As the winter layers come off and as the warmer weather arrives, hurrah, we pull out last year’s summery wardrobe and we often realize we have put on more than few extra layers of clothes. Hiding in sweaters we might not have realized a few extra pounds have crept their way on until we start pulling on the shorts! Sound familiar?
To that end, quite a few clients have been in contact about weight loss and the number of ‘cleanses’ on the market. Whether you have a few winter pounds to shed or are looking for a totally new way of living that improves your health and your body awareness, the idea of a ‘jump start’ is sooo appealing! And, just in case you were wondering about what a cleanse should be like and how effective one might be I’ve decided to share my thoughts and research.
Most of the cleanses on the market place and the internet do work very well to give you a quick boost of weight loss. Woohoo, I hear you shout. However, it’s because they are mostly laxative. Beware the ‘completely natural weight loss’ fix. You are mostly likely picking up a box of laxatives-and quite harsh ones at that! They will go through you like ‘a dose of salts’ and you will come out lighter, but will most likely mess up your entire digestive system. For example, many contain Wormwood, which is used to worm animals and can be extremely toxic. I don’t like the idea of using toxins to detox. There are a huge number of these weight loss scams on the market. Many of them work on a multi-level-marketing (used to be pyramid sales) basis with a membership and sales to friends. Your body can be further distressed by taking supplements that contain a whole heap of herbal stimulants to rev up the metabolism!
If you decide to get professional help and go to a naturopathic doctor beware that many naturopaths sell the MLM cleanses and can steer you towards something quite harsh, so shop around before you sign up with one! A good nutritionist is a much better idea. Or better still, unless you have a serious health problem, use your own common sense, do a little research and check out what experiences others have had.
If you like the idea of a cleanse (and this is a good time of year to do one) here are a few I have suggested over the years, going from harshest to gentlest:
Nature’s Sunshine is a MLM company with a good reputation. You can buy directly on-line and not sign-up to sell. The following information is from their site:
â€˜Dieter’s Cleanse is a safe, simple, convenient cleansing program. Product elements provide dietary fiber, support the production of digestive enzymes and bile, nourish the liver and glandular system, promote detoxification and support the body’s weight-management mechanisms. Each box of Dieter’s Cleanse contains 14 AM packets, 14 NOON packets and 14 PM packets.
Kick off your weight-loss program by using Dieter’s Cleanse for one week. Then begin your weight-management program. The second-week supply of Dieter’s Cleanse can be used during recommended rest periods of other weight-loss programs. This product may also be used by any adult desiring a two-week cleanse. This product could produce bowel movements during the night or in the morning.’
This product contains cascara sagrada, buckthorn and Turkey rhubarb, which are all major laxatives and are definitely not to be used regularly; the body begins to tolerate them and you need to increase consumption to maintain results.
I have done dieter’s cleanse a few times and had to half the amount as it caused cramping and diarrhea. Again, this product contains a high laxative component.
If you really wants to do something major to kick start a weight loss program or feel kinda sluggish, I much prefer the gentle approach of option number two:
Vogel’s De-Tox Box
This is a 10 day natural product program, which contains Calendula Complex, Frangula Complex, Milk Thistle Complex and Solidago Complex. Working on far more than the laxative approach this simple program cleanses gets the liver and kidneys tuned up too. Pollution, pesticides, food additives and drugs contain toxins that can accumulate in your body over time, diminishing normal functions and thereby potentially increasing the risk of disease. Your body may be expending energy fighting these toxins; resulting in loss of vitality, a feeling of sluggishness and even chronic fatigue. It’s therefore not a bad idea to periodically renew and rejuvenate through internal cleansing.
From the website: ‘Formulated by Alfred Vogel, famous Swiss Naturopath, the detox box 10-day program cleanses without fasting or interrupting your normal daily routine. Based on Bioforce’s proprietary herbal preparations, the detox box cleanses toxins from the body by stimulating digestion, activating gland activity in the intestines, and increasing bile and urine elimination. Toxins present in the body are expelled in a mild and natural way through the kidneys and intestines. Because it’s important to eat well while using the detox box, a diet plan is provided to enhance the program’s overall effectiveness.’
There is a laxative component, but it’s only part of the program. The diet plan is simple fruit, veggies, meat–no sugar or processed products. I like this cleanse as it addresses more than the colon and is easy to do. With a harsh cleanse you don’t feel like going to work and you end up very grumpy with headaches and iccky detox syptoms. This simple cleanse is more gentle. I have also broken it into two five days, which I don’t think gives the same results, but you can cleanse Mon to Fri and take the weekend off then go back on. I’ve never found Vogel cleanses to upset my natural body flora and have suggested to clients for years because of its simplicity and the way it fits into daily life. It’s available in most Health Food stores or may be purchased on-line. I do not in any way recommend the Wild Rose cleanse, which health food stores staff often suggest. My brother used to do this one, so I tried it when I stayed with him. It was far too harsh and really messed me up! I had a very nasty de-tox and quit after ten days because I had the runs so bad!!! It messed up my internal flora and took a long while for me to get back to normal b-ms. Beware though that the health food stores tend to love it and to push it. And of course, it does work for many people.
Finally, here’s a simple and easy cleanse (so you might think). You eat nothing but mung beans, rice and vegetables for 14 days. I’ve never made it beyond day 8 because the sheer boredom drove me insane. But it’s cheap and easy to do. I let clients break it a little with a few raisins and the occasional baked apple. This diet allows the body to cleanse while giving the digestive system a rest apparently. It’s a yogic thing. It works, but takes tremendous will power. I do have clients who do a three-day version just to give their body a break.
Phew! Tons of information for you! In short, I suggest doing the Vogel and using it to clean up the body and the diet. Remember, the body is self-cleaning and self-repairing. Non traditional naturopaths do tend to think of the body as dirty and needing to be purged, poked and puked to get it squeaky clean. I come from the school of thought that says love and accept yourself back to health.
Health Warnings: See your primary health care provider prior to use of any cleanse or any major diet change. Do not go on any type of cleanse other than eating well and being good to yourself if you are pregnant or nursing, any medical condition exists, or when taking any medication. Read and follow any product recommendations carefully. Always remember that cleanses are intended for prolonged use. Do not use a cleanse if you have diarrhea, loose stools, or abdominal pain are present or develop as use of these products may worsen these conditions and be harmful to your health. Chronic diarrhea can result in serious illness. If there is any discomfort dosages may be lowered. Keep your cleanse products out of sight and reach of children.
For a long term approach to be comfortable in your body and having lots of energy I highly recommend SCT’s Nutrition 101 course. Even if you have no intention of working in Holistic Health Care this course is an excellent experiential approach to learning what to eat and when based on tuning into your body and eating a healthy diet.
And do let me know how any of these suggestions work for you. I love to hear feedback and you may have something to share with our readers.
Want a little more help, then check out the free information we post on the Feeling Absolutely Fabulous website and you can always contact me for a free 15 minute consultation to decide whether we could work together to help you on the way to Feeling Absolutely Fabulous.
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CEO Feeling Absolutely Fabulous LLC
Founder, School of Complementary Therapies