I’ve had a few folks ask me if I ever followed a detox diet and what I thought of them. When a detox diet is mentioned to me it automatically makes me think of doing some sort of liquid only cleansing regimen. The type of things you hear about the celebrities doing before they walk the Red Carpet. I’ll be honest. I don’t walk the Red Carpet so don’t feel the need to drink gallons of a water, cayenne pepper, ginger, lemon concoction for a few days to flush out those illusive poisonous toxins from my body. I don’t follow these types of diets and for several reasons. . . one of which is that I can only subsist for so long on mere liquids. And when I say so long I’m talking a couple of hours! The other reasons are basic health reasons that I’ll get into as I really think the cons outweigh the pros of any type of extended liquid cleaning diet.
The thought of following a natural diet to detox the body of harmful toxins and poisons sounds like a good idea. The idea has become highly popular and has brought on an onslaught of myths about toxins in the body and ways to get rid of them. Marketers have really jumped on this bandwagon with countless diet books, dietary supplements, detoxifying pills, liquids and solutions. It can make your head spin. Most of these liver detox, liquid or cleansing diets drastically restrict calories and aren’t really backed by any scientific research. So, if you are feeling a little sluggish, been eating poorly, overindulged on processed foods, alcohol and sugar and are considering a cleansing diet, just hold on and consider a few things first.
A lot of the hype behind these diets is that the body gets a build up of harmful toxins which need to be eliminated – by these diets. These toxins are things like alcohol, caffeine, pesticides, pollution, substances found in processed foods, sugar, salt, and any other type of unnatural substance that can creep into our bodies. These detox diets claim to rid the body of these foreign substances.
There are a so many different detox diets out there. Just do a quick google search. Most follow a time of really low calorie fasting with lots of water, perhaps supplements and some promote certain herbal plants, powders, enemas and other colon cleansing solutions. Oftentimes, these additional products can only be purchased from that particular website or promotion. That is where things get really questionable to me. Most of these diets will cause weight loss since they have a person drastically cutting calories. However, the majority of any weight loss is basically fluids and will not last. And who are we kidding? Our bodies are these amazing fine tuned, completely sustainable machines all on their own. Our very own liver and kidneys know just what to do to process what comes into our bodies and get rid of what it does not want or need. God was no dummy when putting all this together.
If you are wondering about some of the most popular cleansing diets out there, here are a few:
Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet
Fat Flush Diet
Liver Cleanse Diet
Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox
Raw Food Diet
Back to the quick weight loss part of a liquid diet or cleanse – it reminds me of two stories. Remember when Oprah lost all that weight on her liquid diet? I remember watching her show and being amazed as she came onto the stage in her black turtleneck and jeans sporting her tiny waist. (I’m really showing my age here!) Well, we all know how that turned out for her. Of course she couldn’t sustain that weight loss! Who could?
It also reminds me of an acquaintance I had while in law school. She taught aerobics in the gym I attended and while she was preparing to enter some pageant she was taking lots of diuretics. She she would be in the front of the class starting her jumping jacks, would immediately turn to me to take over so she could scoot to the bathroom! Looking back on that now I think it was such an example of what not to show other girls. She was dehydrating herself in front of our eyes.
Again, I will be honest here. I cannot say I have never tried one of these types of diets. You know I’m all for trying out most things in the name of health and diet. I have personally mixed the gallon batch of cranberry water mixed with other spices and sipped on it all day long, foregoing food after reading about The Fat Flush Diet. Did it make me lose weight? No. Did it make me run to the bathroom every half hour? Heck yes. Did it make me grouchy and hungry? Of course. Did it help my health, nurture my body for physical activity and working out? Of course not. I don’t think I could ever honestly follow for a whole day without cheating anyway. I might have lost some water weight. I guarantee I did not lose a bit of fat. In fact, oftentimes people will gain back the original weight plus more from restricting their calories so that the body is hanging on to them for dear life. That metabolism thing I talked about last post. . . .
If you are severely restricting your caloric intake, not eating enough protein especially, it’s going to be really hard to get the exercise you need. And that exercise could be just what you need to sweat and naturally “detox” your body from the sluggishness and extra calories you may have consumed, making you think you want to do a diet cleanse in the first place.
I am like a lot of you out there, though. Sometimes, well, oftentimes, I eat too much, or too much of things that aren’t so very healthy. You know you aren’t eating at your best while on vacation, a girls trip, or over a holiday. When I feel like I need to “cleanse” I focus on drinking lots and lots of water, exercising and eating really good natural foods, especially water soluble fruits and vegetables. My day might look something like this:
I would often go to the the principles used in the Refresh & Reboot Program to help clean up my diet while nurturing it with natural, whole foods and water.
Additionally, most of the cleansing detox diets are not supported by certified dietitians, doctors and medical experts in the weight loss field. Most of the risks outweigh any sort term benefits. Usually, on a low calorie, reduced nutrient diet, a person will feel tired, have low blood sugar, feel weak or dizzy and can have stomach issues. They can really mess with our body’s natural balance.
So, please be aware of the hype and crazy claims out there. Losing weight is not an easy task and if it sounds soooooo easy, you know something is up. Also, think about what your body can and does on its own. It is miraculous what we put it through every single day and it continues to function. We want it to continue to function at its very best, so depriving it of vital nutrients and energy is not doing it any favors!
Have you tried a detox cleans? How did it go? How was your experience? Were you hungry? What are your thoughts on this topic?
It’s Friday! Enjoy It!