Jun 24, 2011

The Scoop On Detoxing

During high school and college, I worked as a waitress at a restaurant called Cilantro. This wasn't just any restaurant. It was a vegan, organic, "raw food" restaurant, serving meals made from only raw ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and oils. The clientele were mainly "raw foodists" - people whose diets were either 100% or mostly raw foods. I'll be honest, I tried it. That lasted....oh....about an hour. Now, after many years of education and experience in nutrition, I know better.

Eat a plant-based diet to improve your health

Raw-foodists believe that consuming a diet of mostly raw foods - and the enzymes they contain - is the key to preventing poor heath. Let me say for the record that of course I am in favor of consuming a variety of raw fruits and vegetables. Totally healthy. But eating an entirely raw food diet can leave you deficient in certain essential nutrients. Like most fad diets, scientifically this one holds no ground.

Raw foodism goes hand in hand with naturopathic medicine. So, it's no surprise that many patrons at Cilantro also took part in various cleanses and detoxes, which are important components to naturopathic treatment. Certainly, detoxes and cleanses are nothing new to us. Even if you're not a raw foodist, you've probably heard of them or even tried one. I was always fascinated by the types of detoxes people were on -- there was the lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup cleanse. There was the juice cleanse....oh, and the coconut water cleanse. The list goes on. Detox diets can last up to several weeks, many claiming to rid the body of toxins and help drop unwanted pounds.

The reality is that detox diets and cleanses are more of a marketing scam than anything else. Most are not tested for safety or effectiveness and may pose serious health risks for people taking medications, who are pregnant, nursing, older adults or growing children. Thankfully, our well-designed bodies do a fabulous job of eliminating toxins from our system - no lemon juice or cayenne pepper required!

So, yeah. I don't recommend anyone do a cleanse. Instead, to promote a healthy body, focus on eating a mostly plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. Exercise regularly and achieve a healthy weight, if you are overweight. That's the best, and most well-tested, advice around. I know, it's not quite as exciting as a 5 day detox promising to make you drop 20lbs. But thankfully, healthy eating and exercise are safe and work every time!

You can read more about my take on holistic cleanses and detox diets here.


  1. folks always want a quick fix so sad thanks so much for visiting my blog fellow RD - Rebecca

  2. You're very welcome! Yay for RD blogs!

  3. Hi Tiffany, Thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comments :) This is a great summary on detox diets - I agree with you! Just tweeted it!