In pop culture, ‘cleansing’ and ‘detoxing’ have become fashionable terms that are associated with leading a glamorously healthy life. Here are a few reasons why they don’t need a place in your health and wellness routine.
Detoxes are everywhere, but does it mean you should do it? From highly restrictive juice cleanses, drinking laxative teas, or chugging charcoal, you’ll hear from most nutrition professional that the answer is, “No, just don’t.”
But first, let’s talk about what detox actually means.
Detoxification is how your body neutralizes and dumps dangerous substances, which we typically call toxins. Some of these toxins come from the outside, such as the foods you eat, the air you breathe, and the products you put on your skin. Others, your body makes all on its own as it carries out a head-spinning number of processes to keep you alive.
Luckily, your body has a whole detoxification system in place that allows it to flush out harmful and unwanted stuff. Your job is to support it with healthful habits.
Unfortunately, many popular detoxes and cleanses don’t actually support or improve our ability to detoxify.
So what’s wrong with most commercial cleanses and detoxes?
They’re too restrictive. Most commercial cleanses and detox protocols limit perfectly healthful foods and, in most cases, eliminating those foods means you’ll be going without the nutrients your body actually needs to properly detoxify itself.
You can’t eat like that forever. Temporary fixes, like most detoxes, are just that, temporary. They often don’t address the root of the issue and deal with why it is we feel we need to go on a “cleanse” in the first place. It’s impossible to live on cayenne pepper, maple syrup, water, and lemon juice indefinitely, so what will you do when the detox diet is over?
They cost too doggone much. Seriously, this one’s a big deal. Those fresh pressed juice cleanses are far from cheap, even if you make the juice yourself. The amount of vegetables and fruit you would need to use to make one full meal of juice is astounding. You could just as easily make two plant-based meals and stay satisfied for far longer with the same amount of produce and reap even more benefits.
Some are downright dangerous. I swear I’m not a fear-monger, but I am a truth seeker and sharer. And the truth is some of these cleanses and detoxes are dangerous, especially if followed for too long or without proper supervision. The ones to be most cautious about are any that restrict fluids or require you to take unverified supplements, herbs, or substances (yeah, I’m looking at you activated charcoal.)
Just remember, detoxing isn’t something you have to force your body to do through deprivation. It’s a process your body carries out all on its own. Give it what it needs to perform at its highest level and thrive.
Adapted from the original article.
Kendra Tolbert, MS, RDN, CDN, CLC is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified lactation counselor, and certified aromatherapist based in Alexandria, VA. Through her private practice, she helps women and couples prepare for pregnancy and enjoy healthier, happier pregnancies. Learn more about Kendra at Live Fertile.