I admit it, I am a veteran cleanser. I’ve tried almost every type of cleanse out there. So, after all that, do I think it’s a good idea? Well, I come down on both sides of the fence. I’m just not sure they’re right for everybody all the time, even me. Here are the pros and the cons, as I see them.
- The “Fad” factor. It seems like everyone and their mother is offering a cleanse these days. You could almost feel that if you’re not cleansing/detoxing there’s something wrong with you. Not true at all! There are many ways to be healthy/jumpstart your healthy habits. Cleansing is only one way. And in the hands of someone impersonal, less than experienced, quacky, partially informed or just trying to sell you products, it could be downright dangerous. I wouldn’t do any cleanse just because “everyone is doing it”. And I don’t want to name names, but there is a very popular book out there touting a cleanse I just can’t behind. Don’t trust the hype.
- The “Bandaid” factor. A few popular juice cleanses out there make it seem like you can treat your body any way you want, just as long as you cleanse intermittently. This is a little dangerous. For people who have a hard time being consistent with their healthy habits, it may be tempting to think “It’s ok to way overindulge this week, I’ll cleanse next week!” But that can send your internal pendulum swinging far too wide. Rather than tuning in and treating yourself well every day, with reasonable indulgences, you may find yourself freaking out and eating/drinking everything in sight only to “atone” by cleansing the following week, which sends you on another bender… Get the idea?
- The addictive factor. That’s right, for people with a history of eating disorders or body dismorphia, or even for just addictive natures, cleansing can be a powerful draw. Though a cleanse is usually challenging in the beginning, people often feel great by the middle to end. And that light, clean, vibrant “high” feeling can really be addictive. Thought lightening up and getting that vibrance, letting your digestion have a rest can be great, your body really wants to be more nourished on a regular basis. It actually does need food for fuel. So cleansing too often may just send your body into conservation mode, thinking there may be a famine in its near future.
All of that said, I think cleansing can be a powerful tool for good.
Here are the pros.
- Jumpstart your new habits: Sometimes changing the way you eat can be daunting. Food is so much a part of life! And, if you’re on a sugar kick, or some other kind of unhealthy roll, you may feel that just doing a little bit each day isn’t accessible, that you end up following your ingrained patterns almost against your own will. Sugar is a drug you know! In that case, a cleanse can strip away the habits, helping you to start from a clean slate. By the time you’ve finished you’ll hopefully feel so good you’ll want to embrace the healthy foods and habits.
- Find your intolerances: If you’re having some issues, from digestive upset to energy issues to skin problems to heartburn and more, you may have food intolerances. And without a controlled experiment, how will you know what’s causing the problem? A cleanse in the form of an elimination diet can help. You’ll cut out all possible offenders, give your system a chance to heal and reset, then add in the possible trouble makers one by one, noticing if they create a reaction.
- Give your digestion a rest: With so much of your immunity residing in your gut, it’s good to rest your digestion from time to time so it can reset, heal, and get back to doing it’s job better. Back in the early days of humanity we didn’t eat 3-4 meals a day plus snacks. We ate when we could. So we are built for intermittent “low times”. That doesn’t mean you have to fast! There are many ways to cleanse without fasting and still give your digestion a break. We’ll get to that later!
- Reset your tastebuds: If you normally eat a lot of processed, flavored foods, your tastebuds are likely rather numb to the deliciousness that exists in nature. A lot of what gets called “food” today is loaded with chemical additives, high doses of sugar and tons of fake fat and salt to really assault your tastebuds and make them want more. By completely cutting them out for a time, you’ll reset your palate and suddenly that strawberry will be a taste extravaganza!
- Give your mind a break: Food is a big deal. We spend a lot of time thinking/worrying planning for our next meal, and sometimes that focus can completely take over. By engaging in a period of simple eating, mono-diet, juice fasting or the like, you can take the focus off food for a little while, use that time to really figure out what other nourishment you need, what parts of your life are overwhelming and which parts are neglected, and realign with your more mindful, moderate best self.
Read all the pros and cons and still think you want to try a cleanse?
Well, actually, I think what you really need is nourishing, loving, Delectable Reset…
And, I can help! Coming up, look for a roundup of whats/whys/and hows of various types of cleanses.
And, if you can’t wait that long, contact me for your free personal assessment and to talk about how I can guide you through a Delectable Reset tailored specifically to your needs.
I can’t wait to work with you!