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  1. To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse: A Look at Extreme Dieting


    The word "cleanse" is all over the news these days. It pops up just about everywhere because there's always a celebrity cleanse du jour.

    Is cleansing good for your body?

    There's the juice cleanse, the master cleanse, the 5-day cleanse, the 7-day cleanse... and I have even seen the 14-day cleanse! There are spa cleanse programs and even "Cleanse Destinations."

    The list is endless. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.

    But what is a cleanse, you ask? Good question.

    A cleanse is a diet regimen ideally designed to remove toxins from the body, generally by way of a radical diet change.

    A cleanse regimen often involves consuming mainly liquids. If there is food involved, the food is generally high in fiber and eaten in its raw state.

    Certain cleanses target the entire body, although there are cleanses designed for specific body systems or organs such as the kidneys or liver. The idea is that the toxins will be removed, leaving you with a better, healthier digestive tract and, subsequently, a healthier immune system and extra energy.

    Sounds good, right?

    While working in the health and wellness profession, I've found that people are always looking for the next best health claim. They want a magic bullet or miracle cure all for their weight and health.

    What's the best way to detox?

    Unfortunately, cleansing is not the magic elixir it's cracked up to be. Information from the medical community basically states that there is little scientific evidence that cleansing has benefits.

    In fact, there is a major concern that cleansing can lead to extreme dehydration. If you suffer medical conditions involving the kidneys or liver, the consequences can be serious.

    Basically, your digestive tract regulates itself. Doing things to speed up the process -- especially without medical direction -- is a bad idea.

    Yes, people do lose weight when cleansing. With that kind of drastic calorie cut back how could you not?

    However, I will always state that any radical diet isn't a very good solution for anything and it won't be very effective in the long term.

    The body is a perfect machine... until we gunk it up.

    So, what's the best way to "cleanse" your system?

    First, increase your water intake and make sure you are getting enough throughout the day. While the "8 glasses a day" theory isn't exact science, it works in most cases.

    Second, eat high fiber whole foods. Frankly if you are looking to "unchemical" your system, focus your food selection around unprocessed and organic food choices.

    Lastly, boost your exercise level. Get rid of the toxins that may build in your body the old fashion way -- by sweating it out!

    If you do decide you want to try the cleanse route, please seek the advice of a medical professional before initiating any plan. The risk of harm most certainly would outweigh the benefits.

    Until next time, be well!

    Alicia

    Alicia is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and a Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant. The owner of Evolution Total Wellness in New York is also the author of "Oscar & Otis, Fat Fighters." For more information, visit www.linkedin.com/in/evolutiontotalwellness.

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