We frequently hear about juice cleanses as a way to lose weight, cleanse or detox our bodies or to hit the reset button for our metabolism or our eating habits. Some of these cleanses are quite drastic – lasting 3 – 21 days and sometimes allowing only liquids. Many celebrities have been known to use cleanses to drop weight quickly. Beyonce famously lost 20 lbs for her role in Dream Girls, using the controversial Master Cleanse.
But, the truth is that this type of juice cleanse isn’t really as healthy as it sounds. While you might lose a few pounds quickly, the starvation aspect of a cleanse can really mess with your metabolism, making those same pounds more likely to pile back on later. Typically cleanses have you eat too few calories to support your basic metabolic function, causing your metabolism to slow to conserve energy. So, when you go back to eating normally, your metabolism remains slow and you’ll be more likely to gain all the weight back.
Is there any medical or scientific basis to doing a cleanse or a detox diet? Not really. Our body has its own built in mechanisms and in fact, whole organs dedicated to cleaning toxins out of the body. There are natural bacteria in the colon that detoxify food wastes. The colon also sheds its old cells about every 3 days to help prevent buildup of harmful material. The liver and the kidneys both play key roles in neutralizing toxins in our bloodstream and to help to remove them from the body.
Body systems aside, time spent eating poorly, not being active, and perhaps even smoking and drinking can take its toll on our bodies and can greatly affect how we feel. Thankfully, there are some healthy habits you can learn to detox your body on daily basis.
Here are 7 ways you can cleanse your body without the liquid diet!
1) Cut Back on Sugar
Or even better, cut it out completely. This also includes honey, molasses, and artificial sweeteners. Eating sugar causes insulin spikes which in turn cause fatigue, increased hunger and more sweets cravings. Heavy sugar consumption also has negative effects on the metabolism and strains the pancreas. It’s recommended to stay away from alcohol too, which has a similar effect.
2) Drink a lot of water
Drinking a lot of water helps flush waste and unhealthy bacteria out of your body. It helps your liver and kidneys do their job of removing toxins. Add juice from half a lemon once per day to re-hydrate your system and promote good digestion.
Regular exercise encourages circulation, moving more oxygen rich blood to your kidneys and liver so that they can eliminate toxins more effectively. Exercise also helps lubricate the joins and enhances digestion.
Not only is a short sauna session great for relaxation following a tough gym session, it also helps you detox by sweating. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and our main barrier against environmental toxins. Over time our pores can become clogged with toxins and sweating is a great way to push them out. Of course, sweating from your workout will help too!
Skin brushing and oil massages are other relaxing ways to remove toxins from the surface of your skin. Both help improve blood circulation near the skin’s surface, too. To read more about skin brushing (which also helps decrease cellulite!) check out this article.
6) Eat LOTS of Fibrous Veggies and Fruits
Over time toxins can build up in your digestive tract, and particularly in the colon. Naturally cleansing the colon can promote healthy intestinal bacteria, boost your energy and enhance your immune system. The best and safest way to clean out your colon is to increase your intake of high fiber foods like whole grains, beans, fruits and veggies.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, both of which have positive effects on the digestive system. Soluble fiber, found in many fruits, absorbs water soluble materials like cholesterol and toxins and helps push them out of the body. Insoluble fiber, also known as roughage, is found in bran and fibrous fruits and vegetables. This type of fiber sweeps the intestinal wall clean and helps promote bowel regularity.
Many of those same fibrous fruits and vegetables are also full of healthy antioxidants. Antioxidants help to fight free radicals which are cancer causing molecules inside your body. Load up on beans, berries, nuts, and colorful fruits and veggies to get more antioxidants in your diet. For more info on what antioxidants are and how this process works, check out this article.
If you’re looking to clean up your body and get healthy the Athlean-XX for Women nutrition and fitness plan is perfect for you. We encourage you to eat healthy fruits and veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats 5 – 6 times per day, all of which will help your system run optimally to flush out toxins, boost your metabolism and make you feel great. To get your sweat on, we think you’ll love our challenging 30 minute circuit strength workouts – first because they’re only 30 minutes, but also because they’re super effective, giving you strength training and blood-pumping cardio in one shot! If you’re ready to change your mind, change your behaviors, change your body and change your life, we invite you to join us on Team Athlean!