Cleanse your mind not the body

Posted on March 15, 2011. Filed under: Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Today someone asked me about cleanses.

I get the question periodically as a fitness professional.  And I will say this plain and simple.

I do NOT believe in cleansing as a general health tool.

Actually to put biases upfront I don’t believe in the use of cleansing at all.  But I do not believe in absolutes in regards to health, so I must leave room for a .01% chance cleansing would be beneficial.

The problem is every person to date who has asked me about cleanses is doing it to “kick off” their weight loss plans.  I don’t want to make this a rant, but if you want to kick off your weight loss plan how about you eat healthy and exercise.

And I am not impressed with any kind of reference to celebrities, or celebrity trainers.  The goal they have is based on aesthetics, a look, not health.  So if you tell me it’s celeb-endorsed that almost confirms for me that it’s a bad idea.  Like I have mentioned before, my clients health is the priority.  Yes, I want them to accomplish their goals, but never at the expense of their own health.

But to be fair let me take a step back and look at this logically.

Is there a reason ever to cleanse?  Was there a reason ever to cleanse?

Well, maybe.

A cleanse might have been a good idea… a hundred years ago.   Not in today’s world.  Don’t get me wrong, I eat organic and buy from sustainable sources when possible, and budget allows.  But the average American today I wager is exposed to any where from 300 to 500 trace chemicals a day. So a cleanse might have been a better idea when there wasn’t so much pollution around.   And even then it was probably highly unnecessary, not to mention potentially dangerous.

I had the pleasure of talking with a medical engineer one day, who had lost quite a bit of weight.  And in the course of conversation we hit on something.  Your body does store chemicals in your body.  Not in your colon or liver or kidneys per se.  But in your fat cells.  And it is very common for those who have been heavy for a while, when they go through the process of losing weight to go through periods of feeling wired one moment and sickly the next.  The reason being all the chemicals, OTC drugs, and anything else they had put in their body got stored in their fat cells.  Now that they were losing the weight, it was getting released from the now burned fat cells back in to their system.

Most people who do cleanses for weight loss purposes, do not have good eating habits.  Which means form the start they don’t have enough of the proper nutrients in their bodies.  So even if cleansing did work for fat loss, as you “detoxify” your body you would actually make it more toxic! Since you’re also consuming low calories on the cleanse, the fat cells would dump the toxins back into your body as you burn them.

So, basically, people would get more toxic because of the cleanse. They have to get rid of all that stuff, so they actually get worse from the detox. It’s easy to make yourself sick with a cleanse.

On top of this,  any person I have talked to about cleansing can never tell me specifically what they are cleansing out.  Including the people selling cleanse products.  That should be red flag to anyone thinking about a cleanse.

The drawback of antibiotics is that it kills off your good bacteria as well as your bad bacteria.  If a cleanse is actually effective, how do we know it doesn’t do the same.

Do we know which enzymes we have or what enzymes we should have? How do we know what it is you need to detoxify, and how to properly get it out? For example, if you have toxic levels of aluminum in your body, the only thing that pulls it out is magnesium malate.

You need to know what poison you have in your body so you’ll know how to get rid of it. You can’t do that with generic, unregulated, over-the-counter “detox” supplements.  Or juice cleanses endorsed by celebrities.

The body is self cleansing when given the right nutrients to do the job.  Have you ever heard of anybody eating fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats on a regular basis saying they need a cleanse.  Could you imagine any one doing that and saying they need to cleanse.  I can’t.

Now if someone wants to do a fast, that would be different.

Many people do fasts as part of spiritual and personal beliefs.  And in certain situations I am in favor of fasting.  But even fasting can be a bad idea if done for the wrong reasons or in the wrong structure.  I will cover that in a different blog, for I believe many interchange the term fasting and cleanses much to the detriment of people’s health.

For now I will leave it to say, if you’re going to do a cleanse, only do it under the supervision of a well-trained functional medicine doctor. Otherwise you could do something very bad for your health.  No different from any other crash diet gimmick on the market.

Best Health

Coach W

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One Response to “Cleanse your mind not the body”

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I am glad you brought up the topic of toxins being stored in your fat cells. Just one reason why I avoid steroidal or hormonal medications. Well I really avoid all medications as much as possible (Just like aunt Eve!).


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