Do You Need To Detox?

Lifestyle sites love a good detox story. I love reading them and trying to understand what in the world people are doing to their bodies. Okay, I don’t actually *love* reading these articles, but I do wonder why so many people need to do crazy things to their bodies, particularly since we already have a highly efficient detox process called our digestive system!

First, let’s look at what is meant by detoxing. Obviously, the first idea is to remove toxins from your system. Generally, this means cleansing your body of the various food and drink you’ve consumed during a period of overindulgence. It could be a day, a weekend, or a whole month of eating, drinking, and being merry. I think we’ve all had to those days where we wake up and swear we will never eat (or drink) again.

Of course, we must eat. Eating is good. You need nutrients. Yes, as I mentioned in the piece on the Auto-Immune Protocol diet, a few days of following a (very strict) diet probably won’t do lasting harm, but will it do lasting good? Or even temporary good? Do you really need to subsist on just juice, black charcoal, special teas, or soups for a week? For a couple of days?

Because, well, your liver, gallbladder, and kidneys are already doing all the work those fads detox diets claim to do. They do it for free. Since I don’t have a gallbladder, I rely on my other two organs to do the heavy lifting of cleaning my system, and they haven’t complained much.

But wait! You’re detoxing to lose weight. It’s going to be a miracle!

Or you’re going to lose some water weight immediately, water weight which will come back pretty quickly. The pounds you “lose” don’t signify real weight loss. If you’re detoxing to get skinny, there are easier ways (eat fewer calories, increase exercise, get lots of water and sleep). A juice diet seems like a great idea in theory, but isn’t an effective plan.

Okay, then, you say, what do I do to feel better after a period of overindulgence? I have a simple solution: clean eating. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds. Less alcohol is always good, especially if you’re over-doing it around the holidays. Focus more on getting a good night’s sleep, and, please, please, please, take time for exercise, including a couple of extra long walks. In fact, use the extra time you have after eating your healthy lunch to take a walk.

These solutions will help you detox in a natural, healthy, and, frankly, cost-effective manner.


Tip of the Week

If you do love juicing, one thing you can do is watch out for calorie creep. While all the greens in your juice make it seem virtuous, added fruits, yogurt, or other juices can rapidly make your healthy, low calorie option less so. Pay attention to the ingredients in your mix!

Gluten-Free Meal of the Week

As you might have guessed, this post was inspired by my own overindulgences. Our calendar has been unusually heavy with social activities for the past month, and, frankly, my husband and I are a bit TOO excited about the prospect of a quiet week filled with boring meals.

And by boring, I mean really tasty. They won’t win a prize on Chopped, but they will make us feel ourselves again. Yes, Virginia, this means we’re starting the week with lentil soup. Lots of vegetables, lots of flavor, lots of clean protein. Plus, lots of leftovers for lunch!

Because the weather has taken a turn for the cold (which made my mother, watching the snow fall in Chicago, laugh), I’m thinking I need to add meaty, slightly spicy sausage to my normal recipe. My go-to vegetarian-style soup needs more body during this time of chilly temps (yeah, I know, I live in Southern California; this crisis will pass!)

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