Most people universally agree that they could do better by their bodies via their dietary intake. And, there’s been a lot of coverage the past few years about detox diets, cleanses, and things you do to you colon that I wouldn’t wish on the city’s waterways. So, what’s the right answer– is there a right answer? Here’s my take — for what it’s worth.
First let me say that I’m not a doctor, but I’ve done a lot of research, so take my opinion with a grain of sea salt. Next, let me describe what I define as detox and cleanse. What’s the dif? For me, a cleanse is an extreme flushing of the system either with laxatives or some artificial means or fad diet where as detox can be as subjective as you like it to. There are definitely ‘extreme’ detox diets out there like the grapefruit and maple syrup nonsense, and ‘fasting’ but for my purposes, I’m using the word detox as if you were entering rehab — a ridding the system of toxins.
Before I even consider embarking on any type of drastic ‘movement’ in the digestion arena, I do extensive research. I look at credible medical sites backed by science — not feelings, or pontificating. Is it safe? Is it effective? Does it have side effects that aren’t worth the ‘assle’? Why cause a problem where there wasn’t one? Then I see what the recommendation is for children. The way I see it, if you wouldn’t do it for your child, why would you do it to yourself? Be as kind to your system as your would your little one’s. That’s my motto.
So, I’ve done a lot of digging around about cleanses and detoxes, and in my opinion, cleanses just aren’t well-liked by medical professionals. And as I mentioned, I think a ‘detox’ can be as subjective and targeted as you want it to be– I call it ‘selective detox’. You can ‘detox’ yourself from anything. Want to wean yourself off of sugar? That’s a pretty good start in the detox arena. I also like the idea of selective detox, because I’m also a data geek who likes to pinpoint cause and effect. If you’re feeling punky or sluggish or maybe you have some belly fat you can’t seem to shake, wouldn’t you want to know exactly what variable is affecting you, specifically? I’ve made my share of mistakes in overdoing it on a fad, so I’ve learned my lesson.
For me, I look at the foods I come back to most often. Are they good for me? Are they addictive and habitual? Is that a good thing? There’s a lot that can be learned when beginning a detox journey about your personality as well as your diet. Sugar is my issue. So, if I detox from sugar (for example), I look at what my diet may be missing that I run for the sweets. How can I put the good in, while I take the bad out? Plus, then I see if sugar is the lone gunman of my woes or if there’s something else I should examine more closely. Plus, if you simply take something out, without putting something back, you’re more likely to relapse. So, instead of the gummi bear, reach for some cherries (they have a low glycemic index).
I’m definitely also a fan of detoxes that have you start at square one and work your way back to stability. It’s a great way to see if you have sensitivities (as you add foods back into your diet). And did you know that you could effectively ‘restart’ your taste buds in 10 days?
“The tongue is covered with around 9,000 taste buds that help us to detect sweet, salty, bitter or sour flavours, explains Professor Damian Walmsley, scientific adviser to the British Dental Association.
The taste buds themselves are a collection of cells on the surface of the tongue, each housing about 50 taste cells. The buds renew themselves every ten days to two weeks.”
Of course this is null and void if you’re a smoker or engage in activities that cause inflammation. So, imagine this. If you’re a sugar addict (she said without judgement), you could effectively abstain from your addiction during a detox and rid yourself of the physical taste for a certain food (though you still have to examine any dietary needs or emotional issues that caused the addiction in the first place.)
Take caution with any dietary changes. If you’re pregnant or nursing, or have a medical condition, talk with your doctor about what you’re trying to achieve and see if there’s a safe way to go about it. Again, this is just my interpretation of tons of various sources from medical to alternative medicine to fad sites.
If you have a success story or thoughts, let me know here.
– Your Charmed Yogi
Related post: Becoming a vegetarian or a non-meatetarian
Photo: Tone Detox