Why do people go on a cleanse?

Why do people go on a cleanse or a detox? When is it legit, when is it hype? Do most do it because it sounds sexier, cooler, trendier, and healthier than going on a “diet”? People who follow a program of strict or clean eating, or sometimes non-eating, and eventually return to their normal, unhealthier patterns, make a cleanse look more like a good old fashion weight loss diet.

It’s an especially tempting regimen for the typical “yo-yo” dieters. Since slow weight loss is uninspiring, a detox plan is more appealing. People tout that because of the cleanse their skin looks amazing, and they lost 10 pounds, but when they return to normal habits, the glow disappears and the weight comes back on.

The modern cleanse vs. historic use

Historically, alternative healing protocols of fasting or cleansing are used for healing chronic ailments or during illness. By reducing the digestive burden, the body rests and spared energy is available to support the body’s healing processes. Conversely, in today’s society people go on these cleanses and still maintain their hectic, stressful schedules.

Also, during our modern day detox diets, we are still typically using chemicals in our makeup, in our deodorant and body lotion, as well as our cleaning supplies and laundry soap. Not to mention the appointment to the hair salon, or the medi-spa for a Botox shot. Even more proof that for MOST people the week-long cleanse/detox is merely superficial.

These days, the detox rules vary depending on who is promoting the cleanse. Is it a doctor or celebrity? A celebrity doctor? What science are they using, and what supplements are involved? Much like the word “natural”, the term “detox” is so overused it can mean anything.

For instance, in many cases sugar is classified as a toxin, yet the person doing a juice cleanse is most likely consuming high amounts of sugar in the form of concentrated juices. (We understand the different types of sugar and their health benefits, or lack of, but it is still an interesting point). For someone with blood sugar issues, drinking concentrated juices may not be as healthy as eating the whole fruit or veggie. Close attention should be paid to this.

And since we love to talk about supplements, if your detox program comes with a handful of pills full of binders and fillers, or your meal replacement is full of chemicals or chemically extracted ingredients you are not really cleansing. Here again you are dieting.

Like any diet or behavior modification, if you use a “cleanse” to truly transition to a lifelong way of healthy clean living, that is wonderful!!! From there, you can learn to detox and cleanse everyday by the choices you make. Type Everyday Cleanse Series into the search box on the top right side of this page for a closer look at this topic of cleansing as a lifestyle.

Photo credit: Mighty Leaf Tea

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