Author: Holly J Coley
Are you familiar with the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead? The 2010 film takes you inside the world of Joe Cross, who suffers from an autoimmune disease. Overweight and dying, Joe embarks on a 60-day juice fast to clean out his system.
The results are astounding. Not only does Joe lose enough weight to be taken out of the obesity category but his disease goes into remission.
I’ve seen my fair share of movies geared toward showing the evils of our food system, but this one really hit close to home. As a person who has suffered from chronic stomach pains, food induced hives, and the type of fatigue that makes you feel like you’ve been up for a week, I know how much it sucks to be sick. That’s why not long after I saw the movie I purchased a juicer.
Detoxes get a mixed reception from the public. Some-like celebs and health junkies-swear by them. Others-some medical experts and nutritionist-say they’re a fad. But what’s the real real deal when it comes to cleaning out one system? Are detoxes worth the hype?
You may remember from your Human Biology class that the liver and kidneys are responsible for ridding the body of toxins. The liver, in particular, relies on various vitamins, minerals and amino acids to do its job. If you don’t eat enough nutrient rich food (we’re talking produce) you’re not really giving the body what it needs to detox naturally. According to the USDA, a survey released in 2010 showed that only 8 percent of Americans were meeting the recommended serving of fruit. Only 6 percent met their vegetable requirement.
Many cleanses or detoxes are made up of fresh vegetable and fruit juices. A few may include natural laxatives like Psyllium husk. Mayo Clinic Nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. reports that the benefit in fruit and veggie centered detoxes “may actually come from avoiding highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar.” However, she also claims that there is little scientific evidence that these juice fasts work.
Is that true though? If the good cleanses consists of raw vegetables and fruit, don’t they help us meet our recommended requirements and then some? A compelling study was done in 2006 about the power of having a raw food diet. The study consisted of 500 participants, who ate raw for 2 years. Researchers found these participants had a decrease in allergies, candida (yeast overload), stress, joint pain, and so many other things that it’s hard to argue against the benefit of a diet rich in raw produce. Seriously, read the report.
Seeing Joe Cross go from diseased and dying to healthy and to be honest, sort of hot, was all it took to make me a believer in juicing. I admit, it can be time consuming and a little pricey (it’s nuts how many veggies need to be blended to make a single glass). However, in my opinion, it’s a worthy venture. While it will not provide the fiber you need (that’s found in the pulp and skin of the produce) it will boost your micronutrient intake. It can also help you become more conscious about what you’re putting in your mouth the rest of the day. In my my book, that’s a good thing.
If you’re still not convinced about the power of juicing or want to cleanse your system while still enjoying the pleasure of eating, there are lots of foods that are naturally detoxifying. Check them out here.
So what do you think about juicing, detoxes, and cleanses in general? Have you tried one? Did it turn you into a believer? Let me know in the comments.