Cleanses are a huge market in the weight loss and fitness industry. I see many knowledgeable professionals, celebrities, and regular joes promoting them. They range from eating “cleaning”, eating no animal products, juice fasts, cayenne pepper lemonade, magic pills/powders, to simply fasting with just water.
Well they’re all ridiculous.
But that seems like a harsh judgment.
Well, no it’s not. Let’s breakdown what a cleanse is suppose to do (according to various cleanses I’ve seen):
– Remove impurities
– detoxify- give you amazing skin
– clear cloudy thoughts, increased mental clairity
– break food “addictions”
– weight loss
Yeah, I suppose those do sound pretty amazing! I mean who doesn’t want to think clearer and look hotter? Well, let me let you in on a few little secrets:- Your liver and kidneys remove impurities ALL the time (assuming they both function). That is their job. Remember that crazy 21st birthday you had? Were you still drunk from it a month later? No? Oh, so your liver seemed to remove the alcohol from your system…If we were just a big sack of poisons that never leave our bodies I feel there would be a lot more college freshman getting stomach pumps and dialysis. I am just going to say the exact rand for “detox” because detox is a made up term. (http://www.biolayne.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Detox-Dossier.pdf)
– yes, some people may see their skin improve slightly, but as a person who suffered from severe acne from the time I was 10 or 11 into my early twenties, a clean diet didn’t make a major dent like proper hormone balance and appropriate products did. Science seems to be unsure at this point; obviously deficiencies create problems long term, but most Americans are not suffering from deficiencies. Sunblock and more sleep are at least PROVEN to improve skin. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836431/)
– Clears your thoughts? I don’t even know what this means. Sure if I eat a big-ol’ Thanksgiving size meal everyday I feel lethargic and sure if I eat a pizza as workout fuel over something lighter and less greasy, I do feel less energetic…but I don’t feel like either impact my “mental clarity”. Honestly, being HUNGRY and carb-DEPRIVED affect me significantly more. Studies show kids who eat breakfast do better in school..(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666312002541). So if I am living off of juice, I highly doubt I feel more clarity. I will assume “clears my thoughts” actually means “clears my brain of any thoughts except those of glorious hamburgers”
– Food is necessary to life. Saying you are addicted to sugar or fast food I think harms and diminishes the problems of those with real food addiction issues. (binge eating disorder, for example). Your body craves what it knows. My experience is that if my body feel “depleted” on a particular nutrient, I crave something high in that. For example, if I am iron deficient (like the week after that “time of the month”) I crave red meat like it is going out of style. (I don’t really even like red meat that much!) Now, I typically eat healthy so I tend to crave healthy things, but if you don’t eat healthy your body will just crave what it knows. So yes, you will need to “retrain” your body, but when I did this about 3 years ago, I slowly cut out fast food, started cooking at home more, and started with veggies cooked into foods I already liked. I already liked fruit so I tried new things in that regard…but it took awhile for me to want to try different vegetables. Slowly but surely my palate did change. Sure, a “clean” foods cleanse could do this for me, but my experience is that slow changes are more easily maintained and seem like natural progressions.
-Weightloss- well no duh I will lose weight if I starve myself. Uh that’s a HUGE caloric deficiency there. However, it will also suppress metabolism so you will gain all of that weight back.
If you keep having to redo a cleanse, IT IS NOT WORKING!
Moderation and gradual changes will have slow results, but they tend to stick around. They also allow you to enjoy life and be healthy. All or nothing attitudes tend to end in yoyo dieting…your body hates crazy ups and downs, it likes balance and slow change. So stop buying cleanses and take charge of your nutritional choices. Add fruit and vegetables to your meals, focus on eating more whole foods, and I promise you will feel much better. Actually eat food people. It’s essential!