There is a lot of hoopla about cleanses, and a lot of valid points for both sides of the argument. While many people do cleanses to lose weight, the health argument for doing a cleanse is to detox the body. Though the body naturally detoxes itself, today’s environment exposes us to so many toxins that our bodies may not be able to keep up with all of the detoxing it needs. Some cleanses call for eating broths and vegetables for the day, while others call for squeezed lemon with cayenne and maple syrup. There are also several companies who sell cleansing juices, teas, pills, etc. Yet another option is juicing your own juices and making your own soups.
I have done blue print cleanse before. Just after college I did a three day cleanse, and I remember feeling energetic and healthy. I was somewhat active, making sure to wake up in the morning and get in a 45 minute workout with some cardio and light weights. This weekend I have tried it again, and it is a much different feel this time. Perhaps it is because I am more used to caffeine everyday, or because I am more active. My biggest hang up is that, following the cleanse accumulates less than 1000 calories in a day. My resting metabolic rate requires a minimum of 1400 calories for simple organ functioning. On top of that, my activity level is much higher now than it was five years ago and I have much more muscle. Last time I did the cleanse I was able to do some workouts all three days and felt energetic. This time sitting around and doing nothing all day still expends too much energy. Of course for my health, I will add in tons of veggies instead of following the cleanse strictly, in order to do what is best for my body. When my body tells me it’s hungry, I have to listen!
So the question remains, are cleanses healthy? Five years ago I would have said definitely. Now, I’m not quite as sold. Doing a juice cleanse does not have enough protein for me, meaning I will lose muscle mass that I have worked hard to gain. I have yet to find a scenario where pills are good for you without any negative connotations for the body (excluding perhaps vitamins). I would argue that the best way to go about cleansing is, when you are feeling like you have overindulged in too many sweets, sugars, or processed foods, then simply bring it back to the basics. Eat whole, organic foods, cooked simply (steamed, broiled, etc), stay active, and drink plenty of water. It sounds simple, and when you are ready for it, it can be simple. Also, add in a lot of lemon water, because that also helps cleanse the system.