Should I Detox?

Springtime!  Dontcha love it!  Everything is going green, the temperatures are beginning to get warmer, the days are getting longer, there is the sweet scent of all the spring blooms in the air….Aaaaaaaand the questions begin about detoxing and/or cleansing.  Should I do a cleanse/detox?  I so which one is best?  How should we detox? and on and on.

I get it.  People want to slough off the ickyness of having been cooped up all winter and feel like they want something to make them feel fresh and clean and ready to go.  The want to get all the toxins out of their body so they will feel better or so they can lose weight and so on and so forth.

Now, there are usually two pretty hardcore camps on detoxing/cleansing.  One camp will tell us that detoxing is BS and if they have done one in the past will give you all the gory details from their bad experience.  The other camp will say that a detox or cleanse is absolutely wonderful and one of the best things ever and rave about how wonderful they felt after detoxing.

Here is the thing.  While I am all for someone wanting to do something healthy for themselves, I personally do not recommend doing a detox diet or juice cleanse without really looking into a few things first and asking a few questions.

  1. What is the goal of the detox?  Feeling Better?  Weight Loss?
  2. What does the detox consist of?
  3. Are the benefits worth the time, trouble, effort and cost?
  4. Is it actually healthy?
  5. How will this realistically effect everyday activities like work, play, exercise?

Now let’s look into these questions.

The goal of the detox.  Most detoxes/cleanses will tell us either they will rid our body of toxins or that we will lose weight.   Sure we will lose weight.  Most of them are either fasts of some kind or we drink nothing but some juice and take some pills.  A few of them will let us eat small amounts of foods.  Yes we will definitely lose weight, but it is not going to be fat.  It is going to be mostly water weight and will come right back when we go back to our regular diet.

As for ridding our body of toxins and feeling better?  The chemicals that our body needs to get out our system are going to be stored in our fat cells.  The best way to get rid of them is to lose weight.  Our liver and kidneys do a pretty darn good job of ridding our bodies or harmful substances on its own, and a few days of some juice or pills will not do the job effectively.  What will do the job effectively, is consistently eating mostly whole foods, like lean meats, fibrous veggies and drinking plenty of water.  Add to that plenty of sleep, getting some physical exercise, and being more careful about the chemical laden products we use on our bodies and the weight will begin to come off and we will naturally rid our body of the stuff that makes us feel like crap.

I will say this though, if we currently have a diet that consists of mostly highly  processed, sugary or high fat foods and few lean meats and veggies then we may very well feel better while on the detox/cleanse.  Why?  Because our body is more than likely being fed a more nutrients than what our current diet may consist of due to the fact that most of them are mostly fruits and veggies.

What we are supposed to consume. Many detoxes consist of lots of fruit or vegetables along with green teas, omega 3’s and maybe some herbal supplements and/or a colon cleanse.  Some will let us have small amounts of some other foods as well.  Many of these things I recommend to my clients because they are healthy for us. That’s good, right?  Yes, as long as we are consuming the entire food item and not just the juice.  Many of the cleanses only want you to have juice or “detox water” during the process and that is where the issues come in.  When we only consume the juice of the fruit or vegetable, we will not getting the fiber that our body needs to naturally cleanse our system.

Worth the trouble?  That is going to depend on the individual.  If it is a juice cleanse and we have to do the shopping and juicing ourselves on a daily basis it can get time consuming.  If we have to purchase proprietary products like a particular companies brand of juice or supplements then it can also get pricey.

Healthy or no? Probably not as healthy as we may think.  First off, most plans are going to be very restrictive.  We will not get to enjoy many food we usually have on a daily basis.  This can lead to a binge eating later on down the line.  They can also be very harmful for people with certain medical conditions.  Most are super low calorie and can leave us feeling constantly hungry, weak, tired and achy.

I will say this though, many cleanses/detoxes consist of foods that do not typically trigger food sensitivities so it may be helpful in beginning the process of finding out foods we may need to eliminate from regular consumption.

Impact on daily activities. Since the cleanse/detox is usually so low calorie, then we will more than likely have a lot less energy during our day.  If  we are already fairly active, this could very definitely make things be more difficult for our daily activities and work and or home life and social activities until we are done with it.

So, No, I do not believe a cleanse or detox is going to be beneficial for ridding our bodies of toxins.  Nor do I believe it is good for lasting weight loss.  The best way to cleanse or detox our body is by always doing it on a daily basis, and the same thing for working towards weight loss.  Healthy daily practices will have far more impact than a cleanse/detox or diet that is only a few days weeks long.

How do we do this?

By beginning to replace a diet that consists of highly processed food stuffs and high-fat sugary items and focus on adding more whole or minimally processed foods such as lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Do not try to do a complete diet overhaul.  Start small with one thing at a time.  Creating one healthy habit at a time will always do more good for our health and fitness than any cleanse or detox out there.

Have you ever done a cleanse or detox?

Are you an advocate of them?  OR do you think they are BS?