Recently, I’ve heard many people talking about cleanses. The holidays just passed and everybody was eating a lot of foods that they don’t usually eat. So, in order to get the leftover ham hocks, fried turkey, German chocolate cake and mac & cheese out of their system, they go to a cleanse. But, what is a cleanse? Google says it is a process or period of time during which a person attempts to rid the body of substances regarded as toxic or unhealthy, typically by consuming only water or other liquids.
From the trendiest health magazines to personal trainers and doctors on TV, cleanses, also known as detoxes, have been all the rave. They claim to give you a healthy start, help you lose 10 pounds in 3 days and speed up your metabolism. But what it should really say is that they deprive you of key nutrients, keep you hungry, may cause you to store fat in your body and also waste your money. Is weight loss a side effect of consuming only 600 calories per day? Of course! But is losing a few pounds more important than your long-term health?
Let’s be straight. Any fairly healthy adult with working organs does not need a cleanse. Our bodies naturally “cleanse” what we ingest. Let’s have a quick science lesson on food in and waste out.
Food is eaten and broken down when you chew it. Saliva breaks the food down. It is swallowed, and pushed down your throat into the stomach. Your stomach breaks it down even more and it is sent to your intestines. Here water and electrolytes are removed, and other nutrients are absorbed or turned into waste. The liver is important in digesting protein, fats and sugar. The kidneys are filters that take waste out of the blood and eventually help produce urine. Both the liver and kidneys are used to detoxify. They break down and remove substances, which can also be called toxins. Even our lungs are used as a natural filtration system by breathing out pollutants. And there you have it!
No disgusting juices necessary. Just eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber, and drink plenty of water. This will enable your organs to work properly and detoxify products on their own. If you want to lose weight, cleanses are definitely not the way to go. Losing 5 pounds of water weight by hitting the bathroom every 15 minutes is not how you want to do it anyway. How can you lose the weight and keep it off? You already know…healthy eating, physical activity and a little thing called discipline. I know, I know, that’s not what you want to hear. But it works!