Tis’ the post-holiday season, when New Year’s resolutions are made (and often abandoned) and fasts, cleanses and detox diets of all kinds come creeping out of every possible social media crook and cranny. Most of these practices are adopted as a desperate attempt to lose holiday weight gain (usually not in the form of fat, but from the inflammation caused by increased consumption of refined sugars, alcohol and processed holiday foods) and have a rigid, body-punishing regime.
We live in a quick-fix culture, and many of these detox cleanses will result in quick results. In my clinical and personal experience, I find time and again that these quick fixes almost always result in quick failures. If strict diets worked, there wouldn’t be so many of them. The problem here is sustainability; being rigidly restricted forever is not reasonable in our world. We need to celebrate, we need to gather, we need to relax, and a lot of this in our modern world is done via food.
Another reason that detoxes and cleanses fail is because they aren’t usually fun or enjoyable for the body. Most people understand the basic idea of what a detox does and why it’s important. What most people miss is that, when you release toxins that are being stored in the body, you must have a way to capture them and carry them out of the body via your detox pathways (such as your liver, skin, bowels, urinary system, nasal passageways, etc).
Releasing toxins usually doesn’t feel very good. You can get headaches, brain fog, achy joints, fatigue, fevers and more.If your detox pathways are congested (most people living a conventional Western lifestyle have some degree of congested detox pathways), then those toxins have nowhere to go and will be reabsorbed by the body. So you get a double whammy in not feeling great when you release the toxins, then feeling awful again when your body reabsorbs those trapped toxins.