I’m not sure if it’s the mad rush for the Summer Beach Body or something in the air, but there has been quite a bit of talk lately about detoxing.
The Lemonade Detox, the Juice Cleanse Detox, Super Cleanse, Master Cleanse… cleanse this, cleanse that.
Here’s my take on the subject….
Most of those so-called super-good-for-you, you-will-lose-fifty-pounds-in-one-week detoxes people are touting actually do more harm than good. Sure you can starve yourself for 10 days, drinking nothing but lemon water, eat nothing but fruits and vegetables. And you will likely see a reduction in your waist line. So what’s the problem then?? When you deprive your body of nutrients you are setting yourself up for a number of side effects – fatigue, nausea, lack of focus, dizziness, dehydration. All of which can have a ripple effect on the rest of your life. Where are you getting the energy for your workouts? Furthermore, this idea of crash dieting only causes, or adds to, the mentality that you can do what you will for weeks and then in just a matter of days fix everything you have done. That it is OK to eat like hell because you can make up for it later. Rather than learning to live a healthy lifestyle.
I know…. but you have heard so many stories of people feeling amazing, euphoric during a fast. Feelings of focus and energy. But these are more likely due to the bodies reaction to starvation, a natural defense that evolved to help create the ability to move beyond and FIND food, and a belief that you are actually doing something good for your health.
With that said, I do believe in the benefits of some of the detox mentality. Allowing your body time to heal. The idea, however, is to spend a few days doing everything “right” rather than doing something overly drastic. You want to focus on eating VERY CLEAN. Raw fruits and vegetables, lean protein, lots of liquid. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweetener, high salt content, white foods like potatoes, white rice, bleached flour. You know, all the things you should be learning to do everyday. The habits and actions that create a fit, healthy you year round.
There are a number of herbs that do have cleansing effects on the body as well – red clover, pepper, burdock, chamomile, Echinacea, fennel, peppermint, sarsaparilla, hyssop, black walnut, parsley, turmeric, ginger, green tea, cumin, fennel, cayenne pepper, garlic, coriander, dandelion- but be careful of those that act like laxatives. If you do not have a digestive issue that causes blockages, you are setting yourself up for more potential trouble. Herbs like dandelion will create a laxative effect. If you are flushing your digestive tract of healthy bacteria you will also need to replace it with a probiotic. You can find a number of them at a health food store. You can also find them in products like some yogurt. Just be sure to read the labels for those that actually do have them. Not all yogurt will.
There are a number of products easily found that will help flush your system that already contain a good mix of these herbs. Keep in mind I don’t represent any of these in any fashion and each body is different. We react to substances, foods, herbs and the like in far different ways. What will work for me or a friend could very well have adverse affects on someone else. As with all products, it is important to read labels. Given that, I have found that First Cleanse by Renew is a gentle option that seems to work well for most.
I also believe it is important to cleanse our mind at the same time. Many times when someone feels they need to “detox” it is more than just free radicals and bad food habits plaguing them. Long quiet walks, a jog, yoga or any form that allows you to meditate. Many people say they can’t meditate. The idea is to stop the noise and calm rather than find yourself in some trance-like state. For the first few minutes, or perhaps much longer, your mind may race with all kinds of thoughts and information. Allow it to speed through at first but then slowly try to quiet the noise. It may be as simple as spending some time alone with your thoughts and nothing else. No computer, no kids, no husband, no friends, no phone, no magazine, no book, no radio or music. Just you. Do that for 20 minutes (10 at least) everyday for 3 consecutive days while cleansing. Remember, it’s a package deal. You can also spend some time with a subject that might be troubling you (like being over weight). Ask yourself what the real problem is, how you can fix it and envision what it looks like fixed. You can use aromatherapy for this as well. Lavender to relax and calm. Rosewood, orange, geranium and bergamot for uplifting. Basil, clove, tea tree, peppermint, rosemary and jasmine for energy.
In closing, I want to say please be mindful! If you have questions find someone who can help with the answers. Eat well regularly, exercise daily and you will not feel you really NEED to detox because you have a healthy body, mind and lifestyle already. We all have set backs though. (I’m about to go on vacation and am sure to have far too many cocktails!) We all have times in our lives when things go awry. If taking the steps to fix it means detoxing, then go for it! Just do it well.