What is a Detox Cleanse?
As Spring rolls around, there is usually talk among the health conscious crowd of starting a Detox Cleanse. These programs go by names like “Master Cleanse” or “21 Day Detox Program” or even “3 Day Juice Fast.” No matter what it’s called, the concept is similar. The idea is to give your body a break from ingesting and processing “toxins” while supporting and rejuvenating it with nourishing herbs, vitamins and certain foods. Some programs suggest drinking a variety of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables as meals, some allow for lightly steamed or raw vegetables and some include a robust fiber and herbal supplement protocol. For the most part, you are avoiding processed foods, meats, grains and fats for a period of time. This is a restrictive diet that is not meant to be a permanent way of eating. But for a brief period of time I feel the benefits that you can experience are worth it.
Is your diet really toxic?
The answer depends on how you currently eat. Most of us can admit that we don’t eat like we should and are probably eating too many processed foods. Processed foods are the primary source of salt, sugar, bad fats, preservatives, chemicals that come into our body. If you are eating conventionally raised meat and dairy, then you can add hormones and antibiotics to your toxic load as well. It can put a strain on our bodies to constantly be processing large loads of these undesirable compounds. It’s not that any of these are directly “toxic” to the body. The job of the liver is to detox most chemicals, but who is to say that it can keep up with the constant demand?
Would doing a cleanse benefit you?
Take a minute to answer these questions.
- Do you have a hard time drinking enough water every day?
- Do you suffer from headaches more than just occasionally?
- Do you notice frequent skin breakouts from acne, rashes or eczema?
- Do you frequently crave sugar or salt or both at the same time?
- Do you feel sleepy or foggy headed during the day?
- Do you have a hard time eating enough servings of fruit and veggies?
- Do you have trouble with feeling bloated after meals?
- Do you get sick easily or more than twice a year?
- Do you have infrequent bowel movements, less than daily?
- Are you not getting regular exercise, less than walking 3x a week?
If you answered yes to several of these questions it’s quite likely that you could benefit from following a cleansing detox regimen. The more questions you’ve said yes to, the more results you might experience. If for no other reason, you are giving your body a break from eating processed foods and allowing it to “reset” the taste buds, digestive system and replace mindless eating habits with a brief regimen of deliberate nourishment.
So which program do you choose?
All detox programs have one thing in common. They get the junk out of your diet. We feel so much better after a few days when we are not consuming excess sugar, salt, fat and food chemicals. The other purpose of the detox is focused on nourishing your body with essential nutrients that are easily absorbed and digested. Typically, you would intake your food in the form of a juice, to maximize the amount of nutrition you can take in.The idea is to avoid most potential allergenic foods, like proteins as well as eliminate exposure to toxins to allow your body to heal. You can notice the benefits after just a few days which makes some of the shorter programs more appealing to try. Check out the Dr. Oz website for ideas on shorter programs.
Here’s an overview of his popular 3-Day Detox:
For a sustained experience, people do really well following a raw foods detox diet, that permits foods in an unprocessed, uncooked form. This style of eating is very popular and more enjoyable since you get to choose from a wider variety of foods and actually get to chew your meals . Sometimes folks decide to follow this type of program for a longer period time and experience prolonged benefits. Check out these websites for raw food cooking ideas.
What You Can Expect
As you transition to eating less junk, you body will react. At first, you may feel some temporary symptoms of sluggishness or fatigue as the toxins leave your system and your body adjusts. You may have a headache if you are cutting out caffeine and a big sugar habit. Some people report a “buzz” from the nutrient delivery of juiced fruits and veggies that they’ve never experienced before. Each individual is different in their response. Typically after these temporary symptoms pass, you can expect to feel greater clarity, boosts in energy, elevated mood, fewer cravings for salt and sugar and many more.
Have you ever tried a Detox Cleanse before? If so, leave a comment below to share your experience. I’m curious what everyone has tried and what they noticed.