The Problem with Detoxes

After long weekends, holiday breaks, vacations or other times full of indulgences, the word "detox" gets thrown around a lot. There's a hope that plenty of fruits and vegetables--often in the form of juices--will help undo extra indulgences. 

Unfortunately, that's not how it works.


Cleansing diets or juice cleanses advertise that they can reverse damage and maybe even help us shed a few pounds. If the cleanse is advertising it can remove toxins be wary--unless you were eating cookies and cakes laced with arsenic, your body does not have excessive toxins. 

The problem with cleansing diets is that they can be very restrictive. These diets often eliminate a macronutrient (protein, carb or fat), and want you to follow this diet for upwards of a week. Any weight loss is usually water weight.

A week on drinking nothing but juice sounds rough. (And we're not talking tasty apple juice.)

These diets also act as Band-Aids, not long-term solutions. If you feel a cleanse is right for you, think back to what lead you to this point to begin with you. Do you find yourself thinking of doing a cleanse often? Do you feel guilty after you overeat?

What may help is adjusting your mindset when it comes to parties and eating "fun foods" like cookies, cakes or other sweets not typical in a daily diet. When you address those concerns, "detox" diets aren't needed. Guilt should not be felt after an evening of overeating and enjoyment. You should not be made to feel shame after eating a bit too much. 

Our bodies are amazing computers that are able to detox themselves through the liver and the kidneys. These organs are able to flush out our systems and keep us healthy. They do become overloaded--especially with one too many alcoholic beverages. 

There are foods we can eat to help support our body's natural detoxification systems. Foods like avocados, lemon, mint, beets, cabbage, Brussels sprouts or kale are great and restoring balance within the body. Try to eat the rainbow everyday. 

If you're coming off of a splurge and want to reset yourself, start filling your plates and bowls with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. These foods will naturally help your body reset--no structured short-term diet needed. 

A year-round healthy diet and an exercise routine also help our bodies combat any over-indulging. When we create these habits, we are protected against the effects of overindulging. Cakes, cookies, alcoholic beverages, greasy fries and other treats can absolutely be a part of a well-rounded diet, but it's all about moderation. 

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