Tis the season to detox – every year people begin the year by detoxing or cleansing hoping to start the year right after all of those indulgences over the holidays. Most will lose weight, feel great, sleep better and finally finish off those frozen berries in the freezer that have been sitting there. But what does it mean to detox? Or, cleanse?
When we think of the word, detox, we often conjure up the vision of someone going through withdrawal from heroin or alcohol. We do not think about “juicing” or running off to work with our morning shake as is so often the case with most detox programs. Detox by definition is, “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification”. And, with the fact that we are constantly being marketing that some foods are toxic like gluten, soy, dairy, whey, sugar; the list almost seemingly endless. So I guess when we start on a detox program with juicing, protein shakes that avoid those “toxic” foods, and going on an essentially an elimination diet – we are detoxing.
But do we need to detox? Most people struggle through a detox for 14-28 days drinking protein shakes, eating vegetables and fruit that we normally don’t eat, nuts and for some programs going vegan or even Paleo. Other programs uses just juicing which I do not recommend as it actually can lead to metabolic issues and promote weight gain for some as it does not provide balanced nutrition.
Why not just eliminate alcoholic beverages, reduce consumption of sugar, and processed foods and eat whole food diet? Why not eat a whole food diet year round? And, enjoy an occasionally glass of wine?
However, there are cases where “detox” or cleansing can actually be very effective especially if someone has been exposed chronically to chemicals (environmentally and through food), gone through a very stressful period in their lives or want to kick off a healthy weight loss program. I went through just this when my husband and I lost our home in a house fire. Over the following months after this event we were exposed to constant chemicals from the restoration to the rebuilding of our new home. Top that off with a poor diet and chronic stress, we both suffered with immune conditions as our bodies struggled to overcome the toxins. In this case, a detox with supportive targeted nutrition was the answer especially for me as I do not have good genes in the detox department.
What is an effective detox/cleanse program? An effective program is one that includes not just the abstaining from toxic foods and drink such as alcohol, coffee and processed food, but also includes the nutrients that assists the body in removing the built up toxins.
Most detox/cleanse program that only involve fasting or just “juicing” with fruits and vegetables for 2-3 days does not give the body long enough time to properly detox and does not provide the nutrients for the liver to clear out toxins that have built up in the body. In addition, juicing promotes the body’s use of muscle mass to provide energy for the body instead of burning fat for energy.
There many different detox programs currently on the market – some are very expensive and have you taking a great of pills. Some also have a “cleansing” product which promotes bowel movement. Not sure if that is necessary when you should make sure you are having regular movement year round. And, some of the products actually are harmful causing not just regular bowel movement but intestinal distress.
An easy and effective detox for most is simply eliminating processed foods, alcohol, coffee, gluten, corn, diary and eliminating foods that are high in sugar. Add in a protein shake made with fortified pea or rice protein powder like Thorne Research Medipro Vegan protein powder. This pea protein powder is completely fortified with essential nutrients that support detox and optimal health.
Along with the protein shake, add in a high quality multiple vitamin that is high in B vitamins that will support detoxification and provide immune support..
Enjoy a healthy detox tea like Gaia Herbs – Cleanse & Detox! One of my favorites not just for detoxing but all year round.
And, if you are wondering why people gain all of the weight back with a detox program – they go back to the way that they were eating before.