Detox, Cleanse, Purify, Fast – Are any of these a part of a wellness program? I get a lot of questions about this broad subject. Detoxing, cleansing, purifying and fasting all work in similar ways. By decreasing the amount of energy the body needs to break down nutrients from food, we create an opportunity for it to focus on letting go of waste and restoring itself. For short periods of time, this can be quite beneficial. If done for too long, there are negative effects. When deciding on a type of detox, you should first consider whether the program is healthy and consult with an expert, especially if choosing a more rigorous multi-day program.
Though multi-day cleanses are what we typically think of when we hear about detoxing, there are ways to detox that might only include a morning a week or limiting a few ingredients from your diet for a period of time.
Some detoxing strategies:
A cleanse is usually some form of calorie restriction with supplements to provide necessary nutrients and encourage elimination. Cleanses range from 3 days to 10 days. Cleanses are not recommended for everyone. People with chronic illness, diabetes, auto-immune conditions, as well as anyone taking prescription medications, should consult with their health care professional before embarking on a full-fledged cleanse.
A morning or day off
In many religions fasting on the Sabbath was common. Taking a morning off from food or an entire day with nothing other simple meals of steamed vegetables and brown rice or quinoa gives the body a break and a chance to focus on letting go and restoration.
Cutting out all refined sugar and flour for a 1 to 2 weeks with no other changes will be more than enough to stimulate detox and cleansing for some. Other ingredients to consider a break from include dairy, soy, corn, grains, meat, poultry, fish, conventionally grown vegetables.
In my practice, I help patients determine the best detox strategy given their health, wellness goals and lifestyle. Taking all of these into consideration is important to create a successful program.