We've overindulged. Since starting with the Halloween candy, we haven't stepped away from the holiday trough of fat- and sugar-filled goodies. Our pants are tight. Our heads are foggy. We want to get back on a more healthful track.
We’ve overindulged. Since starting with the Halloween candy, we haven’t stepped away from the holiday trough of fat- and sugar-filled goodies.
Our pants are tight. Our heads are foggy.
We want to get back on a more healthful track.
For more people, doing so means turning to a “ cleanse” — days of consuming nothing but liquids, from hot water and herbal tea to smoothies of whole fruits and vegetables.
Celebrities such as Salma Hayek and Gwyneth Paltrow promote the benefits of cleanses.
The diets, though, aren’t limited to the stars.
“I typically do it once a year,” said Carole McMenamy Amber, a Columbus food blogger and author of a children’s book.
Amber has tried plenty of cleanses, from the extreme all-liquid “Master Cleanse” to a self-designed whole-food cleanse that eliminates dairy, caffeine and alcohol — though not solid foods.
“I can tell a huge difference — the way I feel in the morning,” the 38-year-old said. “My skin clears up. I feel more energized.”
Other central Ohioans share her view.
“It’s important just for maintenance,” said Debra Wright, a licensed massage therapist, 45, from Worthington.
“There are pesticides, all this stuff that’s toxic to our system. It builds up.”
Wright has done several cleanses, including some she has devised.
She is signed up this month to participate in the cleanse from Organic GreenFix, based in Granville.
For more than a year, the company has sold smoothies made from kale, chard and other fruits and vegetables twice a month at its temporary North Market stall — and in the summer at the Granville and New Albany farmers markets.
It recently added a cleansing program that pairs its smoothies with herbal tea and other drinks.
The purpose of a cleanse — according to Lisa Galat Mc-Kivergin, who owns Organic GreenFix with her daughter, Katie — is to clear the body of toxins built up in the digestive system, promoting everything from better health in general to weight loss.
“We believe the body can heal itself,” said Lisa, whose extended family owns the same business in San Diego.
A day on the Organic GreenFix regimen, which costs $45 (the smoothies are also offered apart from the program, starting at $3.95), involves hot water followed by herbal tea, the green smoothie and a fruit-tea blend. The drinks are consumed in a specific order every two hours.
Lisa recommends three days on the cleanse, although even one day, she said, makes a person feel better.
Katie did an extended cleanse in June, when she was making a transition to a vegan diet. Yet she modified the program, consuming two drinks fortified with hemp seeds for protein and one meal of solid food.
Some fitness professionals suggest vegetable smoothies as part of a healthful diet or even a weight-loss plan.
“They infuse the body with anti-oxidants and boost immunities,” said Sheila Gibbons, a holistic health counselor in Dublin.
True cleanses, she said, aren’t easily maintained.
“The first two or three days, your body is detoxing, so headaches, irritability and digestive issues are common — not easy to stick with unless you’re highly motivated.”
Detoxification isn’t for everyone, acknowledged Katie Mc-Kivergin of Organic GreenFix.
“Everyone’s body is different,” she said. “Your body may respond differently to detoxes.”
Amber is considering the Organic GreenFix cleanse.
Otherwise, she tries to have a glass or two of the green smoothies just for wellness.
“They’re tasty,” she said. “The way they make me feel is why I do it.”
Some health-care experts are less enthusiastic about juice cleanses.
“Repeated or prolonged detox dieting can potentially lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle breakdown and blood-sugar problems,” writes Robert J. Davis, author of Coffee Is Good for You.
Most people lose weight with cleanses, he says, because detox diets severely restrict caloric intakes. Also, he says, most detox regimens — including Organic GreenFix — suggest a week of preparing the body by eliminating junk foods and items such as eggs and wheat.
An improved diet, Davis says, naturally enhances well-being.
The biggest claim of detox diets is what gives experts such as Davis pause: the idea that bodies need to be “flushed of toxins” for proper functioning.
“Our liver, lungs, kidneys, colon and skin are constantly removing harmful substances,” he writes. “Even if our bodies did need help eliminating toxins, there’s no evidence that detox diets could provide it.”
Nonetheless, detox supporters swear by the benefits.
A cleanse, Wright said, just makes her feel better.
“It gives me more energy,” she said. “Getting the crap out of my body gives me more energy.”