What do people mean when they say detox diet?The term "Detox Diet" has more meanings than Paris Hilton has
I understand people wanting to get rid of toxins in their fat cells.
I understand people who want to avoid ingesting toxic fats, like Dr. Sears.
But when people say "Detox Diet" they seem to be referring to a different concept altogether. Usually it seems to be code for "another dramatic way to lose weight."
There are myriad stories on the web about people who spend several days doing things like eating bean sprout (yes, just the one) and drinking naught but lightly steamed water. It makes me wonder -- are they trying to imitate what celebrities do in fancy resorts, only without the high-priced tonic water and paparazzi?
Master Cleanse: More legal than LSD, but just as healthy
The most popular Detox Diet I've found out there is the Master Cleanse, wherein the
Sheesh. It would be much simpler to find a local friendly drug dealer and purchase some over-the-top hallucinogenic substances. You'd enjoy the process as much, if not more so, and hey! You might lose weight!
Oh wait, sorry, the phone's ringing...
Ahem. I have been reminded that it should be made clear that Cranky Fitness does not in any way endorse indulging in activities whose side effects might include getting arrested, roughed up, or mildly deceased. Please consult your physician, pastor, or parole officer before proceeding.
All the same, I think it makes as much sense to put illegal substances into your body as it does to try and get by, even for a few days, on a diet that provides one vitamin (vitamin C) in small doses and has no other nutritionally redeeming qualities.
What is up with people who insist on these extreme cleansing diets, but refuse to eat sensibly the rest of the time? A diet has to hurt, that's okay with them, but God forbid it should make sense?
The Perfect World Detox Diet
Though you'll never find it on the Internet under this name, there's also the "In a Perfect World" detox diet:
- Switch off the computer, television, blackberry or children* and get some sleep
- Drink unembellished spring water
- Wear only unbleached cotton
- Follow only organic vegetarian-based meal plans
- Rid your mind of all negative thoughts, anger, or resentment
[Brace yourself, here comes the tough part]
-Cut out all meat, dairy, alcohol, sugar and caffeine from your diet
(*And if you can manage that trick, please let the rest of the world know about it. You'll earn the gratitude of thousands and make millions.)
Y'know, if you follow this Perfect World diet, it really will help your liver, and your kidneys, and your waistline.
And afterwards, you can go on to solve Global Warming, eh?
I think the only way I would follow this diet with any degree of fidelity would be to move to a shack in the middle of the woods and become a hermit. And even then I'd probably find a way to cheat.
Sure, you probably should avoid all the bad stuff and subsist on lightly steamed bean sprout(s). But seriously -- are you going to do it? For more than a week or so? The Cranky Fitness philosophy is that exercising and eating healthy are both a pain sometimes. If too much of a pain, you probably won't do it, at least not for long.
So why not try a different approach?
The Cranky Fitness Metox Diet
- Switch off (if possible) the computer, television, blackberry or children and get some sleep.
- If you want to get toxins out of your body, then focus on not putting them in your mouth! Avoid meat or dairy that has been messed up with antibiotics or hormones; buy organic vegetables.
- Go work up a sweat with Manuel (Or whoever makes you hot and sweaty.)
-Rather than cut out all meat, dairy, alcohol, sugar and caffeine from your diet, try cutting out two or even three of the five. Leave yourself some leeway for the occasional 'bad' food.
- Avoid any food or drink with a long list of polysyllabic ingredients.
Note: sodas, even Weight Watchers soda, usually include wood ester. The people who make this stuff say the amount is too low to affect humans. The people who analyze this stuff say there are no long-term studies to verify one way or another. Me, I say if you have to add wood by-products to keep the soda stable, then I'll pass.
The Metox principle is to limit the bad stuff to a level that you and your liver can both accept. It's not as dramatic, but it is a lot more doable than some of the other DeTox diets out there. Plus, you don't have to send 3 simple installments of $24.99 to get the secret!
Additives to 'flush' your liver? Flush the additives instead!
What really bothers me is when people want to 'flush' the liver with additives. The liver is not a sewer! If you want to flush, use a toilet. Any additive that claims to 'flush' things is definitely wandering into Ask Your Doctor territory. Especially if you're already losing weight.
Even people who advocate Caloric Restriction (severely limiting the number of calories you eat -- not as a short-term diet, but as a lifestyle) do not recommend losing a lot of weight in a hurry:
"Our foods contain various chemicals (e.g. pesticides) that are fat soluble.... losing fat (weight) too quickly will flush lots of toxic chemicals into our bloodstream -- too fast for our bodies to effectively eliminate."
A Detox Diet really should be a list of things not to eat or drink, plus some obvious injunctions to sleep more and exercise more. Things you already know, in other words.
If you want to do something exotic, go on a round-the-world cruise or climb to the top of a secluded Himalayan peak and consult with some ancient guru. But please don't go messing around with any additives that purport to 'flush' your liver without having a chat with your friendly local physician first.
I realize not all the people who advocate flushing your system are trying to scam you. Some really are trying to be helpful. But there are enough dangers inherent in the whole concept that it drives me into skeptical mode.
Here are some more views on detoxing:
Flush those toxins! Eh, not so fast
Woman left brain damaged by detox
'No proof' detoxing diets work
If I sound cranky, it's because it pisses me off to see people being taken advantage of by other 'experts' who claim to 'help' the patients while helping themselves to their cash.
Or else it's because I'm jealous that I'm not hanging out with Brittney and Paris by the pool.