I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to health trends. I’ve detoxed, no-carbed, Subwayed, only eaten tuna for two weeks – all completely silly, ridiculous things.
In experimenting with all of these diets, I have come to the higher-thinking conclusion that DIETS DON’T WORK. I firmly believe that healthy living comes from research-based knowledge of what’s healthy and what’s not, changing lifestyles, and whole food nutrition: a sort of cherry-picking of the characteristics of different ways of eating and living.
In other words, the best strategy isn’t a detox (or any type of) diet, but detoxing the dieting from our lives!
For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to break down some different diets: what they are, what the research says, where in the world their research came from, and, if I’ve tried it, what works and what doesn’t.
I chose to present the different lifestyles on a sort of spectrum of my own perception of what’s healthy and what’s not, with my ideal being somewhere in the middle.
Expect some criticism of these diets, but also be sure to read all the way through to the pros.
First up, on the far left of my health spectrum:
The Martha’s Vineyard Detox Diet
Roni DeLuz, author of 21 Pounds in 21 Days
This detox diet is about purging the body of toxins. “‘Toxins are not normal to the body, they are not meant to be metabolized by the body, and we do not have the metabolic machinery to completely detoxify them'” (Rogers, Detoxify or Die, 2002). 21 Pounds in 21 Days says toxins are everywhere: in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat.
What happens while detoxing? Well, a lot of self-love, which is a positive. With DeLuz’s version, no solid food is consumed at all. Fruit juices and broths, superfood smoothies, a TON of water: all liquid, all day. Preferred treatments during the detox include dry skin brushing, tongue scraping, body wraps, sauna-ing (I’m not sure there’s a verb form of “sauna”…), and multiple colonoscopic treatments. The detoxes are broken up into an initial 21-day cleanse and maintenance 7-day and weekend cleanses.
Let me say straight up, my problem is less with this diet than with its approach.
The first page of the book pulls in unsuspecting, quick-fix dieters: “You won’t have to count calories, points, indices, or rankings, or do anything else that requires math” (DeLuz, 1). Well, no. You won’t be counting anything because you won’t be eating anything. It says things like, “the fact that you’re fat may not be your fault” (DeLuz, 25) and that people are just victims to our toxic society. Is this true? Yes. Is losing weight hard? Absolutely. Is it okay to convince people to buy your book by saying THE DIET will change your life instead of giving the hard truth that YOU need to change your life? NO.
DeLuz goes on to “prove herself” for nine pages with her life story and how many degrees she’s gotten and blah blah blah, she was fat and now she’s not – big shocker in a lose-weight-fast book. She really zinged me with this little trust-nugget: “I also realized that I had to be able to understand and help people who were sick access their mind-body connection. So I next studied and became certified as a hypnotist” (DeLuz 13).
So basically if I buy your book or pay to live at Martha’s Vineyard with you for a month to be hypnotized, I don’t have to put forth any effort of my own? Neat.
Diets don’t work because they aren’t a lifestyle change. We perceive them as giving something up for a limited amount of time for quick results; we don’t see them as changing habits for happiness and wellness. DeLuz’s approach is setting more people up for failure. Something that I see as a commonality for all successful people (and something that I struggle with) is consistency. In America we live on impulse and are thrilled when some new miracle weight-loss product comes out. Diet this, workout that, buy this magic powder of awesomeness: some of these are great, but overall we have learned a lack of discipline. We are training our minds and bodies that giving up is okay; that giving into every little indulgence is acceptable; that pursuing “quick-fixes” to life is better than hard work.
Sorry, please excuse my little rant against society. Now, back to the diet.
Where was I? Oh yeah, living at Martha’s Vineyard – I would say perhaps the biggest con of 21 Pounds in 21 Days is that it is a diet for the wealthy. The book is supposed to be so “anyone” can do it, but when I detoxed, I was spending more money on supplements and vegetables and junk than I ever do on my normal grocery budget. Plus, there is constant maintenance required; we are always being attacked by toxins, so dieters must continue to detox on a semi-regular basis.
No exercise! With absolutely no real-food support, the body does not have the capacity to perform. Rebounders and such are used, but in general life becomes pretty sedentary. What’s healthy about that?
The detox “flu.” These are the side effects created by the body releasing mass amounts of toxins at once. Skin rashes and acne, lethargy, nausea and vomiting, depression, headaches, muscle aches, bad breath – just general feeling like crap. If I could take a week off of life to stay in my room and sleep for the four days it takes to get through, I would be okay with the negative side effects. But managing real life and pure detoxing can be a huge challenge.
You may be asking, “So, Miss Negativity – what is good about detoxing?”
I have the answer for that too!
Do I think you can eliminate toxic buildup in the body? I’ve done it and yes, absolutely. Proven in my own attempt, pros of detoxing are the alleviation of seasonal allergies, astronomical improvement of energy levels, weight loss and cellulite reduction, clear, bright skin, defense against depression and an enhancement of the feeling of well-being, removal of some drug support, and lessening of chronic headaches. Immediate maintenance is also fairly simple, as detoxing sets you up for a healthy lifestyle. All of these are big, life-changing sorts of pros.
Fasting has been used for thousands of years as a religious and cultural practice and I believe, in moderation, it continues to be applicable today.
What does the research say? Truly, not a lot. There are a gajillion testimonials out there, but not a lot of definitive studies. MayoClinic says get an okay from your doctor before beginning such a diet; the problem with that is detoxing gurus say the “evil doctors” just want to prescribe you something instead of treating the real issues – bit of a conflict of interest. I think a healthy balance between natural, homeopathic care and research-based medical care is the answer here.
And obviously, everyone cares what I think.
Overall, I think Martha’s Vineyard Detox Diet has a really great idea going on, but that it must be adapted to be relevant in the lives of us Average Joes. If you have a month to move to Cape Cod, sip supervegafruitavitamagic “martinis,” and be hypnotized into compliance by our friend Roni, well, more power to you. For the rest of us? I think there are better options out there – a couple of which I’ll review in the coming weeks!
Cliffhanger – mwhahahahahaaaaaa…..
Enchanted afternoon, darlings. Don’t forget to
eat drink your veggies!