Why cleanses can be a terrible idea.

Spinach SmoothieYa know, most of the time I send you tips on how to cleanse, why it is so amazingsauce, and how your life and body will change if you do. But, as I was teaching a Cleansing 101 class at Whole Foods last week, it was overly abundant that I don’t talk enough about why cleansing can be a terrible idea.

I know you are probably thinking…”What the what, Katie? You offer Cleanse Programs and Early Bird Registration opens tomorrow.” Why yes, yes they do.

Here’s the straight up TruthBomb…

Most of the cleanses out there will leave you more toxic than before you started, your blood sugar bouncing like a roller coaster (i.e. cravings and crashes), and pissed off and hungry… only to crash and burn the day after the cleanse ends with an entire box of cookies, milk shake, and huge bag of potato chips.

Knowing how NOT to cleanse is just as important as knowing how TO cleanse.

My definition of “cleanse” and most “cleanses” out there today are very different. I don’t do quick fixes, people eat when they are hungry, there aren’t 10 pills or potions to take, you don’t  reduce calories, and you aren’t left sitting by a toilet for hours.

How I approach cleansing is a very simple, delicious, and purposeful way to support your body’s natural detoxification pathways (liver, colon, kidneys, & lungs) to get the crap out, remove the toxins that are stored in your fat cells, and get your metabolism, energy, and mental clarity functioning optimally. You can do this with the right foods, plan, and support.

This is how I cleanse now… how I started is a different story.

My story: I first got into the field of nutrition and food by way of a 30-day raw foods diet. I had no idea what I was doing. I jumped in headfirst and WOW the first couple of days I felt that complete crap. I had headaches, night sweats, insomnia, moodiness, sticking by a toilet, and literally felt like I was going a little bit crazy. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and boiling an egg because I.HAD.TO.HAVE.SOMETHING!

The end of the 30 days proved semi-good results – with my brother asking me if I was smoking pot I was so happy all the time (which I wasn’t, I might add!), but my lack of knowledge and preparation left those first days/week feeling absolutely terrible, never wanting to cleanse again, and probably making me more toxic and worse off than before I started.

Long story short, I learned a whole heck of a lot more about it and now cleanse 4 times per year and have never felt better. My digestion is the best it has ever been in my life, I usually bounce out of bed with an unbelievable excitement and happiness. AND my PMS symptoms, weight gain, and cravings are gone.

Where most people start (with good intentions): Buy a store-box cleanse, try the Master-  Cleanse (lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup… seriously? You crazy.), order a Juice cleanse by mail, download a Dr. Oz cleanse, or do a liquid fast with anything liquid one can find.

Sometimes there are results, but more often than not just frustration, hunger, and a binge on anything you couldn’t have during the cleanse as soon as you are done.

Reasons people choose dangerous cleanses but don’t know it’s dangerous:

  • Want a quick fix (drop lbs in seconds, right?).
  • Don’t want to spend the money for a quality cleanse.
  • Don’t want to give up their favorite fatty, sugary, rich foods. 
  • Your friend’s friend did it and it changed her life (they grew 5 inches!).
  • Packaged (processed) foods already made and delivered to your door means less time in the kitchen (and more franken-foods)
  • Drinking liquids is quick and lower calories (even though you feel light headed all day).
  • It’s a fad.

These all screw you over in the long run. There are KEY pieces you must have to properly cleanse and get the results you are truly wanting that last.

DANGER: Most cleanses out there do not have the proper nutrition and support to dig up the toxins and get them OUT of your body – leaving you worse off than before you started and more likely to continue gaining weight and keeping it on for a long time.

The point of cleansing is to remove waste, especially toxic waste, from your body and support your cleansing organs so that your body operates optimally – giving you an increased metabolism, shedding weight, improving digestion, having better mental clarity, and beautiful glowing skin.  

Some of the ways you can avoid this cleansing danger trap but still feel better:

  • PROTEIN – Most people don’t realize how necessary protein is for cleansing. I am not telling you to go all crazy Atkins on me, but protein in the right amounts and the right kinds are absolutely necessary to facilitate both phases of detoxification in the liver (i.e. process the toxins and get them out of the body). This is why juice cleansing, liquid fasts, or other fad cleanses can be dangerous.
  • PEE & POOP IT OUT – You have to get the toxins OUT of your body. This includes excreting it physically from the body with your bathroom breaks. You should be having at least 75 oz. of water every day and much more than that if you are cleansing. Additionally you should be having at least one bowel movement/day.
  • A PLAN – Don’t think twice that you can cleanse properly without plan. Don’t be stupid. You MUST make sure you get the nutrition you need, have food when you get hungry, and the right lifestyle pieces to ensure that you are truly getting the toxins and crap out of your body, not just stirring them up and letting them stay in your body (making you more toxic than before).
  • Herbs to support your detoxing organs – Herbs have been used for thousands of years to naturally detoxify the body and bind with the toxins in order to excrete them. There are particular herbs to include while cleansing including milk thistle and dandelion tea. For day-to-day cleansing, drink a detox tea for 1-2 weeks (then take a break for 1-2 weeks).   

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