Cleansing and detoxing are hot in health and wellness world and many women are choosing to participate in a juice cleanse, detox, or fast. The reasons most commonly stated for engaging in a cleanse or detox are to lose weight, achieve organ or body detoxification, and/or to develop a healthy relationship with food.
Here are some common beliefs surrounding detoxing and explanations as to why those beliefs are not necessarily accurate.
MYTH: Cleansing Detoxifies Our Bodies
If you engage in a healthy, balanced, clean eating nutritional plan then the body will cleanse itself. Our bodies are extremely capable machines and we have a natural detoxifying system. The colon, liver, GI track, and kidneys know how to detox themselves effectively and naturally remove waste from the body. The idea of “toxins” building up in our body is a myth perpetuated by the media to sell unnecessary “detoxing” products. Please, do me a favor and read this article about The Detox Scam.
MYTH: Cleansing Will Aid in Weight Loss
Cleansing for weight loss does not work in the long run. Unfortunately, the weight lost is primarily water and lean muscle. When cleaning or detoxing for an extended period of time, your body starts to break down muscle tissue for much-needed protein. Furthermore, the weight lost will most likely come back. A healthy body cannot rely on juicing alone. Fruits used in juice cleanses have an extremely high sugar content and without the companionship of whole grains, fiber, and protein, you are doomed to a repetitive sugar spike and crash throughout the day. By essentially starving your body of specific nutrients, you are bound to experience fatigue, headaches, bloating, and irritability. Our bodies don’t respond to perceived starvation as a “must detox” signal. The body responds to starvation by retaining fat and slowing our metabolism.
MYTH: Cleanses and Detoxes are Different From Crash Diets
In reality, cleanses are very much like any other crash diet. Many people feel guilty after the holidays or after a binge eating session and are looking for a remedy to rectify poor choices. Cleaning and detoxing are now the go-to for a quick and easy fix. Instead, try changing overall habits and behaviors when it comes to food. Once you establish a healthy relationship with food, one or two days of food-bingeing won’t destroy your healthy habits.
MYTH: Cleansing Helps Develop a Healthy Relationship With Food
Most women already have a love-hate relationship with food and a cleanse can encourage this poor relationship to continue. More often than not, reasons for seeking out a cleanse include wanting to lose weight, feeling bloated, binged on junk food, or needing to “reset” the body. These are usually symptoms of a bigger problem (unhealthy eating habits or undiagnosed illness) that a short-term cleanse or detox will not solve. Developing a healthy relationship with food takes time, effort, and commitment. It is a serious lifestyle change, not a week-long crash diet.
That being said, fresh juices are incredibly healthy and should be included in any healthy nutritional plan or used between meals for an energy boost. Fresh juice is a fantastic way to absorb the vitamins and minerals from vegetables more effectively and makes it easy to “eat” your daily servings of fruits and veggies.
By developing healthy habits and supplementing with daily juices, you should find yourself full of energy and achieving your health goals. A steady and balanced way of eating that lines up with your own personal needs and desires will always lead to correct weight loss and a beautiful body. The purpose of living healthy is to respect your body, not starve it.
If you still believe that a cleanse makes sense for you, keep in mind that it is important for any fast over 24 hours to be administered under the care of a professional with knowledge and experience in detoxification and fasting.