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5 Things I Don’t Dig about Detox Programs

November 29th, 2013 | no comments


As someone who run’s Cleanse programs, you’re probably wondering why on earth I would write a post about things I DONT like about detox programs?!!

With the craze and abundance of different detox programs available today, I want to do my duty of care to you as a health professional, and highlight some of the things to beware of with many of these programs.  I hope this will help you in choosing a program that is right for you and your needs. 

Remember, there is no such thing as a ‘quick-fix’, so if you are looking to do a detox for this reason, then I suggest you re-evaluate your goals.  Healthy is a lifestyle you achieve through consistent action…not through a quick-fix program or a pill.


1.    Pre-packaged Meals, Shakes & Convenience

Today’s western world is literally a ‘convenience’ society, where the average person demands food that is quick, cheap & easy.  Cooking meals from scratch is considered by many to be hard, expensive and time consuming.  I mean the average person would have trouble cooking a meal that doesn’t involve a packet, jar or canned food!!   Maybe that is you??

One of the main reasons people feel they “need a detox” in the first place is because of all the crappy, processed, cheap, fast foods they are eating, which place’s a HUGE amount of pressure on the body’s natural detoxification systems (gut, liver, kidneys etc).

With the promise of weight loss, increased energy, and a new body shape in X-days, most people will jump at the easy option of pre-made meals or liver-cleansing shakes.

So are these programs really helping or hindering you?  Are they even dealing with the real problem??!  Will you just go back to feeling the way you were a week after the detox…ie a week back on your old ‘diet’?


2.    Severe Calorie Restriction

Some detox programs require you to severely restrict your total food intake over an extended period of time.  The famous ‘Master Cleanse’ is a good example, where this program requires that for 10-days you consume warm salt water in the morning, a concoction of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper throughout the day, and finish with a cup of laxative tea in the evening.  Yikes!

Many studies have shown that fasts and extremely low-calorie diets may lower the body’s basal metabolic rate as it struggles to conserve energy.  Once you resume ‘normal eating’ again (which won’t necessarily be healthy!), surprise surprise…rapid weight gain follows.


If you have a medical condition, or you are predisposed to one, then severe restriction like this could possibly cause you more harm than good.  You should always seek medical advice before attempting anything extreme like the Master Cleanse!

On a severe calorie-restriction diet, you won’t have energy to do ANYTHING except sleep.  So if you have a busy life, family, kids, hobbies, sports, career, social life…..just say goodbye to it all while you are ‘detoxing’ 🙁  Is it really worth it?


womaneatingpills3.    Expensive Supplements and Herbs

As someone who would love to study Naturopathy one day, I am completely supportive of medicinal herbs in the diet for health and healing.  They are very powerful and can do wonders for your body’s natural detox and defense system.  I also agree that most people’s diet do require some level of supplementation due to the poor quality of much of the produce we have available today.

However, as I mentioned above, why go and spend hundreds of dollars on expensive supplements when you don’t even have the basics right?  Why don’t you start with getting your recommended daily quota of fruit & vegetables!  Learn how to cook!  Learn how to get nutrients into your body through real food!  Learn what foods are good for YOUR body, rather than some fad diet.  Learn the art of self-care, instead of looking for the ‘next quick-fix’.

Many of my clients claim to have a variety of expensive supplements sitting in their pantry that they don’t even use.  Taking 10 different pills and concoctions every day can become overwhelming, and when that happens we stop taking them altogether.  Herbs and supplements must be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet, I mean we may stop taking pills, but we won’t stop eating!  Right?!

Yes.  Get the basics right first.


4.    Juicing

veggiesinglassdetoxSo I LOVE veggie juice, in fact I totally dig it, and think it is a GREAT way to get some much-needed nutrients delivered directly to your cells.  Because the vegetables and fruit have been broken down in the juicing process, it leaves little work for your digestive system.  This means that the nutrients are much more easily absorbed through your small intestine, and into your blood!  Boom!

But let’s get real.  If you’ve ever tried juicing you know that it’s messy, the juicer is a b*@tch to clean, and you need a LOT of produce, which means it can get extremely expensive (because you only want to juice organic produce!), and there is so much wasted pulp at the end.  You could use the pulp in baking, but if you’re like me, it usually ends up in the compost.

Also, for most people, fiber is something that we need more of in our diet to help us (ahem) “move things along”…if you catch my drift?!  So by juicing the produce, yes you are extracting many of the nutrients for easier absorption (depending on the quality of your juicer), but you are also throwing away plenty of good stuff that your tum could definitely do with!

I’m a big believer in smoothies so that I get the whole vegetable into my body!!


5.    Promises of a ‘new body’ in X number of days

If you have spent the last 10/20/30 years in a haze of booze, take-away foods, stress, drugs, and late nights, I highly doubt that you can ‘repair’ your body in a short 1-10 day detox program.  And if you do, then sorry for being blunt, but you are delusional.

Yes the human body is miraculous in it’s healing ability, but it is going to take longer than a few days to transition into a healthy lifestyle, and get the results you want.  Some detox program do offer people some motivation and a kick-start, but they usually do not give you the skills, information or support you need to continue the transition afterwards.  In fact I believe many of them even set you up for failure (reason #1 and #2).

YOU need to make the decision that YOU want to be healthy, and to do that you need to heal your body as a WHOLE, looking at everything in your life!  Doing one short detox is not going to undo all the harm you do to your body on the other 360 days of the year.  It won’t be easy, change never is.  But if you make the decision that that is what you want, then you don’t have a choice but to start with the basics, and take consistent positive action towards your goals.

My advice…learn how to eat real whole food!


Wholefoods is where it’s at yo!

So there you have it, rant over!  5 years ago when I was learning all about detoxification and cleansing, I was introduced to the concept of a Wholefood Cleanse, through a gorgeous health coach, Elizabeth Johnson, in the USA.  It wasn’t about restriction or denial, it wasn’t about shakes, potions or pills, it wasn’t expensive, it was about real food, and it seriously empowered me to make these changes to my life for good!!  In my heart I knew this was my path, and the way I wanted to do things.

Cleansing to me is not just about detoxification, but about living a clean, wholesome lifestyle 90% of the time (the other 10% have fun and do/eat what you want!).  I have continued to develop my 21-day program over the past 4 years adding in concepts and exercises to create long-lasting change.  Food is not just about what you eat, but about everything in your life that feeds you.  Your thoughts, your relationships, your career, your spirituality, your joy, your play, your bliss!!

In my 21-day Wholefood Cleanse Program, I teach you about REAL FOOD, how to plan, prepare, cook, and how to manage a healthy lifestyle when you have a super busy life.  Get out of your own way and set yourself up for a successful dietary transition for life.  You can totally do this, and I’m offering my hand out to show you how.

Registrations for the January Cleanse will be opening next week, so make sure you put your name down over here to be the first to know about the early bird special offer!!  Start your year off on the right foot and let me show you just how amazing you are designed to feel!


Peace, love and wholefoods,


Love Ngaire xx


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Hi! My name is Ngaire, owner of Whole Lot a Health. I'm a Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Nutritionist, and Clinical Pilates teacher, with a passion to empower woman to living a ripe & fertile life; rich with energy, abundance & opportunity.  Health is wealth!

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