Your Body Cleanses Itself

Juice Cleanses Are Not Necessary! from 100 Days of #RealFoodI understand my stance on “juice cleanses” may not be the popular one (especially this time of year), but let’s face it – your body cleanses itself. I almost *cringe* every time I hear someone’s practically starving themselves by not actually eating any regular food and only drinking green juices and the like. Maybe they think they’ll feel great and it will help them lose weight (even if it’s just water weight) – but, in my opinion, not eating (i.e. chewing) any food for a few days sounds pretty extreme and like the opposite of “fun” to me.

Extreme Diet Trends

Leave it to us Americans though to once again take the enjoyment out of food. We are one of the few countries that obsesses over counting this or limiting that or not pairing two particular foods together at a certain time of day (this last one I never really understood?). What happened to just eating a variety of whole foods – and simply stopping when you feel full or, better yet, satisfied – and actually taking pleasure in the whole process?? I am pretty sure that’s the way things were meant to be, and also, by default, it would help us to avoid some of those unwanted chemicals and additives (i.e. toxins found in highly processed food) in the first place.

A Professional Opinion

If you look at the facts, all of this isn’t really just “in my opinion.” I spoke to a local Colorectal Surgeon, Dr. Robert Stevens, who specializes in colons (obviously) – one of the organs people are attempting to “flush the toxins out of” with juice cleansing. I know Dr. Stevens personally (and trust him), and he verifies that your colon, liver and kidneys make up your very own amazing detoxification system. Imagine that – we are already equipped with all the right parts to naturally rid ourselves of unwanted toxins and feel good! Not to mention that not eating for a few days can cause dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and even colon damage (yikes).

Dr. Stevens tells me, “The most beneficial natural colon ‘cleanse’ is dietary fiber. Consuming the whole fruit or vegetable (not just the juice) is the best way to ensure that the contents of the colon are adequately evacuated along with any toxins that might remain.” As I learned during my own recent experiment, juicing can be expensive, time-consuming, and also does not provide you with the whole vegetable because “juicers” actually remove that fiber he is talking about (which can leave you still feeling hungry afterward, as it did for me).

I want to make it clear that there’s certainly nothing wrong with drinking a green juice, but it should not be considered an adequate substitution for regular food – especially for days on end.

No Evidence Cleanses Work

Not only is the act of giving up real food during a juice fast/cleanse basically the opposite of human nature, but there is also little to no scientific evidence that it actually flushes out any toxins in the first place (as confirmed here and here). Have you ever seen a credible, peer-reviewed study that proves these cleanses really work? If so, please do share it with us in the comments.

So some probably won’t like that I am saying all of this – and others may actually thank me (you can finally chew your food again – yay!) – but either way this is where I stand. In general, be careful about extreme diet trends and remember to eat a variety of wholesome, healthy foods that you can actually take the time to enjoy. :)

In Summary

Why i don't like juice #cleanses from 100 Days of #RealFood

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155 thoughts on “Your Body Cleanses Itself”

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  1. I’m thinking that there are a lot of traditional celebrations that include a short fast at the change of seasons…possibly for health reasons, though (obviously) not spelled out that way.
    Whenever I have stomach issues, my dr suggests a short liquid fast to give the organs a chance to rest and reset, though I don’t have peer reviewed articles to share. It does usually help, although I’d rather they help me get to the root of the problem. (Real food helps but hasn’t solved things)

  2. The lack of peer reviewed studies concerning the effectiveness of juice cleansers might be due to the fact that such studies cannot be funded by anyone who would ever make a profit from conducting and not because juice cleansers don’t work… Just a thought.

    1. Hmm…I get what you’re saying and usually tend to agree. However, in this case I’d think the manufacturers of the various juicers would stand to make a profit.

  3. I agree, plus the fact that the act of chewing actually helps satiety signals. While smoothies and juices can be great when you’re unable to sit down and eat, they should replace actual food. (I’m not a doctor, but I do have a Master’s in Exercise Science with numerous nutrition classes.)

  4. Not sure if I would hang my hat on modern medicine. They have repeatedly been wrong- anyone bleeding themselves these days? What I will say is a combo- things like your nutribullet that break it down and make it easy to get nutrition into your body- win. But I’ll also add that beet juices do show substantial results.

    Lisa it is true, livers and colons are meant to cleanse but many are flooding their bodies with processed junk, caffeine and alcohol to the point that the May need a cleanse

    1. Using a nutribullet to essentially make a smoothie is not the same thing as a juice cleanse where are getting rid of almost all of the fiber. The fiber is what helps cleanse your body of those toxins. You can cleanse your body naturally by eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Not by trying to live off of three glasses of juice a day for 7+ days. That will do nothing to rid your body of the toxins you mentioned.

      1. Normal juice cleanses are more like 6 glasses of natural organic cold pressed juices for only 3 days and most allow a raw and vegan diet if you feel the need.

    2. Are you really going to argue we shouldn’t trust modern medicine because St a used to use leeches? By that argument, we shouldn’t trust modern science because some scientists used to think the world was flat and that the sun revolves around us. However, trusting an internet fad that isn’t supported by people with actual degrees who study the most current research is to be preferred. Absurd if you think about it. Please think about it.

  5. Leave it to people who have never tried it to pooh-pooh something. First, completely removing sugar from your diet is nearly impossible unless you switch to a completely veggie/fruit diet. Sugar is added to everything processed. The reason it shocks your body is because the parasites in your body feed off of the sugar, and they don’t like it when you stop feeding them.

    Green juices give your body a chance to detox the sugar, pesticides and medications out of your body by letting the body work on healing health issues instead of digesting. Juices and smoothies are basically “pre-digested” when they are broken down so much by juicing or blending. It’s not “starving” yourself. You are still getting all of the nutrients of eating a huge salad or giant bowl of fruit with ever drink, without killing all of the beneficial enzymes by cooking it. And anyone who is doing a juice cleanse would not just stop doing it because you said they should… Those who do it know that it will help their body heal. Maybe you should try a cleanse to get rid of the parasites that are apparently inhabiting where your brain should be. I’m now unsubscribing from your list, because you do absolutely no research before you create a post.

    1. I completely agree with beachlover and I don’t think it is right to take such a solid stand on something you have never tried. My body craves juice and highly recommend it to anyone try to cut out bad carbs and sugar. .

  6. I did a two day, 48 hour fast once, basically drinking all my calories. At the end of that time I felt great — clearheaded and with more energy than I’d had in well, years. As soon as I ate something *boom* back to the normal dragged-out tired and cloudy-headed feeling. I don’t know if this is due to some undiagnosed food allergy.. but I do know it happened.

  7. @Jenny Homemade applesauce is easy to make. It will also have all the fiber. And Most kids like it. Buy or bake whole grain bread. Whole grain noodles or macaroni for his favorite pasta dishes. These are simple ways to keep fiber in his diet with little fuss. Also more water in his diet.
    My kids thought a raw veggie tray with “dip” was a treat. I served it often because they loved it.

  8. I need help for my 4 year old who stays constipated. I am using MilraLax daily for him. What can I do specifically to help him? Is MiraLax safe? Thanks,

    1. Miralax use regularly will make the bowel lazy and will make constipation worse. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy with veggies, and let the kid sit on the toilet 10 minutes at least twice a day. Keep miralax for special occasions!

  9. Great article, thank you for this!!!
    I really wanted to try “juicing” some time ago, but found that 1) I couldn’t afford it. 2) Oh my word, I may die of starvation and 3) All of the waste!!!! So I decided to start “blending” so that I was getting ALL of the fruit/veggies/fiber. My family and I make a veggie/fruit “smoothie” nearly every day between breakfast and lunch. We use 1/2 organic greens, along with veggies such as beets, broccoli, carrot, etc… and then banana, apple, and whatever fresh in-season, or organic frozen fruit we can find. No sugar, no honey, no junk. Just good ole raw fruits and veggies. And you know what, my kids LOVE their smoothies! In fact, we met friends recently at a ‘healthy smoothie’ chain, and I was SHOCKED when my child asked if it was a CANDY smoothie… apparently they added over 1/4 CUP of SUGAR to the “healthy smoothie”!!! I’ll just stick to making my own, because they are truly healthy!!!

  10. I love this Lisa. My neighbor is super into that “IsAgenix” cleanse stuff. She really touts it as this amazing, “organic/no GMO” super healthy thing and she says she feels better – hair, nails, skin. I never say anything against it, but I can’t help but feel that drinking shakes and eating bars made in factories just can’t be as good for a human body as eating real food, right? Do you have any knowledge of the IsAgenix? If not, it’s okay… just curious.

    Love your posts – you have changed my life!!

  11. I’m so confident, Lisa, that you would notice a change after doing a two week Isagenix cellular level cleanse that I’d love to buy you one just to get your opinion. :) It includes 4 deep cleanse days and the other days you just add two shakes into your already healthy diet. Let me know!

  12. I agree with this post. It is most certainly true that our bodies are created to be able to “detox” themselves, but from what I have studied it is the chemicals and lack of nutrition that majority of Americans consume daily that contributes to the need for an actual detox for people. Those people that eat right, real, and balanced shouldn’t have a need to ever do so!

    This is why I love your website so much, because of all of the real food recipes, I LOVE everything that I’ve tried from your recipe list :)

    I have done plenty of juicing and smoothies over the past few years as my interest in healthy eating has gained it’s momentum and I became “that person” in my extended family. But from what I have studied in school, and have learned from my dad, (who is a Physician of Integrative Medicine,) is that consuming only green tea and water for no more than two days is the best form of detox for someone who has the need to do so (which would those people who consume chemical and preservative laden food, cheap meat with antibiotics/hormones, etc.) It allows the digestive system to shed it’s lining and heal without piling on more toxins. People don’t like to hear that something as cheap and accessible as green tea is an option because it is so simple and basic. Everyone thinks green juicing and smoothies are cool, the greener the better. And it is true, it is a great supplement, not substitute, especially for people who it is difficult to feed fruits and veggies to, i.e. my husband when we first got married :) (In case you were wondering, he loves what I make now because he has officially acquired the taste for clean foods.)

    Anyways, all that to say, this is a great post. Thanks for sharing!

  13. The topic of this article was juice cleanses, but since fasting came up in the comments, I read up at Web MD. Interstingly, fasting is agreed upon as an unhealthy way to lose weight, but there is some disagreement among doctors as to other health benefits of fasting. The doctor cited as being in favor makes it clear that the technique is effective when preceeded and followed by a healthy diet. It also seems to be helpful in treating autoimmune issues as it acts a disruptor, hence one commenter’s success in treating psoriasis with a cleanse/fast.

    I discussed diet changes with a friend who studied nutrition, and she mentioned that even though things like sugar are problematic for our bodies, it is not recommended to suddenly cut out sugar from a diet as it is shocking to your system. Similarly, cleansing methods are hard on the body which adjusts its chemical processes gradually. Instead of trying to bypass the body’s natural cleansing mechanisms, give it the food it needs to get the job done, and make your body’s job easier by cutting out as many toxins as you can in the first place.