The subject of detoxing is very hot right now and spring is the perfect time to think about cleansing, renewal and making changes in our health. After all, we are just shedding our heavier eating habits from winter and most of us are likely looking for fresher, lighter way of eating and a chance to lose a few pounds before bathing suit season.
It would be nice to believe that five days of doing nothing but drinking fresh pressed juices and broths would clear up any nagging health issues or jump start us on our way to thinner and more energetic. I want you to consider for a moment, the sophisticated bodies we live in. Haven’t we humans been around long enough to know how to get rid of invasive substances in our bodies?
In a word, yes.
You might argue that we are being invaded daily, minute by minute, by foreign chemicals, GMO’s, PCB’s, or a plethora of other substances with acronyms we can’t decipher. I agree. We do have a lot to fend off. The answer, according to the detox gurus, comes in the form of juice, glasses of concentrated nutrients that will supposedly cleanse and rid us of toxic build up.
But before you put yourself through a detox diet, I want you to consider the following:
Your body has this all taken care of.
That’s right. We have in our very own bodies, a detox master machine. These detoxifiers, known as the liver, the kidneys, the gut, and the skin, do a superior job of keeping us safe from foreign invaders and other harmful chemicals that bombard us everyday. It is therefore vital that we keep our liver, kidneys and gut in top shape. How can we do that? Eating real foods that support these precious organs, such as dark leafy greens, deep orange squashes and high fiber whole grains. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated. Good foods and liquids that keep things moving and working.
Your goal is to make changes for life, not changes for a week.
Juice fasting for a week may calm down your digestive system and give your body a chance to rest (as the gurus point out) but does your digestive system really need to take a nap? So far, I have seen no studies claiming that we need to slow down our bodies. We are meant to be eating nutritious, healthy food, not junky processed foods. That’s just more exposure to toxins we don’t need. To take a break from the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) and then return to more poor eating habits a week later is pointless. When you resume your normal diet (and you will, because a low calorie juice fast is impossible to sustain long term), you will likely gain any lost weight back, as fat. Who needs more disappointment? I want you to be successful with your health. Make steady long term changes for life and you will be rewarded everyday.
This will only hurt a little bit.
Many former detoxers I have spoken to tell me that going on a detox diet just does not feel good. Fatigue, depression, nausea, light headedness, are just a few of the symptoms I have heard from people on a detox juice cleanse. Life can be hard enough at times. We all lead busy lives filled with careers, kids and health issues; what we choose to nourish ourselves with just shouldn’t feel bad. Good healthy food feels fantastic, energizes us and makes us happy. I’m choosing real, whole food.
So, what can you do today to begin making long term changes that not only feel good but support our own natural detoxification system? Here are a few to get you started:
- Try a cleanse instead. Take four weeks, eliminate all white foods from your diet, alcohol, sugar. Replace with gluten free grains such as quinoa and brown rice, water or whole fruit and vegetable smoothies and fruit for dessert. Note how you feel, keep a journal (click here for more ideas).
- Get rid of all fruit juices, sports drinks, diet sodas and regular soda – these are all unnecessary, empty calories that contribute nothing to our bodies and sap our energy (try my new Mango Pineapple Ginger smoothie recipe instead);
- Include an abundance of fruits and vegetables at every meal and for every snack – it’s spring after all, leafy greens are everywhere, citrus fruits, berries, the farmers markets are opening. Seek out some new vegetables and fruits to try.
I promise that these changes can be the start of increased energy, weight loss and feeling great about yourself. Now I want to know what you think. Have you tried a detox diet before and, if so, how did it turn out? Would you do a detox diet again? Leave your feedback below.
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