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What’s the deal with cleanses and detoxes?

green-422995_1280As spring finally makes its long awaited appearance here in Nova Scotia, you might start hearing about cleanses and detoxes to refresh and revive your system after a long cold, winter of eating comfort food and little exercise.

If you’re familiar with my work, you know I’ve led a number of different cleanse groups over the past two years. Cleanses have been my thing.

But I’m starting to feel like cleanses have just become a new form of diet. In nutrition circles we never use the word diet it because it comes with so much baggage and negativity and doesn’t really help anyone in the long run. Diets are short term. They don’t work. We all want off that roller coaster.

So instead of a diet, you now do a cleanse four times a year, lose a few pounds and you’re good to go. The cleanse ends and you go back to your old habits. You always know another cleanse is around the corner when you need to to drop a few pounds.

But I don’t believe in this anymore. It feels shallow, hollow, surface, trendy and doesn’t really help to change your behaviour or uncover where you might be stuck.

So you might ask, what’s the difference between a “cleanse” and a “detox”?

A cleanse is typically associated with a liquid diet. Mostly fluids, shakes, juices or some liquid concoction. A detox tends to be a protocol of real whole foods that supports and optimizes your body’s natural detoxification phases.

But it’s not just about a word or a name. I really believe that if you embark on one of these programs you should look for one that not only tackles the physical detoxification process, but one that connects you with your body, thoughts, and patterns from an emotional perspective. One that can clear some of that mental clutter that might be holding you back from true food freedom.

To me, the combination of the physical detox along with the emotional work, is a well-rounded program that not only helps you feel physically better, but starts uncovering why you might have been stuck in a rut, pattern or unhealthy habit for so long. By digging deeper you can start to shift these behaviours and mindsets toward a healthier life for good.

If at the end of your program, you feel lighter, more energized, are more aware of your negative thought patterns, are more connected with your body and listening to it’s signals, and are inspired to continue implementing a healthier lifestyle — then I’d say it was a success.

Happy spring detoxing!

*This post was originally published in the Herald Community on April 16, 2014

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