Monday, 22 February 2016

Why you don't need to detox

*Please note, I am more than supportive of incorporating tea & juice in to your regular, well balanced diet. This post is aimed at the programs that encourage people to solely rely on a tea or a juice or certain foods during a certain period of time. 

I'm not going to sit here and tell you I have never been sucked in to doing a detox/ cleanse/ crash diet because I would be lying. At 15, I started trying diets and detoxes and I kept going for over 10 years.

In all honesty, I believe this is what led to my unhealthy relationship with food (and in my younger years, eating disorder like behaviour). I saw food as the enemy. All these crash diets and detoxes tell you to avoid food (or certain foods) like food is bad or tell you, you need to eat tiny amounts if you want to look better. OK food is f&*king amazing and our bodies NEED it. They need it to live and function to our best abilities!

From May 2014 until I found out I was pregnant in August 2015, I was eating the most food I had ever eaten per day whilst trying to achieve weight loss (1800 calories) and I lost 20+kg whilst doing so, felt the best and healthiest I had ever felt in my life and I had never been more happy.

I didn't need a 'magic' tea to help me, I didn't cut out ANY food and I was able to keep the weight off and stay healthy because the lifestyle I was living was realistic, healthy, maintainable and most important of all, enjoyable!

Below are the reasons why, in my opinion, you don't need detox teas, crash diets or juice cleanses.

They are a short term fix that do more damage than good.

Let's be honest, the reason most of us do these things is because we want to drop a tonne of weight in a really short amount of time and undo all the bad decisions we've made. Even when not pregnant, I have days where I will eat a tub of ice cream or a whole block of chocolate. Back in the day I would always feel guilty afterwards, like I had done the worst thing in the world and that I had failed. These days, I enjoy the hell out of what I just ate, accept that I made that decision and I move on and go back to eating  healthy. It is completely okay to indulge every now and then and it is okay not to feel guilty and enjoy yourself whilst doing it whether it's a planned cheat day or not, sometimes you just have to eat something outside of your normal diet and that is OKAY!

I found the more I made myself feel guilty, the more I would binge eat because I would then starve myself for the next week to try to make up for it and then think 'oh well I didn't eat for a week so now I can eat bad again'. If you're honest with yourself and accept your decisions and enjoy them, your relationship with food (and yourself) will be a lot better and you'll make better food decisions regularly.

No short term tea/ drink/ cleanse is going to undo the bad choices you make, making better choices however, will! Food is not the enemy here. It's the amount of food and the types of food you are eating on a regular basis. You know what foods are healthy and what foods are not (if you don't, ask me and I will help you!). If you fill your body will healthy, wholesome foods in the right amounts, you will achieve your goals, all in good time. You can't rush results when you're making this part of your lifestyle which is what you need to do if you want to maintain your results. Love your body and treat it the way it deserves to be treated! 

Your liver and kidneys actually cleanse and detox for you (no amount of food/ drink will do that for you)

The magical idea that your body is "accumulating" toxins has been around for well over 100 years (though it was largely discarded in the early 1900's). It has, however, seen a resurgence. Before I get into specifics, I will point out that, as a whole, detox products won't negatively affect your health. They simply won't do what they claim.

All detox products I have ever seen have all claimed the same thing.
"They will rid your body of mysterious, unnamed toxins that are slowly killing you. Your liver can't handle this workload, is shutting down, failing, and you are leaving yourself open to infections, disease and cancer." This alarmist marketing strategy helps these companies sell more products to people that are genuinely worried about their health.

Have you heard of homeopathy? It is a school of pseudo-medicine that has its basis in the principle of "less is more". They provide treatments for ailments that are watered down to parts per billion (meaning, for all intents and purposes, there is none of the "active" ingredient in there). Many detox products come from this school of thought, so while what you're taking isn't dangerous, you ARE wasting your money.

The more extreme side of detoxing (things like coffee enemas etc) are not only NOT going to detox you, they can actually cause harm. And, once again, there is no science to back the claims of these products.

The most important thing I can tell you about these products is this, there is NO evidence to support the claims made by detoxing products. If you have a functioning liver and kidneys, you do not need to detox. Period. If you have serious medical conditions, your doctor, dietitian and health care professionals will be able to assist you in knowing what you should and shouldn't eat.

You shouldn't need to suppress your appetite.

I see some of these teatoxes claiming to suppress your appetite. Why do we need to do this? We don't and we shouldn't. Our appetite is our body's way of telling us we need food (fuel). If you are hungry, then you should eat, as I've mentioned, just eat the right things!

I've tried appetite suppressants in the past, strong ones, and at the time, I thought it was great. At one stage, I didn't eat for almost a month.. a whole damn month. Then my body started shutting down, I was losing my vision and I kept passing out. Sure I lost over 5kg in that month, but at what cost... I couldn't even function and then I needed a week off work just to recover and get my body working properly and you guessed it, all the weight piled back on. I actually feel embarrassed and really disappointed in myself that I tried to take the 'easy' way out. It was such an unhealthy way to lose weight but I guess sometimes we get so desperate to look a certain way, we make silly decisions.

Now I tell myself "If you have enough will power to not eat for a week or just drink juice, then you have enough will power to live a healthy lifestyle... it's not as hard as you think!" Because, it really isn't as hard as you think. If you plan, prepare and know what you need to eat and have everything ready, you're good to go!

There are better ways to relieve bloating

I've asked quite a few people why they would turn to a teatox and surprisingly quite a few of them said they wanted to do it to help with bloating.

1. There are a number of things that can cause bloating
2. Even if the teatox helps, if you don't locate the source and you go back to your normal diet afterwards, the bloating will still be there.

Certain foods, over eating, eating to quickly, fatty foods, artificial sweeteners and raw vegetables are all causes of bloating (along with a list of others). Bloating can also mean an intolerance to certain foods.
Keep a food diary and take note of when your bloating happens and what you've eaten before then that may have caused it.
Bloating can also be an indicator of other serious illnesses so I would always suggest going to see your doctor as they will be able to test you for food interference's as well and rule out anything more serious.

They are unhealthy

 If you are eating only juice, or drinking only tea, you are doing your body a disservice. You need certain things to survive (carbs, fats, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals) which you will more than likely be unable to get from your juice/ tea based diet. If you have to be on one of these diets for serious medical reasons, you will be overseen by a Dr, and it wont be for a "detox" or weight loss reasons. There is nothing wrong with drinking green tea every day. It may assist the healthy function of your body in a small way. But it won't detox you, because it cant. Simple as that.

Something I tell everyone I know who is looking at getting into a fad diet, detox etc is this one easy to remember hint.

"If a certain company claims that they have the miracle of weight loss/detoxing secrets, but require that you buy their brand of product for this magic to happen, its a scam, and steer clear."

A healthy lifestyle is all that is required.

Keep smiling!



  1. Great post Tahana!!! I couldn't agree more!!! The only ones I like are the tea ones that you just have along with your normal healthy diet, but as long as people realise they won't do anything special more than a green tea might help increase your metabolism. Thanks for continuing to expel lots of myths that we might have about weight loss, it's super helpful and informative!

    Sarah | Bows & Pleats

    1. Thanks Sarah! Let me know if there are any other myths you want me to blow out of the water!! haha <3

  2. I totally agree with you girl!

    I recently did a three day trial with Herbalife (I didn't do it properly as I just wanted to include it into my diet), and I learnt that as long as I eat well and keep training, I am going to be fine. Being the frugal lady I am, I went and spent $10 on Protein powder (half price at Woolies!) instead of buying other products that would of cost me $70!

    Glad you wrote this, its great to make people aware of the truth!

    Sammy @ {xx}

    1. Thanks for reading Sammy! You're completely right, healthy eating and staying active is really all you need! Just be careful with the cheaper supplements as they can be filled will protein fillers such as nitrogen powder and amino that don't process in your body as well as the high quality proteins.. just if you're using it as an actual protein supplement. :) <3

  3. Excellent post Tahana, I certainly agree! As I've spoken about on the FB group, I tried that awful soup diet once and it was just terrible. It was all about 'flushing' your system out. Never again!
    Kate |

    1. Thanks Kate. haha funny how they make people believe eating soup can flush out your system! <3

  4. awesome post! balance truly is key to success!

  5. This is amazing, very informative Tahana. I have lost so my body fat in the last 6-12 months (somewhere in between that) just by regular exercise and eating roughly 2000 calories a day, sometimes more sometimes less I'm not strict about it. I see girls at my bootcamp who go the same amount of times as me who eat much less than I do (by the sounds of their diet 1,000-1,200 calories) & try these crazy detoxes who struggle to lose any fat, I want to shake them but that is what our trainer is there for (and she does try to wake them up about this stuff).

    One day people will realise, hopefully.

    Taylor |

    1. Thanks Taylor! And thank you for sharing on your page as well!! <3

  6. Awesome post! I absolutely hate all these detox diets, and refuse to get sucked in by them. Losing a tonne of weight really quickly does not appeal to me - I would rather lose it slowly and steadily by making healthy lifestyle changes. Really love that you wrote this post, it had to be said!! oxoxo

    1. I'm so glad you feel that way already!! Definitely a huge waste of money and very unhealthy! <3

  7. Loved this! I get so many emails from detox brands asking me to feature their products but I will never promote them as they can be dangerous and people don't realise that! xx

    Gemma ♥ Miss Makeup Magpie

    1. Thanks Gemma! I'm so glad you wouldn't promote something like this. They are going around like the plague at the moment and I am so disappointed in some of the people who I thought were advocates for a healthy lifestyle. It is a shame these companies have a high marketing budget!

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