Detoxes and Cleanses

I have a very strong beliefs about our bodies and how to be healthy.  Some of these have made it into The New Rules with explanations.

Rule #2 is I will do no harm to my body.  This rule comes for a story about the singer Jewel dealing with her disordered eating.
"I decided that when it came to trying to handle my insecurities, I should adopt the motto of DO NO HARM. Yes, I was a little chubby, I was neurotic, and a bit of a mess, but I would just have to deal with it until I found a healthy way of handling it. Anorexia and Bulimia are not options, and they don't fix anything. They make things worse. I had to fix the problem: liking myself. No simple task."
Lately I've been hearing more and more of my blogging friends, Facebook friends, and "Real Life" friends talking about detoxes/cleanses.  Also there have been stories in the news about celebs doing various dextox/cleanse programs that border from ridiculous to dangerous.

This is my Official FatGirl vs World™ Position:  Why are you punishing your body instead of honoring it?  What are you putting in your body that is so bad that in order to mentally rid your body of it, that you must starve yourself?

In other words, if you're eating a balanced diet full of fresh/seasonal fruit and veggies (in a multitude of colors), lean protein/fish (or beans/nuts/seeds if you're veggie/vegan), complex carbs (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc.), and lots of water (with the occasional visit to the dark side... sweets, alcohol, etc.) why would you need a detox/cleanse?

I really think people say they are doing detox/cleanses because they aren't comfortable with accurately naming what they are doing to their bodies.  What they majority of detoxes/cleanses instruct is to STARVE one's bodies of vital calories, fats, and nutrients.  Under the guise of increased health, the real aim of most of these diets is to lose weight.   I mean seriously, let's call a spade a spade.  These are not medically prescribed elimination diets.

If you think you have done irreparable harm to your body based on what you have been eating in the past, why jump over the whole step of eating healthily to eating nothing?  So you've been eating porterhouse steaks and a six-pack every day for the past year.  At what point is the logical step to immediately switch to a cayenne pepper/lemon water cleanse rather than eating something like some fresh/seasonal fruits and veggies, a little bit of chicken, some brown rice and a nice cold glass of water?

So maybe I've gotten it completely wrong and someone could explain to me why these detox/cleanse diets are good for your body.  However, I highly doubt that anything anyone tells me will make me change my opinion of these detox/cleanse diets.  Fasting for a day won't hurt you, but these things will.

[[Edit: I am reminded of an off-handed comment I made about detoxes (to some @[magazine] post) -- saying that the same women women who do detoxes are probably the same women who douche because they don't believe the vagina is a self-regulating body part, or that douching actually causes harm to the good bacteria that prevent infections...]]

14 comments

Great advice FG!

PS - H would take Heidi if I was there, she sounds perfect for our family!

PPS - were are big supporters of AWL here, our fur babies are from there and my mother in law takes in the sad cases who need isolation while they get better, in fact one lucky on got adopted by her!

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Heidi is just so sweet -- she's been at the shelter for a while -- mainly b/c she looks a little weird as her hair is growing back (she had sarcopic mange, I believe, plus some other skin issue).

Both of my kitties are from WARL (I got spike 9 years ago! and have been volunteering for 3 years as of September).

Good to hear that you and your family also support animal rescue work! I prefer animal people and don't really trust people that don't like animals.

The shelter where I work has strong ties with the Humane Society of America, and we are often called on to help out in some extraordinary cases -- such as the Michael Vick Dogs, Katrina dogs, puppy mill and hoarding situations, etc.

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I kind of understand the attraction of doing a cleanse, but don't you just put that crap right back in when you start eating (and eat the same crap?)? I agree, a healthy diet is better, and also helps with bloating, etc.

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Hi I left you an award on my blog. Please check it out. Thanks for inspiring me through your blog as I journey to a healthy me :)

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Blossom -- what's the attraction that you understand?

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OMG, I couldn't agree more. I'm one of the idiots that have tried those stupid cleanses/detoxs...and boy did I regret it. I did a cranberry flush, the lemon water cleanse, etc. - all of which lead me to feeling lathargic and sick. Yeah, I lost a few pounds - but the minute I started eating again, I put on MORE weight. I would NEVER do anything like that to myself again. I agree that just maintaining a healthy diet is good enough - even if I do eat something I shouldn't...I'm sure as heck not going to punish my body for it - that's what drinking water does..flush the toxins - no need for any "special" detoxs.

Great post, as always. :)

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Joanna -- glad you like the post, but even happier that you learned not to do that to your body!

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"Why are you punishing your body instead of honoring it?"

Very smart, my dear. :)

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Fantastic post. Many of my friends who participate in detoxes/cleanses tend to have an All or Nothing attitude toward health. As if a two-week detox can make up for months of processed food, alcohol and binges!! I don't get it, personally.
Rae

PS - Heidi is such a cutie. I used to volunteer at a shelter as a dog walker. I really miss helping dogs on their way to recovery. I haven't found a new shelter to volunteer at since moving a few months ago. You've inspired me to start searching again! xo

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Natalia -- thanks for the comment. I don't think most people have the same feelings towards their bodies -- they seem to be holding them hostage.

Rae -- glad you like the post. And I don't get it either. That and the detox/binges require exceptionally understanding friends because almost everyone I have known who has done a detox/cleanse has become a raging bitch.

I'm glad you're going to look for another shelter to volunteer at -- it's great exercise as well -- I burned lots of calories running around with the doggies (not so much petting the puppies, but i did some pit bull curls and kitten presses)

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Our bodies are BUILT to "cleanse" themselves so I don't see the point in doing a detox/cleanse. Unless, by that, one means eating whole, healthy foods in reasonable portions and cutting out junk. THAT kind of cleanse - count me in!

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I'm all for cutting out the junk!
**hides french fries**

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What if you AREN'T eating as balanced a diet as you want to be, and what if you don't know what changes to make? I am feeling great on something I'm calling a detox diet but looking online, I'm eating more like a healthy organic vegetarian than most "detox" diets...and testing out what I can and can't keep from it long-term.

I definitely feel like I am in no way harming my body over these four days. It might be all in my head but I am just feeling happy and refreshed and realizing how much better it is to not eat chemically gross type things. Plus I can't really be starving myself when I am taking in more calories on the "diet" than I was two weeks ago off of it.

I think that just like people use the word detox to cover up starvation diet...other people tend to jump on it like it's a dirty word. That's not what it is all the time, I promise :)

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I think there's a difference between re-learning how to eat, and making better choices and depriving your body of essential vitamins, nutrients, and calories.

I don't think you're harming your body, you're doing a great job of honoring it. That I fully support :)

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<3 Robby