• Cleanse Or Not To Cleanse?

    April 5, 2011

    Rise and shine! It’s iced coffee time!! 😯

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    Seriously, I need an IV of caffeine straight to my veins this morning.

    Last Night’s Dinner

    With all of my traveling lately, Mal has really stepped it up with the meal planning. Last week and this week, he’s taken the time to plan meals, go grocery shopping, and cook the majority of our dinners. I’m pretty sure he wins Husband of the Year!

    Last night’s dinner was another winner: Sweet and Spicy Chicken with Soba Salad.

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    Instead of baby bok choy, Mal used chopped romaine hearts, which worked just fine. He also substituted the red currant jelly with apple chutney, which tasted delicious, but ended up burning in the oven. Although, I think the jelly probably would have burned too? Even still, it was a wonderful dinner— light yet satisfying.

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    I missed my oats over the weekend, so I whipped up a batch for breakfast this morning. In the mix: oats, soy milk, maple syrup, chia seeds, and a scoop of peanut butter. This meal never lets me down.

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    Over the weekend, I received this question about cleanses in my inbox:

    I was reading [a blog] recently and she talks about wanting to start a cleanse soon.  I was wondering what you thought about that. Did you ever do one? A friend of mine did a cleanse and spent the whole week in the bathroom and it wasn’t pretty.  I checked out the cleanse that [the blogger] is planning on doing, and once I read that they recommend you use colonics during the cleanse I was OUT. Enema? Seriously?  Not for me. So how do you feel about a cleanse to rid our body of icky toxins from processed foods? Curious!

    Quick disclaimer: I have no medical training whatsoever, so I have no idea if doing a cleanse is good for you or not. My response is solely my opinion.

    I’ve never done a cleanse of any sort and probably will never do one. I love to eat and drink (beer), so I’d likely fail miserably at a cleanse. I wouldn’t be happy restricting myself or taking laxatives or other supplements/pills. I also think that if you treat your body right by feeding it nutritious foods (most of the time), drinking plenty of water, getting adequate sleep and exercise, your body will do a good job cleansing itself. Basically, my thinking is if you treat your body right, it will treat you right.

    Again, I’m not a doctor. If you’ve ever done a cleanse or know about their benefits, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.

    Question of the Day

    What do you think of cleanses? Have you ever done one?

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    { 44 comments… read them below or add one }

    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey April 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I’ve never done a real “cleanse”, but I do drink a “detox” tea every once in a while if my body if feeling sluggish. It does the trick! I feel if you load up on fruits and vegetables, the body will cleanse itself!


    Clare @ Fitting It All In April 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I’m with you on the cleanse. If I ever feel like I need to clean up my act eating wise, I just try to eat whole foods for about a week and limit my excess sugar, salt, and caffeine. That makes me feel great without any juices or colonics!
    The body is designed to cleanse itself naturally.


    Cara @ EAT.PRAY.RUN April 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I completely agree with treating your body right and it will love you in return. I watch my friend try these crazy cleanses, then go back to eating junkfood and just don’t see the point. I do know some people who have done holistic cleanses in order to help heal themselves of allergies and other sicknesses, which is pretty cool! Personally though, I need my food 🙂


    Laura @ prettylittlewords April 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    While the idea of a cleanse once in a blue moon does intrigue me, I’m in the same boat as you are — I love beer and good food too much! I’m sure I would only last a few days then totally give up. Meh! Life is too short.


    Alyssa @ Life of bLyss April 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    yeeah, I’m with you on the cleansing. I think food is meant to fuel our bodies, and there is no reason for us to put our bodies through such things.


    Heather April 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve never done a cleanse like master cleanse or anything (I could never fast for that long, I’d go off the deep end), but I have done a three day detox before.

    I found it in First magazine a few years back (I think it’s out of print now which is a shame cuz it was an awesome mag), but for one day you drank a mixture of cranberry juice, water and flax seed and alternate that with a glass of water, every hour on the hour.

    If anyone is interested in it, message me and I can send you a copy, I still have the magazine at home!

    The next two days you follow a specific menu plan, and the whole premise of it was that it was to cleanse and detox your liver and get rid of any extra water weight you’ve been holding on to. I like doing it about once a year, and I notice it helps!


    Jenn April 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Holy balls… has Mal always been the kind of guy to take on that kind of “chore”? (Not sure how to word that haha) I don’t think my boyfriend has ever seen the inside of the oven and I’d love a tip or two to point him in the right direction! It’s seriously mind blowing to me that Mal also meal planned! You’ve got a keeper for sure 😉


    Noya April 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I have tried a cleanse – albeit, I was less informed about healthy living. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you must do one only do it for 3 to 4 days – NOT a week to 10 days, like others. I definitely felt that my system was “cleansed” within 3 days, but cleansing your system can just as easily be done without subsisting on liquids and laxatives. Just eat healthy! Tons of fruits and veggies, and checking the labels on packaged foods – make sure the ingredients list is minimal!


    Bree April 5, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Never done a cleanse, never plan to. I am with you on treating your body right. And the eating/drinking part. I enjoy eating/drinking too much and have fun cooking I would be afraid for anyone that would have to be around me for that week or however long.

    I’ve definitely made an effort to eat better for a few days after a weekend of too much indulgence, but that for me is just increasing the veggies, fruits, water, etc.


    Beth April 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Now I want some iced coffee, and all I have is some instant hot VIA
    =( I am not a fan of cleanses you buy at the store, if you really want to clean things out eat a lot of veggies and drink a ton of water!


    Lauren April 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    here in NYC, there are SO many cleanse delivery services – like Blueprint, Organic Avenue, etc. I wouldn’t do them because A) I like eating and B) they’re like $80 a day. I’d rather buy new shoes!


    Roz April 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I am 100% with you. I’ve never cleansed, and never will. To me, something that drastic, even for a short period of time does nothing to change unhealthy habits over the long term. I’m all about moderation, not deprivation.


    Laura April 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I just finished a modified Clean cleanse and definitely recommend it. You’re suppose to have 2 liquid meals (smoothie or pureed vegetable type soup) twice a day and one solid meal a day, but I ended up doing a smoothie in the morning and 2 solid meals bc I am in training for a bunch of road races this spring (which the book recommended). I can’t recommend the diet enough though. You basically start out w/ an elimination diet (so nothing that anyone could be allergic to or have a sensitivity to, e.g. no gluten, no dairy, no soy, no refined sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, no nightshade plants, no peanuts, not strawberries, etc.). After the first week I was feeling a little too deprived so I switched instead to no gluten, no dairy, no soy, no refined sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol instead and just felt great. I lost 10 lbs in 3 weeks, my skin cleared up and some other health problems I was having all but went away (including exercise induced asthma, which sucked w/ my marathon training last fall). I definitely recommend this for people who suspect they might have a sensitivity to food. Also, although the book does suggest colonics, if you are having regular bowel movements you do NOT need to do these. And in general medical professionals only recommend colonics for people who are pretty impacted (my sister is a gastrointestinal nurse) so in general people shouldn’t be doing these unless there is someone trained involved. I have gone back to drinking the occasional beer or glass of wine, but do find that no sugar, occasional dairy, no soy and only a little wheat (mostly spelt) makes me feel best.


    Jay April 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    This sounds miserable.


    M April 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    It’s actually not miserable all!
    Sounds like it I know, but once you get in the groove you would
    be amazed how good you feel doing this.
    I too tired this and am about to do another tomorrow.
    It’s very healthy.I don’t do the smoothie part though-
    I stick with real meals and real food!


    Amanda (tomboy that wears makeup) April 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I last a day on cleanses and I give up, haha. I did a 5 day juice cleanse once and that was great, but otherwise I usually fail! I’m ok with that though… Live life, eat healthy and YES- drink beer!


    Emily @ Savory and Savage April 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I have never done a full blown cleanse – but I do have periods where all I want are greens, fruit and yogurt. I suppose that may be considered a type of a cleanse.


    Jamie B. April 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I agree with your opinion 100%. I think cleanses are necessary for some people for health reasons (colon cleansing, detox for medical reasons) but for strictly health/fitness/weight loss reasons, it’s a recipe for misery. Deprivation and maintaining a liquid or severely low cal diet is only going to trigger binge eating/ disordered eating or an unhealthy view of food.


    Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    live healthily every day and you won’t need to do a cleanse. For some, they might enjoy the added benefits, however!


    Ella April 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    just a dietetic intern here, but I will say – your body already has organs to do its own cleansing. they are called the liver and the kidneys. don’t abuse them with too much crap, and you will always be detoxed just fine.


    Jen April 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I like to think of fruits and vegetables as little scrub brushes for my insides, eat enough and you will be cleansed 🙂


    Ellie@fitforthesoul April 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    wow way to go Mal!! that looks grrrreat!!
    Hmmm I don’t know about cleanses anymore. I used to think that they’re good for the body. (never did one actually) and it seemed logical, but after hearing so many things, I started to think that perhaps gradual changes in eating and drinking cleansing foods and drinks would be best–as opposed to completely detoxing it out.


    Melanie @ Trial By Trail April 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I’m in week 3 right now of a 3 weeks cleanse. I have a baby and a toddler and have been feeling run down constantly. I was working out regularly and eating some good foods but I was also drinking a lot of caffeine to make it through the day. I also had a little chocolate obsession and was always snacking on my kids crackers. I went to my doctor several times to have my thyroid and other things checked but apparently I’m healthy! She recommended I do a cleanse which I started a little over 2 weeks ago and I’m blogging daily about what I eat, my energy levels, etc. I’ve eliminated caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, dairy and gluten from my diet. I’ve been eating loads of fruits and veggies, brown rice, oatmeal, lean meats and gluten-free carbs. I feel SO much better now then I did 2 or 3 weeks ago but a cleanse is very tough in the beginning. If you can push through the first week or 10 days, you really start seeing some real energy. 🙂


    Victoria April 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I know the word “cleanse” can mean different things to different people. Same with the word “detox.” Regardless, the idea behind them, that you have to do something to help rid your body of toxins, is not something I buy into. As an RN I spent a couple of years studying the body, and it’s amazing how well designed it is. Your liver, kidneys, and colon already “cleanse” your body and rid it of waste. Your body does not need outside help. Eating well can reduce the work load on your organs, but they already know how to do their jobs.


    Crystal April 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I haven’t personally haven’t done a cleanse. However my father did the “Master Cleanse” a few times so based on this I don’t think I would do a cleanse. It’s one thing if you want to cut out processed foods- or sugars- maybe caffeine, however to completely go on an intense cleanse doesn’t seem to be a great long term thing. Instead I just try to eat well and exercise most of the time. So far it seems to work just fine for me 🙂 Hurray for husbands that rock! Good job Mal!


    Holley @ Lunges and Lashes April 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I started one once, mostly out of curiosity. Only lasted a couple of days though, because the ODOR was no good. If you know what I mean. 🙂


    Alyssa April 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Every doctor and health professional I’ve ever heard speaking about cleanses says the same thing: your body does a good job of cleansing itself, and some of these cleanses (Master Cleanse, colonics, etc.) can be dangerous.
    But I’m biased: after living in L.A for nearly a decade and seeing people (mostly women) use cleanses as an extension of their eating disorders, I’ve been turned off of them.


    Michelle April 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I did more of a detox when I found out about my gluten intolerance.

    I drank an intest restore shake, and only ate non-starchy veggies and fruits low in sugar, egg whites, chicken, fish (I was originally supposed to be eating nuts… but I’m allergic so my RD allowed the meat). And obviously no oils on any of these meats. It went REALLY well… until I got food poisoning from fish in the middle of it :/ now that was BADDDD. But I’m sure it was just a fluke… (har har har). Good luck Tina!


    Tracy @ Commit To Fit April 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I just posted about cleansing a few weeks ago. I think it can be helpful if you consult a pro and make gradual changes to your diet, exercise and lifestyle.


    Katelyn (new kid on the vegan block) April 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I also recently posted about a ‘cleanse’ I did about a week ago – if you could even call it that. Yes, it involved shakes and restricted foods, but there was plenty to eat and I was never hungry – and I’m usually always hungry! It just sort of hits reset on your system. It was by Eleven Eleven Wellness in NYC and I would highly recommend it. I plan on doing it again!


    Meredith (Pursuing Balance) April 5, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    i’m a dietetic intern, and i have to say nononono on the cleanses! your liver and your kidneys do a good job of “cleansing” your body on their own! plus, depending on length of time, you’d worry about bacterial translocation! no good.


    Hilary April 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I’m like you…I don’t think I could hack it…tempted at times, but rally don’t think it’s the way to go!


    maya @ finding balance in tokyo April 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    I am not a fan of the drastic cleanses that are unpersonalized and mass marketed, and I also agree with the idea that your body can cleanse itself. However, I think that a personalized detox, fast, or cleanse (1-7 days max) can be a good idea every now and again. Your body adjusts to what and how much you feed it, and it’s beneficial to mix it up occasionally to keep things in balance.

    But one of the reasons I like the idea of dexoting, etc. is something that no one else has touched on here in the comments, and that is the mental side of it. We live in a time of abundance, and it is very easy to feel entitled to excess and lose touch with our bodies. Limiting yourself for short periods can help to reestablish that connection and strengthen your personal balance and self-control, so that when you return to your regular diet you are more mindful about what you eat.

    I am a big fan of eating the foods that make you happy, and would not want to live a life in which I deprived myself of dessert, but I try to keep myself aware of the fact that this is a privilege that I am lucky to have, and not a right.

    I think many people on relatively healthy diets have problems controlling themselves around certain items, and going without those for a brief time can help with that. There is a fine line between deprivation and using ‘moderation!’ and ‘life’s too short!’ as an excuse to not exert self-control. Giving up something you like for one week does not mean compromising your values in life.

    I actually just did a one day modified fast yesterday to get myself back on track. I limited myself to fruit & kefir smoothies for breakfast and lunch, and coconut water between, and finished it off a with a balanced dinner and some banana soft-serve for dessert. I ended up coming in just under 1200 calories for the day, which is hardly a true fast, but I feel physically and mentally clearer today, and much more appreciative of the food that I have access to. I’m fairly certain that my choices will be more mindful for at least a while.


    Alison April 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I know I am in the minority, but…I have done the Master Cleanse, and I felt I had a good experience. I will say that:
    -it wasn’t for weight loss (didn’t need to lose any)
    -it wasn’t to clear out toxins (because I don’t really know what that means)

    It was a time of my life when I was very stressed and feeling so run down. I had a hard time sleeping, I was hungry all the time (I was eating pretty good food, but I wasn’t in control), I was dragging through my workouts. I felt like my body was going haywire and just needed to be reset. Out of a bit of desperation, I tried a cleanse. I thought I would last about 4 hours, but I made it through one day, then two…and by the third day, a crazy thing happened. I felt GREAT. Not hungry at all, sleeping like a baby (but up before dawn, wide awake), and I had TONS of energy. After two weeks I felt like a new person — I went back to eating whole foods, working out, and generally taking care of myself.

    I would say that DEFINITELY it is best to eat well and take good care of yourself — if you can do that faithfully, no need for a cleanse. But if you are like me and sometimes life gets in the way, I think a cleanse (even a short one of 1-2 days) might prove helpful for some.

    Very interesting discussion — I like seeing all of the varied opinions!


    Chetney April 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    When I read “apple chutney” I thought you were talking about me in your recipe! So sorry I burned in the oven!! 🙂


    Mac April 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I’ve never done one, I am kind of skeptical of them… and like you I love some things just TOO much to give them up!


    Caitlin @ TPL April 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I’ve thought about doing a somewhat “cleanse” if I feel like I’ve been eating a ton of crap. But basically just cutting out refined sugar for a week or so. I would never do one of the crazy juice cleanses or anything, I need more energy than that!


    Addie April 5, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Love your blog.

    I did some research in October on the Master Cleanse for an article in my school’s newspaper. I don’t think it’s a good idea if the only reason you’re doing it is to lose weight, but it seems like it could be beneficial in other ways.



    Sheila April 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Try to eat healthy and let the body do the work.


    Jardan April 6, 2011 at 12:01 am

    I agree with your thinking Tina – 80% healthy eating etc… 20% fun. and your body will do its thing =)


    Meghann @ Meghann on the Move April 6, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I’m doing a BluePrint juice cleanse right now, and I feel amazing. I feel alert and refreshed and the last two days have been my most productive at work in ages! I know, as so many have said, that the body is built to cleanse naturally, but the idea here is to give your body a rest from all that work. There are six juices to drink throughout the day (plus you can have unlimited green tea, caffeinated or decaf), all of which are delicious and packed with nutrients. I’m not hungry and I don’t feel deprived. I can still exercise (I ran yesterday and met my trainer this morning). And I’m certainly not getting a colonic! I just know (based on past experience – this is my third cleanse) that juice cleansing makes me feel great. Don’t judge it till you try it!


    Alaina April 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I have never been one for cleanses either. Totally agree with treating your body right and it will be good right back to you. 🙂


    Brittany April 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I’ve actually considered doing a cleanse, which was recommended by my trainer. But once I read what it entailed and the problems you could come across while on it, I opted out. There should be no reason why healthy food is actually CAUSING you to take laxatives.

    I agree with you. Eating well (MOST of the time 🙂 ) and exercising should be enough to keep your body healthy!


    Lauren Lionheart April 7, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Oh man, you wouldn’t believe how different you feel after a cleanse. I’ve been on a cleansing diet for almost 4 months and I just keep finding new levels of feeling awesome.

    I used to say “I could never cleanse, I love food too much!” and it was the truth for years. I got tired of feeling crappy so I sucked it up and figured out how to do a cleanse diet and not go crazy or make myself sick. Totally worth it.

    Visit my blog to learn how.




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