Sorry not sorry for the swears, but I'm ready to call shenanigans on one of the biggest (and most harmful) trends in the "wellness industry" – the detox.
It's not even December and I'm already seeing advertisements for all the ways people can supposedly "cleanse" themselves from their supposedly "bad" holiday indulgences.
Points to consider –
Your body is not a toxic waste pit.
Your body doesn't need to be forcibly flushed, purged or scraped clean in order to be healthy, and it doesn't need to be deprived of food in order to recover from having eaten food.
Many if not most "detox systems" will –
- Include highly processed and potentially rancid ingredients that are just as bad, if not worse for your body than whatever you're trying to detox yourself from.
- Unnecessarily stress your organs, throw off your blood sugar, disrupt your body's digestion (including intestinal flora and digestive muscle tone) and disrupt your ability to receive and respond to natural hunger and thirst signals.
- Fail to address the emotional and psychological components of why you feel toxic in the first place.
on a personal note
Have you been turning to food, drinks or substances for self-soothing or in avoidance of something?
Rather than trying to atone for your unhealthy consumption patterns by "whipping yourself into shape" with a detox, consider facing what you're avoiding and/or finding other means than food and drink to receive the love, pleasure, and comfort you need.
When you address the problem this way, you'll likely find both your consumption patterns as well as your compulsion to detox your body will resolve themselves.
And/or, do you feel toxic because of deep-seated shame or trauma that has embedded itself in your body?
It's terrifying work to look at this, but the only way to get through the pain of it is by addressing it directly. There are no green smoothies or fiber pills anyone can sell you that can take the place of emotional / psychological / spiritual self-work.
on a political note
Neoliberalism has conned us into thinking we need to address on a personal level the problems that exist on a systemic level.
Our increasing paranoia around needing to detox our bodies is almost certainly related to our psychological grief about the destruction and pollution of the planet.
The solution to this legitimate grief is to change the ecologically destructive system, not to buy someone's detox product that will no doubt come shipped to you in plastic.
As long as you're plugged into "wellness" as a consumer culture, you've been tricked into trying to fix the problem by purchasing more of the problem.
back to the personal
Your body is marvelously capable of processing and releasing the substances that it doesn't benefit from. All your body needs is to be nourished and supported in doing what already comes naturally.
Here are a few things you can do to support your body's amazingly powerful self-cleansing systems:
- Drink a warm glass of water with a squeeze of lemon.
- Go for a walk, and choose a pace that's fast enough to raise your pulse a bit and get you taking deep breaths.
- Especially while it's winter, choose warm and nurturing foods such as broth, soup and stew. You need veggies, but raw ones (especially juiced) are not supportive in the cold weather. Add warming spices when you cook.
- Seek out laughter and pleasure.
- Give yourself cozy time in the evening to wind down before bedtime. Nurture yourself with a cup of tea or turmeric "golden milk".
- Get a good night of sleep.
Hydration, deep breaths, veggies, joy and sleep. If you take care of these basics, your amazing body will take care of all the detoxing and cleansing you need.
It's really that simple, and there's nothing to sell you.