Detox & Cleanses II

I wanted to write a post about detox diets and cleanses, but I realized that I've already written it:
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 guess I'm not saying this loud enough, so I'm just going to have to sound like a broken record:


You are doing your body no favor by depriving it of the calories it NEEDS.  Your body burns calories just by living (dead people burn no calories and therefore they do not need to consume calories).  This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate.  If you consume fewer calories than your BMR, you will lose weight.  However, as anyone who has been through the journey will tell you, this is a very delicate balance.  If your burn/consumption defecit is too great, your body will beging to store those calories instead of burning them.  If you consume too few calories you also do damage to your body (see anorexia and bulimia). 

Many people who are overweight eat food to self-medicate emotional issues.  I think the biggest realization anyone can make is that food is also the cure.  Learning to nourish your body in a healthful manner (versus using food to inundate feelings) is the key to success for just about everyone (overweight, underweight, malnourished, unhealthy, etc.).  Food is the cure.  Get that in your head.

Your body self-regulates

POOP regularly (do you really want to be full of shit?)
Drink WATER until your pee turns faint yellow/clear by midday (this helps with digestion and cleaning your lymph system)
Eat FRUITS and VEGETABLES.  Minimize meat (you only need 1/2 lb of protein a week -- and it's better if you can get it from legumes and other sources) and startchy unrefined carbs (calorie dense, not nutrient dense).
Breathe FRESH AIR.

Do these things and you will have NO NEED to rid your body of "toxins" -- it's already doing that.  Depriving your body of the calories it needs to perform metabolic processes WILL NOT HELP YOU IN THE LONG RUN

Focus on those words:  WILL NOT HELP YOU IN THE LONG RUN.  So many people use a detox/cleanse to "jumpstart" their weightloss.  Seriously?  Weight loss is about SUSTAINABLE changes -- not one or two weeks of doing something ridiculous.

You want to truly jumpstart your weightloss? 
Start with information.  KNOW your BMR.  Start food logging.


Thank you for posting this! I have gone back and forth about cleansing/detoxing. I have bought a 7 day kit. I read the instructions and then really thought about it. I am with 100%. I think our bodies are amazing things. I believe we heal ourselves from MOST ailments without interference. (note: i said MOST, not all)
I am one of those people who is overweight because I don't eat enough. I used to eat one meal a day and it was lunch. I stopped being as active as I once was and VOILA! Instant extra padding! YAY! Now, I never ate BAD things, I just didn't eat enough of the good things. I have been concentrating on eating breakfast and a decent sized lunch, good snackies and a light dinner. My next hurdle is movement... movement into my gym! One step at a time, right?
But I would rather take my steps knowing that I am doing it in a natural way... doing no harm. :D


I feel the same way about artificial and modified foods--low/reduced fat, sugar substitutes*, etc. For the most part, people are using these foods to either increase or keep the same *amount* of food they eat, but with less calories. But that's ass backwards thinking!

Using fake foods to reduce your calorie intake will only leave you feeling dissatisfied and hungry. Then you end up eating more of the fake crap in order to feel "full".

When our bodies consume food, it expects fuel (calories). You can't fuel up on diet soda and other fake foods. Eat real foods, and you would be surprised at how much less you need to feel "satisfied".

Also, our bodies have survived millenia of evolution without detoxes, cleanses & fake foods.

*When consumed as a weight-loss plan; as opposed to eating it for other medical reasons such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc.


Cee: It's so hard to eat enough of the good things. 4.5 cups of fruit & veggies a day takes serious committment! I think if you spend more time trying to eat the good stuff, the bad stuff isn't so appealing. I hope you toss that detox kit out and cozy up with some broccoli.

KC: Most people have selective hearing/reading skills when it comes to nutrition. Look at things like Cool Whip v. Reddi Whip v. homemade whipped cream. Cool Whip's ingredient list is an industrial marve. Reddi Whip a little less so. Cream, sugar, vanilla. Simple, pure, and wonderful in moderation. Butter v. margerine. If you focus on nutrient rich v. calorie rich, the choices become simple. You can never trump a whole food. They are the aces in the food deck.

I think most of the medical issues you mention suffer a bit from nutritionism. IF you have heart disease you hear "eat less fat" -- but do the same patients get advised to eat more fruit & veg and to do more exercise (to safely work the cardiovascular system)? I still think that whole, natural foods are the cure -- even for scary diseases. No it won't cure cancer, but eating well might help you tolerate chemo/radiation better.

Angela: Sing it, sistah!


Great post! As someone who has done fasting/detox in the past, I agree with the points outlined above. I tried fasting and detox - they just did not work for me. I'd lose 2 lbs, gain 5 afterwards. The most effective strategy that has worked for me is to reduce portion size, eat non-processed food and exercise regularly (and the exercise is mostly walking, not marathons...). With this approach, I have gained a lot more energy and rarely get sick - benefits I did not have after fasting or detox.


I eat good for you food and I drink pretty much nothing but water. I read a great book by Michael Pollan, who I believe you like as well... that pretty much steered me towards unprocessed and fresh. My man doesn't eat red meat or pork, so I have adopted the chicken and fish diet he lives on. (he lives in Belize... the fish is way better, there it seems) I seem to have lessened my bread intake as well. I just don't feel good after eating it.
My body FEELS better then it looks at this point. :D now I just have to move my butt!
and i ADORE broccoli! thanks FGVW!


Cee -- I love michael pollan -- "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." It's right. Fish and chicken are great -- but it's all about moderation and variety. I'm glad to hear you have your diet under control... and you're right... now it's time to get moving!


A big, resounding AMEN! to this post!


Very true! As long as you are eating a balanced diet, drinking lots of water and getting regular exercise, you body will do the rest on its own. No need to invest in expensive products or crazy diets. Thanks for posting!


'POOP regularly -Do you really want to be full of shit?' Haha, great way to put it, couldn't have said it better myself. Great tips there, thanks for sharing. Betty x


Betty: I did my best trying to find a nice way of saying that.


Great to come across your site! Thanks for the comment you left on my Chobani blog post (Greek Yogurt Creme Brulee).

For more recipes, feel free to check out my site, A Thought For Food:


Ooooh I will definitely check out the recipes. I need to work on updating my cookbook (family recipes and favorite go-to recipes).

I love the idea of a yogurt-based creme brulee!! But still, i don't think anyone will trust me with a torch!


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<3 Robby