After months of cocooning indoors and indulging in heavy meals, early spring is a great time to get out of hibernation mode and shed your ‘winter coat’. And not just those dead skin cells from the dry winter air – your sluggish digestion and lymph flow can use a boost too.
Over the last few years, detoxing has become a major buzz word. The idea is that our modern world contains so many toxins – in our food and water, cleaning and beauty products, in the air we breathe – that your body doesn’t have enough capacity to fully flush them out. Especially not when your sedentary lifestyle with too much processed foods and too little sleep puts an extra burden on your body’s natural detoxification process.
So these toxins build up over time, clogging up your gut and internal environment, leading to common symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, irritated skin, bloating and digestive problems.
The solution? Doing a detox to cleanse your body.
Or at least, that’s what the thousands of detox programs and juice cleanses available tell you to do.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with the general concept of detoxing. Yes, your body naturally detoxes every day, but it makes sense to want to optimize that process – especially if you lead a typically Western lifestyle and suffer from (minor) health problems.
But although some people have had specular results from juice cleanses, I don’t think going on a detox is right for everyone.
Most detox programs focus on a variety of juices, sometimes supplemented with raw fruit and vegetables. Even though (veggie) juices contain lots of vitamins and minerals, they don’t pack enough protein, fiber, fat and calories to sustain a person in the long run. That doesn’t have to be a problem when you’re on a health retreat. But if you try following a detox program while balancing work and family, you might feel hangry and tired instead of revitalized.
A ‘3-day detox’ or ‘master cleanse’ also feels like a quick fix for a bigger problem. First we overeat during the holidays and then ‘compensate’ by restricting ourselves. This cycle of binge-eating and fasting might lead to a disordered relationship with food. Of course, a short detox program can also be a great kickstart of a healthier lifestyle. But when you make drastic changes, it’s easy to fall back into your old habits – hello cookie cravings! – as soon as your juice cleanse ends.
So can you support the natural detoxification of your body without depriving yourself? Sure! Take a look at these 11 simple ways.