Happy mid January everyone! Before I get into it, its worth mentioning that I deliberated over this post and hence it’s a day late (sorry!). Secondly, its a topic which I could’ve tackled several different ways but in the end I just focussed on what I cared about and what will be of more value to you.
With that said, let me start things off by noting we’re already nineteen days into the year and I hope everyone is keeping up with their goals (and not the Kardashians). In todays post I want to discuss juice cleanses; those miraculous concoctions that promise wonderful detox capabilities and rapid weight loss.
Juice cleanse is quite a popular term right now, ubiquitous across locker rooms and offices everywhere. But when it comes to rebalancing the body, why do the majority of us seek out quick fixes rather than commit to a more sustainable lifestyle? What we put our bodies through over months and years cannot be undone in a two week juice cleanse can it? Based on common sense, surely it’s a fallacy to think that a single product can achieve such results, otherwise we’d all be doing it.
Juice cleanses have been in vogue for a few years now and many celebrities have credited them for their weight loss. Beyonce used the Master Cleanse to lose 50lbs of pregnancy weight and since then, sales of cayenne pepper, lemons and syrup have been doing pretty well (the key ingredients of the Master Cleanse). Just do a quick Google search and you will find thousands of journals of every day folk showcasing their results and documenting their juice cleanse journeys. But what I found to be much less documented is life after the cleanse. And that is because life after the cleanse is just that, AFTER the cleanse. Once you’re done with a fourteen day protocol of water, syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper, what then?
Life after the cleanse is not simple. In fact most cleanses recommend only drinking fruit juice for the first two to three days and gradually bring back solid foods. That is because your body has become starvation adapted and is used to consuming substances that require no real digestion effort. If you suddenly bombard it with cheesecake on day fifteen, the end result will be painful and could result in a trip to the ER (depending on how resilient your body is). Moreover, in the two weeks you are on the cleanse your caloric intake is next to nothing, so expect black outs, fatigue and again a potential trip to the ER. It’s just not healthy.
By now it’s been a few weeks, the cleanse is over, you lost weight, had some gut issues but prevailed. The cleanse did its job in the timeframe suggested but it never offered a long term solution. So instead the old ways creep back in: a cream cheese bagel for breakfast, pizza for lunch, a burrito for dinner and before you know it juice cleanse round two. It’s a vicious cycle.
The terms ‘diet’ and ‘detox’ imply short term by their very definition and if I had my way I would banish those terms from the english dictionary because all they do is set you up for failure. What needs to happen is a shift in our mindset. Your focus should be on health and longevity, not diets and detoxes. As I write this, my dinner consists of sweet potatoes, carrots, beets and chicken. I’ve seasoned well because I learnt from the Masterchef aka my mom, that cumin powder is your best friend when it comes to flavor. Add some himalayan salt and you’re good. Your taste buds will thank you but so will your body. The point is, I can eat this type of food as much as I like without worrying that I will feel sick, gain weight, fall asleep at midday or dread my next intake of cayenne pepper with syrup and lemon.
Being Healthy is not short term, it’s lifelong. We cannot possibly expect our bodies to live off three ingredients forever. Nor do I believe the Paleo (high on meat) or Atkins (high on fat) diets are a plausible option because they are predicated on extremes too. Unless you have a biological reaction to gluten, or are lactose intolerant, then your focus should be to consume everything within moderation. And when I say everything I mean real food, not something that came out of a box. Your body’s ability to metabolize the nutrients from your food relies on it being in homeostasis which clearly cannot be the case if you’re relying on only one source of nutrition.
PushForHealth my friends, not juice.