I can't help myself sometimes. I show up to my hair appointments with a stack of medical journals or conference notes that I intend to read. I stack them in a pile for a week or so before the appointment knowing I will have some time to myself to read them. However, as soon as I walk into the salon, I start to notice all of the fashion and celebrity gossip mags. They are as tempting to me as a chocolate bar to someone on a diet!
This week I happened upon People's "Favorite Celeb Detox" article. Three celebs were quoted on their favorite cleanses, which was perfect timing for me as I continue to repeat to patients in the clinic: "You don't need a detox diet if you are eating well, taking your nutrients, and doing other things to facilitate detox, such as sweating (exercise, hot yoga, infrared sauna)."
The severe measures that celebs take to "detox" include: 3-day juice cleanses, Beyonce's 22-day vegan challenge (which included packaged protein bars), and of course the famous Master Cleanse (lemon water, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and nothing else). I have had patients tell me that they've done this for up to 20 days! I literally have to stop myself from panicking right there in the clinic.
By doing cleanses like these, you actually shut down Phase II detoxification in the liver. Keeping Phase II running requires protein and nutrients from FOOD! This is the pathway that sends toxins out to pasture for good. If it is shut down, guess what? These toxins get recirculated and your chic detox program has become more dangerous than if you just left the toxins where they were in the first place.
I get it...people are drawn to cleanses all across the globe. But as I tune in to the motivation behind the desire to detox, I silently wonder if they're really looking for quick weight loss under the guise of a detox? By detoxing for 7 days, you accomplish very little in the way of eliminating toxins that are stored in your tissues, which is the real goal for longevity and prevention of chronic ailments, such as autoimmune diseases, cognitive changes, cancer, fatigue and more.
I promise you this though. If you eat clean, lean protein, lots of green vegetables, good fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil), and minimize your grains and sugars, you will not have to work at weight loss and your detox pathways will always be supported. Of course, you can add detox nutrients and herbs for support, such as NAC, milk thistle, and glutathione to name a few. And as you begin to clean up your diet, you'll be embarking on a journey of self-evaluation, diet revision, and lifestyle changes that will last a lifetime.
If you keep your eye on the goal, living a cleaner lifestyle should happen gradually and quite naturally. After all, detoxification is a journey to be lived for years, not a destination to arrive at in 7 days.
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Mary Shackelton, MPH, ND is a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor who practices family medicine with an emphasis on women’s health, treating all female-related conditions including: PCOS, Menopause PMS, Menstrual Disorders, Hormone Imbalances, Osteoporosis, Vaginal infections, Fibrocystic breast disease, Abnormal pap smears, Endometriosis, Ovarian cysts, Fatigue, Infertility, Mood Disorders and more. She is also experienced in treating Thyroid Disorders, Heavy Metals Toxicity, Food Allergies, Eczema, Acne, and Gastrointestinal Disorders.
She has also completed post-graduate training in natural women’s medicine at the Institute of Women’s Health and Integrative Medicine in Portland Oregon, is a frequent contributor for NDNR- Naturopathic Doctors News and Reviews, and lectures locally on a variety of topics related to Women’s Health. She is also a True Goods advisor. Prior to practicing medicine, she earned a Masters in Public Health from San Diego State University and a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of California at Riverside. Mary lives with her husband and children in Boulder, CO.