Swim suit season is upon us and many people will turn to crash diets and cleanses to prepare for their beach body, most without even considering the possible negative effects. It is true, cleanses are great ways to rid the body of toxins and flush out your system, but not all cleanses are created equal and many can be hazardous to your health.

There are endless variations of cleanses on the internet, on grocery store shelves, and through third parties. If your goal is to rejuvenate your digestive system and help aid your body in its naturally detoxifying process, there are many juice and smoothie methods that are safe and leave you feeling refreshed. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds in a matter of days, which is unrealistic and detrimental to your health, you will find yourself succumbing to the dangerous fad cleanses.

Many cleanses you see on store shelves, in magazine ads, or online, contain a set of pills and powder drink mixes. Depending on the elements that make up these pills and powders, you could be putting yourself in a dangerous situation. If you choose to carry out one of these cleanses, it is imperative to research the brand and be aware of any unapproved or harmful ingredients you may be consuming.

Luckily, there is a much simpler and healthier option than dealing with pills and powders and check lists. It’s called the produce section. The best cleanse you can give your body is to cut out all processed foods, while replacing it with only fresh and natural foods. The process in which you consume these foods is up to you. Whether you prefer juicing, smoothies, or raw. Stick to only fresh fruits and vegetables, with moderate amounts of milk or yogurt if you are choosing to make smoothies.

Before committing to a specific cleanse.

It is important to take careful consideration of your body type and lifestyle. Choose a set amount of time for your cleanse based on your needs. These can range anywhere from 3 days to 10 days. There is no reason to exceed 10 days, anything more than that should be considered a diet and your body will require other essential nutrients. Someone who is new to dieting and does not exercise regularly would benefit from any fresh food cleanses. While someone who is very active and exercises regularly could potentially starve their body of the electrolytes it needs to replace, therefore shorter cleanses are more suitable. It is not recommended to start a cleanse the same time you buy a new gym membership and lace up your sneakers for the first time. Choose one to start first, allowing time for your body to adjust to the new changes, and gradually work in the other.

For obvious reasons, try not to go out to eat for any meals.

This will only surround you with temptation and often times leaves you feeling frustrated and unhappy. Also be wary of smoothie shops or cafes claiming to have low calorie drinks packed with organic foods. Just because the word smoothie is in the title, does not deem it healthy. The majority of smoothies and juices you find on these menus use fruit concentrate, syrups, and sugars. However, there are usually moderations to everything, so always ask before you buy.

An added benefit

Aside from freeing your body of all those harmful toxins, is the steady decline of old eating habits. Bad habits are hard to break, especially when they are related to comfort foods, but just three days of cleansing and cutting out old eating routines will put you on your way to a new healthy lifestyle. Your body will essentially forget about those old foods and your old habits will be replaced with new habits. The tricky part is convincing your mouth to go along with it. You will probably still salivate over the smell of pizza, but your body will not crave it like it used to. The more you modify your diet, the more your habits will resemble healthy choices.

So the next time you prepare for a cleanse, follow through with some minor research and determine which cleanse best suits your life at the moment.

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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2 Responses to “How to Cleanse and What to Avoid”

  1. Alaura

    I thought when it said made from concentrate that it meant straight from the fruit ? . Sorry if I sound stupid lol but what’s the difference ?

    • FitBodyHQ

      @Alaura you’re absolutely right it is from the fruit, but not all concentrates are the same – i.e. some have sugars and other additives.

      There’s also the possibility of the extraction process degrading the nutrient profile of the fruit.

      Finally, using concentrate makes it far easier to get too much of a good thing – i.e. fructose sugars – which you wouldn’t get with whole fruit (along with the fiber and water content).

      But if you got a high quality concentrate, with no nasty additives, and you were careful with your measurements – it should be fine!

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