interests into this thing--though it would not have worked to try to set everything into motion from the beginning; things kind of evolved as the month carried forward.
By the month's end I started feeling a LITTLE BIT more energetic from day to day, and a LOT better about my ability to take charge of this area of my life--so much so that I've started applying some of what I learned in that month to other areas. I broke some bad dietary habits, and I added a LOT of veggies to my diet. And I lost 16 lbs. In the following 2 months I added some of the eliminated foods back in though in smaller amounts than before, and continued exercising and eating lots of vegs, smaller portions etc., and lost around 6 lbs. a month.
As others have said, the core of the diet is habit-alteration, and an "elimination diet". But what is the latter? It's the diet that clinics ask people who need testing for food allergies to get on in advance of the testing. You cut out everything that many people are allergic to. Then you eat foods that aren't on that list. And you eat less--though there's no need to starve yourself as some reviewers apparently did. And, after 21-30 days, you will have developed some new eating habits, tracked down a lot of new, healthier recipes, changed some of how you socialize (in my case overeating and somewhat over-imbibing), and started feeling better--physically and emotionally.
If you ALSO lose weight, and you probably will, Great! But the primary goal should be changing how you eat and increasing your activity level--i.e. correcting the reasons you probably got fat in the first place.
For people who are as put off by fads, commercial hype, programs, proselytizing as I am:
YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY SUPPLEMENTS. The book unfortunately hypes them because Dr. Hunger (or is it Younger?) is selling an expensive and unnecessary sack of them for hundreds of dollars. You don't need other posters' list of "natural" replacements either. The big box of special Diet Stuff is shake powders and vitamins and Colon Blow (remember the SNL skit?) for people who want their rear end to have a mystical experience, or who want to get as close to a magic diet pill as possible instead of altering their behaviors. It's kind of lame Dr. Younger is hawking that stuff, because it goes against the book's basic approach, which is to change how you think about, select, and consume foods; not just drop pounds.
I did buy a barrel of pricey protein powder for breakfast shakes and a bunch of other FOODS that I did not previously keep on hand the night before I started in. But I did not--and the book doesn't actually insist that you do--buy any supplements or the fannytastic Clean "KIT" (that's my last scatological joke, I promise).
Also, for those who think this might be too difficult or extreme: after a week and a half I went down to just 1 breakfast shake (rather than the Slim Fast-like recommendation of 2 shakes and 1 meal per day) because the shakes were getting dull, and I couldn't see a difference between drinking some low-GI carbs, protein, and fats for lunch in shake form and just eating them.
In sum, though I found most of its rationales ranged from under-articulated, to corny, to outright-laughable, the book's basic program is good. I benefited the most from taking on, and completing the 1 month challenge, and now, 3 months after starting in on it, I have healthier routines and habits and have dropped a significant # of additional pounds.
2013 P.S. Apparently some respondents mistook my suggestion that supplements are not required for this 'cleanse' as an attack on supplements and their users (and maybe more to the point: sellers?). The idea there was simply that hype and obfuscation aside, you don't need either the book's pricey bunch of stuff OR other reviewers' slightly less pricey bunch of stuff. You can just eat nutritious, readily-available, easily-prepared, and significantly cheaper food--in either liquid or solid form--if you so desire.
Given that eating off the 'cleansing' list took no more or less time than eating in a regular way, I don't see how or why the recommended pricey and sub-pricey stuff is a benefit, especially when one considers how tiring slurping up a thick, oddly-textured slurry for 2/3rds of their meals for 1-4 WEEKS must become. Doesn't matter how good that slush might taste; it would still depress and demotivate me. And that's not going to help one build the recipe bank and excitement about eating healthier foods one needs to keep losing weight/keep weight off over the long term. But: if glugging shakes and popping pills floats your boat, friends, by all means don't let my preference for cheaper, piquant, brightly colored, vari-textured, solid, semi-solid, delicious, and identifiable FOODS upset you.
In response to a couple others, just roll forward and you'll figure things out as you go. I felt awful and even weirdly scared on day 1, slightly hungry on day 2, but the rest was surprisingly easy. I should add that before, during, and after the 'cleanse' I gleaned a lot of bits of info. from reading or flipping through lots of books from the library on nutrition, weight loss, weight training, "brain health", food and mood, and sport-specific fitness (cycling). Though I'm omnivorous, I also found a lot of useful recipes from vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and to a lesser extent raw cookbooks and blogs. If you need to make stuff in more bulk quantities for lunches etc. vegetarian Indian food is great for that. And/or, though I hate to plug for any particular book, I found Tosca Reno's 'eating clean' books--readily available at your local public library no doubt--useful; especially her magic mini-cooler packing plans.