I only have a few days left before I start my juice cleanse from Kaeng Raeng. In preparation I’ve been doing a fair share of research on detoxes and cleanses. Watching the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead was part of it. I’ve seen my fair share of movies geared toward showing the evils of our food system, but this one really hit close to home. As a person who has suffered from chronic stomach pains, food induced hives, and the type of fatigue that makes you feel like you’ve been up for a week, I know how much it sucks to be sick. The film takes you inside the world of Joe Cross, who suffers from an autoimmune disease. Overweight and dying, Joe embarks on a 60-day juice fast to clean out his system. The results are astounding.
Not only does Joe drop the unnecessary weight he’s been holding onto, but his disease goes into remission. Even my boyfriend-a bona fide meat and potatoes guy-was impressed.
I think I might be willing to try that [juicing], he told me half way through the movie.
Detoxes get a mixed reception from the public. Some-like celebs and health junkies-swear by them. Others-some medical experts and nutritionist-say they’re a fad. But what’s the real skinny when it comes to cleaning out one system? Are detoxes worth the hype?
You may remember from your Human Biology class that the liver and kidneys are responsible for ridding the body of toxins. The liver, in particular, relays on various vitamins, minerals and amino acids to do it’s job. If you don’t eat many nutrient dense food-um, fruits and vegetables-you’re not really giving the body what it needs to perform efficiently.
Many cleanses or detoxes are made up of fresh vegetable and fruit juices. A few may include natural laxatives like Pysllium husk. Don’t waist your time with that lemon and cayenne cleanse. How many nutrients does some pepper and lemon have?
Mayo Clinic Nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. reports that the benefit in fruit and veggie centered detoxes “may actually come from avoiding highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar.” However, she also claims that there is little scientific evidence that these juice fasts work. But is that really true?
When we break down what a juice cleanse consists of, more often that not we realize that a person is ingesting a significant amount of raw fruits and vegetables. And do I really need to point out that most Americans are not eating enough produce? According to the USDA, a survey released in 2010 showed that only 8 percent of Americans were meeting the recommended serving of fruit. Only 6 percent met their vegetable requirement. No wonder the country suffers from chronic disease!
Raw fruits and vegetables are packed with so many nutrients; so much vitamins and minerals that the body thrives on. When our diet is lacking in them it really is a matter of time before it defects.
A compelling study was done in 2006 about the power of having a raw food diet. The study consisted of 500 participants, who ate raw for 2 years. Researchers found these participants had a decrease in allergies, candida (yeast overload), stress, joint pain, and so many other things that it’s hard to argue against the benefit of a diet rich in raw produce. Seriously, read the report.
And while some in the medical field aren’t impressed by the evidence for juicing, there are reputable experts who can’t get enough of it. Cherie Calbom, MS, author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, wrote a compelling article for the online site Crazy Sexy Life, praising the power of cleanses. And of course, who hasn’t heard of Dr. Oz’s 48-Hour Weekend Cleanse?
Honestly, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead was enough proof for me. Seeing Joe Cross go from fat, diseased and dying to healthy, happy, and hot really was all the convincing I needed. I mean, I’ve wanted to do a cleanse for awhile, but even after my 3 day cleanse is up I may take it a little further by substituting a meal with a fresh juice instead. So what do you think about juicing, detoxes, and cleanses in general? Have you tried one? Did it turn you into a believer? Let me know in the comments.