To De or not to De...Detox that is!
It’s January again and it seems everywhere you look there’s another ad for a different detox diet, but do we really need to detox? After reading in the Irish Independent about a lady in the UK who ended up in A&E after taking a concoction of different natural remedies to detox after Christmas it got me wondering about the science behind these detox plans and are they doing more harm than good? Most of us know that our liver is the detox hub of the body and it
makes sense that after the excess of Christmas that our livers could do with a bit of a helping hand so I get the appeal. Also as a 30 something body conscious woman I too want to quickly get rid of the excess baggage I accumulated around the middle over the Christmas, but is a detox really the answer? Before writing this blog I decided to research the topic a bit. I went to my usual trusted sources from Patrick Holford’s Optimum Nutrition Bible to some of my favourite health website like Livestrong, Authority Nutrition, Dr Axe, Dr Mark Hyman to name a few. As with everything to do with health and nutrition there are a lot of conflicting messages out there. Sometimes I think it’s like choosing a religion when it comes to deciding what to believe. I wish this wasn’t the case. I wish dieticians, doctors, policy makers and nutritionist could just agree on the science and provide one clear message. I have a science degree behind me and I worked in the food industry for over 10 years and I still struggle to decode the science so I really feel for others trying to do the best for their health and their family’s health when there are so many mixed messages out there. Ok so back to the topic at hand. What did I learn about detox diets? Many of the detox diets out there recommend having fast days, consuming only juices, eliminating certain foods and or taking an array of different natural remedies but what appears to be at the heart of all these plans is they all involve giving the body a break from the excess alcohol, sugar and processed food while at the same time trying to support liver function. I’ve no problem with that message but I don’t believe this has to be a quick fix approach. Trying to undo a month of abuse in one week by shocking the body through fasting or introducing herbal remedies that we’ve never taken before so we can’t really know how we will tolerate them. This worries me not only on a physical level that these changes mighn’t be good for us and they most definitely aren’t sustainable but also on an emotional level it’s like we want to punish ourselves for having over indulge. Is this really necessary? This approach only fuels yo yo dieting and feeds into an unhealthy relationship with food and our bodies. It sets up a cycle where we overeat, feel bad about ourselves, diet to punish ourselves, hate the diet so we break free by overeating and once again we start to feel bad about that, so we diet again and so it goes on. Seriously it’s crazy. So my answer to the question I posed, to detox or not to detox is… don’t make any change you can’t live with. No harm at all in giving your body a break from excess sugar, alcohol and supporting the liver but do it all gradually, I wont say naturally as I think that word has been hijacked but normally, as in, support the liver with normal liver friendly food like leafy greens, onions, garlic, leeks, tomatoes, avocados, asparagus, eggs, fish, nuts & seeds and wholegrains. Foods that you can easily add to your weekly shopping list and can continue to eat throughout the year. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Small changes will last a lot longer and serve you a lot better than a week of green juices.
If you are sick of yo yo dieting and want to learn how to eat real food in the real world then please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have trained as a Nutrition and Weight Loss coach to help people lose weight and change their relationship with food for good.
Best wishes for 2017,