Detox Diets and Body Cleanses: What Is The Difference?
Detox diets…body cleanses…colon cleanses…bowel cleanses…
You’ve probably heard all of these terms used in reference to “ridding your system of unhealthy toxins” -- but what do these terms actually mean?
Do you really need to be on a ‘detox diet’ or ‘cleansing’ your body?
Are programs and products marketed as detoxes and cleanses even safe to do?
To start us off, all of these terms get a LOT of hype in the media, and people tend to use various terms interchangeably, which makes it especially confusing for consumers.
So what IS the difference between a Detox Diet and a Cleanse?
Generally, both detoxes and cleanses are methods that people use to clear or flush toxins out of their body.
But, there are some important differences...
Requires you to be on a very restrictive diet that only allows you to consume a small selection of food. Food that some consider to be “detox foods”, and usually for a specified amount of time, often several days to even several weeks.
Some detox diets actually involve fasting for a period of time. As a result, your body might not get the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly, and your energy level could be negatively impacted - sometimes dramatically, and can even be accompanied by “detox flu” symptoms. This is why if you have any health issues that a detox done under a trained medical professional is advised. If you’d like an individualized plan, please set up an appointment at: www.stephaniefarwellnd.ca/Contact
Typically involves consuming some sort of herbal or supplement product (pills, powders, tinctures) intended to flush out your digestive tract - namely the large colon or bowel.
What you must understand is that these products could cause undesirable side effects, and may contain chemicals that might not be healthy or safe, thus defeating the purpose of performing a “body or bowel cleanse” in the first place. This is why having your health assessed prior to doing a cleanse can be beneficial.
Some cleanses also involve being on a restrictive diet for at least a short period of time - usually the number of days that the cleanse supplements have been recommended for.
Why do people feel they need to ‘cleanse’ their body anyway?
Besides getting rid of an over-accumulation of toxins in their system (known or suspected), there are other reasons why people may wish to try detox diets and cleanses, including the following:
- They want to lose weight and look/feel slimmer & healthier (it does so by decreasing inflammation in the body-which in my Goldilocks Program is addressed if indicated: https://www.stephaniefarwellnd.ca/Store/THE-GOLDILOCKS-WEIGHT-LOSS-PROGRAM
- They think it will make them healthier, i.e. there may be a perceived “health halo” that accompanies a cleanse program or product
- They went on a vacation and didn’t eat healthy/imbibed too much OR they’re planning on going on a vacation and want to detox before they tox ;)
Many people don’t realize that our system can remove its own waste naturally. In fact, the body is cleverly designed to do just that.
Our body has its own built-in detox system that works on its own every day. One of the main functions of the liver is to remove toxins from our blood.
Tips to help you naturally support your body’s own detoxification processes
Here are things you can be doing day-to-day and year-round:
- EXERCISE & SWEAT REGULARLY. This not only helps you manage your weight but it also gets rid of toxins while you are sweating. Remember to replace your minerals after long periods of sweating though!
- DRINK FILTERED WATER. Water helps flush out and cleanse your system. Add some fresh fruit or veggies to enhance the flavour of plain, filtered water.
- EAT GOOD FATS. Ditch the processed and refined fats, and instead, consume healthier “good fats” such as olives & olive oil, raw nuts & seeds, coconut oil, and avocados.
- UP THE FIBRE. Fibre helps to move toxins and waste that have built up in your system through your system naturally - think of fibre like stiff bristled broom for your digestive system!
- BE A SAVVY LABEL READER. If you don’t recognize the ingredients on the label, then you might not want to eat that food - because they’re probably NOT food! There could be a chemical that results in negative side effects, and these chemicals are additional toxins that are entering your body.
- REDUCE YOUR TOXIC LOAD. Consume organic and non-GMO food. They don’t contain chemicals and other poisons that contribute to the overall toxin load on your body.
You can also make the switch to more natural bath & beauty products in your daily routine, as well as natural, chemical-free cleaning products for your household. Your skin is amazing at absorbing much of what you put on it, so be sure to give it good stuff only!
Having said that, detoxing and cleansing DO have a role in enhancing one’s overall health and wellbeing. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I have been trained to assess whether one is indicated, safe, and what limitations or substitutions may be needed in your individual case. If you’d like a complete Naturopathic assessment, go to www.stephaniefarwellnd.ca/Contact to book an appointment today!
Speaking of reducing the toxin load on your body….”mocktails” or beverages that imitate cocktails but don’t contain any alcohol, have become a huge trend, especially for those seeking healthier, more natural beverages - without adding additional toxins to our system.
This Strawberry Orange Mocktail recipe is as refreshing as it is healthy, and can easily be made in just a few minutes. Impress your friends with it the next time you entertain!
Strawberry Orange “Mocktail”
- 1 lb. fresh strawberries (if using frozen, unsweetened strawberries, can adjust the ice)
- ½ cup pure orange juice
- ½ cup ice cubes
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- ½ cup sparkling water, lemon or lime flavoured if desired
- Place fruit, juice & ice in a blender. Blend on medium-high until the desired consistency is reached. Should be a smoothie-like thickness.
- Pour into glass, ¾ full, then top with sparkling water. Leave as is or stir in slightly.
- Enjoy the alcohol-free, naturally “detoxing” refreshment!
WebMD: Natural Colon Cleansing, Is It Necessary?