Thursday, February 11, 2010


Have you ever been on a detox program? I’m curious to hear about people’s understanding of this term and experiences with it.

My experience to date has been limited and negative. About ten years ago ( I was 14) my mum and I embarked on a popular ‘liver cleansing’ detox which basically involved eating no solid food for at least a week, rather to consume vegetable juice and various herbal teas.

Not really knowing much about it I jumped on the bandwagon and did not consume any food for seven days, I think on the seventh day I vomited purple (beetroot juice) all over our carpet… mmm! Now, I’ve read a lot of testimonies from people who claim to have cured themselves from various diseases, even cancer by going on such detoxes. However, for a healthy 14 year old girl what do you think was the greatest attraction? Yep, I lost 5kg in that week (mostly water and some muscle no doubt). Its so sad, I distinctly remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking wow, I’ll never eat again! Cue the yo yo dieting that commenced a few years later!

My mum’s biggest hobby is researching and spending lots of money on natural/alternative remedies and although I wouldn’t call her a ‘hypochondriac’ I don’t think I’ve ever asked her how she was and heard her reply ‘good or well’. (A “Bloody fantastic!” would be even better …one day perhaps!) She was a registered nurse for many years so is no stranger to conventional medicine but I guess prefers to use drugs etc as a last resort. I spoke to her recently and she was about to go on another liver cleansing program (she has probably done it a few times over the last decade) and insists that it is a great way to give the internal organs a break/recover from the stress we put on them.

I challenged this idea with the notion that, instead of bombarding our bodies with toxins such as sugar and alcohol and then periodically fasting; shouldn’t we seek to limit the amount of punishment we inflict on our livers/kidneys etc in the first place? When is starving yourself ever a good idea?

Most of the more general detox diets seem to require no caffeine, sugar or alcohol, less dairy, red meat, more vegetables etc for a certain period of time. Is this just code for a healthy diet? I guess I don’t like the way that detoxes imply a temporary change in eating habits rather than encouraging people to eat this way as consistently as possible. Its also a subjective term I guess as each person may need to 'detox' from something different than the next person. I would say my biggest challenges are caffeine and oversized portions when eating off plan/something I haven’t pre-prepared.


Doris's BEHAG journey said...

Detox - are they a quick fix ............... or are they dangerous! Steph, I am not a fan of detox, I think most detoxes are a recipe for diaster.

Vicki said...

Hey Steph,
I am going to admit to having been enough of an idiot a few years ago and trying the Lemon Detox Diet. No food, just drinking a cayenne pepper/maple tree syrup based concoction that looked like watered down faeces ('scuse the graphic description, but that's what one of my workmates at the time kept referring to the jug of it sitting on my desk as, and he was right so it stuck). My day 3 I had the WORST migraine I have ever experienced and had to eat dinner. Now I look back and can't believe I actually paid $100 for that stuff. Never again!
Vic x

Bec said...

On the show "What's good for you" they had a study last year where they looked at one of the detox diets. Basically they found that at the end of it, although the participants had lost weight, they had also lost muscle and some of their other bodily functions had decreased in their efficiency. I would touch them, and I would love a quick fic. Lol!

Anonymous said...

i'm all for retoxing!!!! ;)

Chelle said...

This is so my field girl! Yes i have tried various detoxes over the years, some good some bad. I don't believe the focus should be on weight-loss, but more so a 'healthier/cleaner digestive system. A proper detox should take at least 5-6 weeks- i don't believe these 7-14 day detoxes can do everything they claim to do. There should always be a weed phase (killing bacteria/parasites in the gut), seed phase (taking acidophilis/probiotics) to put back the good bacteria into gut, and feed phase (taking gut nutrients) to help repair the intestinal walls etc. In doing so, dairy, gluten, certain meats, caffeine and processed foods should be avoided to allow for the most benefit. Basically fresh fruits, vegies, steamed fish, freshly squeezed juices, herbal teas should be eaten- i don't believe in liquid detoxes though. If done properly, you will notice your digestive system working more efficiently, less bloating, clearer skin, more energy etc. And some weight-loss generally occurs too due to the 'clean eating and slight calorie restriction'. I think that covers it!

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