I often hear friends talking about going on detoxes. Juice cleanses, Protein shake cleanses, water + lemon cleanses, you name it. While the intentions are GREAT, the process is not always the most beneficial.
This post will touch on the benefits of detoxifying your body, as well as healthy detox protocols.
How to know if you need to detox?
Simple answer- if you’re feeling YUCK. You could probably benefit from one. The most common symptoms are chronic digestive complaints, joint problems, skin conditions, persistent allergies, frequent colds or flu, head and body aches, lethargy, weight gain, irritability and mental fog (SOURCE). But I will have mental fog no matter what kind of detox I do (thank you Gentry and Sutton).
To clear the body of toxins, contaminants, and heavy metals that can accumulate in joints, organs, tissues, cells, and in the bloodstream. A true detox will not only take nutrition into account, but also the environment (household cleaners, packaging agents, OTC antibiotics, etc.). The right kind of detox can even help improve mental and emotional clarity, reduce cravings, increase energy and balance blood sugar.
How to detox?
Juice Cleanse- There are many detox plans to choose from out there. Juice cleanses have you drinking ONLY juice for a certain amount of days. I’ve had several friends do this with success, but need to KEEP redoing it every few months. Here’s my personal thoughts on these types of cleanses. Your body has 4 “detox” pathways. Three out of these four are protein-dependent, meaning when you don’t feed them the amino acids they need, they suppress. Pure juice cleanses are generally low in protein… so while you are drinking healthy things, you’re really not detoxifying, you’re just eliminating 3 pathways.
Not to mention fruits contain high amounts of fructose. Fructose is sugar, and while fruit fructose is FAR better than this fructose
It is still fructose. A whole separate post can be devoted to this topic, but basically, the liver is the ONLY organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts. When people consume high amounts of it, the liver can get overloaded and turn fructose into fat (SOURCE). This doesn’t mean to avoid fruit… it’s a whole food and has many other GREAT nutrients for you. It just kind of puts a buzz kill on the whole juice cleanse theory (in my opinion).
Detox Supplements- Many companies sell “Detox Phase” products. While they all probably mean well, and can be a great asset to newbies, there is a much simpler (and cheaper) way to do this. I bet you can even guess what I’m going to say- EAT CLEAN. By eating non-processed foods, your body will naturally rid itself of dietary toxins, it will start feeding the good bacteria in your body, which will in turn fight off the bad bacteria… and before you know it YOU’RE SAVED!
My Healthy Gut Group is learning about all sorts of toxins that can creep into your foods. They’re learning what foods feed our good bacteria. I emphasize the word FOOD in that sentence. I’m not putting these ladies on a liquid cleanse, they’re eating REAL, regular meals. By doing so, they’re ridding their bodies of these reasons for which you may be looking to detox.
One too many Cinco de Mayo Coronas?!
There are many other factors that can also lead to a need to detox- stress, lack of sleep, adrenal fatique, etc. While nutrition can very much help MANY problems, it’s a bigger picture!
Ever had success with a detox?