The quest for a fit and healthy body is never-ending. Daily, we see and read advertisements in all forms of media advocating for a lifestyle that would help us optimize our body’s full potential by eliminating wastes and toxins. Often, the messages are clear and uplifting for the reason that we need to be conscious of our physical well being due to the rising obesity and unhealthy practices that put so much strain on our vital organs. So it is understandable when many adopt some of these measures, not only for trendy purposes but to live a fuller and more robust life. Every year the, months after the beginning of summer season or right after ushering the new year, we see so many new diets and detoxing strategies – promising a newer and fitter you.
Adopting this lifestyle attracts different types of people: some do it after experiencing a harrowing medical experience; others to eliminate toxins from their body to avoid getting seriously sick; while the rest do it for aesthetic purposes. Of course, despite the disparity in goals, they all share the same purpose – to at least feel better.
Through the years, we have seen so many strategies to shed excess weight: Atkins, Vegan, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Lemon water diet, Juicing, and many more. Some continue until this day despite receiving some confusing testaments – others have failed.
Cleansing or Cleanse is one of many weight-loss interventions that has gained both widespread popularity and skepticism. Unlike some diet strategies that have come and gone, cleansing remains followed by some.
So what is Cleanse or Cleansing anyway? From the word itself, it means removing all the imbalances and toxins in your body due to overindulgence on food that causes weight gain and impurities due to other external factors like pollutants, among others. Of course, while cleaning the body is the aim, the overarching goal is to lose weight, hence why this regimen has gained both followers and critics alike.
Types of Cleanse
There are several types of cleansing. Most, if not all share distinctive similarities – focusing on consuming liquids and replacing some or all solid food for a specific number of days. It could also last for one month. Most, who also adopt this regimen want to lose the excess poundage in a short period. Examples include the Master Cleanse, popularised by some celebrities such as singer Beyonce. In Master Cleanse, for 10-straight days, those who follow only take the following: Cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and lemons. The concept is to mix a concoction using the mentioned ingredients and drink without any accompanying solid food for 10 days.
Another popular type of cleansing which eliminates solid food for a certain amount of days like Master Cleanse is the Juice Cleanse diet. Like Master Cleanse, the Juice cleanse strictly replaces eating solids and replacing them from morning till the night of juiced vegetables and fruits. It could last from three days, to as long as one week, depending on the desired goal of the dieter.
Green Smoothie Cleanse
Another type of cleanse or cleansing is the Green Smoothie Juice Cleanse, which is 10 days long. It is quite similar to Master cleanse, wherein those following or who follow this route are required to replace all solid foods from breakfast to dinner with a blended smoothie consisting of fruits and vegetables. The only difference is, vegetables in its solid form but low in carbohydrates are allowed to be eaten aside from the smoothie for 10 days.
Several types of Cleanse combine liquids or solids, like the Green Smoothie Cleanse, but of course, this cleanses still heavily relies on consuming everything in liquid form to stimulate weight loss.
Beach Body Cleanse
The most popular so far is the Beach Body Cleanse which lasts for three weeks. And the name itself, Beach Body Cleanse means having a beach body ready is the objective.
For this cleansing, all types of protein are eliminated for 21 days, such as meat, eggs, dairy, food that contain sugar and, processed food. Other types other than the ones mentioned can be consumed. However, there is greater reliance too on taking supplements, laxatives, and food rich in probiotics.
Whole foods cleanse
Another is the Whole Foods Cleanse or Whole 30, lasting for one whole month. The rationale of this strategy is to only eat for 30 days of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein without the fat while staying away from food packed with saturated fats, processed food, sugar, and refined grains.
The Whole Foods Cleanse, aside from dropping excess weight, is to provide additional cleansing of the body of unwanted toxins accumulated from various external factors – which both the liver and kidneys are already doing. It promises too of rejuvenating the body and clearing the skin after eliminating food packed with sodium and sugar this cleanse.
Reducing anything negative from our system and consuming the good stuff has certain merits – it shows one’s commitment to adopting practices to make a positive impact on the whole well being. It also encourages the consumption of better and more healthy foods like vegetables and the like.
Be mindful of the risks
However, cleansing posts several risks and negative outcomes, hence the reason why although it has a certain following, this diet routine also critics and skeptics.
For one, its lack of sustainability as it only addresses the short term of losing weight or targeting specific body parts (e.g. tummy). Once the dieter returns to normal eating, the increase in weight will increase substantially.
Second, eliminating some types of food may not be good, as you lose energy and nutrients. Essential and even non-essential amino acids have specific needs sourced from outside to synthesize enzymes. Thus removing some like protein or just focusing on juicing vegetables will not be enough to produce collagen, phenylalanine, arginine, and other important stuff that the body needs for repair, renew, protect the heart and fight free radicals.
Juicing vegetables is also not enough since you leave out the fibers, important for digestive health. According to some reports, while juicing cleanse is good, drinking only that and removing the fiber, could encourage the growth of kidney stones.
Another risk is losing energy and muscle mass, along with the weight. Dieters who have also done this cleansing route also suffered from the feeling of nausea, irritability, mood swings, and at times hair loss. Take note too that some of these cleansing regimens make use of supplements and laxatives, which could dehydrate the body.
It always helps to be mindful of what weight loss routine to follow. If you are preparing to undergo one, make sure it’s sustainable. The problem with some cleanse again, it only provides instant gratification, but not a long term solution. However, Wholefoods cleanse provides a more dynamic approach, incorporating healthy eating without so much of eliminating foods with lots of nutritional value. As what others have said, this routine is the first step in starting your journey to a healthier you.
Always make sure nonetheless to ask for doctor’s advice if you have any pre-existing conditions that could exacerbate them when you start cleansing. Exercising should also be incorporated to make the approach more holistic and for the body not to lose its muscle mass.