You’ve made up your mind. You’re going Paleo. No more grains, no more sugar, no more dairy. You have a menu plan and a shopping list. You’re ready to go. But then a magazine at the checkout stand got you thinking.
Should you cleanse first?
It seems that everyone talks about it. Why not get all these toxins out of your body before you start a new way of eating?
Maybe a little information beforehand would be in order
What Does a Cleanse Do?
I can tell you what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t dispel toxins from your body. There isn’t a shred of scientific proof. If you’re looking at a detox that claims to do so, these are only the claims of the person who is pushing to detox. If you have a healthy liver and kidneys, then your body is getting rid of the toxins on its own. Not to be crass, but dispelling toxins is what you do every time you sit on the toilet (Or stand at it. Sorry, guys. Didn’t mean to leave you out.) Urination and defecation is our bodies getting rid of the toxins.
So, what does the cleanse or detox really do? Basically, it gives you a jumpstart on weight loss, if that is your goal. But, buyer beware. Detoxes and cleanses can be complicated and they can actually be dangerous. I would personally not recommend any detox or cleanse that does not have you eating actual food over the course of the short diet. I wouldn’t do one that is more than three days. And I definitely wouldn’t stop taking my vitamins while I was on it.
Why I Didn’t Cleanse first
When I decided to go Paleo, weight loss was the furthest thing from my mind. I was in pain, but the last thing I wanted to do was going on a daily regimen of meds. Two years earlier I had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and my doctor specialized in pain management. She was the person who recommended Paleo to me as both a way to manage my pain and a way to manage my blood sugar as I am also borderline diabetic.
I wasn’t worried about cleanses and detoxes. I was worried about being in pain. I was worried about not being able to stand on my own two feet at work or climbing the four flights of stairs to my daughter’s apartment where I was staying. I was worried about facing a lifetime of pain meds and limited mobility. So, the first thing on my mind was not “I should do a cleanse first.” I went to the store, bought clean foods and started eating right.
That being said, I do occasionally cleanse. I’ll do one if I’ve been off plan for two long. I am, in fact, on day one of a three day cleanse as I type this. I do a cleanse that is Paleo-friendly, and, at the end of three days, go back to eating on plan. Why? Because, although my Paleo life started because of pain, it has now also become about weight loss. If I do a quick cleanse when I’ve been too far off plan, I tend to get rid of those few extra pounds and pick up close to where I left off so I don’t feel too far behind.
If You Insist
If you are hell-bent on doing a cleanse, find a safe one. Don’t spend three days drinking water and juice. The human body was not made to subsist on liquids, and you’re talking a lot of sugar, even if it is natural. But don’t be drinking a lot of specialized potions and mixes either. You can cleanse just fine without special products that are really not doing anything other than putting money in someone’s pockets.
Do you have health problems? Pay attention to the kind of cleanse you do. What kind of cleanse is it, and how is it going to impact those problems?
Do not do something that demands you repeat it too often. The cleanse I do can only be done every 30 days, and I generally will go longer than that. I only use it when I need it. If you’re looking at something that is telling you that you need to be doing it more often than every 30 days, there’s a problem.
Do not go on any cleanse that insists you have to drink more than 90 oz. of water a day. Once you get past that 90 oz., you’re washing away electrolytes and dehydrating yourself (Drinking water. How ironic is that?).
The cleanse I do was (or maybe still is) a pre-diet cleanse for a diet called Slim4Life, which is not a diet I recommend, but several people I worked with at the time were on it. Really, the only good thing I carried away from that program was this jumpstart cleanse.
I usually lose between eight and 10 lbs. on this cleanse, but that’s not a guarantee. I’ve lost as few as three pounds. There is no pork on this cleanse, so save the bacon for later.
Each morning for breakfast, I have two eggs cooked any way I want. I usually fry them, but I’m in a hotel for a few days, so I’m having them hard-boiled. I will also have some kind of meat that isn’t pork, a raw green veggie (It’s asparagus spears while I’m at the hotel), and a clementine or half an orange. For the rest of the day, I have all the meat (again, not pork) and raw green vegetables that I want. The meat can be cooked any way you like it, but it cannot be breaded. Before I go to bed, I eat another clementine or the other half of the orange. During the three days of this cleanse, I will have five bottles of water every day on top of any black coffee I care to drink. For those of you checking, that’s 84.5 oz. per day.
Do not try to make this a low fat cleanse, or you will have no energy. I don’t trim the meat. When I fry or scramble my eggs, I cook them in butter. Your only sugar is coming from the orange or clementines. If you don’t want to be dragging, don’t go low fat.
Another point: I continue to take all of my vitamins during this three days. I would never do a cleanse that recommends you stop your vitamins, particularly if you’re taking certain ones (or not taking certain ones) on the advice of your doctor.
It’s Your Call
Honestly, cleanse is your choice. Just be wise when making it. My advice, thought, is skip the cleanse unless you’re trying to jumpstart your weight loss. Just start eating Paleo. There’s no need to preface it.