Poll: Have You Ever Done a Cleanse Diet?

You know, I live in L.A., so I constantly hear about people doing cleanse this and colonics that. Personally, I think it’s really stupid, and I judge people a little bit when I hear about them doing it. I just feel like, in what way do you think that starving yourself for a few days is good for your body? What kinds of books are you reading? What kind of bullshit are you falling for?

Believe me — as a recovered anorexic, I have a fair amount of history in learning about how no matter how “good” it feels, starving yourself is bad for you. When you add in beverages with no nutritional value but a lot of acidity and irritants, and laxatives (yes, I’m looking at you, The Master Cleanse), what you have is a toxic mix that is likely ripping your insides apart (and probably causing heartburn!).

Also, here’s what a cleanse won’t do: give you control over your life. Much like an eating disorder, it may give you a very false sense of control, and also much like an eating disorder, it will be very unhealthy, both physically and psychologically. You will not gain control over your problems. In fact, all you’ll gain is a few days of avoidance, thereby making your problems even more anxiety-provoking when you return to them.

But all that said, a lot of people disagree with me and think that cleanses are real things that people do to make them more healthy. What do you think?

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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    • Soos

      I know people who do it yearly. As you mentioned, they say it makes them feel good. The truth is, I watch them balloon up again eventually, as if in directly opposite reaction.

      Well, I’m not falling for it. I’m not thin, and the closest I got is considering a “detox” soup. Instead, I just roasted a pan of root vegetables! I’m adding a heckuva lotta veggies to my diet and most every salad I’ve made has NOT included lettuce. I use sweet potatoes, every color of bell peppers, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli. OK, I did have lettuce because I bought so much produce at the open market, the guy gave me a bag, free. I’ve also been cooking eggplant and spinach using Indian spices – too yummy for words. And, curried lentils or chickpeas, anyone? I still eat meat, fish or chicken, but a lot less. And a lot less carbs.

    • MNiM

      I don’t have an objection to the milder versions of the whole detox thing — the kind where you try to eat just fruit and veg and don’t drink tea/coffee/booze etc. And, at a guess (not my field!) they probably do have some benefits, if done short term — more fiber, eliminating harder to digest foods probably do let the digestive track have a much needed break from how most of us eat most of the time. (And it’s plainly easier to make a short term change than a long term one.)

      But the more extensive versions? I have to agree that they do sound a bit like the kind of techniques used by people with eating disorders, and at least one of them (a liver detox, don’t remember the name) have been outright demonstrated to be trickery (though I don’t know that the people who designed the detox knew it — they may well have thought they had come up with something new and special). The “results” people were seeing was the result of chemical reactions in what they were ingesting and nothing to do with the liver at all.

      Which brings me to my final objection: I really don’t want to know what’s going on underneath most people’s clothes, let alone their skin. I’m not particularly squeamish (actually, I’m hardly squeamish at all), but I don’t need to know, and don’t care for it as a topic of conversation. A friend’s got something going on that s/he needs to talk about? Absolutely. Anything else just falls into TMI as far as I’m concerned.

    • Jen Dziura

      Someone told me that he really loved fasting because he felt so strong — specifically, after several days of feeling too weak to function, all the sudden he got a burst of energy and did 500 pushups! I was like, dude, that’s your body cannibalizing something important, like your heart muscle, to give you one last possibility of surviving by going out and killing something and eating a goddamn meal. It’s not a good sign.

      • Jo

        haha, amazing.

    • Emily

      Every once in a while I think about it, I like challenges. Then I dial back the crazy and just have dinner.


    • Amber

      I did the Master Cleanse once as an emotional detox. I was roofied one night at a bar and, thank God, my boyfriend showed up in time to realize something was wrong and get me home safely, but I felt disgusted for weeks afterward. I decided on the Master Cleanse as a way to take total control of my life for a while. It worked as a physical manifestation of the mental/emotional cleanse I needed. I’ll never do it again, but pushing through the hunger (and the awful cayenne pepper) helped me get rid of the heebie jeebies and left me feeling strong.

    • Goldie

      the whole premise that you even need to “detox” is bullshit. pseudoscience.
      Your body already detoxifies itself without any special diets or juices or cayenne. There aren’t any secret pockets in your digestive tract hanging onto environmental toxins. Your body already “detoxes” every time you take a shit.

    • eEv

      I did the Master Cleanse in college for about four days. The only thing it did help with is that I tend to panic if I go four or five hours without eating– so going a few days showed me that no, I won’t die if I have to work through lunch. But yeah, physically I don’t think there was any benefit. It’s much better to just eat fresh, healthy food all the time.

    • Dodgyoldgeezer

      You don’t have to live for days on carrot and lemon juice to cleanse effectively. Continue with a normal healthy diet and take a cleanse program like cleansesmart or firstcleanse. I used to think cleansing was hokey and impossible but now I do a simple program twice a year and actually look forward to it!

    • Amber

      No I haven’t done a Cleanse Diet, but I would like to try some effective diet, I really need to lose some weight.