Here we go again. With the holidays fast-approaching, we can all look forward to the inevitable desire to begin anew. Turn a page on our indiscretions. Get a fresh start on our best intentions. Usually, New Year’s Resolutions revolve around health and fitness goals, with an extra emphasis on diet. Thanksgiving pies, Hanukkah blintzes, Christmas cookies, and New Year’s bubbly all contribute to a bit of extra padding, making our jeans snug and our mood sour. Advertisers are oh-so quick to point out this fact, and promise us that the solution lies in one of the many available cleansing and detoxing products.
How does one choose?
Colon cleansing has been around since ancient Greece. Those who support the practice of cleansing claim that the removal of toxins from within our large intestine can alleviate all sorts of health issues, including allergies, asthma, and digestive disorders. Clean pipes are credited with improving mood, increasing energy, and even boosting our immune system. Medical research has yet to get behind these claims, suggesting that more research needs to be done, and even implying that the practice could pose health risks. Personally, I am of the belief that if something truly makes you feel better and healthier, then it’s working. But then again, every body is unique and we all have different rule sets regarding our physical health.
If you are out there looking for the best option, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the vast selection. You can start a detox diet. You can take a pill or drink a juice. You can go for the gusto and consent to a series of colonics (also called irrigation). Be diligent in your research; remember, the U.S. Government does not regulate or test these products, so trust your – ahem– gut when making a decision.
Detox diets generally require a time commitment ranging from 7 to 21 days. Not to be confused with fasting, a detox diet places restrictions on the types of food allowed. Commonly, dairy, refined sugars, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods are eliminated for the duration, and fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and anti-inflammatory fats are approved. Energy levels tend to suffer less on a detox diet than with fasting, simply because you are consuming food throughout. The Lemon Detox diet, also called the Master Cleanse, has been around for more than fifty years and has a celebrity following for its proposed rejuvenating effects.
Cleansing supplements and juices might be a little trickier. Again, no regulations means you just never know what is in this stuff. Consumer Lab Reports does an excellent job of independently testing supplements every year for potency and accurate labeling, however, it does cost money to obtain that information. I’m not denouncing or endorsing any of these products (believe me, I have tried more of them than I can count), I am simply advising you to thoroughly research before you buy.
Colonics are a whole different animal in the arena of colon cleansing. Besides the cost (usually $65-$85 per session, with a suggested 10-session series), colonics have been reported to cause minor discomfort, cramping, and dehydration. Hydrotherapy was very popular from the early 1900s to 1940s with physicians who recommended colonics for the treatment of ailments such as gastrointestinal disease and even depression and can be traced as far back as ancient Greece. When committing to this type of therapy, clients are usually encouraged to increase hydration and take probiotic supplements.
How about a simpler, more proactive plan: resolve now not to undo all of your hard work thus far this year, and enjoy your head start. Indulge responsibly and maybe you won’t feel like you need to take such drastic measures later. Guilt is a terrible motivator.
I’d love to hear what you think.
Jodilyn Stuart is the owner of ModaBody Fitness and has been a fitness professional since 1997. She currently contributes to 303 Magazine as a Fitness and Health writer.