Detox! Its the buzz word post weeks of the eating and drinking festive bliss. All of a sudden its time to take down the tree, clean up the mess from the party poppers, and you can’t fit into half your wardrobe. Yet its only the beginning of real summer and desperation to get that beach body after Christmas quickly, OR there’s the urgency of wanting that new years resolution to happen RIGHT NOW! Anything, absolutely anything that promises a quick fix, no matter how outrageous the protocol will do, especially if you only have to do it for a week! But come the end of january and nothing has really changed for most. So I thought I’d give you my thoughts as to why.
What an efficent “detox” should focus on, is restoration, healing, and repair of the digestive system, not just a silly starvation juice-only detox to drop a few quick kilos that you immediatley put back on when you eat real food again. While fresh juices can be a staple in a “detox”, juices alone do not provide the essential nutrients required to fuel an active body and keep the detoxification system running.
So why should a detox focus on healing the digestive system? The role of the digestive system is to assimilate nutrients into the body to make cells for growth, repair and function. It converts food into energy and it protects us against illness in the way of immunity. It is fair to say from this understanding that a healthy digestive system is the vital foundation for all the other organs and functions in the body. Hence, a healthy body, a healthy weight, healthy amounts of energy, all stem from a healthy and well-functioning digestive system.
What people don’t understand is that these things, the basic processes of detoxification and repair, are supposed to happen on a day to day basis, and that when they do, we are healthy, happy, energetic, well, and have an optimal body weight. In order to achieve this amazing function of the system, we need to eat a balance of whole food 80% of the time. Unfortunately, most of us live on processed and packaged food and use stimulants as a pick me up, such as sugar and coffee. We skip meals, eat irregulary or on the run. We cut out major macronutrient groups and push ourselves into starvation yet at the same time, are overeating and are overweight.
Now the role of the detox is to flush out the toxins, but unless the said detox taps the user into the fountain of digestive system and nutritional knowledge, all that body fat and those bad habits trickle and sometimes even flood back in. Post detox, you’re that sweaty, bloated, fluid retaining blob all over again and heaven forbid, sometimes even worse.
More importantly to me, the role of a cleanse, as we like to call them, is to not only flush out the toxins and reset the digestive and detoxification systems, but to also eliminate fungal or bacterial overgrowths that have developed from overconsumption of processed junkfoods. The aim is to also help repopulate the “gut” with healthy and beneficial bacteria. These healthy bacteria are what keeps our digestive function healthy, reinforce a strong immune system, help regulate our hormones and help promote clear skin.
The cleanse should also teach the body how to use a regular supply of fat, protein and carbohydrate and convert this into energy, once again teaching you to focus on eating real, whole, nutritious foods. It is not possible for us to create and use energy effectively in the body by missing out on any one of these food groups, or by consistently eating processed, artificially made fake-foods.
So have a think about all of the above before you choose your detox AND always ask yourself the following question:
Does it feed you?
If a detox puts you into a state of famine, it is going to really work against you. Like I pointed out previously, juice-only detoxes are basically a starvation diet. While it does supply nutrients, it severely restricts calories which is quite a large stress to the body especially if you’re active. Most people, even though they over eat, are devoid of nutrients and are in fact in this state of famine already.
Also, have a think about what else you can detox from your life? Stress in any form is toxic. Chemical, electromagnetic, energetic. Have a think about what you put on your skin, what’s in your home and what you create in your life that stresses you out.