Is a cleanse diet the best way to feel better and get rid of toxins?

For the past two years, I've put myself on a cleanse diet to detox my body from whatever harmful things I had been eating before. Although I usually strive for more fruits and vegetables in my meals, I will sometimes fall back into old patterns of pasta, bagels and pizza as quick meals (and diet soda, to wash it down with) when I'm in a rush.

As a way to force myself out of these habits (at least temporarily), I spent last February and this one cutting out five things: sugar, alcohol, gluten, caffeine and alcohol products. Instead, I would eat a lot of vegetables and whole grains, thinking that my body needed to detox from those more harmful foods. But apparently I'm not doing as much good as I thought I was, since doctors say that detox diets do not work.

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The idea of eliminating certain foods sounds appealing to a lifelong dieter like me. It sure sounds promising, doesn't it? If I cut these things out, then my body will recover and leave me feeling great. As difficult as it was to cut all of those things out, I was usually pretty successful when I went on Kathy Freston's Quantum Wellness Cleanse.

I never bought into juice diets or taking lots of vitamins and supplements. To me it just seemed like an extra way for whatever doctor or cleanse practitioner to make money. Instead, I focused on nutritionally-filled foods and exercising a little more.

Reading the scientific facts behind cleanse and detox diets and how they're really not doing everything that you think you're doing makes me a little depressed. But then I remember how my cleanse pushed me to try new foods, experiment with healthier snacks like almond butter on an apple and incorporate a rainbow of fruits and vegetables into my daily diet. And then I think: maybe I wasn't doing as much detoxing as I thought I was, but wasn't I doing something good for my body anyway?

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Perhaps the real power of a cleanse diet is that it makes you try something new. The real challenge, then, should be keeping some of the healthier new habits for longer. Just because a 5-day juice cleanse is over doesn't mean that you shouldn't still have a healthy green juice once a day or that I can't still eat healthy snacks like fruit and nuts instead of the typical candy and chips. That's what I'll be doing with my newfound post-cleanse knowledge, anyway.

Did I detox my body? It appears not. But did I still do something good? Absolutely. 

Have you ever done a cleanse diet hoping that it will detox your body? How did it go and what did you learn afterward?

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Topics: weight loss  overweight  tips  womens health  latino health