I recently decided to try out a 5 day detox (you can read about my experience here (ADD LINK). Being very skeptical about whether or not detoxing works, I wanted to evaluate from personal experience if it was worth it before recommending it to patients.
Here are some of the lessons I've learned.
1. It's really expensive
I mean really expensive. I spent what I would normally spend on a month's shopping on 5 days. The detox plan I followed was filled with fresh fruit and vegetables.... and then a whole bunch of 'superfoods.' I normally eat pretty well so buying the veg wasn't an issue but I have to say the so-called superfoods were really expensive. And yes, i have loads left over but I am not convinced they added anything that could not be achieved with just the fruit and veg. That said I haven't done the detox without them to be able to compare.
2. Be prepared
Some of the recipes called for things such as sprouted beans which take a few days or overnight marinading. Having not read all of the recipes thoroughly I did not realise this until too late so had to alter some of the recipes slightly.
Also some of the ingredients were a bit more difficult to get hold of than others - in fact some I couldn't get in our small town, even at the health food shop.
If you want to follow a plan to the letter, be prepared. Read through all of the recipes a couple of weeks in advance and source what you can early on. This also gives you time to shop around to take into account the added expense.
3. Take time off work
As everything is prepared from scratch, detoxing takes a lot of time cooking and preparing food. This can be done around a normal working schedule but it's a bit more stressful if you want to carry on living a normal life. If you are going to detox you body, why not treat yourself to a mind detox as well?
The plan I followed suggested doing it Thursday to Monday so the weekend was your juice days. I highly recommend taking the 5 days off work with a weekend before to prepare and weekend after to recover. It would be far more relaxing and easier on the body and mind. Do some meditation, take some gentle walks in the country. This would be far nicer overall.
4. Poo, poop, crap
Let's not be polite about it, us herbalists love talking about poo. You can tell a lot from a bowel movement and during a detox you certainly have lots. And surprisingly or not, most of this was during the juicing days. If the objective of a detox is to clear out your bowels that it certainly worked.
Though oddly to note, in the days after the detox, the opposite happened.... even though I tried to keep up with the fruit and veg. A girl just can't catch a break!!
The detox promised I would feel lighter. I am not sure whether this was due the number of bowel movements (see 4) or because during the juice days I felt a bit lightheaded. I don't think was due to lack of calories as they were in abundance but I certainly noticed that at times I didn't feel the greatest in the world. Another good reason to do a detox when you have time and energy to just relax.
SO I guess the question on everyone's lips - is it worth it? And to be completely honest I am not sure.
I don't necessarily believe in the "science of detoxing". If we have good healthy livers and kidneys then are body is going to be eliminating toxins all the time. What more can eating nothing but soups and juices do?
HOWEVER (and it's a bit fat capitalised however), I thought I ate a reasonably healthy diet give or take the odd day or two filled with pizza, wine and chocolate and if I was to take home one thing about this experience is..
Eat more goddam fruit and vegetables
Even my "good days" do not contain enough fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Out western diets are filled with meat, potatoes and grains. It's just too much of these and not enough of the green, nutty things that our bodies need to function properly. And for me, doing this has really given me a good appreciation of just how well I should be eating and for that it's been worth it.
And finally.... would I do it again? Yes and no. I would certainly spend a few days following the more solid days of the detox plan to boost my fruit and veg intake but I very much doubt I would go the whole superfoods and juicing route. I think doing a good, eat lots of fruit,vegetables, nets and seeds for a week can only enrich our lives and keep our bodies in tip-top shape.