By Janelle Agius, Marketing Associate at HarperOne
When I started working at HarperOne over two years ago, we were getting ready to publish the paperback edition of Clean. A handful of people in the office had already tried Dr. Junger’s cleanse and were singing its praises. I had never heard of it before but saw the regimen—no caffeine, no alcohol or dairy or bread—and thought, Why would I want to give up all my favorite things at once?
As HarperOne published more books focused on healthy living, an eating consciousness began to permeate the office. The candy and chips disappeared from the central location in the office kitchen, and as a result, my colleague set up a clandestine snacks box in our cubicle area. (Needless to say, we get a lot of visitors.) Despite the junk food taunting me across the way, a natural desire to eat healthier evolved within me, too.
Before Clean, I thought I ate pretty well. I didn’t drink soda or eat fast food; I liked salads and vegetables. The health consciousness of the office had a reasonable effect on me and my diet so I never felt the need to do something as dramatic as a detox. But then the 2012 holiday season came around. After two straight months of parties and family gatherings, with all the rich food and alcohol consumption that accompanies that, I needed a change. I just felt gross. I was sluggish and tired and at times, grumpy. I was at the point where I needed to do something drastic to reset my eating habits. And since there never would be a convenient time to do the program, I decided I needed to stop making excuses and just do it.
So I did. For three weeks I planned my menus, cooked a lot, and watched what I ate and drank when I was out with my friends. I bent the rules here and there to fit my lifestyle when needed, but for the most part I stuck with the plan as best I could. And I felt great. I was full of energy, my complexion improved, and I slept better than I had in months. For once I wasn’t waiting for the weekend to start just so I could catch up on sleep. In fact, I was naturally getting up at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning—who does that?! Of course, there were days that were a real struggle, days filled with headaches and severe food cravings. But with those struggles I knew there were very tangible results on the other side. The Associate Publisher even stopped me in the kitchen two weeks into the program to tell me I was “glowing,” which was a big motivator to keep going! So I powered through the tough days and really enjoyed the days when I felt fantastic.
Now, a few months after finishing Clean, I am doing my best to adhere to what I learned from the program. For instance, it’s easier to identify and avoid foods I am sensitive to (so long, gluten!); I know exactly how two glasses of wine at dinner can affect how well I sleep (even if I drink a lot of water); and I’m sticking with a berry smoothie for breakfast (a better breakfast than I was having before—which was none). There’s so much more that I took away from my Clean experience than I can say here. I am really glad I did it and keep the possibility of doing it again in my back pocket, for when I need a reminder about how much the food you eat can affect the way you look and feel. When your body knows what true health feels like, it’s easier to turn down the junk food.
Read more from Janelle and follow her pickling and preserving adventures on her blog, Without a Cellar.