Cleansing & Detoxing – What Really Works & What Doesn’t
Hi everyone! With New Year’s resolutions & intentions, a cleanse might be coming to mind. I am sure that your Facebook newsfeed is blowing up with possible cleanses & detoxes, and you’re tempted. You’re very tempted. After all, a change in season is the time to make change. I’ve been asked a lot of questions about my thoughts on various cleanses, so I thought I would do a post on a couple of types, the pros and cons of them and what works and what doesn’t so you can make an informed decision about what you want to do.
First of all, in my experience and in hearing from my clients, restriction does not work in the long term. Unless you have super human will power, which maybe 2% of you do, you actually may end up worse off after being very restrictive, because you end up binging or resorting to your old habits very soon after. This is actually the main premise behind the Wellness Challenge. While we have eliminated certain foods that are bad for your digestion, skin & energy – you actually wouldn’t even know it because we’ve added back so many others that are so good for you.
I have mixed opinions on juicing. First of all, it depends entirely on what the purpose of your juicing is. If it is an act of desperation because you need a quick weight-loss fix asap, it’s likely not the best option. Juicing, depending on the kind, can be very high in sugar so if you have any adrenal or blood sugar problems, it could actually make it worse.
When juicing can be good for you is if you have severe digestive problems (and no blood sugar problems), as juicing truly does give your digestion a break. It can be good to give your body a break from digesting foods, but only if you have severe problems.
I personally believe juicing should be supplementary to what you do. So, for example, add a green juice (80% green veggies, 20% other, like beets, carrots or apple) to your morning snack routine to feel a natural boost of energy.
The Wild Rose Herbal Detox is a popular herbal detox that lasts 12 days. It involves a certain diet along with herbal ‘detox’ supplements. During the 12 days, you can’t eat any grains or flours, sugar, tropical fruits, yeast products (or fermented) or dairy. I would say this cleanse is quite effective, and I felt good doing it myself, but there are some watchouts.
The issue that I see with the cleanse is that to simply say you have to avoid tons of different food, without providing recipes and a meal plan is daunting. What I’ve seen happen with people that attempt this detox is that they will live off a few foods receptively for 12 days straight. While they are not common allergen foods, that isn’t the best way to do it. For example, if apples and nut butters are allowed, you don’t want to be eating an apple + almond butter 2-3x a day because you’re not sure what else you are allowed to eat. Sure, it’s a healthy food, but that’s not a super effective or proper way to detox.
What Really Works
What honestly works the best for me is when I ‘crowd out the bad’. What does that mean? it means filling my plate with a variety of veggie dishes plus a clean protein. All of a sudden there is no room for adding the foods that often cause food sensitivities. (Case in point from my dinner the other night.)
I eat 100% gluten free (because I have to) and mostly dairy free, though not always, because I feel that my digestion, energy and skin are better. Where I notice a real difference in how I feel is when I also go sugar free and remove foods that have ingredients I can’t pronounce.
For you, it might not be your skin, but maybe you get headaches or just feel generally low energy. That can be a direct sign that it’s time to try a modified way of eating. When I eat the way I just described, I feel pretty darn good. I typically feel:
- clearer minded
- craving-free (or way less)
- more confident
- flatter tummy
- more energetic
It does take some work though, and won’t happen overnight.