06/14/2010 08:17 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Cleansing My Life on the Clean Program

I used to diet, now I "cleanse." Even though supposedly toxins don't exist, I want them out of my body. So if there is a new cleanse, I'm on it. Literally. After all, it's not about losing pounds, it's about being healthy. And that I do believe.

I like to try things early. Master Cleanse? Old Hat. Metagenics shakes? Piece of cake. Vegetable Soup cleanse? Check. Master Cleanse round two? Yup. BluePrint? Um, I don't pay to not eat.

I like the mental challenge of a good cleanse. Can I survive? I've painfully measured three ounces of lemon juice and maple syrup to get past TSA to a flight while on the Master Cleanse. On one of my first dates with an old boyfriend we went for couples' colonics. Every January I skip alcohol, but this winter my wine was replaced with Knudsen's Caramels and some kind of crazy Peppermint Oreo Bark as I recovered from knee surgery. There was no slimming side effect, at all. I had to get serious. So I turned to the one person who would know what to do: Gwyneth. I don't actually know her but it doesn't look like there are any toxins in her skinny body. So this spring I'm following the book Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger, on Gwynnie's recommendation. (Julian Schnabel also recommends Clean, but as much as I respect him, I'd rather look like Gwynnie.)

Clean is about detoxifying the body (I do think the term "toxin" is completely overused) for 21 days. Of course no alcohol, sugar, wheat, caffeine, soy, corn, dairy, meat, or oats allowed. Two meals a day are liquid, a smoothie, juice or soup, and lunch is vegetables, salad, lean protein and gluten-free grains. The program is designed to clear the irritants in your body that can cause inflammation. Ultimately you are cleaning out your intestines so your football field of tubing functions optimally. Say goodbye to puffiness, allergies, extra pounds, crankiness, sluggishness and God willing, the "mucoid placque" I want no part of.

Here's what clinched the deal for me: In the book, Junger says that most of our serotonin is formed in the intestines. I'm not a doctor even thought I act like I am, so I also checked with a real one, my father, who confirmed it. Serotonin is produced in the neuroendocrine cells of the intestines. I want a happy colon.

I've corralled my friends onto Clean so I can check in with them daily. One has "cleansed her life." By Day Five she had found new office space and new clients. Another sends me recipes for her "Lutece-style" chopped salad soup. A third is eating cupcakes and gelato in bed (not on the program). I check in with the community where the support team answers questions and I can see how much crazier other people are about food than I am.

Be forewarned, a cleanse will surprise you. I am not craving anything at all. But everything in my life is more acute, especially my sense of taste and smell. Which means that I enjoy sucking on the pit of an avocado but not the smell of my yoga mat. This sensitivity carries over to people too; suddenly the guy with the bike gloves in spin class is really, really bugging me; he might as well be wearing a helmet. Oddly I don't miss my wine (or vapid socializing) at night; content to watch Lee Dewyze on You Tube, over and over again. The escapism of a good cleanse is comforting. I am getting more than used to staying home and blending my cucumber fennel soup, checking in with the Clean community and my DVR, avoiding dating and a lot of real life. Physically I feel amazingly awake. Oh, and I sleep eight hours every night.

My previous intense focus on where/when/what to eat and drink with pleasure has been replaced by a new intense focus on where/when/what to eat and drink with the program. Is there a cleanse for that?

It's Day 19 and I just ran into my friend Gary at a party. He rolled his eyes when I mentioned Clean. "It's all about the Baby Food cleanse now," he says. What!? Is he teasing me? "Seven pounds in a week. Awards season. Look it up," he says, and smiles.