Is There Any Sense in "Doing a Cleanse"?

Have you ever heard or maybe you think yourself  that doing a "detox" is a complete waste of time, money and effort? 
You have a liver after all -- it's built in and it's free. 

"Your body should just detox itself naturally"

"If your liver isn't doing it's job properly, you need a doctor!" 

I actually hear this argument quite a bit.. and I  want to clear some air around this topic, because as usual, it's not as black or white as it may seem. 

There seems to be a lot of passion behind the argument that there is no sense in doing a detox. 
(In my opinion it's the sugar addicts and the emotional eaters who can't fathom the idea of making a big change behind all the passion. Given that a 2009 Study by Dr. Serge Ahmed, published in the Food and Addiction Journal proved that sugar is actually 8 times more addictive than cocaine, I can't and won't blame anyone for clinging tight to their tootsie rolls). 

To get to the point, of course your body has a built in detox system! Your body is actually a pretty badass self cleansing machine.
And yes, if you suspect something is not working well with your internal organs, definitely go see a doctor. 

For sake of clarity and understanding for this discussion, here are a few basic definitions to keep in mind:

  • Cleansing: to make (someone or something) clean

  • Clean: unsoiled or unstained

  • Detox: the process of removing toxins from the body

When it comes to the idea of cleaning up the insides of your body, you don't necessarily need to go through extreme measures such as fasting, spending money on herbal supplements or cleanse programs or packages (though depending on your condition and what you're doing, I do think they have a time and place). 

To me, doing a cleanse is giving your body a chance to catch up and process some stuff that may have accumulated over time. Yes your body does this on it's own, but understand that the constant inflow of stress we burden our body with on a regular basis adds up and can stress out our organs in the process. 

Some examples of things we expose our bodies to regularly, that it works hard to filter out: 

  • processed foods
  • too much sugar
  • hydrogenated oils
  • artificial sweeteners/colours
  • alcohol & cigarettes
  • recreational and pharmaceutical drugs
  • environmental pollutants
  • household cleaners
  • heavy metals (can come from water if your house has old pipes, canned foods, pharmaceutical drugs, cigarettes, our environment, etc). 
  • chemicals or harsh ingredients in cosmetics, soaps, creams, ect. 
  • BPA's from plastic
  • bacteria, viruses and parasites
  • emotional stress and toxic thoughts

We definitely are exposed to a lot of different stressors in today's environment. When you top that with an unclean diet, overtime symptoms will start to present themselves as your body struggles to keep up. The thing we need to remember is that the law of accumulation is at hand here. Stress adds up. When too much adds up overtime, things can go wrong. It's unlikely that an organ goes from working perfectly to not working at all overnight- there is a process involved here. 

To me cleansing is about reducing stress on our system by reducing the burden we put on it. 

The nice thing is, that by reducing some of the stressors you can control (like diet), you can help support your body's natural detox processes in a big way. Even nicer, is that when you throw certain foods and lifestyle practices into the mix, you can help support them even more because certain foods and practices have been shown to help support and even enhance these natural processes. 

When you start incorporating these stress reducing practices into your world every day, they will help support a clean and healthy body for the long haul. 

So is it a waste to do a cleanse or a detox?

I'd say it depends on what kind of cleanse or detox you are doing. 
Is it impossible and a waste of time to support healthy and efficient detoxification with food and lifestyle practices? Hells no. 
Is it worth it to support these natural processes regularly to help support your health for the long term? Hells yes. 

It's amazing, what even just a few days of practicing this can do for you. Your body has such an impressive way of re-balancing when you give it the right tools.