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Detox - what image does that conjure up for you?
Feeling virtuous after a sin-free week of misery and starvation? It's worth it because although de-toxing is an event worse than getting a Pringle in your eye, it's doing your body a world of good. You'll be a healthier, happier, all-round better person for it.
Except you won't. Because de-toxing is a myth.
Those who promote detox, mostly marketing specialists and wealthy health-food gurus, explain that we need detox to cleanse ourselves of the toxins currently poisoning us. They say that depriving yourself of food and surviving only on organic cabbage stalks will make you feel a million dollars. Or that putting a hose pipe up your bum to wash out poo is essential to your well-being.... and we pay for this?
In reality if we ate poisonous food that our kidneys, liver, skin and lungs couldn't cleanse on a regular basis we would be dead. In 2009, when asked what toxins their products cleansed, the majority of food, supplement, shampoo, and skin-care companies couldn't give a straight answer on what the term toxin meant, let alone detox. Trading Standards anyone?
It's a good idea to avoid sugar, alcohol, fat and processed meals on a regular basis, as you may prevent diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. A 'detox' from smoking in the form of quitting is important too. Other than that - you're good. There's no need to pay for anything.
Doctors and real health experts say we should exercise regularly, drink water and eat a balanced Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet includes fish, meats, olive oil, salad, nuts and fruit. This diet includes the majority of amino acids, vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function well. Throw in some All Bran and you've got the perfect diet. No wonder Greeks and Romans dominate our ancient history books. Their diets were so good they didn't get distracted by pointless detox. Instead they had time to conquer continents, invent machinery and write it all down.
There must be some ancient throw-back to religious fasting, or more likely it's us looking for a health quick fix, that makes us think de-toxing is good, when it fact it's a myth.
The word detox is magical - it makes us think of glowing health and the perfect body. The word is good. The industry behind it is not. It's pointless and money-grabbing. You can't flush calories and chemicals out of your body after you've indulged, you need to wait for your body to clear up. That's why there is no cure for a hangover. To 'detox' properly I'm afraid you need to stop eating rubbish and exercise instead. Do this and your body is capable of 'detoxing' itself. Just stop putting rubbish in, and you'll feel better.
So save your money for better health purchases, like a good pair of supportive trainers. Unless you like colonic irrigation of course, in which case we won't judge. Your hobbies are your own business.