June 23, 2013

The Dirty Truth About Cleansing. ~ Tova Payne

If you’re a juice cleanse fanatic, or a raving fan of the master cleanse, you are not gonna like what I have to say and you may want to avoid this article altogether.

However, it is my desire to expose the truth about cleansing.

First, cleansing can mean many things to different people. So to make sure we are on the same page, I am talking about those radical cleanses, like the master cleanse where you only drink a lemon-water-maple-cayenne mix. Also there is juice fasting, where you only drink juice all day or the apple cleanse, where all you eat is apples for days. There are a multitude of cleanses out there, and I’m sure you can think of many more that your co-worker just told you about.

The word cleansing has become a mask to hide the words “crash diet.”

You see, going on a crash diet just isn’t sexy anymore. Especially if you run in so-called health oriented or spiritual circles where dieting is not talked about, because it’s just not cool.

Instead, cleansing is the new word that really stands for crash diet.

Look, I know there is like one percent of the population who does these cleanses for a deeply spiritual experience or as a method to heal a specific ailment. I am not talking about that one percent. I am referring to the other 99 percent of people hiding behind the illusion that a cleanse is a sexy and healthy way to lose weight fast, without just owning up to the truth that these radical cleanses are crash diets in disguise.

It’s plain and simple that we all know these type of diets are just not healthy. They confuse your metabolism, and for most people lead to treacherous symptoms that are not a wholesome way to clean up your body.

Juicing has become a multibillion dollar business and has been highly correlated with eating disorders. The problem is, if you want to clean out your body from too many late nights of drinking, too many sugary breakfasts, and fat-laden deep fried snacks, the answer is simple: all you need to do to cleanse your body is remove the sugar, the poor quality fats, and refined, packaged foods.

Anytime that you starve your body with a very small amount of calories, your body goes into starvation mode, which means your metabolism will slow down. This is a big problem because most people who complete a cleanse do not move into a diet high in fruits vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. Many people go right back to the diet they were eating before and used the cleanse as a “quick fix.”

Cleansing is being used the same way crash diets are: to lose a quick five pounds in a week. This kind of radical dieting is not beneficial. Your body needs a medley of vitamins and minerals and enough calories to support your daily basic needs. Most radical cleanses do not have the variety of nutrients nor enough calories to even sustain your daily needs. This is why it is important to understand that the radical cleanses are not a healthy choice.

In the same way crash diets often lead people into the vortex of disordered eating, these radical cleanses have been shown to do the same thing.

I am all for cleaning up your diet in a nourishing and sustainable way. Certainly raw juices can be a part of clean eating within the context of an inclusive, wholesome diet. I believe in the healing power of food to energize and improve our mood but crash dieting ‘aint the way.

Do you want a really good cleanse? Scrap all sugar from your diet for the next seven days. Want a more intense cleanse? Eliminate all sugar, dairy, red meat, wheat and processed foods from your diet for the next seven days. Increase your fruits and vegetables, beans, brown rice, quinoa, and a moderate amount of healthy raw nuts, avocado, flax oil and plenty of water.

There are healthy ways to achieve radical results and clean up your diet, without resorting to a crash diet cloaked as a cleanse. 

If you are feeling in a funk, it can be tempting to get on a cleanse, but just make sure you are doing a real cleanse that will support, nourish, and energize you.


Tova Payne is a Health and Life Coach. She is an expert in all elements of health—from nutrition, yoga, meditation, and living with more passion and purpose. She writes, speaks, and coaches others to live exceptional and fulfilling lives through living healthy in body, mind, and spirit. This year she will be releasing a ground-breaking inspiring book on nutrition that makes the mind-body-spirit connection. For a free guide to radiant health, and updates, sign up with Tova at her website.


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  • Assistant Ed: Dana Gornall
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