To Detox or Not to Detox

Losing weight, eating healthy foods and exercising more are among the most popular and perennial New Year’s Resolutions. Often, after the overindulgence during the holidays we hear about people doing New Years Cleanses. Feeling a bit overstuffed myself, I wonder if a cleanse is a good thing.

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The Free Dictionary tells me that a cleanse can mean: “To treat (the body or an organ) with a regimen intended to remove impurities and promote health: drank vegetable juice for a week to cleanse her digestive system.

It seems tempting then, to overindulge, and then invest in some sort of cleansing solution or diet and blast all of the badness out of me and lose 20 pounds along the way. Perhaps if I drink green things for a week after 60 years of mild misbehaviour I shall be looking like Gwyneth Paltrow? Her very high end GOOP website offers a 7 day detox to start off your new year.

Even the respectable Dr. Oz has a 48 hour detox

I’m seriously thinking about taking this list shopping with me but I’m wondering where is the food? Now I already have most of this food in my refrigerator, but I could stock up on some cabbage and kale and sauerkraut! The main thing that concerns me is the shopping list for pasta grains and starches contains only 4oz Quinoa and 1 small container flax seeds or chia. I can do without the meat, dairy and fat, but the carbs?

Looking at what one can eat when on a detox diet – apparently organic fruits and vegetables, lots of water, herbs and potentially organic/hormone free chicken and fish, with no package foods and minimal carbs. I’m sipping my green Bolthouse farms smoothie while I write this.

My Green Bolthouse Farm Smoothie

On the BBC series “The Truth About Food” preconceptions about food were examined with volunteers. On one episode, detox diets were tested. A small group of 10 women were placed in a retreat setting and divided into 2 groups of 5. One group of 5 women was placed on a detox program. They ate fresh things like vegetable juice, beet root shakes and seaweed salad.

The other group ate a normal diet. They consumed pasta, red meat, wine, coffee, chocolate and potato chips.

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Urine and saliva of all women were taken before and after the trial – to measure toxin levels.The theory was that the detox diet would flush the toxins from the women’s systems.Meanwhile, the control group ate a hearty balanced diet of pasta, red meat, wine, coffee, chocolate and potato chips. At the end of the test, the women dropped off the last 24 hours’ worth of urine and saliva for analysis.

“It had no impact at all,” Dr. Oz, Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University, says. “I was surprised by this, because I really thought we’d see more of an effect.”…..but he said even though it didn’t improve the toxin levels, in the small groups within the time-frame, detoxing might be a good start to healthy living…”Now that you’ve moved to a whole new place in what you tolerate and expect in life, it’s easier to go from there,” he says.

When I think about the detoxing women at the retreat, watching the ladies eating the “normal” diet including chocolate and red wine, I wonder if they were getting so grumpy that the detox effects were cancelled! I know I would be grumpy if I were detoxing while other ladies were enjoying wine and treats. Perhaps Dr, Oz is right though. The detox didn’t have the expected effects in the short time frame, but maybe it is a good head start to healthier eating.

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5 thoughts on “To Detox or Not to Detox

  1. I think the only diet I can remember going on was when I changed the size of my dinner plates to smaller. Big ones are back, for it’s better to put lots more leaves on a big plate, than fill a small one up with chips. Oh wow,

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