Friday, July 22, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Cleansing- it's Not THAT Crazy!

{One in 20 women would rather give up a limb than be obese.}

"Hmmm...interesting. Hearing this today makes me think it makes sense that rational women want to believe in the power of a detox diet. Wouldn't it be nice to simply flush away fat away because you drink so much liquid you spend half the day in the bathroom? Ahhhh... *Wishful thinking*

The reality is that some of these diets are not just literally hard to swallow, but they may be BAD to swallow. A cleanse that offers few calories in yucky-tasting liquid form may help shed weight- but it's not sustainable.

Recipe for Danger?

The term "fasting" (drastically reducing caloric intake or following a liquid diet) is not new to the public. Did you know that detox has existed since the 1930's with the grapefruit diet fad. Most commercial diets promote a combination of minimal nutrients and calories along with some "fat-melting" powder, such as vinegar or cayenne pepper. However, no science supports the idea that following a specific diet for a week/month or eating only one type of food with release your body of "toxins." Your body actually has the power to do that on its own- enter kidneys, liver, and digestive system!

As a matter of fact, most of the "detox" supplements and diets on the market aren't even regulated by the FDA and are potentially harmful. With these real, big risks come minimal rewards. Much of what you would be losing on this kind of extreme diet is water weight, which lasts only until you refill on fluids. If you see a permanent drop on the scale, it's most likely muscle, not fat. Without adequate protein, your body takes it from its most reliable and available source: your own muscle tissue!

This is not good, obviously! Muscle is your built-in calorie furnace, torching muffin-top makers even when you're not moving! The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, which is why dramatically slashing calories can actually slow your metabolism. You are making your body think you are starving and it starts to panic. It will try to preserve muscle and basic body functions. Whenever you go back to a regular diet, you will gain weight faster and from few calories.

Detoxes Debunked

Research has found that after just a few days of drastically slashing calorie consumption (even a very petite woman needs at least 1,200 calories) your body stops producing a hormone called IGF1 and reduces thyroid, other hormone, and even insulin levels! Over time, these can lead to bone loss and menstrual disruptions.

PLUS, when you eat that little, your sex-drive disappears, you feel tired all the time, and are always hungry. What good is a hot body if you don't even have the energy to use it??

A Healthier Head Start

Don't get the wrong idea though: not every cleanse is bad. Done in a healthy sane way, detoxing can feel like an intervention and a fresh beginning. A healthy detox can give your digestive system a break, but by eliminating added sugar, saturated fats, and alcohol, it also rids your diet of things that can exacerbate health issues.

A good plan provides enough calories and nutrients to sustain you (the average woman needs 1,200- 1,800) and includes fiber and lean protein. You may need to adjust for your own height, weight, age, and activity level. Following it for at least three days will kick-start weight loss but safe at the same time.

Because you will be eating every four hours while drinking as much water and decaffeinated tea as you want (YES!), you will beat the bloat while keeping our blood sugar steady and your energy high. You'll be able to cut back then without feeling hungry, exhausted, or cranky.

The Cleansing Plan (created by Jennifer Ventrelle, R.D., nutrition counselor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago)


  • 8 oz. water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Scrambled egg whites with chopped fresh herbs (basil or oregano), topped with a dollop of salsa; 1 slice whole wheat toast or 1 cup cooked oatmeal topped with 1/2 berries or 2 Tbl. nuts
  • 8 oz. decaffeinated green or herbal tea


  • Sliced apple with 1 Tbl. natural peanut butter or 1/3 cup natural trail mix

  • 1 cup fresh spinach or lightly sauteed spinach or kale, sprinkled with fresh lemon or orange juice or 1 cup asparagus with 1 tsp olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice
  • 4 oz. grilled, baked, or broiled salmon, chicken, or pork-tenderloin, seasoned with spices such as lemon pepper
  • 1/2 cup edamame beans, steamed
  • 8 oz. water or decaffeinated green or herbal tea
  • 8 pecan halves

  • 1/2 sweet potato or one citrus fruit (orange or grapefruit)
  • 4 oz. low-fat yogurt

  • Large spinach or romaine salad with vegetables. Dress with 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil mixed with lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup asparagus or artichoke hearts, steamed
  • 4 oz. lean chicken with spices, baked or grilled
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, barley, bulgur, or quinoa
  • 8 oz. water or decaffeinated green or herbal tea

  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup blueberries or 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 4 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt or low-fat organic yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese"

Have you ever gone on a "detox" diet?? What kind of food did you wish you would have incorporated??

So get clean, get mean, and get that hot body...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

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