Of all the health trends I’ve seen over the years, the ‘cleansing detox’ may be actually be my absolute favorite trend of them all. Seriously! No other trend has been able to best manipulate EVERYTHING wrong with North America’s fading health. Instant gratification, fear-based decision-making, lack of knowledge, ‘all or nothing’ thinking, wish-fulfillment, self-destructive mindset and following a trend because its popular, one pill fixes everything mentality and picking ANYTHING but exercise – ta-da! You’re doing the cleanse.
I know full-well I’m picking (another) fight with a lot of you out there. The point of each ‘tip’ in this series is to grab your attention with an ‘F-Bombing’ headline, then provide a strong foundation of information to back it up. Therefore I get to challenge both you and I in the process. Think of it as turning F-Bombs into knowledge bombs. With that in mind, here’s a ‘Top Reasons to FUCK the ‘Cleansing Detox”
1. You begin a cleanse, because you’ve been ‘dirty’. Most everyone I’ve come across who do the cleanse, often do it before a vacation, wedding, summer or post-holiday. Basically when they’ve been eating & living shitty & they know it. There’s an old saying by Abraham Maslow; “If the only tool you have is a hammer, its tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail.” Meaning if all you know is that you have toxins in the body, then the ONLY cure to rid yourself of all these poisons is a cleanse. Here’s my first question to you. If you’ve been accumulating all these poisons in your system over several years of poor healthy & poor diet, how on earth will taking a herb for 14 days ‘cure’ you? It feeds our ‘instant gratification’ mindset quite well, promising good ‘clean’ health in just two weeks. There’s too many ‘full of shit’ jokes running through my head right now to pick just one.
2. There’s a growing population of ‘Soap-Box Gurus” out there screaming the end of the world is coming! Yes there are indeed toxins out there, yes you need to be aware, NO you don’t go live in a bubble as a result! The cleanse for many is a fear-based choice. Fear that somehow the toxins are growing in their bodies and the industrial world is coming to get them! I agree whole-heartedly the closer we get to food in its original state and the farther we go from man-made food the better our health and our ability to fight off what ails us. There’s no better cleanse than real, natural food for 365 days a year.
3. There is no sustainability. The latest catch-phrase people keep spouting off is ‘lifestyle change’. The cleanse is no lifestyle change. It’s a Band-Aid to cover up your lifestyle up to this point. You’re going to stick to this cleanse for 14 days and ‘purify your system/soul/karma/chakra/new-age newness’. What happens on day 15? I’m dead serious. What do YOU do on day 15? If you’ve even made it to this point you most likely go right back to the lifestyle you needed to cleanse from!! Even worse you gorge yourself on that old lifestyle. Nutritionist Keith Klein calls it the ‘Theory of Food Deprivation” and it states that the longer you go without certain foods you more you’ll want it and the more of it you’ll want. This leads to an even worse state because most people’s metabolism has slowed down in those 14 days and all that food is about to be stored as fat! By the by, body fat is primarily your body’s garbage dump. Fat is excess calories tossed aside because you didn’t use them as energy.
4. Cleanses are self-destructive. The cleanse feeds into the ‘I’ve been bad and I need to punish myself for it’ mentality. No other method of ‘getting healthy’ makes you feel so un-well doing it. The lack of calories keeps you unfocused (to the point of not being able to drive), it makes you miserable and in turn you are miserable to be around. You pick the most plain boring foods so you are no way satisfied with your food and use it to further punish yourself. This is the biggest reason traditional diets fail too. Food is used as punishment. Just because you feel like crap doesn’t mean its working. To many ‘healthy’ food is assumed to be plain food. I use close to 50 different spices in my food over the course of a year and I would bet those spices combined have more anti-oxidant and free-radical destroying properties than ANY herbal cleanse on the market, not to mention I am constantly told by strangers how good my food smells when I’m eating my food somewhere public. Somewhere our society has associated feeling like shit as an essential part of ‘getting healthy’, I see people being lethargic, miserable, hating life & themselves and on the verge of tears trying better themselves. Is it any wonder so many fail?
5. You begin a cleanse with a body in a state of nutrient depletion. Poor diet and high-calorie/low nutrition food lead to little or no nutrient reserves in the body. Once the cleanse starts its usually associated with a very low-calorie diet and your body burns fat (which is where the toxins are stored!) as a result once the fat cells shrink the toxins are released into the blood stream and you have not nearly enough nutrient reserves in your body to ward them off. That herbal supplement isn’t going to do it. Hence, as you cleanse your body becomes MORE toxic! That’s why you feel like crap, it’s not because you’re making yourself well it’s because you’re making yourself sick!
6. It IS a diet!!!!! I have this fight with everyone I know who has done a cleanse. Everyone tried to tell me it’s not a diet- it’s about health. Then why do I throw up a little bit every time I hear somebody tell me that. I hate to break it to you but a cleanse is a low-calorie plan used to provoke the release of ‘toxins’ in the body (stored primarily in your body’s fat cells), taken with an herbal ‘cleansing product’ that is usually nothing more than a laxative! I hate to break it to you but when you’re severely restricting calories & taking laxatives (organic or not) you’re on a fucking diet! If you want to argue this point with me some more, please submit the comprehensive metabolic profile you must have had your doctor take before you started the cleanse and redo again afterwards to measure your body’s ability to cleanse yourself of these toxins. In the very least you would have known which toxins you needed to cleanse yourself of. How else would you have known your cleanse even worked otherwise?
7. Very few fit people do the cleanse. I’ve been a fitness & fat-loss coach for 15 years and I can tell you, amongst the fitness community, we shake our collective heads at the cleanse*. You know why? Because by going on the cleanse shows what cards you’re holding right away. You’re accepting you’re living a lifestyle that needs to be cleansed from. I don’t do the cleanse because I live a lifestyle I don’t need to cleanse from! I eat healthy, real, TASTY food and I exercise regularly. It’s a radical concept, no wonder its such a hard sell.
*There are the exception to this rule: The fitness expert that SELLS the cleanse.
I’m not going to start bashing on celebrity trainers. BUT it should be shown for the record, the trainers on ‘The Biggest Loser’ are NOT in charge of the contestants’ diets. Cheryl Forsberg is. Please be savvy enough to know that the ‘healthy’ products (like Subway sandwiches, etc..) are not used in conjucture with the Biggest Loser contestats while theyre on the ranch. Reality TV is big business and huge sums of money are offered to help sell products. Jillian Michaels is being sued for millions of dollars because she endorsed a dangerous cleansing product. (Read for yourself). It’s a sad reality that the business of the obesity epidemic depends on people failing. Does a company make more money when you try and fail ten diets or succeed at one? Even more sad is that the food companies, exercise gadget creators and celebrity endorsements work together on this front. It reminds me of another quote from the movie ‘Rounders’.
“We’re not playing together, but then again, we’re not playing against each other either. It’s like the nature channel; you don’t see piranhas eating each other do you?” Matt Damon (Rounders)
Lifestlye change is best defined this way: ” You’ve succeeded at a lifestyle change once you’ve reached a point where you never want to change back to your old ways.” – me.
If you need me to be a little more blunt try this on for size…
Stop trying to ‘flush’ yourself, you’re not a toilet! Caveat Emptor.