Thanks to much of what we hear in the media and from fear-mongers, the terms “Detox” and “Cleanse” have earned a reputation for being unhealthy and even unsafe. Many will hear the words “Detox” or “Cleanse” and immediately panic, thinking of all-liquid diets, expensive supplements, and starvation.
The truth is, a proper cleanse done in a healthy, supportive manner, can help you achieve lasting results in weight loss, energy gain, and full body health. Many people feel inspired to begin the New Year with a detox to help jump start other healthy habits. Others know the benefits of doing a cleanse and focusing on more simple and unprocessed foods after a season of overindulgence. (I’m thinking of you, Pumpkin Pie!)
The following are four myths you may have heard about detoxing and cleansing. Understandably, these myths may have caused some to be hesitant, scared, or outright scoff at the benefits of a whole-foods approach to health. Also, one must be particular when selecting a plan to follow. With so much conflicting health information available these days, as well as the outright promoting of “Extreme Weight Loss” programs and the “500 Calorie Day” challenge, it can be easy to fall victim to dangerous plans. And remember, always consult with your primary care physician before beginning any new diet plan.
Keep reading to find out the truth behind these myths and why a Healthy cleanse might be just what your body is craving.
Myth # 1: You won’t enjoy anything you’re eating while on a cleanse or detox.
While you might have to eliminate certain foods that you enjoy (buh-buy, Cheeze-it!) detoxing isn’t all about slurping a bowl of gruel, or dining on a sprig of lettuce with a drizzle of olive oil. There are many delicious recipes that can be prepared using healthy ingredients that not only taste amazing, but nourish the body.
The best part is, many detox recipes don’t involve any fancy ingredients and can be prepared even by a cooking novice. The clients I work with have the opportunity to discover new foods and recipes that they can feel good about incorporating into their diets long after the cleanse concludes. These are normal foods – foods that my family and I eat and enjoy every day. These are foods, that if you “shop the perimeter of the grocery store,” will not be strangers to you.
Myth #2: You’ll constantly be hungry while on a cleanse.
While you might (should!) end up consuming fewer calories than the average American while following a detox or cleanse, you shouldn’t feel deprived or starving. By the way, the Average American consumes a whopping 2880 – 3682 calories per day! So… yeah… there’s that! Also going on an extremely low-calorie diet can actually disrupt your metabolism, making your body less efficient in the long run. This is why starvation (extremely low-calorie diets) lead to binge-eating, eating disorders, rebound weight gain, and a host of other unhealthy habits.
Everyone’s caloric needs are different, depending upon lifestyle, other health issues, or for nursing moms, so a cleanse should never dictate how many calories you consume. By enjoying whole foods that provide you with the right nutrients, you help detox your body while feeling satisfied. By filling our plates and stomachs with unprocessed foods, our bodies have the chance to be nourished by wholesome, clean food – and not go hungry!
Myth #3: You need to do an all-liquid cleanse to remove toxins
Liquid-only detoxes and cleanses have had more than their fair share of popularity. These types of detoxes can backfire: not only do people often gain the weight back as soon as the detox ends, but such restrictive eating can be detrimental to your health. An effective cleanse will include a variety of whole foods to help nourish your body and produce long-term results. Unless you just had all your wisdom teeth pulled, or are recovering from the stomach flu, an all-liquid diet is not recommended.
Myth #4 Detoxes and cleanses are just a way for people to make money on expensive supplements.
Supplements involved in a cleanse should be just that – a supplementary part of the program, not the primary source of your nutrition. While on a cleanse, you get most of your vitamins and minerals from whole-food sources.
Supplements may be recommended to help your body make the most of the nutrients it receives from these foods. For example, by including probiotics in your diet, you help your body process vitamins, absorb minerals, and remove toxins.
Aside from the benefits discussed above, a cleanse is an incredibly effective way to identify if you have any food sensitivities, and helps establish healthy habits for the long term. Other benefits include weight loss, increased energy, clear skin, and even a reduction of allergy symptoms.