Detox, juice cleanse, juice fast, reset- it goes by many names. The early half of this decade saw the rise of detoxification. And while many celebrities and laymen swear by it, there are those at the opposite end of the spectrum who do not believe in it. I was one of them, until I studied under a doctor who merged western and eastern systems of medicine allowing me to understand what to expect from a Detox and how to do it right to achieve optimum results.

What It Is Not

It is neither a crash diet nor a method of weight loss. It is not a way of eating designed to be followed long term. Detoxification or cleansing purges out what the body does not need so it can go back to functioning well, hence the term “reset.” And, while excess fat is definitely something the body can do without, unfortunately, it doesn’t go in the short period you are on the cleanse. The weight lost during a fast is just water weight, which often comes back when you resume normal food portions, or a solid diet. It does, however, lay down the foundation for optimizing biological processes, including metabolism and fat loss in the long run.

Cleansing doesn’t automatically mean you have to run on nothing but cold-pressed juice. For beginners, a regular meat-eater can get a good cleanse from just going on a vegan diet. On the other hand, a vegetarian or vegan can get the same benefit by temporarily shifting their diet to fruits and dial-up the intensity by going on a juice cleanse. The goal of detoxification is to give your Gastro Intestinal tract a break from the tedious task of digesting the food we eat so that the energy can be spent towards the cleansing, healing and recovery of other organs such as the kidneys and the liver.

What You Need to Remember

Detoxification is like housekeeping or spring-cleaning: you need to set aside time, energy and resources for it.  You will barely see results from a detox if you limit it to nutrition.  A few things to take note of:

  1. Take a leave from work. This may sound ridiculous to some but in order to properly detoxify, you must refrain not just from vigorous physical activity but from mental activity as well. It is also recommended to listen to nothing but relaxing/soothing music to avoid going online or watching TV. To read only materials with “light” content especially because you can expect to be extra sensitive and emotional during this time.
  2. You can supplement nutritional detox with mechanical methods for better results. Consider a coffee enema or colon hydrotherapy, stepping into an infrared sauna, a lymphatic massage or simply a facial and a massage. Releasing tension = better release of toxins.
  3. While exercise is not encouraged, movement is an essential part of the process. Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi or just going for a walk outside in the sunshine allows for better circulation of energy in the body and will keep you from feeling lethargic.

As with anything, cleansing and detoxification must be backed up with the right intentions. When you see it as an opportunity for the body to heal itself versus a shortcut to weight loss, its true benefits take on the spotlight and it no longer becomes just another fad diet that failed.