Cleansing and Detoxing: Don't Be Swayed by Their Sexiness

Buying a detox in a box when you're not at your healthiest is like buying a lottery ticket when you're broke. It's full of good intentions and hope but inevitably turns into a waste of time and money, and you're left with nothing to show for it.
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There are certain buzz words that catch on easily. Detoxification and cleansing are two of them. Scoby, which is the starter, or "mother" for making Kombucha, might not be hot yet, but give it a sec -- it will eventually be on Gwyneth's top 10 list.

When someone tells their friends that they're doing a detox, it's in the same category as announcing their first 10k, blowing up their Facebook feed with details of the silent yoga retreat they just booked, or dropping the news that they just bought a plane ticket to Africa to help build orphanages -- it's annoyingly fucking perfect.

But hear me out, because that trip to Africa might be jealous worthy, but the detox is bullshit.

Detoxes and cleanses are easy sells because who doesn't want to "detoxify the system, clean out the cells, have a glowing complexion and shed extra pounds fast"? That sounds pretty damn tempting, especially if you feel bloated, sluggish, hungover, unmotivated to exercise, and can't put down the damn potato chips.

But before you get swayed by sexy buzz words, know this.

Buying a detox in a box when you're not at your healthiest is like buying a lottery ticket when you're broke. It's full of good intentions and hope but inevitably turns into a waste of time and money, and you're left with nothing to show for it.

Over the counter detoxes and cleanses come in pill, powder, herb, and liquid form, and they generally contain herbal laxatives that stimulate the colon and activate the poop shoot, giving the impression of shitting out all the backed up toxins in your body and "scrubbing the system clean."

Then we have DIY cleansing and detoxing. The soup cleanse, the maple syrup cleanse, the lemon water cleanse, the apple cider vinegar detox, there's a shit ton of them out there. The DIY varieties are generally full of less bullshit than the detox in a box method, but they're still a waste of time and they distract from the real solution for solid, consistent, kick ass health.

Here's why cleanses and detoxes don't work.

Detoxification is a basic function that's built into the human body and happens automatically on a daily basis. During this process, toxins are naturally eliminated through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph and skin.

The more nutrient-rich whole plant foods are in the diet, the more efficient the body's built in detoxification system works. So, the better you eat, the easier and more efficiently your body can do its job and keep things shiny, clean, and working properly.

Here's where the scoby gets kinky (as a side note, Kinky Scoby is my new imaginary band name).

The opposite is also true. When we eat a crap diet full of processed food, sugar, saturated fat, alcohol and white flour, the body's detoxification system can't keep up with the heavy load of toxins and we start to feel (and even look) like shit because of it.

So the shittier and less healthy we eat, the less efficient the body becomes at keeping us clean and healthy. And when this happens, no bottle of pills, detox tea, maple syrup concoction, or herbal supplement will get our natural detoxification function back on track. The only way to get our built in detox factory working efficiently is to eat a nutrient-rich diet and cool it with the foods that got it off track in the first place.

This means beans instead of steak, unsweetened non-dairy milk instead of cow's milk, grapes instead of candy, green smoothies instead of coffee, tofu instead of chicken, brown rice instead of white rice, water instead of soda, cucumber rounds and hummus instead of cheese and crackers, and leafy greens and cruciferous veggies at every damn turn.

The only thing that can successfully cleanse and detoxify the body is the body itself -- no box of pills can do it for us. And when we eat the right fuel, the body will do exactly what it needs to do all on its own, and we will be constantly cleaned out, refreshed, energized, super damn healthy, and ready for anything.

As far as morning routines like drinking ginger tea or lemon water -- of course it doesn't hurt, especially if you haven't been eating super healthy. But if you've been eating like shit and expect lemon water to undo the damage and clean you out, that's not going to happen.

You have to look at the bigger picture and focus on eating nutrient-dense foods three times a day and eliminating foods that caused the internal detox system to become strained in the first place.

And if you're already eating like a healthy champ, a warm glass of plain filtered water in the morning is all you need to get your system purring like a goddamn didgeridoo. If you're fresh off the booze and shit food boat, doing a green juice fast can be beneficial to give your detoxification system a jump start, but understand that doing a nutrient rich fast is different than buying some detox pills and calling it a resolution.

So don't be swayed by sexy buzz words, and know that you don't need to detox or cleanse, you need to eat whole plant foods in their natural state. This will change your entire life.

Your friend might have Africa, but you understand that you have the power to detox all on your own -- and that's just as annoyingly fucking perfect.