Summer is in full force and those bikini bods (which we know to be of all shapes and sizes) are rocking. And along with the rise in temperature, the detox and body cleansing fad is back and basic as ever.
Thanks to the flood of information flowing at us from all corners of the internet, it’s almost impossibly difficult to choose a detox that’s right for you.
There’s the well-known master cleanse in which you spend a week consuming only a concoction of lemonade, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and, based on those weird flavour pairings, God only knows what else! Or, for those who don’t hate their taste buds quite that much, there’s the ol’ vinegar trick. The trick here is to take a few shots of vinegar before meals in order to…well, convince yourself that you’re healthy by dealing with some stomach and throat irritation. On top of these, there are the baby food diets and juice cleanses and meal replacement shakes.
So, let’s dial back the madness. If you’re at a loss for how to do your body some good, or even looking for some ‘best practice’ tips, read on, queen. You’re not about to sink into an ‘It Works!’ cult here, but you are about to get some valuable information about detoxes to debunk the myths, understand how they work, and maybe even save you from a week of that disgusting master cleanse.
So let’s start with the basics:
- What is a detox?
Don’t skim past this — it’s actually really important to stop and think about what a detox is. Captain Obvious defines detoxas ridding the body of toxins, but let’s look at this from the inside out. You’re full of guts, and that’s no accident. Your liver and kidneys are a couple of organs that specialise in detoxing. You want to do a detox the right way? These organs are the ones to teach you how.
Kidneys and the liver are basically a power couple. To put it simply, they’re working to filter everything that comes into your body. The needed minerals from your food will be put into the bloodstream and the leftover bits (hello, toxins!) become waste, which you will soon pass and flush. These organs are the detoxing idols — they’ve been doing it 24/7 since the beginning of time. Basically, so long as you have a functional liver and at least one kidney kicking around, you’re already on the most natural and powerful detox possible.
2. What actually are these toxins you speak of? Are they bad?
Toxin sounds like toxic which paints a mental image of a skull and crossbones or Snow White’s poison apple. You’d be crazy if you didn’t want to scream, ‘keep that shit away from me!’. But are toxins in our everyday food so terrible?
Let’s de-horror the word. A toxin is basically something the body doesn’t need to carry out those daily functions. It’s useless, like those plates that grandparents hang on walls. And those plates aren’t hurting anyone, just like those natural ‘toxins’ aren’t going to destroy you. Your organs will see the, um, decorative plate and say, ‘hey, we have no need for you. Let me introduce you to the bladder’.
3. Where do these toxins come from?
We live in a world where toxins are all around us. Sometimes we can’t avoid toxins, like those in our environment, and sometimes we can make an honest effort to avoid them by choosing a healthy lifestyle, complete with good eating habits.
Obviously eating processed foods or foods dripping with pesticides is going to pile on a load of toxins, but some recognisable ‘healthy’ foods have these pesky toxins too. We’ve been told something about an apple a day, and know apples to be a healthy snack, but damaged and bruised apples can contain a toxin called patulin. This doesn’t mean to call it quits with the most popular fruit around — you’ll just have to rely on your trusty liver and kidneys to work their magic.
4. How do I consume less toxins?
Reducing your toxin intake is pretty tricky. Like we’ve discussed, toxins are kind of in everything. A good rule of thumb is to think about what minerals and vitamins an item of food has versus parts that don’t offer much nutrition for your body. For example, fruits and veg offer a lot of that good stuff, where chips (however tasty they may be) are normally deep fried in tubs of fatty oil that our bodies may not necessarily need. It sounds like Year 4 nutrition on repeat, but our bodies are so self-sufficient that you don’t need to do much more than practice basic healthy eating habits and exercise occasionally to remain a well-oiled machine.
A classic standby for eliminating some of the more harmful toxins is to cut back on drugs and alcohol. Don’t be surprised to read that those are no good for you, it’s been lectured and presented and smoke signaled endlessly. These products have toxins that, when consumed excessively, can be harmful to your liver. However, when consumed in moderation, the liver and kidney team can punch out the toxins without trouble.
5. Can I sweat out my toxins?
Nope! Not to get preachy, but listen closely: The only way to get rid of toxins is by allowing your organs to flush the toxins from your body. You cannot speed up the process. You can’t sweat it out. Your body is a machine and every part of it has a job. Your liver and kidneys detox your body and your sweat glands work as your air conditioner. Sweating during a workout feels good and you should by all means keep it up! But you’re not sweating out anything but some little, itty-bitty traces of salt, protein, carbs, and urea.
6. Why do people swear by juicing detoxes?
Taking the risk of speaking on behalf of many people, juice cleanses are a favourite go to for two reasons: they aren’t totally disgusting and you still kind of get to eat.
Most of us love juice — it’s delicious. And fruits are meant to be good for you, so what is the problem? To put it quite blatantly, people like that juicing bullshit because it feels healthy. You’re cutting back on calories, only consuming things that grow naturally from the earth, and probably losing weight. If weight loss is the goal (and you’re OK with throwing your actual health to the wind and saying to hell with muscle mass), then maybe you’d enjoy a juice ‘cleanse’. But let it be known that any weight you shed by drinking juices for a few days is likely to come back, and will probably bring some friends to the party.
7. Whoa — what did juicing detoxes ever do to you?
They started a cult of uninformed followers, that’s what they did!
If our bodies could survive on fruit alone, the world would be a different place. Think of all the things we don’t get enough of from juice. Sodium? Protein? Fibre? Sure, your apples, berries, broccoli and so on have a enough fibre to keep those bowels happy, when put in juice form, you lose almost all of it! But do you know what our bodies do get a lot of during juice cleanses? SUGAR! If you’re drinking veggie juices, you’re not consuming enough carbs, but if you’re meeting the carb quota with fruit juices, you’re also sucking down heaps of natural-but-still-sugar sugar.
The one redeeming quality of this cult is that all of the juicer praisers are constantly intaking fluids and therefore peeing a lot. Which, technically, means they’re excreting toxins regularly. But here’s a secret…you can excrete toxins regularly without being a hangry hot mess by incorporating more fluids into your regular diet.
8. I’ve done a detox and felt GREAT! Explain that, know-it-all-blog.
If you’ve been doing a juicing detox and feel great, it’s probably because you’re so hungry that you’ve started snacking on your brain cells. But, honestly, some detoxes (maybe even juice-centred ones) can make you feel good because you’re eliminating poor diet choices from your life. A detox probably isn’t going to include processed foods, deep fried treats or alcohol. And if you feel good about that, great! It doesn’t mean your liver and kidneys are pushing out built up toxins and leaving you reenergised, it means your body is thriving on the healthy goodness that you’re making an effort to consume! If you want to call it a detox, that’s cool. But if you want to call a spade a spade, it’s just healthy habits.
9.So, if detoxing is a hoax, why are there so many detoxing products? What do they actually do?
For most products that aren’t meant to help those with a life-threatening drug addiction, detox products are only going to detox your wallet. Words like ‘detox’ and ‘cleanse’ have become such buzzwords depicting health and weight loss that they’ve kind of lost all credibility. This doesn’t mean that such products are bad for you, or even that they’re useless. Depending on what ingredients are in the products, they could potentially give your body a bit of a nutrient kick.. If you’re convinced that you’re lacking some minerals, vitamins, or nutrients, talk to a doctor or dietician and get some helpful insight.
10.Body off balance? Something not quite right? Try a GATF approved diet-free detox.
So you’re eating healthy, full to the brim of your recommended vitamins, minerals and all the other goods but something is still off? Your body might need a different kind of detox. Maybe you’re stressed over school or there’s some craziness in your life right now. How do you get rid of those toxins?
Reenergising your mind and body could be as simple as getting some greenery in your life bystrolling around a park. Or maybe scheduling in some much needed ‘me time’. Sometimes things feel like they’re not quite right and you need to do a life cleanse or drama detox. Keeping your mind healthy is as important as keeping your bod strong.
Have you ever tried a fad diet, juice detox, or cleanse? Tell us your stories!