A cleanse and a detox are often used interchangeably, however, in my opinion, there are some key differences. A lot of people and brands, may not stop to think about what they are actually talking about on a physiological level when they embark on or put together some kind of “fast” or “overhaul” health program. Of course, this highlights a huge oversight, and indicates a lack of knowledge or understanding in the industry and the greater public. I’m not here to point fingers, I just want to educate each of you so that you can make informed decisions, and get to know your bodies a little better.
Before we dive in, I want to address some of the negativity toward these types of protocols. One of the reasons cleanses and detoxes get given a bad rap is because the concept of them is a bit ironic when the body naturally does them itself, every second of every day. At the cellular level, many quick fixes, cleanses, baths, enema’s and topical applications do little to detox the body, especially in isolation. It really comes down to nutrition, from food or supplements, and consistency. A lot of health practitioners take issue then, with a program that claims to do it for you. However, I disagree with this because just because the body is supposed to do something, doesn’t mean it is doing it at full capacity. Digestive dysfunction and liver impairment are not uncommon, and therefore, a well-constructed protocol can be of benefit. At its core, it is about supporting the body, providing it with the perfect conditions and tools to do what it is always meant to do… Keep you alive and healthy.
In a nutshell, a cleanse is about the removal of unwanted build-up in your gastrointestinal tract (GIT) to promote healing. During a cleanse, what you are consuming is easier-to-breakdown and likely, smaller quantities than usual. This offers the body a well-deserved break from digestion. This is important, as it takes around 10-30% of our energy (depending on what we eat) to metabolise food. This mightn’t seem like a lot but when you consider that on average, 60% of our energy goes toward simply staying alive (basal metabolic rate = breathing, blood circulation, organ function), it leaves little energy for other things like physical activity, or functions the body does not prioritise like skin repair and hair integrity.
Whilst cleanses emphasise the digestive system, a detox focuses on the liver…
Detoxification mainly centres around carrying toxins out of the body – everything from heavy metals and pollution to pesticides and excess or old hormones. Essentially, it is about cleaning up the blood. A detox is also aimed at restoring the body’s natural healing processes. It focuses on providing your body with the nutrients it needs to support its inbuilt filtration system – the liver. We can, and should, therefore eat an abundance of plant foods brimming with nutrients to supply the body with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes our cells need to function optimally.
As with all good things that last, this is never about a quick fix. Real health shifts take time. Rather, it is about restoring the body’s natural healing capabilities and then incorporating this into life-long, maintainable healthy habits . Phase 3 of my protocol is a “forever” phase, meaning it teaches you how to eat in a way that supports these critical bodily functions, whilst being flexible, sustainable and enjoyable -> critical to compliance and quality of life! Phases 1 and 2, essentially cleanse and detox support phases respectively, can always be revisited from time-to-time when needed e.g. seasonally or annually. Ultimately, the choices you make for your health should support ongoing cleansing and detoxification. Take care when altering your diet and lifestyle, always tune-in to how you feel and be responsible for your own wellness.
My soon-to-be-released eBook, Rebalance, will delve into all of this and much, much more. It explains various critical bodily functions, principles for wholefood eating and guides you through an enjoyable and effective 3-step protocol to support your bodies natural healing mechanisms in order to get the most out of your food and eat your way to optimal and abundant health!