Cleanse: Yay or nay?

Over a year ago, I was at work and some of my friends were talking about going on a “cleanse” because they had been eating crappy and drinking alcohol excessively as of late. They were talking about all the “toxins” that were building up in their systems that needed to be flushed out.

My first impression was this…

Yup. The “Master Cleanse” is the one that requires you to starve yourself, drink 10 glasses of water, take a laxative & sea salts, and never eat. In addition, you are on the “Lemonade Diet” which includes a mixture of Lemon Juice, Cayenne Pepper, Maple Syrup, and Water. This is recommended for 2 weeks, and the creators of this actually suggest you go even longer.

First off, no. No. NO!

– You’re starving yourself for an extended period of time.
– You’re drinking lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and water. YUCK!
– You’re going to gain all the weight back that you lost once you start eating. You’ve primarily lost only water weight.
– It’s a gimmicky fad diet which does not teach or encourage healthy sustainable eating lifestyles
– It’s gonna mess up your body and mood. You’ll be miserable.
– Don’t ever do this cleanse.

But not all “cleanses” are like this. My really good friend started a juice cleanse called the “Alpha Reset.” For about a week, you juice fresh vegetables and fruit. After that, you slowly introduce solid food back into your diet. There’s more to it, but this is the general idea. There are many reasons why I like this kind of a cleanse. It’s rich in fruits and vegetables and water. It also highlights healthy foods to build and include in your lifestyle diet once the initiate juicing week is over. Compared to other cleanses, this one seems reasonable for a short period of time (3-5 days).

I’m personally not a proponent of going on “cleanses” because I truly think that easing into a healthy sustainable diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is the best way to build that lifestyle diet that you can maintain versus a quick starvation period. I also think that the “toxins” in your body can be expelled through normal healthy EATING and not starving.

However, objectively speaking, if you’re going on a cleanse for like 3 days, then there probably won’t be much negative effects on your long-term health, assuming that you’re eating still (like in juice vegetable/fruit form) and drinking plenty of water. Your body is adept to take care of itself and has reserves to sustain your health during that VERY SHORT period of time (3 days). Also, I can see how beneficial a short cleanse can be on the mind and the spirit. It’s a way to kick start your new health/fitness attitude and get your prepped and focused. And they work because you are eating less. By restricting your calories, your body is going to lose weight. Note though that a lot of it will be water weight because your body will tap into its stores of glycogen to breakdown for energy. It takes water to store glycogen, so once you tap into it and use it, the water is gone as well. But once you start eating again, that glycogen is stored back in your muscles and so is that water.

If you ever decide to go on a cleanse, consider the following important information:

– It’s short term: only 3-5 days maximum. Any longer you can do real harm
– A cleanse that doesn’t starve you: you’ll still be eating/drinking even if in smaller amounts

My advice: BE SAFE because cleanses can be dangerous.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Casey says:

    We couldn’t agree more! We founded Joulebody on many of the principles you laid out here. Although the concept of detoxifying your system is a good one, it is disconcerting to see so many cleanses catching on that shock the body in such a harsh way.

    We believe eating whole foods is an important part of cleansing the right way. Definitely check out our site and philosophy on cleansing and let us know what you think! We happen to be running a sale right now when you purchase any two cleanses too!

  2. Peggy says:

    I did the GM cleanse. Only to cave on the last day because of my friends! didn’t do ANYTHING!

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