The Myth of the Spring Cleanse or Perhaps you Should Just Pay Attention to your Poop.
Spring is here and so are all the "Spring Resets" and "Spring Cleanses" someone wants to sell you. I am hearing more folks talk about doing a cleanse or needing a reset to help us rebound from all the sideways choices we've made since the New Year. That was was only 100 days ago!
Let me just put this up front.
You don't need to "cleanse" or do a reset.
Just start by increasing your fruits and vegetables at every meal and drinking more water.
When I decided to bust the myth of a cleanse today I wasn't sure I would be able to do it in less than 250 words. There's just so much to say about the fallacy of cleansing.
First, let's just apply some basic biology. You already possess an amazing cleansing and detoxifying system in your body. This system features (FOR FREE:-) your liver and kidneys, and to a lesser extent your lungs and skin. The PRIMARY job or your liver and kidneys is eliminate biochemicals from our body.
Yep, it's true!
Our lungs and skin also have a role to play through ventilation and and sweating. Our body is an amazing and adaptive collection of organs, organelles, and tissues and it's in our best interest to quickly and effectively shuttle undesirable biochemicals out of our tissues.
Second, and this usually stumps most people, what it is EXACTLY you're trying to rid yourself of.
Most folks, and especially the people who are trying to sell you the magic cleansing product, will answer with the dreaded T words, toxins. Well, which ones? What kind? How do you know what's toxic?
Anything, even WATER, is toxic if it is ingested or inhaled in the wrong amounts. When someone drowns they die of inhaling water in toxic amounts. You can even die by DRINKING too much water. It's called hyponatremia and it's a real problem.
Often, a cleanse is usually accompanied by a fast (24-48 hour fasting is the most popular) thus the cleanse has some weight loss element.
Let's think about what's really going on here. We need a "re-set" because we've been making a series of lifestyle choices with regards to food, alcohol, sleep, and exercise and we just want to start over.
Well, you can do all of that FOR FREE with your next meal. Then you can do it again without any special product or magic drink at your next meal. It's called choice and we all posses the ability to make one.
If you're attracted to the fasting element, then just try that. Fasting costs you nothing and yes, you will probably lose some weight.
One thing that I can advocate that will help you re-set is to drink water. Water, the universal solvent, is amazing in its ability to lubricate the detoxifying systems of your body.
Water will help your kidneys and liver do all of the amazing cleansing they naturally do so well.
Water will fill your belly so you don't feel so hungry.
Water will make you pee which means your kidneys are doing their job. Water will help you poop which means your digestive system is doing its job of elimination.
In fact, monitoring your poop is cheaper than a cleanse and will give you valuable insight into your health. The shape, smell, consistency and frequency of your turds can clue you in to the affect of your lifestyle choices. Here is a great infographic about poop health from the Precision Nutrition folks.
I challenge you to drink more water and keep track of your poo for the next week. Starting today through next Monday, I want you to note the frequency, consistency and aroma of your poop. You can keep a handwritten poo-journal next to your toilet, or you can step into the future and download a poop-tracking app for your phone. YES! They exist. You can find one that fits your poop-lifestyle here: The Best Poo Tracking Apps.
How much water? Let's start with 1/3 to 1/2 your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 140 pounds then try drinking 46-70 ounces of water.
Do you have a myth you want me to bust? Tell me in the comments!
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