But first the myths.Yes, that’s right. MYTHS. Because that’s what the whole detox thing is. A myth…a con. How so? Well, let’s look at the principles of detox. What is it all about?
In a nutshell, the whole idea of detoxifying yourself is to get rid of nasty toxins that might be in your body. These toxins, we are told, emanate from the factory-churned processed foods we eat, the alcohol we get messed-up on, the fast fried foods we stuff down our throat, the stacks of red meat we love to devour, and all those Starbucks caffeine-fueled coffees we sink while in the throes of great conversation about the latest hip thing.
And all that would be true.
All these things can be ‘poisonous’ to our bodies and can go on to cause many illnesses and affect our immune systems and, generally, make us feel lousy and stagger about in a stupor moaning about how we need to get fit again, though, of course it will be Tomorrow.
And then tomorrow comes and we think, “Ha! Yes! Of course…where’s that detox diet kit?” Behind the counter in the pharmacy at $30 a pop…or talking of pop or juice, just grab some lemons for two weeks of fresh ‘lemonade’ detox and nothing else!
But there are many detox formulas out there to buy, and many recipes for more natural remedies for that heavy feeling of sluggishness, or that banging head, or in a sudden attempt to lose weight. Whatever state you are in, you will often find someone desperate to sell you a detox diet or detox plan to get you started on the road to recovery, claiming that it is only when you have completely detoxified your body that you can begin to change your lifestyle or eating habits to maintain healthy living, and a more balanced weight.
Whether it’s taking a detox pill or eating nettle root extract or drinking herbal infusions or downing a liver flush or wearing a body wrap, or…and don’t laugh…wearing detox socks! There is a detox diet gimmick out there that will suit your gimmicky, “give me an instant solution” mind.
Let’s face it - we are all seduced by what we think we want to hear, and so when someone comes along offering a product we like the sound of because it suits our idea of how we think we would like to tackle a problem or dilemma, we convince ourselves it must be the right thing for us. We make life easy for some sales people when we have pre-conceived ideas. All they have to do is tell us what we want to hear. A bit like politics really. And this, folks, is the politics of health. And the health industry is full of misconceptions, and fads of all kinds, supplying us with a never-ending internet supermarket shelf stacked with product after product of enticing, one-stop, easy-reach, easy-take, easy-pay consumer hooey that does nothing but line the pockets of crafty marketers.
Worst of all, many of these detox diets and remedies will tell you that they have been approved by scientists and doctors…but there is a separate strain of unbiased scientists and doctors who will tell you otherwise.
It is they who will tell you that the whole detox thing is a myth. And for one very good reason…
our body already has its own very adequate detox unit built in, already working on our behalf every second of every day!
And it makes sense when you actually stop to think about it. Our bodies have their own detox mechanisms. The gut, for instance, prevents bad bacteria and many toxins from entering the body and the liver is a virtual chemical sorting station sifting out the good from the bad before passing the rotten ones on to the kidneys to excrete.
The irony is – everyone makes a big fuss about ‘artificial chemicals’ or ‘manufactured preservatives’ being in so many foodstuffs these days and entering our bodies causing us so much damage when, the fact is, our bodies are already made up of many natural chemicals which are used to break down and deal with the food and drinks we consume! The whole reason people feel the need to follow a detox diet plan is because they have “overdosed” on the preservatives and artificial ingredients that are loaded in much of the food and drinks that most people eat. It’s when people binge on processed burgers, fries and hot dogs and stuff themselves with frozen pizzas, beer and other hard to digest, unwholesome items that the body finds it difficult to cope and then feels like it needs a break or a good clean out.
But why go to all the bother of fancy, expensive detox potions, pills and plates full of nothing when all the body needs is a bit of simple re-balancing? More veggies, more fruit, less alcohol and junk food. Plus a little extra exercise.
Believe it or not, there are 60 chemical elements in the human body, some of which, like nitrogen, are actually deadly if encountered in other ways. Nitrogen for instance, can cause suffocation if breathed pure without oxygen, and nitrates derived from nitrogen form the basis of gunpowder! Our bodies can also create histamine, a chemical which can cause some people to experience anaphylactic shock. And there are traces of fluorine within us too, which is actually a very poisonous gas. We are so full of chemicals, that we are even made of gold (not that there is any you can use, so don’t suddenly start going around prospecting inside you to find treasure in them rolling hills of unwanted fat!)
Now this may seem ironic, that we are all made of chemicals (as well as stardust), and in a way, it has to be said, there is nothing to be feared from eating or drinking some foods that contain what on the face of it might be a lot of nasty-sounding chemicals because in fact most preservatives and additives that are used in the manufacture of our foods and beverages are well within the safe limits for human consumption. The point is, though, one can’t live on preservatives alone. A diet of fried food and pop and other fattening, artery-clogging, joint-sapping, blood-raising junk is just going to kill you sooner than you might like. It’s a fact, processed junk is bad for you…and virtually everything we eat or drink that hasn't been pulled from the ground or grown on trees and bushes and consumed fresh is processed in factories with machines and chemicals and other additives that aren't particularly healthy.
And it’s the over-doing on these unhealthy foods that forces the body to cry, “Whoaa, time out man, I need room to breathe!” That’s because detoxifying the body isn't just about cleansing the body after too much partying. That’s why many detox diet plans promote the use of colon-cleansers in the first instance. There is other junk in the body as well as the toxins from all the alcohol. But forking out on a colon-irrigation session at the clinic or using colon-cleansing kits from the internet, is just another money-spinning fad.
There is simply no substitute for healthy fruit and vegetables, and other nutritious foods that provide good healthy vitamins and minerals. The body, as we have illustrated earlier, can quite easily sort itself out with the right foods, and water.
Talking of minerals, don’t be fooled into thinking that drinking expensive bottles of spring water is going to make that much difference on your detox plan. Because it won’t.
That fancy, expensive, supposedly healthy bottle of pure spring water packed with minerals is actually no better for you than a glass of simple tap water. Who says? Well WHO actually, the World Health Organization. In a 2000 WHO report, it was concluded that there was no convincing evidence of any beneficial effects from drinking high or low bottled mineral water. And in a separate UN study it was discovered that unsafe drinking water is the world’s number one killer, accounting for up to 10 million deaths a year from water-borne diseases arising from untreated water.
Thanks to chlorine – a chemical – the water we take for granted in the home for drinking and bathing is safe. This being so, when it comes to an effort to achieve detoxification of the body a glass of tap water (which we already pay for by the way) is just as beneficial, if not more so, than the equivalent amount from a bottle that has further dented your pocket.
In other words, the dearth of individuals and companies selling the next best detox diet product are simply pedaling the next best money-making fad on the fake hypothesis that your body needs their wonder-drug, or magical potion in order to be rid of nasty toxins, when in actuality the body can quite easily take care of itself if you allowed it some space, and breathing room to do so.
As many scientists are happy to point out – there is no better way to detoxify your body than by letting your body do it naturally. A glass of tap water, and an early night is all you really need if you want to redress the balance from partying to excess and get your body using its own natural detoxifying processes.
If you want a good, honest, practical, long-lasting plan to achieve maximum health and fitness, then you need to be consulting people who can provide you with real structured, scientifically-based knowledge rooted in expertise. At changingshape.com we offer nothing but experts in the areas of nutrition and fitness to provide you with a personalized diet and exercise plan accompanied by unrivalled personal support.
Whether you are looking to lose weight, or simply improve your fitness, or both, the team at changingshape.com will provide everything you need clearly and simply, and tell you all you need to know to understand why you will benefit from changing your shape, with them.
Even if it is advice on how to detoxify your body, think changingshape.com – not detox diet fads.
Matthew Johnson (Google+) is a certified personal trainer, nutrition expert and an on-line fitness consultant that started ChangingShape.com back in 2001.