American's are obsessed with body size and well they should be. With 64 % of Americans overweight or obese the billion-dollar diet industry is happy to provide how-to books, processed foods and weight loss supplements for a price. Popular diet programs of the past focused on the elimination of high calorie, high fat foods and were usually recommended to be followed for 2-weeks. In 2011 this way of dieting has been replaced with the 7-Day Detox plan, basically a misguided attempt to force the body to drop weight, cleanse the intestines and get the liver back into working shape. But does it work for weight loss and just how is this way of eating beneficial for your health
First the Bad News
These quick detoxification programs ask you to jump right into eliminating foods all at once. They basically starve you for 7-10 days so you lose a few pounds and expect you to feel good afterwards, which you do, because you are so happy to be done with the detox. Short detox programs do nothing to cleanse your filtering organs. Instead you suffer physical withdrawal symptoms, require excessive amounts of herbal laxatives and consume little or no food. And, as is true for most restricted diets, you are likely to go right back to trashing your body after the detox. You can, however, detoxify your body without causing more mental and physical stress than you already have in your life, but there are a few things to understand first.
Now the Good News
Detoxification in the body goes on all the time. This is a natural survival mechanism and one of the most important functions your filtering organs, liver, kidneys, bowels, lungs and skin perform. With the advent of processed foods high in fat, sodium, sugar and artificial additives our organ system was asked to take on a task it was not designed to perform. That is, filtering these and other toxic chemicals such as heavy metals, formaldehyde, PCB's DDT, Pesticides, Herbicides, Plasticizers, and Diethylstilbestrol (DES), along with pharmaceutical and recreational drugs. Add to this a proclivity to over eat on a daily basis and what you have is an organ system overloaded and unable to function properly.
It is interesting to note that there is an association between the ability to naturally detoxify and chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivities. There is also a link between chronic neurological diseases (Parkinson's), and certain types of cancer, with the subject's ability to adequately detoxify. The flip side of this research tells us that if we don't properly detoxify we can end up sick.
Detoxification specifically is the conversion of fat-soluble toxins into water soluble, non-toxic metabolites, eliminated by the excretory organs. The process reduces the biological half-life of the toxins to decrease the toxic exposure and to avoid internal toxin accumulation, which could lead to lethal poisoning of the blood.
Unfortunately, too few people are introduced to detoxification as a way of maintaining health. They come to all forms of alternative medicine as a "last resort" after their bodily and material resources are used up. Because we know that health problems are multi-factorial and multi-faceted we have to find a means to treat the whole body. That is best accomplished by diet and an overall detoxification approach. In contrast, the medical "scientific" approach favors addressing one symptom, giving one diagnosis, and offering one drug to "cure" or "suppress" the symptom, fostering unscientific poly-pharmacy.
What is the Best Detox Program?
Ideally a detoxification program should be done slowly, allowing the body and the individual to adjust at their own pace. This can be accomplished with the elimination of certain stress causing foods, such as refined flours, sugar, dairy, artificial sweeteners and excess animal protein, and taking on a preferably organic, whole foods vegetable based diet. Naturally, weight loss will occur, but that should not be the main focus for the detox. Over weight is just a symptom of a filtering system that cannot burn or eliminate a rich diet as fast as the individual is consuming the food and drink. Once the diet has been changed and chewed well, and exercise is introduced the body can begin once again to internally repair and naturally detoxify the blood and organ systems.
How long will this take? It depends on the individual, their health condition and the amount of weight they are holding. Done properly you can detoxify while eating a well-balanced meal three times a day. It just depends on the quality and amount of food you are consuming. What this form of detoxification teaches you is how foods are crucial to your over-all health and mental well-being; and it will lead you gently towards incorporating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, legumes and herbs into your daily diet. And that is the best part of all.
Delia Quigley is the author of The Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, a five-week body detoxification program that has successfully changed the health and lives of people who have completed the program. Sessions are held throughout the year and can be done in a group setting, one on one, or by telephone wherever you may live. For information go to: http://www.brcleanse.com