Should you go on a cleanse?

20141106_062313Feeling a little bloated these days? Maybe you’ve put on a couple pounds? Are you looking for a quick fix? If so, you may be contemplating a cleanse to detox your body and rid yourself of the excess “junk”, but is it really safe? And how effective is it? There are several different methods used to cleanse including detox pills, juice fasts and detox diets. Before you start any kind of cleanse or detox, even if you’re just thinking about it, talk to your healthcare provider to see if it’s safe and whether you will actually benefit from it.

Detox pills consist of several ingredients (usually claiming to be all “natural”) that typically create a laxative effect. They require that you take the pills everyday with a full glass of water and in about 8 hours the laxative effect will start. Now these are fine if you’re backed-up for a few days, but otherwise taking a laxative to shed excess weight can be tough on your digestive track as it can remove the healthy gut bacteria that your body actually needs. Apart from that you may end up getting sudden cramping that will send you running to the bathroom, and who really wants to spend the better part of the day sitting on the toilet? Sorry for the TMI, but these can be dangerous so just be careful. The newly marketed detox pills have started to include probiotic pills in their packaging to take following the laxatives to restore your body’s digestion back to normal. Also the ingredients have moved away from the harsh artificial kind to more natural extracts found in foods like burdock, raspberry ketones and daikon. If you do partake, it is recommended that you only follow this regiment every 3 to 4 months if that, anymore could cause excess tummy troubles.

In recent years juice fasts have become all the rage. With this a person is required to forgo all solid foods and consume only fresh pressed juices for several days or weeks at a time. Some claim that they feel great while on this fast, while others say they feel weak and hungry all the time, the consensus though is that most people feel extreme fatigue for the first few days regardless of their current state of health. Another common side effect is what happens after you stop fasting and start eating solid foods again, which is indigestion, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Many people also gain the weight back quickly and then some. Making your own juice can be expensive due to the juicer you will have to buy and the amounts of fresh produce that’s needed just to make one serving and buying the juices is even more costly. Also although you may be consuming more produce, you won’t be getting all the nutritional benefits from it as most of the fiber is contained in the pulp which gets removed from a juicer. In this case you definitely want to think twice before committing to a juice fast.

A very popular detox is the Master Cleanse where you stops eating solid food and instead only consumes a concoction of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup, which I personally think is very extreme. Although a lot of celebrities have stated that they do this cleanse regularly and they lose a ton of weight and feel great, it can be very hard on the body and you can end up losing muscle before you lose any fat.

Another option is a detox diet where a person stops eating processed, prepackaged, fast foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and refined grains. Some detox diets are vegan, some raw or a mix of both, it is also suggested that you drink a lot of water and herbal, decaffeinated teas. This option may be the healthiest as it encourages an increase in consumption of produce and fluids, which does wonders for the metabolism and overall health. The problem though lies with what happens after the diet is done; as with all diets if you go back to your old ways, then you are guaranteed to gain everything back.

Embarking on a cleanse can be a pretty extreme endeavour and it can harm your body, so please proceed with caution. Remember food is not the devil, so forgoing it altogether just to squeeze into something is probably not the best idea. Instead focus on consistently eating high fiber foods, keeping hydrated and staying active. There is no quick fix to being slim, healthy and fit; it’s a lifelong commitment. After all, they don’t call it a healthy lifestyle for nothing!


Start It, Finish It


Leave a Reply