After a crazy weekend of nonstop fun and eating last weekend, this weekend I've been trying to "detox" and makeover my kitchen, starting with a total scrub-down of everything (fridge inside & out too!) and a trip to Whole Foods & the farmers' market to load up on healthy goods. It's difficult to get back on track after an indulging vacation but I feel like a good clean-out of the refrigerator, pantry and a shopping trip to stock up on good-for-you items is definitely a nice place to start.
I get a lot of questions from friends and clients about these popular "Cleansing" diets consisting mainly of juices or liquid concoctions that are supposed to detox the body, flush out fat, rev up your metabolism and give you boundless energy but really I'm not into it. I don't think that they are good for you and really, I think they are totally unnecessary. And really, if you eat healthy fresh foods, fiber, a variety of fruits and veggies, lean meats and other protein sources and limit your intake of bad-for-you fats and processed foods you really don't need any additional sort of detox. The reason you have organs such as your kidneys and liver is so that the body can naturally cleanse itself and get rid of waste that you don't need. If you put good fuel in you don't need any special gimmick to "detoxify" anything. Drinking a lot of water is also key to ridding your body of toxins and keep everything running smoothly.
Let's take a peek at the Master Cleanse, this lemonade-type diet popular to many celebrities (such as Beyonce) ...the diet first instructs you to take an over-the-counter laxative pill in the morning to help get your digestive system moving or you can do their salt-water flush (ick) by mixing sea salt with water and just drinking it. I don't encourage anyone who has a functional GI tract to take a laxative unless they are instructed to by a doctor or are constipated to the point that a high fiber diet and fluids won't help. Second, if you have problems with water retention or high blood pressure or any other medical condition that recommends that you limit your salt intake I would not recommend drinking pure salt water. This seems a little opposite of what I consider a "healthy diet" or healthy way to cleanse the body...by putting in laxatives and salt?! Give me a break...
Second, the diet instructs you to drink a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper to rev up your metabolism and rid your body of toxins naturally. Up to 6-12 glasses per day whenever you are hungry. This diet provides up to a max of 1000 calories per day, all coming from the sugar that is in the maple syrup. It does not contain any protein or fat and is extremely limited in all the vitamins and minerals you need...so why would you consume this for days?
The friends that I know of that have tried this diet and other liquid cleanse diets say that yes, they do lose weight but they feel terrible while they are doing it. They are tired, dizzy, irritable, got headaches, felt nauseated and of course experienced the unpleasant diarrhea that can (and is supposed to?) occur. But the weight loss that you may experience may be due to water weight loss alone as well as the breakdown of muscle mass (consuming no protein and limited energy due to lack of nutrition = muscle loss).
This does not sound like my idea of a detox or healthy way to lose weight and "cleanse" the system..
So what I'm doing to "detox"...eat whole grain high fiber foods, load up on my fresh fruits and vegetables, cook with lean protein, take my multivitamin with extra calcium and vitamin D, get enough omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flaxseed, fish oil supplements...), drink a ton of water, sleep at least 7hrs a night and limit my intake of fast foods, processed foods, and anything considered unnatural :) If you eat healthy, you shouldn't feel a need to try these crazy cleanses.
Has anyone tried a liquid detox or cleanse diet before? What did you do? How did you feel? Did it work? Would you do it again? I'd like your feedback :)