This is a question I ask my clients and myself everytime “detox” comes up.
For some reason we like to limit and restrict ourselves in the name of health, when we could be filling up on good stuff. We choose starvation when what we really need is more nutrients and more real food. We force crap out of our bodies like its a punishment for eating chips, instead of lovingly giving ourselves the gift of nourishment–which will naturally detoxify our systems.
Who thinks living on honey, hot sauce and lemon for days is a good idea?
Or how about fiber supplements that require that you live in your bathroom for a weekend?
Anyone for 21 days of raw veggies and whole food shake mix? I’ve done this more than once and decided there is NO reason to choose this when I could choose real food.
Or one I just read about to fight serious gastrointestinal issues like IBS. 2-5 days of homemade grape jello, hamburgers and mushy carrots. Dan read the info about it and said, “Ah–it’s made up by two guys. Only guys would find a way to detox on jello and burgers. Can you find me one that involves tator tots and pizza, please?”
Why are we so mean to ourselves? Ok, so maybe jello and burgers does not sound mean, but how could that really be helpful?
For me, every time I detox there comes a point when I get really mad. I go on a rant about how stupid this detox is and why am I even doing this? “I eat so healthy? Stupid jello. Stupid detox shake mix. I’m eating something delicious right now!!! Like rice!” Rice is not actually delicious, but if you’ve had nothing but plain, raw beets and carrots for a few days, rice sounds awesome.
Note: I never, ever give up coffee. 🙂 I cannot be that mean to myself.
In my experience as a wellness director and holistic health counselor, I know that releasing anger is part of the drill during a detox. Traditional Chinese Medicine peeps can explain it better, but it has something to do with the crap we store in our livers. Apparently, it’s where anger likes to go. And, beneath most anger is fear. No wonder we need to detox and no wonder it sucks so much.
I’ve also found that most people who need a “detox,” actually need a refill. They might be consuming all day, but they are starving for real food. Maybe filling up on good stuff like water, vegetables and fruits will naturally replace the toxins without all the struggle, fiber supplements, and hot sauce.
Refilling works and its effects are long lasting. Adding can be just as effective as subtracting.
Here are some examples from my practice.
I had a client who drank two 2-liter bottles of diet pepsi a day. He could not lose weight. He cried, “It’s diet! It has no calories!” (Addiction tip off #1-justifying the use) Right, but it’s full of toxic sludge that clogs up our natural detoxification systems. He was terrified at the thought of giving up his soda. (Addiction tip off #2-fear of living without) He had a whole ritual around pouring the soda into a particular juice glass. (Addiction tip off #3-ritual) We made a deal. For every class of soda, he had to drink an equal size glass of water. Within a week, he cut out an entire bottle of soda. The water filled him up. After a few months, he cut down to one cup of soda a day. He said he truly enjoyed it and savored it. He had learned to appreciate his special drink, instead of guzzle it mindlessly all day.
I make that same deal with myself and coffee. One water for every coffee. I’ve cut down to one cup.
Another client was getting ready for her wedding. At a dress fitting, it was clear she had gained some weight. The bride was so stressed, the idea of cutting out food and dieting sounded terrible. I agree! Brides should be happy, not hungry. We looked at her diet. She was snacking on fat-free or 100 calorie packs of crackers and cookies all day between meals, but lacking fruits and veggies. Our deal: eat four cups of veggies a day. “Four cups? When will I have time for that?” During the time you were eating 100 calorie crap packs. Yes, I said, “crap packs.” I showed her a 4 cup measuring cup. She filled it with veggies. It did not look as bad as she imagined. I instructed her to eat them however she wanted: cooked, raw, in salads, dipped in something that was not fat-free or low-cal or full of junk. I told her not to worry about cutting out her old snacks at first. Just add the veggies. After a month, she fit into her dress and I got an invite to the wedding.
Give yourself the gift of nourishment. Next time you are thinking of putting yourself on a really hard, punishing program that harshly forces stuff out of your body, trade it for gentle, loving, re-nourishment.
Let me know how it goes!