A Cleanse I Highly Recommend

I’m sorry (not sorry) for the clickbait, but I need to get this one off my chest and out into the world. Cleansing, detoxing, juicing…will it ever go away? Many of my nutrition related blog posts are born out of frustration and usually inspired by some ridiculous article a friend has sent me. I’ve written about how I despise Shakeology and why juice cleanses are BS and today I’m back to talk about cleansing. 

Last week, Well + Good published this piece about a guy who has given himself over a thousand colonics and claims it has saved his life. I’ll let that sink in…over a thousand colonics!

Now, he is a “colonics expert” with a private practice in NYC, where he provides colonic hydrotherapy and (surprise, suprise!) dietary recommendations.  Here are some direct quotes from the W+G piece:

Jacobs is the first to admit his oftentimes extreme wellness views aren’t based on scientific facts, but rather his own gut instincts—which is why you won’t find studies supporting the majority of his claims.

So he knows that his views and recommendations are not based on any science, but preaches it anyway. Interesting and definitely irresponsible, but that’s not even my biggest issue with this guy. He continues on:

Meat, bread, milk, chicken, fish, alcohol, drugs, sadness, anger, bad energy from too many computers and cell phones and fluorescent lights, pollution—that’s all positive ionic. What happens when a beautiful, baby-like body takes in positive ionic food and experiences emotional trauma? It goes into the body and opposites attract—it sticks like glue on you….Bad food sticks in the body

I’m sorry…WHAT?  He also doesn’t eat or drink anything at all until 4 or 5 p.m. each day. Hello, restrictive and disordered eating!

This stuff gets me fired up, so I wanted to share and counter this nonsense with the cleanse I recommend: cleansing yourself of BS “experts” and websites like these that seek to create fear surrounding food. I’m no expert on colonics, but I do know that much like how the liver detoxes for us, our colon already does the good work of elimination.  No special treatment or cleansing needed. Some argue that colonic treatments can help with symptoms like bloating or constipation, but even so, it’s temporary and certainly doesn’t address the cause of the symptoms in the first place.

 

Demonizing certain foods and instilling fear surrounding food choices doesn’t benefit anyone. When you’re wrapped up in self-improvement and aiming to live a healthier life, it can be really hard to know who to trust and what might something you should try. I challenge you to stay vigilant, ask lots of questions and start cleansing your newsfeeds and blog rolls of people who claim certain foods are “toxic”, “bad”, “dangerous” or should otherwise be avoided/restricted. 

Need help sifting through the muck? I’m here. So are lots of really intelligent and compassionate dietitians who embrace all food and focus on supporting true health. I’d be happy to work with you or recommend an RD in your area!

Just Eat! 5 Reasons to Skip Juice Cleanses

Juices, cleanses, detox diets.  They’re all the rage right now.  And they were a few years ago, and I’m sure they will be again.  People jump on the bandwagon for all different reasons: to kickstart weight loss, cleanse their bodies of toxins, boost their immune systems.  But are any of the claims valid?  Are they worth the money or effort expended?  I say no!


Detoxes and juice cleanses just simply don’t have the science to back up the health claims they make.  Will they help you lose weight? Sure, for a few days.  You’re essentially eliminating all fat and a lot of protein from your diet.  As well as a lot of fiber, which holds onto water, therefore you’ll drop some water weight too. But it’s not effective for weight loss in the long run.  Or much else! 

Yet, it seems like everytime I look at Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, someone is juicing.  And I’ve gotten a ton of questions lately about what the “best” juice cleanse is.  So I figured I’d weigh in and tell you why my argument is to just EAT REAL FOOD and skip the cleanses:

1. You don’t need juice to “cleanse” your system. Guess what?  Your body is BUILT to do this on its own!  Our GI tract, liver and kidneys are all specifically designed to filter out waste products, chemicals and toxins.  More over, juice cleanses eliminate a lot of the fiber found in fruits, vegetables and whole foods, thus reducing the bulk of our stool.  Increased bulk from fiber helps trap “toxins” to be removed through our waste, helping our filtering organs function properly. 

2. There is no substantial evidence that juicing is any healthier than consuming fruits/vegetables in whole form.  As I previously mentioned, you lose some of the fiber and other beneficial properties (antioxidants) that can be found in skin, pulp and seeds.  Fiber helps to slow the absorption of sugars like fructose, so juices can cause a more rapid spike in blood sugar.  This is just one of many reasons juice cleanses are often contraindicated for people with medical conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.

3. Why drink when you can eat?  Gulping down a juice is much less satisfying and less filling than biting into and chewing a whole piece of fruit.   Juicing can leave you feeling deprived and craving more.

4. You’re missing out on essential nutrients.  I’m not a fan of most any restrictive diet (unless it’s medically indiciated as with allergies or Crohn’s/Colitis).  Elimating specific foods from your diet creates gaping holes of important macro and micronutrients.  Without adequate protein, your body can actually become more immunocompromised and unable to rebuild.  Eliminating fats decreases absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. 

5. Use it or lose it.  This is often said of the brain, but is definitely relevant to our gastrointestinal tract too!  Contrary to popular belief (or claims from cleanse companies), rest does not promote a healthy gut!!!  Providing the gut with adequate nutrients allows the good bacteria to breakdown protein, carbohydrate and fat into the amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids our bodies can utilize.

But….you’ve heard great things about juice cleanses! Your friend felt great after doing one!  Your co-worker has never felt more rejuvinated or energetic!  Unfortunately, this is most likely a placebo effect.  And there’s nothing wrong with that!  If you feel healthier and better after adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet, by all means add them in!  This R.D. won’t stop you!  But I will tell you to include them as part of a balanced diet of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  

If you still want a liquid treat, choose a blended drink like a smoothie…and go heavier on veggies than fruits.  My go-to?  Combine 1 cup greens, 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 banana, and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with ice and enjoy! 🙂

What do you think? Have you done a juice cleanse?  Thinking about starting one?  Shoot me your thoughts, questions or concerns! 🙂