Spring Detoxes That Don’t Work, And What to Do Instead

I stopped by Good Day Chicago Fox Morning News to talk about spring detoxes that don’t work, and what to do instead!

Hi babes! This week has been nuts since my next retreat at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago is coming up this weekend.  I’m doing my best to create awesome content for you regularly, but I just want to give you a little heads up that there will not be an article this Friday. Next week however, my regular article schedule of three times a week will continue!

So with that said, I wanted to share a segment that I recently shot with Good Day Chicago Fox News last week. I spoke about springtime “detoxes” that don’t work, and what to do instead. Now I’m putting quotes around the word detoxing because I think too many people put a focus on this word as some sort of meal replacement. I’m sure a lot of us think, “In order to detox I need to replace my meals with juice, or I need to restrict myself from all the foods I love”. Not true! 

I’m going to discuss my philosophy behind the term “detoxing” in a later post. Yet today, I’m highlighting 4 springtime detox fads that many of us have tried in the past (or have recently Googled). These detoxes people, are ones you want to not throw yourself into.

spring detoxes that don't work

Spring Detoxes that Don’t Work and What To Do Instead

1: The cabbage soup diet: This diet consists of eating nothing but cabbage soup for 7 days. The cabbage soup is tomato based with a few different veggies here and there. It’s actually a pretty nutrient dense soup by itself, though to eat nothing but cabbage soup for 7 days could do you more harm than good.

Not only will you feel groggy and light headed from not consuming enough calories throughout the day, you’ll most likely be gassy and bloated from the overload of cabbage + fiber. That doesn’t really feel like a detox, does it? What I would do instead is eat primarily plant based for the entire day, and then I include this type of soup into my dinner menu (because if you get a bit gassy as you’re going to sleep, who cares right?).

2: The Master Cleanse: The master cleanse consists of drinking nothing but lemon water with maple syrup and cayenne pepper for as long as 10 days! Can you believe it?! No solid foods (not even nutrients from juice) for a whole 10 days. I know some folks that have done this cleanse before, and they’ve looked ill and down right unhealthy. 

Obviously you’ll be cranky, lightheaded and groggy if you try this because again your restricting calories. You will lose weight, but that’s only temporary. Once you eat solid foods you’ll gain some back naturally. What I would do instead is start my morning with a good ole’ green juice! This delivers nutrients directly to your system first thing in the morning. The remainder of the day I’d simply focus on eating plant-based foods to have a consistent stream of nourishment. 

3: TeaToxing: This is a “detox” that has wide popularity on Instagram and is endorsed by celebrities. Essentially, you add two teas to your daily meal and continue on with your regular eating habits. Sounds easy right? Well here’s the catch. The night time tea contains senna leaf. Senna leaf is a natural laxative, so obviously you’re going to “detox” the next morning.

Having senna leaf tea 7 days in a row can damage your colon and intestines, prevent vital nutrients from being absorbed, and if you take it too often (if you do this type of cleanse say, once a month) you could end up getting a “lazy colon”. You don’t want me to go into the details. Just don’t over do it with the senna leaf! What I’d do instead is have this type of tea if you’re feeling really backed up, but don’t use it regularly. Adding teas like green tea and herbal teas are a wonderful addition to your daily meal plan as they provide an extra boost of antioxidants.

4: The Raw Food Diet: The raw food diet consists of eating solely uncooked foods. Primarily veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. Typically no meat, grains, or anything that has to be cooked. Obviously this is an incredibly healthy way to eat! What doesn’t work so well is when people that are always on-the-go, don’t have the time to constantly prepare and sustain this type of diet. For those that do invest this time towards what you eat, I applaud you for being able to follow a nutrient dense diet like this. For many of us, it’s hard to sustain.

So if you’re looking to eat more of a plant-based diet to shed extra winter weight, don’t put so much pressure on yourself to go straight to an extreme diet like this. Simply add more smoothies or salads into your day (they’re considered, raw – if you don’t use dairy), and focus on eating primarily plant-based. 

The point is, you shouldn’t have to completely replace your meals with a liquid or specific type of food group for an extended period of time. Typically detoxes like this are just temporary because you lose water weight only. If you really want to shed winter weight and feel lighter, energized, and healthier, simply focus on eating whole foods that nourish you with every bite. Think of the food pyramid with veggies and fruits as the base, and meat all the way at the top (if you are a meat eater). The more plants you include into your diet, the healthier you will feel! There’s never been any studies saying that eating veggies damages your health. So don’t put so much pressure on yourself this season to eat this way or that way. Find creative recipes that are nutrient dense, but taste great- and include more of this vs. staring at a list of all the foods that you have to take away from your diet. Happy spring!

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2 Comments on Spring Detoxes That Don’t Work, And What to Do Instead

  1. Ugh, I totally did the Master Cleanse, more than once! It was absolutely miserable, I was HANGRY as all get out and although I lost an a significant amount of weight right off the bat, exactly what you suggest happens did in fact happen to me. I am glad to say that was many years ago, I have gotten smart, read and learn from places like your blog and eat a well balanced diet, more loaded with whole foods, less meat and exercise. Love your blog!

    • Sarah Baker // March 31, 2016 at 11:53 pm // Reply

      Thanks for the love Michelle! Yea the hard core detoxes are intense!! I’ve done juice cleanses (no solid dinner) and have lost 7-10 lbs but then gain most back once I eat solid foods — PLUS the hangryness! It’s not bueno!

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