Cleansing the RIGHT way

I wrote a bit about fad detoxes/cleanses a while back and wanted to give you some info on how to do a healthy cleanse. I asked my good friend and nutrition expert, Sara Grout to write an article on the right way to cleanse your body. Thanks, Sara! This is what she wrote:

The topic of detoxing is a hot one, there’s no debating this. But what is it about a detox that makes them so appealing? Is it because they work, or is it because they offer a ‘quick fix’? There’s no shocking surprise here when I tell you we’re a nation of ‘quick-fixers’ and one of the reasons we’re so drawn to the word ‘detox’ is that it appeals to that shameful side of us…..the side of us that wants to do something for 7 days (or possibly even 4 weeks, god-forbid) and magically have the body and life we’ve always dreamed of. So, this is where my role as a functional and holistic nutritionist is crucial; to EMPOWER YOU to take action over your own health via EDUCATION. What information out there is right for you? And how can you identify what’s a trend vs. what’s legit? So, is a Detox a ‘trend’ or is it ‘legit’? Let’s take a look.

First of all, it is important to understand what a detox is, who it’s appropriate for, and when you might want to use one. The body is a truly intricate and INDIVIDUALIZED piece of work. Just like one diet is not right for all people, one cleanse is not right for all people. But like all things, they have their TIME and their PLACE.
The first step: Get to know YOUR BODY. If you don’t know you, how your body functions and what your body needs, how will you know which (if any) detox is right for you? There are many ways to get in tune with your body and figure out what it needs, and this should always be the first step in any health plan. Detoxing should not involve liquid diets, restricted portions or fancy generalized supplements but rather, a lifestyle that is based around whole foods that are known to be beneficial for YOU and your specific metabolic type, constitution, environment and current situation. An individualized approach. This also includes the addition of fortifying foods and the removal of foods that may be causing a low-grade chronic inflammation in the body and/or in the gut. When the chronic stressors are removed and strengthening foods are added in, your body will naturally detoxify itself. And what’s even more exciting? Cravings will go away and counting calories will be a thing of the past. Giving your body the foods and nutrients it needs is the MOST powerful thing you can do for your health, life, and longevity.
The second step: Why do you want to do a cleanse? Are you looking for a ‘quick fix’ or are you looking for a true health transformation? If it’s the latter, you might want to consider hiring a nutritionist who looks at individuality and optimal functioning of the body. By examining these key factors, you can give the body what it needs and remove any hidden stressors. Once this is done, you will no longer need to search out those ‘quick fix’ deals. The body needs to be in a solid, strong and healthy condition before starting a strict cleanse so that the liver, kidneys, skin, and lungs (the main detoxifying organs) can function at their best.
The third step: Look at the claims. Is it realistic? Is it based around whole foods or liquid shakes, drinks and supplements? Remember, the quicker we take off weight, the more likely it is that it’s water-weight or muscle that we’re losing. When diets or detoxes deprive the body of the fuel it needs to survive, we move into starvation mode, utilizing our own muscle, altering thyroid function (the master metabolic hormone) and setting off a horrible cycle of weight loss and weight gain. Each time we place our body into starvation mode, our metabolism grows weaker and weaker and the yo-yo dieting actually creates an increase in weight and fat gain that continues to grow with each failed attempt. NOT our idea of optimal health and well-being!
In general, cleanses and detoxes can be ultra healing and leave you feeling better than ever before. However, if the cleanse is too strict or not appropriate for YOU, there may be a better way to spend your money. The most important thing to remember is: what does YOUR body need? There are detoxes out there that have a more healing and holistic approach, allowing the body to find its balance naturally. A detox that EVERYONE can benefit from should look something like the following:
-A full health assessment or questionnaire should be performed prior to the detox to make sure that your body is ready, and to determine what type of detox is best for you.
-Add in fortifying foods (especially if performing the cleanse in cooler months) like broths and stocks that also give the digestive system time to rest.
-Depending on when you perform a detox, the plan should be based around easily digestible, warming foods in the cooler months and light, raw and cooling foods in the warmer months.
-Removal of all potentially irritating, allergenic and inflammatory foods (sugars, glutenous grains, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, nightshades, additives and preservatives, etc) is essential.
-Work with a professional who can identify your Metabolic Type. This should be the first step in all detoxes. And for some, this may be the only “detox” you need.

The main thing to take away with you is: detoxes have their time and place and can be very healing. I personally love detoxes, if done appropriately and for the right reasons. My motto in life and health is, “take back your power”, learn how your body is currently operating and what it needs to function at its best. Eliminate all processed items and look to the earth for your foods. Eat what nature provides. Steer clear of food labels, boxes, cans, and bags and go straight to the colors in the fresh produce isles. Or even better, support a local farm share or visit a farmer’s market regularly. Re-learn what ‘real food’ tastes like and how good it feels to be truly nourished, not only for a few days, but for a lifetime.

If you’re unsure of what your body needs or how to get started on a plan that’s right for you, please feel free to send an email or

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Detox/Cleanses are not the ish.

Alot of things are the ish. My new boots and furniture, music that makes you dance, cures for diseases, etc. Some things are not the ish. Detoxes and Cleanses are not the ish.

So you’ve heard of those cleanses, right? “Don’t eat anything for a week, just drink lemon juice and pepper. It cleanses your liver. ”

Well I’ve always thought these were dumb and ridiculous and what’s even more dumb and ridiculous is that people actually do it. And then they come to the gym and work out to make it work faster. And what happens when you work out with no fuel in your body? You pass out. You fall off the back of the treadmill. You faint in my class. It’s actually happened a few times. It annoys me. Not because I have to deal with a person fainting in my class (that still sucks) but because people are so desperate to get the next quick fix for their bodies that they risk their health.
My friend and colleague, Jonathon Ross, is a TRX Master Trainer, and IDEA’s 2010 Personal Trainer of the year. He writes a blog for Discovery Health and he wrote this article a few months back on He hits the nail on the head! You must read. It’s not long. Go ahead, I’ll wait….
What did you think?
Main points:
  • Your liver does fine detoxing on its own.
  • Drinking massive amounts of liquid won’t help clear out water soluble toxins, because they’re not stored in a water, they’re mostly stored in fat.
  • Depriving your body is stupid.
  • Doing any kind of program that you can’t sustain forever is not smart because as soon as you stop it, you’ll be right back where you started.
So if you’re trying to cleanse your body of the bad stuff, STOP PUTTING BAD STUFF IN IT. Done. Case closed.
Exercise regularly (MOVE!) and eat meals with a variety of foods. REAL FOODS. The kind that go bad in a few days if you don’t eat it. If it lasts for a long time, don’t put it in your mouth if you’re trying to be healthier.
Sorry if that was a little harsh. These things are just horrible on your body and I’m tired of hearing people discussing/practicing them. Have a healthy and happy day!
And many thanks to the amazing and award-winning Jonathon Ross for supporting my views on this. Check out his website. Aion Fitness here. He’s the ish. ; )
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